Knocking Dawkins
Post Reply
 
Thread Rating:
  • 0 Votes - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
27-08-2012, 10:52 PM
Knocking Dawkins
During the Christmas break of 1991, some channel-hopping left me watching something called the Royal Institution Lectures. It is an annual event, where selected lecturers give a series of talks on a subject that interests them. On this occasion, it was someone I'd never heard of: Richard Dawkins.

The lectures are aimed at giving an awareness to the layman and the audience includes a large number of children. I watched this Dawkins guy explain about evolution and I was gripped from beginning to end.

Now... I don't know about anyone else, but evolution was always something that I accepted without fully understanding how it worked. Much as, in a post-apocalyptic world, I would be completely unable to create a television, even though the basic concept is something that I understand. The depth of my knowledge just isn't there.

When the lectures ended, I took a trip to a local bookshop (remember the days before Amazon?) and bought The Selfish Gene and The Blind Watchmaker. I didn't get The Extended Phenotype (and I never have gotten around to getting that).

Reading The Selfish Gene was a moment of awakening for me. Never has a single book changed the way that I looked at the world. That simple fact has remained true ever since. I went from accepting evolution to actually understanding how it worked. I mean, there are still some uncertainties, but what is understood is understood robustly.

Over the years (especially when encountering an American audience), Dawkins took repeated criticism from Creationists. It was that, above everything else, that made him push towards what would eventually become The God Delusion. I didn't like that book, so much. Not because I didn't agree with it, but because it didn't contain anything new (to me) which hadn't already been exhausted (at length) in places like alt.atheism.

More recently, I've encountered people who happily bash Dawkins. Including atheists who somehow feel as if Dawkins' increasing-antagonism is unrepresentative about how they feel about religion. Dawkins, after all, just goes too far.

With my long-standing respect for him as an evolutionary-biologist, I resent the disdain that is felt towards Dawkins by those who (loosely) hold the same view and are fighting the same fight.

Similarly, at a social anthropology lecture last year, the lecturer mentioned memes a couple of times. Each time, he added (rather unnecessarily) that he hated Dawkins. He asked if anyone in the lecture hall knew what a meme was. I looked around, waiting for someone to respond (because, as a mature student, I do my best not to impinge too much on the youngsters) and nobody replied. I stuck my hand up and told him that a meme was an idea/thought that survived and was replicated, much as a gene. I then felt like telling him that he could refer to memes without dissing Dawkins, much as he could refer to Communism without dissing Marx.

But hey ho.

Basically, I wanted to defend the guy. I mean, I'm not convinced that he'd be amongst my first choices as a dinner-party guest, but there's really no need to dislike a scientist who has done so much when it comes to presenting evolution to those who didn't (previously) have the information easily to hand.
Visit this user's website Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 2 users Like Red Celt's post
28-08-2012, 06:57 AM
RE: Knocking Dawkins
And...... we're off!

Shackle their minds when they're bent on the cross
When ignorance reigns, life is lost
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
28-08-2012, 07:03 AM
RE: Knocking Dawkins
Wait... is this deja vu? Or have I just travelled back in time?

[Image: opforum1.png]
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
28-08-2012, 07:12 AM
RE: Knocking Dawkins
(27-08-2012 10:52 PM)Red Celt Wrote:  During the Christmas break of 1991, some channel-hopping left me watching something called the Royal Institution Lectures. It is an annual event, where selected lecturers give a series of talks on a subject that interests them. On this occasion, it was someone I'd never heard of: Richard Dawkins.

The lectures are aimed at giving an awareness to the layman and the audience includes a large number of children. I watched this Dawkins guy explain about evolution and I was gripped from beginning to end.

Now... I don't know about anyone else, but evolution was always something that I accepted without fully understanding how it worked. Much as, in a post-apocalyptic world, I would be completely unable to create a television, even though the basic concept is something that I understand. The depth of my knowledge just isn't there.

When the lectures ended, I took a trip to a local bookshop (remember the days before Amazon?) and bought The Selfish Gene and The Blind Watchmaker. I didn't get The Extended Phenotype (and I never have gotten around to getting that).

Reading The Selfish Gene was a moment of awakening for me. Never has a single book changed the way that I looked at the world. That simple fact has remained true ever since. I went from accepting evolution to actually understanding how it worked. I mean, there are still some uncertainties, but what is understood is understood robustly.

Over the years (especially when encountering an American audience), Dawkins took repeated criticism from Creationists. It was that, above everything else, that made him push towards what would eventually become The God Delusion. I didn't like that book, so much. Not because I didn't agree with it, but because it didn't contain anything new (to me) which hadn't already been exhausted (at length) in places like alt.atheism.

More recently, I've encountered people who happily bash Dawkins. Including atheists who somehow feel as if Dawkins' increasing-antagonism is unrepresentative about how they feel about religion. Dawkins, after all, just goes too far.

With my long-standing respect for him as an evolutionary-biologist, I resent the disdain that is felt towards Dawkins by those who (loosely) hold the same view and are fighting the same fight.

Similarly, at a social anthropology lecture last year, the lecturer mentioned memes a couple of times. Each time, he added (rather unnecessarily) that he hated Dawkins. He asked if anyone in the lecture hall knew what a meme was. I looked around, waiting for someone to respond (because, as a mature student, I do my best not to impinge too much on the youngsters) and nobody replied. I stuck my hand up and told him that a meme was an idea/thought that survived and was replicated, much as a gene. I then felt like telling him that he could refer to memes without dissing Dawkins, much as he could refer to Communism without dissing Marx.

But hey ho.

Basically, I wanted to defend the guy. I mean, I'm not convinced that he'd be amongst my first choices as a dinner-party guest, but there's really no need to dislike a scientist who has done so much when it comes to presenting evolution to those who didn't (previously) have the information easily to hand.

He would absolutely top my list of dinner guests.Thumbsup

I have found people seem to react to his tone, not his substance. I like his tone.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
[Image: flagstiny%206.gif]
Visit this user's website Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes Chas's post
28-08-2012, 07:20 AM
RE: Knocking Dawkins
I'm impressed by his social science opinions but he can't do biology for shit!

Piece of lovely apathy
DLJ

Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 4 users Like DLJ's post
28-08-2012, 07:51 AM
RE: Knocking Dawkins
Buncha fucking trolls. Big Grin

I'm thinking he's more of the drinks at the pub kinda guy than dinner guest kinda guy. Thumbsup

[Image: klingon_zps7e68578a.jpg]
Visit this user's website Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
28-08-2012, 07:53 AM
RE: Knocking Dawkins
(28-08-2012 07:51 AM)houseofcantor Wrote:  Buncha fucking trolls. Big Grin

I'm thinking he's more of the drinks at the pub kinda guy than dinner guest kinda guy. Thumbsup

I'm sure he has impeccable table manners.Yes

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
[Image: flagstiny%206.gif]
Visit this user's website Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
28-08-2012, 07:57 AM
RE: Knocking Dawkins
(28-08-2012 07:53 AM)Chas Wrote:  
(28-08-2012 07:51 AM)houseofcantor Wrote:  Buncha fucking trolls. Big Grin

I'm thinking he's more of the drinks at the pub kinda guy than dinner guest kinda guy. Thumbsup

I'm sure he has impeccable table manners.Yes

Yabut, we know his casual conversation. Neutral ground plus alcohol, see what's really going on in that skull of his. Big Grin

[Image: klingon_zps7e68578a.jpg]
Visit this user's website Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 2 users Like houseofcantor's post
28-08-2012, 08:01 AM
RE: Knocking Dawkins
Last night, I re-read the first half of The God Delusion and can find nothing particularly objectionable. There are a few places where his word choice is stronger than I would have chosen, but no 'naive social science' has appeared.

Quote:Those people who leap from personal bafflement at a natural phenomenon straight to a hasty invocation of the supernatural are no better than the fools who see a conjuror bending a spoon and leap to the conclusion that it is 'paranormal'.

I think his use of the word 'fools' here is, while true, too strong for the argument and is a bit off-putting. I think this sort of thing is what people find objectionable in hos tone and style.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
[Image: flagstiny%206.gif]
Visit this user's website Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes Chas's post
28-08-2012, 09:01 AM
RE: Knocking Dawkins
That's the only problem I actually have with Dawkins. He is often too blunt, though the same could be said about Hitchens.

[Image: Untitled-2.png?_subject_uid=322943157&am...Y7Dzq4lJog]
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes Logica Humano's post
Post Reply
Forum Jump: