Richard Dawkins: Likes & Dislikes



* Dawkins’s anti-theist atheist disciples who denigrate religions as “fairy tales”, in accordance with the common understanding that fairy tales aren’t real, could not be reached for comment in time for this piece.

Update 10:30 AM PST: He apparently likes fairy tales? I have updated the list to reflect this.

Heina Dadabhoy

Heina Dadabhoy [hee-na dad-uh-boy] spent her childhood as a practicing Muslim who never in her right mind would have believed that she would grow up to be an atheist feminist secular humanist, or, in other words, a Skepchick. She has been an active participant in atheist organizations and events in and around Orange County, CA since 2007. She is currently writing A Skeptic's Guide to Islam. You can follow her on Facebook, Twitter, or Google+.

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  1. He hasn’t read Harry Potter but feels it is abusive (really? wonder what he would think about Matilda?) and will probably lead to unscientific thinking? WTF? You mean like Frankenstein lead to grave robbing or The Time Machine lead to belief in Doctor Who, or something? What? That makes no sense.

    And he clearly hasn’t watch The Mentalist either, Jane points out IN THE VERY FIRST EPISODE that he is not special, just observant. So there’s that…

    Looks like us atheists have our own version of Pat Roberts.
    Dotage is a word that come to mind for some reason, maybe I read it in a kid’s book.

    1. I attended a talk he gave at CalTech a few years ago, back when I was still a huge fan of his. He was giving it to promote his then-new book, The Greatest Show on Earth. During the Q&A, I asked him about his views on Islam. He said that he thinks that the Bible is beautiful literature with historical significance but that the Quran is worthless, irredeemable rubbish. That was probably the first time I considered the idea that he’s unable to see things from a non-Eurocentric, Christian-based perspective, but it was hardly the last.

  2. I’m no Dawkins fan by any means but some of these are inaccurate reporting rather than things he has said.

    The fairy tales one for example was an out of context quote that the right wing press in the UK ran with. The Harry Potter thing is similar. He didn’t single out Harry Potter for criticism, he just said he hadn’t read it and then speculated more broadly on the effect of magic in children’s stories. There’s a slightly more complete account here:

    There are certainly ways in which Dawkins is utterly dreadful, but these two aren’t examples of it.

    1. I never said he was being dreadful.

      And honestly, the speculation is silly. I’d like to see one shred of evidence that reading about magic in works specifically marked and treated as fiction can harm children.

  3. Thanks for the linkup… I had to laugh at some of the gems in there, for instance:

    “I think there are always paths not taken but if a different path is taken, I think there is a magnetic pull. There is a sort of something that pulls you back to the pathway having taken a fork in the road.” Richard Dawkins

    Oh Jeebus, this is that fate BS that’s so popular among the public…

  4. Oh no!
    No one tell Dawkins that Shakespeare has ghosts, wizards, miracles, spellcasting…and faeries!

    I don’t think he was misreported. He backpedaled. All too often he just doesn’t think through what he is saying, then when people point out that what he said was absurd, he insists he meant something other than what he said. It’s kind of a trend. So much so we could dub it “pulling a Dawkins.”

    And in the Harry Potter / faerie tale case, he was correctly reported as saying these were anti-scientific and that that *might* have a pernicious effect that should be investigated…just like Putin and his cronies who said talking about homosexuality in public might have a pernicious effect that should be investigated…then they outlawed it, the only step Dawkins didn’t propose, but then neither was he claimed to have. He’s just suspicious of the Fictionalist Agenda. ;-)

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