Home » Atheism, Books of interest, Darwinism » Puff ball interviews file: In Germany Richard Dawkins is considered a “scientist”

Puff ball interviews file: In Germany Richard Dawkins is considered a “scientist”

Here, der Spiegel gives Richard Dawkins the floor (03/02/2011), as his book, The Greatest Show on Earth is published in German:

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Has religion not been very successful in an evolutionary sense?Dawkins: The thought that human societies gained strength from religious memes in their competition with others is true to a certain extent. But it is more like an ecological struggle: It reminds me of the replacement of the red by the gray squirrel in Britain. That is not a natural selection process at all, it is an ecological succession. So when a tribe has a war-like god, when the young men are brought up with the thought that their destiny is to go out and fight as warriors and that a martyr’s death brings you straight to heaven, you see a set of powerful, mutually reinforcing memes at work. If the rival tribe has a peaceful god who believes in turning the other cheek, that might not prevail.

- “Interview with Scientist Richard Dawkins: ‘Religion? Reality Has a Grander Magic of its Own’”

It’s hard to tell exactly what Dawkins is trying to say here, but curiously, “a peaceful god who believes in turning the other cheek” was exactly what the early Christians preached and they went from being a persecuted people in the Roman empire to running the show in the course of about two and a half centuries. But your mileage may vary.

We also learn,

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Aren’t you afraid that some of these people might be alienated by the sometimes strong language in the book?Dawkins: What strong language do you mean?

SPIEGEL ONLINE: You call your opponents “Holocaust-deniers,” “ignorant,” “ridiculous” and “deluded to the point of perversity.”

Dawkins: My suspicion is that more people will find it amusing. If I read an author who is ridiculing some idiot, I myself am rather amused. There may be some who will be turned off and I will have lost them in those passages. But I suspect they’ll be outnumbered by those who are amused.

I suspect he is right, but none of that adds up to an argument, nor even heads in the direction of one.

Which reminds me, why is der Spiegel calling Dawkins  a “scientist”? When did he last do any actual science?

  • Delicious
  • Facebook
  • Reddit
  • StumbleUpon
  • Twitter
  • RSS Feed

11 Responses to Puff ball interviews file: In Germany Richard Dawkins is considered a “scientist”

  1. Dawkins states this, in Germany of all places???;

    ‘So when a tribe has a war-like god, when the young men are brought up with the thought that their destiny is to go out and fight as warriors,,,’

    yet from a Muslim source, no less, we find,,

    One of the most important Nazi ideologues, Alfred Rosenberg, thought that Christianity could not provide the spiritual energy needed by the new Germany being established by Hitler, and declared openly that the German people must return to their ancient pagan religion. ,,, One of the greatest roles in the development of the Nazi ideology was played by a thinker by the name of Jorg Lanz von Liebenfels. Lanz fervently believed in the ideas of Neo-Paganism. ,,, Lanz freely proclaimed that he worshiped Wotan, the imaginary “War God” of the ancient German people. He thought that the worship of Wotan was the true religion of the German people and that Germans could be saved only by returning to this religion.
    http://www.unionoffaiths.com/article_y13.html

    and Weikart meticulously points out that Darwinism provided the ‘scientific justification’ for Nazi atrocities;

    From Darwin to Hitler – Richard Weikart – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w_5EwYpLD6A

    Thus Dawkins embraces the two tiered attack, philosophical and ‘scientific’, on German thought that led Germany down her horrific path that brought world-wide calamity??? Dawkins clearly has no grasp of this truth; ‘ideas have consequences’

    Some people in Germany may consider Dawkins a ‘scientist’, but I consider him to be clearly a liar who is bent on deceptive propaganda, who could care less what the truth really is!;

    Richard Dawkins Lies About William Lane Craig AND Logic! – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t1cfqV2tuOI

    OT;

    William Lane Craig vs Lawrence Krauss; March 30 7:00 PM Eastern; Watch Live; This should be good!

    The Great Debate: NCSU
    http://www.thegreatdebatencsu.com

  2. The line questioning Dawkins as a scientist is a cheap shot. I assume it means “when did he last publish in the peer-reviewed experimental scientific literature?” Sometime in the early 80s, I think.

    But we could ask: When did Dr. Jonathan Wells last do any biological experiments? When did Dr. Dembski last publish in the mathematical literature? Yet it’s not wrong to refer to Dr. Wells as a biologist and Dr. Dembski as a mathematician.

  3. “The line questioning Dawkins as a scientist is a cheap shot.”

    Maybe not.

    Once a scientist, always a scientist?

    Is there a way to stop being a scientist once you become one?

    Questions abound.

    Andrew

  4. OT; Casey Luskin has a excellent summary level article up on ENV:

    A Positive, Testable Case for Intelligent Design
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....45311.html

  5. QuiteID at 2, Despite the difficulties, Wells does experiments and Dembski publishes. See the recent paper by Marks and Dembski.

    BRAK at 3, I think a person stops being a scientist when he stops practicing science. I’d stop being a writer – for all practical purposes -if I stopped writing. I’d like to know what Dawkins has done since the 1980s that is science as such.

    I am not the only person to have asked.

  6. SPIEGEL ONLINE: What are we going to see from you next?

    Dawkins: I am halfway through writing a children’s book which is called “The Magic of Reality.” Each chapter is a question like: What is an earthquake? What is a rainbow? What is the sun? Each chapter begins with a series of myths seemingly answering those questions, and then I counter that with explanations about the true nature of things. There is something very cheap about magic in the supernatural sense, like turning a frog into a prince with a magic wand. Reality has a grander, poetic magic of its own, which I hope I can get across.

    Here’s a question I’d like to see Dawkins include in his book for kiddies. “What is reality?” I’d love to see what contortions Dawkins would have to perform in order to keep the answer within the scope of the “true nature of things” without getting all metaphysical! He’s opened the box by wanting to put the word “reality” in the title.

  7. What actual science has Dawkins performed in the past 25 years or so? Good question. I haven’t checked on this lately, but if I recall, someone searched for Dawkins’s name to come up as an author of a peer reviewed scientific article on places like Pub Med and came up empty for anything recent. Might be worth checking that out again. Wouldn’t surprise me in the least if there is zip, zero, nada!

  8. For a while, there was a disclaimer at the main page of UncommonDescent, stating:

    One colleague recently claimed that Dawkins’s record of peer-reviewed publications leaves something to be desired. The confusion in this case was due to Dawkins early in his career using his first name “Clinton.” In fact, Dawkins has a respectable publication record. –WmAD

    So, if Dr. Dembski says that Richard Dawkins has a respectable publication record, that should confirm Dawkins’s position of being a scientist.

  9. I pity Richard Dawkins. The time will come for him to pass away. What will he think then, to what god will he pray at the last minute of his life? I shudder when I think of the likes of Dawkins. I wonder who will be amused reading what he wrote. His language puts him down in my estimation as a scientific debator.

    I also remember Stuart Kauffman who said somewhere that nature was “god enough” to him. Well, I wonder if nature can save them out of trouble at their last moment?

  10. At some specfic point, Mr. Dawkins must have made a decision to (more or less) stop doing science and become an atheism salesman. It would be interesting to find out what exactly motivated him to shift those terrible gears.

    Book deal maybe?

    I wouldn’t have done it, but that’s just me. ;)

    There’s a significant difference between someone who errs and someone who errs and then pushes others to do the same.

    Andrew

  11. DonaldM –

    What actual science has Dawkins performed in the past 25 years or so? Good question. I haven’t checked on this lately, but if I recall, someone searched for Dawkins’s name to come up as an author of a peer reviewed scientific article on places like Pub Med and came up empty for anything recent.

    I can understand the reluctance to investigate this. However, in fairness to Dawkins, Dr Dembski himself had the following to say after a colleague of his made a similar claim:

    One colleague recently claimed that Dawkins’s record of peer-reviewed publications leaves something to be desired. The confusion in this case was due to Dawkins early in his career using his first name “Clinton.” In fact, Dawkins has a respectable publication record. –WmAD

Leave a Reply