Josh Timonen was one of a small coterie of young protégés around Richard Dawkins, sharing his boss's zealous atheism. But now he and the evolutionary theorist have fallen out spectacularly. Professor Dawkins's charity has accused Mr Timonen of embezzling hundreds of thousands of pounds. The two atheists had become close in recent years, with Dawkins, the best-selling author and Emeritus Professor of Biology at Oxford University, even dedicating his latest book, The Greatest Show on Earth, to him. But Mr Timonen and the Dawkins foundation are now preparing for a legal wrangle.With the exception of the hapless Sam Harris, atheists repeatedly insist that despite having no externally imposed morality, there is no reason for them to behave worse than those who do possess a morality imposed upon them by their gods. And yet, again and again, we see that their moral behavior, (as measured by the theistic systems in which they do not believe), is completely dependent upon the circumstances in which they find themselves and the temptations they face.
The Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science, has filed four lawsuits in a Californian court alleging that Mr Timonen, who ran its online operation in America, stole $375,000 (£239,000) over three years. It is claiming $950,000 in damages, while Mr Dawkins is suing him for $14,000 owed to him personally.
In the same way that an atheist leader with sufficient power is more likely than not to murder at least 20,000 people, we now know that atheist charities, (if I recall Dawkins's claims correctly, the foundation for Reason and Science was the first explicitly atheist charity in Britain), are one for one in corruption. But I suppose that's what happens when you turn yourself into the godless version of a big-haired televangelist.