Thursday, January 21, 2016

David Bentley Hart on Dennett

Here. 

6 comments:

Joe Hinman said...

That's a brilliant article. The into conjures up images of Barney Fife trying to lecture. I like William Barrett's term for that sort of mock authority "the illusion of Technique." I have a summary of an article by a friend who studied at MIT. He wrote two articles against Dennett's Consciousness Explained.

here

Ilíon said...

"“I for one am not in awe of your faith,” he fulminates at one juncture. “I am appalled by your arrogance, by your unreasonable certainty that you have all the answers.”"

This is a popular trope amongst unthinking God-haters. And, even though he (and they) tend to say things like "your unreasonable certainty that you have all the answers", what they really mean is a combination of "your unreasonable certainty that you have *any* answers" with "your unreasonable certainty that there are any answers at all" ... even as *they* assert that they have all the answers.

Jim S. said...

Breaking the Spell is the one book of Dennett's I don't have. I wrote a review for his debate with Plantinga, and Dennett's ignorance of Christianity and religion in general is just shocking -- willful ignorance. He states explicitly that Christianity does not have to be thought about in order to be criticized, and then shows how he fulfills this himself by writing that Christians do not believe Jesus is God incarnate. He doesn't know the most elementary aspects about the views he is criticizing.

Joe Hinman said...

"what they really mean is a combination of "your unreasonable certainty that you have *any* answers" with "your unreasonable certainty that there are any answers at all" ... even as *they* assert that they have all the answers."

--I know that's pretty brash statement for a guiy with a book called Consciousness Explained

Joe Hinman said...

" then shows how he fulfills this himself by writing that Christians do not believe Jesus is God incarnate. He doesn't know the most elementary aspects about the views he is criticizing."

--wow did he really mean it's not tenet of the faith ot just that Christians tend not to really buy it?

Jim S. said...

"Plantinga didn't hypothesize that Jesus guided and orchestrated the course of evolution; he hypothesized that God did. God is not Jesus, and maybe God can do things that Jesus can't do."

Dennett and Plantinga, Science and Religion: Are They Compatible? p. 47.

Dennett is either ascribing the claim that "God is not Jesus" to himself, Plantinga, or Christianity in general. He's an atheist, so not himself. To ascribe it to Plantinga and not Christianity in general means Dennett is accusing Plantinga of denying central Christian doctrines. And then, after essentially accusing him of being a heretic in as obscure a way as possible, Dennett then never brings it up again, either explicitly or implicitly. This strikes me as enormously implausible. So I think the best explanation is that Dennett is saying that Christianity claims that God is not Jesus.

When I first read this, my jaw dropped. As most people know, one of Christianity's central doctrines is the Incarnation, "God become man", that Jesus is God incarnate. So Dennett is not in a position to pontificate about Christianity's credibility while remaining ignorant of its most basic elements.