09 April 2007

"The God Delusion", an atheist re-awakening

I just read Richard Dawkins' latest, "The God Delusion". Can't resist some comments:

In the first part, it is really fun to watch Dawkins easily blowing away ALL theistic arguments. For devoted atheists (like myself) that needed no further convincing, it is interesting to read some ideas coming from evolutionary biology, like the emergence and interplay of memes.

A special mention is needed here to "the ultimate boeing 747", a fresh and very beautiful argument in my opinion. It reverses the old theistic argument: "this world is so complex that there must be a creator-God behind it" to: "a hypothetical God would be so sophisticated and complex that it would be impossible to exist without the existence of a previous cause; by definition God could be the only primary cause, hence God cannot exist"

In the second part Dawkins is entering rather unfamiliar territories like political philosophy and the result is less academically vigorous and mostly based on anecdotal evidence. Admittedly several of his arguments are weak here -like his view that the moral zeitgeist will continue becoming more and more liberal or his mistaken implied view that the belief in the sanctity of life is related with religiosity.

In any case, with this book Richard Dawkins establishes himself as the Peter Singer of our generation. This time is not about speciesism, but about religious supremacy, the view that specific systems of beliefs with gross irrational assumptions like religions are superior to other non-holy ones, and they should be immune to any criticism just because of their arbitrarily given religious status. Succesful or not in its cause, "the God Delusion" certainly signals a welcome re-emergence of atheistic activism.

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