Lispian Random meanderings on whatever catches my fancy

Anti-Religious Tourette’s

Probably the best description of what most irritates me about Dawkins is his constant harping on his dislike of religion. Randy Olson in his review of Dawkins’ latest endeavour points out how bad it has become, asking “But in the end, you have to wonder why Dawkins wastes so much time trying to argue with creationists. We all know that creationists are not rational thinkers. They are driven by beliefs, not by logic.

There is some kind of deep rooted hatred or anger that drives Dawkins. He seems incapble of accepting that someone can believe in evolution and God. He also ends up being massively condescending, which turns way too many people off. And his either-or stance re: God and evolution is simply absurd. Not everyone is as smart as Dawkins, but making them feel stupid isn’t the answer to getting them to see your point of view. In fact, taking an absurdist either-or stance drives those on the fence towards the absolutist religious fundamentalists, losing entire generations in the process! It’s the worst thing that can be done. Especially in a democracy where those now deluded, irrational creationists will demand their “theory” supplant science and scientific theories in the classroom!

He seems to want to convert creationists, but for the most part it’s probably a wasted effort. Instead, I have to wonder why he has to be so antagonistic towards anyone who believes in religion. That turns off those that wish to believe in God but also wish to believe in the advances of science. “Implying that your audience is stupid …” does nothing to get those who have faith to believe in your message. And as Dawkins well knows, many scientists believe in God. They aren’t all stupid, yet Dawkins’ stance proclaims them thus … though the evidence shows his stance to be grounded in sand.

But do go read the review. It’s well stated. Well stated enough to make me want to read some of Olson’s books. In the end, Olson’s best statement is one that Dawkins should take to heart:

Though Dawkins says from the outset, “This is not an anti-religious book”, he can’t help but knock religion throughout, For instance, he writes: “God, to repeat this point, which ought to be obvious, but isn’t, never made a tiny wing in his eternal life.” Young Earth creationists are, he writes, “deluded to the point of perversity”. You get the sense that Dawkins just can’t control it. It’s as if he suffers from an anti-religious form of Tourette’s syndrome.

And that final sentence  better defines what aggravates me about Dawkins and his ilk than anything I’ve ever read by anyone. Even when he doesn’t want to go on about it, he does. I wish he’d just go back to focusing on the science. Those that are steadfast in their refusal to believe in the science are a lost cause. Arguing with a fool only makes you the bigger fool.

Unfortunately, because of Dawkins decline into anti-religious zealotry I’m disinclined to buy or read any of his post The God Delusion books. His case of anti-religious Tourette’s is just too much to handle. Simply too distracting. Pity.

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September 2009
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