Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Inner Circles Of Evangelist Richard Dawkins

Capitalizing on his Savior-like visage, Richard Dawkins has created pay-for-access concentric circles, which anyone with the right amount of cash can enter. The rings work like this. For $85 per month for the Reason circle you get discounts on Dawkins items, such as t-shirts, AND you get to talk to other Atheists. But climbing through the Reason Circle and into the Science circle allows you to attend an event where Dawkins is present for only $210 per month. And the next ring, the Darwin circle, for $420/month allows you two events with Dawkins present.

This is all presented on Dawkins' site simultaneously with this scrolling message:
"Let's end secular discrimination and increase acceptance"
Well, for the right entry fee, maybe.

According to Andrew Brown at the Guardian,
Last year he tweeted a recommendation of comments collected by one of his followers at a book signing in the US. Among them were: ‘You’ve changed the very way I understand reality. Thank you Professor’; ‘You’ve changed my life and my entire world. I cannot thank you enough’; ‘I owe you life. I am so grateful. Your books have helped me so much. Thank you’; ‘I am unbelievably grateful for all you’ve done for me. You helped me out of delusion’; ‘Thank you thank you thank you thank you Professor Dawkins. You saved my life’; and, bathetically, ‘I came all the way from Canada to see you tonight.’ With this kind of incense blown at him, it’s no wonder he is bewildered by criticism.

Like all scriptures, the Books of Dawkins contain numerous contradictions: in The God Delusion itself he moves within 15 pages from condemning a pope who had baptised children taken away from Jewish parents to commending Nick Humphrey’s suggestion that the children of creationists be taken away because teaching your children religion is comparable to child abuse. So believers can always find a scripture where he agrees with them, which naturally cancels out the one where he doesn’t.

Whether he means that religious believers are despicable ‘stumbling, droning inarticulate .. yammering fumblewits’ who are ‘likely to be swayed by a display of naked contempt’ (that’s from a 2009 blogpost) or ‘I don’t despise religious people. I despise what they stand for’ (from a 2012 speech) can lead to arguments as interminable as those over the peaceful or otherwise character of the Prophet Mohammed.

Similarly, does he mean that genes are selfish, or that they are co-operative? Both, it seems, and with equal vehemence. As he wrote, ‘The Selfish Gene could equally have been called The Co-operative Gene without a word of the book itself needing to be changed.’ This doesn’t seem to me to be strictly speaking true: it subverts the sense of a famous passage to change it to read: ‘Let us try to teach generosity and altruism, because we are born selfish. Let us understand what our own co-operative genes are up to, because we may then have a chance to upset their design, something which no other species has ever aspired to.’

But what has got him in trouble with his own side is not biology of that sort, but the appearance of racism and sexism. Some of the stuff that he has written and retweeted about ‘evil’ Islam is shocking. A recent Dawkins tweet mentioning ‘mild paedophilia’ produced an eruption of outrage across the sceptical movement, not really helped by his claiming that it was all a matter of logic, and his opponents had had their thinking clouded by emotion — and the one thing everyone knows about Dawkins is that his followers are entirely rational."


Russell said...

And from what I can tell, the references to Dante's Divine Comedy are unintentional!

Phoenix Wolfe said...

I found another gem from Dawkins.I read it over and over to make sure I understand this guy correctly.

We are going to die, and that makes us the lucky ones. Most people are never going to die because they are never going to be born...

Dawkins has equated sperm cells with people.On the other hand,he regards a fetus as an incomplete human.

Stan said...

That's interesting. Thanks for the quote.

I looked it up to see what context there might be. The full quote is this:

"“We are going to die, and that makes us the lucky ones. Most people are never going to die because they are never going to be born. The potential people who could have been here in my place but who will in fact never see the light of day outnumber the sand grains of Arabia. Certainly those unborn ghosts include greater poets than Keats, scientists greater than Newton. We know this because the set of possible people allowed by our DNA so massively exceeds the set of actual people. In the teeth of these stupefying odds it is you and I, in our ordinariness, that are here.” ~ Richard Dawkins"

So he is actually referring to all the possible combinations of DNA, rather than sperm. That doesn't give him a walk, though, because "we are the lucky ones" who didn't get aborted by those who share his opinion that he can kill a human at stages and states he declares suitable for killing.

Stefani Monaghan said...

What strikes me as really rather pathetic is the way Dawkins, having stripped creation bare of sublimity, having reduced the universe and life to nothing but the laws of physics and chemistry, evolutionary mutation, and blind, random chance with no room or need for wonder, belatedly tries to recover a sense of awe.

"Poets greater than Keats"? "Scientists greater than Newton"? How about tyrants more despotic than Hitler?

How about, if it's all random and meaningless, who the hell cares one way or the other?