Archive for August 15th, 2013

Richard Dawkins is Right

August 15, 2013
English: Richard Dawkins giving a lecture base...

Right for once (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I never thought I would write that sentence. Well, I imagine that he is right about many things in his field of expertise, evolutionary biology. It is when he abandons his field to become a spokesman for atheism that I think he is often very wrong. Still, I have to give him credit for courage for his infamous tweet about Muslim scientific accomplishments, and of course, I think he is right. It is easy enough to bash Christians. Bashing Muslims could get you killed. Here is the story as told by the Guardian.

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.”

His other posts included: “You can attack someone for his opinion. But for simply stating an intriguing fact? Who would guess that a single Cambridge College” and “Muslims aren’t a race. What they have in common is a religion. Rather than Trinity, would you prefer the comparison with Jews? Google it.”

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.

“This prompted the thought that if they are all THAT numerous, shouldn’t they have more to show for it in terms of achievement? The comparison with Trinity Cambridge I judged less offensive to Muslims than the even more dramatic comparison with Jews (who have garnered an ASTOUNDINGLY large number of Nobel Prizes).”

He continued: “Am I surprised? Only at the number of people who seem to think Islam is a race, rather than a religion. I regard that view as racist. Anything you can convert to, or convert from, is NOT a race.

Dawkins has previously been involved in acrimonious Twitter exchanges over Muslim journalist Mehdi Hasan, prompting Owen Jones to comment “If atheism means being bigoted about Muslims or wanting to drive people of faith from public life, then I am not an atheist.”

Dawkins is obviously thinking more clearly than his detractors. Of course Muslims do not constitute a race. These people are panicking and throwing whatever they can at Dawkins and hoping it sticks.

Actually, I am not sure whether I would give the Muslims, as such, much credit for any scientific accomplishments during the middle ages. When the armies of Islam burst forth from the Arabian peninsula, their first waves of conquest included most of what we now call the Middle East. This region includes Egypt and Mesopotamia, the sites of two of the oldest civilizations in the world and both prosperous and advanced regions. It should be no surprise that the momentum continued for several centuries. Also, many of the scholars and scientists of the Arab Empire were Christians, Jews, or heterodox Muslims, including the sect of the Mutazilites. As the people ruled by the Arabs converted more and more to Islam and the societies became more Islamized, scientific progress slowed and then stopped. These days, the Middle East is one of the poorest and most backward regions in the world. This is a testimony of the influence of 1300 years of Islamic rule.

The thing that bothers me about people like Dawkins, though, is that they are determined to erase the influence of Christianity in the West. You can’t fight something with nothing and thoroughly secularized societies, like Western Europe seem to be increasingly unable to defend themselves against their enemies. They don’t even seem to want to reproduce. If Dawkins is concerned about the growing influence of Islam in Britain and the West, perhaps he ought to encourage belief in Christianity, or something. As it is, I fear he is unwittingly helping the enemies of civilization.

 

Advertisements

In Enemy Occupied Territory

August 15, 2013

Lately, for perhaps the last five or so years, I have had the oddest feeling that I have been living in a country occupied by an implacable enemy bent on demoralizing and fundamentally changing this country as much as possible. It’s silly, I know, but Sarah Hoyt has been having somewhat similar thoughts.

We’ve talked about this before, but in fact, I don’t think there has ever been a country like ours, where our elites are deliberately taught – in our best schools – to hate and despise everything that we are, everything that makes us unique.  I don’t think there has ever been another country where our elites are taught to be ashamed to call themselves by our national name.

Or rather, there have been countries like that – but they were countries who’d lost a war, and where the governing elite were in fact puppets of their erstwhile enemy, sent in to utterly destroy what the country used to be and to make sure that it did not rise again and (maybe) next time win the war.

Did we lose the cold war?  Well, of course not.  Of course we didn’t. The Sov Union fell apart.  Their internal economy was a shambles – communism does that – and they are suffering the fate of the defeated in a material and obvious way.  The name for prostitute in most of Europe (and the Arab countries) is Natasha. Their population is crashing.  Their men are dying of alcoholism and internally they are being taken over by a hostile minority.  Ignore the invasion of Georgia, those are the spasms of the dying bear.  It’s inevitable, in material terms to be aware that when it comes to the si devant Sov union  the applicable Latin phrase is Vae Victis.

But here’s the thing – long before communism had lost the cold war, it had won the propaganda war.

Part of this was their saber rattling and the craven and raw nature of our intellectual classes.  Craven because they know themselves to be weak.  Dueling with your mind might be an exciting sport – it is, I know, I do it – but it avails nothing when confronted by thugs with hobnail boots.  Most of those who labor in the vineyard of words find themselves utterly naked and defenseless in even the most minor physical confrontation.  (Note, I said most, not all.  I would not advise you to pick a fight with most of Baen.  Even myself and Dave Freer who are relatively mild put bite into any fight – he, because he’s a devious bastage and I say that in the most profound affection [if I ever govern anything he’ll be my secretary of dirty tricks.  The man has no bounds.] and I because I’m built like a tank and I berserk.)  So they both turn coward – and justify it in big words – by cleaving to the people they think are going to invade and kick their butts.  Now it’s Islam, but once upon a time it was communism; and they glorify and have a sort of hard on for violent sorts.  Hence, their worship of that despicable, blood tinged psychopath, Che.

And they were really scared of communism.  It also made sense in their minds – communism, I mean – as it can only make sense in the minds of people who live in the sheltered world of academia or the irrational world of art.  And so… they turned.

Now many of these people, from the president on down seem to be running things. I wonder again, where do all of these people who seem to hate their own country really come from? Why do they have such hatred for one of the freest and most prosperous countries the world has ever known while idolizing the cruelest, most blood thirsty tyrants. Are they really cowards, or simply fools? Maybe there should be some sort of psychological study done of this phenomena.

 


%d bloggers like this: