Richard Dawkins: Churchgoers enable fundamentalists by being ‘nice’

August 13, 2014

Because moderate Christians and Muslims are so pleasant people believe that religion is good, decent, ordinary churchgoers have helped enable religious fundamentalists to become suicide bombers by being “so nice” that people do not question their faiths, Richard Dawkins has argued.

Dawkins, the evolutionary scientist and outspoken atheist, said moderate Christian and Muslim believers had inadvertently paved the way for extremists by saying they had made non-evidence-based belief a “legitimate reason” for their behaviour, he claimed they have now helped “make the world safe” for fundamentalists to exist.

“It’s very important that we should not demonise ordinary, law-abiding, very decent Muslims which of course is the vast majority in this country, but what I do think about the difference, and let’s leave out Muslims specifically, but the difference between moderate religious people and extremist fundamentalists is that although of course it’s only a tiny minority of any sect which is ever going to get violent or horrible, there is a sense in which the moderate, nice religious people – nice Christians, nice Muslims – make the world safe for extremists, because the moderates are so nice we all are brought up with the idea that there’s something good about religion faith. That there’s something good about bringing children up to have a faith, which means to believe something without evidence and without the need for justifying it.” he said

Richard Dawkins attempts to shame Twitter after Bin Laden honey criticism

November 5, 2013

 

Richard Dawkins has responded to Twitter derision after his honey was confiscated at Edinburgh airport, condemning his critics for their unwillingness to believe his public-spiritedness.

He had pointed to the restriction as proof “Bin Laden has won”, slamming the “inflexible rule-bound airport security.” He tweeted “Of course I know the airport security rules. My point is those rules are stupid advertising displays of dundridge zeal. Bin Laden has won.”

He later sought to clarify his remarks, posting: “Do you idiots seriously think I give a damn about my stupid honey? It’s the PRINCIPLE I care about. Get it? Principle, not honey, principle.”

Dawkins’ blaming of Bin Laden proved most amusing with those the scientist labelled “the tweeting twerps” seizing upon the hash tag #TweetLikeRichardDawkins.

However Dawkins dismissed ideas that he was overreacting by comparing the confiscation of honey with terrorist atrocities, writing “aren’t our rule-merchants playing into Bin Laden’s dead hands by their futile displays of stable-door-shutting?”

 

The Independent: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/richard-dawkins-attempts-to-shame-twitter-after-bin-laden-honey-criticism-8922553.html

‘Sanctimonious little prigs’: Richard Dawkins wades into row as LSE atheist society ‘banned from wearing satirical Jesus and Prophet Mohamed T-shirts’

The London School of Economics is embroiled in an increasingly bitter fight over free speech, after members of its atheist society were forced to cover up satirical T-shirts depicting Jesus and Prophet Mohamed at a Freshers’ fair on Thursday. Security guards and SU officers threatened two representatives of LSESU Atheist, Secularist and Humanist Student society with expulsion after several students complained about the shirts, which featured characters from the popular “Jesus and Mo” web comic.

 

Abishek Phadnis and Chris Moos at first refused to remove their shirts, as well as certain literature, from their stall. They were eventually confronted by a representative of LSE’s legal and compliance team, and its head of security, and told that the T-shirts were creating an “offensive atmosphere” and could constitute “harassment” – and that they were not behaving in an “orderly or responsible manner”.

 

The two students complied, but in a subsequent written statement denied “in the strongest possible terms” that they were trying to harass other students. Adding that: “As much as we respect and defend the rights of others to wear whatever they choose to wear, we claim this right for ourselves. Our right to free expression and participation in the LSE student community is being curtailed for no other reason than that we are expressing views that are not shared by others.”

 

Jay Stoll LSESU’s general secretary hit back, insisting that the t-shirts had been “provocative”, and confirming that they’d received a number of complaints. Expressing the commitment of LSE to promoting freedom of expression and is known for its public events and wide range of speakers. In this instance, it was judged that the actions of the students were undermining what should have been a welcoming and inclusive event.

 

Stephen Evans, of the National Secular Society, said: “There is something very disturbing about the curtailing of free speech on university campuses simply on the grounds of claimed offence. Being offended from time to time is the price you pay for living in an open and free society. If any religion is off-limits for open debate we are in a very dangerous situation.”

 

Richard Dawkins waded into the row on Friday, describing the SU reps as “sanctimonious little prigs”. He tweeted: “I’m “offended” by backwards baseball caps, chewing gum, niqabs, “basically” and “awesome”. Quick, LSE Student Union, ban them all.”

Stephen Fry hits back at accusations of Islamophobia

Stephen Fry has spoken of his frustration at being labelled an “Islamophobe” for criticising the violent acts committed by some Islamists.

In a strongly worded blog post, the actor and comedian lamented that the “squeezed liberal finds himself in the position that he cannot criticise Islamofascism because it’s somehow ‘racist'”. He continued: “It is a topsy-turvy smothering of debate and an Orwellian denial of free speech to declare that speaking out against violence will cause violence.”

 

Fry decided to write the piece after attracting criticism for giving his support for the prominent atheist and evolutionary biologist Professor Richard Dawkins, a noted critic of Islam. In on online exchange last week, Fry said Prof Dawkins was justified in singling out Islam for more criticism than other religions, tweeting: “Wonder why. Oh, have a look around the world and see them slaughtering each other, let alone others. So charming to women too …”

 

Clarifying his views in a blog post titled “Am I an Islamophobe?” Fry wrote: “Do I hate Muslims? Absolutely not. Any more than I hate Christians. Or Jews, or Hindus, or anyone on account of their beliefs, or lack of them. I am simply not interested in laying into one religion or another. To me they are all as untrue as the next, which is the point and the only point of being an atheist.” Fry, 56, continued: “I am afraid of anyone who hates me and everything I stand for and wants me and the civilisation I grew up in destroyed.”

 

However, he added: “Do I believe that all Muslims want to see my civilisation destroyed? That they are all bombers in the making? Of course I don’t.”

Richard Dawkins criticised for Twitter comment about Muslims

The outspoken atheist Richard Dawkins was involved in an online Twitter row on Thursday after tweeting: “All the world’s Muslims have fewer Nobel Prizes than Trinity College, Cambridge. They did great things in the Middle Ages, though.”

 

As users piled in to criticise him, the scientist continued: “Why mention Muslim Nobels rather than any other group? Because we so often hear boasts about (a) their total numbers and (b) their science.”

 

However if one looks at what Dawkins is really saying, that Muslims as a unit throughout history have done nothing since the Middle Ages, and that is clearly attributable to their stupid religion, then one must point out that a Nobel prize is not by any means a suitable or universal enough criterion. It has only been going for a little more than a hundred years, the prizes it awards are for excellence in academic research which is far superior in western scientific and academic institutions due to the socioeconomic development of the West. Nesrine Malik for the guardian commented “The whole process of trying to parse the painfully obvious fallacy reminded me of the task of arguing against extremist Muslim clerics when they try to denigrate non-Muslims, the same momentary sense of helplessness and not knowing where to start. The same opinion with an agenda dressed up as fact. But one usually takes academics and scientists more seriously and tries to engage. With this latest salvo, I am afraid that we must consign Dawkins to this very same pile of the irrational and the dishonest.”

 

With the debate escalating, Dawkins, who has more than 777,000 followers, said: “Many are asking how many Nobels have been won by atheists. Needs research. I’d love to know. I suspect the proportion is v high, and growing.”

 

Owen Jones, the left-leaning commentator and author of Chavs, told Dawkins: “How dare you dress your bigotry up as atheism. You are now beyond an embarrassment.” Legal blogger Jack of Kent added: “Following @RichardDawkins tweet, Trinity Cambridge has presumably also produced more Soviet-supporting traitors to the UK than Islam.”

 

The row also drew in historian Tom Holland and Channel 4’s economics editor Faisal Islam who commented: “I thought scientists were meant to upbraid journalists for use of spurious data points to ‘prove’ existing prejudgements”.

 

@jptoc chipped in: “A similar (and infuriating for Dawkins) ‘fact’ is that Islam has more recipients of Nobel Prizes than Dawkins. It’s bad scientific method.”

 

But some users appeared more forgiving. @Chriss_m, said: “Dawkins spent the best part of 10 years attacking Christianity and not raising an eyebrow. He now turns that same eye on Islam and uproar.”

 

Trinity College, Cambridge, has 32 Nobel laureates, as against 10 Muslims listed in Wikipedia. When the Guardian contacted Dawkins by email to ask whether he was surprised by the uproar, he replied: “Prompted by exasperation at hearing boasts of (a) how numerous Muslims are in the world and (b) how great is their science.

 

Richard Dawkins, ‘Islamophobia’ and the atheist movement

This piece does not argue whether ‘Islamophobia’ is a valid term, but how atheists like Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins have been confused, inconsistent and blundering in their attempts to talk about Muslims. Sam Harris’ writings last month contained a retrospective clanger that very few people picked up on. In a recent article Harris attempted to deconstruct the idea of Islamophobia:

 

“[Islamophobia] is, an ‘irrational’ and ‘disproportionate’ and ‘unjustified’ focus on Muslims. But the only way that Muslims can reasonably be said to exist as a group is in terms of their adherence to the doctrine of Islam. There is no race of Muslims. They are not united by any physical traits or a diaspora. […] The only thing that defines the class of All Muslims – and the only thing that could make this group the possible target of anyone’s “irrational” fear, “disproportionate” focus, or “unjustified” criticism – is their adherence to a set of beliefs and the behaviours that these beliefs inspire. So ‘Islamophobia’ must be – it really can only be—an irrational, disproportionate, and unjustified fear of certain people, regardless of their ethnicity or any other accidental trait, because of what they believe and to the degree to which they believe it.”

 

Sam Harris who wrote in defense of profiling barely a year ago, an article in which he suggested: “We should profile Muslims, or anyone who looks like he or she could conceivably be Muslim, and we should be honest about it.” In response to an avalanche of criticism, he elaborated further: “To say that ethnicity, gender, age, nationality, dress, traveling companions, behaviour in the terminal, and other outward appearances offer no indication of a person’s beliefs or terrorist potential is either quite crazy or totally dishonest.” The author makes a point of showing the irony of this in that Muslims are the most racially diverse religious group in America.

 

Whatever you choose to call this phenomenon, it’s clear that there’s a line between criticism (and/or ridicule) of Islam, and bigotry against Muslims. Yet as the author describes, Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins have blundered into that line with an alarming degree of recklessness. None of that alters the point that inflammatory, irrational and blundering attacks by privileged white male atheists against Muslims of all stripes achieve little more than book sales.

Dawkins Attacks Muslim Schools

08.10.2011

Richard Dawkins, author of books on evolution and religion (“The God Delusion”) and noted atheist, has criticized Muslim faith schools for teaching their students “alien rubbish”, as they continue to ignore scientific evidence in favour of creationism. Drawing on material from the Times Educational Supplement, the Daily Mail and the BBC quote Dawkins as saying that he has concerns with all faith schools, but Muslim ones worried him the most, as their teaching is more likely to be influence by a religious agenda. According to the BBC, the Muslim Council of Britain and Muslims4UK have already responded to Dawkins’s allegations and stressed that it was important for faith schools to come to terms with evolution and modern-day findings and teach science to children.