There has been a crop of beautiful books on atheism and the stupidity of ID/creationism over the last six months or so. The God Delusion, the new edition of Atheist Universe, Letter to a Christian Nation, God: The Failed Hypothesis, Why Darwin Matters, Why Intelligent Design Fails, The Counter-Creationism Handbook, and others (!)

In any case, some of these books have been constituting my reading material while I take the bus to work each bloody morning and back each exhausted evening…Finally, someone at work asked me, with a slightly offended air, if I only was ever interested in one side of the argument and whether that did not constitute an indication of a closed mind on my part. That was funny. But, honestly, of course I read the opposition. I’ve read Phillip Johnson and laughed. I read Duane Gish and fell out of my chair, weeping with merriment. Their kind perform a useful purpose: they lift up our spirits by showing how perfectly idiotic humans can be; they ignore science, misrepresent its conclusions, come up with their own rather strange philosophical concepts and generally spend their time standing in the corner blocking their ears with their hands and shouting “Nyaah Nyaahh I can’t hear you”. Very funny.

I knew that that wasn’t the kind of response my questioner wanted to hear, but what the hell? OK: I’ve read Behe and Dembski, and they weren’t even really funny, although they also committed most of the aforementioned fallacies. They just did it in a very self-importantly aggrandazing and serious way. Those two are difficult to laugh at, but, really, their suggestions have been debunked rather thoroughly: just for starters, a whole bunch of articles are here. Easy enough.

But what about “sophisticated” theology? Well, indeed. Just finished reading Haught’s Deeper Than Darwin, and am now plodding through McGrath’s Twilight of Atheism. But not on the bus!!! See, I want something fun on the bus, and since I do not find appeals to revelation and subjectivity convincing and informal logical fallacies of various stripes no longer even make me very angry, McGrath would just put me right to sleep (in fact, if it were less generally unpleasant, I’d be reading this kind of material before going to bed: gently relaxing one’s critical faculty and helping one shut off one’s brain). Haught is a bit more contentful, but even so, if that is the best that “sophisticated” theology can throw at us, we are not in any trouble (logically, anyway). Nobody but believers would be convinced by any of the arguments therein; books like that serve only as a confirmation, a support of sorts: see, somebody out there thinks like you do, you are not alone, we can make silly errors and be confused together.

Blecch. Today, however, no such fun. My bus reading will consitute papers on evolution of photosynthesis and possible detection of such in extrasolar planetary atmospheres. Hey: it may not be funny, but it will be exciting!

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