The second thing wrong with Dennett's objection is that it's simply not true that The God Delusion was merely a popular survey and "not an attempt to contribute to ...philosophical theology." Dennett has apparently forgotten that the heart of Dawkins's book was his philosophical argument for the near impossibility of God. Dawkins presented his so-called Ultimate Boeing 747 argument in a chapter entitled "Why There Almost Certainly Is No God," branded his argument "unanswerable," and boasted that it had stumped all theologians who had met it. I can see why Dennett would like to forget about Dawkins's attempt at philosophy—the Ultimate 747 argument was shredded by reviewers—but it's absurd to pretend now that The God Delusion had no philosophical ambitions. It also won't do to claim, as Dennett does, that Dawkins's book was concerned only with arguments "that waft from thousands of pulpits every week and reach millions of television viewers every day." Dawkins explicitly stated that he was targeting all forms of the God Hypothesis, including deism, and insisted that all were victims of his arguments.I like Daniel C. Dennett, but Orr is absolutely right. Cries of No Fair just won't cut it.
Monday, February 12, 2007
H. Allen Orr sums up why thin-skinned atheists should stop whining about the critical reviews that Dawkin's vastly over-rated God Delusion received.