A response to “The Insulting Richard Dawkins”

Wandering around youtube, I came across a comment disabled video blog entitled “The Insulting Richard Dawkins” by DrOakley1989. It had received a fair few views (60 000 at my count), and rather than not make a blog, I decided to as a bit of a warm up for using my brain before I start hitting university proper again. As a result I’ve decided to humbly address each of his comments regarding Dawkins. I’ll be working under titles of quotes, as due to the medium and the message there’s a lot of mixing of concepts and so on (not unlike Vox Day in a similar vein. I will get back to that book sometime, somehow).

“That clip was insulting. Not insulting to Christians; that’s a given: he wants to be insulting to Christians that’s how he gets his followers”

Oakley here stumbles upon the concept Dawkins was trying to make in the clip itself. By stating that the clip was insulting to Christians, Oakley immediately makes a rhetoric based around a singular religion, which is apparently the sole focus of Dawkins himself (read the prologue of The God Delusion to appreciate nothing could be further from the truth). I would ask Oakley if Dawkins is equally insulting to the Great Juju On The Mountain.

“That was insulting to the young lady, that was insulting to the audience, that was insulting to anyone who gives any thought to the issue of theism at all and it really makes you wonder why does Richard Dawkins even think that’s an answer?”

There was nothing particularly insulting from what I could see from Richard Dawkins during the clip. A lady in the audience asks “what if you’re wrong?” and Dawkins essentially asks “well, what if you’re wrong?”. The further extrapolation on varying religions and so on I would personally interpret as Dawkins appreciating the question being a form of Pascal’s Wager that can be undone by appreciating there’s no special reason why  believing in  one religion over another gives any sort of benefit.

“Christian intellectuals find his arguments absolutely absurd. There not even a part of his audience, he’s not trying to deal with them. Here is a man who specifically has as his audience the low hanging fruit. People who have no idea what their faith is. Nominal christians. People who are just brought up in a religion.”

Dawkins has many times stated his prime aim with his books are addressing the majority of people who are indeed nominal but not especially religious (not just Christians, again with the single religion theme). There’s nothing ‘insulting’ about that, unless one was to consider them ‘low-hanging fruit’ in any sense. Dawkins arguments for adopting this stance are fairly straightforward faith tends to disregard reason, hence a very entrenched member of a faith is highly unlikely to listen. Secondly, he wants to present an alternative for a nominal religious observer. Thirdly, it is almost certainly the largest group he can address. I would again like to point out Oakley’s selectivity with using the phrase “Christian intellectuals” as if no other religions are capable of mustering up educated people something which even Dawkins would vehemently disagree with.

“The Flying Spaghetti Monster. The Unicorn. The Flying Teapot. These are supposed to have some bearing, on the Christian God, who is self-existent and eternal and all of the issues that go into the relationship between Creator and Creation. I mean the Flying Spaghetti Monster has within itself a rational explanation for how creation arises and the origin and source of regularity of scientific laws?”

Well it seems Oakley lapsed into religious favouritism again. Beyond that, he’s also missed another key point Dawkins has made ad nauseum. Just because something is intricate, and worth believing, doesn’t mean it is true. Christianity’s idea of what constitutes the world is neither rational nor particularly well explained (for example, there are two independent creation stories… in the same book). Russell’s teapot, the Flying Spaghetti Monster and The Invisible Pink Unicorn exist as examples of equally valid but seemingly more ludicrous religious ideas- something which the young lady herself (in a seperate clip) asked Dawkins about- that have equal validity in terms of proof. Just because Christianity is more established does not affect its status as fact.

“He says to the young lady “she happened to be brought up Christian”. In his world evidently no one chooses their religion”.

Overwhelmingly, people come into this world and leave it with the same religion- changing religions is very rare, and I dare say trying to accomodate for all the specifities of what may be the case in a setting such as an Q&A would be very time consuming.

“He [Dawkins] tries to get away with these things because he knows as you can see by the reaction of the mind-numbed audience just looking for red meat to be thrown to them… …[actually he doesn’t finish his sentence]

What constitutes the audience being mind-numbed? Apparently the same “low-hanging fruit” as previously described (in this case, college students) apparently can’t applaud anything without be labelled brain dead. Dawkins doesn’t “get away with it”, it was a response that was coherent and appreciable by the majority of the crowd.

From here he repeats the same arguments, and is amazed Dawkins is considered a great thinker.

Anyway that was my bit, a little rushed but hopefully anyone interested can make up their own mind regarding this video and perhaps appreciate an alternative intepretation.

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~ by freeze43 on May 21, 2010.

4 Responses to “A response to “The Insulting Richard Dawkins””

  1. Ironically, Oakley is implicitly aiming his video at exactly the same “low-hanging fruit” as Dawkins. If his purpose was to use the video to rile up true believers, he could easily have been far more incendiary and less rational (on the normalised scale of religious rhetoric, this video is sadly towards the rational end). By making a half-hearted attempt at actual argument, Oakley is saying to his viewers: “I know your faith is weak..so let me convince you with reason”. He’s talking to the same “nominal christians” he says Dawkins was.
    On a side note, check out this little dance: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3-eAg7Z6m1Q#t=3m14s

  2. […] where he goes at length to explain the repercussions of The Insulting Richard Dawkins video. Again, I will try to address the points he makes. There’s more padding around the points this time […]

  3. […] previously refuted Dr. Oakley’s assertions not once but twice, I thought that it would be a little staid if I was to have another crack at Alpha and […]

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