Thursday, March 29, 2007

The Dawkins Cult and Irish Irritation

The last time I was in Ireland a scientist took me aside and asked if I could stop Richard Dawkins coming here. Last night I began my lecture by saying I was not going to talk about Richard Dawkins. I heard cries of, 'Why not?' He seems to irritate the Irish. And I wake this morning to this comment from Kuala Lumpur Chris - 'Dawkins is morphing into a kind of atheist cult leader. I am certain Darwin would have despised him.' His evidence is this. Scary. The Pennsylvania Nonbelievers are an especially disturbing bunch. But take consolation from the fact that Daniel Dennett is to poetry what Jeffrey Archer is to the art of the novel.


  1. Clever people are always an irritation to those who disagree with them. The Irish are no more vexed by Dawkins than any other group. But it is hardly surprising the Jesuits are not overly fond of the fellow. I'm sure Dawkins cringes at the antics of some of his admirers. I daresay you have some demented, crackpots on your team, Bryan. It is best to just ignore them. Unless, of course, they are turning up at every book signing and looking increasingly dishevelled and wild-eyed. Or are camped outside your house. Or found to be rummaging through your rubbish. Or getting plastic surgery to look like you. That kind of thing would be noteworthy. But a few dodgy poems and some infatuated housewives? Par for the course, I would have thought.

  2. I'm reminded of AA Gill's amusing observation:

    "Dawkins is a born-again Darwinist, an atheist, so why is he devoting so much blood pressure and time to arguing with something he knows doesn’t exist? If it’s not there, Richard, why do you keep shouting at it?"

    Some of Dawkins's award-winning clear-thinking would be well employed sorting out the migraine-inducing mess of his 'Clear-Thinking Oasis'.

    You should email him the details of your designer, Bryan.

  3. In the existential experience of consciousness atheism would seem to consist of a voice in the head saying "There is no God." Perhaps the inner conversation could continue,
    "There is no God."
    "What you mean?"
    "There is no God."
    "No what?"
    "No God."
    "What's God?"
    "Emmm. a kind of Absolute Consciousness from which life emanates."
    "And what about this God?"
    "He doesn't exist."
    "What are you telling me about him for so?"
    "Just to let you know."
    "Know what?"
    "This is all meaningless."
    "Oh fuck off, you idiot. I've better things to be doing. Like hunting for magic mushrooms for starters. Remind me never to go tripping with you.""

  4. Dawkins is irritating to many athiests as well, including me. Which is sad, for especially here in the US it would be nice to have some good public advocates. He is the anti-advocate, someone who worsens the image of the cause for which he advocates. He's to atheism what Ted Haggard is to evangelical Christianity - an embodiment of the negative stereotypes that others have of us.

  5. I fully agree, Duck. While I admire Dawkins in many ways, it is high time he seriously considered just leaving the scene. The man has done all he can do and, as you suggest, he is now in danger of becoming a liability. He has stared into the abyss for far too long. He should get back to his day-job and promote reason (before he loses his own).

  6. As an Irish person, I can say that Dawkins is not an irritation here, quite the contrary - many people worship him, and think he may even be the Messiah.

  7. Johnny posted
    "Richard, why do you keep shouting at it?"

    Probably because credophiles, like Kara Neumann's parents, are still out there killing their children through the ignorance of "faith".

    Garry Scholey.

  8. Sigh ... three years on and nothing has improved! The dotty professor is still indulging his personality cult and jumping up and down screaming "Look at me!" at every opportunity, just like Hitchens. Rational? No. Bigots? Definitely.