While I was spending my days at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, one of the books I read was Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion. I’d been thinking about writing something about it but, having been put on to Terry Eagleton’s review of it in the London Review of Books, feel very little need to say much more. The review is long but well worth reading.
It’s interesting to read someone as well-informed and intellectually rigorous as Eagleton criticising Dawkins for his lack of endeavour in these areas (rather sad in that Dawkins earned his reputation as a public intellectual by using his academic discipline to make acute observations about human nature). It seems to me that Dawkins has surrendered some of his intellectual instincts in order to engage in some sort of crusade.
Another article that my friend and colleague, Malcolm Herbert, sent to me (this time in The Guardian) points out the hypocrisy of “militant secularists” like Dawkins in that they come across as so fundamentalist themselves – rather ironic given that Dawkins is really railing against fundamentalism and not faith, although he doesn’t seem to be clear on the distinction. It’s an interesting sign of the times that those better known for leaning to the left like Eagleton and the Guardian are the ones doing public apologetics for the Christian faith.