Review by Dr Pravin Thevathasan
The Last Superstition
A Refutation Of The New Atheism
St Augustine's Press
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Why another book review of a work so well reviewed? Because it is one of the very best refutations of the new atheism.
Some previous reviewers have been unimpressed by Fesser's combattive style and yet it is a fact that his opponents
are hardly a soft touch. Richard Dawkins, for example, accuses Christians of child abuse for teaching their children
Christianity — and he does that when he is feeling especially
benevolent towards his enemies.
Atheism, says Feser, is the ultimate superstition. In order to combat it, he turns to St Thomas Aquinas and the
Aristotelian tradition and he faults modern philosophy of leaving itself open to the last superstition by rejecting
Feser is being too modest when he describes his work as a refutation for it is much more than that. It is indeed
a brilliant introduction to the Thomist tradition. He explains the famous five ways and in doing so he reminds
us that Dawkins simply does not get Thomas. Like an innocent child, Dawkins asks his readers : "What caused God?" as if that question has
not been asked before. The essential point is that for Thomas God is not one cause among many causes. His existence
cannot be proved by means of the scientific method. That just shows the limits of science.
Feser's explanation of the importance of the four causes is helpful. It is the final cause that determines the
formal cause. The final cause is critical.David Hume and his new atheist followers have foolishly abandoned realism
by abandoning the four causes.
Feser also explains why the soul is immortal and what we mean by natural law. One of the most interesting points
is that had we taken Hume's theory of non-causality seriously, there would not have been scientific advancements,
the very thing that is falsely supposed to threaten religious belief.
One of the few criticisms is that if one is not interested in Thomas, one may not like this work. But if one does
not like Thomas, one probably may not much care for life.All in all, a superb refutation of the new atheism.
Copyright ©; Dr Pravin Thevathasan 2012
Version: 23rd December 2014