Up@dawn 2.0

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

JT Eberhard engages Alain de Botton. Carnage ensues.

A brilliant and unapologetic - you can be both! - takedown of the increasingly ridiculous sounding de Botton. He is being systematically dismantled in the atheist blogsphere, and I found JT's commentary particularly satisfying.


  1. "...religions are too silly, wrong, and dangerous to be counted as anything but humanity’s enemy."

    That's just a little too intemperate for me. It might be true. But is it "better" for us to believe so?

  2. If you accept that religion has outlived it's usefulness, and is on balance a negative, then yes it is better to believe so. The good done in the name of religion is more of an indication that humanism has progressed despite being held back by religious thought. People often do good despite the history (or even current status) of the tenants of their particular religion.

  3. Fair enough. Guess I'm still questioning the premise that it HAS outlived its usefulness. I enjoy "imagining no religion," but have a hard time fathoming how the most inspired religionists will replace their moribund pieties with humanism. It works for you & me, but will it work for everyone?

    Or maybe I'm just uncomfortable presuming to prescribe & legislate my own conception of the good for others. "Hands off: neither the whole of truth nor the whole of good is revealed to any single observer, although each observer gains a partial superiority of insight from the peculiar position in which he stands."

  4. Just read a post by PZ that addresses this very issue. I agree with the sentiment:

    "I’m pessimistic that religion will go away in my lifetime, too, but not because it is a valid and reasonable reaction to the world around us. It isn’t. It’s the invisible friend the fearful cling to in the darkness, it’s the lie the desperate tell themselves in denial. But there is a better solution: you can turn on the light, and the invisible friend evaporates, the dangers are all exposed to be dealt with, and the truth emerges. Atheists are the ones who’ve flipped on the light, and found the universe to be not quite as scary as the ignorant claim it to be, and even better, to be full of wonders — wonders that we are part of, that aren’t painted on a fabric of myth.

    And it really feels good. Religion can go away, every one of us atheists is testimony to that, and it leaves us better, stronger, and happier."

    Perhaps a little optimistic, but why shouldn't we be optimistic?

  5. "Step into the light" is a good slogan. I'm also optimistic that some version of humanism will be our eventual salvation (we need to reclaim that word!) - but during this transitional time, some sort of "half-way house" may still be in everybody's best interest. Dean & I were briefly discussing that this morning, and agreed that an atheist temple with many doors opening out into nature might be ok. It's all about moving us all in the right direction.

    Anyway, PZ sounds very affirmative here. I like him more when he's not in bulldog mode.