2008-01-08

Dinesh is Freaking Me Out

Dinesh D'Souza's blog is freaking me out. A couple of his recent articles, "How Atheists Celebrate Christmas" and "Why Atheists Are Such Lousy Debaters" are full of slanderous (at worst) and silly (at best) ad hominem attacks:

Drunk: "... Hitchens reaches for his glass with the same alacrity* that fundamentalists reach for the Bible."

This undermines Hitchens's arguments.... how, exactly?

Drunk and silly: "...[an atheist Christmas is] bitter guys making sophomoric jokes and staggering out of the room inebriated."

That's why I like it so much. I can't think of a better combination than bitter guys, sophomoric jokes, and inebriated staggering! No matter what time of year!

Scared: "... these guys are scared to debate me."

Scared? Umm, no; I don't think so. In The Devil's Chaplain, published a few years before The God Delusion, Dawkins includes a series of letters that he exchanged with the late Stephen J. Gould. Although those two didn't agree on everything, they did agree on this: debating creationists gives creationists an undeserved legitimacy. News for you, Dinesh: Dawkins was quite settled in this position long before you started tugging on his shirtsleeve. Here's an excerpt from a letter that Gould sent to Dawkins in 2001 (boldface mine):

...we have the advantage [over creationists] that evolutionary scientists don't need the publicity that such debates can bring. In the unlikely event that a significant argument should ever emerge from the ranks of creationism/'intelligent design', we will be happy to debate it. Meanwhile, we shall cultivate our evolutionary gardens, occasionally engaging in the more exacting and worthwhile task of debating each other. What we shall not do is abet creationists in their disreputable quest for free publicity and unearned academic respectability.

* Good word though. "Like it, centurion; like it, like it."**
** D'Souza thinks Monty Python is sophomoric. And not in a good way.

10 comments:

richard said...

Dinesh D'Souza has been a punk forever, since his early Reagan-lovin' days. I didn't know he was a creationist, but he's beneath Hitchens' and Dawkins' notice for all kinds of reasons. Come on, a book called The Enemy at Home: The Cultural Left and Its Responsibility for 9/11?

I actually read, lo these many years ago, his Illiberal Education: The Politics of Race and Sex on Campus, and yanked half my hair out in doing so.

fiona-h said...

I read Illiberal Education too... and now I seem to be reading his blog. And seething!

richard said...

Honestly, did you get no books for Christmas? Did your doctor tell you that your blood pressure was dangerously low? What on earth are you doing with this punk?

Mark Hanington said...

Did he really say "ad hominum?" If so you can get him for it, I think. "Ad hominem" is good, ad hominum I doubt.

fiona-h said...

er no, that was me :-)
Will fix

Jeff-R said...

This is the kind of solid logic that is plainly the result of education by Dr. Peter Horban... :-) as well as innate natural talent, of course.

fiona-h said...

jeff-r - who are you???

jeff-r said...

Jeff Richards... sat beside you in Philosophy class back in SFU days. :-) Switched careers a bit now, though. www.TalelightFilms.com

jeff-r said...

P.S. This is, of course, assuming I guessed right about you being the Fiona H. who attended SFU back around 88-91. :-) (By the way, feel free not to post any of these on your blog if you'd rather not.)

fiona-h said...

you guessed right! Checking out your website now...