Monday, April 22, 2013

Some thoughts about Dawkins' latest insertion of his mouth into his foot

Richard Dawkins has gotten caught suggesting that religious believers have such absurd beliefs that they oughtn't have respectable jobs. Of course, he has replied that it was all a misunderstanding, here.

Some thoughts;

  1. He clearly did say that the journalist should not have a job because of his theological beliefs. That is the worst sort of witch-hunt thinking. As in, gays can't be hired because they will recruit or atheists can't because they will undermine morality. But when Dawkins does it, it's in the service of truth.
  2. When he was called out for this, he claims that he must have been misunderstood. That is the classic non-apology.
  3. He claims to be fascinated by the fact that people can hold irrational beliefs in one area and not in others. Perhaps, then, he should read some of the vast psychological and cognitive science literature on this very topic, or think about the way logicians adopt non-standard logics because of this phenomenon. Except that might be too much like the science he claims to like but can't be bothered to do.
  4. He consistently confuses truth and rationality. Whether beliefs are rational or not is a different question to whether they are true. A belief set can be mostly false, but rational. Similarly, a belief set could be mostly true and irrational. He could learn about that, but it might be too difficult.
  5. If he really wants to call into question the contributions of religious believers, he might want to give up on the Big Bang, too, since it is the result of the work of a Belgian priest.
  6. He seems to believe that his belief set is both fully true and fully rational. Such self-congratulation is the very mark of the dogmatist, not the intellectual and certainly not the scientist.
  7. His foundation is called the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science. He has put what he cares most about front and center.

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