Daniel Dennett celebrates the tenth birthday of Richard Dawkins’ assemblage of atheistic arguments, The God Delusion…
Four books appeared with a few months of each other a decade ago: Sam Harris’s The End of Faith, my Breaking the Spell, Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion, and Christopher Hitchens’ God is not Great.
Years, in fact, but never mind.
…we were soon joined by a distinguished cadre of other authors who had decisive and well-evidenced cases to present about various problems and failures of religion.
Decisive and well-evidenced, unlike all those decisive and yet poorly-evidenced attempts.
The God Delusion has outsold them all [and] outsold all the “flea” books [Dawkins] mentions in his Foreword by even wider margins…while “sophisticated theologians” and their friends wanted the world to believe that he failed to engage serious religion in his critique, those darn fleas tell a different story: he struck a nerve, and he struck it dead center.
If the measure of one’s argument was its popularity, of course, theism would have long been proved correct.
Is he “angry”? Is he “shrill” and “arrogant”? Look closely, and you will see that these familiar charges are without foundation. What leads people to level them is the fact that they have been accustomed their entire lives to having their darling dogmas handled with kid gloves, never challenged, always “respected.”
Put aside the fact that a book which concludes that raising one’s child to be Catholic is “abuse” is shrill, and that an author who presumes that he has refuted Aquinas when he has read no more than summaries of the Five Ways is arrogant, and endure Professor Dennett’s stifling condescension. For all I have said about their dilettantism, their anti-intellectualism, their complacence, their boorishness and their monomania, the biggest problem with “new atheists” is that they’re so smug.