Slate Book Review: Know Nothing, the True Story of Atheism

An examined faith leads to a deeper faith

What would Plato and Aristotle say about the “New Atheists”?

This blog has been fairly quiet lately, mostly because of work and family commitments (as well as discernment about whether I am ready to commit to an eight month retreat in Daily Life, but that is another story). However, I came across this excellent book review by Michael Robbins in Slate (courtesy of The Outward Quest Blog) and had to share it.  I have not read the book but based on the review I intend to.  Here is an excerpt from the review:

Atheists: The Origin of the Species seems to have been born out of frustration with these and other confusions perpetuated by the so-called “New Atheists” and their allies, who can’t be bothered to familiarize themselves with the traditions they traduce. Several thoughtful writers have already laid bare the slapdash know-nothingism of today’s mod-ish atheism, but Spencer’s not beating a dead horse—he’s beating a live one, in the hope that Nietzsche might rush to embrace it. Several critics have noted that if evangelical atheists (as the philosopher John Gray calls them) are ignorant of religion, as they usually are, then they aren’t truly atheists. “The knowledge of contraries is one and the same,” as Aristotle said. If your idea of God is not one that most theistic traditions would recognize, you’re not talking about God (at most, the New Atheists’ arguments are relevant to the low-hanging god of fundamentalism and deism). But even more damning is that such atheists appear ignorant of atheism as well.

For atheists weren’t always as intellectually lazy as Dawkins and his ilk. (Nor, to be sure, are many atheists today—Coyne accused me of “atheist-bashing” the last time I wrote about religion for Slate, but I really only bashed evangelical atheists like him. My father and sister, most of my friends, and many of the writers I most admire are nonbelievers. They’re also unlikely to mistake the creation myth recounted above for anything more than the dreariest parascientific thinking.)

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About William Ockham

I am a father of two with eclectic interests in theology, philosophy and sports. I chose the pseudonym William Ockham in honor of his contributions to philosophy, specifically Occam's Razor, and its contributions to modern scientific theory. My blog (www.teilhard.com) explores Ignatian Spirituality and the intersection of faith, science and reason through the life and writings of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (pictured above).
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One Response to Slate Book Review: Know Nothing, the True Story of Atheism

  1. Brother Burrito says:

    Reblogged this on Catholicism Pure & Simple and commented:
    Sorry for the reblog of a reblog, but them “atheists” just won’t go away!

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