Andrew Brown vs philosopher and atheist Daniel Dennett – Do New Atheists have new ideas?


Screenshot from 2013-07-09 05:50:25Here is a quick five minute clip in which Andrew Brown challenges philosopher and atheist Daniel Dennett to convince him that the New Atheists have new ideas.

Clearly since the rise of New Atheism during the past decade, things have changed, there is a rising tide of non-belief – and so it is interesting to hear what Daniel Dennett, one of the original ‘four horsemen’ of new atheism (along with Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens), has to say when challenged.

Andrew Brown is also an Atheist, but of the “I’m an atheist but” school of thought. Where they differ is that Dennett would challenge the idea of believing stuff that is not actually true, and Brown takes the view that his Christian friends know all the arguments, so why bother.

Here is how it played out …

Quick summary: Five minutes of Andrew Brown saying “Surely this is the case…” and Daniel Dennett replying: “No, it’s not”. Do you think somebody should tell Mr Brown that Dennett  describes “surely” as a “blinking light for a bad argument” within his latest book. It resulted in this tweet …

Screenshot from 2013-07-09 05:44:41

Here are a couple of quotes that I also picked up there from Dennett …

  • New Atheism has changed the face of America
  • what we gave them was permission to declare their lack interest in religion … which is something that people were afraid to do before we wrote our books

In the end it is all rather simple really … there are beliefs, assertions that a personal God exists, yet when challenged to produce evidence, you soon find that there is none, hence the claim is dismissed. Atheism is not an assertion that there is no God, but rather is the conclusion that due to the complete lack of evidence, it is not rational to just “believe”.

To be honest, it is a bit tedious to carry on banging on about “god”. Dennett only has six pages in his new book on the topic, and rather a lot of other pages on far more interesting stuff. It might have been a lot more interesting if Mr Brown had spent the time discussing Daniel Dennett’s ideas in philosophy, specifically his approach to the “mind-body problem” that he has been developing for the past 50 years.

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