Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The Irrational Atheist?

"If there were no God, there would be no Atheists." -- G. K. Chesterton

Dr. Helen:

I spent part of the day reading Vox Day's new book, The Irrational Atheist: Dissecting the Unholy Trinity of Dawkins, Harris, and Hitchens.

The Irrational Atheist is described as follows (from the inside cover):

The Irrational Atheist is not a theological work nor is it a conventional religious defense of faith. It contains no arguments for the existence of God and the supernatural, nor is it concerned with evolution, creationism, the age of Earth, or intelligent design. This book contains no arguments from Scripture. In attacking the arguments, assertions, and conclusions of the New Atheists, Vox Day's only weapons are the secular tools of reason, logic and historically documented, independently verifiable fact. The Irrational Atheist is not a book about God, but about those who seek to replace Him....
Day takes on the likes of Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and Christopher Hitchens and seeks to demonstrate that they and other "New Atheists" are no champions of reason. For example, Day discusses one argument made by Harris where Harris questions the correlation between Christian conservatism and social health:
If there was a strong correlation between Christian conservatism and social health, we might expect to see some sign of it in red-state America. We don't. Of the 25 cities with the lowest rates of violent crime, 62 percent are in "blue" [Democrat] states and 38% are in "red" [Republican] states. Of the twenty-five most dangerous cities, 76 percent are in red states, and 24 percent are in blue states. In fact, three of the five most dangerous cities in the US are in the pious state of Texas.

Interestingly, though, Day found that "red-state" crime is primarily committed by "blue counties" within those states and has a nice chart to show the stats on this. It seems that Harris was looking at states such as Texas that had more crime and called the states "red" but conveniently omitted the part where the counties where the crimes were committed tended to be "blue."

Other myth busters include the notion that religion causes the majority of war as some atheists profess, Day provides evidence to the contrary--he found that more than 93% of all the wars in human history had no relation to religion. In the twentieth century, in fact, he states that atheistic regimes killed three times more people in peacetime than those killed in all the wars and individual crimes combined.

The book is definitely thought provoking and worth a read if you are interested in the topic!

Sounds like a truly fascinating read and similar to what I've written about numerous times before:

See my previous posts:

Also listen to Professor Larry Iannaccone's podcast, The Myth of the Religious Right.

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