14 COMMENTS

  1.  A breath of fresh air, a joy to listen to, as ever. Enlightened, yet humble; difficult to see why the religious sometimes  accuse our professor of being strident and pushy!  Is it because they are very touchy and defensive about their fairy stories?  Is it because they fear the power of reasonable thought which might convert them if they are exposed to it for any length of time, especially when delivered in such a calm, informed and classy manner? 

  2. No… Richard Dawkins was cocky, pushy, smug and arrogant in his younger years, and i don’t blame him for he was young, good looking and RIGHT, and i am sure anyone else will be twice as cocky.

    But I must admit, mature Richard Dawkins is more graceful and less testosterone driven, which is
    enjoyable just as much.

    Keep up the good work Prof. Dawkins.

  3. It is not bollocks, and it is actually true…
     
    if you watch the whole Q&A video, you will notice towards the end of the video a lady suggesting Richard Dawkins earlier books were more difficult to read than his more recent ones… 

    now, if you belong to Asian culture, you will understand that we don’t like to offend people to their face, and what the lady was saying is, “Mr. Dawkins, you are now less pushy than when you first started, and she quite like this calmer approach…”

    Now then, how militant are you??

  4. Wait a min! Time out please!

    “Asian culture”??? As in Japanese or Chinese or Indian or Korean or Persian or Middle Eastern or Indonesian or Malay or hundreds of others. Sorry to say, I grew up in an Indian society in which it was completely fine to ridicule and mock superstition. Of course, people got offended and that is their prerogative. Please don’t include us all.

  5. voiceofarabi.  How do you know what this lady was thinking – or are you interpreting her from your own point of view?

    RD’s earlier science books ARE more difficult to read – I have them all – because the subject was not well known or understood, and his more recent books are aimed at a wider audience of less qualified folk – like me – and expand on his previous works, plus many written by others since the 1970′s.

    The subject of evolution is more widely understood now, and the exposure of religion more acceptable, than it was 40 years ago, so people like RD – and others – are more socially ‘normal’ now & less ‘irritating’ to those of faith who already know all the answers to life’s questions.

    You say: “Richard Dawkins was cocky, pushy, smug and arrogant in his younger years.”

    I ask you to show us any references to where you read or saw this behavior by RD at any stage of his life, otherwise I have to echo & expand upon the reply written above by MNSC – - – complete & utter bollocks….

  6. I, too, thought that the Selfish Gene was much more demanding to read than Richard’s later stuff, in my opinion due to the more complex technical issues discussed. It’s nothing to do with arrogance or pushiness.

    The lady expressed her opinion clearly enough and doesn’t need your presumptuous misinterpretation of what she said. Unless of course you think that because she’s a woman she doesn’t really know her own mind, so you can enlighten us as to what she really meant to say, if only she’d been as eloquent as you.

    Now then, how sexist are you?

  7. I have to admit, I was interpreting the lady from my own point of view? And the lady did not share any thoughts with me.  Guilty as charged.

    That said, Prof. Dawkins have been fighting the crazies since the late 1960’s, and there are many articles, TV documentaries / interviews, and many articles and reviews that I base my judgment on.

    In fact, if he was not so cocky and pushy, I would start considering him to be a Prophet (son of god) which needs to be added to the many that we find in the those “good books”.

    But now we are way “off topic”, and we should stop.

    I thought the Q&A session was very good, and the best question was.  “how come Prof. Dawkins was invited to India but not Mr. Salman Rushdie!!)

  8. voiceofarabi.  I don’t see any of RD’s books among your references, and I think if you had read all his books and seen the real personality behind them, you would see why some of us disagree with your negative characterization gleaned from various media in difficult and artificial situations.

    I think that your “cocky, pushy, smug and arrogant” is more like ‘knowledgeable, unapologetic, truthful and confident’ when dealing with a wide variety of deluded faith-heads – and media with their own agendas.

    I don’t have ‘faith’ in or ‘worship’ RD – but I do respect & admire him for being such a worthy ‘Professor for the Public Understanding of Science,’ and for the abundant enlightenment & awe he has brought to my feeble mind. 

    Right then, back to the plot….

  9. …….and the best question was: “How come Prof. Dawkins was invited but not Salman Rushdie?”

    But Rushdie was invited. And had he been able to go, he would have been the star of the show. The question was more along the lines of: “Do you think it’s funny that you’re here and Sir Salman isn’t?”
    Obviously, he didn’t.
     

  10. Chris,

    As you say, there was nothing funny about that strange question. Especially as the reason for the absence of Sir Salman was death threats from the usual suspects: Islamic fanatics.

    So you have to wonder at the agenda of the questioner.

  11. I agree inquisador… 

    Here is what i saw..   a nice Sikh gentleman, first making the remark that “Richard Dawkins, said bad things about all religions..”  i.e. worse than Salman Rushdie who only got close to upsetting one, yet Richard Dawkins is in India, and Salman Rushdie was not..

    This could translate to many things….

    1)Indian community comes down harder on their own kind (just as we do in the middle east!)

    2)Richard Dawkins is not known by the masses, and therefore, not seen as serious threat.

    3)It is better to have no god than insult our GOD!

    4)The Sikh religion (crazy hot heads)  pointing the finger how crazy the Muslim religion (also crazy hot heads) are!!

    Or finally… Richard Dawkins is a man who has NO fear, a bit like the baby eating bishop of bath and wells!!
    ;-)

  12. voiceofarabi,

    All your hypotheses are more or less plausible. For myself I got a distinct chill down my spine from the guy; I  got an impression of a sinister smiling ‘knife beneath the cloak’ kind of character. 

    Well he finds the predicament of Rushdie a subject for mirth??

    I may be wrong, who knows? 

  13. re: the statement from the lady who stated the selfish gene was easier to read than his future books:
    i must confess I had a similar experience. I think in my case the reason for this is that I read the God Delusion and The Greatest Show on Earth, and familiarised myself with the Darwinian evolutionary process first. Then I read the Selfish Gene when I realised how important the Genes are in the evolutionary process.This is of course something that Darwin did not know about. So as i was reading the Selfish Gene the attempt by science and sociology of the 19th. century to explain and exploit selfish behavior became clearer to me. Social behavior in the evolutionary process can very well be altruistic with the genes playing their selfish little games in the background. 

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