November 14, 2006
High Tide of Atheism?
Two bestsellers (Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris). Cover story in Wired. Main book review in the Sunday New York Times. Big review essay in Newsweek. Can't start a conversation in intellectual circles on five continents without someone mentioning this blog (or at least using the word "without").
What goes on?
1. A reaction to a religious revival which obstructs biology classes, causes a fuss over cartoons, fuels a mad American foreign policy and kills and maims?
2. Enlightenment reason has never ceased spreading, though it may have been obscured or lying low for a couple of decades there?
3. New burst of development for idea-dispensing technologies increases the questions and answers available to curious minds, from Kansas to Kabul?
Posted by Mitchell Stephens at November 14, 2006 8:17 AM
4. There are so many channels of media now everything is covered, uncovered and recovered.(The "a high tide raises all boats" rational.)
5. The ancient answer of solving problems with prayer is being replaced with engineering--a more powerful paradigm.
-6. Though there is a backlash against fundamentalism, there is no such revolt against spiritualism--even Dawkins wanders into that secret garden.
7. The existence of knowledge in our brains is changing our DNA--a precursor to genetic pre-engineering.
8. These question have (seemingly) become more relevant by the spreading of religion-based violence.
9. Remember to forget that when a tide is high in one latitude it is low it two others. (I don't know what that means either.)
10. It is the beginning of the END.
Posted by: Jay Saul at November 14, 2006 1:10 PM
Pertinent to JayS's #8 above: at the same time all these publications are devoting time to atheism, two Page 1 stories in the NYT (a two-part series yesterday and today) on the U.S. evangelical Christian movement's zealous, acritical support of the state of Israel, at an all-time high while it was bloodying civilians in Lebanon. Here's today's headline: "For Evangelicals, Supporting Israel is 'God's Foreign Policy'". That's unbelievably scary, and true, and its truth makes it even scarier. So, let me sound the cynical voice of alarm suggesting that we should not be deluded, nor should we underestimate the violence inherent in such political maneuvers.
Posted by: JM at November 14, 2006 8:39 PM