Monday, May 14, 2007

Dawkins in the Papers Again

There is another flurry of publicity over Dawkins’ The God Delusion in the run up to the paperback release on 21st May. I’m quite surprised the publishers haven’t held it back given the hardback is still selling by the shed load.

The main point of interest is a rather unrepentant new foreword where Dawkins’ largely fails to answer his critics. He claims, for instance, that he addressed fundamentalist religion because that is the normal sort. This is no defence, of course, because he also specifically attacked liberal religious thinkers and tolerant atheists as a Trojan horse and appeasers. If he really cared so much about fundamentalism, he would have written a book aimed at helping mainstream believers conquer it. Instead, he comes across as someone who heartily approves of fundamentalists as people who make his job of attacking all religious ideas easier.

William Rees Mogg says much the same things as me here.

Meanwhile, Christine Odone had the misfortune of sitting next to Dawkins at a dinner party. He bit her head off for suggesting that she’d shoot the last surviving elephant to save a human baby. This proves conclusively (if the anecdote is accurate) that Dawkins’ really is utterly nuts. We have other words to describe people who would stand by as a wild animal killed an innocent child, but I’ll let you work them out for yourselves.

A rather more serious topic is covered by Anjana Ahuja is her regular science column for the Times. It is about fraud in scientific papers and more specifically, that raw data is rarely checked.

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