Skip to main content

The Questions I wanted to Ask Dawkins

Yesterday I attended the annual conference of the National Secular Society in London. Richard Dawkins was the keynote speaker. Clearly, if you'll forgive my rather inappropriate choice of words, he was preaching to the converted (or unconverted if you get my drift). So his language was rather more vitriolic and 'to the point' than you might have previously witnessed on TV or in a public forum. He was amongst friends - although I didn't particularly like the way people queued to worship at the alter of Dawkins. A touch of ring-kissing seemed ever so slightly ironic.

Anyhow, after every speaker the moderator, an executive from the NSS board, asked for questions. Previously he had attempted to elicit questions from different parts of the auditorium. "We've not had questions from people at the back right".. etc. Odd, I thought, to feel the need to exclude questioners because they had accidentally sat somewhere near another questioner. However, after Dawkins had finished his tirade against Tony Blair (curious choice of target, especially when government minister Eric Pickles had only last week made a statement that "A Christian ethos strengthens our nation: Religion shaped the modern British state, and this Government is proud to 'do God". ), the moderator said "We've had enough questions from men. Put your hands down if you're a man. I'll only take questions from women"....!!! Mutterings of astonishment rippled around the audience. So the question I would have wanted to ask Dawkins was as follows:

"Do you agree that questions from males have equal validity to questions from females, and that social engineering, whether by Mullahs or conference organisers, is at odds with why we are all here?"

I also wanted to ask him another question:

"A week ago, the 'Leader of the Free World', whom you suggested might in fact be an atheist, stated in response to that ridiculous movie and the reaction to it by religious fanatics (who probably hadn't seen it) '...we [the USA] reject all efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others'. Isn't the denigration of faith the duty of all who oppose the teaching of crap like Creationism? Isn't denigration of farcical belief in the supernatural at the heart of secular activism? Has the USA now declared all your work 'rejected' and therefore, if not yet illegal, something his nation is now mandated to 'reject' and thus prevent? Has he just declared secularism to be 'rejected' by America - the land of the free?"

And what an odd choice of word from a black president. To denigrate literally means to 'make black', but of course in this context it means to belittle or disparage. Sadly the antiquated idea that black people are somehow less important than white survives in our language - just like many other outdated ideas perhaps.

Unfortunately, not being female, I was prevented from actually asking these questions. But I predict His Dawkness might have replied that in order to respond to the lunacy of people whose beliefs are capable of being insulted, the mouths of our leaders are being coerced to make statements designed to appease ignorance rather than advance the cause of free speech and reasoned thought.

But he may be right about Obama being atheist. Listen to this recorded in 2006:

So didn't you just hear him denigrate a whole range of beliefs? After 6 years of being battered by the religious right (Muslim, Christian, Jew and all the rest), he finally yields to making statements of appeasement - in the same way that the British government now has to say they "do god".

But just to add a touch of balance to the whole 'is Obama an atheist or not' piece, in fact he's a muslim:

But whatever he is... he's not a Mor(m)on! And if Romney gets into power, I'm hiding behind Eric Pickles.


Popular posts from this blog

Phillips screws - yes I'm angry about them too

Don't get me wrong. They're a brilliant invention to assist automation and prevent screwdrivers from slipping off screw heads - damaging furniture, paintwork and fingers in the process. Interestingly they weren't invented by Mr Phillips at all, but by a John P Thompson who sold Mr P the idea after failing to commercialise it. Mr P, on the otherhand, quickly succeeded where Mr T had failed. Incredible isn't it. You don't just need a good idea, you need a great salesman and, more importantly, perfect timing to make a success out of something new. Actually, it would seem, he did two clever things (apart from buying the rights). He gave the invention to GM to trial. No-brainer #1. After it was adopted by the great GM, instead of trying to become their sole supplier of Phillips screws, he sold licenses to every other screw manufacturer in the world. A little of a lot is worth a great deal more than a lot of a little + vulnerability (watch out Apple!). My gromble is abo

Addictions. Porn, Drugs, Alcohol and Sex. Don't prevent it, make it safer.

In 1926 New York, during Prohibition, 1,200 people were poisoned by whiskey containing small quantities of wood alcohol (methanol). Around 400 died, the rest were blinded. The methanol they drank was in the moonshine they had bought illegally. In fact it had been added by law to industrial ethanol in order to make it undrinkable. Prohibition existed to protect everyone from the 'evils of the demon drink'. However, people still wanted to enjoy alcohol. So bootleggers bought cheap industrial alcohol and attempted to distill it to remove the impurities the state had added, but the process wasn't regulated. The state was inadvertently responsible for the suffering - although it was easy for them to blame the bootleggers and to justify escalating the war. This didn't stop the bootleggers. In fact it forced them to become more violent to protect their operations, and even less cautious about their production standards. Volumes of illicit alcohol, and therefore proportionat

The Secrets of Hacker Golf

Social media is awash with professional golfers selling video training courses to help you perfect your swing, gain 50 yards on your drive and cut your handicap. They might help a few desperate souls, but the rest of us hackers already know everything we need to complete a round of golf without worrying the handicap committee or appearing on a competition winner's list. What those pros don't realise is that for us hacking golfers who very occasionally hit shots that if you hadn't seen how they were hit, end up where the pros might have put them, we already know everything we need to know - and more. Unlike pros who know how to time the perfect swing in order to caress a ball 350 yards down the centre of a fairway, we hackers need to assemble a far wider set of skills and know-how to complete 18 holes, about which pros have no comprehension, need, or desire to learn. Here are some of them: Never select your shot until after you've hit it. A variation on this is to alway