Delusions about Dawkins

Richard Dawkins certainly does seem to upset some people. In a note in The Daily Star Tom Sears calls Dawkins a “maniacal, irrational fool” and a “self-absorbed megalomaniac.” Sears reveals the motive for his language in his claim that Dawkins “is just one of many who will resort to any means of insult, character assassination, snideness and lies to discredit those who have the nerve to question the myth of Darwinism’s invincibility.”

On the other hand the novelist Christopher Brookmyre dedicated his recently published book Attack of the Unsinkable Rubber Ducks to James Randi and Richard Dawkins. Reacting to criticism of the dedication he wrote:

“Suddenly divested of my inhibiting preconceptions regarding the impenetrability of science writing, I dipped my toes into Dawkins and found myself exhilarated. I am constantly bemused to see him depicted as “Darwin’s Rottweiler” and described as an aggressive polemicist; what engages me about Dawkins’ writing is its joy, passion and boyish excitement, its infectious desire to include and to illuminate. Sure, I also enjoy his waspish humour, but it is always allied to warmth and compassion, and when he deploys his weaponry, it is in defence of something he cherishes which we should all wish to protect.

Thus moved, excited and inspired, I wanted to dramatise this struggle between the open-minded inquiry of science and the infantile self-indulgence of those who believe that open-mindedness involves attributing an equivalency to solid evidence and notions that ‘we just like’.”

I have just finished reading Richard Dawkins’ book Unweaving the Rainbow: Science, Delusion and the Appetite for Wonder. I think Brookmyre gives a more accurate (and honest) description of Dawkins than does Sears.

Related Articles:
Why do we believe?
The Enemies of Reason
Richard Dawkins and the enemies of reason
Debating science and religion
Putting Dawkins in his place
“I’m an atheist, but ……”
Can science enrich faith?

2 responses to “Delusions about Dawkins

  1. My guess is that most who rail against Dawkins, Harris, Hitchens, and Dennett have not read their targets! I find the same true of those who attempt to attack Darwin – they cannot have actually read his work to hold the opinions they express.


  2. I agree – it is easy to take up a position without really knowing the facts. In my post Putting Dawkins in his place I describe how I was guilty of this myself with respect to Dawkins.
    It strikes me, though, that this is particularly the case with religious critics. I can’t help feeling that it’s something to do with a traditional religious concentration on argument and “logic” to derive positions, rather than empirical information characteristic of the more scientific approach. This lack of concern with evidence seems to be central to theology, for example.


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