Intellectual Bitchslap

Terry Eagleton, the eminent literary critic, takes to the pages of the London Review of Books (which has been nothing if not delightfully controversial as of late) to resoundingly bitchslap the equally eminent Darwinist, Richard Dawkins, and in the process thoroughly annihilate the premise of his new book, The God Delusion. It is one of the better hatchet jobs I have seen in recent memory. I dare say it would even make Dale Peck proud.

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2 Comments on “Intellectual Bitchslap”

  1. A.C. Grayling Says:

    Apparently it’s emetic
    From A.C. Grayling

    Terry Eagleton charges Richard Dawkins with failing to read theology in formulating his objection to religious belief, and thereby misses the point that when one rejects the premises of a set of views, it is a waste of one’s time to address what is built on those premises (LRB, 19 October). For example, if one concludes on the basis of rational investigation that one’s character and fate are not determined by the arrangement of the planets, stars and galaxies that can be seen from Earth, then one does not waste time comparing classic tropical astrology with sidereal astrology, or either with the Sarjatak system, or any of the three with any other construction placed on the ancient ignorances of our forefathers about the real nature of the heavenly bodies. Religion is exactly the same thing: it is the pre-scientific, rudimentary metaphysics of our forefathers, which (mainly through the natural gullibility of proselytised children, and tragically for the world) survives into the age in which I can send this letter by electronic means.

    Eagleton’s touching foray into theology shows, if proof were needed, that he is no philosopher: God does not have to exist, he informs us, to be the ‘condition of possibility’ for anything else to exist. There follow several paragraphs in the same fanciful and increasingly emetic vein, which indirectly explain why he once thought Derrida should have been awarded an honorary degree at Cambridge.

    A.C. Grayling
    Birkbeck, University of London


  2. […] Though we at small-d would like to think of ourselves as an obvious destination for internationally-recognized thinkers as they meander through the world wide web, the time sometimes comes to put delusion aside and hold to our commitment to historical and objective truth. Recently, a comment was posted to my partner-in-thought-crime’s brief on Terry Eagelton’s put-down of Richard Dawkins (the delicately entitled “Intellectual Bitchslap“). The person commenting purported to be renowned philosopher and author A.C. Grayling. Suffice it to say that we were puzzled and skeptical, not least because the e-mail address provided was similar, but did not match, that provided on Grayling’s faculty page for the School of Philosophy at Birbeck, University of London, and we’ve received far too many e-mail notices of impending fabulous wealth from exiled Nigerian presidents to take such things on trust. […]


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