Friday, August 27, 2010

The New Atheists' Questionable History

In the following videos, John Dickson of the Centre for Public Christianity points out the many historical errors and significant misrepresentations of historical scholarship made by the so-called "New Atheists," and he charges that they have "invented a scholarly debate that doesn't exist." These are well worth watching!

The New Atheists questionable history part 1 from CPX on Vimeo.

The New Atheist's questionable history part 2 from CPX on Vimeo.

At one point in the second video, Dickson asks: "If in the one area I can check up on the New Atheists I find them significantly misrepresenting historical scholarship, how can I have confidence that they're not doing the same thing in the areas I can't easily verify, in philosophy, science, sociology, statistics, and so on?"

And he sums it all up like this: "For all the learning and rhetorical brilliance of the New Atheists, their commentary on Jesus and the New Testament reminds me that dogmatic skepticism can be every bit as blind as religious dogmatism. In fact, they're the mirror image of each other. I can respect Richard Dawkins the biologist, Christopher Hitchens the literati, and Michel Onfray the philosopher. But there's no doubt in my mind that when these authors range outside their specialty, they are more than capable of sloppy reporting of information and significant misrepresentation if it furthers the atheist cause."

Hat tip to David Ould.


BillyD said...

Taking Dawkins et al. as authorities in one area because they are experts in another is another form of celebrity worship. We see it when we look to movie stars as experts on politics or morality, or linguists as having authority in politics.

Bryan Owen said...

Good point, BillyD.