Bonobo And The Atheist Summary

700 Words3 Pages
While the central focus of The Bonobo and the Atheist is the moral disposition of primates, Frans De Waal makes a subtler point that he wishes the reader to understand. His opposition in writing this book is not just to the notion that religion is the root of morality, but also to dogma of any kind. De Waals laments irrational thinking from people of all backgrounds - the religious, the nonreligious, and even scientists.
De Waals begins the book by attacking religions which purport to be the origin of ethical behavior. Since most of the content of the book takes direct aim at this contention, the specifics of his objection will not be exhausted here. However, his opposition to belief in this notion on insufficient evidence can be summarized by his statement on page two: “I am wary of any persons whose belief system is the only thing standing between them and repulsive behavior.” He then continues throughout the book to provide empirical evidence that directly contradicts this assertion, showing his opposition to
…show more content…
He believes that, despite the new atheists’ staunch rejections of faith-based positions, their beliefs are often close minded and thus just as problematic. On Pages 88-89, De Waals suggests that the late Christopher Hitchens, author of god is Not Great, swapped one set of dogmatic beliefs for another throughout his life. He writes that Hitchens “moved from Marxism (he was a Trotskyist) to Greek Orthodox Christianity, then to American Neoconservatism, followed by an ‘antitheist’ stance…,” which is tantamount to “sprout[ing] a fresh dogmatic limb.” De Waals does not levy these criticisms because Hitchens’ views are ones with which De Waals disagrees - but rather because he held them irrationally. He believes that Hitchens’ radical changes in opinion are indicative of belief without proper reasoning - something which is very
Open Document