« Wieseltier on Dennett I: "Scientism"? | Main | Wieseltier' on Dennett II: Religion and Love »

February 21, 2006

Science and Religion

Maybe this is what is most interesting about Wieseltier/Dennett debate below:

All right-thinking blue-state people, religious or not, had lined up on the side of science and evolution, against intolerant school boards and the foolishness of intelligent design. Now here's Wieseltier -- a liberal intellectual of impeccable credentials, in the New York Times, no less -- faced with the task of resisting a science-based atheist argument. And what does he do? He resorts to charges of "scientism" and quotes, respectfully, Hume saying: "The whole frame of nature bespeaks an intelligent author."

The scary question for a percentage of those right-thinking people: Has the scientific argument against religion grown so strong that it is necessary to challenge science to refute it?

Posted by Mitchell Stephens at February 21, 2006 4:49 PM


To believe Jesus was the son of god who died for our sins, you must believe that humans are all afflicted with the "original sin" (the fall as described in Genesis) and that we were in need of saving. If science has shown that the Genesis story is nothing more then myth (as it has), and thus man is not afflicted with the burden of original sin, then what did Jesus die for? Either the earth is 6,000 years old and the Bible is infallible, or Christianity is a myth. That's a hard lump for the more intelligent of the believers to take.

Posted by: James at February 22, 2006 3:24 PM

I find the Wieseltier article fairly devastating to Dennett's reputation.

Interesting that Mitchell Stephens is being as disingenious as Dennett by not giving the context of the Hume quote by Wieseltier: "Unfortunately, Dennett gives a misleading impression of Hume's reflections on religion. He chooses not to reproduce the words that immediately follow those in which he has just basked..."

Posted by: Will at February 22, 2006 4:13 PM

Will, I have a post specifically on the Hume quote coming in the next day or two.

Posted by: mitch at February 22, 2006 4:17 PM

Two more takes on Wieseltier's review:

P.Z. Meyers: "You can tell when a dogmatic theist has to review a book by an unapologetic atheist: there's a lot of indignant spluttering, and soon the poor fellow is looking for an excuse to dismiss the whole exercise, so that he doesn't have to actually think about the issues."

and Brian Leiter: "The New York Times has done it again: they've enlisted an ignorant reviewer to review a philosophical book. ... Whatever Mr. Wieseltier knows about philosophy or science, he effectively conceals in this review."

And after reading the review, I tend to agree with both of these meta-reviews.

Posted by: No One of Consequence at February 22, 2006 6:08 PM

Post a comment

Remember Me?

(you may use HTML tags for style)