Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Eagleton on Dawkins

Terry Eagleton on The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins

‘What, one wonders, are Dawkins’s views on the epistemological differences between Aquinas and Duns Scotus? Has he read Eriugena on subjectivity, Rahner on grace or Moltmann on hope? Has he even heard of them? Or does he imagine like a bumptious young barrister that you can defeat the opposition while being complacently ignorant of its toughest case? Dawkins, it appears, has sometimes been told by theologians that he sets up straw men only to bowl them over, a charge he rebuts in this book; but if The God Delusion is anything to go by, they are absolutely right.’
The whole article, which can be read here, is (imo) a deserved slap around the chops of theologically illiteracy. I'm no Dawkins expert, let me make that clear, but I suspect the biggest refutation of his case is probably the thousands of Christians who have given their lives for wonderful and healing causes across the world. And by all accounts, his book does not seriously address this fact (nor, as Eagleton points out, many other important issues). That annoys me. Dawkins, it seems - though read the book for yourself to check -, evidences a reverse sort of Fundamantalism, and many Fundamentalists, whether they be of the theist or atheist variety, tend to wind me up the wrong way.

Via Metalepsis.


At 10/25/2006 2:22 AM, Anonymous Sivin Kit said...

"a reverse sort of Fundamantalism" .. . I feel the same way about Dawkins after watching him on Youtube once. A very insightful phrase.

At 10/25/2006 10:37 AM, Anonymous Chris Tilling said...

Hi Sivin,
If you are in the Tübingen/Stuttgart area for your visit at any time, let me know ... I can show you some of the sights.

At 11/04/2006 10:59 AM, Anonymous Steven Carr said...

Presumably Eagleton things that Dawkins is right on the money about Islam and Judaism.

Christians can divide atheists into 2 classes.

Ignorant atheists , who do not know what they are talking about. They are atheists who have not read the Bible.

And then there are fundamentalist atheists. They are atheists who have read the Bible.

'‘What, one wonders, are Dawkins’s views on the epistemological differences between Aquinas and Duns Scotus? '

Doesn't Eagleton know the difference between classical astrology and the new developments since the time of Newton?

Does Eagleton imagine how stupid he sounds when he claims that only people who know the epistemological differences between Aquinas and Duns Scotus can comment on Christianity?

I think not, as presumably he thought that what he wrote would make sense.

By the way, why are Christians so obsessed with death? Why is it a refutation of Christianity that thousands of Christians have given their lives?

Why do Americans wrap themselves in a flag when people question the policies of America, and why do Christians wrap themselves in a shroud when somebody questions why Jesus atoned for sin that we inherited from Adam, when sophisticated theologians say they don't think there was an Adam to sin?

At 11/07/2006 12:43 AM, Anonymous Chris Tilling said...

Steven, I think you misunderstand Eagleton.

He is not claiming that scientists have nothing to say about meta-physics (even if it is focused on teh physical and observable, not the metaphysical), but rather that, if they want to start speaking about it, they need to read up on the epistemological questions, otheriwse they'll just sound ignorant.

The rest of your comment seems to me like chip-on-shoulder rhetoric.

At 11/07/2006 7:34 PM, Anonymous Steven Carr said...

In other words, Eagleton has no idea how he can back up any claims for the supernatural so starts calling people 'ignorant', just because they do not know how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, while theologians have spent many hours discussing such problems.

At 11/07/2006 11:57 PM, Anonymous Chris Tilling said...

Steven, no, that too entiurely misunderstands what is going on - metaphysics is not knowing how many angels can dance on the head of a pin!

At 7/16/2009 9:12 PM, Anonymous Kevin DeGraaf said...

How many books on advanced leprechaunology would one have to read and comprehend before being allowed to point out that leprechauns don't actually exist?

Eagleton's argument is, to be blunt, quite stupid. Dawkins is not trying to quibble with theologians over theological details; rather, he is arguing that the entire edifice of theology itself is built on a foundation of air.


Post a Comment

<< Home