A few weeks back, Dr. R. Joseph Hoffmann, who teaches at the New England Conservatory in Boston, published a scathing "review" of both my book and The God Virus by Darrell Ray. I was excited ... perhaps this would be a chance to face a real opponent, one with a doctoral degree in philosophy and several books to his name!
Sadly, I was disappointed. It was a complete hack job, unworthy of such a well-educated opponent.
Hoffmann starts out with a cutesy poem, followed by three or four wandering paragraphs that question Dr. Ray's education as well as mine. Nothing like an irrelevant ad hominem attack to set the tone. Throw mud on the messenger; maybe it will stick to the message. (Just to set the record straight, I'm not a systems engineer; that's some other guy with the same name, and I never claimed to have a PhD. Darrell Ray is not a "school psychologist." Dr. Hoffmann can't even seem to get his insults right.)
It only goes downhill from there, into a wandering tangle of insults, irrelevant analogies and horrible paraphrasing of our ideas.
Darrell Ray and I corresponded about the wisdom of replying to Dr. Hoffmann's essay and we agreed it wasn't worth our time. I went back and reviewed it again today and decided it wasn't even possible – it's one of the worst mish-mashes of disconnected, wandering prose I've read in a long time. I couldn't find anything concrete (except for the ad hominem insults) to refute. How can one respond to this sort of stuff?
"Reading the dissociated conjectures of James’s book, interrupted by dubious data, surveys, informal interviews and too many personal recollections and reminiscences (called “interludes” here) about his leaving the God-meme behind, reminds me of some of the reconstructionist history I’ve had to read over the years, the kind of thing that argues that Columbus was a Jew..."Maybe I could point out that I never was "infected" with the God-meme in the first place ... nah. Just leave it alone. It will sink under its own weight.
In fact, I wouldn't even have mentioned it except that it was a first. Are we having fun yet? You bet!