Take That, Leon
Now this is satisfying. A lot of people telling the infuriating smug NY Times what a crap review that review by Wieseltier was. It would be all the more satisfying to see Wieseltier admit as much and express remorse and embarrassment at the horrible juvenile abusive spittle-flecked tone of it – but this is satisfying all the same.
Wieseltier writes with triumphal smugness about the “excesses of naturalism” that apparently blight Dennett’s work. He might as well have pointed out the “excesses of historical accuracy” or the “excesses of logical coherence.” If utter naturalism is a sin, it is one only from the point of view of religious faith — a faith that has grown ever more blinkered in Reason’s glare.
A philosopher at Duke:
There can be few better examples of the sort of protectionism about religion that Daniel Dennett wrestles with in “Breaking the Spell” than Leon Wieseltier’s shallow but interminable ad hominem rant…Nothing makes plainer the extent of Wieseltier’s protectionism about religion than his willingness to pay the price of treating science as just another optional philosophy…[I]t is a symptom of the millennial protectionism that Dennett so patiently and eloquently urges us to forgo at least long enough to examine religion as a natural phenomenon.
Asking Leon Wieseltier to review Daniel Dennett on religion is like asking Karl Rove to review Ralph Nader on politics. Wieseltier is one of those who, in Dennett’s terms, has “belief in belief.” Such individuals are hardly likely to provide a balanced — or even interesting — assessment of what it takes to break the spell that holds them in thrall.
And I love this one – Philip Blond and the millions like him, please note:
In his review of “Breaking the Spell,” Leon Wieseltier couldn’t resist the reflexive accusation that building a worldview on a scientific base is reductive, and as is often the case, he trotted out the existence of art to capture our sympathies. As a composer, I am weary of being commandeered as evidence of supernatural forces.
Ha! Yeah. That’s only a sample; read them all; very satisfying.