Friday, January 19, 2007

A deadly certitude

Times Literary Supplement
January 17, 2007

In A deadly certitude by Steven Weinberg, Professor of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Texas, and a recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physics and the US National Medal of Science, Weinberg reviews Richard Dawkins `The god delusion.

He writes:

"Dawkins, like Erdos, dislikes God. He calls the God of the Old Testament “the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynist, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully”. As for the New Testament, he quotes with approval the opinion of Thomas Jefferson, that “The Christian God is a being of a terrific character – cruel, vindictive, capricious, and unjust”. This is strong stuff, and Dawkins obviously intends to shock the reader, but his invective has a constructive purpose. By attacking the God of sacred Scripture, he is trying to weaken the authority of that God’s commands – commands whose interpretation has led humanity to a shameful history of inquisitions, crusades and jihads. Dawkins treats the reader to many brutal details, but we only have to look at today’s headlines to supply our own. For some reason, Dawkins does not comment on the God of the Koran, who would seem to provide equal opportunities for invective...

Richard Dawkins’s even-handedness is well-intentioned, but it is misplaced. I share his lack of respect for all religions, but in our times it is folly to disrespect them all equally."

Despite the fact that Weinberg shares most of Dawkins` views, his review shows striking differences between his and Dawkins` views.

Full review here