Re: [asa] FWhat the New Atheists Don't See

From: Janice Matchett <janmatch@earthlink.net>
Date: Wed Oct 31 2007 - 12:07:08 EDT

At 10:48 AM 10/31/2007, Alexanian, Moorad wrote:

>http://www.city-journal.org/html/17_4_oh_to_be.html
>
>What the New Atheists Don't See To regret religion is to regret
>Western civilization. Theodore Dalrymple Autumn 2007 [snip]

@ A commentary on it yesterday (excerpted):

Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Between Thought and Reality

It is as though true ideas took their revenge on on anyone who limits
himself to thinking about them. --F. Schuon

"....this piece by the great Theodore Dalrymple at
<http://www.city-journal.org/html/17_4_oh_to_be.html>City Journal, in
which he takes aim at the popular middle-to-lowbrow atheistic tracts
flooding the marketplace. While some are more crude than others, the
loathsome Sam Harris is definitely pulling up the bottom. I use the
word "loathsome" advisedly, but if Dalrymple has reported his words
accurately, then Harris has a mind as coarse and barbaric as any
genocidal imam that he criticizes. Which makes sense, in that "extremes meet."

Dalrymple writes that "it is not easy to do justice to the book's
nastiness," and about the most charitable thing he can say about
Harris is that he combines "sloppiness and lack of intellectual
scruple" with "adolescent shrillness and intolerance" -- which he can
always use as a letter of recommendation to the New York Times
editorial board.

Dalrymple cites a passage that is "quite possibly the most
disgraceful that I have read in a book by a man posing as a
rationalist." In that passage, Harris expresses the opinion that
"Some propositions are so dangerous that it may be ethical to kill
people for believing them. This may seem an extraordinary claim, but
it merely enunciates an ordinary fact about the world in which we live."

Yes, ho hum, just an ordinary fact: it's ethical to murder people for
their religious beliefs.

As I've said before, nothing as ugly as atheism could possibly be
true (and I'm not suggesting that all atheists are as deranged as
Harris; many are fine people). Even though he's not a believer,
Dalrymple says what amounts to the same thing about the relationship
between beauty and truth:

"I recently had occasion to compare the writings of the neo-atheists
with those of Anglican divines of the seventeenth and eighteenth
centuries.... In my own neo-atheist days, I would have scorned these
works as pertaining to a nonexistent entity and containing nothing of
value. I would have considered the authors deluded men, who probably
sought to delude others for reasons that Marx might have enumerated."
But in looking into these religious writings, "I found myself moved:
much more moved, it goes without saying, than by any of the books of
the new atheists."

Too bad for Dalrymple, as he is probably a case of someone being so
intelligent, that his intelligence nearly ruined him. Indeed, his
hyper-developed rational intelligence ... is probably what keeps him
from taking the next leap of faith into actual belief. As much as I
respect him, one doubts that he will undertake the task of
discovering "what moved" in him while reading those words, nor the
source of the Mover. But you never know. .. [snip]" ~ Bob
Godwin http://onecosmos.blogspot.com/

~ Janice

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Received on Wed Oct 31 12:08:05 2007

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