Saturday, January 26, 2008

The Irrational Atheist

Recently, I ran across Vox Day's blog due to the result of the fallout that occured after a little run in that I had with PZ Myers (long story). I've not spent a lot of time reading his views about various topics yet, but he is certainly interesting and entertaining.

He's authored a book that will be released in February that I've been contemplating whether or not to purchase.

I had decided to hold off for a while as the stack of books I want to read is growing by the day. But, yesterday he posted a review of his book by atheist blogger, Brent Rasmussen. I'm vaguely familiar with Brent's blog due to it being mentioned by someone I met in a forum a few years ago, but I've not perused his site for quite some time. I must say that I found his review of Day's book a bit shocking...certainly unexpected.

This is my review of Vox Day's new book called "The Irrational Atheist". I'd like to make some things perfectly clear before I proceed with this review. I am still, and barring some pretty convincing evidence that I find personally credible, will most likely always be an atheist...

It was actually painful for me [to] read. This is due to the fact that that I really do respect Richard Dawkins and his scientific accomplishments, as well as Daniel Dennett's heady forays into philosophical thought. I also absolutely love listening to Christopher Hitchens speak and debate. As for Michel Onfray and Sam Harris? Eh, not so much, but I do appreciate their ability to raise awareness and articulate some of the same things that I have thought about myself over the years and to put them into commercially successful books.

I am not going to go into a point by point review of the various arguments that Day addressed in TIA. Suffice it to say that by the end of the chapters dealing with the individual authors, I was happy that it was over. It was a thorough, detailed, dispassionate (with a little snarky levity thrown into the footnotes for flavor), and completely disheartening take-down of some of the best arguments that the godless have put into print - on their own terms, without using the Bible (in the first part of the book, that is), or any other sacred text to do it with. Amazing. And depressing. It is not my place to defend their books. I truly hope that they do find time to defend and clarify their books, specifically to the counter-arguments and claims made by Vox Day in TIA, though, because they really need to. Trust me, it wasn't pretty....

My advice is to read this book - and then do your damnedest to find something in it that you can argue against. Something beyond "that's stupid!" - which is what always seems to be the first-blush response from an atheist to a theist. (Fucking hell I'm tired of that shit.) I couldn't do it. Maybe you'll have better luck than I did. I hope you do.

I strongly encourage Dr. Dawkins, Dr. Dennett, Hitch, Harris, and M'sieur Onfray to respond to TIA. It is not your run-of-the-mill "flea" book looking to make a quick buck riding on the coattails of The Amber Heard Fan Club*. It's the real deal, it's substantive, meticulously researched, it brings up real problems, and it addresses these problems without falling into the trap that other fleas have fallen into in the past.

Now, I'm thinking that I should go ahead and order The Irrational Atheist right away. I'm also thinking that I should peek in on Brent's blog more often, as he seems, well... almost rational!