He Can't Be Serious

Well, I hope not!

The 'he' in question is an agnostic blogger named Mark Vernon who has written a pseudo-Freudian psychoanalysis of Richard Dawkins' motivations as revealed in The God Delusion. Viewed as satirical writing, the piece is hilarious; viewed as a serious attempt by someone undoubtedly not qualified as a psychiatrist, let alone a psychoanalyst, the post is trite and . . . lamentable.

Freudian psychoanalysis is the very last tool to use when trying to understand anything about human psychology. Think in terms of Freud's description of psychological defence mechanisms where those are appropriate, but forget the ridiculous 'Oedipal' and 'Electra' concepts. Perhaps the Oedipal complex tells us something of Freud's psyche, but the potential insights stop right there. I don't think that it is particularly difficult to understand Dawkins’ motivations—he says himself that he values truth, life, and humanity.

Drawing Vernon's argument that atheism is substitution of one father for another to its logical, tongue-in-cheek conclusion, one would have to assume that agnostics such as Vernon are simply uncertain of their paternity.

I won't analyze the 'psychoanalysis' because the post has been dissected elsewhere in Never mind what he did say and in Atheism as grand oedipal symbolic act. The salient point is that Freud's Oedipal and Electra complexes are entertaining but meaningless.

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