The book being reviewed is itself an aesthetically interesting project (humanist/atheist rewriting of the Bible; biblical language and form; Western intellectual thought, poeticized; collage of philosophy, literature, science, the author’s own writings)…I’m also curious about the direction of these literary trends: collage, unattributed material. The review/essay is just plain interesting. There is something about the human need for narrative, the constant search for a stable point of reference, the inevitable splintering.
“various experiments in the sphere of culture—laissez-faire economics, Politburo politics, literary Deconstruction—have suggested that irrationalism persists, or even thrives, where religion has been elbowed aside”
“Indeed the great boom-discipline of the age—neuroscience—suggests that where reason exists, it is, no more or less than its opposite, a mere byproduct of electricity and chemistry, a ghost in the machine. […] Moreover, the humanists’ triumphal account of scientific history focuses on the Newtons and Darwins while overlooking the folks tinkering in the lab. Herbert Marcuse long ago pointed out the patent irrationality of the world order to which such tinkering, in the form of the atomic bomb, gave rise. And in the information technologies currently transforming our lives, applied science has allowed us to redraw the line between fact and belief, offering the body politic an inoculation against scientific consensus”
“the real threat to the cult of human reason in the 21st Century is not the religious, but epistemological”
“But even a half-decade on, we can see that they’ll someday seem exactly as remote—exactly as poignant—as the lapsed religions they sought to supplant. That is, the New Atheism now appears to us godless cosmopolitans like any other faith: as noble, as fallible, as wondrously, humanly, world-historically beside the point”