Tuesday, 22 May 2007

Feeding Frenzy or Death Spasms?

Just a quick post to comment on the frenzy of anti-theistic (Hitchens's own phrase for his beliefs) work coming out lately.

Here's a very quick overview, from an Australian perspective:

  • Numerous TV shows, from Dawkin's Root of all Evil (showing now), through Andrew Denton's God on My Side, including shows such as The Story of God, and so on.
  • A flood of fiercely anti-theistic books, like The God Delusion, God is Not Great, Atheist Manifesto, and so on.
  • Numerous articles and stories, in print and on TV supporting this.

This trend is obvious to everyone, as illustrated on the ABC TV website's ad for Andrew Denton's God on my Side, which includes the line, "...a subtle but powerful piece of filmmaking that will resonate with audiences in these increasingly religious times."

"Increasingly religious times..." Hmm... That's an interesting way to express things, especially when these times are not, actually, much more religious than any other times. What seems to be happening, rather, are two things:

  • The media (which is largely secular, leftist, and quaintly anti-theistic) has suddenly woken up and realised that bagging religion (mostly Christianity) isn't making it go away, and has decided to take a different tack. (Maybe a variation of Microsoft's "embrace and extend" strategy?)
  • The hard-core atheists have run out of ways to pretend that their position is logically sound, and have realised that all they can do is give up (as Anthony Flew has wisely done) or try to bluff their way out with swagger and shouting (which seems to be all that Hitchens, Dawkins, and apparently Onfrey have to offer).

So we're in for interesting times as this battle between reason and irrationality shifts to new ground yet again.


Peter said...

There is an upshot to this vacuous anti-theistic crusade. Who could have wished, even in our wildest dreams, for a more delectable smorgasboard of fallacious reasonings? Which logic textbook ever came close to the explosive educational power of such real-world examples?! If we're being honest, who among us had any idea so many guffs could assemble so densely?

Now to be fair, Denton's not tarred with the same brush, but at the same time, a deliberate straw man mockumentary does not a rational argument make. His subject matter is fascinating for it's own sake only. Yep, there are some real oddballs out there... *yawn* If there's any point of view offered beyond this (such as suggesting it has any bearing whatsoever on the truth or falsity of Christianity), then a claim is being made. If Denton wants to make a claim (he does), express or implied, or send a particular message or offer a point of view, then nothing will assure his success quite like cheating. In this context, cheating entails choosing his opponents, and conveniently choosing the most irrational ones he could find, by dropping in on a function where he was guaranteed to find them! His subjects usually give pat or stupid answers, and often have fake hair or even a fake head (like when he interviewed a puppeteer via his puppet). He must be portraying something, but it's not anything of substance genuinely related to Christianity.

Malcolm Lithgow said...

Indeed, and the further extract from Hitchens's God is Not Great in last weekend's Weekend Australian, provides more wood for the fire.

See my next post.