October 24, 2005

Richard Dawkins on Religion

A wonderful rant by Jeff Harrell at The Shape of Days:
The annoyance of just generally being an arrogant cocksucker
Richard Dawkins can lick my balls. Nominally an ethologist — a person who studies human behavior — Dawkins in recent years has turned himself into a sort of full-time, professional asshole. Back in the 70s and 80s, he wrote at length about some ideas that make decent metaphors but come nowhere close to being actual, literal truth; see his The Selfish Gene. Lately, he has somehow found a way to make a decent living by telling everybody how much smarter than us he is. For reasons passing my understanding, there are people out there who are still listening to him.

His most recent excretory function can be found in next month’s issue of Prospect magazine, a disgusting and intellectually dishonest article called "Opiate of the Masses." I quote from the first paragraph:
Gerin oil (or Geriniol to give it its scientific name) is a powerful drug which acts directly on the central nervous system to produce a range of characteristic symptoms, often of an antisocial or self- damaging nature. If administered chronically in childhood, Gerin oil can permanently modify the brain to produce adult disorders, including dangerous delusions which have proved very hard to treat. The four doomed flights of 11th September were, in a very real sense, Gerin oil trips: all 19 of the hijackers were high on the drug at the time. Historically, Geriniol intoxication was responsible for atrocities such as the Salem witch hunts and the massacres of native South Americans by conquistadores. Gerin oil fuelled most of the wars of the European middle ages and, in more recent times, the carnage that attended the partitioning of the Indian subcontinent and, on a smaller scale, Ireland.
The joke becomes clear if you observe that "geriniol" is an anagram for "religion." Dawkins’ column is nothing more than a snide, sarcastic, overbearingly superior thousand-word screed about the evils of religion in all its forms.

Not only is Dawkins’ article insulting in the extreme to people of faith, it’s insulting in its sheer laziness to people of mind as well. Dawkins refuses to draw distinctions between modern religions and medieval ones. To him, all religions are precisely equivalent. There is no difference between the Christianity of the 11th century, the fundamentalist Islam of today, and the Unitarians down the block who throw those nice pot-lucks every other Sunday night. They’re all just psychopaths, you see; they’re all murderers-in-waiting. To Dawkins, "Love thy neighbor as thyself" isn’t a commandment. It’s an infection.

One has to wonder, though, if Dawkins was even aware of the irony of his argument. By ascribing the evils of the murderers to religion, he’s implicitly excusing them. They’re not evil men, you see; they were just infected by a harmful idea. They would have been fine if not for evil, horrible religion. By attributing the evil in the world to an external force rather than holding people responsible for their actions, Dawkins is expressing a downright religious point of view. Instead of blaming Satan — "The devil made me do it!" — he’s blaming religion. Same bullshit, different angle.

I wish one of Richard Dawkins’ neighbors would invite him to go to church sometime. The boy could obviously use a little comfort, not to mention a king-sized dose of humility.
Perfect closing line... Dawkins jumped the shark a long long time ago. Posted by DaveH at October 24, 2005 11:15 PM
Post a comment

Remember personal info?