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Sunday, November 04, 2012

Richard Dawkins on US politics

Keep in mind, this is the same keen political observer who fell for Sam Harris's ridiculous Red State argument because he didn't know that American states are divided into counties:
If anyone is in doubt that Dawkins is a staunch liberal, take a quick look at his Twitter feed. On it, he describes Mitt Romney as an “awful Republican,” and — this might sound familiar — disdains every Republican candidate and president since Eisenhower. He constantly, almost obsessively, retweets Barack Obama’s campaign missives. He approvingly quotes Obama’s infamous line about those who “cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them” and contrasts it favorably with Romney’s NRA membership, which he characterizes thus: “No dang libruls gonna take away mah constitootional raht to carry a gun. Pow! Bang! Weehaaar! Good shoot’n pardner.” Indeed, so partisan is the man that he even entertained the absurd dual conspiracy theories that Bush cheated in his debates with a radio (it’s “undeniable,” apparently) and Romney with a handkerchief in his.

This is a shame, but it is not a surprise. I’ve very much enjoyed Dawkins’s books on science, biology, and evolution, and I enjoyed The God Delusion, too. The lattermost, however, made it clear that whatever genius Richard Dawkins has for science does not extend into politics or current affairs. (His passage on how to set up the “ideal society” is one of the most excrutiatingly infantile things I’ve read.) If anybody could profit from Thomas Sowell’s advice that experts should stay in their fields, it is Richard Dawkins.

On the lecture circuit, Dawkins likes to explain to his audiences that faith corrupts thinking people. Alas, his love affair with Barack Obama appears to have proven him correct.
Charles Cooke fails to follow the logic to its obvious conclusion.  Richard Dawkins does not possess any genius at all.  I've read his books on science, biology, and evolution too, and while I find him to be a generally engaging writer, I find his reasoning to be ever bit as abysmally bad with regards to science, biology, and evolution as it is to US politics.  Keep in mind that of the two "scientific" concepts for which he is most famous, there is no material evidence for the one and the other is looking increasingly dubious.

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43 Comments:

Anonymous David Of One November 04, 2012 10:12 AM  

Richard had a little bit to say a couple of days ...

http://www.scotsman.com/news/arts/there-s-no-god-and-islam-is-evil-speech-earns-richard-dawkins-ovation-from-islanders-1-2612951

I somehow expect a speedboat of ragheads to attack the island. While I do not share much of what Mr. Dawkins espouses ... I would defend his right to speak and his head.

I have to think that he would support a closet muslim just so as not to sound like he supports Christians or Republicans. It wouldn't surprise me if he is libertarian at heart.

Anonymous Apeman November 04, 2012 10:18 AM  

I was following you until you said libertarian at heart. I would guess socialist in the fine tradition of British atheists before him.

Anonymous David Of One November 04, 2012 10:22 AM  

My last sentence was a digg to some of the ilk ... he is socialist and recognizes the threat of radical islam. I was being snide.

Blogger Taylor Kessinger November 04, 2012 10:41 AM  

I've read his books on science, biology, and evolution too, and while I find him to be a generally engaging writer, I find his reasoning to be ever bit as bysmally bad with regards to science, biology, and evolution as it is to US politics.

Well, thank goodness glorious leader Vox Day, mastermind of biology, ruled in on this one for us.

Anonymous harry12 November 04, 2012 10:43 AM  

.
But... But he has credentials!

( And probably tenure. )
.

Anonymous harry12 November 04, 2012 10:44 AM  

.
I was referencing Herr Dawkins.
.

Anonymous David November 04, 2012 10:45 AM  

I do think it is entirely possible someone was feeding answers to Bush in the second and third debate in 2004. All indications were that he was drugged up on prescription medications during much of his presidency.

But I see no reason why Romney has to have notes in a handkerchief, many politicians carry notes on stage.

Blogger Claudio November 04, 2012 10:52 AM  

I still don't know how Vox is so sure of a Rmey victory this election. Don't all electoral votes projections point to another four years of Bam Bam?

Anonymous VD November 04, 2012 11:09 AM  

Well, thank goodness glorious leader Vox Day, mastermind of biology, ruled in on this one for us.

How much does a meme weigh, Taylor? And what is the metric by which the altruism of genes are scientifically measured?

Don't all electoral votes projections point to another four years of Bam Bam?

No. See the other post.

Anonymous Cryan Ryan November 04, 2012 11:15 AM  

Years ago, while hunting mule deer with Dad, toting a 30-30 lever action rifle, a buck jumped out of the bushes and I nailed im with 5 shots through the ribcage.

Dad at first assumed someone near us was shooting a semi- auto rifle, and when he saw what had happened ...I believe his exact words were ...

"Pow! Bang! Weehaaar! Good shoot’n pardner."

hee hee

Anonymous Shild November 04, 2012 11:20 AM  

He approvingly quotes Obama’s infamous line about those who “cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them” and contrasts it favorably with Romney’s NRA membership, which he characterizes thus: “No dang libruls gonna take away mah constitootional raht to carry a gun. Pow! Bang! Weehaaar! Good shoot’n pardner.”

Well, it's a good thing Dawkins doesn't have antipathy to people who aren't like him. Above all that, he is.

Blogger Bob Wallace November 04, 2012 11:51 AM  

Stephen Jay Gould was exposed as a fraud after he was safely dead. The same thing will happen to Dawkins.

Anonymous VryeDenker November 04, 2012 11:52 AM  

I find it amusing how everyone has an opinion on US politics. Even those who have no clue what they're talking about. What makes Dawkins slightly better than the rest is that he has actually visited the US a few times, unlike so many other foreigners who hopped on the Hope-train.

Anonymous VryeDenker November 04, 2012 11:54 AM  

...ALthough IU doubt he's ever met any Americans who weren't devout darwinian cultists who came to bask in his radiance.

Anonymous Stickwick November 04, 2012 12:23 PM  

Well, thank goodness glorious leader Vox Day, mastermind of biology, ruled in on this one for us.

Dawkins writes popular-level books about science. Are they strictly intended for non-thinking consumption by benighted laypeople or is the presumption that he expects reasonably intelligent non-experts to engage their critical thinking skills in order to weigh the arguments he presents therein?

Anonymous Crude November 04, 2012 12:30 PM  

There's something Dawkins and Obama have in common. They're two guys who have discovered that most people can't tell the difference between very high intelligence/intellectual brilliance, and being an entertaining writer.

It took EO Wilson, of all people, to point out that Dawkins isn't even a scientist. In a perverse way, he's a scientist the way Einstein was a patent office clerk: it's actually something he used to do, but gave up to pursue his true calling.

Blogger Astrosmith November 04, 2012 12:30 PM  

William Lane Craig has released some children's books. Perhaps Dawkins can understand those?

Anonymous Crude November 04, 2012 12:32 PM  

I should clarify, entertaining writer/speaker. Obama's not known for his brilliant writing, as far as I know.

Blogger vandelay November 04, 2012 12:53 PM  

Obama's not known for his brilliant writing, as far as I know.

I definitely wouldn't call Dreams from My Father brilliant, though you can tell its author would differ. It's badly overwritten, but it's also very honestly written for someone with such big ambitions. So it's useful for getting you inside Obama's head. He's a complete narcissist of course, but also very introverted. It's an odd mix.

Anonymous Stickwick November 04, 2012 12:56 PM  

I should clarify, entertaining writer/speaker. Obama's not known for his brilliant writing, as far as I know.

Obama is apparently known for Bill Ayers' writing, brilliant or otherwise. As for the entertainment value of his speaking, the claim is that he has an engaging speaking style, but that's only when he's prompted or coached. His off-the-teleprompter bumbling is cringe-inducing. Dawkins has the edge here, because he at least composes his own material and is capable of speaking extemporaneously.

Anonymous Crude November 04, 2012 1:33 PM  

Yeah, I forgot to stipulate the teleprompter aspect. Still, in whatever conditions, he was able to produce these stirring speeches that various people ate up, and people confuse that for amazing brilliance. It drives me nuts, especially when the teleprompter thing is included.

I could picture that on a final exam in a psychology course. For 50% of the test grade, you have to watch a video. It's a Mister Ed kind of thing, this horse who's moving his mouth and dubbed giving a very eloquent condemnation of animal treatment, the racing industry, the use of horses in circuses and as transportation, etc. The students have to grade, on a scale of 1 to 10, how intelligent the horse is.

Any student who does anything but circle 1 and write "He's a ****ing horse!" gets a 0 for that part of the exam.

Anonymous Idle Spectator November 04, 2012 3:52 PM  

I could picture that on a final exam in a psychology course. For 50% of the test grade, you have to watch a video. It's a Mister Ed kind of thing, this horse who's moving his mouth and dubbed giving a very eloquent condemnation of animal treatment, the racing industry

Did you just compare Obama to a horse, because you think they should both be working on a farm? I am shocked and appalled.


William Lane Craig has released some children's books. Perhaps Dawkins can understand those?

The combination of science and children's books here really has inspired me. Plus the mean nastiness of insulting multiculturalism. I should write another one like I did with Curious George Visits Vox Popoli. Maybe the title should be Atoms Love Diversity or something.


"Look at all those little atoms. Even though it is the smallest atom, Hydrogen is still mighty and has a big, big heart in the center with it's nucleus."

//flips page

"Hydrogen atoms are very diverse. In many diverse forms, and also, pairing with many other diverse atoms like oxygen and carbon."

//flips page

"Noble Gases like Helium, Xenon, and Radon, are mean, nasty atoms that do not like diversity. They stay with their own kind. Because of that, they are always sad and all alone."

//flips page

"As you can see on the Periodic Table, the Noble Gases are isolated off to the right. Diversity is the way things should be done."


Something like that. I'm doing my part! I need colorful illustrations with electrons and chemical reactions. Gotta get those kids early, you know?

Anonymous The other skeptic November 04, 2012 4:42 PM  

I wonder if Dawkins also dislikes the radical transgenderism meme that seems to be starting ...

It could be fun.

Anonymous Andy November 04, 2012 5:30 PM  

Dawkins is a c;(t. He is the product of the backbiting snobbish superior clique who run oxbridge. And much like PZ Myers rambles on about how great science is whilst not being very successful at it.

He cannot get over being so clever but being worthless, a plumber earns more than your average lecturer in the UK. A fact I find always brings a smile to my face.

Anonymous Gerd November 04, 2012 6:10 PM  

I do not believe i have ever read anything that Richard Dawkins has written. However, his ridicule of an NRA member is enough to keep me away from anything he has ever produced. And, in this instance, i decline to defend his right to say anything. Pound sand Dawkins!!

Anonymous scoobius dubious November 04, 2012 6:13 PM  

Do you actually mean to tell me that people read books that were written by Richard Dawkins?

If you've really got that much free time on your hands, I have some yard-work and some light filing that needs to be done, and I pay a fair wage. Give me a shout.



Blogger The Deuce November 04, 2012 7:44 PM  

I assume one of the two "scientific" concepts you're referring to is the meme. Not only is there no evidence for it, there couldn't possibly be, because the meme concept isn't a product of science at all, but is rather incoherent philosophy.

Anonymous kh123 November 04, 2012 8:46 PM  

This from the man who, if I remember correctly, thinks the photoreceptors in human eyes should face forward, rather than the "back-to-front" that they apparently are. Which a qualified ophthalmologist pointed out would render one blind the moment they stepped out in sunlight or stood in front of a camera flash.

Thank God nothing mechanical or medicinal relies on the genius of Imam Dickey D.

Blogger LP 999/Eliza November 04, 2012 9:00 PM  

Who would listen to Dawkins on public policy or politics anyways? Perhaps I could liken this to Sarah Silverman doing Logic 101 or pro life talking points.

Just noticed: "Vampire Squid Cultist", too funny.

Anonymous DoobieDoobieDoo November 04, 2012 10:08 PM  

Richard Dawkins next book should be titled: "Befuddled: Conversations with myself". Because you know, for a Bright, he's not all that bright.

Anonymous kh123 November 04, 2012 11:21 PM  

Bob;

"Stephen Jay Gould was exposed as a fraud after he was safely dead."

Just curious what you've heard on that front.

Anonymous L.W. Dickel November 05, 2012 2:40 AM  

Chuck Norris's wife recently stated that there will be a thousand years of darkness if Obama is reelected.

Just in case there are some "undecided's" on this blog I thought you might want to twirl that bit of conservative genius around in your deluded Jesus brains.

Although I hear that Kirk Cameron is expecting no more than 500 years of darkness.

So you may still have some deciding to do.

Anonymous FrankNorman November 05, 2012 3:07 AM  

What business does Dawkins, a UK citizen, have telling the Americans who they should vote for?

Anonymous Shild November 05, 2012 3:28 AM  

Chuck Norris's wife recently stated that there will be a thousand years of darkness if Obama is reelected.

Just in case there are some "undecided's" on this blog I thought you might want to twirl that bit of conservative genius around in your deluded Jesus brains.

Although I hear that Kirk Cameron is expecting no more than 500 years of darkness.

So you may still have some deciding to do


You're in the wrong place, son. Pat Robertson's website is here. Your trolling may have some impact there.

Anonymous scoobius dubious November 05, 2012 3:29 AM  

"I thought you might want to twirl that bit of conservative genius around in your deluded Jesus brains."

Pffft.

Smug liberal is smug.

Tell me more, Edward Teller.

Anonymous L.W. Dickel November 05, 2012 5:41 AM  

Thanks for the link to Pat Robertson's website.

The level of intellectual discourse actually went up a couple of points from the donkeyshit on this blog.

And Pat does have quite the hard-on for Jesus!

Anonymous Porky! November 05, 2012 8:14 AM  

Hi L.W. Dickel. You are special. :)

Anonymous Stickwick November 05, 2012 9:05 AM  

Hi L.W. Dickel. You are special. :)

He's even better than that, he's handi-capable!

Blogger Taylor Kessinger November 05, 2012 10:40 AM  

Stephen Jay Gould was exposed as a fraud after he was safely dead. The same thing will happen to Dawkins.

That's quite the hefty accusation. Care to back it up?

How much does a meme weigh, Taylor?

Five pounds, but I had to use a pretty esoteric version of string theory to calculate that. Don't put too much stock in it.

Anonymous Tom O. November 05, 2012 12:18 PM  

That's quite the hefty accusation. Care to back it up?

Go to any of the AI-friendly transhumanist blogs on the Tubes and search for editorials regarding Stephen Jay Gould. The general consensus is that he was a useful idiot for fighting the creationists but was otherwise a shallow intellectual.

Blogger Taylor Kessinger November 05, 2012 12:47 PM  

Well, "a shallow intellectual" pretty much describes all the so-called "New Atheists", except for maybe Harris and Stenger. I'm asking for evidence that he was a fraud.

Anonymous Tom O. November 05, 2012 1:10 PM  

I'm asking for evidence that he was a fraud.

Okay then.

The fraudulent work of Dr. Gould can most clearly be seen in how he cooked the data for The Mismeasure of Man . Dr. Gould cherry-picked data with respects to Native American skulls in order to reach a preconceived conclusion regarding physiological egalitarianism among the races.

While most modern anthropologists agree that these skull differences are due to climate adaptions, and not due to intellect, it does show that not only was Dr. Gould insecure in his beliefs, but also valued his own feelings more than scientific data.

Source: http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2011/06/gould-morton-revisited/

Blogger Taylor Kessinger November 05, 2012 8:40 PM  

Thank you.

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