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Dawkinism for the Clueless Dawkinites: Part 4 Why are people so unkind?

October 31, 2009

Dawkinism for the Clueless Dawkinites: Part 4 Why are people so unkind?

 

Rhetorical question for the day: Why are the Dawkinites so ‘mean’?

 

Of course being rhetorical I failed to establish the presumption in my question. Are they ‘mean’? All of them? That is an impossible question to answer and therefore my first rhetorical question has no validity. However, I can ask whether Dawkins himself is ‘

However, I can ask whether Dawkins himself is ‘mean’ and whether Dawkinism, as a result, is just as ‘mean’.

 

When it comes to Richard Dawkins he presents the media image of the calming intellectual who uses reason to defeat his enemies. On television, he remains composed and not subject bursts of anger. Yet in his writing, there is a different attitude. His language is laced with emotional keywords and provocative adjectives.

“It is evil to describe a child as a Muslim child or a Christian child. I think labeling children is child abuse and I think there is a very heavy issue, for example, about teaching about hell and torturing their minds with hell.”

“Evil? Child abuse? Torturing their minds?” Very emotional indeed.

 

And perhaps his most famous quote:

“The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it, a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.”

Okay, the above may be great reading for a sky punching anti-religious rally from the Soviet Union but it is hardly what you expect from Professor of the Oxford University Fraternity.

I confess that I had to look up ‘filicidal’. I leave it to others to dissect how he using his own moral standards to judge other people’s moral standards. Other than to say that it is not a line of argument that Dawkins would allow against his own pontifications. He describes religion as a ‘virus’ (like a disease) and the ‘root of all evil’ (using his personal definition of evil).

 

The obvious problem is how quickly he resorts to smug dismissals and ‘straw man’ arguments to make his case. Selectively quoting biblical passages may impress high school graduates or an angry talkback listener but they show a complete lack of in-depth knowledge. Context and full quotes seem to not matter to people who use these methods because they are looking for a guilty verdict and by Dawkins they will find it. Here he is on the same shaky ground as people who claim that the Koran order Muslins to murder Christians and those that claim that the Brava Gita encourages attaching elephant heads onto human bodies. There is only one kind of religion described in Dawkinism because they are all equally as bad as each other.

 

In one of his more triumphant moments, he borrows from John Lennon’s song ‘Imagine’. “Imagine there are no suicide bombers.” This I found to be a particularly vulgar and baseless accusation. Dawkins is either does not know that the origins of the modern suicide bomber came from the secular terrorist organization of the LTTE (Liberation Tamil Tigers of Eelam) or he is willing to lie through his teeth. I will be kind and assume that he did not do his homework.

 

Yet the effect he is trying to achieve is the same. He wants people to fear and even hate religion for being religion. To a Dawkinite religion equals suicide bombers. He also wants people to accept his argument that once religion is wiped from the planet we will all ‘Live as One’.

 

The Big Why?

When you read Dawkins anti-religious diatribes you get the impression that he is a person who is completely out of his depth. However, you also get the impression that he is not aiming to capture the scholars in philosophy or theology. Instead, we have an easily digestible collection of jibes, insults, and accusations to be used as quotes in public clashes. Why would someone who is capable of being rational and scientific in one area of his professional life suddenly act like a political muckraker in another?

Why would someone who is capable of being rational and scientific in one area of his professional life suddenly act like a political muckraker in another?

 

Dawkinism, is not science and Richard Dawkins’ new career as professional Sage to Atheists is run like a political campaign. Dawkins is not acting as a scientist when he rages out bitterly. He is acting just like a politician with a pocket full of sound bites for the media. His stated goal of ‘ridding the world of religion’ is a political one. The target audiences for Dawkinism are people who respond to emotional tirades, rather than scholarly papers. Though Dawkinites may deny their lack of knowledge about what they hate, many do little more than quote his books and regurgitate the same bible passages that he has selected for them.

 

Rationalism and Wedge Politics

Wedge politics is perhaps the ugliest form that there is, but Dawkinism wallows in the divide and conquer mentality. The term ‘religious bigotry’ seems to be something that is excusable if you are a Dawkinite. Thus there is no sense of religious tolerance in Dawkinism because what they are hunting is the ‘root of all evil’. Dawkinism, has armed these people with lists of insults; convinced them that religion is ‘child abuse’; encouraged bitter anger and a paranoia that they are under siege and discriminated against. This is the perfect world that Dawkinism is offering: Anger, Fear and Hate. And all in the name of science? Hardly, because this not science. This is rationalism.

 

It is saddening to watch people poisoned with hate (just because Dawkins says it is okay to hate), but it is also consoling that he only appeals to a tiny minority of Dawkinites. Still, we must reframe the argument away from responding to Dawkins’ taunts to what he is actually doing. To call his campaign science is a delusion. We should get it straight in our own minds that Dawkins is a political activist in the middle of a dirty campaign of smear and innuendo. As such, he should not be unfairly given an elevated level of respect for being a scientist. He should be given the same respect that you would give any other vitriolic activist that engages in wedge politics: No more and no less.

 

Better that we all honest and treat him like the unelected politician that he is.

Then have him lay out his policy and defend that.

Everything else is just hot air.

And in answer to my original question: Why is Dawkins so ‘mean’? Tactics.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. October 31, 2009 11:09 pm

    That’s right soldier, keep fighting the good fight!

    Like

    • November 1, 2009 7:11 am

      Fakegod

      Thanks for your comments.

      BTW.
      I am not solder.
      Just a person expressing a personal point of view.
      That is all.

      Like

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