Richard Dawkins Keeps Getting Slammed By His Own Philosophical Kind
Poor Richard Dawkins. His latest book keeps getting hammered, and it is not even the religious folk doing it. I think maybe they have learned to ignore him, or simply laugh at him. This from the New York Times:
So why is the new wave of books on atheism getting such a drubbing? The criticism is not primarily, it should be pointed out, from the pious, which would hardly be noteworthy, but from avowed atheists as well as scientists and philosophers writing in publications like The New Republic and The New York Review of Books, not known as cells in the vast God-fearing conspiracy.
The mother of these reviews was published last October in The London Review of Books, when Terry Eagleton, better known as a Marxist literary scholar than as a defender of faith, took on “The God Delusion.”
“Imagine someone holding forth on biology whose only knowledge of the subject is the Book of British Birds,” Mr. Eagleton wrote, “and you have a rough idea of what it feels like to read Richard Dawkins on theology.” That was only the first sentence.. . .
H. Allen Orr is an evolutionary biologist who once called Mr. Dawkins a “professional atheist.” But now, Mr. Orr wrote in the Jan. 11 issue of The New York Review of Books, “I’m forced, after reading his new book, to conclude that he’s actually more of an amateur.”It seems that these critics hold several odd ideas, the first being that anyone attacking theology should actually know some.
And then there are those who point out his double standards:
“In a book of almost 400 pages, he can scarcely bring himself to concede that a single human benefit has flowed from religious faith, a view which is as a priori improbable as it is empirically false,” Mr. Eagleton wrote. “The countless millions who have devoted their lives selflessly to the service of others in the name of Christ or Buddha or Allah are wiped from human history — and this by a self-appointed crusader against bigotry.”
In Mr. Orr’s view, “No decent person can fail to be repulsed by the sins committed in the name of religion,” but atheism has to be held to the same standard: “Dawkins has a difficult time facing up to the dual fact that (1) the 20th century was an experiment in secularism; and (2) the result was secular evil, an evil that, if anything, was more spectacularly virulent than that which came before.”
Poor Richard. I cannot feel too sorry for him though, because reality does not seem to affect him much. I think the wave of criticism from other atheists is to keep Dawkins from giving atheism a bad name, and to prove that not all atheists are so dogmatic, narrow-minded and illogical.