.. this bag is surely destined for the SS Darwin’s scow load.
In “Seeing is Unbelieving,”a New York Times Sunday book review (March 23, 2012), Philip Kitcher graciously allows us to know that Alex Rosenberg’s The Atheist’s Guide to Reality: Enjoying Life Without Illusions is not the worst book of 2011:
The evangelical scientism of “The Atheist’s Guide” rests on three principal ideas. The facts of microphysics determine everything under the sun (beyond it, too); Darwinian natural selection explains human behavior; and brilliant work in the still-young brain sciences shows us as we really are. Physics, in other words, is “the whole truth about reality”; we should achieve “a thoroughly Darwinian understanding of humans”; and neuroscience makes the abandonment of illusions “inescapable.” Morality, purpose and the quaint conceit of an enduring self all have to go.
The conclusions are premature. Although microphysics can help illuminate the chemical bond and the periodic table, very little physics and chemistry can actually be done with its fundamental concepts and methods, and using it to explain life, human behavior or human society is a greater challenge still. Many informed scholars doubt the possibility, even in principle, of understanding, say, economic transactions as complex interactions of subatomic particles. Rosenberg’s cheerful Darwinizing is no more convincing than his imperialist physics, and his tales about the evolutionary origins of everything from our penchant for narratives to our supposed dispositions to be nice to one another are throwbacks to the sociobiology of an earlier era, unfettered by methodological cautions that students of human evolution have learned: much of Rosenberg’s book is evolutionary psychology on stilts. Similarly, the neuroscientific discussions serenely extrapolate from what has been carefully demonstrated for the sea slug to conclusions about Homo sapiens.
The serious question is, if so, why is this rubbish being reviewed in the New York Times? A paper that, quite properly, wouldn’t review some apocalyptic fundie should also not be reviewing this.
Read Uncommon Descent instead. The majestic forests of Canada thank you. Yes, you are most welcome.