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Richard Dawkins

As Richard Dawkins (the famous antitheist) tours down under to evangelise the masses he seems to have been taken completely by surprise by the uprising of many of his own disciples who are refering to him and people central to his Foundation as [language alert]

“utter twat” a “suppurating rectum. A suppurating rat’s rectum. A suppurating rat’s rectum inside a dead skunk that’s been shoved up a week-old dead rhino’s twat.” …[expressing a] “sudden urge to ram a fistful of nails” down your throat. Also to “trip you up and kick you in the guts.” …[describing his face] as “a slack jawed turd in the mouth mug if ever I saw one.”

Dawkins responds to his followers with astonishment. Remember this comes from the man who claims religion is the source of so much of the world’s problems [**], who describes his website as “a clear-thinking oasis”. The details of the antitheism schism, like all schisms in belief systems, are complex for outsiders, but suffice to say that there are a lot of atheists wondering, “Authoritarianism, censorship, and the destruction of a body of knowledge – this is the alternative to religion?”

Preparing for his NZ tour, the Newspaper Magazine your weekend, has a thoughtful article about Richard Dawkins. I concur with the point well-made that Dawkins is an expert in biology but “an amateur in the area of religion and philosophy.” Unfortunately, this point is regularly lost on many of his disciples who are not experts in biology, religion, or philosophy. Or might be agile in biology and assume that Dawkins’ agility with biological concepts translates into an agility in theology and philosophy – it does not.

The article explains Dawkins’ theory of evolution “misfiring”. According to Dawkins religious belief is a “misfiring” of the evolutionary advantageous trend to believe and obey your parents. “If you see footage from Haiti on the news and want to donate to charity, that’s a misfiring of a natural tendency to be generous towards your family and immediate community from whom you might benefit in the future.” Dawkins says, “Just like adopting a child is a misfiring of the parental instinct.”

The article was clearly written prior to the fiasco around his website and Foundation, as Dawkins enthuses about the “750 people who have lost their faith and share their stories” there, and his hopes to see a large number of new atheists writing in from the Middle East.

At [**] above, one is tempted to write “Mao Tse Tung, Lenin, Stalin, Khrushchev, and Pol Pot notwithstanding”, but the mention of Dawkins’ response as rolling his eyes in the article prevented me. Dawkins’ naivety in the way he is baffled by the vitriol and ire amongst his disciples does show that he misunderstands human nature – even for an experienced biologist. Religious extremists as well as antitheist extremists use rhetoric and aggressive overly-simplistic apologetic that incites their followers. Many religious people may be irrational and immoral. Dawkins is now surprised to discover that many atheistic people are also irrational and immoral. It will be interesting if he has the humility to acknowledge the latter and acknowledge that the issues are far more complex than his oversimplified rhetoric has thus far admitted.

ps. NZ Bus Company, the largest bus company approached to run the advertisements, “There’s probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life” has decided it will not run the advertisements. It is a private company, so IMO can put whatever they like (within limits) and decline whatever they like on their own buses. In this case, I do not think they have made the right decision and do not concur with their justification.

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8 thoughts on “Richard Dawkins”

  1. Think the nonsense that Dawkins has been preaching all these years is finally catching up with him. There’s a great video on You Tube somewhere in which he interviews a rabid Islamic person (a European who’s converted to Islam) – he has this look of amazement on his face as he leaves the interview, after having been blasted by the man for five solid minutes. It’s as if he can’t comprehend that not everyone in the world thinks atheism brings peace.

  2. So for the atheists who thought Richard Dawkins was their friend, it turns out he was only their imaginary friend.

  3. Brock Williams

    Excuse me Mr. Peters, another good author, of whom’s work you may enjoy, Christopher Hitchens. He is the actual anti-theist, not Richard Dawkins. Dawkins has always said the probability of a deity is extremely unlikely but nothing can ever be ruled out. Heres a quick read you might enjoy, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/God_Is_Not_Great

    Great read!

  4. @ Mike Crowl
    At no point in the video does Dawkins suggest that he “can’t comprehend that not everyone in the world thinks atheism brings peace”. This is probably due to the fact that at no point during the video does the islamist suggest that his hate for atheists is derived from their non-peaceful agenda. Which, by the way, is totally his own perception. Secondly, and perhaps most alarmingly, is your own take on the interview itself. To call a video in which a hateful, sexist, ignorant, deluded and irrational, propaganda filled speech is made by an extremist, great, is very unthoughtful indeed. Although I am sure that you do not hold the same views as the extremist, in my opinion the video cannot be sighted as great, because of the disgraceful message given by the islamist in it.

  5. Richard Dawkins always reminds me of the Scriptural passage: “He made the wise to be fools, and fools to be wise.” I find him arrogant and prideful; full of himself and how great/intelligent he imagines he is. To address many of these ideas “with a chapter in my book” when hundreds or thousands of books by great thinkers have been written, and still leave room for debate, is ,to me, the height of arrogance. Well, they couldn’t get it right in millions of pages, but I can solve the problem in one or two chapters. Does he really think he’s in the league of Augustine and Thomas Aquinas? I think not.

  6. If Dawkins is an ‘expert in biology but “an amateur in the area of religion and philosophy”’, who exactly qualifies as an expert in areas of opinion and conjecture?

    I’m more interested in the opinions of people with expertise in pertinent areas of fact (evolutionary biology, physics etc) than those with expertise only in opinions and semantics.

    All I can say is look past Dawkins’ abrasive approach and consider the actual concepts and ideas in question. Unless that’s too uncomfortable, in which case you’d best stick with the ad hominem approach.

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