Patrick's Reviews > The Last Superstition: A Refutation of the New Atheism

The Last Superstition by Edward Feser
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Apr 21, 2010

it was amazing
bookshelves: philosophy-and-values, favorites
Read in April, 2010

This book is angry and funny and smart. Parts of chapter two slow the narrative down because (as Feser notes) if you're going to defend Aristotle and the people who built best on his thought (hello, Thomas Aquinas! hello, Scholastics!), then it helps to know what Aristotle and the philosophers before him actually said and meant. There's just no getting around that. But Feser rewards the patient reader, and the result is a tour de force refutation of the "new atheists."

Bottom line: You can't breeze through this book, but if you read it, you won't need to read Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins, or Daniel Dennett. And as Feser makes resoundingly clear, you really didn't need to read those guys anyway, because Aristotle and Aquinas still make one hell of a tag team when what you want is an old-school philsophical beat-down of the kind that once lent greatness to Western Civilization. Down with secular materialism and reductionist mechanical views of everything under the sun! Up with final causes!
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message 1: by Daniel (new) - added it

Daniel Awesome! So have you renounced all the material benefits of godless modern science? Or do you continue to consume thousands of them every day?


Patrick False premise there, Daniel: the material benefits we all enjoy from modern science do not depend on its purportedly "godless" character, but on rigorous adherence to the scientific method, which was not actually pioneered by atheists. You can't build a gothic cathedral without science, for example.

Historians of science have also shown that western science eclipsed eastern science for theological reasons -- if you think time is circular and that nirvana can be reached by renouncing the material world, you have less motivation to understand what is around you than if you think time is linear (per Judeo-Christian belief), and that we are stewards of creation (ditto).


Arensb "if you read it, you won't need to read Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins, or Daniel Dennett."

Except that Feser barely cites any of them. Anyone who wants to know what these writers have to say about religion or atheism certainly won't find out from reading Feser's book.


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