Shop now Shop now Shop now  Up to 50% Off Fashion  Shop all Amazon Fashion Cloud Drive Photos Shop now Learn More Shop now Shop now Shop Fire Shop Kindle  Learn more Countdown to Prime Day Shop now Shop now
Customer Review

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars oh god!, 17 May 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Atheist responses to religious arguments (UPDATED) (Kindle Edition)
Despite years of effort my ability to communicate in Spanish seems restricted to remarking that "My camel has hepatitis," perhaps not the most conveniently deployable assertion to be dropped into casual conversation or as a response to a waiter's inquiry about my culinary preferences. And I have a Spanish friend who has a firmer grip of English than that I exercise over his language but who constantly resorts to perfectly comprehensible but not quite accurate observations such as "So you come by leg!" I mention these linguistic eccentricities because this book is a joyful compendium of so many similar assaults on our mother tongue that one is driven to debate the author's own provenance. Maybe he has suffered these indignities at the hands of whoever concocted the eBook version of his tome, or maybe he's a five year old Pole or Korean struggling with what will in time become his second - but never entirely familiar - language.

Have a quick look, for example, at this not uncharacteristic extract: "This is because physics and well established laws of physics allows (sic) for very effective predictions to be made. Hence eye witness not need. We have evidence, please use Google or read my other book if you need to see it." This is wonderful entertainment, not only for its semantic oddity but for the less than rigorous science it promotes. While not wishing to denigrate the enthusiastic endeavours of contributors to the Google multiverse I would hesitate to promote them as uniformly reliable - a mild criticism that might apply equally to Mr Butcher's other masterwork.

There are plenty of other such dubious referrals, assertions and infelicities. Here, for instance, are the winding up sentences in three consecutive "answers" - "In conclusion almost feasible to see why people would interpret it this way, but still wrong;" (a powerfully articulate indictment of any opposing view, eh?); "So in conclusion, not science;" (this summarising the author's own two sentence dismissal of a significant chunk of the Koran - pretty definitive, would one say? I suppose it could also be said that Keats's Odes are not maths); "Science has lots of evidence to show the actual age of the earth, you just have to look it up;" (did I really read that properly? In a book attempting scientifically to refute the claims of religion, the reader is enjoined to "look it up")!

But the real difficulty about entertaining a serious view of this juvenile document is that the fish in the barrel of religion have already been shot by far more efficient marksmen like Hitchens, Dawkins and Harris. There is nothing original here, and the second-hand arguments have been rendered ineffectual by their grossly inadequate presentation. As a long-lapsed Catholic and committed atheist I often find myself resenting the description "lapsed" as if at some future juncture I'll be brought back to my devotional senses. It's quite possible, of course, that in this debate neither side is likely to convince the other, with cloudy dictum on one hand and vinegary logic on the other. For all that, it seems to me that the case against the nonsense of religion (for which our generation ought to feel compelled to apologise to posterity) is ordinarily overwhelmingly persuasive. So, once the laughter has subsided, I find myself resenting publication of a book like this that renders embarrassing by the writer's sheer incompetence arguments that should continue to be advanced with clarity and urgency.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No

[Add comment]
Post a comment
To insert a product link use the format: [[ASIN:ASIN product-title]] (What's this?)
Amazon will display this name with all your submissions, including reviews and discussion posts. (Learn more)
Name:
Badge:
This badge will be assigned to you and will appear along with your name.
There was an error. Please try again.
Please see the full guidelines ">here.

Official Comment

As a representative of this product you can post one Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
The following name and badge will be shown with this comment:
 (edit name)
After clicking on the Post button you will be asked to create your public name, which will be shown with all your contributions.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.  Learn more
Otherwise, you can still post a regular comment on this review.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
 
System timed out

We were unable to verify whether you represent the product. Please try again later, or retry now. Otherwise you can post a regular comment.

Since you previously posted an Official Comment, this comment will appear in the comment section below. You also have the option to edit your Official Comment.   Learn more
The maximum number of Official Comments have been posted. This comment will appear in the comment section below.   Learn more
Prompts for sign-in
  [Cancel]

Comments

Track comments by e-mail
Tracked by 2 customers

Sort: Oldest first | Newest first
Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 20 May 2014 16:41:18 BDT
Hi Danny

The first three paragraphs were, I thought, both useful and humorous. A good *review*. But then, it seemed to me, that you shot yourself in the foot by trying to climb on the author's band wagon by sliding off into your own little leaflet, so to speak.

"the fish in the barrel of religion have already been shot by far more efficient marksmen like Hitchens, Dawkins and Harris."

Nice analogy, but do check the barrel - it's still full of "fish". I haven't read Harris, yet, but Dawkins and Hitchens have both failed miserably in their attempts to call time on religion.

"As a long-lapsed Catholic and committed atheist I often find myself resenting the description "lapsed" as if at some future juncture I'll be brought back to my devotional senses"

You must surely be VERY long-lapsed to have written this. Have you forgotten that the RC organisation works on the belief that it is God's ONLY representative on Earth and that no one get's out alive? Protestants, Muslims, Mormons, Tree Worshippers, even members of the Eastern Orthodox church - nothing and no one is truly or completely outside of the RC domain. And after all, that was once true, in a way.

"It's quite possible, of course, that in this debate neither side is likely to convince the other, with cloudy dictum on one hand and vinegary logic on the other."

Well of course they won't. Look more closely at the kind of people you seem to be talking about and you may discover that you are talking about two sides of just one coin - fundamentalism.

"For all that, it seems to me that the case against the nonsense of religion (for which our generation ought to feel compelled to apologise to posterity) is ordinarily overwhelmingly persuasive."

Which "generation" are you talking about, I wonder. A generation is, I believe, commonly held to be about 20 years in length, so referring to "our generation" is hardly a clear-cut description.

And in what sense do you imagine that religion is nonsense? If you gotten this from Mr Dawkins you really do need to research his numerous claims, because THEY are all too often the real "nonsense" in his work.

Likewise why should this unidentified generational group apologise to anyone?
For allowing freedom of speech - and for holding back the threat of the thought police to come? Do you really look forward to a world-wide, computer-based, technologically driven version of the Russian NKVD or East German Stasi (secret police), children being taught to spy and report on their parents and fellow pupils?
We overcame that once already. Do you seriously want it back again?

In reply to an earlier post on 12 Jul 2014 15:41:45 BDT
danny regan says:
Hi AJB

Thank you for taking the time to consider and respond to my original diatribe. I apologise for not commenting earlier on your remarks, but the fact is it never occurred to me that anyone took seriously the reviews posted on Amazon, so I've only now chanced on your comments.

You open with the assertion that Dawkins et al have "failed miserably in their attempts to call time on religion." Is your point that, no matter how informed or intellectually rigorous or publicly sustainable an argument is, it shouldn't be mounted because it will provoke in response mere contrary and - in Popper's term - unfalsifiable assertion? If so, it's hardly surprising that the fish in the barrel of religion continue to thrash about, and at the same time their agitation is an irrelevance to those disinclined to guddling them when they're best left to expire, whether slowly and audibly or abruptly and with only a twitch of a theological fin.

Consequently I'm at something of a loss to make sense of your reference to the "domain of the RC church." I'm not convinced that this is quite so all-embracing nowadays as you suggest. The time of its consigning to the outer darkness all those situated outside its bailiwick appears to be past. As with so many other aspects of faith-based claims, that draconian injunction has had to give way to societal and scientific encroachment. But in any event the issue of such procrustean insistence is one of monumental indifference to me. The spuriously authoritative claims of any church have legitimacy only for those minded to pay them undeserved heed.

You go on to remark that those who decline to espouse the tenets of religion are "fundamentalist." But what would it take in this context to be non-fundamentalist? To deny the existence of god only on wet Thursdays, maybe? And what about those poor folk who don't believe in Santa, unicorns or chocolate teapots circling the sun? Their discounting the existence of such entities will also need to be classified as "fundamentalist." It sounds as if we live in coercive (and therefore fundamentalist) times.

I'm sorry you have difficulty with the concept of "generation." The ordinary definition is "all the people born and living at about the same time." It's usually considered to be around thirty years. Following on from that, the nub of your concluding paragraph eludes me completely. I've scoured my own previous contribution and can find no reference to any enthusiasm on my part for a hi-tech version of either the Stasi or the NKVD or for some totalitarian restriction on freedom of speech. On the other hand, religion of any hue has a formidable case to answer in that regard - though at least in fewer arenas than was historically so, thanks to its "long, withdrawing roar."

Finally, you instruct me to research [Dawkins'] claims because they "are all too often the real nonsense in his work." If you prefer to meander around in the fog of sophistic scholasticism to engaging with measured, empirical debate I'm more than happy to leave you to your involute and recondite devices.
‹ Previous 1 Next ›