Finally, I finished the review that I was nominally being paid to do, after procrastinating it for months. Hopefully someone will edit out my irresponsible remarks. Now, to the relief of both of my regular readers, I can blog some more. I promise to eventually return to my dissection of Ed’s spurious claims about Lysenko, but at this point I am going to inaugurate a serial review of the first PDF edition of The Irrational Atheist, by Vox Day. I’m up to page 21 now.
I know, Vox advises against serial reviews, but I am just a blogger. Bloggers write annoying, unedited serial ramblings. If you want a coherent review of the whole thing, you can wait until I publish it in a book.
The first thing I notice is that Vox is not hiding his belief in God and Jesus Christ. He doesn’t use that as a basis for his argument against atheism, but he isn’t some kind of crypto-Christian in this book. He also is unsparing in his disdain for the subjects of his inquiry. So, an atheist doesn’t come into this book feeling really comfortable, as he might with a lot of the feelgood books from Wal-Mart pushing stealth Christianity.
Of course I noticed that there are three proofreaders credited for this book. That probably isn’t because they each read it once, although one can hope. The layout is a straight-ahead template using standard presets, probably with InDesign, based on the appearance of the footnotes. They allowed it to auto-hyphenate URLs, though, a sign of proofreaders (or publishers) who don’t know standard practices and let the layout program do a lot of the work.
Someone in production also came up with the brilliant idea of italicizing all quotations in footnotes, perhaps to let us know that everything quoted is really important. I don’t know what to call that kind of goofiness, except maybe “scare italics.” Yeah, I know that critiquing that kind of thing drives “global” thinkers like Vox crazy; I tend to think that people who don’t care about those things are “lazy” thinkers, or maybe emotionally immature.
So far, Vox has not offended me with his language, as some Christian reviewers have complained. Of course, I’ve read most of it on his blog already, so it’s not new to me.
The arguments he addresses in this early part of the book are not what I would consider the serious arguments of the atheists, but I suppose he is addressing them systematically. I’ll admit that the only book he addresses that I’m familiar with is The God Delusion, and it’s obvious that Vox expects familiarity with the books under discussion, so I’ll try to avoid critiquing him on issues that would require close familiarity with the source books.