Is it something in the water?

This is the stupidest thing I’ve read since…well since the last eruption from the twins. There’s so much stupid in it that it’s hard to single it all out.

Saying that science has made religion redundant is rather like saying that thanks to the electric toaster we can forget about Chekhov, says Terry Eagleton in this gloriously rumbustious counter-blast to Dawkinsite atheism…paradoxes sparkle throughout this coruscatingly brilliant polemic…

Brilliant my ass. It’s tricksy, it’s decorated, but it’s not brilliant.

Eagleton is not anti-science or reason. He merely points out that science has produced Hiroshima as well as penicillin.

Because nobody would know that if he hadn’t merely pointed it out, and besides it’s stupid to say that ‘science’ produced Hiroshima.

Eagleton is stronger on reason than Ditchkins, for he thinks carefully about what his opponents say whereas Dawkins & Co prefer knockabout rhetoric to serious engagement with mainstream religious thought.

How would somebody who mindlessly follows Eagleton’s mindless lead in using ‘Ditchkins’ know what being strong on reason even looks like? And how can he claim without irony that Eagleton ‘thinks carefully about what his opponents say’ two words after he’s echoed that very Eagleton in calling two of those very opponents by a stupid schoolyardy nonce-name? Don’t ask me; I can’t begin to figure it out.

This is, then, a demolition job which is both logically devastating and a magnificently whirling philippic. Ditchkins, he says, makes the error of conflating reason and rationality. Yet much of what seems reasonable in real life turns out not to be true. And much that is true, like quantum physics, seems rationally impossible.

My foot my tutor, as Prospero said. Contrary to what Paul Vallely clearly thinks, neither Dawkins nor Hitchens is actually stupider than Terry Eagleton. Neither of them needs Eagleton to explain quantum physics. Neither of them needs him to explain that much of what seems reasonable in real life turns out not to be true. Eagleton is a conceited teacher of English who got way too much undergraduate adulation early in life and let it go to his head. He is not a polymath or a universal genius or a towering intellect. Dawkins and Hitchens aren’t necessarily right about everything (I hope it’s needless to say) but that doesn’t mean Eagleton is the guy to set them straight. Paul Vallely isn’t even the guy to comment on anybody setting them straight.

There’s more, but it’s too sick-making. I’m outta here.

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