Home » Culture » Prophet of Pointlessness sues Inventor of the Scarlet A

Prophet of Pointlessness sues Inventor of the Scarlet A

Richard Dawkins is known as the Prophet of Pointlessness because it was Dawkins who said: “[the universe] has precisely the properties we should expect if there is at bottom no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pointless indifference.”

Dawkins has something of a cult following and encourages his troops to wear a scarlet A on their chest. (the new scarlet A is for Atheist, whereas in Hawthorne’s book the scarlet A stood for Adulterer). This scarlet letter is often found on Gnu Atheist websites. The inventor of the new scarlet A, Josh Timonen, worked for Dawkins and is now being sued by Dawkins.

See: Dawkins Claims Employee Rolled Him
and Employee Complains

GLENDALE, Calif. (CN) – Evolutionary biologist and best-selling author Richard Dawkins claims an employee of his Foundation for Reason and Science embezzled $375,000 from the online store he ran for Dawkins’ charity, by claiming it made only $30,000 in 3 years.
Dawkins says he founded the charity to “support scientific education, critical thinking and evidence-based understanding of the natural world in the quest to overcome religious fundamentalism, superstition, intolerance and human suffering.”
Dawkins hired Josh Timonen in 2006 to run his website and produce videos for him, according to the Superior Court complaint. Timonen began working for the Foundation in 2007.

If Timonen is guilty, the scarlet letter A might be given new meaning.

HT: Matt Young, Abigail Smith

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15 Responses to Prophet of Pointlessness sues Inventor of the Scarlet A

  1. Interesting. IIRC, this Josh Timonen guy was the big villain at Dawkins’ website for most of the contributors to their message board. They didn’t like him one bit.

  2. If Timonen is guilty, the scarlet letter A might be given new meaning.

    The full complaint can be downloaded from this link: http://friendlyatheist.com/201.....n-lawsuit/

    *Proving* Timonen is guilty of not following an *oral* contract as *construed* by Dawkins will be quite another matter.

    I don’t see this ending well for anyone (well, except their lawyers).

    Dawkins’ filing suggested little in the way of evidence of the terms of that oral contract, which seemingly was for both the personal services of Timonen as well his SoCal production company (Upper Branch Productions), so the door seems open to both defendants to receive monies.

    Dawkins’ suit further acknowledges they were entitled to “net proceeds without setoff” and yet “net proceeds” implicitly are gross proceeds setoff by costs and expenses, which costs and expenses of media production in Southern California will be the subject of interpreting that *oral* agreement.

    Timonen ostensibly operated the website which apparently sold a steady stream of merchandise, yet there is no mention made of who was responsible for fulfilment. If Dawkins’ entities et. al. did the fulfilment and watched a stream of merchandise get shipped from their facilities without questioning the lack of return payment or records for same, then they may have a difficult time proving they mitigated their losses. OTOH if Timonen/UBP was responsible for fulfilment, then the costs of manufacture and shipping seem to have been born by him.

    I would imagine Timonen will be alleging *oral* conversations (and maybe have some emails) with Dawkins wherein Dawkins essentially says (hypothetically), “Josh you handle everything, I trust your judgement, and of course all reasonable expenses must be covered”.

    Admittedly some of the alleged expenses seem fraudulent, but what passes for “customary business” in the SoCal media industry is pretty diverse and Timonen may be comensurately creative, and absent written details or any paper trail from Dawkins side, Timonen’s lawyers likely will be taking Dawkins’ laywers to school.

    We’ve seen nothing yet in the way of the defense position.

    Dawkins’ best revenge will likely be to have alerted the IRS to Timonen’s bookkeeping anomalies.

  3. I forgot to add, suing Timonen for some $900K is likely fruitless even if Dawkins prevails. I doubt any of the defendants have anything close to $900K in attachable assets (banks having 1st liens on real estate and financed vehicles/equipment). But the legal expenses from a protracted fight will quickly approach that. I suspect Dawkins initiated suit over the advice of his counsel.

  4. scordova:

    Richard Dawkins is well known as the Prophet of Pointelessness

    Really? The only google references to this term are this blog and the book you’re plugging. (Although, from the spelling above I assume you also have a problem with ballet dancers.)

    Nice marketing ploy – congratulations!

  5. Even atheists know it’s wrong to take someone else’s stuff.

  6. I have no idea whether JT is lying, but wouldn’t it be neat if his defense was that he was directed to do things in a non-ethical ( although maybe not non-legal ) manner based on a combination of genes and environment and therefore should not be held responsible.

  7. So, Dawkins got scammed? By a fellow atheist?

    Bwahahahahaaa.

    Even atheists know it’s wrong to take someone else’s stuff.

    Apparently not, unless JT is a closet theist (or the charges prove untrue, of course).

    Well, one thing’s for certain: We know Dawkins won’t demand any sort of punishment for JT, right? I mean, that would be pointless. Like beating Basil Fawlty’s car.

  8. scordova,

    You got the Dawkins quote wrong. He doesn’t use the word ‘pointless’, the quote is actually:

    The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but blind pitiless indifference.

  9. And suddenly there was… purpose, good and evil.

  10. “Even atheists know it’s wrong to take someone else’s stuff.”

    Given how many of them are leftists: not so much.

  11. It is strange that an indifferent universe created human beings that design, have purpose, and are cognizant of good and evil.

  12. 12

    So Dawkins thinks his former assistant was under a moral obligation to be honest! Oh the irony.

  13. The lion steals the jackal’s kill. The jackal just moves on. No hard feelings. It’s just life. Why is Dawkins behaving differently?

  14. 14
    William Brookfield

    I was thinking that it was Steven Weinberg who was the “Prophet of Pointless.” Weinberg however attempted to redeem himself by claiming that “there are ways that we can invent a (tooth fairy) point for our pointless lives.” As I see it, Weinberg’s position is both untenable and morally irresponsible.

  15. JDH:I have no idea whether JT is lying, but wouldn’t it be neat if his defense was that he was directed to do things in a non-ethical ( although maybe not non-legal ) manner based on a combination of genes and environment and therefore should not be held responsible.

    And, really! how could Mr Dawkins possibly object to that?

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