Dawkins answers critics today

Richard Dawkins' best selling book, "The God Delusion" is now out in paperback format. This newest printing contains answers to questions and arguments put to Dawkins since the printing of the hard back version.

If you, like me, purchased the hard bound version, you can see (some of?) these questions and answers on the Times Online website. One of those questions asked of Dawkins resonates with me because I've been asked about it in my blog, and via email. From the Times website:
You can’t criticise religion without detailed study of learned books on theology.

If, as one self-consciously intellectual critic wished, I had expounded the epistemological differences between Aquinas and Duns Scotus, Eriugena on subjectivity, Rahner on grace or Moltmann on hope (as he vainly hoped I would), my book would have been more than a surprise bestseller, it would have been a miracle. I would happily have forgone bestsellerdom had there been the slightest hope of Duns Scotus illuminating my central question: does God exist? But I need engage only those few theologians who at least acknowledge the question, rather than blithely assuming God as a premise. For the rest, I cannot better the “Courtier’s Reply” on P. Z. Myers’s splendid Pharyngula website, where he takes me to task for outing the Emperor’s nudity while ignoring learned tomes on ruffled pantaloons and silken underwear. Most Christians happily disavow Baal and the Flying Spaghetti Monster without reference to monographs of Baalian exegesis or Pastafarian theology.
The "Courtier's Reply" can be found here on Pharyngula. In a nutshell, it claims that the average Atheist's arguments are null and void because we don't have the theological education to understand what we are talking about.

"How dare you sir?!" cries the Emperor's Courtier indignantly, "How dare you suggest the Emperor's clothing doesn't exist when you know nothing about fine cloth, the mystic arts of a professional tailor, nor nothing about the origin of silken thread?! Begone with you!"

This sort of objection is, of course, fallacious. It is so easily turned around against the person raising the objection. Billions of people believe the Bible is the last word on theology, but then again, the Quran is held in the same high regard by a billion others. (link to # of adherents) And both sides have what they feel to be incontrovertible proof that they are right.

How dare you Christians believe that the Quran is without merit, you who don't even own a copy, let alone read it or the Hadith. How can you claim that Hinduism is false without reading the Vedas and the Upanishads?

And don't you dare criticize Scientology... because, uh, because... okay, I can't say that with a straight face.


Randy said...

Richard Dawkins' best selling book, "The God Delusion" is now out in paperback format.

Are you sure about that? As soon as I read that, I went out looking for it, and at the bookstore, they said the paperback wouldn't be out until September 5. Amazon says the same thing. RichardDawkins.net seems agnostic on the matter. If you do know of some place already selling it, though, please link! Otherwise, you might want to edit that a bit, to save others the same trouble.

Calladus said...

You're right Randy, it's not on Amazon. Times Online got their hands on it from an England source.

You can see their link here, but it seems like even the Times has it available only via pre-order.

I'll have to agree that it doesn't seem like it is out yet, but obviously some people have got their hands on a copy.

Randy said...

Ah, I should have thought of the English connection before. Looking at amazon.co.uk instead, I see they've got 11 partners selling it, though they aren't selling it themselves. I guess I'll probably just keep waiting until September here on this side of the pond, though.

Scientia said...

"And don't you dare criticize Scientology... because, uh, because... okay, I can't say that with a straight face."

*laughs* Glad to see you're not yet completely shameless. Done with first year finals and am now catching up on a year's worth of missed reading, so over the next few days expect a bunch of comments from me. Er, that is- if you don't mind.

Calladus said...


Of course I don't mind! Are you kidding? I keep checking back on your blog to see if you've written anything new, and celebrate when you do! I enjoyed your article about your love of Bach.

But I understand school comes first. I've been there, just not as long! Are you going for a doctorate?

Anyway, welcome back! At least for the summer break!

Scientia said...

Thanks, Cal. Yeah, I'm in an MD/JD program- 6 years long: 1 down, 5 to go. *simultaneous grin and wince*