Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Todd Swift is Wrong

It seems that almost all of the criticism one reads of Richard Dawkins' arguments against God and religion come from people who haven't read his book, or at least haven't taken notes while reading it and so forget what has actually been said, replacing it with their own favourite prejudice (which isn't surprising, since this is how most Xians read the Bible, too). Over on his blog, Todd Swift makes a couple of counter-arguments against Dawkins (as well as a cheap swipe about the income Dawkins has earned as a public atheist). Trouble is, these are arguments that Dawkins himself raises in The God Delusion and deals with rather convincingly; to read Swift, you'd think he'd never thunk of them at all. Silly biologist, what does he know of the ways of our lord?

Bulletin to all theists and sympathetic agnostics: feel free to disagree with Dawkins (and every other firm atheist in the world), but please, if you wish to be taken seriously by anyone who doesn't already agree with you, formulate your rebuttals with as much rigor and sensibility--or at least a modicum thereof--as Dawkins himself brings to the original. And for anyone who has a kneejerk reaction to the mere idea of Dawkins' arguments, it's best not to listen to the voices con--or pro, myself included, for that matter--: go read the goddamned book. Amen.

UPDATE: I linked to the "poetry snark" post on Todd Swift as a joke, an attempt to get a rise out of Mr. Swift and see how long it would take him to respond. He certainly lives up to his name... Mr. Wells thinks cheap shots are the least of poetry criticism's problems at present. Want of humour and perspective are far greater scourges. At any rate, the opinions of Poetry Snark, and any other sites linked to from CLM, do not necessarily represent the views of CLM or its proprietor.

As for Mr. Swift's role in co-editing Language Acts, about which I've posted here--the relevance of which to Mr. Swift's views on Dawkins' atheism I can't quite fathom--I can speak with no authority, as it was Jason Camlot who both solicited and edited my contribution to said anthology. But I'll go on record, if it makes Mr. Swift feel better, that, to the best of my knowledge--with the caveat that I could well be mistaken--there was no wankery, stunning or otherwise, involved in his editorial duties.

1 comment:

Todd Swift said...

I don't mind Zachariah disagreeing with my disagreement with Dawkins - but why the link (on my name) to an ad hominem attack from the "snark" guys? As far as I can see, they're hardly literate bedfellows. I'd prefer the link go to www.toddswift.com. I should add, I reviewed two of the Griffin shortlist recently (Babstock for the Globe and Mail, Farley for Poetry Review) and thought they were strong collections. ZW might have wanted to add, no stunning wankery was involved in my co-editing of Language Acts, where I was glad to see his essay on Peter van Toorn. Canadian criticism seems to me to be at a low point, and cheap shots don't raise anyone's aim.