Atheism and God: Review of de Botton and Scruton

Here’s a review of Alain de Botton’s and Roger Scruton’s latest book, the most recent entries into what has become a thriving publishing niche. The reviewer is rather scathing of de Botton:

He is an aggregator of ideas rather than an original thinker, but his skill is to write simply about complex ideas and he gives his fans the sensation of reading something profound with little effort.

This has resonance with the entry for Scruton in  The Philosophical Lexicon:

scrutonize, v. “To conflate two disciplines at a superficial level so that dinner party conversations could continue in the spurious belief that matters of moment were being discussed while the port was passed.” – David Dunster, Architectural Design, December 1979, p. 327.

The latter is thoroughly unfair; the former (assuming it’s a fair assessment – I haven’t read de Botton) is hardly unique – there are many such “aggregators” around.