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Don't Eat With Your Mouth Full

Where can we live but days?

steepholm steepholm
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Twit, Twitter, Twittest
I had hoped that after his Dear Muslima letter a couple of years ago Richard Dawkins might manage to stop being so shrill and strident. I hoped in vain. Today he apparently tweeted:

All the world's Muslims have fewer Nobel Prizes than Trinity College, Cambridge. They did great things in the Middle Ages, though.

First, let me note that Trinity College has never won a Nobel Prize, even if some of its graduates and Fellows have. Since institutions regularly win Nobels, the point is worth making. And yes, I know it's only 140 characters, but no one forced Dawkins to use Twitter.

So what's he saying here? As the screenshot shows, several of his more adulatory groupies have taken the line that if something is factual, no one can possibly object to it. Context, implication, intent - all these are irrelevant in respect of the grand shining Fact, to which we should all do unthinking obeisance.

I'm uncertain whether Dawkins is more or less subtle than his disciples. If tomorrow he tweets that black people have comparatively flat noses, we'll know for sure. Until then, I'll provisionally adopt the more obvious interpretation, which is that he is a tedious old bigot.

Ha, shrill & strident are exactly the words I use to describe him. I was all like omg great minds, and then I thought, well, of course. Those are the words that fit.

Also, fkn ♥ your subject line. In general too!

oh my GOD can someone just press the mute button on his everything already

I've tended towards the latter opinion for a while.

There's an absolute truckload of nonsense with his name on it discussed here.

This is sad. This was a man who was a brilliant and crystalline-clear thinker in his own field, who made the initial mistake of believing he was equally penetrating and learned in another field (religion) which he knew nothing about. Now he appears, if this is all correctly attributed, to be descending into complete nutbaggery.

The words "last" and "cobblers" spring to mind.

Yes, except that Dawkins was no cobbler. He was the greatest explicator of evolutionary theory since Huxley. That's why this is so tragic.

Ineed, even if he's talking cobblers about this. But I was thinking of the old anecdote about Appelles, which does seem fairly apt here. Of course, otherwise-brilliant people sometimes do hold bizarre beliefs - look at the roll call of Oxfordians - but in Dawkins' case the unpleasantness is what lingers, especially when we see his powers of dialectic buckle under the weight of his own prejudice.