An Atheist Christmas

Excellent edition of The Edge NEwsletter, includes not only Dan Dennett, recovering from an acute heart condition, and Evolutionary Morality from Nick Wade of the NYT, but also last weekend’s Observer piece by their religious correspondent Jamie Doward, reviewing the three popular science books lined up against God in the best seller charts as we run up to Christmas.

Richard Dawkins – The God Delusion
Dan Dennett – Religion as a Natural Phenomenon
Sam Harris – The End of Faith / Letter to a Christian Nation

Not yet read any of the three. As a big fan of Dennett, I will almost certainly obtain and read that. Dawkins, I’ve said enough about, what he seems unable to see is that being “scientifically right” is hardly a convincing argument. Sam Harris was recommended by Sue Blackmore on “A Good Read” recently, so I may give it a try, though Sam seems to shoot the atheist cause in the foot with a “Nuke the Bastards” suggestion if reason fails to impress not just religious extremists, but masses of religious moderates. (See previous piece on moderate but sophisticated theological issues here.)

The “final solution” outburst from Harris is interesting though. A sign of the seriousness of the issue under debate here. As the footnote to every page of my blog has said since 9/11 “The phrase ‘Creative Destruction’ can never again be used lightly.” Cool heads needed like never before.

3 thoughts on “An Atheist Christmas”

  1. i think people like dawkins have (possibly unconsciously) realised that the ground is moving away from them. the two towers, if nothing else, proved that religion can’t simply be banished from public discourse. the thing is, from my point of view, they have lost the argument, not just at the political level (which is most obvious) but at the philsophical level as well. they are unreconstructed modernists. perhaps they should have a crash course on the moq to unpick their prejudices!

  2. I suspect you are right … a reactionary motive.

    Which is of course exactly where I’m coming from. MoQ may prove to be “imperfect”, like all contingent theories, but it forces both science and religion to take a holistic (unprejudiced) view of both perspectives.

    Trouble is, as the stakes get raised, the more critical it becomes to get the message understood more widely.

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