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Australian philosopher, literary critic, legal scholar, and professional writer. Based in Newcastle, NSW. My latest books are THE TYRANNY OF OPINION: CONFORMITY AND THE FUTURE OF LIBERALISM (2019) and AT THE DAWN OF A GREAT TRANSITION: THE QUESTION OF RADICAL ENHANCEMENT (2021).

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Gutsy performance from Dawkins

I've just finished reading The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins - a much more robust critique of religious faith than Daniel Dennett's mild-mannered Breaking the Spell, though both are must-read books and I'm glad I took some time out from other things this week to wolf them down.

I'll be reviewing the Dawkins book for Cosmos magazine, so I'll say nothing more about it here, except that it is one helluva gutsy performance. Dawkins says all the things that most critics of religion dare not say.


Blake Stacey said...

If I had to express the tone of Dennett's Breaking the Spell in one word, I would choose something like "mild-mannered". (Elsewhere on the Blogotubes, I read a commenter saying, "He bent over so far backward I was afraid he'd break his spine," or words to that effect.) Not that I didn't enjoy the book; I did, and in fact I gave a copy to my mother for a birthday present. I wrote up a few thoughts on the book over here, as it happens. (I find that restricting myself to comments on other people's blogs makes me a little less acerbic than I would be if I had my own.)

Most of the discussion which The God Delusion provoked on the 'tubes left me rather underwhelmed. I did appreciate Jason Rosenhouse's meta-reviews, here and elsewhere at Scienceblogs.com.

Russell Blackford said...

Hi, Blake - that was a great post by you over on the Skepchick blog (which I didn't know about).

Yes, I was surprised by the extremely conciliatory tone Dennett adopted, but perhaps it was the appropriate one for his stated purpose of trying to cajole American religious believers to rethink their position. I enjoyed the book very much, but the Dawkins book had an exra frisson for me.