That was peer-reviewed?

Jerry Coyne announces:

Physicist and heathen Victor Stenger has written a peer-reviewed article for Science, Religion, and Culture, which is now accepted and available free online. It’s called “In defense of New Atheism: A response to Massimo Pigliucci.

I have just read the article and find it hard to believe it was “peer-reviewed.”  If it was, I think it speaks to the declining standards of academic journals.  I’ll give that article some true “peer review” in the next couple of days.

Then again, Pigliucci takes Stenger to the woodshed in the same issue.   So perhaps SRC agreed to publish Stenger’s rant so the academic community could see for themselves how poorly the New Atheists reason.

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5 Responses to That was peer-reviewed?

  1. Dhay says:

    A word of warning: although Pigliucci’s original article describes AC Grayling as being a “post-New Atheist” philosopher, if you look him up in Wiki you find that he “…is associated in Britain with the new atheism movement, and is sometimes described as the ‘Fifth Horseman of New Atheism’.

    OK, Wiki should be taken with a pinch of salt: but if you go to Grayling’s review of Shermer’s “The Believing Brain” (which is one of several reviews, but is easily found half-way down the web-page), you will find the startling claim (my bolding) that:

    ”…believing scientists… scarcely any of them would accept the challenge to mount a controlled experiment to test the major claims of their faith, such as asking the deity to regrow a severed limb for an accident victim.”

    That God (or ‘the deity’) will, if asked, regrow a severed limb for an accident victim is not a major claim of the Christian faith.

    Grayling is abysmally ignorant of Christianity — he’s got his misinformation, I think, from the rabidly New Atheist WhyWontGodHealAmputees website, which espouses an extreme biblical literalism that is matched by very few Christians — and other faiths; he hasn’t got a clue about the basics of what he is criticising; hence he is an incompetent philosopher. Indeed, Grayling is so abysmally ignorant that any local schoolchild could put him right; but in his conviction that the BS he is spouting is correct, Grayling is arrogant and strident, pig-ignorant, spiteful and intolerant.

    That Grayling is spiteful and intolerant is, as it happens, the opinion recently expressed by Christopher Hitchins; one would expect this prominent New Atheist “Horseman” to give a favourable review of Grayling’s book “The God Argument: The Case Against Religion and for Humanism”; but instead Hitchins says:

    “…This work is full of negative. petti-fogging narrowness, devoid of sympathy for opponents, empty of generosity or modesty… The rudest thing that I can say about it is that it is pretty much the same as all the other anti-God books… , asserting their authors’ enlightenment and emitting a nasty undertone of spite and intolerance… This ungenerous view damages him. As he rightly says: ‘One mark of intelligence is an ability to live with as yet unanswered questions.’ True, but one way of avoiding having to do this is to pretend that questions have been answered, when they have not been. While wholly satisfied with his own supposed proofs that God is not necessary…”

    And so on – it’s worth reading the full article.

    A word of warning: AC Grayling is not “post-New Atheist” after all, but very much fits the New Atheist pattern of not letting fairness, truth and intelligence get in the way of a good polemical rant.

  2. TFBW says:

    Dhay, your link to that review is broken. Here is a corrected link. Also, it’s not written by Christopher Hitchens, since he went to meet his maker (or not, as the case may be) over a year before that article was written. The article is attributed to one Peter Hitchens, who, according to wiki, is Christopher’s younger brother, but shares none of his late older brother’s rage against God.

  3. Dhay says:

    Thank you for the correction regarding the Hitchens brothers. I plead a level of name-blindness that occasionally becomes embarrassing, forgetfulness as to the date of death, unfamiliarity with the writings of either brother, and the awareness — adding a plausibility which in this case was spurious — that there have recently been some quite strong disagreements between New Atheists.

  4. Shizzle-d says:

    That “whywontgodhealamputees” website is very telling of how insolent, arrogant and just how purely stupid a person can be.

  5. Dhay says:

    Anthony Grayling — see the first response — is Master of the “New College of the Humanities” (NCH) in London. According to the excellent Private Eye magazine, scourge of the the corrupt, the evasive and — relevant here — the pretentious, the NCH modestly claims to be a “world-class academic institution that is leading the way in UK higher education”; but despite claiming to be “prestigious and innovative”, and “at the forefront of a new era, the academic equivalent of space travel”, it does not meet, or has not sought, the ordinary standards and accreditation required to award degrees to its own students.

    [Private Eye #1399, 21 Aug – 3 Sept 2015, p.34]

    The solution was to get a proper university with a Humanities department to assess work and award the NCH’s degrees, and until mid-2015 that was done by the University of London — yes, fine, I have no criticism of that.

    But that deal fell through, and the degrees are now to be awarded by Southampton Solent university — not the nearby and much more prestigious Southampton University, note; Southampton Solent is apparently ranked 122 out of 126 in the Complete University Guide ranking table, and similarly close to rock bottom by the rankings of both the Guardian and Sunday Times newspapers.

    It gets worse: how competent is Southampton Solent to oversee and validate degrees in history and philosophy, the Nation College of the Humanities’ favoured topics? Well, it apparently doesn’t even have a humanities department, it doesn’t even do its own history or philosophy degree courses.

    Go figure the value of a philosophy degree earned studying under AC Grayling.

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