Thursday, 10 November 2011

Richard Dawkins: "I am ashamed of my university!"

You'd think that if William Lane Craig were not such a big deal, then Dawkins really wouldn't have much to say about him. While Dawkins certainly would like us to think his arguments are of no significance, the fact is that when it comes to Craig personally, Dawkins just doesn't know when to keep his big mouth shut!

Yes, the greatest no-show on Earth has now seen the video of Craig's lecture response to The God Delusion and has been posting his own response not to Craig, not to academic journals... But on PZ Myers' blog!

That's right, the leader of the "Brights" has taken refuge as a troll:

"Craig is not a skilled debater. His style is tediously to drag out pompous syllogisms, which his opponents ignore because they are irrelevant, and which his disciples cannot understand: the combination of incomprehension plus his loud voice makes them think he has ‘won’ the debate, and this impression is reinforced by the fact that he always declares that he has ‘won’ whether he has or not. If anybody does succumb to his incessant badgering for debate (he seems to have nothing else to do with his time), the best technique would probably be to agree to debate him on the question of biblical morality, and then quote his own words at him, on the subject of the genocide of the Canaanites:" (Richard Dawkins, Pharyngula; comment 17)

So, no response to the arguments. Still the same tantrums, whining and insults from the sidelines that he's resorted to in the past. Dawkins evidently suffers from "Basil Fawlty" syndrome: a complete failure to self-reflect on one's own psychology and actions. How can he not realize such comments merely imply that he's compensating, for feeling too dumb to handle Craig's rebuttal of his "unrebuttable" book?

Furthermore, Dawkins proves himself hopelessly inconsistent yet again: he's just claimed that "Craig is not a skilled debater", yet when I asked him in 2009 to explain why he won't debate, Dawkins' 5th excuse (out of at least 12, spanning 4 years) was because Craig is a "professional debater"! *

But wait, you ain't seen nothing yet:

"I’ve just listened to the last part of the recording of Craig’s Sheldonian speech. Incredibly, he not only repeats his outrageous defence of genocide almost word for word, but is actually applauded for doing so, If the applauders were Oxford students, I am ashamed of my university. A show of hands at the end showed that almost a hundred percent of the audience were religious, so they were not a typical student audience. I’m still ashamed of them. I’m also ashamed of the chairman, Millican, who let him repeat those disgusting words without a murmur of protest." 
(Richard Dawkins, Pharyngula; comment 119)

There you go. Not only is atheist Peter Millican ex-communicated (who, incidentally, has written far more of substance in disagreement with these Old Testament narratives and actually has a proper Oxford professorship... oh, and he actually had the courage to debate Craig) but apparently, the entire institution of Oxford University is also completely unworthy of almighty Dawkins! He's also gone so far as to attack John Lennox for "masquerading as a scientist while believing Jesus turned water into wine" (something which never stopped Dawkins debating him thrice before, and so much for the "new-found respect" Larry Taunton thought they shared) as well as hinting that Dr Daniel Came is one of those treacherous "'I'm-an-atheist-but' fellow travellers".

Simply astounding. Clearly, nobody is safe from the wrath of Dawkins' personal attacks. However, if you're looking to find shelter, evidentally the best place to dwell is within an academic learning environment. You won't catch Dawkins lowering himself from his high chair to mix with such a shameful crowd (though, while he's up there, can someone please wipe his mouth and change his nappy)?

We have proof Dawkins has seen the video yet not responded to the arguments. The "why" question indeed appears silly at this point. Dawkins' behaviour betrays a fear and maybe even an inability to respond intellectually (though I'm still holding out hope that he can).

Especially, it may be worth pressing him to respond to his contradictory handling of the moral argument, as criticised by Craig. Not only does Dawkins commit the same fallacy every time he blusters on with his diversionary "Canaanites" tactic, it's also the simplest to grasp... If he needs to work his way up in baby steps, that is.

Thank God for atheists like Millican, Came, Law and quite a number of others who don't have as much media attention, yet make up for it with integrity.

(wish this one were mine too, but it's Emerson's!)

* one desperate Dawkins fan, on the very youtube page of Dawkins' 2009 excuses, even had the following to say:

"Dawkins called Craig a "Professional Debater". So to claim Dawkins said Craig is 'not a good debater' is an outright lie." - Enyulan

So much for attention to evidence, but it's handy to know that logically, therefore, even some atheists agree we can justifiably accuse Dawkins of lying (or just plain losing his grip)!

I directed the youtuber to Dawkins' own blog comments:

Dawkins' "shameful" Pharyngula outbursts (comments 17 & 119):

Dawkins attacks John Lennox:

Dawkins scraping at the "no true atheist" fallacy to dismiss Dr Came and other critics:


  1. It has truly become comical. He just had no idea what he signed up for when he took the lead of the (not-so) new-atheist movement. Now he has to go crying on the blogs of other morons to garner support for his illogical, nonsensical atheism.

  2. His style is tediously to drag out pompous syllogisms, which his opponents ignore because they are irrelevant, and which his disciples cannot understand: the combination of incomprehension plus his loud voice makes them think he has ‘won’ the debate...

    That's just pitiful. Syllogisms add clarity to arguments. When you try to put Dawkins' arguments into tidy syllogisms, the fallacies become more obvious. Craig does us a favor by putting his arguments into syllogisms. if there's a flaw, it would become immediately evident. It lets his critics know exactly what premises they need to refute. It leaves his arguments completely unambiguous. I would much rather debate somebody who uses syllogisms than somebody who rambles and you have to work hard to figure out exactly what their argument is. The syllogisms aren't irrelevant because the conclusion of the syllogisms are directly related to the debates. It just blows me away that an intelligent person would say things like this.

  3. Hi Birdieupon

    Where exactly did Dawkins leave those comments? I've been looking but cannot find them.

  4. I've put the comment numbers in the citation: 17 & 119

  5. I too am a non-athiest but I think Enyulan is stretching a bit to say Dawkins lied by saying Craig is a professional debater and later saying Craig is not a good debater. I assume he meant he seems to make a living out of debating. It doesn't mean he has to be good at it. Similarly I can say somebody is a professional athlete but this doesn't necessarily mean they are a good athlete.

  6. @Anonymous

    We can allow that interpretation if you like, but it doesn't make life any easier for Dawkins, as it is still 1 of 11 excuses which have nothing to do with the Canaanites and preceeded his appeal to them. It also shows ignorance of Craig's credentials, yet I'd be inclined to call that a lie too, as he'd been approached by Fixed Point earlier in the year, who would have spelled out Craig's Ph Ds and peer-reviewed papers to Dawkins again (after having been originally invited to engage with him in 2007).

  7. Just to be clear, I can't stand Dawkins and am a big fan of Craig. I love Christian apologetics (and biochemistry!). :-) I don't want to suggest that interpretation, just want to point out that it is a stretch. Interpretations like that often have the opposite affect in an argument because atheists will say, "See, those Creationists are twisting Dawkins words!" There are plenty of solid, definitive arguments to point out Dawkins cowardice. It is not necessary (IMHO) to throw in potentially misinterpreted ones.

  8. Well put, and I can happily give that point up if need be (though it's funny to see how at least one atheist recognized the implication too, in defense of Dawkins)!

    Hilarity. ;-)

  9. p.s. It just occurs to me, that Dawkins actually has made comments too about "picking up the impression" that Craig was "dangerous and charismatic" as a debater, until meeting him in Mexico and realizing "how deeply unimpressive he was". It simply adds to the awkward variance of his portrayal.

    I should really construct all these points together into one narrative (made this video response to the Guardian article already, but been discovering a few more weird details since, so perhaps it's update time:

  10. "... and which his disciples can't understand."

    Well, for starters, insulting the intelligence of everyone who disagrees with you is particularly bad form, if we're going to discuss someone's mettle as a debater.

    Nevermind sniping from the shadows because you're too cowardly to do so in the open.

    Finally, a syllogism is meant to break down a statement into its individual parts to display logical fallacy - something that Dawkins' writings and occasional excursions from his cave of terrified self-importance are rife with.

  11. I have noticed that modern atheists, Dawkinsites in particular, are not happy with atheists who are not obstreperous. Dawkins ramps up his ridicule, and his disciples do likewise.

    A few months ago, I was reading reviews of a book by atheist S.E. Cupp. Atheists were attacking her, and even engaging in the "no true atheist" fallacy, because of her non-hateful attitude. Also, I saw a Weblog post by an atheist (who can be vitriolic at times, and has attacked me personally) who was taking another atheist to task for being particularly vicious. Now those two are not getting along.

    It amazes me how people will use the "verbally stomp your opponent until he turns into a bloody pulp" approach to discussion.

  12. I remember posting on an atheist forum, where there was a pro-life atheist, who had spoken out on a thread where other atheists were bashing theists over our predominantly pro-life views. It had gotten to the point where the moderators of the forum had decided this atheist, had betrayed his kind. So they changed his account so that he could only post in the theist area of the forum (1 subforum compared to dozens of others for atheists), despite not being theistic at all. All the other atheists were attacking him, and when I came to his defense, saying that the abortion debate doesn't need to be religious, and he agreed with me, the other atheists posted saying, "You realise the person you are agreeing with is one of *them*, right?"

    I was dumbfounded. I couldn't believe that they were so hateful, and so fearful it seemed, of someone who simply doesn't agree with them. And on such a non-religious issue too. The level of intelligence there, was despairingly low.

  13. Pathetic isn't it?

    By the way, that atheist wouldn't happen to have been Christopher Hitchens, would he?

  14. Thanks to post my cartoon, friend. Please, send me more ideas to cartoon against new atheism:)

  15. "Similarly I can say somebody is a professional athlete but this doesn't necessarily mean they are a good athlete"

    Seriously? If you are making a living playing sports then you are better than a large majority of those who play sports at what you do. 2nd string QBs in the NFL are still good quarterbacks compared to all but some 30 other guys in the world. With that said, is probably hard to make a living at something like debating if no one comes to see you or is interested in what you have to say and how you say it. This is clearly not the case with most of Craig's audience as well as with those with whom he debates. The ironic thing about Dawkins' comments is that most those who have debated Craig in the past would probably disagree with most of what Dawkins has to say about Craig even though the probably agree with Dawkins on most other matters.

  16. Good article and Dawkins' comment on Pharyngula is a great find... a rare gem. Good for you being able to plow through the intellectual wasteland that constitutes the comments on Pharyngula.

  17. Birdie... I would love to get this blog updated more! Also please be more generous on your testimony, you're starving us!!!

  18. ignore because they are irrelevant, and which his disciples cannot understand: the combination of incomprehension plus his loud voice makes them think he has ‘won’ the debate

    I’ve always found Craig easy to understand. Everyone I know who listens to Craig find him easy to understand. In fact, the people who have greatest difficulty understanding Craig seem to be atheists. For example, some of them ask Craig to present arguments in favour of God’s existence. When he does so they declare that the arguments are irrelevant to the question at hand (God’s existence-even though Craig’s arguments would prove God’s existence if they were true). It seems to me that Dawkins has failed to grasp Craig’s arguments (even when presented as syllogisms) and is projecting his stupidity on the rest of the world.

  19. ''His style is tediously to drag out pompous syllogisms, which his opponents ignore because they are irrelevant, and which his disciples cannot understand...''

    This is an unfortunate statement. I have always found Craig easy to understand. Every theist I know who watches Craig finds him easy to understand. In fact, the people who seem to have the greatest difficulty understanding Craig are atheists (specifically, anti-theists for some reason). For example, some of them ask Craig to give them arguments for the existence of God and when he does so they declare the arguments (e.g. the Cosmological argument, the fine tuning argument, the moral argument etc) to be entirely irrelevant to the matter at hand (namely, the existence of God). It seems to me that Dawkins has simply failed to grasp Craig’s arguments (even when presented as syllogisms) and is projecting his stupidity onto the rest of the world. The poor man is finally starting to grasp the extent of his intellectual inadequacy.

  20. Victims of extreme abuse often suppress their memories to avoid deep emotional distress. Here, we see a man who is confronted with a 2hr lecture deconstructing his arguments but is only capable of listening to the irrelevant section. Clearly, Craig’s intellectual evisceration of Dawkins has left the Professor’s mind permanently scarred. His mind automatically suppresses anything which destroys his beliefs in order prevent the occurrence of an elderly crisis of faith. Thus, he has developed coping mechanisms which necessitate focusing on irrelevancies and straw men so that his delusions of intelligence are not shattered by the facts of his own incompetence and vacuity.

  21. How to contact you?

    1. Feel free to send your message here via the comments. They're moderated so I'll get to read it without making it public. :-)

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