Sunday, October 22, 2006

Dawkins, "The God Delusion"

I saw Dawkins on the Colbert Report the other night. He was a good sport.

I found this review of his book debunking religion interesting:

http://tinyurl.com/y73o9k

Unitarians get a very weird shout-out on the third page of the review. Dawkins apparently hypothosizes that there are very few atheists in prison, to which the reviewer parenthetically adds, "Even fewer Unitarians, I'll wager."
I'm not sure what he's saying. Is this a correlary to the old atheists in foxholes thing? Is this guy suggesting that an atheistic orientation or a specifically Unitarian faith is too corpse-cold to sustain a prisoner through the tribulations of incarceration? What do you think? Is he right? Have you ever known anyone who was incarcerated? I have, and I think he has a point.

Has anyone read the actual book? Comments?

9 Comments:

Blogger Obijuan said...

The CLF claims to have a rather large membership of prisoners and is constantly looking for pen-pals for their members.

22:37  
Blogger CK said...

I did read the book, actually, and tried to post a comment here earlier, since his chapter on religion as child abuse fit in with an earlier post you had up.

Dawkins isn't a philosopher, though he knows many of them--so he tends to simplify arguments against the existence of god. However, in terms of discussion of evolution and some of the damage religion can inflict, it's an interesting read. You can get all that elsewhere, though, with more nuance.

I read Dennett's "Breaking the Spell" and there's much overlap between the two, but more philosphical robustness to Dennett. If you want to read one, read his. That's my take.

22:59  
Blogger Doug Muder said...

I read right through the UU remark until you mentioned it. I think by page 3 my eyes were glazing.

I read it differently than you did. I think Dawkins is making a claim for the virtue of atheists -- that there aren't many atheist criminals. And the reviewer is suggesting that people who have a LITTLE religion, Unitarians, might be more virtuous yet.

I haven't read Dawkins' book, but I recognize a bunch of the arguments from Harris' "The End of Faith" and Dennett's "Breaking the Spell", which I reviewed in the Fall, 2006 issue of UU World.

In general, I find that this school of Humanism has a very superficial understanding of religion, and I doubt that their arguments have ever convinced anybody. But I'm sure that they really enjoy listening to each other.

10:50  
Anonymous philocrites said...

I haven't read "The God Delusion," but my basic take on Dawkins, Dennett, and their allies in the "religion is stupid and evil" brigade is right here.

17:58  
Blogger Sun Warrior said...

Dawkins is getting a lot of press up here in Canada. I think because its topical with the whole Islamic world blowing up.

Though I haven't read his book, all the shows he's been on have lead me to believe the book is a yawner. His arguments seem so old and run-of-the-mill. But the funny thing is, the media just laps it up. It is rather hilarious how simple-minded the press remains on such issues. They just face him off with fundamentalists and special interest groups who have nothing to say either.

He's so easy to pick off, it is amazing how the media won't find anyone to blow him out of the water.

20:32  
Blogger Sun Warrior said...

Dawkins is getting a lot of press up here in Canada. I think because its topical with the whole Islamic world blowing up.

Though I haven't read his book, all the shows he's been on have lead me to believe the book is a yawner. His arguments seem so old and run-of-the-mill. But the funny thing is, the media just laps it up. It is rather hilarious how simple-minded the press remains on such issues. They just face him off with fundamentalists and special interest groups who have nothing to say either.

He's so easy to pick off, it is amazing how the media won't find anyone to blow him out of the water.

20:33  
Anonymous Fr. Damocles said...

Doug: It seems to me their arguments are always based on conservative Christianity, with a sprinkling of conservative Islam and New Age. Which is probably what makes it so appealing to those that have grown up in repressively religious homes. However, it would take a lot more to convince me.

22:08  
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16:15  
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22:48  

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