Thursday, October 2, 2008

Best Book Review Ever

I've always admired AC Grayling, but this book review of his takes the cake.

Some choice excerpts:

It is sometimes hard to know whether books that strike one as silly and irresponsible, like Dissent over Descent, the latest book from Steve Fuller, are the product of a desire to strike a pose and appear outrageous (the John Gray syndrome), or really do represent that cancer of the contemporary intellect, post-modernism.

And in the next paragraph:

[...] at the end of these nearly 300 pages of wasted forest he tells us what science needs in order to justify its continuation (oh dear, poor science, eh?) and what Intelligent Design, a theory he defended before a US Federal Court in the 2005 Dover Trial, needs to “realise its full potential in the public debate” – that is: how a theory trying to bend the facts to prove its antecedent conviction that Fred (or any arbitrary and itself unexplained conscious agency) designed and created the world and all in it, can attain its full potential in the public debate. This, note, from a professor at a proper British university. Well: if this is not proof of the efficacy of Jesuit educational methods, nothing is.

It just gets better from there.

Of course, it gets particularly interesting when Steve Fuller responds.

I wish I could repay AC Grayling’s compliment by naming an exotic mental pathology after him, but regrettably his review of Dissent over Descent displays disorders of a much more mundane kind: he has merely failed to read the book properly and does not know what he is talking about.

And then Grayling has the last word:

Steve Fuller complains, as do all authors whose books are panned, that I did not read his book properly (or at all). Alas, I did.

...OR IS IT?

(Thanks to OTF Wank for drawing my attention to this.)


Jason Grossman said...

It may be the most fun book review ever, but how do you know it's the best book review ever? Have you read Fuller's book?

Catherine said...

Splitting hairs :) I mean "best" in terms of "most fun" and "most arse-kicking" :)

Adam said...

Catie. I think that you misunderstoond Jason's question. Have you read every book review ever, and rated them accordingly? This is the only intelligently desgined scientific method to determine which book review is the best ever.

I personally favour the one by a former class mate who said of Grug And His Playground: "Grug is funny. I like his hare. [sic]"

Catherine said...

Sigh you guys :)