Friday, November 14, 2008

So much for 'Bright'

In the March 2008 Investigate magazine, Ian Wishart reviews a book called, The Irrational Atheist, by Vox Day, a Mensa member and columnist for WorldNetDaily (not a site I'm familiar with, and one that seems to have its fair share of ranters).

Anyway, Vox Day (a bloke, for those who didn't guess) has written a searing indictment of the New Atheists, particularly Dawkins, Hitchens and Sam Harris. Perhaps the most interesting comment quoted in the review is this:

There is even evidence to suggest that in some cases...atheism may be little more than a mental disorder taking the form of a literal autism. On one of the more popular atheist internet sites, the average self-reported result on an Asperger Quotient test was 27.9. The threshold for this syndrome, described as 'autistic psychopathy' by its discoverer, Dr Hans Asperger, is 32, whereas the average normal individual scores 16.5.

Wishart comments that: Sam Harris doesn't make it out of the book alive, Dawkins is touch and go and Hitchens is left reeling by the end.

And in case you think Wishart is a bit of a ranter himself (as he can be), check out the New Oxford Review on the book: ...columnist Vox Day uses logic and facts (not theology) to refute the "unholy trinity" of Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and Christopher Hitchens.
Perhaps the most engaging chapters in this book are those about war. The high-church atheists assert that religion causes war, but Day proves otherwise. He shows that over the past 232 years, 671,070 American soldiers have died in 17 wars, of which only one-half of one percent can reasonably be attributed to religion. This amounts to the deaths of 14 soldiers per year. Turning next to the Encyclopedia of Wars compiled by C. Phillips and A. Axelrod, Day examines 1,763 wars fought from 2325 B.C. to modern times. Of these wars, only 123 can reasonably be attributed to religion -- 6.92 percent of those recorded. Since half of these religious wars were waged by Muslims, this means that, apart from Islam, the world's religions are responsible for only 3.35 percent of all wars. "The historical evidence is conclusive," Day concludes. "Religion is not a primary cause of war."

There's a good deal more, but it's better to read the lengthy review for yourself. It's by
Anne Barbeau Gardiner, Professor Emerita of English at John Jay College of the City University of New York.
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