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Marilynne Robinson profile in New York Times not hatchet job

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We’ve sometimes written about Marilynne Robinson:

Tom Bethell, author of The Politically Incorrect Guide to Science (Regnery Publishing), wrote to introduce us to the “other side” of Pulitzer Prize winning novelist Marilynne Robinson (for Gilead, 2005), who recently took the occasion of her four Yale Terry Lectures to attack the evolutionary biologists who talk as if science were atheism writ large.

But let Bethell tell it: Marilynne Robinson, who is better known as a novelist, attacked E.O. Wilson, Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Steven Pinker and even the sainted W.D. Hamilton [my word! – ed.] in her recent book Absence of Mind. In Harper’s (Nov 2006) she was also fiercely critical of Dawkins’s God Delusion.

Here’s a New York Times interview with her that doesn’t seem to be a hatchet job:

What the human mind does is, as it happens, what Robinson is most interested in and most galled to see unappreciated or gotten wrong. Her current project is devoted to Christological essays, essays that reconsider Jesus, just as in earlier work she has reconsidered Moses. “If you could create a phenomenology of consciousness, some part of it would be the systematic falsification of the foundations of our culture,” she said. “We remember Moses saying, ‘Love thy neighbor as thyself.’ But he also said, ‘Love the stranger as thyself.’ This is not unimportant. And so I feel the humanity of Moses. Like John Ames. He’s a character I put together in my mind, sure. But when people do things that are honorable and fine, it is terrible to see them slandered. And it doesn’t matter if they did them 3,000 years ago, you know?”

It’s good to see the Times sponsoring a non-naturalist point of view for once, but it is probably too late. They are laying off another hundred people.

I’d feel sorrier for them except for this: Way back when, Billy Graham’s Angels (1975) was one of the best-selling books in North America but the Times was reluctant at first to say much about it because it came from a Christian house. The practice of noticing the rankings of bestsellers from Christian houses seems to have begun with the big turn-of-the-century Left Behind series .

Now, I may be one of the few who haven’t read Graham’s book on angels, and have very mixed feelings about the “Left Behind” phenomenon (I did read the first book, for work).

However, a newspaper of record that felt secure enough to largely ignore major North American cultural phenomena that the Manhattan cocktail set didn’t relate to was poised to be slaughtered by the Internet, no matter what. The Internet is not waiting with bated breath for society hostesses’ invitations. And they would never have known enough to reposition themselves in time.

File under: Some problems just solve themselves.

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2 Replies to “Marilynne Robinson profile in New York Times not hatchet job

  1. 1
    johnnyb says:

    Absences of Mind is one of the best books on the market in its area. I recommend it to all.

  2. 2
    bornagain77 says:

    as to:

    “evolutionary biologists who talk as if science were atheism writ large.”

    Well not only is atheism not science, but atheism is anti-science. The easiest way to get this point across, besides noting all the failed predictions of the naturalistic worldview, is to note the epistemological failure that results in science if one adopts a naturalistic worldview.,,,

    Cosmic inflation is dead, long live cosmic inflation – 25 September 2014
    Excerpt: (Inflation) theory, the most widely held of cosmological ideas about the growth of our universe after the big bang, explains a number of mysteries, including why the universe is surprisingly flat and so smoothly distributed, or homogeneous.,,,
    Paul Steinhardt of Princeton University, who helped develop inflationary theory but is now scathing of it, says this is potentially a blow for the theory, but that it pales in significance with inflation’s other problems.
    Meet the multiverse
    Steinhardt says the idea that inflationary theory produces any observable predictions at all – even those potentially tested by BICEP2 – is based on a simplification of the theory that simply does not hold true.
    “The deeper problem is that once inflation starts, it doesn’t end the way these simplistic calculations suggest,” he says. “Instead, due to quantum physics it leads to a multiverse where the universe breaks up into an infinite number of patches. The patches explore all conceivable properties as you go from patch to patch. So that means it doesn’t make any sense to say what inflation predicts, except to say it predicts everything. If it’s physically possible, then it happens in the multiverse someplace
    Steinhardt says the point of inflation was to explain a remarkably simple universe. “So the last thing in the world you should be doing is introducing a multiverse of possibilities to explain such a simple thing,” he says. “I think it’s telling us in the clearest possible terms that we should be able to understand this and when we understand it it’s going to come in a model that is extremely simple and compelling. And we thought inflation was it – but it isn’t.”
    http://www.newscientist.com/ar.....CajrGl0y00

    This epistemological failure that a Naturalistic worldview imposes on science extends down into evolutionary biology itself!

    Self-refutation and the New Atheists: The Case of Jerry Coyne – Michael Egnor – September 12, 2013
    Excerpt: Their (the New Atheists) ideology is a morass of bizarre self-refuting claim. They assert that science is the only way to truth, yet take no note that scientism itself isn’t a scientific assertion. They assert a “skeptical” view that thoughts are only constructed artifacts of our neurological processing and have no sure contact with truth, ignoring the obvious inference that their skeptical assertion is thereby reduced to a constructed artifact with no sure contact with truth. They assert that Christianity has brought much immorality to the world, yet they deny the existence of objective morality. They assert that intelligent design is not testable, and (yet claim the counter proposition, that life is not designed, is testable).
    And they assert that we are determined entirely by our natural history and physical law and thereby have no free will, yet they assert this freely, claiming truth and personal exemption from determinism. Here is a case in point.,,,
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....76541.html

    “Under atheism there is no such thing as a mind. There is no such thing as understanding and no such thing as truth. All (Stephen) Hawking is left with is a box, called a skull, which contains a bunch of molecules.
    Hawking needs God in order to deny Him.”
    – Cornelius Hunter – quote and picture
    https://fbcdn-sphotos-c-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-xpa1/v/t1.0-9/10344804_736790473055959_5027794313726938258_n.png?oh=32dcc64a81815fd8fbf5884ea44490ed&oe=548E8745&__gda__=1418537725_911886dd89430d275c0e393a46afdb55

    also see Plantinga’s Evolutionary Argument Against Naturalism (EAAN)

    “Refuting Naturalism by Citing our own Consciousness” Dr. Alvin Plantinga – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r34AIo-xBh8

    But none of this should be surprising since science was born out of the Christian worldview, and was not born out of the Atheistic worldview:

    The truth about science and religion By Terry Scambray – August 14, 2014
    Excerpt: In 1925 the renowned philosopher and mathematician, Alfred North Whitehead speaking to scholars at Harvard said that science originated in Christian Europe in the 13th century. Whitehead pointed out that science arose from “the medieval insistence on the rationality of God, conceived as with the personal energy of Jehovah and with the rationality of a Greek philosopher”, from which it follows that human minds created in that image are capable of understanding nature.
    The audience, assuming that science and Christianity are enemies, was astonished.
    http://www.americanthinker.com.....igion.html

    The Threat to the Scientific Method that Explains the Spate of Fraudulent Science Publications – Calvin Beisner | Jul 23, 2014
    Excerpt: It is precisely because modern science has abandoned its foundations in the Biblical worldview (which holds, among other things, that a personal, rational God designed a rational universe to be understood and controlled by rational persons made in His image) and the Biblical ethic (which holds, among other things, that we are obligated to tell the truth even when it inconveniences us) that science is collapsing.
    As such diverse historians and philosophers of science as Alfred North Whitehead, Pierre Duhem, Loren Eiseley, Rodney Stark, and many others have observed, and as I pointed out in two of my talks at the Ninth International Conference on Climate Change (ICCC), science—not an occasional flash of insight here and there, but a systematic, programmatic, ongoing way of studying and controlling the world—arose only once in history, and only in one place: medieval Europe, once known as “Christendom,” where that Biblical worldview reigned supreme. That is no accident. Science could not have arisen without that worldview.
    http://townhall.com/columnists...../page/full
    Several other resources backing up this claim are available, such as Thomas Woods, Stanley Jaki, David Linberg, Edward Grant, J.L. Heilbron, and Christopher Dawson.

    Verse:

    Proverbs 2:6
    For the LORD gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.

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