Translate

March 21, 2010

The Dawkins Delusion

This week, Overland published what can only be described as a puff piece on Richard Dawkins' visit to Australia. (If you have never heard of Richard Dawkins, he is arguably the world's most famous atheist and if you have never heard of Overland, it is an Australian literary journal). This is not the first time an Overland blogger has rubbished Richard Dawkins, although at least the previous article was well written, refrained from using the worst puns I have ever heard in my life and managed to make some sort of point. 
Still, they kind of got me thinking. What is it that people really dislike about Richard Dawkins - is it the man or is it his beliefs? 
Sure he can be pompous, condescending and even demeaning, but so what? 
Those poor saps demeaned by Dawkins are only demeaned because of their inability to flesh out an articulate argument. Sure, calling Senator Fielding an "earthworm" after their stint on Q and A may have been a little harsh, but Dawkins did not hand pick Fielding for the panel. 
Why didn't Q and A think ahead and select a creationist with an above average IQ, to even the playing field - or even one who knew how to string a sentence together - or is that a double oxymoron?
Virtually every piece of negative press I have read about Dawkins, dismembers his personality as opposed to the merit of his argument. It's kind of ironic really, bashing the man because you don't like the way he bashes God. Is he above questioning - of course not, but neither is organised religion. 
In my opinion, it is high time that someone stepped up to debunk some of the damaging myths that have kept human beings - particularly women - oppressed for 2000 years. After all, religious leaders/fanatics have been meniacal in their pursuit for world domination   truth - so it is high time for some sort of balanced debate. 
Richard Dawkins is a professor of biology and an atheist who is interested in pursuing truth.
He has stated on more than one occasion that he has no qualms with religious followers per se; if having faith in a God(s) brings them comfort, then so be it.
But Dawkins' truth, which is science based, is incompatible with religious theory, and therefore just by virtue of his argument, he will undoubtedly offend the countless many, anchored in religious teaching.
But it is not just Christians who are put off by Richard Dawkins.
In The Age yesterday, columnist and self confessed atheist, Dick Gross referred to Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens as the "dynamic duo" of "new atheism". He went on to call them"an impediment to the growth of unbelief in our community".
Well Dick you are entitled to your opinion, but I have learnt more about the marvelous way in which this planet spins from Professor Dawkins than I have from you, or from any religion I have chosen to educate myself about, or have been forced to endure.
Perhaps what incenses people about Richard Dawkins is not his English pompousness, his forthright demeanor or his superior intellect. 
No, perhaps it is because in 2010, we are still expected to tip toe around religion, to tread lightly lest we offend, because to criticize religion is blasphemous, a mortal sin, the unholiest taboo (most probably punishable by death).  
Or maybe, just maybe, they hate him because deep down, they suspect that he is right. Either way, I can think of no other person who has singlehandedly united God lovers and God deniers in one cesspool of hate, like the uncompromising Richard Dawkins.  Bless him.


I have posted this video once before but if you have not seen it then you are missing out. The intelligence squared debate - Christopher Hitchen and Stephen Fry vs The Catholics.  Topic: Is the Catholic Church a Force for good in the world?


This speech by Richard Dawkins on militant atheism is both enlightening and amusing. Check it out.


If you have ever wondered What Causes Racism?  then read this article published in New Matilda.  It's about what is happening in this country with the highly profitable industry that is - international students.


10 Words You Need To Stop Misspelling was published by The Oatmeal.


10 Rules For Writing Fiction is a fabulous two-part series of do's and don'ts from some of the world's most brilliant writers. If you are a writer or even an avid reader, then this is for you.


Forgetting a child in the back seat of a hot, parked car is a horrifying mistake. The Washington Post asks Is it a crime?


This incredible photographic documentary published in The Atlantic, Where Patients Once Sought Asylum, is an eerie look inside America's now defunct mental asylums.


Political reporter, Lyndal Curtis wrote a very moving piece about losing her child. It's hard to read, but a poignant reminder to cherish those people we love the most.




12 comments:

Jeremy said...

(1) Hey as a theist, I will offer my comment why I dislike dawkins. The man is a zoologist, and he is brilliant at his profession, but when when he tries to tackle the question of god, he steps into the realm of philosophy. His book the "god delusion" is a claim to do philosophy. Even the famous atheist Michael Ruse commented how bad his philosophical argument were, especially as Dawkins claimed to provide the "ultimate argument against the existence of god". If he just want to critique religion thats fine, but his books claim to do more than that, and as a scientist attempting to do philosophy, he fails horribly!

There are other brilliant atheist philosophers out there, that are never heard off, but deal with the question as god as a profession. Just because you have a PHD does not qualify to address subjects
outside your field.

(2) I have meet Dawkins followers ,especially on youtube, and there is not even a tiny bit of respect for anybody that disagree with him. This is not to say, every Dawkins follower is like that, but a lot are like that. To me Dawkins is the atheist version of a Jerry Falwell. hey that's just my opinion!

mishaloula said...

Fair enough Jeremy and I thank you for your honesty. I do have respect for others that disagree with Dawkins and anyone else that may be making an argument. This is just one opinion and it is based on the way people like to bash the man about. Everyone is entitled to their opinion - which is a good thing - or I would not have a blog. Such is the nature of democracy. Misha

jolly john said...

Jeremy i think to take what some publisher adds to the cover of a book to promote it as in "his books claim to do more" is possibly taking things out of context.

The only reason there has ever been any 'debate' about God versus evolution is that the Goddists of any variety feel insecure about their loss of 'control' over 'everything'.

After all the bible says little more than "god created heaven and earth" and a bit more about 7 days.. a basic bioligy textbook will contain hundreds if not thousands of pages of information.
Textbooks on evolution contain thousands of pages of information.
The fossil record alone runs to millions of entries, most of them dated way past the bible version of inhabited time.

There is no real debate or competition, its not even philosophical, its purely about facts and fantasy masked as belief.

Thats where Dawkins is coming from, the evolving work of many scientists and the understanding of the natural world. I have no idea why the 'believers' feel so threatend by simple truths, maybe cos they know the god delusion is just that but dont like people pointing it out.

Jeremy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jeremy said...

Jolly john

It's not just the cover of this book. In chapter 4 of his book The God Delusion" why there is most certainly no God", his argument of the "Ultimate Boeing 747" claims to provide the ultimate argument against the existence of god. It fails horrible by any philosophical standards. It is something you see in philosophy 101 classes.


I was not even addressing Evolution at all. I was talking about Dawkins as a scientist attempting to do philosophy. And are you kidding, all the debate as been because of that reason? That thesis lacks explanatory power and explanatory scope to explain the vast majority of God vs Evolution debate.

"The God Delusion" is not a Simple God Vs Evolution book. It is a God vs Metaphysical Naturalism book. Dawkins argument is not simply Evolution vs God, it is a whole argument against the existence of God and why that God is incoherent. When he claims to do that, that is philosophy. Sorry it is! The Field is called the Philosophy of Religion!

There are many theologians in the church's history that have taken Genesis as non-literal and even before Darwin. Origen in the 3rd Century. Saint Augustine in the 4th century. Thomas Aquinas in the 12th century. Evolution is no enemy to Christendom, and I have no problem with it, and millions of other people!

a redundant God said...

I think there is a major rhetorial difference bewteen the concept of people blindly believing authority, which most of the major religions are based on, and people making up their own minds based on actual observalbe facts.

The 'blievers' tend to have trouble with information as they see it to be worshippped or held as the ultimate and if its not they feel threathended.

Jeremy, Dawkins is a shit stirrer happly stirring the believers up, thats all that behind the claims of the ultimate argument. There is no god its just something humans have made up to suit themselves and over the years its been used for all sorts of nasty habits. Theres no real argument about it, just humans arguing because they have lots of time to do so and to relieve themselves of god like attachments is difficult for many.

LIke dawkins points out, truth is not that hard to believe but less manipulable than concepts of god.

I'd suggest Jeremy taking it al iwth ab it of humour, whether u like Dawkins or not or like god or not, the truth is less ambiguous.

jolly john said...

Well Jeremy whether Dawkins book is philosophical or not is beside the point. Obviously any discussion of the evolution vs god variety is going to dwell on some philisophical issues and i dont understand why anyone would have trouble with that.

Despite the bestv attempts of age old beaucracies to the contray, God indeed comes across as an incoherent concept, Dawkins is just having fun with the argument.
I ma sure he relishes the pleasure of his position and in the best interests of humanity, strives to push the issue forward.

Jeremy said...

Redundant God

"I think there is a major rhetorial difference bewteen the concept of people blindly believing authority, which most of the major religions are based on, and people making up their own minds based on actual observalbe facts."

(1) That's such a sweeping claim about Religions!I strongly disagree with that. What about the Governments, Parents, Employers? Don't people blindly follow them also?


"The 'blievers' tend to have trouble with information as they see it to be worshippped or held as the ultimate and if its not they feel threathended"

(2) What are you talking about believers have trouble with information? So Dawkins book is a book towards believers who have trouble with information, also at the same time satires them and makes fun of them?

"Jeremy, Dawkins is a shit stirrer happly stirring the believers up, thats all that behind the claims of the ultimate argument."

(3) Well how is that any different from a Jerry Falwell and his claims " "EVIL-LUTION", whose claim that evolution is a lie is easily known, but his arguments(as a preacher) is horrible.


"There is no god its just something humans have made up to suit themselves and over the years its been used for all sorts of nasty habits. Theres no real argument about it, just humans arguing because they have lots of time to do so and to relieve themselves of god like attachments is difficult for many."

(4) First of all its a Genetic Fallacy, just because you can explain how something originates you thereby explain it away. Even if all believers have used God to suit themselves( which I disagree), it still wouldn't explain God away. Dude 99.9% of the whole Human Population doesn't think that, "there is no real argument" and are simply arguing about it because they have free time. Give me a Break!

"LIke dawkins points out, truth is not that hard to believe but less manipulable than concepts of god."

(5) The truth is not that hard to believe? Try telling people who have never went to school, that the Sun revolves around the earth, or Time is relative. One of the fundamental assumptions of Science, is that the Truth is not easily known!

"I'd suggest Jeremy taking it al iwth ab it of humour, whether u like Dawkins or not or like god or not, the truth is less ambiguous."

(6) If it's humor, then he shouldn't be hailed as an intellectual, but a comic!( hes currently Britain top intellectual). Also the question of God has been has been debated since the Ancient Greeks and 2000 later, philosophers are still arguing about it. The result is still inconclusive! Remember always, the Truth is not always easy to know. Einstein would agree!

Jeremy said...

Jolly John

Dude I am struck easily you think that it is easily incoherent. The top atheistic philosohers would disagree with that! One example would be Michael Ruse. If Dawkins if having fun with the argument, why is he hailed as an intellectual?

Jeremy said...

*oops I mean the Earth revolves around the Sun. My Bad:-). Fast typing sucks

a redundant God said...

"If Dawkins if having fun with the argument, why is he hailed as an intellectual?"

Jeremy can i deduct form this statemnet that you think intellectuals cant have fun?

Dawkinsa is one of the many clecbrity scientists who come form a specific field but write on broader scien tific/social issues, atheism and eveoluition being somewhat entwined.
It sociallly interactive commetry and he probably doesnt need to be classed as intellectual (university qualified) or stick to his area which is biology.

It general purpose stuff but his aim is true and it about the issue not the man,..really/..

Sheila said...

Hi I am following your blog. Canyou follow mine. Thanks.http://networkedblogs.com/blog/learn_french_now_blog/