Monday, July 27, 2009

Not Worthy

A recent piece by Robert Wright taking the "new atheists" to task for lapse in rationality for what amounts to a vocabulary inaccuracy. I.e., calling a virus "parasitic" when in fact they are often are but also something that can be helpful. "If Dawkins and Dennett were being truly rational, they’d call religious belief a “symbiont” that can be either parasitic or “mutualistic” (i.e. win-win), depending on the belief in question."

Wright attributes the lapse of reason to the warping of vision brought on by "adversarial instincts" which naturally cause one to cast their enemies in unflattering light. Wright continues:
"This human tendency to view enemies through a biased lens points to another flaw in the thinking of the “new atheists”—their belief that when religious people display seemingly irrational intolerance or hatred, the root of the problem is religion. No, the root of this irrationality is the same as the root of Dawkins’ and Dennett’s irrational deployment of the term “virus”. When you view people or ideas as your adversaries—view them in zero-sum terms—your unconscious mind does the rest of the work, making you conceive them and depict them in less flattering terms than is objectively warranted."
Allow me to observe that although I certainly don't share the views of Dawkins, Dennett, and Hitchens, I do believe we can come up with a more compelling argument against their dismissal of God than this. This strikes me as rather thin, blaming the ids of these guys. I would have much preferred that he take on the arguments as arguments. This position certainly isn't up the caliber of Wright's recent book, The Evolution of God.


Gentle readers, you will have to carry on without me for the next 8 days. I'm going off from Oklahoma to Utah and Colorado to visit my mom, and all three of my sisters. I am so looking forward to seeing them all. So I will see all of you again on August 6. Stay cool. Don't let 'em lie to you.
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