Hilarious attack on Dawkins

This article by Melanie Phillips about the recent atheist convention in Australia is hilarious not because she has a stinging wit or sharp tongue, but rather because it’s just…just so silly.

LIKE revivalists from an alternative universe, 2500 hardcore believers in the absence of religion packed into the Global Atheists Convention in Melbourne last weekend to give a hero’s welcome to the high priest of belief in unbelief, Richard Dawkins.

This reminds me of when Christopher Maloney went about spamming the Internet, calling PZ Myers a “Reverend” (complete with quotation marks for some reason). The difference here is that Phillips is aware of the irony of her term “high priest” (Maloney didn’t seem to know who PZ was at all). But with the normal flea-ish weakness of the rest of her post, she may actually think she’s made some grand point.

This was even after (or perhaps because) he referred to the Pope as a Nazi, which managed to combine defamation of the pontiff with implicit Holocaust denial.

Dawkins called Pope Pious XII, not the current pope, a Nazi. (Although he could have said the same of the current pope – it would be disingenuous, but accurate. At any rate, he said it of a past pope – and the lack of action on the part of the Catholic Church in WW2 should not be ignored.)

For someone who has made a career out of telling everyone how much more tolerant the world would be if only religion were obliterated from the human psyche, Dawkins manages to appear remarkably intolerant towards anyone who disagrees with him.

It’s sad that so many people seem unable to tell the difference between non-acceptance and intolerance. How is Dawkins suppressing others views? How is he making it harder to practice religion (other than through argumentation)? What restrictions is he placing upon anyone’s beliefs?

While he was writing about the “selfish gene” and the “blind watchmaker”, he received a respectful reception even from those who might have disagreed with him but were nevertheless impressed by the imaginative brio and dazzling fluency of his argument. But then he left biology behind and became the self-appointed universal crusader against God.

So Dawkins stopped writing about science and biology in 1986? He hasn’t written multiple other books, made several science DVDs, been on who knows how many panels, explained the basis of biology countless times, or recently written a book on the evidence for evolution? Is the 2006 publication of The God Delusion retroactive? I’m not sure why Phillips would want to say wrong things.

He became the apostle of scientism, the ideology that says everything in the universe has a materialist explanation and must answer to the rules of empirical scientific evidence

The former is called naturalism, the latter a strawman.

As for Dawkins’s claim that religion is responsible for the ills of the world, this is demonstrably a wild distortion. Some of the worst horrors in human history – the French revolutionary terror, Nazism, communism – have been atheist creeds.

First, the possessive apostrophe needs not that extra “s”. Second, what part of atheism leads to such varied histories? Why is atheism the same as capitalism and socialism? I don’t understand this argument.

And although terrible things indeed have been done in the name of religion, the fact remains that Christianity and the Hebrew Bible form the foundation stone of Western civilisation and its great cause of human equality and freedom.

Except for all those nasty misogynistic bits. Oh, and all the parts about slavery and other minor jazz like that.

Just why is he so angry and why does he hate religion so much? After all, as many religious scientists can attest, science and religion are – contrary to his claim – not incompatible at all.

Oh. People can think things are compatible? It must be true.

A clue lies in his insistence that a principal reason for believing that there could be no intelligence behind the origin of life is that the alternative – God – is unthinkable.

That piece of crap Expelled movie ends with an interview where Dawkins bends over backwards to say, yes, aliens could have done it. And he goes to length in numerous other places to spell out that some divine creator could be at work. But to go further with these possibilities, he asks for evidence. He’s a real stickler about that stuff.

And so the great paradox is that the arch-hater of religious intolerance himself behaves with the zeal of a religious fundamentalist and, despite excoriating religion for stifling debate, does this in spades.

…what? Dawkins does not argue that religion stifles debate. The debate is about religion. It might stifle scientific discussion because it is an antithetical distraction, but where are all these arguments Phillips keeps attributing to Dawkins?

I don’t understand why someone would want to lie like this. Why isn’t Phillips honest? Why does she make things up? Is she doing it for fun? Does she hate honesty? Does she think of herself as clever? Why would she think that? Is she on some sort of medication? I don’t understand how people come to think the sort of string of words people like Phillips put together is worthwhile.