Dawkins Review Reviewed

Richard Dawkins - The God Delusion

Via my mate Steve, have a read of this review of ‘The God Delusion.’

Read it? Good… now are we sitting comfortably?

Oh dear… I had hoped for a better critique but sentences like:

“His transcendence and invisibility are part of what he is, which is not the case with the Loch Ness monster.”

– uhh, what? And just why is that “not the case” with the Loch Ness Monster. There is no difference between the LNM and God, apart from there are pictures of Nessie. Again, a bald-faced assertion, with no logical support, is presented as an obvious truth. This is the basis of all religion.

“He is the answer to why there is something rather than nothing.”

– means precisely nothing. More to the point, why do religionists say that a universe without cause is untenable but then have no problem in accepting a creator with no cause?

“He is what sustains all things in being by his love; and this would still be the case even if the universe had no beginning. To say that he brought it into being ex nihilo is not a measure of how very clever he is, but to suggest that he did it out of love rather than need.”

– more absolute flummery… Replace ‘He’ in that with ‘Flying Spaghetti Monster‘ and you’ll see how foolish all of Eagleton’s rhapsodising is.

“Because the universe is God’s, it shares in his life, which is the life of freedom.”

– What? Hey Terry, how about this: ‘Because the Universe is made of cheese, it must be made by a gigantic, all-loving mouse.’ It makes exactly as much sense as your sentence.

“Yet the Apocalypse is far more likely to be the product of them [scientists] than the work of religion. Swap you the Inquisition for chemical warfare.”

– totally missing the point here. Whose finger will be on the button? You might as well blame a blacksmith for making a sword.

“but as far as I know his anti-religious diatribes have never been matched in his work by a critique of the global capitalism that generates the hatred, anxiety, insecurity and sense of humiliation that breed fundamentalism.”

– This is the weakest crticism: in the past three years, Dawkins has campaigned against the war more than any other high-profile British academic. He’s also been one of the most outspoken critics of the Bush government and their agenda of global military dominance.

By the end of the review, Eagleton has descended into bashing ‘rationalists’ and launching into sarcastic ad-hominem attacks on the “middle-class liberal rationalist.” Only the truly religious would consider being rational as a defect, some kind of crippling palsy of the normally devout mind.

In fact, it’s a piss-poor review in that the meat of it is Eagleton proclaiming his vision of Christianity. Fair enough, a review of Dawkins is a great opportunity to preach and, if you’re a Christian, it’s your duty to spread the truth of your beliefs. But it should be more accurately labelled a sermon than a review.

It’s also quite misleading as to Dawkins’ tone. Reading this review, one would never guess that Dawkins has devoted an entire section to the beauty of the Bible as great literature and the importance of not throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Thuddingly predictably, Eagleton calls Dawkins a philistine which is an insult to both Dawkins (in the sense that Eagleton hurls the word) and the poor-old, much maligned Philistines. One would think such a high moral authority as Eagleton, far more educated and intelligent than me (he’s Professor of English Literature at Manchester University), would avoid lazy racist epithets. Or am I being the nigger in the woodpile here?

The only way any of Eagleton’s review makes sense is if you’re already a fellow believer in his particular tooth-fairy. In fact, if you go through Eagleton’s article and replace God and Jesus with ‘Spiderman’ it makes far more sense.

And at least I’ve heard Spiderman speak…