Anyone who regularly tunes in to academic, atheist and author Professor Richard Dawkins’ television appearances and YouTube videos will likely be familiar with the following extract, which popped up in my social media feeds again, recently. This particular clip features Professor Dawkins’ 2012 participation on the panel of Australian ABC TV’s discussion show, “Q&A”, taking questions from the audience.
Having belatedly stumbled across Salon writer Sean Illing’s critique of so-called ‘New Atheism’ and some of its exponents (‘New Atheism’s fatal arrogance: The glaring intellectual laziness of Bill Maher & Richard Dawkins’, 9 May 2015), I was considering formulating a response, but thought to check the ether for prior and more sophisticated rebuttals.
I’m glad I did, as I found one of the most thorough, most incisive, and most cogent deconstructions I’ve had the pleasure of reading in recent memory.
So, to quote netizens everywhere: I’ll just leave this here.
If you want to see every shopworn criticism of New Atheism rolled up into one splenetic article, then it’s this one (in Salon, of course): “New atheism’s fatal arrogance: The glaring intellectual laziness of Bill Maher & Richard Dawkins.” The writer is Sean Illing, a graduate student in political science at Louisiana State University, who professes to be an atheist. And, like Maru, this is a box I cannot help but enter. I will try to be brief, but will probably fail.
So what exactly is the intellectual laziness of Bill Maher and Richard Dawkins? It is one of Illing’s several accusations leveled at New Athiests, which I’ll summarize below:
1. New Atheists are just too stupid to realize that religion isn’t about truths, but about fictions that make people feel good, and structure their lives. Yes, Illing appears to be a nonbeliever, and sees religion as promulgating untruths…
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