21 July 2011 Times Higher Ed Supplement.
Strong whiff of a weak argument
Martin Cohen finds an attack on irrationality worryingly unscientific in its methods
Do you believe in God? Or even wonder if there might be a purpose to the universe? Do you suppose that human consciousness is more than merely chemical changes in "brain states"? Do you think natural selection is a zombie theory or that alternative health remedies can sometimes work?
Then you believe in bullshit. That is the uncompromising message of Stephen Law's new book.
Very weird review as I certainly don't claim, and nor do I believe, that if you believe in God, or wonder if there is a purpose to the universe, then you believe bullshit.
Here's a passage from the introduction:
However, it’s worth emphasizing at the outset that I’m certainly not suggesting that every religious belief system is an Intellectual Black Hole, or that every person of faith is a victim. True, I illustrate how even core mainstream religious beliefs are sometimes promoted and defended by means of strategies covered in this book. But that’s not meant to show that beliefs in question are false, or that they couldn’t be given a proper, robust defense. Just because some religious people choose to defend what they believe by dubious means doesn’t entail that no one can reasonably hold those same beliefs.
Moving on, I don't claim, and nor do I even believe, that consciousness is "chemical changes in brain states". I do not, anywhere in the book, discuss critics of natural selection. And I do not deny, anywhere in the book, that alternative remedies "sometimes work".
And that's just the opening lines of Cohen's review. There's barely a line of the review that's accurate. Extraordinary.
What's really going on here, I wonder?! Might the fact that I am, according to Cohen, a follower of "His Holiness, Richard Dawkins" have coloured Cohen's vision somewhat?