Recently, Edward Feser wrote a long blog post calling Jerry Coyne “unserious” and telling Coyne to read Feser’s book Aquinas. This prompted me to go buy Feser’s book off Amazon, but after my initial look at it, I don’t think I’ll be finishing it.
The few sections I’ve read basically try to show that certain objections to Aquinas’ views (including the assumptions that support Aquinas’ Five Ways) fail. Certainly if you’re enthusiastic about Aquinas, that’s going to interest you.
But showing that objections to a view fail is different than showing the view is correct, and as far as I can tell Feser isn’t even trying to do the second thing, at least in the bits of Aquinas I’ve read. That means that, personally, I don’t find the book very interesting, and I suspect most readers of this blog wouldn’t be terribly interested in a detailed critique (but feel free to correct me if I’m wrong about that.)
On its own, this is a fairly mild criticism of Aquinas. It doesn’t show Feser is wrong to care about the stuff he talks about in the book. Where his writing gets ridiculous, though, is in his attacks on people who don’t care so much about Aquinas. (Exhibit A: the “brutal fact” that Keith Parsons’ work focused on people like Richard Swinburne and Alvin Plantinga.) Because he doesn’t even try to show Aquinas was right, Feser can’t expect atheists to be very interested in his book.
I could say more about this, but I’d basically be repeating stuff I’ve said here and here. I’ll finish just by mentioning that this is the second time in recent memory that I bought a book because I heard a theist say that as an atheist, I absolutely had to read it, and then found the book didn’t look like it had any arguments that both (1) pertained to something important and (2) were new to me (the first time this happened was with Mike Licona’s book on the resurrection).