Richard Dawkins is lost for words on radio!
Posted on February 21st, 2012

Ajit Randeniya

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ 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.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ 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 familyƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s past as slave owners in Jamaica, and another relating to the unravelling of Dawkins on the BBC Today programme of 13 Feb.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ The 20 February article contained a few paragraph that outlined the racist angle inherentƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  in the so-called ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”theoryƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ of evolution as well as the racist attidudes of Charles Darwin himself. Also the writer speculated as to whether DawkinsƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ own upbringing in colonial outsposts would have enticed him to the racist theory of evolution.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ 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 DawkinsƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ ancestor Henry Dawkins had been the owner of 1,013 slaves in Jamaica (said to be worth ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚£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 ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ plans to abolish the slave trade.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ 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.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”Reparations for SlaveryƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ 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!’

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ The second incident relates to one of DawkinsƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ virulent attacks (on Christians) during a radio interview backfiring: Rev Giles Fraser the, former canon of LondonƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s St PaulƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s cathedral was debating him on some statistics (produced by DawkinsƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ think tank the ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”Foundation for Reason and ScienceƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢), which purport to show that most British people who identify themselves as Christian, are ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-overwhelmingly secularƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚ in their attitudes on issues ranging from gay rights to religion in public life. Dawkins erroneously concludes that these self-identified Christians are ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-not really Christian at allƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Dawkins, as usual, attempted to ridicule such Christians during the interview by claiming that an ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-astonishing number [of Christians] couldnƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢t identify the first book in the New TestamentƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ The transcript of the next minute of the debate is likely to go down in history as an unforgettable minute of live radio ever:

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Fraser: Richard, if I said to you what is the full title of The Origin Of Species, IƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢m sure you could tell me that.

Dawkins: Yes I could.

Fraser: Go on then.

Dawkins: On the Origin of SpeciesƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚¦UhƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚¦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.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ These two events demonstrate, firstly, that DawkinsƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ strident support of Charles Darwin and his extremely feeble ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”theoryƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ 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 ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”undoneƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ by the Australian ABC journalist Andrew Denton on his Enough Rope ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢¢”š¬…” Elders program of 21 December 2009.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ The great objection this writer has to Richard Dawkins is his lack of respect for othersƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ 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.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ 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.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ 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 DawkinsƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ obtuseness which appears to underlie his belief that those who believe in Darwin (and atheists) as possessing superior intelligence.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ There is nothing scientific or civilised about DawkinsƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ 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.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ For DawkinsƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ information, the subtitle is: ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for LifeƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢; one cannot be more racist than that!

9 Responses to “Richard Dawkins is lost for words on radio!”

  1. R.M.W Says:

    Vis a Vis ‘Mechanistic theories’ of ‘Darwin’ and ‘Fatalistic theories’ of “Judeo Christians” I responded to The Island on the 12th of November 2011 with following piece (see site). They never posted this vital article for important reasons. It is time the public do something about the English media editors who are calculatedly misleading the public and giving slanted and one sided information to its readers.
    Where I outlined the:
    I refer to your two features ‘The arrival of Prof. Richard Dawkins’ & ‘intelligent design and Richard Dawkins’ printed on the 25th October 2011. I found them lacking in any substance and spiced with empty hollow rhetoric.
    Indeed going by these, our existence is either a fatalistically determined or, mechanistically determined
    Now the concept of DETERMINISM deals with the most fundamental issues of human nature, namely, whether the behavior, thinking, actions or feelings of any being, are driven by something called ‘Free Will’. So are we to assume that; we are like machines, pre-programmed, encoded, preordained and fated by external forces? In other words; are we like pieces of corks bobbing along a swiftly flowing river, and at the mercy of chance and current tides, which are nudging us towards an ignorable exit? That’s what these two schools of thought ask us to put our faith in.

  2. Randeniya Says:

    Well, in my humble personal opinion, ‘any’view on this issue is going to be pure speculation and conjecture.

    That is the beauty of Buddha’s position on this. Buddha, having been born in to an intellectual environment that bore the results well over ten thousand years of deliberation on the subject of origin of life including possible creation by Hindu philosophers (they were ‘real’ philospohers and not the ‘pop’variety we have now!). These views had been synthesised in the Upanishads. The final conslusion in the Upanishads is ‘there may be God, indeed there may not be!”

    This is the reason why Buddha discouraged people from speculating on this issue: he equalled it to a man hit with an arrow focussing his attention to the study of the arrow and where it was made etc. while the more urgent need is to treat the wound, which he equalled to suffering.

    The problem is the ‘sand of time’! No scientific method can enable the uncovering of the sand necessary for an accurate study or conclusion; this is why charlatons like Dawkins have taken monopoly of the subject.
    What people like Dawkins and atheists in general are trying to do is to impose their belief on the subject on others. Then we find out where they are coming from and what their vested interests are.

    While belief in God is a personal choice, Sri Lanka has been endowed with the best approach to the broader issue of the beginnings of the human species. Arrogant, dishonest fools like Dawkins should not be allowed to contaminate that wisdom, like everything Buddhism represents.

    Many thanks


  3. Naram Says:

    THe writer Ajit seems to belong to the small band of himan beings who are stlll hiding his head in the sand to believe in the Bible stil in the 21st century – the stories of the Nomadic tribes of the Middle east. I hope the readers of this distinguished website will read more on this subject – writings not only by Charles Darwin and RIchard Dawkins but those by Darwin’scontemporary Alfred Russell Wallace, the recent debates about the existence of God by men of wit and Intelligence like Chistopher Hitchens and Stephen Fry. These are available in the U Tube.

    Writings of Alfred Russell Wallace, who produced the theory of Evolution first shared the theory in the end with Charles Darwin. Wallace came from less affluent background and made a living collecting birds and selling them to English market journeying to South Americas, Malaysia and Indunesia. He was scathingabout the Europeans and English; he recorded his observations of one shooting at Aborigini children at a distance just to show off and another Christian priest who used to donate blankets intentionally infested with small pox.

    We in Sri Lanka know abourt the massacres we suffered at the hands of Bible weilding Christian nations. Slavery was part of it. The lot of Europeans themselves were not any better. Sri Lankans should read about Story of Martyrs – JOhn FOxe, or massacres in the time of Spash Inquisition in Europe so called most civilised countries like Switzerland and Belgium. A sect of Christianity Anabaptists used to be burnt alive in Switzerland.

  4. Marco Says:

    The best comment AJ made.
    ‘any’view on this issue is going to be pure speculation and conjecture”
    Need we say anymore?

  5. Lorenzo Says:

    I disagree with Ajit.

    Why should we fear an open debate? Just because some views are “established” doesn’t mean they are correct. We should ALWAYS challenge these dogma.

    Ajit seems to be fixed in his views and unable to change them. That is not very good in a changing world.

    ” ‘any’view on this issue is going to be pure speculation and conjecture”

    Not a good comment to make. That shows the inability to ACCEPT reality. Reminds me what comes from political platforms, “anyone disagreeing with this view is a fool” or “anyone who is not a fool can understand this”!

  6. Naram Says:

    An AL student would expain that knowledge of Geology is not speculation and conjecture, but facts based on obtaining earth / ice cores deep down, that can yield precise data about the nature of atmosphere from entrapped gas bubbles under arctic ice layers, carbon dating fossils of Dynosaurs. Shock wave transmission after earth quakes thatled to major Tsunamis yielded precise data on the viscocity of the magma layer below the surface layers of earth. Earth’s age is estimated at 4.5 BIllion years, that of Homo Sapiens as 0.5 Mn years or so.

    Also why blame a man for whateer sins betrayals forefathershave committed. Buddhists accepted Angulimala as an Arhant. Many crimes committed in Sri Lanka say massacres in Wellassa or Matale or excesses of Sri Wickrama Rajasinghe on Ahalepola family may have been committed by some of our own forefathers. Buddhists do not believe in a Karma that passes from fatherto a son or a concept of cursed races – a concept developed by Hitlet to justify genocide.

    Incidentally Darwin and particularly hiswife were a respected memberof the local church establishment in his locality, Downe village, and he performed as a Magistrate too. I believe it was a volunteer duty. He may not have come out wit the ‘Origin of Species’ if A R Wallace dod not send him his own thesis first.

    Both Darwin and AR Wallace did not know all the data that fitted the pieces of the jigsaw – for example the theory of continental drift that made fuauna so different in Australia and neighbouring Indonesia. Nor did they know about the changes in atmospheric Oxygen content brought about by forests, that led to largescale migration of sea living creaturesto land 500 million years ago.

    I suggestmoreand more Sri Lankans would study and enjoy learning expandingworld of science and technology in place of moribund theology.

  7. Ben_silva Says:

    Ajit has sadly resorted to name calling rather than deal with the subject matter. Both Darvin and Dawkings are messengers. In a nitshell, Darvin says ‘survival of the fittest and natural selection’, supported by evidence. What has happened in the North and East is evidence of natural selection, as the Sinalese have been pushed out. The readson is that they have not been competitive enough to survive or live in that space. Rather than shooting the messenger, we should investigate why we are not competitive and fix the problem. As for Dawkings, he says have a scientific approach rather than believe in unproven myths.
    Unfortunately, religion, Buddhism, Christianity and Islam are powerful religions that control the mind of the believers. In the case of Buddhists, they believe in unproven myths of Nirvana, Sansara, rebirth and Karma and end up giving up desires , to reduce ‘Dukke’ and end up being uncompetitive.
    Which myth does Ajith believe, God or the Indian ‘ Nirvana, rebirth and Sansare’
    There is not a tiny bit of evidence for the Buddhist/Indian myths and yet people continue to believe them and name call on those that challenge unproven myths.
    Lorenzo and Naram have made good contributions

  8. Rohan8 Says:

    Hi Ajith Randeniya, I am beginning to appreciate where you are going with this regarding Darwin and Richard Dawkins.
    What you have shown is the probably the underlying evil philosophy behind British Imperialism and Adolph Hitler and the Nazis. You can see now where Adolph Hitler and his master race ideas came from. Survival of the fittest. Or the fittest bloodline deserves to survive over others. This would explain the genocidal policies of the British Imperialists and Adolph Hitler and the Nazis.
    Sri Lankans are well aware of the Evils of Imperialism that emanated out of England of Which Sri Lanka and so many other countries were victims of. I guess you could say the modern world is a creation of England. We could even argue the English language as a tool of British Imperialism. Using propaganda through English media editors steer the minds of entire populations. Because they could shape how people think. .Darwin et al wether knowingly or unknowingly was a effective instrument in the promotion of this type of Imperialism which saw it worst manifestation with Adolph Hitler and the Nazis. Thank you Ajith Randeniya for pointing this out. Seems Richard Dawkins is another type of closet imperialist promoting the underlying evil philosophy of British Imperialism world wide. Of which you intelligently pointed in this article.

  9. desh Says:

    The Sinhalese with the thalaelalu faces goes on to believing Middle eastern god(s) are practically fools, for while having a plate on hands, but eating from the ground.

    If these Sinhalese cannot understand the Buddha Dhamma and embraces some silly fiction stories about virgin woman getting pregnant by an alien, and giving birth to a son of god, and that to in a “godforsaken territory”, they must surely check with the nearest headshrink!

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