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Expelled from Expelled!

1) Interview PZ Myers and Richard Dawkins for your creationist propaganda under false pretences
2) Prevent PZ from going to see a pre-showing of your lies
3) Let Richard Dawkins in
4) ...
5) Profit!

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( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
heron61
Mar. 21st, 2008 06:56 am (UTC)
I think Dawkins is deeply annoying in many ways and that many of his ideas (primarily those not directly connected to bioligy, such as memetics) are utter junk, but that's absolutely marvelous and utterly perfect.
tempter
Mar. 22nd, 2008 05:34 pm (UTC)
See, I've heard about people not liking Dawkins, but I adore him. He's a huge jerk a lot of the time, but mostly to people whose ideologies I dislike pretty strongly.

I don't know that I'd say I've found any of his ideas to be junk, though. I don't think he's written about memes outside of The Selfish Gene (correct me if I'm wrong), but I have the impression he intended it less as a scientifically rigorous model and more as a novel idea to think about social trends.
heron61
Mar. 22nd, 2008 07:16 pm (UTC)
While he might have come up with it as an interesting metaphor, he's shown no inclination to object to people like Daniel Dennet using it as an actual theory of mind, an idea that I find to be utterly ludicrious and indefensible. Also, from my PoV, Dawkins is either an idiot or a liar. I've heard him claim that his various denuncations of religion are an attempt to discredit it and convince people to embrace atheism. While I'm all for making organized religion a hobby with the same membership and political power as stamp collecting, all his various rants do is make people who already agree with him feel good and annoy almost everyone else. He uses bombastic and condescending rhetoric of the sort that convinces no one. So, from my PoV, all he's doing with such efforts is self-agrandizement.

I enjoy hearing someone piss on the fundys as much as anyone else who loathes them, but those sort of tactics are far more likely to generate sympathy and not distain for them, at least from anyone not already convinced that Dawkins is correct.
mindstalk
Mar. 22nd, 2008 07:33 pm (UTC)
"all his various rants do is make people who already agree with him feel good and annoy almost everyone else."

How do you know?
heron61
Mar. 22nd, 2008 08:31 pm (UTC)
Basic psychology and rhetoric. Mocking and dismissing people is a great way of polarizing an audience and does an excellent job solidifying opposition against you. It's also sometimes a great deal of fun. However, unless speaking to a crowd of supporters who are already at least mostly convinced of the worth of the cause you espouse, it's not remotely helpful. It's also a tactic Dawkins frequently uses.
mindstalk
Mar. 22nd, 2008 09:03 pm (UTC)
See, while he may sometimes do this, it's not the impression I generally got from reading his books. And he rarely measures up in vitriol to the old firebrand atheists like Voltaire, I think.
heron61
Mar. 22nd, 2008 10:59 pm (UTC)
I've only read parts of some of his books and a few essays. Where I have seen most of his mockery is in interviews and speeches. I've seen and heard a number of his interviews and speeches where his entire point was denigrating and dismissing both religion and religious people. Given that recordings of these forms the general public's primary association with him and his ideas, I see no good and many problems coming from him doing this.
mindstalk
Mar. 22nd, 2008 07:32 pm (UTC)
Yeah, Dawkins is awesome. Great biology writing. And while I think the concept of 'memetics' as an applied science is overblown (Transhuman Space and Orion's Arm, I'm looking at you) terminology for "psychology", the basic point-of-view of 'meme' was right on.
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )

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