my bro blows up Dawkins and Hitchens
Check it out!
I like the post's title and its thesis: Is this atheism's best shot?
This connects to the points of one of my recent blog posts: Looking back a few decades, why would one expect atheism books to be popular? And especially if one is trying to claim an intellectual high-ground, why not have the intellectual integrity to make an opponent's best argument?
Sometimes reading can be a little depressing. Such is the case in my recent reading of two books currently very popular - Richard Dawkins, the God Delusion; and Christopher Hitchens, God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything. Why depressing? It is simply that one would have thought such lettered individuals could have produced more compelling works....While both books did provide a challenge - I found the primary challenge involved was one of overcoming boredom. As New Testament Scholar N.T. Wright commented about the God Delusion - "I found it was the type of book that once you put it down, you couldn't pick it up again." Indeed.
Both books are largely constructed around the logical fallacy (as I have heard it called) of the proof by verbosity [or intimidation]...Dawkins writes with a breathless style of writing. Rolling opinion, invective and quotation of outside sources, one upon the other....
Dawkins' book ranges in topics covered from philosophy, psychology, biology, physics and New Testament studies to name a few. This is in and of itself a difficult challenge, as any writer knows the danger of taking on subjects in speaking or writing in which they have not studied. Dawkins shows no hint of any serious study in most of the subjects that he ranges through. Yet he feels more than free to render opinions that have no real correlation to fact....
Hitchens' book is somewhat harder to critique because it is simply "all over the road" to an even greater degree than the Dawkins book. Hitchens' book is a breathtaking wash over of opinion, coupled with verbal abuse, coupled with the citation of various "facts."...
As a Christian apologist I have learned to admit and even rejoice in the apparent intellectual difficulties (intellectual and otherwise) posed by the Christian claim. Of course, the claims of Christianity are truly based on quite strong proofs - but while one's meta view may be rationally justifiable, no one's faith perspective is provable with logical certainty beyond any doubt. To realize this is part of mature dialogue about all faith perspectives - including atheism.
Regrettably, Dawkins and Hitchens do not seem to have come to this place of understanding. Until they learn to admit the difficulties inherent to their own atheistic perspective they will simply not be able to present a coherent (or interesting) review of their own case for atheism. One of the most powerful tools in any apologist's arsenal is the phrase "I don't know..." - because it is precisely at this point that your audience is looking for what you will do next.
In the end, Dawkins and Hitchens' books will join that great litter of popular books that are here today and gone tomorrow. Poorly written and argued, both writers have supplied the market with books that obscure rather than clarify the important issue of God and our faith in him.
So then, is this Atheism's Best Shot?