Friday, January 13, 2006

The Root of all Evil pt1

A while ago I blogged a post about one of my very favourite public figures, the very balanced and profoundly humane (I know because he says so) Professor Richard Dawkins.

He was on telly again this week, explaining why religion is the cause of, well, pretty much everything that is bad in the world. He’ll be on again next week comparing religion to a deadly virus.

That is the same Richard Dawkins who refuses to participate in debates with creationists because doing so would give them the "oxygen of respectability" that they want with the public.

However, because I’m not like Richard Dawkins I actually sat through his programme and listened to what he had to say, even though I don’t agree with him.

There wasn’t anything particularly new on offer – just the usual blend of whoppers, semi-whoppers, non-sequiters and unscientific leaps into Social Darwinism. At one point, and the smug grin on his face showed he thought he was being really clever, he tried to wind-up a Christian fundamentalist by comparing his services to a Nuremberg Rally. The fundamentalist was clearly familiar with Godwin’s Law, let the crack pass and suggested that Dawkins, just possibly, was suffering from intellectual arrogance. No amount of post editing could disguise the fact that Dawkins was losing that one.

Even though this was familiar ground one thing really bugged me, as it always does. Dawkins steadfastly refuses to acknowledge the political basis of supposed fanatical terrorism. Forget the fact that research has shown that the majority of suicide bombings around the world are secular; forget the fact that a lot of Muslims are fucked off because we are occupying their lands. Nope, according to Dawkins, it’s all down to religion.

Which suggests to me that Dawkins is a unpleasant man who has no compulsion with misrepresenting the deaths of literally millions to support his pet thesis.

And, as such, he is a leading spokesman for the machine that is busily fucking over our world and the people in it.

Dawkins current TV show is a small part of a complete media package designed to distract as many people as possible from the reality of who’s doing what to who in the world right now and, most importantly, why.

Right now, the trial of Islamic cleric Abu Hamza is receiving lavish amounts of airtime. Apparently he has said lots of naughty things about the West. I can’t be 100% sure if that’s true because the media has taken to reporting two or three word Hamza sound bites, givem out of context, rather than quoting him in full. Hamza certainly looks like a nutcase but I am mindful of the treatment recently given to the Iranian president’s comment that Israel should be ‘wiped from the map’. Taken in context it was clear that he was referring to Israel as a political entity. The media however gleefully misrepresented his comment as a call to erase everyone living in Israel.

Not the same the thing.

Actually, I can even think of a few orthodox Jewish groups that, rightly or wrongly, agree with him.


de said...

Dawkins seems to recognise no boudary between his theoretical work and shooting the breeze with his mates over a few bevvies.

As with George Galloway on Big Brother, I can't see him gaining any serious respect from the curious. He should stick to Evolution, but I guess its too dull on TV.

Iranian threats probably don't keep Israelis up at night. Arabian and Persian leaders do from time to time do the "Push Israel into the sea" speech. Its usually for internal consumption.

Liam said...


I haven't seen the program so can't comment on it, but this bit..

"That is the same Richard Dawkins who refuses to participate in debates with creationists because doing so would give them the "oxygen of respectability" that they want with the public."

is a fair comment. Creationism is supposed to be based on scientific evidence, but it's plainly rubbish from closer than 100 yards with your eyes closed.

I've debated with them on the BBC boards, and it's fingers in ears singing lalala every time you point out the errors in their argument.

To give them any credibility however acidental or misplaced it may be is just adding fuel to their fire. Same goes for IDers. Same points, but with God subtly replaced with an indeterminate designer. They mean God of course, but that turns it back into a religious viewpoint, and that would disqualify it from being taught in a US school. That's the only reason ID exists in the first place.