illiberal irreligion?

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Damon Linker has posted "Atheism's Wrong Turn" at TNR, criticizing the "mindless arguments found in godless books" by bestselling authors Dawkins, Dennett, Harris, and Hitchens. Linker proposes to divide the freethinking community into two camps, liberal and illiberal: "one primarily concerned with the dispassionate pursuit of truth, the other driven by a visceral contempt for the personal faith of others."

While I enjoyed Linker's book Theocons, in this article he falls for the "fundamentalist atheist" fallacy; his conclusion that the atheist authors named above represent "a brutally intolerant, proselytizing faith, out to rack up conversions" is wild speculation at its worst. Secularism, the foundation of religious pluralism and liberal democracy, is the exclusive province of no theology. Dawkins, Dennett, Harris, and Hitchens would deserve Linker's accusation of illiberality if they attempted to legislate their (anti)theology, but merely stating their conclusions about religion--however forcefully or indelicately--is not evidence of an intolerant illiberalism.

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This page contains a single entry by cognitivedissident published on December 3, 2007 2:52 PM.

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