Friday, May 4, 2012

The Last Superstition

I've been avoiding reading Edward Feser's book, The Last Superstition: A Refutation of the New Atheism.In an attempt to understand the arguments being thrown at me in this discussion, I finally picked it up. 

Since I'm going to be trashing this book over the next few posts, I should start out by saying: you should read this book. Whether you're a theist or an atheist, it will get you thinking about arguments for God in a way you haven't ever thought about before. 

Feser is immensely smart. He is also a good writer, and entertaining in that take-no-prisoners, everyone-else-is-wrong-and-I'm-right way that reminds me of no one so much as P.Z. Myers (whom Feser detests, of course). On his blog he often goes after the New Atheists, and here he does so again. Thankfully, though, the main part of the book is the positive argument for Aristotelian-Thomian metaphysics and its implications for the existence of God. Every once in a while he hauls off and lays into Dawkins, or Dennett, or the others. These bits will either piss you off or amuse you, depending on how much you idolize these gentlemen. 

Of the Four Horsemen, I have only read Harris, who gets off rather lightly here, and I have never read Aquinas, so I don't really know whether these attacks are on target. When Feser ridicules Dawkins for misunderstanding Aquinas's argument for God, well, I suspect Feser is right - after all, this guy has spent his professional career studying Aquinas, so he probably knows better than Dawkins. But here's the odd thing: Feser also thinks his fellow philosophers are all idiots (with a few exceptions). Again and again he states that major philosophical positions are demonstrably untrue. "Abandoning Aristotelianism," he says, "was the single greatest mistake ever made in the entire history of Western thought." (Those italics are his, by the way.)

So hold onto your seat and prepare to plunge your mind into a 2000-year-old worldview.


  1. looking forward to commentary from someone with more brains than me and no obvious axe to grind.