De Botton’s Folly

A few days back, I wrote that I was not convinced by Alain de Botton’s presentation of his Atheism 2.0 thesis, and even less impressed by his use of a false categorisation of Richard Dawkins.

Now I see that de Botton is back in the news today. He’s announced that he wants to build a “temple for atheists” in the City of London. It is to be a 46 metre tower, costing one million quid. According to the Guardian’s report, the tower is:

to celebrate a “new atheism” as an antidote to what he describes as Professor Richard Dawkins’s “aggressive” and “destructive” approach to non-belief.

Sigh. More false categorisation. As Dawkins has apparently said:

“Atheists don’t need temples,” the author of The God Delusion said. “I think there are better things to spend this kind of money on. If you are going to spend money on atheism you could improve secular education and build non-religious schools which teach rational, sceptical critical thinking.”

I can understand the tower as being a piece of public art (although hopefully not paid for by the taxpayer). The tower serves no purpose other than being a Folly, in every sense of the word.

In passing, I note that the Guardian couldn’t resist a quote from the Rev George Pitcher:

“This is a more constructive atheism than Dawkins, who is about the destruction of ideas rather than contributing new ones.”

Ah, yes, the good reverend has previous form in such remarks.

About Geoff Coupe

I'm a British citizen, although I have lived and worked in the Netherlands since 1983. I came here on a three year assignment, but fell in love with the country, and one Dutchman in particular, and so have stayed here ever since. On the 13th December 2006 I also became a Dutch citizen.
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2 Responses to De Botton’s Folly

  1. Al Feersum says:

    … the point about Atheism is that there absolutely has to be a Theism for it to be contrary to. Hence my declaration of being an Agnostic Secularist (If god does exist, and can prove it to my satisfaction, then I’ll believe; otherwise a non-theistic approach is applied and I couldn’t care one way or another whether a god or gods exist or not – and I refuse to acknowledge said existence until I am satisfied). That’s not to say that I disagree with Dawkins though… but people like de Botton just don’t get it, as you’ve shown in the included snippet…

    • Geoff Coupe says:

      Yes, as Hitchens said: “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence” and thus far, you, me, and Dawkins are awaiting anything that even comes within light years of that. Give us the evidence, and we’ll become theists; but without it…

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