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Don’t be a dick, Dick

September 8, 2010

This week I endured the TV programme called The God Delusion, fronted by Richard Dawkins and apparently made by sticking together bits and pieces filmed for another TV series and also while writing his book of the same name.

To be blunt and honest, it was hard work. There were several occasions when I wanted to turn it off and walk away. For a man of science, who talks eloquently and with infectious enthusiasm about evolution, this was a barrage of arrogance and opinion coupled together with clips of extremism to prove his point.

On more than one occasion Mr Dawkins would put forward the opinion that religion is not just harmless superstition but an actively wicked belief system. He would then roll out an embarrassing extremist to prove his point.

If I was to say that the whole of the medical field and study was evil because some doctors has done atrocious things, even systematically killing elderly patients and called for the study and practice of medicine to be eradicated on that basis. I would be committing a logical fallacy and would rightly be called out on it. Ditto if I tried to make the same argument about animal rights, just because some animal rights extremists perform idiotic and downright malicious cruelty, it does not mean that campaigning for better treatment for animals is a bad and evil thing.

So how come the good Dr is allowed to get away with labelling religion as wicked or evil based on the actions of a select bunch of nut jobs? A phrase involving babies and bathwater springs to mind.

Mr Dawkins is right, there have been some shocking atrocities done in the name of religion. There is no justification for them and those responsible should be punished or made to account. There should be no special treatment because of religiousness. There is nothing wrong with making this point and there were times when I utterly agreed with his conclusion on the people he talked to, and at times he was fair to them.

However, his verbal dismissing of religion sounded similar to some of the arguments he was doing his utmost to belittle “xxx is bad and wicked because of such and such” this is the quality of argument I expect from my primary school daughter and her friends.

The only difference I could make out in the arguments was that Mr Dawkins aimed for the high moral ground because the people featured condoned violence to others while he doesn’t. All this was achieved with his characteristic smug and abrasive manor that quite frankly rubs me the wrong way. Being right is not a licence to be rude and dismissive.

If this programme was an accurate portrayal of the tone of his book, then I am glad I didn’t waste any money on it.

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3 Comments
  1. Richard Hopkins permalink

    Dawkins is a religious extremist. Like all extremists, he can’t see it. He believes that there is no god wholeheartedly, just as other extremists believe in other their Christian, Islamic or other gods. He simply can’t see another point of view, and as a result will criticise everyone who disagrees with him.

    He is incapable of accepting that he may be wrong, however his argument falls on one simple statement.

    Just because it is impossible to prove the existence of something, does not mean it does not exist.

    I can’t personally prove the existence of atoms, and neither could anyone before science progressed far enough. That doesn’t mean that they didn’t exist.

    Religions need to move with the times, and get rid of those rules which are quite blatantly wrong now. And extremest need to chill out and show a little tolerance – certainly until someone can actually prove who was right.

  2. Yep, I’d certainly class him as an extremist. Though there are many that go much further than him in their intollerance of unprovable belief.

    The thing is, he does have some very good and valid points to make. If he could only make them in a less arrogant mannor, he’d have more of an impact.

    Last night I watched the poragramme where he challenges dowsing, scientology and other mystical beliefs. It was a much less confrontational programme. Its as though he has this thing about organised religion where he just has to be a dick.

    Which reminds me. During the God Delusion progtramme, he quoted someone else as saying “there will always be good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things, but for good people to do evil, what is needed is religion.” I’d say that that is wrong, the last word should be extreemism, not religion.

    What Dawkins doesn’t see is that his anti-relgion extremism is only going to create more religious extremism.

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  1. Maybe Sometimes its Good to be a Dick « A limey's ramblings

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