Sunday, November 12, 2006

Eagleton on Dawkins

English evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins has just published The God Delusion in which he applies his scientific reductionism to religion. The certainty of atheists such as Dawkins has always struck me ironically to be most similar to that of fundamentalists. Weird. Terry Eagleton, one of my favourite writers (whom i yet disagree with about postmodernism), has written a blistering critique of Dawkins that is well-worth the read - more than a few laugh-out-loud lines. I wanna write like Eagelton when i grow up - though i'll never be as wicked smart as he is. Here's a taste:
Dawkins speaks scoffingly of a personal God, as though it were entirely obvious exactly what this might mean. He seems to imagine God, if not exactly with a white beard, then at least as some kind of chap, however supersized. He asks how this chap can speak to billions of people simultaneously, which is rather like wondering why, if Tony Blair is an octopus, he has only two arms. For Judeo-Christianity, God is not a person in the sense that Al Gore arguably is. Nor is he a principle, an entity, or ‘existent’: in one sense of that word it would be perfectly coherent for religious types to claim that God does not in fact exist. He is, rather, the condition of possibility of any entity whatsoever, including ourselves. He is the answer to why there is something rather than nothing. God and the universe do not add up to two, any more than my envy and my left foot constitute a pair of objects.
Thanks to Corvin for the link!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Imagine someone holding forth on haute couture who does all their shopping at British Home Stores and you have a rough idea of what it feels like to hear this little brat telling us that our Emperor has no clothes.

What does he know of the works of Lagerfeld, or Balenciaga? Could he even tell the difference between a Coco Chanel and a Vivienne Westwood?

He seems to think that clothes have to be actually on the body for the Emperor to be dressed. This very English brand of common sense belongs only in the cultural context of Marks and Spencerish middle-class provincialism from which it came.

Anyway, he may be right, but does he have to be such an appalling brat?