TPOL S 480
Provides in-depth treatment of topics in politics and philosophy; political economy; law and policy; economics and policy and ethics and economics. Emphasizes analysis of methodological issues and developing students' research and writing skills. May not be repeated.
The past decade has seen the emergence of a so-called “New Atheism,” but what exactly is new about it? Arguably, at least four things: 1) its rejection of the claim that religion and science can peacefully coexist; 2) its claim that science, especially evolutionary biology, can now fully explain religious belief without recourse to an actual God; 3) its claim that, far from benign, belief in God is actually a positively harmful force in the world that ought to be eradicated; and 4) the stridency and urgency of its tone in presenting 1-3. In this seminar we will read and evaluate bestselling books by three of the “four horsemen of the new atheism”: Daniel Dennett, Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens. Students will write a research paper, on a topic of their own choosing, related to course readings.
Student learning goals
General method of instruction
Mix of lecture and discussion.
Ability to read carefully, think critically and write clearly necessary for success.
Class assignments and grading
Short reading responses plus substantial research paper on some aspect of "The New Atheism" chosen by the student.