Insert Joke Here is quoting Richard Dawkins on the bracing effects of atheism:
“There is deep refreshment in standing up full-face into the keen wind of understanding … Safety and happiness would mean being satisfied with easy answers and cheap comforts, living a warm, comfortable lie. The daemonic alternative urged by my matured Devil’s Chaplain is risky. You stand to lose comforting delusions: you can no longer suck at the pacifier of faith in immortality. To set against that risk, you stand to gain ‘growth and happiness’; the joy of knowing that you have grown up, faced up to what existence means; to the fact that it is temporary, and all the more precious for it.”
You can tell Dawkins went to public (private) school. It’s like listening to someone tell you that cold showers are good for you. Prof D, mate, atheism is intellectually sound. I’m with you on that point. But it makes me feel good in the same way leaving my warm bed early on winter mornings to run in sub-zero temperatures makes me feel good: I can feel superior to people who lack my (not unbroken) resolve. And, er, that’s it.
This space was ready to contain my grudging defence of Dawkins against something Norm wrote recently, but I’ve just visited normblog and he’s changed it. Thoughtful academics: always revising their conclusions after further reflection, the bastards.
I think what Dawkins needs is a spell singing in a Gospel choir. That’d fix him.
That’s the new atheism marketing campaign – a shot of a ruddy-cheeked public school type being hurled into a lake by the older boys on a winter’s day with the tagline “Atheism – Brisk!” We’ll convert millions, I tell ya.
Have you read “The Devil’s Chaplain” ? Don’t say I have to send that one to you too ?
Ian, if I remember rightly, that one’s the collection of essays. I’ve read quite a few of them, I think. What is horribly fascinating about Dawkins is that he so china-smashingly skeptical about UnIntelligent Design and religious fundamentalism in general and yet so gullible about specific kinds of fashionable political nonsense.
By the way, there is a wonderful biological case study in that Dawkins vs Gould book that I had never read about before and is directly relevant to something I am interested in in my day job. Thank you yet again.