Monday, April 4, 2011

Sleeping Furiously

Philosopher Anthony Grayling is less well known in the US than he is in Britain (where he seems to be as renowned for his hair as he is his ideas), but he's definitely got my attention. In an interview that appeared in yesterday's Guardian, Grayling discusses his new work, The Good Book: A Humanist Bible,† and responds to charges that some in the atheist movement have adopted a "militant" tone:
Well, firstly, I think the charges of militancy and fundamentalism of course come from our opponents, the theists. My rejoinder is to say when the boot was on their foot they burned us at the stake. All we're doing is speaking very frankly and bluntly and they don't like it...But we're not burning them at the stake. They've got to remember that when it was the other way around it was a much more serious matter. And besides, really, how can you be a militant atheist? How can you be militant non-stamp collector? This is really what it comes down to. You just don't collect stamps. So how can you be a fundamentalist non-stamp collector? It's like sleeping furiously. It's just wrong.
I shall have to add his book to my reading list!

H/T to Jerry Coyne at Why Evolution Is True

† In the Guardian article, the book's title is given as The Good Book: A Secular Bible, but shows the title as "A Humanist Bible." I assume this means that the British and American versions have slightly different titles, in the same way that the first "Harry Potter" novel is known as Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone in the U.K. but Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone in the U.S.

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