Richard Dawkins is lost for words on radio!
Posted on February 21st, 2012
ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â The item on Richard Dawkins posted by this writer on Lankaweb (Monday, 20 February) appears to have generated some interest and discussion within the Lankaweb fraternity and outside.
ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â While choosing to ignore some of the anticipated vitriolic attacks from those who think we all evolved from slime (without having had access to all the facts), the writer is obliged to inform two major relevant developments relating to Richard Dawkins that took place during the past week : one relates to Dawkins familyÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¾Ã‚Â¢s past as slave owners in Jamaica, and another relating to the unravelling of Dawkins on the BBC Today programme of 13 Feb.
ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â The 20 February article contained a few paragraph that outlined the racist angle inherentÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â in the so-called ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒâ€¹Ã…â€œtheoryÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¾Ã‚Â¢ of evolution as well as the racist attidudes of Charles Darwin himself. Also the writer speculated as to whether DawkinsÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¾Ã‚Â¢ own upbringing in colonial outsposts would have enticed him to the racist theory of evolution.
ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â The writer was unaware during the writing of that article that there had been startling revelations by Adam Lusher of The British newspaper Sunday Telegraph that Richard DawkinsÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¾Ã‚Â¢ ancestor Henry Dawkins had been the owner of 1,013 slaves in Jamaica (said to be worth ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â£40,736 at the time) until his death in 1744. Links with slavery continue down the family tree and in 1796 another ancestor, James Dawkins, is reported to have campaigned against William Wilberforce’s ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â plans to abolish the slave trade.
ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â In 2010 Dawkins had spoken of how his father inherited the family estate of 400 acres near Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire (of which Dawkins is currently the director), without mentioning as to how his bloodline had made their fortune.
ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒâ€¹Ã…â€œReparations for SlaveryÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¾Ã‚Â¢ campaigners are now calling on Dawkins to pay reparations for past crimes against humanity, prompting Dawkins to announce that: ‘The estate is now a very small farm, struggling to make its way and is worth peanuts!’
ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â The second incident relates to one of DawkinsÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¾Ã‚Â¢ virulent attacks (on Christians) during a radio interview backfiring: Rev Giles Fraser the, former canon of LondonÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¾Ã‚Â¢s St PaulÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¾Ã‚Â¢s cathedral was debating him on some statistics (produced by DawkinsÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¾Ã‚Â¢ think tank the ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒâ€¹Ã…â€œFoundation for Reason and ScienceÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¾Ã‚Â¢), which purport to show that most British people who identify themselves as Christian, are ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒâ€¦Ã¢â‚¬Å“overwhelmingly secularÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â in their attitudes on issues ranging from gay rights to religion in public life. Dawkins erroneously concludes that these self-identified Christians are ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒâ€¦Ã¢â‚¬Å“not really Christian at allÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â.
ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â Dawkins, as usual, attempted to ridicule such Christians during the interview by claiming that an ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒâ€¦Ã¢â‚¬Å“astonishing number [of Christians] couldnÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¾Ã‚Â¢t identify the first book in the New TestamentÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â.
ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â The transcript of the next minute of the debate is likely to go down in history as an unforgettable minute of live radio ever:
ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â Fraser: Richard, if I said to you what is the full title of The Origin Of Species, IÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¾Ã‚Â¢m sure you could tell me that.
Dawkins: Yes I could.
Fraser: Go on then.
Dawkins: On the Origin of SpeciesÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¦UhÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¦With, oh, God, On the Origin of Species. There is a sub-title with respect to the preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life.
ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â These two events demonstrate, firstly, that DawkinsÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¾Ã‚Â¢ strident support of Charles Darwin and his extremely feeble ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒâ€¹Ã…â€œtheoryÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¾Ã‚Â¢ of evolution, like the support Darwin received from the British colonial government and Queen Victoria, is based on his own background of being a great beneficiary of colonialism and racism, and secondly, his only modus operandi of virulently attacking people with opinions different to his own is a thin veneer that hides his own inadequacies: previously he was ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒâ€¹Ã…â€œundoneÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¾Ã‚Â¢ by the Australian ABC journalist Andrew Denton on his Enough Rope ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œ Elders program of 21 December 2009.
ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â The great objection this writer has to Richard Dawkins is his lack of respect for othersÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¾Ã‚Â¢ beliefs and views especially of those who are less confrontational, and his fraudulent attempts to raise his own standing by diminishing the views of others.
ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â As a person with no vested interest in safeguarding any particular faith, this writer is of the opinion that human civilisation, including those who do not share a particular faith, is benefited by religions in general.
ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â To be dismissive of beliefs, especially the inclination for a transcendent explanation of the human condition, a feature of virtually every civilisation, is based on DawkinsÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¾Ã‚Â¢ obtuseness which appears to underlie his belief that those who believe in Darwin (and atheists) as possessing superior intelligence.
ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â There is nothing scientific or civilised about DawkinsÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¾Ã‚Â¢ attempt to challenge “self identification” by people as Christians, using some statistics generated by his own think tank. The attempt was particularly distasteful due to his own lack of knowledge of the racist subtitle of the Holy Script he believes in, The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection.
ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â For DawkinsÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¾Ã‚Â¢ information, the subtitle is: ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒâ€¹Ã…â€œthe Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for LifeÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¾Ã‚Â¢; one cannot be more racist than that!