Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Plantinga Reviews Dawkins' Bluster

By Rick Pearcey

Notre Dame Professor of Philosophy Alvin Plantinga's review of The God Delusion, by Richard Dawkins, is now available. What follows are a few passages from the beginning and conclusion of the review:

* Displeased With God: "Richard Dawkins is not pleased with God," Plantinga begins. The data, from Dawkins: "The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all of fiction. Jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic-cleanser; a misogynistic homophobic racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal . . . (16)."

* Sworn Enemy: "Well, no need to finish the quotation," Plantinga continues. "You get the idea. Dawkins seems to have chosen God as his sworn enemy. (Let’s hope for Dawkins’ sake God doesn’t return the compliment)."

* Extended Diatribe: "Dawkins’ new book (The God Delusion) is an extended diatribe against religion in general and belief in God in particular; he and Daniel Dennett (whose recent Breaking the Spell is his contribution to this genre) are the touchdown twins of current academic atheism." [see note below]

* Courageous Atheists: "Dawkins has written his book, he says, partly to encourage timorous atheists to come out of the closet. He and Dennett both appear to think it requires considerable courage to attack religion these days; says Dennett, 'I risk a fist to the face or worse. Yet I persist.'"

* No Danger: "Apparently atheism has its own heroes of the faith -- at any rate its own self-styled heroes. Here it’s not easy to take them seriously; the fact is religion bashing in the current Western academy is about as dangerous as endorsing the party’s candidate at a Republican rally. . . ."

* Science vs. Naturalism: "People like Dawkins hold that there is a conflict between science and religion because they think there is a conflict between evolution and theism; the truth of the matter, however, is that the conflict is between science and naturalism, not between science and belief in God."

* The End of Bluster: "By way of conclusion: The God Delusion is full of bluster and bombast, but it really doesn’t give even the slightest reason for thinking belief in God mistaken, let alone a 'delusion'."

* Naturalism in Deep Trouble: "The naturalism that Dawkins embraces, furthermore, in addition to its intrinsic unloveliness and its dispiriting conclusions about human beings and their place in the universe, is in deep self-referential trouble. There is no reason to believe it; and there is excellent reason to reject it."

Note: "Sam Harris has written a third recent book -- The End of Faith -- along these same lines, so perhaps we should speak of the touchdown triplets -- or, given that Harris is very much the junior partner in this enterprise (he’s a grad student) maybe the ‘Three Bears of Atheism’?"

The entire review can be read here, in a Word format.

Related articles:
Darwin Meltdown Reaches England, by Rick Pearcey
Christianity a Science-Starter, Not a Science-Stopper, by Nancy Pearcey

Rick Pearcey is editor and publisher of The Pearcey Report.