Monday, October 04, 2010

The Stupid! It Burns! (A. F. Christian edition)

the stupid! it burns! Absurdities Which [sic] Only Rationalists Believe
Mary Eberstadt, a research fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution, has written a wickedly devastating critique of the New Atheism. ... [E]ach chapter is a "letter" written by a recent convert to atheism ("A.F. Christian"= A Former Christian) to leading New Atheists such as Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris... By the end of the book it becomes clear that the New Atheism can succeed only by avoiding all significant areas of human life: Because of its embrace of materialism, reductionist evolutionism, pragmatism and moral relativism, it is incapable of actually sustaining a genuinely human form of life and must, in effect, live off a residual cultural Christianity.

The New Atheists contend that society will be a lot better off when all of Christianity's sexual restraints are thrown off and we are finally able to enjoy complete sexual freedom. ...

Since the New Atheists embrace Darwinism as a metaphysical principal, they have difficulty justifying what Christianity has excelled at: caring for the sick, the weak and the old. ...

One of the best letters focuses on the problem of aesthetics and the inconvenient fact that the world's most beautiful music, art, poetry and architecture have all be [sic] motivated by religion. ...

If atheism is so sophisticated and the view to which the brightest of minds eventually arrive at, why are so many recent converts from atheism to Christianity people of such great abilities (G.K. Chesterton, C.S. Lewis, Evelyn Waugh, Francis Collins, Alistair McGrath, etc)? ...

[Eberstadt] offers not so much a point by point refutation of New Atheist positions but a cosmic argument against it, an argument aimed at showing that if its premises are put into action we will find ourselves spiritually, morally, socially and aesthetically impoverished.
(I have my suspicions, but I haven't read her book, so I can't really tell if Eberstadt is just as burningly stupid as her admirer.)


  1. This one's a little easier to mock than the last one (where I didn't even know where to begin).

    We can't care for the sick because Darwinism is our "metaphysical principle" (wat)? Well, at least we don't fetishize suffering enough to lead us to collect dying people into a building and give them fake medical care, like Mother Theresa.

    The best music, art, etc. pretty much stopped being Christian a long time ago. Have you listened to modern Christian music? It's a soulless, homogenized, manufactured knock off of whatever music is popular at the time.

    Also, C.S. Lewis is fucking clown shoes. And Francis Collins' views on religion are, too (despite being an accomplished geneticist; being brilliant in one area unfortunately doesn't prevent you from being a moron in others). I can't really comment on the others.

    Finally, the 'premise' that most atheists I've met live by is, "we should accept reality, whatever that may be." That's what leads to all this 'terrible' stuff mentioned: not living in fantasy land.

  2. Francis Collins...

    I've heard tell that Collins is not a brilliant geneticist, he's a competent administrator. (Those who can, do; those who can't, teach; those who can't teach, administrate.) But I'm not a scientist, so my opinion based on hearsay shouldn't count for much.

  3. Also, Alistair McGrath is a fucking idiot.

  4. I haven't read the book itself, but I have read the original articles that form the basis (and quite likely, the entire content, or near enough) of it. And yes, Eberstadt is burningly stupid. She also has a vastly inflated sense of her own abilities as a satirist and a writer of allegory, and her central character is so unconvincing that I kept forgetting there was even meant to BE a narrating character other than Eberstadt herself. The whole thing turns out to be an anti-abortion rant as well.

  5. And yes, Eberstadt is burningly stupid.

    I'm not terribly surprised.


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