Further Thoughts on Hart vs. the Atheists

David B. Hart vs. the New Atheists

Francesca mentioned this a couple of days ago. I was at work and couldn't read it at the time. The next day I remembered that I had seen a mention of a good piece by Hart, but I couldn't remember where. Happily, I came across it again today.

Anyway: no one need bother pointing out the shallow fallacies of Dawkins et.al. again--Hart has done the definitive job, and you may as well just point people to him. I was pleased to see that he emphasizes a point that I've made in a much less articulate and philosophically sophisticated way: that the NAs for the most part do not understand the ideas they believe they have refuted. I was also glad to see that he shares my admiration and indeed affection for Nietzsche, one of the few atheists who really sees deeply into the whole question and understands what atheism means.

The comments on the piece are pretty dreary, though some of them could be funny if you were in the right frame of mind. Hart's work must have come to the attention of some atheists, and they have swooped in to demonstrate Hart's point. I left this remark in response: "They clearly didn't understand what they read, and furthermore they don't, and possibly can't, understand that they didn't understand. Not much you can say to that."


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Is there a link?


Yes, I read that article - it was good. There doesn't seem to be much intellectual rigour in the NA's case and online there are lots of derisive remarks about Flying Spaghetti Monsters, Imaginary Friends, Sky Daddies etc. That's fun for a juvenile. But nothing of substance.

Heh. Now there is a link. Thanks.

He says of Dawkins, "it is his unfortunate habit contemptuously to dismiss as meaningless concepts whose meanings elude him". The comments show it's not just Dawkins.

Only David B. H could generate a 110 comment combox war at FT!

I was just teaching a class on Pius XII, in my '19th & 20th Century RC Politics' class. Class was 100% Protestant. So they're not prepared for this, and they're getting it. They are looking worried. Finally, one woman, who has a law degree, asks, 'did Cornwell not know that the rabbis had said these things?' (praising Pius XII). The student could not understand the discrepancy between the history and texts I laid out and the interpretation the anti-Pius historians put on them - eg, Pius 1941 Christmas broadcast as a 'trivialization of the holocaust'. At the moment the woman asked me that I realized that most criticism of Pius XII isn't serious history: it is just a branch of the new atheism. It is to serious history what Dawkins is to philosophy.

That's exactly right, Francesca. And the same could be said of the current attacks on Benedict. Which--one feels obliged to add--does not mean there haven't been a lot of serious misdeeds.

Maclin, I was just saying something similar at another blog. Right now it does not matter what the Pope does: he's damned if he do and damned if he don't.

Track down and read Hart's essay from a few years back called "Christ and Nothing." Like 'The Abolition of Man' and 'Ideas Have Consequences' it's a positive bombshell.

Better to light one candle than to curse the darkness.

Better to fry the spam than to eat it right out of the can.

Although I am very fond of cold baked beans straight out of the tin

Ugh. I will go as far as licking the spoon I've used to transfer chili from can to pan preparatory to heating it, but I don't think I'd actually eat a spoonful.

By the way, I've been meaning to tell y'all: Wolf's Chili is the new champion of canned chilis.



But how are we supposed cook in the darkness?! Curses!! Curses, I say!!

Light a candle, of course.

I've always noticed that the proverb doesn't say it's actually *wrong* to curse the darkness. That's a valid choice, too. :-)

"Light a candle, of course."


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