A few quick points

27 September 2005

Spent the weekend away in Edinburgh; too many things to talk about, but here’s a few quick points:

  • With his “Gerin Oil” article, Richard Dawkins is sounding more and more like the batty, obsessive uncle your family would rather not talk about. His unsophisticated and tiresome ‘critique’ only strengthens the impression that scientists as grumpy, over-rational, unspiritual and dull, something which is nowhere near the truth. I suspect that’s why the press like printing his stuff so much, he fits the stereotype so easily.
  • Hell is (happening to) other people over at Chicken Yoghurt is a quality rant, one that I myself have been wanting to make. It really is worth reading.
  • Maybe it’s just me, but Flickr‘s quality of service has been quite atrocious recently – rejecting photo uploads for no reason, “not finding” photos or sets that have just been added, refusing to rotate or rename them, etc. This is not what I paid for.
  • Howl’s Moving Castle was an enjoyable film, but nowhere near as good as Spirited Away, and suffers a little from resorting to deus ex machina. But it raised some interesting (but not very well-developed) thoughts on wizardry and its supercession by modernity. Oh, and there’s a good interview with Hayao Miyazaki in the Guardian.
  • The news that Blair is falling into Bush’s line on global warming is utterly disspiriting, but at least it will give future generations of Britons a single figure to blame for the whole sorry mess. But I’m not surprised at anything he says or does now, it makes me wonder if I’ll ever be able to vote Labour again…

Real blog posts to follow later. For someone with absolutely nothing to do, I find that I am astonishingly busy.


5 Responses


His unsophisticated and tiresome ‘critique’ only strengthens the impression that scientists as grumpy, over-rational, unspiritual and dull, something which is nowhere near the truth. I suspect that’s why the press like printing his stuff so much, he fits the stereotype so easily.

I heard a guy called Tim Taylor make this point a few years ago (in the course of a really punitive debunking of Graham Hancock). He listed a whole series of popular misconceptions of science (‘there’s one right answer’, ‘the only good explanation is a complete explanation’, ‘everything fits together logically’ & (of course) ‘science implies atheism’) & then showed how well they map onto Dawkins’ public pronouncements. What this says about Dawkins as a scientist is another question.

James

Flying Spaghetti Monsterism is hardly sophisticated either – but monotheism (which, rather than ‘religion’ in its broadest sense, is the actual problem) is really starting to get on every sensible person’s tits right now. A sledgehammer is as good as a laser beam right as things stand.

“For someone with absolutely nothing to do, I find that I am astonishingly busy.”

The sign of a quality idler, Chris… embrace it :)

For all his bias towards scientific debate, I can’t help but wonder if the piece is meant as a satire. Surely such an eminent professor wouldn’t resort to publishing his mere belief that religion is the cause of all the worlds woes?

Ian

I feel Dawkins has totally lost it.

I rank The Selfish Gene amongst those books that have changed my life, for the better, and his analysis of genetics and science as a whole have made great strides in the war of reason over irrationality.

However, his commentry on the Iraq war, which he opposes, runs along the lines of the usual, dreary Bush-hating rhetoric and basically sums up as “Bush is wrong because he believes in God”.

I expected something better, his outbursts are becoming as fanatical as those who he used to skillfully engage in rational debate.