A review of Hitchens

I probably agree with Christopher Hitchens on many substantive points. But I won’t be reading his book. Instead, we can thank this reviewer for their critical, ascerbic, and I suspect in the end accurate review of God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything.

44 thoughts on “A review of Hitchens

  1. Hmmm…. does a pitcher of ice water on the head of E.O. Wilson represent “mutual excommunication”, let alone an endorsement of methods by Gould of a group he belonged too? Not to mention that it has nothing to do with punk eek or Richard Dawkins. Sounds like a non-sequitor to me.

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  2. … it has nothing to do with punk eek or Richard Dawkins. Sounds like a non-sequitor to me.

    I didn’t know that Hitchens’ point was so limited. I thought he was trying to illustrate some larger difference between those who practice/accept science and those who practice religion (or his caricatures of those groups, at least).
    But it is at least an open question as to whether punk eek (in some of its manifestations) was part and parcel of Gould’s objections to Dawkins’ reductionism and adaptionism, that were, in turn, part and parcel of Wilson’s sociobiology.

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  3. John asks, Trinifar, I do not know Bennett. What is his thoughtcrime?
    As Sec. of Education, Bennett was part of Ronald Reagan’s cabinet. He’s a fairly radical rightwing social conservative. A “family values” guy who is a leading figure in the movement to deny homosexual rights, he wants religion in education (and not it a good way), thinks multiculturalism is a bad thing, and wants us to stay in Iraq. He now regularly appears on CNN to present the view from the right.
    My problem with him is he has written three books about “American morality” and yet seems to know nothing about it. He’s a classic hit-below-the-belt, twist-the-facts political pundit — in spite of once upon a time having been a graduate student in philosophy at the University of Texas. Guess he skipped ethics classes.
    The Claremont Institute which published the review you link to is a conservative think tank with similar values. That’s not say it can not be a good review, but it did cause me to read it with a “how are they going to spin this” attitude.

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  4. Hmm, this is a problem with institutes that uncritically include political figures, but given that this is a pro-religion review, I suppose it’s not surprising.
    But the review stands on its own, whether or not the source is tainted. Even the conservative reactionaries can say something right occasionally.
    I’m reviewing Kitcher’s Living with Darwin soon. Could be a better book. He is also not overly happy with Hitchens.

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