I only have time for a quick blog post (Prison Break comes on in twenty minutes!), but do have a quick look at this post over at Richard Dawkins’ site. (Hat tip to Larry Moran for directing me to it).
It’s a diagram showing all of the book length responses that have been inspired by the recent books by Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris.
Two things struck me about this. The first is simply that there are quite a lot of books out there responding to Dawkins and Harris that I didn’t know about. Some of them even seem to have been written by reputable people and published by serious houses. I’ll have to go check some of them out, though I’m not sure exactly when I will have the time to do that.
But the main thing that struck me is the complete willingness of people like Dawkins to provide free publicity to their critics. The post serves mostly to alert people to the existence of all these books. Beyond referring to these books derisively as “fleas,” there is nothing to the post beyond an announcement that these books are out there. You never see anything comparable to this at creationist blogs. William Dembski’s site, for example, does not contain prominent diagrams of all the anti-ID books that are out there.
This is not hard to explain. For all the bluster about what an arrogant, militant atheist he is, Dawkins has routinely shown himself to be perfectly happy to engage in polite discussion with people of different opinions on this subject. Likewise for Christopher Hitchens and Sam Harris. This is because those three worthy gentlemen care about ideas and arguments.
In this they differ from the ID folks, who are about propaganda and nothing more. William Dembski in particular has repeatedly shown himself to have no interest in engaging seriously with his critics.
But then, this too is easy to understand. Dembski can not engage his critics in a serious way, because that would mean conceding that his mathematical bloviations are entirely without merit. Dawkins and the others are happy to engage their critics, because they know their arguments will have little trouble weathering the critical storm.