Talk:Richard Dawkins/Archive 5

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Archive 4 Archive 5 Archive 6

the introduction

I quote,"narrow-minded hate-monger". This is totally unacceptable, please get rid of this? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Tetsuma (talkcontribs) 10:43, August 25, 2007 (UTC)

Professor of Private Misunderstandings of Many Things (POINTLESS FLAME-BAIT)

218.185.94.226 23:47, 28 August 2007 (UTC)He deserves the title of Professor of Private Misunderstandings of Many Things. To me, Richard is ignorant of many things. He doesn't know how the decline of religion and morality led to so many disasters in the modern world. And how religion gave benefits to many people. Here are some of them:

(1) The work of Mother Teresa is an obvious example. I thought everybody knows the contributions of Mother Teresa to human beings. But I was asked by Wiki staff to provide proofs. So here is the proof:

Mother Teresa was awarded NOBEL PEACE PRIZE in 1979 for her great contributions to the poor and the abondoned people in the world. For details, see http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/peace/laureates/1979/teresa-bio.html

She has done what nobody else would want to do. All her charity work was rooted in her Christian faith. So we cannot deny the benefits of religion.

(2) The holy water of Lourdes, France has cured huge amount of patients whose diseases could NOT be cured by science (at their time). Proof: http://www.doxa.ws/other/Miracles2.html

(3) On the other hand, the decline of religion and morality led to the rising of divorce rate. Divorce is bad for children. Author Elizabeth Marquardt explains well in her book, Between Two Worlds: The Inner Lives of Children of Divorce.

(4) The decline of religion and morality led to the rising of crime rate.165.228.171.167 03:18, 29 August 2007 (UTC)

Thank you for your interest in Wikipedia. However this talk page is for improving the article, not debating the issues. Maybe you would like to take these issues up directly with Professor Dawkins. --Michael Johnson 03:44, 29 August 2007 (UTC)
I'm not a Christian, though I'm not one to say who's right or wrong when it comes to beliefs, but what does this have to do with Charles Dawkins and him being an evolutionary scientist? I hate to sound rude or anything, but none of these sources prove that Dawkins was misguided in any other way than he is an Atheist and you don't agree with that. When you write a Wikipedia article, you have to be careful when making statements like that since it still counts as original research, you made the claim that he was misguided, not any of the other sources are challenging his validity as a scientist. When I asked you for proof, I ment that you needed a specific source stating he was wrong, not a hodge podge of religous benifits. DarthGriz98 03:49, 29 August 2007 (UTC)
Alright, I'll bite. 1)Mother Teresa was a fraud and a sadist. She spent most of the money donated to her on self promotion and evangelism. She was more interested in converting the dying than providing real help. 2) See Placebo effect. Faith healing, only works on self limiting conditions, which is to say illnesses that may get better without medical intervention. 3)Divorce rates are actually higher amongst christians than atheists. 4)Ditto. The population of the US is 75% xtian, the population of US gaols is 75% xtian. On the other hand, the US pop is 10% atheist, while the gaol pop is only 0.1% atheist. And in any case crusades, jihad, inquistion, sharia courts. Now... did you actually have some suggestion for the article or not? ornis (t) 04:00, 29 August 2007 (UTC)
  • RE: 3)Divorce rates are actually higher amongst christians than atheists. 4)Ditto.

Come on. Yes, divorce rates are high in Christian countries, but that's due to the decline of religion and morality, as I have mentioned. Read my statements carefully. In fact, so-called countries in the west are merely Christian in name only. It is not religion / morality that caused divorce or crime, but their decline, obviously. (Also, you are wrong - Taiwan has a higher divorce rate than many western countries.) Your comments 1) and 2) are amusing.

I am against Dawkins' atheistic ideas. As a Chinese, I feel sad - myself and millions of other Chinese cannot go back to our own country, see what harm atheism has done to us. Of course, I am against atheism.

ZhaoWei Liu218.185.94.226 05:13, 29 August 2007 (UTC)

Rubbish, all of it. The problem with china isn't atheism, it's communism, a new religion as bad as any other. And you still haven't come up with a suggestion to improve the article. ornis (t) 05:33, 29 August 2007 (UTC)

A Good Article?

I don't believe this to be a good article. Despite the fact that many millions of people disagree with Dawkins and some downright hate him why is there not a section of critisisms? It seems rather biased in his favour to me! Cls14 23:53, 8 March 2007 (UTC)

Read the various comments above where a criticism section was addressed. What specifically needs changed? The article can be improved, but your complaint isn't valid. PatriotBible 00:32, 9 March 2007 (UTC)
(1) This has been discussed again and again. (2) There is lots of criticism reported in the article. (3) The practice of having a dedicated criticisms section is not necessarily the best one - it is often deprecated. Metamagician3000 01:06, 9 March 2007 (UTC)
Perhaps the answer lies in your own post. You directly imply two things: all the religious people of the world (and these are the millions you clearly refer to) disagree with Dawkins, therefore a criticism section would 'balance' the article; and, more disturbingly, that hate of a person legitimises serious criticism of them. With regards to the former, the very subject of the article – an atheist – makes this irrelevant. Of course theists disagree with him! That goes without saying, and another section would merely add baggage to the criticism already reported. As for the latter, hate is no basis for editing a Wikipedia article – certainly not one of a living person. This is the very thing Dawkins so vehemently opposes – religion's intolerance, to the point of hate, of any differing view. Lh'owon 08:39, 9 March 2007 (UTC)
I think he is referring to his scientific contributions. None of his ideas have withstood scrutiny as from the date of publication to the present there is a significant literature that opposes or criticizes his ideas. The selfish gene-DNA concept is based on false assumptions-junk DNA does have a function and it can influence the phenotype. The sociobiologist have long had a quibble over his reductionist approach and offer the genetic tendency of suicide as one argument. Further back in 70' Ohno published his book Evolution by gene duplication which supports gene duplication envolvment in evolution. I have enjoyed reading Dawkins and his ideas have logical appeal, however there is plenty of criticism. Positing untestable hypotheses is a definite weakness as Gould pointed out. As far as the hate reference, I think Dawkins feels the same. Neither side make good arguments with such venom. The article does bring up some of his critics as I note so this has been addressed.GetAgrippa 13:13, 9 March 2007 (UTC)
If you can support all these arguments with reliable sources, please add them into the Criticism section. If not, stop spamming the talk page with identical posts.--Svetovid 23:28, 21 March 2007 (UTC)
Gould's distaste for Dawkins is legendary as the article already mentions. von Sternberg (for one) is very critical of the selfish replicator idea and states it is not a testable hypothesis. von Sternberg R. On the roles of repetitive DNA elements in the context of a unified genomic-epigenetic system. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2002 Dec;981:154-88.There are also other hypotheses related to genome size and the large amount of noncoding DNA. Like the cell size and metabolic rate hypotheses mentioned in recent Nature and Science articles. I can dig up the sociobiology articles too, but I think the critique is already sufficient in the article. My point was not to diminish Dawkins but simply state there is plenty of criticisms against his ideas and the article already does a decent job of covering many of the arguments. I had hoped admitting he has critics and criticisms would address NPOV concerns (which keep coming up!)that this issue is not addressed (which it is). One could write a separate article related to criticisms, but I don't think it is warranted. I think it is best to stay on topic to his contribution, etc. and not get bogged down in side issues such as criticisms (of course he has critics what contributing scientist doesn't).GetAgrippa 20:19, 23 March 2007 (UTC)
It is not tenable to assert - as Lh'owon does, above - that because theist criticism of Dawkins' atheism is predictable it is irrelevant to this article. It is also predictable that Jews would be critical of anti-semitism, but no reasonable person would propose excluding the Jewish point of view from an article on anti-semitisim. This is a useful and informative article but it has yet to achieve NPOV, and this tendency on the part of some editors to try to exclude reasoned objections to Dawkins' work is not helping. While an attempt has clearly been made in good faith to weave criticism of Dawkins through the article, I have to admit that I was surprised on first reading it that there was no separate criticism section. He is, after all, a high profile polemicist. It has been argued here that such a section would only provide an easy reference tool for those seeking to discredit Dawkins; however, since criticism sections generally seem to contain rebuttals of each criticism, then such a section would also provide an easy reference tool for those seeking to defend Dawkins. Wikipedia is after all an encyclopedia, not a university course. It is the function of a reference tool to provide information, and not to dictate how that information should be used. Catwizzle 09:46, 6 April 2007 (UTC)

A criticism section would harm this article far more than it would help it. At present the article is neatly divided into evolutionary biology, memetics and religion. Those sections then describe Dawkins' work in the field, responses to that work, and any responses to those. The proposal seems to be to take all of the criticism out of the context of Dawkins' original work, and lump unrelated criticism in the fields of science and religion together. Perhaps we should have a criticism section and subdivide it between evolutionary biology, memetics, religion and other fields? Then we could have a "response to criticism" section, similarly subdivided? I can just imagine what a "good article" that would make. Certainly, expand the existing sections with more of the relevant and encyclopaedic facts, but a criticism section does not make sense. Joe D (t) 21:49, 6 April 2007 (UTC)

Well put IMO. What the article needs is more balanced interwoven criticism, not a section full of critcism. Why not rather get on with it and actually write the criticism you think necessary to make the article balanced than wasting time arguining over where in the article such criticism should go? (I'm talking to Catwizzle, not Joe). Mikker (...) 12:51, 7 April 2007 (UTC)

I just tried to put in a criticism section and it was deleted - i find it highly odd that there isn't one (I see it on many living person bios) and certainly Dawkin's assertions about geopolitical conflict being caused by religion are WIDELY criticized - and not just by 'religious people' but experts on global conflict. I do not think this is a 'good article' and in fact I do not even think it is neutral. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Mywikieditor2007 (talkcontribs)

The "criticism" section that has just been deleted was clearly in breach of wikipedia policies on neutrality and original research - so I am pleased to see that it was speedily sent on its way. But in any case the whole issue of a separate "criticism" section has been debated ad nauseam here, and the consensus is clearly in favour of not having such a section. Dawkins's specific ideas can be fairly criticised, and indeed are, and this is covered, topic by topic, within the various themes of the article. But the notion of criticising "Richard Dawkins" as a whole is unsustainable - a clear breach of wikipedia policy on biographies of living persons and an invitation to trolls and POV-pushing. If you think the article does not adequately deal with Dawkins' critics and what they have to say, please try and build it in to the thread of the narrative, and do not just tack on a section of anti-Dawkins rant. Snalwibma 20:04, 25 May 2007 (UTC)

it is not a breach - Dawkins assertion that the indo-pakistan conflict, israel-palestine and northern irleand would VANISH if each side were not of a particular religion has been widely criticized. Other living persons have controversy sections. Clearly a statement like that - which falls OUTSIDE of the the other discussions -is and did cause controversy. Sorry to see the obvious bias here. This isn't about creation-vs evolution which seems to be the push button for you and others, but a world view that can only be called grossly ignorant. Mywikieditor2007 21:18, 25 May 2007 (UTC)

Sorry, but yes, it is a breach. •Jim62sch• 22:55, 25 May 2007 (UTC)
just because YOU say so? this is ridiculous. He has quotes on the page directly blaming religion for 9-11 he has received widespread criticism for saying this because it demostrates he is woefully ignorant (and as inaccurate as any creationist) of geo-political affairs- and you and others are deleting those FACTS. the funny thing is you probably consider yourselves 'rationalists' it is not 'anti dawkins rant' Snalwibma - it is demostrating his ignorance of gepoltiical affairs.Mywikieditor2007 16:36, 26 May 2007 (UTC)

I think the piece was well done and objective and I don't see what adding the suggestions above would bring to the table. Kuddos on the article. --Baronmarbot 00:04, 1 August 2007 (UTC)

I agree; most of the criticism of him is either poorly-constructed personality attacks, dissatisfaction with his religious stances and other things. If there were some of his works which people criticised for a logical or scientific reason, then Criticism would be acceptable. But, just to say X Creationist publication or TV show says "Dawkins is a heretic" or "We hate Dawkins" should be limited to one statement with several references. Uxorion 17:12, 13 August 2007 (UTC)

I think a cricism section is a good idea, not a criticism of Dawkins views which would likely be more appropriate elsewhere, however there are some very valid objective criticisms published of Dawkins. This would include cricisms of his intollerant moralizing (i.e. dismissing certain people with opposing views as "evil), his dangerously ignorant advocacy of eugenics, as well as the zoologist's amatuerish foray into philosophy, which appears to many to be far beyond his ken.

The idea that there shouldn't be a cricism section is rediculous, I think the loud voices against it here are not being objective and this is sadly an unfortunate example of wikipedia devolving into "truth by democracy".

Criticism sections are common throughout wikipedia. This is wrong to not to include one here when there is voluminous critical writings on on this very controversial public figure. - AbstractClass 02:41, 25 August 2007 (UTC)


I think the most clear criticism of him would be this. He automatically assumes the truth of a very specific metaphysical position (materialism), and then makes assertions based upon the premise that it is correct, as if these assertions were 'scientific fact' or somehow proven, even though his famous problem with the idea of a god & mysticism & the like is the 'unscientificness' of the ideas. He makes claims such as 'there really is no purpose within the universe', since such a claim would be true if the metaphysical picture he believes in were correct. He simply asserts the materialist position as a given, placing blind faith in it, yet criticising anyone else he sees placing any pure faith in any other position. It seems rather hippocritical, and perhaps even downright deceptive, that someone who is recognised as a scientific authority figure should go about presenting his personal beliefs as scientific fact, and all the conclusions that follow from them. Materialism may be the assumed position behind most scientific discourse, but it is not a scientific position, it is a philosophical one. Dawkins unremittently talks as if we simply 'know' that materialism is the case, and ridicules other position as 'irrational' for believing things which cannot be proven. I think that this warrants the criticism that he is a hippocrit. He is a scientist, thus we might normally allow him such inconsistencies at the level of his belief, as 'pure beliefs' aren't really the subject of scientists, but he himself steps outside of the scientific ring and starts attacking just about any belief he can find; this isn't the role of a scientist per se. As a philosopher, then, which is what Dawkins often tries to be (his telivision programmes all try and hit the really important issues in 'life'), Dawkins is pretty lousy.

He accepts Materialism as granted, and dismisses any other belief system as 'quaint' or 'ignorant' often simply on the fact that they seem incompatible with it. Being an authority figure for many people, this can some to erroneously infer things like 'Oh, well he's a scientist so it must be true, they only work with proof', and the like. He is not a philosopher, yet he seeks compound his fame as one. Dawkins philosophy is weak; the fact that he pits his positions against weak and malformed arguments like that awful ID argument about complicatedness (the universe is too complicated to have happened by chance; - right, so where is the threshhold of 'complicatedness', just when does it become to complicated?) doesn't make him more right.

The scepticism he forwards towards all other belief systems should equally be forwarded towards his own personal and unverifiable beliefs. He does not do this however, he pushes his own position as if it were the established truth. 84.65.168.134 12:46, 25 August 2007 (UTC)jbeer

That Oxford debate

This sentence was recently added/expanded (some of it was already there) in the Creationism section:
Dawkins did, however, take part in the Oxford Union's 1986 Huxley Memorial Debate, in which he and John Maynard Smith won against A. E. Wilder-Smith and Edgar Andrews. The result of the vote was 198 votes to 115 (although there is some confusion over the creationist vote; in tape recordings of the event the Union President is clearly heard to say 150, not 115, when announcing the result).<ref>Huxley memorial debate "http://www.tonguesrevisited.com/oxford_union_debate.htm"</ref>.
I have moved the whole of the second half (from "The result" to the end) to the footnotes, as it seems unnecessary detail for the main text (and even the fact that the vote was won by Dawkins et al is arguably footnote material - the point is that he took part, not what the result was). I am rather suspicious of the link in the footnote, however - what is this "www.tonguesrevisited.com" website, and why are they selling CDs, and should it be simply deleted as spam? Snalwibma 06:58, 11 March 2007 (UTC)

Yes. Metamagician3000 22:38, 22 March 2007 (UTC)
The para relating to the debate seemed to be turning into a hermetic account of the small, niggling, vote-counting minutiae of the event. This seems at too great a level of detail for a lifetime biography compressed into a short encyclopaedia entry, so I have pared it back slightly.--Old Moonraker 07:04, 10 May 2007 (UTC)

Crawly interview with Dawkins

It is almost impossible to use something like a TV interview without putting some kind of interpretation on it, so this is never a very good source to use. However, if we are going to use it, it should be as spin-free as possible, with no interpretations about whether someone was or was not "under pressure", whether anyone may or may not have been surprised by something Dawkins said, what the interviewer may or may not have meant by his questions, etc, etc. I've stripped this back to something more factual, but I question whether it should be there at all. It seems designed to suggest that Crawley somehow got the better of Dawkins in a debate, or some such thing. There were in fact many other points discussed, e.g. Dawkins' effective (from one PoV) response to arguments based on epistemological scepticism or the intransigence of religious debates. However, the best thing to do is not to put in more and more detail and interpretation but to question whether it is appropriate here at all, and if it has to go here on some point or other, to ensure that it is concise and factual. Metamagician3000 07:19, 21 March 2007 (UTC)

Your edits to the relvant section are a big improvement IMO. The text, status quo ante, was clearly POV. I do think you have a point wrt the inclusion of the interview but Dawkins saying some religious people are not delusional should probably stay. Mikker (...) 14:12, 21 March 2007 (UTC)
Having just watched the interview, I take that back. Dawkins simply backs off the claim that he meant to imply people are delusional in the sense in which mentally ill people are delusional. He clarifies what he means by "delusional"; he doesn't repudiate anything he's said before. I'm therefore going to delete the whole paragraph. It adds nothing useful IMO. Mikker (...) 18:44, 21 March 2007 (UTC)
Thanks for that. You're correct about what he says - that they are not literally delusional in that way. This isn't much of a "concession". Metamagician3000 00:38, 22 March 2007 (UTC)

FRSs with public religious stances

I think it is well worth giving readers a chance to put Dawkins's views in the context of the wider community of the UK's top scientists. Using a WikiPedia list with clear non-POV criteria (it's a matter of opinion whether someone is a "leading scientist" but it's a matter of fact whether or not they are an FRS) provides this in a NPOV manner. As other FRSs are added to the list the value will be enhanced - like all WP articles it is not comprehensive but continually improving. NBeale 10:51, 22 March 2007 (UTC)

  • It's simply a tautology: "As one of the few leading UK scientists with well-known religious views, Dawkins continues to be a prominent figure in contemporary public debate on issues relating to science and religion." And if it would be (as you say) POV to create a list based on "top scientists", how is NPOV to describe Dawkins here as "one of the few leading UK scientists"? And anyway he doesn't have "religious views", he has views about religion. But I'll leave it someone else to delete it this time. Snalwibma 11:06, 22 March 2007 (UTC)

NBeale, you've got to let it go. We are not here to discredit Dawkins, debunk his ideas, put them in perspective, or whatever you are trying to do. We are just here to write a general encyclopedia. This particular article is nothing more than a biography of a scientist; it is not an investigation into the truth of his claims about religion or whether our readers should accept them or anything of the sort. Metamagician3000 11:13, 22 March 2007 (UTC)

As the FRS is a UK institution we must consider if the members to this list are equitable in the UK i.e. it is not a case of Apples and Oranges. Atheism is not considered a religion in the UK. Thus by UK law it is inconsistent for us to mingle what are clearly deemed to be religious with that which is not considered a religion on the same page. Ttiotsw 11:19, 22 March 2007 (UTC)
Your (NBeale's) particulsr addition in this case was blatant original research. I've removed it. Even if you went around finding what each FRS has or has not said about religion, that would be an exercise in selecting obscure and unconnected data from different places to sythesise a novel claim or narrative ("most FRSs are not anti-religious" or whatever conclusion you'd want to get the reader to draw). That is classic original research - which we don't do here. If you want to prove such a point you need to find another interested publisher. Metamagician3000 11:22, 22 March 2007 (UTC)

Hi Metamagician3000. We do do Lists in WikiPedia and lists are not deemed OR as far as I know. If you think the list should be deleted then by all means (sigh) try to get it done on an AfD. But given that it is a proper WikiPedia article it seems reasonable to link to it in some way. Why can't you trust the readers to draw their own conclusions? NBeale 11:44, 22 March 2007 (UTC)

So ... you are using a wikipedia list as a source for the claim that you wanted to make in this article that Dawkins is one of the few FRSs to have expressed views about religion, etc. It may well be a true claim and doesn't bother me one way or the other if it is, but we should not be makkng it, especially if our source is another article in Wikipedia, which is not considered a reliable source. As for your more general point, readers can think what they like but it is not our role to lead them to form original conclusions based on selecting facts from here and there. If your list is designed to do that it is classic OR. In any event, even if it survived AfD (which it might if it looks innocent on its face) it can't be used as a source in this article. Please just edit less tendentiously. It's not as if there's any doubt that you are doing it; you make it very obvious. Metamagician3000 11:57, 22 March 2007 (UTC)
I was puzzled about what you think might be remotely contentious - but perhaps it's the word "few". Would "as a FRS with well-known views about religion" be OK for you? NBeale 12:16, 22 March 2007 (UTC)
No, because then you are simply back to the tautology. It's completely redundant. It's not "as an FRS" or "as a public critic of religion" or "as a second-rate scientist from Oxford" that Dawkins is a "prominent figure". He is prominent in his own right. It seems to me that the only reason for inserting such a phrase is to point to your silly list at List of FRSs with public religious stances, which I sincerely hope will soon be sent to the trash can. Snalwibma 12:45, 22 March 2007 (UTC)
Apologies for the tone of the above. A better way to put it is that the "context" in which NBeale thinks it is appropriate to place Dawkins here is a context that has no objective validity. It is a context that exists only in NBeale's own mind. See here for further explanation. Snalwibma 09:51, 23 March 2007 (UTC)

AfD re FRS list

Apart from the fact that the list can't be used as a source for any conclusions that someone might try to infer from it, it is not, IMHO, appropriate for Wikipedia at all. We'll see what the community thinks about that proposition: I've created an AfD for it, and have notified NBeale on his talk page. Metamagician3000 11:24, 23 March 2007 (UTC)

Thanks; I was going to AfD it but didn't get round to it. Mikker (...) 14:11, 23 March 2007 (UTC)

Peer review

I've sought to re-open the peer review on the article, as it has changed a fair bit in the past year. Let's see what objections it draws. Metamagician3000 00:30, 24 March 2007 (UTC)

Foundation for Reason and Science

I've removed this quote:

My Trustees and I have set up the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science – RDFRS, or RDF. It is actually two sister foundations of the same name, one legally constituted in Britain and the other legally incorporated in the United States. It has an American trustee based in America (Karen Owens), an American trustee based in Britain (Claire Enders) and a British trustee based in Britain (me). At present, both organizations are companies, with applications for charitable recognition pending in their two countries.ref name = "Foundation intro">""Our Mission", ‘‘[[The Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science]]’’". Retrieved 30 November 2006.  Wikilink embedded in URL title (help)

It is no longer found on the Foundation's site, evidently because Dawkins is involved in negotiations to try to get charitable status for the Foundation, and all this wording is now subject to the outcome of the negotiations. We should monitor the situation to see the outcome and restore/reword as needed. Metamagician3000 12:32, 25 March 2007 (UTC)

Gere quote

Although the Gere quote is witty and pithy it is actually quite deep as well. The philosophical issues he seeks to raise include:

  1. Many of the standard arguments used against the existence of God can be used against the existence of other persons (esp. other minds).
  2. Dawkins appears to be seeking to impose his standard of "rationality" on other people. But as philosophy and mathematics have conclusively shown in the 20th C there is no one standard of rationality that is given: all logical systems require axioms and there is no universal set of axioms that are self-evidently true, and no logical system can deduce all true things from axioms.
  3. Dawkins appears to dismiss whole areas of human thought and experience (labelled "unscientific") as not worthy of consideration.

Now he may well be wrong in his criticisms. We cannot say that Gere "demonstrates that". But it is a fact that Gere "suggests that" and it is a serious point. NBeale 10:40, 28 March 2007 (UTC)

Yes, I agree - it's an amusing and interesting comment, and it does have some depth to it, and it may be worth building in somewhere. But I have three objections. (1) The Gere comment comes from a very brief throw-away letter to a daily newspaper. I've had several such letters published myself, but I'm not about to parade them on wikipedia as serious sources of scientific or philosophical opinion. (2) All of your analysis above, in which you justify the inclusion of the comment, is very much your own interpretation, not what Gere said. (3) I am uneasy about the way it isn't built-in but tacked-on. In fact, on rereading the "Religion" section, I find it all well-written and interesting, quite skilfully presenting the nuances of the various discussions and arguments in which Dawkins has been involved, until I come to the the final paragraph. There is then a sudden switch from well-reasoned analysis to what looks more like point-scoring. I'd like to propose that the whole of this paragraph should be dismantled, and the significant parts of it redistributed to elsewhere in the section.

The biologist Steven Rose considers that: "Richard’s view about belief is too simplistic, and so hostile that as a committed secularist myself I am uneasy about it. We need to recognise that our own science also depends on certain assumptions about the way the world is – assumptions that he and I of course share."[ref] The cultural theorist Charlie Gere suggests that: "It is extraordinary in this day and age that anyone can still believe in such a cruel, heartless and frankly improbable figure as Richard Dawkins...dictating to us what we should and should not believe."[ref]

I will revisit this, if no-one else beats me to it. As ever, my concern is partly to ensure that the article conforms to policies like WP:NPOV and WP:BLP, but also, crucially, to achieve a text which is readable and well constructed, designed to enlighten rather than persuade. Snalwibma 11:04, 28 March 2007 (UTC)

(Edit conflict) Hmmm. Looks to me like the Charlie Gere page was created solely to give this quote notability. Point 1 above is an irrelevance, not least since its "many" and not "all", and let's not forget that many arguments for the existance of God allow fairies, etc., in by the backdoor; Point 2 omits the simple observation that, regardless of the present number of explanations, there is only one reality to ultimately be described (standard caveats apply to this statement); Point 3 is essentially suggesting that we allow subjectivity to ride roughshod over objectivity when it suits. Wow, "serious points" indeed. Anyway, these philosophical points aren't entirely without merit, but I do wonder about the notability of Charlie Gere. --Plumbago 11:10, 28 March 2007 (UTC)
I have no argument with points 1, 2 and 3 in the lead above; it's just that the Gere letter I deleted from the article doesn't meet them. I called it trivial, superficial and unencyclopedic when I reverted it (although perfectly appropriate in its original context of a newspaper letters' page, where pithy but possibly meretricious contributions are valued) but the most important point of the three was unencyclopedic: the edit illustrates what seems to be falling short from any intention of making the best possible encyclopedia article in favor of quick point-scoring. Take a step back and try and see Gere's slick contribution in some venerable encyclopedia you've lifted down from the reference shelf of a library: it just doesn't go. To keep on stuffing it back into the article against the consensus (as far as I can see there is only one contributor favoring its inclusion) could almost be seen as disruptive editing. It shouldn't be there. Old Moonraker 11:16, 28 March 2007 (UTC)
  • It might be worth quoting Gere's entire letter to The Guardian here, to clarify what it is that NBeale wants to use as a source. This is it:
It is extraordinary in this day and age that anyone can still believe in such a cruel, heartless and frankly improbable figure as Richard Dawkins. Surely the sooner we stop taking this ancient, harsh and unforgiving idol seriously, dictating to us what we should and should not believe, and condemning blameless, hard-working women as having a "stupid face" for failing to think as he does, the sooner we can regard ourselves as a civilised and grown-up culture. Charlie Gere / Lancaster University

I conclude that (1) it is trivial; (2) it is clearly a joke (however serious the point beneath it might be); (3) it refers to a very specific incident (the British Airways cross controversy). I therefore conclude that the use to which it has been put in the Dawkins article is dangerously close to a gross misuse, taking comments out of context and using them to make a point entirely different from what the author intended. Snalwibma 11:17, 28 March 2007 (UTC)
Addendum - I see that the quote from Steven Rose also comes from a newspaper article. It's not even an article by Rose, but a quote attributed to him by a journalist. There are so many much better sources about Dawkins. We should not be using this trivia. I propose the complete deletion of the final paragraph under "Religion", leaving it to end with "I remain baffled ... by their belief in the details of the Christian religion." That reads like a good summing-up of a well-written section. I will make this edit in half an hour or so, unlsee beaten to it! Snalwibma 11:28, 28 March 2007 (UTC)
Agreed and done. Metamagician3000 11:58, 28 March 2007 (UTC)
The question we have to ask each time is how significant such and such a quote is for the life and career, and serious reception of the thought, of a very important scientist and thinker: Richard Dawkins. Many of these quotes are at best massively recentist ... and more likely an attempt to cherrypick for material that can be used to build a case to try to discredit or debunk Dawkins. This is supposed to be an encyclopedia, not a place to wage a war against someone we dislike or would like to damage in public perceptions.Metamagician3000 11:50, 28 March 2007 (UTC)

Hi Snalwibma. I'm sorry but you don't seem to have followed the ref link. This letter was part of a series of letters in response to an article by Stuart Jeffires in the Guardian criticizing inter alia Dawkins for his "dogmatic" and "abusive" intolereance. The article mentioned the "stupid face" issue in passing. The whole point of the article and of Gere's letter was to question Dawkins's "dogmatic" stance. Also you should know that Steven Rose is a serious and long-term critic of Dawkins, this is not a throw-away line. Please don't keep trying to supress well-refed information about the stance of notable commentators. You may not agree with their views, but they have a right to be heard. NBeale 11:55, 28 March 2007 (UTC)

Hi NBeale. I followed the ref link and that is where it took me. Yes, of course it was a response to something else, but what I quoted was all that Gere said. Sorry, but you are a lone voice pushing for the inclusion of this trivia. Because someone is "serious", a "long-term critic", and (for all I know) has a string of degrees in philosophy from the very best universities, that does not mean that his every chance remark is worthy of inclusion in this article. And could you please think about the issue of readability and clarity, as opposed to fact-stuffing? Snalwibma 12:04, 28 March 2007 (UTC)

Hi Snalwibma. Seriously: Rose is not a throwaway remark. One of the problems of WikiPedia is that because we rightly want reliable sources we sometimes have to find a short summary of a complex and deep position. But I take the point that the (old) last para doesn't read right. I think some less extended reference to the fairly widespread conern amongst secular commentators that Dawkins's views on religion are "simplistic" and "too hostile" would be better, as a sentence following the Keith Ward one, and citing a couple more sources (if people want the details they can always follow the refs). The problem at the moment is that the article gives the false impression that the only people who disagree with Dawkins's views and approach on this subject are the religious people he is criticising. NBeale 13:07, 28 March 2007 (UTC)
Well, that ("the article gives the false impression that the only people who disagree with Dawkins's views and approach on this subject are the religious people...") is not at all the impression I get from the section on Religion. Can I suggest, though, that revsions are discussed here before being made, as it is clearly a sensitive area! Snalwibma 13:29, 28 March 2007 (UTC)

For what it's worth, I agree with the characterization of the Gere quotation as "point-scoring". As a person who has been rather underwhelmed by the quality of post-God Delusion discourse (too many Courtier's Replies, too little sense) I think we should consider the possibility that the serious, reasoned remarks which would belong in an encyclopedia article haven't been written yet. Right now, we have an awful lot of throwaway remarks, off-the-cuff jabs, snarky Op-Ed columns and recentist Letters to the Editor. In a year, Oxford University Press might come out with a counterweight which is worth reading, but at the moment, I have to wonder if any of this sound-and-fury belongs in an encyclopedia.

I would delight in being proven wrong, of course. Anville 14:54, 28 March 2007 (UTC)

AFD suggests merger with "popular culture" article

See Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Richard Dawkins in popular culture. I don't care much for the fate of that article, as I just created it to have a repository for the junk that was showing up here. However, it appears that this AFD is going to be used as an editorial process to force a merger with this main article, as the nominator and others in the AFD have suggested. Some editors here may want that, others may not; everyone's input is welcome. coelacan — 19:27, 29 March 2007 (UTC) Correction: this was not the nominator's intention. coelacan — 18:40, 30 March 2007 (UTC)

The article on Richard Dawkins in popular culture is very lightweight, and I don't care if it lives or dies. I guess there just isn't as much about him as about (say) Stephen Hawking. But most of the stuff there is utter trivia, and has almost no connection with Dawkins, let alone making a contribution to an understanding of Dawkins. And I guess the function of the main article on Richard Dawkins is precisely that - to help someone understand what he is about (notwithstanding some attempts to turn it into something else entirely!). So I feel that most (all?) of the material in the pop culture article does not belong here. I agree with Coelacan - a vote to delete article (a) places no obligation on article (b) to accept any of the deleted material. Maybe, if the pop culture article does vanish, a brief sentence could be added here saying he has made a few appearances in various guises in the popular media, including X, Y, Z. Snalwibma 23:26, 29 March 2007 (UTC)

I hate the pop culture cruft that attaches itself to articles like this one, on serious academic topics. Hiving off a separate pop culture article for those who are interested can be a good idea to keep the "main" article focused. But all I can say, if we are stuck with a pop culture section, is let's keep it brief - we need to maintain a sense of proportion. Metamagician3000 01:27, 30 March 2007 (UTC)

The AfD is most likely to show that "in popular culture" sections in general do not belong, with few exceptions. I left a suggestion on the AfD page. — Deckiller 01:31, 30 March 2007 (UTC)

I've always thought the sole case for the pop culture article's existence was purely pragmatic -- to make our lives easier -- so I doubt it'll survive AFD. Nothing of that article, however, belongs in this one. This shouldn't be too much of an issue because I think the Dawkins episode won't be fresh in the South Park fans's minds anymore. Mikker (...) 17:51, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

I guess that's the good side of pop-culture ephemerality! Anville 22:50, 4 April 2007 (UTC)
I'm sorry "popular culture" - I don't recall Dawkins being on Big Brother.... nor do I even begin to believe that 90% of humanity can even comprehend his philosophical waffling. I've taken a look around and the only evidence on popular culture is that he's had a couple of best sellers. I'm guessing walking up to the average chav in a bar and asking them their views on Dawkins is going to be a fairly short conversation - so I don't see any reason why Dawkins would have anything to do with pop-culture. maybe pop-philosohical-debate-culture or extremely popular (for a biologist). No way is he a part of "pop-culture" - not unless pop just got an education. 90.152.12.130 13:58, 13 April 2007 (UTC)

Growing Up In The Universe/Online Store

What do others think of the recent addition of this section, plus associated external links? Looks like spam to me, and I think it should be moved to Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science (and slimmed down to probably no more than a link). I ask here because I don't want to be accused of suppressing well-referenced information! Snalwibma 08:35, 4 April 2007 (UTC)

Totally agree. Move it, with appropriate edits cutting it down to just a mention, to the article on the Foundation. We're not here to try to discredit Dawkins, which seems like the more usual sort of problem, but nor are we here to promote ventures associated with him. Metamagician3000 09:31, 4 April 2007 (UTC)
Done. Snalwibma 10:08, 4 April 2007 (UTC)

AfD on Athorism

I have nominated athorism that is linked from this article for deletion. Please comment at Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Athorism. --Merzul 20:19, 11 April 2007 (UTC)

Article needs a criticism section

because it's lacking T-1 19:59, 15 April 2007 (UTC)

See Talk:Richard Dawkins/Archive 4#Criticism Section Needed. Thanks, Joe D (t) 20:22, 15 April 2007 (UTC)
this suggestion is discussed at length (and rejected by consensus) above...Demong 01:50, 16 April 2007 (UTC)
User T-1 forget about it. Its not going to happen with the current consensus, although I can't not feel that there is a certain degree of personal bias involved in both sides. Forgive me if I am mistaken. I guess the only option is to improve the article as it stands.Olockers
Due to the nature of the subject both sides have very heated views, it's best not to give them another forum to gesticulate on. Waffle247 12:41, 19 April 2007 (UTC)
1, Does it? Why? 2, If so, what concrete criticism do you suggest?--Svetovid 03:58, 21 April 2007 (UTC)
This has been discussed before. In fact there is already criticism of Dawkins, in the sections on Evolutionary biology and Religion. It is probably better in those sections rather than as a separate section. Poujeaux 12:52, 3 May 2007 (UTC)

I agree it needs one i put this in and was deleted - keep in mind he is WIDELY criticized for misleading people about the root causes of global conflict something he seems remarkably uninformed about:


Criticism Dawkins has been widely criticized for simplifying complex geo-political conflict and " blaming faith for practically everything wrong with the world"

Gregg Eastbrookl writes: "But The God Delusion overstates the case against religion by blaming faith for practically everything wrong with the world. Suppose we woke up tomorrow morning and found that every denomination had disappeared. The Israelis and Palestinians would still be at each other's throats: their conflict is about land, liberty, and modernity, not faith. (Israel is among the world's most secular nations; the fact that most Israelis are not particularly religious has hardly reduced tensions.) If neither Hinduism nor Islam had existed in 1948, the partition of the Subcontinent might still have occurred and been as awful."[1]

Dinesh D'Souza in the CS Monitor: In his bestseller "The God Delusion," Richard Dawkins contends that most of the world's recent conflicts - in the Middle East, in the Balkans, in Northern Ireland, in Kashmir, and in Sri Lanka - show the vitality of religion's murderous impulse.

The problem with this critique is that it exaggerates the crimes attributed to religion, while ignoring the greater crimes of secular fanaticism. The best example of religious persecution in America is the Salem witch trials. How many people were killed in those trials? Thousands? Hundreds? Actually, fewer than 25. Yet the event still haunts the liberal imagination. [2]

Mywikieditor2007 19:52, 25 May 2007 (UTC)

Frankly, I think it points to a bigger problem in wiki - an over all left-leaning bias. Its odd and sad because in the case of Dawkins (whom i think they think they are defending against creationists) he is actually grossly mis-leading people about geo political conflict. http://www.conservapedia.com/Examples_of_Bias_in_Wikipedia

  1. Polls show that about twice as many Americans identify themselves as "conservative" compared with "liberal", and that ratio has been increasing for two decades.[16] But on Wikipedia, about three times as many editors identify themselves as "liberal" compared with "conservative".[17] That suggests Wikipedia is six times more liberal than the American public.[18]

Mywikieditor2007 20:19, 25 May 2007 (UTC)

Who said Wikipedia had to follow the far right wing tendencies of the American public? This is an international encyclopaedia, discussing a British scientist and author. Please study WP:NPOV with more care. ... dave souza, talk 20:44, 26 May 2007 (UTC)
I'm sorry, you cannot seriously be using conservopedia as a source. Conservopedia fails our standards for reliable sourcing. Secondly, nothing you say has addressed that the consensus on this article is to have critcism throughout the article as appropriate - criticisms of his views on religion in the religion section, for example. Try making a case for including the Christian Science Monitor quote in that section, rather than editing against consensus and creating a criticism section. KillerChihuahua?!? 20:28, 25 May 2007 (UTC)
show me some evidence of the consensus? and the justification? Mywikieditor2007 20:35, 25 May 2007 (UTC)
Linked above, second post in this talk page section. KillerChihuahua?!? 21:00, 25 May 2007 (UTC)
Try here and here. Snalwibma 21:13, 25 May 2007 (UTC)
Conservapedia is crap, been there, done that. The zeal of the regular editors on that horrid site for "tuth and justice the conservative American way" is only exceeded by their tremendously limited cerebral capacity. •Jim62sch• 22:53, 25 May 2007 (UTC)
you're clearly showing your own bias jm, there's a clear pattern here with all of you (snalwimba, killerchiuauau, you - you are removing critical information of your "icons" - I am putting in facts to balance them and you don't want people to see them. just don't use 'rhetoric' that, especialy you KillerChihuahua, to pass yourself off as impartial. you are anything but.Mywikieditor2007 16:29, 26 May 2007 (UTC)

I still don't see a "CONSENSUS" that you claim - i see people objecting to the lack of a criticism section and in reply "its been discussed there is a consensus against it" . It is absurd that a small clique of 3-4 editors answer all replies with (we, the 3) have a consensus that it doesn't need one. Do you honestly think you're being neutral?Mywikieditor2007 17:02, 26 May 2007 (UTC)

I don't think it needs a separate section for criticism the article already contains critical parts in the main body of the article. Teapotgeorge 17:10, 26 May 2007 (UTC)

Hi Mywikieditor2007 - if, having considered all the arguments that have been gone over previously, you still think that a separate criticism section is required, I think the best way to make progress would be to draft one and insert it here on this talk page, then let people discuss it. If you simply insert it in the article it will be deleted - and not just by what you describe as the "small clique". This article has been worked on very hard by very many editors, and the present structure represents a hard-won consensus. (And note that it is not just 3-4 editors who say no to such a section - in this section of the talk page alone there are at least 10.) May I offer one more piece of advice: if you do produce a section of criticism, it should be about how Dawkins has been criticised in verifiable sources. It should not consist of your own commentary on how Dawkins is wrong, which would be disallowed as original research. Snalwibma 17:15, 26 May 2007 (UTC)

here is an example of the bias there is controvesy section for M. Behe an 'intelligent design' advocate: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Behe KillerChihuahua, a administrator claiming that this section needs NO controversy section - made extensive edits there yet NEVER removed there. Why the double standard KillerChihuahua? Mywikieditor2007 17:18, 26 May 2007 (UTC)

This is a Good Article, and, in my experience on Wikipedia, I have never seen a GA or FA biography that had an independent "Criticism" section. Look at J.R.R. Tolkien and Rudyard Kipling — all reaction, positive or negative, is integrated into sections on these author's works. Also extended criticism of The God Delusion would be better handled in the article about the book, rather than in the biography of its author. -Severa (!!!) 18:36, 26 May 2007 (UTC)

Mywikieditor2007, I often don't comment on the Dawkins' article, or Dawkins related articles, as I have little time for debates (indeed, I have far less time for wikipedia than I would like, due to my current workload) but I can assure you that there are a large number of people that have worked on reaching the consensus that you fail to see here, I myself being a very minor player, but one who was happy with many of the decisions reached. In addition, I second Snalwibma's suggestions that
  1. Your addition of a criticism section might best be integrated into the flow of the article, rather than tacked on as a seperate section. The best way to do so is topically, rather than just to break out sections "for" and "against" Dawkins.
  2. Many of the specific comments that you added apply not to Dawkins' entire body of work, or to him as an individual, but to The God Delusion in particular. Some the criticism you want to add certain should be discussed there, rather than here (although you'll find many of the same people work on and watch the same pages). Edhubbard 20:45, 26 May 2007 (UTC)
Good practice is to include criticism in the main body of the work. Criticism sections tend to be inherently negatively biased, and ghettoing of criticism there makes the rest of the article positively biased. --h2g2bob (talk) 21:24, 26 May 2007 (UTC)
and an "Awards and recognition" section ISN'T Bias? There is a large enough body of opposition to Dawkin's ideas- not just 'religous/theolgians -Political scientists for example have called his ideas about geo-political conflict naive and ignorant, other scientist have criticized him and his overall behavior as a public figure has been criticized.Mywikieditor2007 21:58, 26 May 2007 (UTC)

Dawkins on The O'Reilly Factor

Richard Dawkins is scheduled to appear on The O'Reilly Factor Monday, April 23rd between 11p-12a EST.[1] It should be interesting... to say the least. -- MacAddct1984 13:58, 20 April 2007 (UTC)

Sadly it wasn't interesting. O'Reilly simply blustered and bullied his way through the interview giving Dawkins little opportunity to speak for more than a few seconds at a time. O'Reilly has his opinions and no reasonable argument will change them. O'Reilly's debating style is to shout his opponent down paying little or no attention to him. I don't suppose he'd even, as he'd claimed, read the God Delusion. Journalism at its worst. (Ajkgordon 08:08, 10 May 2007 (UTC))

I agree. Did you see the interview with Geraldo and O Rielly? he didn't let him speak for two seconds. I haven't seen the Dawkins/reilly interview but i am sure it would not be in Dawkins favour. A real shame since a lot of people would have been influenced by that program and some people won't be in favour of Dawkins now. O reilly is a loser.

Advocate of atheism

I've added "advocate of atheism" to the lead sentence because I think Dawkins is now perhaps better known for this than for his other activities.--A bit iffy 07:45, 22 April 2007 (UTC)

But why repeat it when his "advocate of atheism" is already implied in the third paragraph? Spellcast 14:35, 29 April 2007 (UTC)

Science delusion

Recent addition to external links:

I cannot check this out, as my PC is misbehaving - but it doesn't look very relevant to Dawkins. Relevant to Robert Winston, certainly - but a bit of a tanget as far as Dawkins is concerned, I'd guess (and "the arrogance of some scientists" is a distinctly weaselish wording). We cannot list all mentions of Dawkins by others. Anyone else care to comment on this one? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Snalwibma (talkcontribs) 05:31, 13 May 2007 (UTC).

I deleted it. First it was in the wrong category and second, it's not relevant.--Svetovid 06:56, 13 May 2007 (UTC)

This is a very important point. I had in fact missed the lecture but was alerted to it from the Ruth Gledhill/Dawkins interview where Dawkins specifically referred to it. Unfortunately I can't find a transcript but the lecture itself is on the web at the cite referenced and is well worth watching. Although the Guardian article focused on the religious aspects (which was what Grayling was commenting on) what the lecture was actually about was much wider, and the major criticism of Dawkins, Pinker et al was on the basis of thier arrogance is asserting a "gene's eye view" when in fact epigenetic inheritance shows that there are important evolutionary mechanisms which are not done by the genes. Winston also pointed out that Grayling had made his comments before the lecture was given, without having seen or heard it. And we don't quote critics of critics, (esp stunningly uninformed ones). NBeale 16:07, 13 May 2007 (UTC) PS I don't think we should go around labelling people JEW like this. We don't always say "Richard Dawkins who is an atheist". If people want to know about Winston they can look him up. NBeale 16:14, 13 May 2007 (UTC)

The "Jew" reference was quoted straight from the Guardian article whereas your reference to epigenetic inheritance is not in the guardian reference but allegedly in the lecture which we don't yet have a transcript. It was a way of pointing out this whole section you have added is somewhat partisan. I propose it is culled until we have a reference that specifically mentions epigenetic inheritance as opposed to what the Guardian article mentions which is not what you have made it to say.Ttiotsw 16:21, 13 May 2007 (UTC)
The lecture mentions epigenetic inheritance - the Guardina article is a short trailer for the lecture. The lecture is on the web there is nothing which requires us to have a transcript - if you want to check the reference you can look at the lecture. Go on, it's v interesting and makes a lot of other worthwhile points. NBeale 20:39, 13 May 2007 (UTC)
Just finished - the video halted at 29 minutes but the audio worked all way though to 69 minutes. I took some notes and would say that the Guardian reference is very poor journalism. The way it is worded seems to mingle an interview with a lecture that was yet to be delivered thus creating a number of anachronisms; it did seem to be trying to create a storm in a teacup. Lord Winston's issue is with "determinism" a word he uses as a pejorative and conflates this too with Nazi Germany and Eugenics - he hits all the bases !. The issue of arrogance appears twice at the beginning around 2 minutes in and around 63 minutes in with,
"the problem we face ladies and gentlemen is that Scientists now have this slight tendency occasionally, rather arrogantly, to believe that we have solved these problems, but if you think about it none of us actually understands the foundation of the earth, nobody knows what lies outside our universe..." etc etc. The theme being "Certainty when you are religious is dangerous. Certainty as a scientist is equally dangerous.". This thus applies to all scientists (including Winston). My reading is that Winston is proposing a god-of-gaps that is now simply the uncertainty in our knowledge. It is a safe haven as by its very definition the god will retreat to any new uncertainty. Winston previously presents the idea that the human trait of "spirituality" has a genetic basis and is selected. He proposed that biologists need to be less certain (like Physicists with their quantum mechanics) . Putting two and two together I see this desire for uncertainty in evolution is where he will hide his "god". Ttiotsw 03:14, 14 May 2007 (UTC)
Is it just me, or does this look like yet another effort to slip some more criticism into the article? Sure, Winston is talking about the (well-known) phenomenon of epigenetic inheritance, but since when is Dawkins "against" that? Speaking with my biologist hat on, I don't see that epigenetic inheritance displaces the gene-centered view of evolution - to my mind, it's an interesting "twiddle" on top of that. As such, I can't see why it merits any mention here at all (even over at epigenetics itself this Winston stuff is pretty trifling). Or should we start going through every single position Dawkins takes on evolutionary biology and trump it with this or that apparent opponent? Time and time again it appears that articles are created or amended just so that some criticism of Dawkins can then be slipped into this article. Bizarrely (for me anyway), I used to find Dawkins annoying and a distraction from science, but I've almost come around in the face of this sort of unhelpful and unnecessary muck-raking. --Plumbago 13:56, 15 May 2007 (UTC)
Not just you! The epigenetic twiddle (good way of putting it) was initially introduced as part of a claim that Winston's main criticism was about "arrogance" on the part of "some scientists". I chopped it back to something more like a cogent comment on the ideas espoused by Dawkins - but you're right. Even like this it's pretty trivial. Also worrying is the way these things get stuck on at the end of a section, reinforcing the impression that they are intended as a final trumping of what has gone before. If they do indeed belong, they need to be woven carefully into the thread of the argument in their proper place, not dumped at the end. Maybe there is a place for a referece to epigenetics in the Dawkins article, but this probably isn't it, and a quote from Winston is probably not the best way of bringing it in. Snalwibma 14:21, 15 May 2007 (UTC)
Further to the above, I'm commenting out the offending text until the discussion over at Talk:Epigenetics is resolved. The point here hangs on the stuff there, and it's flimsy as hell. Cheers, --Plumbago 08:46, 16 May 2007 (UTC)

Whether or not people agree with Winston the fact is that he is a considerable figure and that his concerns about Dawkins, Pinker, Dennett et al are serious (and scathingly expressed). Dawkins acknowledges that Winston is a serious critic. We really should allow readers to make their own minds up about whether the criticisms are valid - but we shouldn't try to supress them. NBeale 23:02, 16 May 2007 (UTC)

But what are these concerns exactly specific to Dawkins ?. It is not "arrogance" as that was an accusation intended for all scientists in general. It may be about "The Selfish Gene" but as we have discussed Winston must have missed out reading "The Extended Phenotype" ; maybe the copy in the library was out at the time but this is unlikely in either case. It could be about "Determinism" but again it wasn't clear if he specifically called Dawkins a determinist and with that continue to tar and feather Dawkins as an antisemitic Nazi eugenicist. Yeah thats it.
Nope about the closest that the Winston lecture could be specifically relevant to Dawkins is in the The Selfish Gene article. Ttiotsw 02:36, 17 May 2007 (UTC)

I have moved the reference to epigenetics to what might be a better place in the "narrative" of the Dawkins article, and relegated Winston to the footnote. NBeale is right: of course we should not suppress relevant information. But it only belongs in the article if it is relevant. I think that while a brief reference to epigenetics may be a good idea, using Winston as the mechanism is not the best way to bring it in. Also, I wish those who want to add information would consider where and how best to add to it, instead of just dumping it. Snalwibma 06:08, 17 May 2007 (UTC)

Better Snalwibma, but I'm not sure if this is the best way forwards. The Winston references, for instance, aren't the most helpful - if it's such a notable scientific opinion, where's his paper(s) on the subject. Further, until it was recently modified, the epigenetics article made no claims along these lines (in fact, it specifically draws attention to the limitations of epigenetic mechanisms of inheritance). I'm still waiting for any sort of comment over at Talk:epigenetics on these modifications to that article. They're just too flimsy (when they're not dubiously ambiguous), and were clearly added there to bolster the addition of the criticism here. Anyway, I'll wait until tomorrow to see if we get a proper response. --Plumbago 07:26, 17 May 2007 (UTC)
Moving the section was an attempt at a thoughtful and accommodating response to the "I'm undeleting it because you're suppressing it" reaction of another editor, without myself simply getting involved in an edit-war. It does not mean that I am going to defend its inclusion - and I certainly think the reference to Winston has no place in this article. Epigenetics maybe - but the trouble is, any reference to epigenetics here is a bit of a "so what". Yeah, and... How exactly does that constitute a comment on what Dawkins has to say? I will shed no tears if the epigenetics sentence disappears entirely. Snalwibma 08:03, 17 May 2007 (UTC)
Did he specifically single out Dawkins for mention or not? If he did, what did he say? If he mentioned Dawkins along with others while making some more general point, isn't there some other article where this is better used - most likely the article on Winston himself? That's assuming the point was significant enough in Winston's bio to be mentioned there. I'm quite open to briefly reporting something he might have specifically about Dawkins, but I can't work out from the above whether there is any such thing. I'm not open to us trying to draw an inference about what Winston really meant and then including that. If Winston's comments were veiled, then that's too bad; it's not our job to draw inferences or try to read his mind. Metamagician3000 09:27, 17 May 2007 (UTC)

Quotes section

Is this section necessary? WP:NOT says that If you want to enter lists of quotations, put them into our sister project Wikiquote. I was about to delete the section based on that, but the sentence after says, Of course, there is nothing wrong with having lists if their entries are famous because they are associated with or significantly contributed to the list topic.... Any thoughts on this? Spellcast 16:30, 16 May 2007 (UTC)

  • Get rid of it. Delete the section. I have been bold and got rid of it. There are (or can be) plenty of quotes from Dawkins built into the article in appropriate places. This is just an invitation to take things out of context. Snalwibma 16:41, 16 May 2007 (UTC)
Wikiquote is the right place for a list of quotes. Mikker (...) 17:21, 16 May 2007 (UTC)
The problem with Wikiquote is that fewer people know it exists. Anyhow, can whoever deleted the quotes please put them into Wikiquote, rather than simply deleting them ? Ta. Robma 22:00, 16 May 2007 (UTC)
Not only put them in Wikiquote, but please also link to Wikiquote from this article, so people will find them. Mlewan 19:31, 22 May 2007 (UTC)
This ariticle has linked to Dawkins' Wikiquote page for nearly four years now. Joe D (t) 20:21, 22 May 2007 (UTC)
Sorry! I pressed the Save page button too quickly. Should have checked on the page. Mlewan 05:14, 23 May 2007 (UTC)

Neutrality Dispute

After reading through this section and seeing a small clique of pro-dawkins people seem to 'control' it, I don't think this is a good article, and in fact I think the neutrality should be disputed. Mywikieditor2007 17:05, 26 May 2007 (UTC)

Criticism sections are a bad idea. I've tried adding (diff) the main criticism into the relative section. --h2g2bob (talk) 21:46, 26 May 2007 (UTC)
Good job - seems well written and integrated. I see no issues with this edit. KillerChihuahua?!? 22:03, 26 May 2007 (UTC)

So lets remove the awards and recognition section as well.Mywikieditor2007 23:25, 26 May 2007 (UTC)

"Other stuff exists" isn't really the best defense in this case. GA and FA biographical articles generally do not have independent "Criticism" sections, so, why not work with other editors here to try to integrate particular examples of criticism of Dawkins' writings into the existing structure of this article (or, more specifically, the articles about his books)? -Severa (!!!) 03:04, 27 May 2007 (UTC)
if there is a section specifically showing his 'awards and recognition' (positive) why not a section specifically listing criticism of him. Why not incorporate the awards and recognition into the rest of the text, if as the people claim, its better format? What is the process for 'de-nomitating' and article as 'good'- obviously the criticisms have been water down (as is the case in which KC thought was a 'good' edit. Mywikieditor2007 13:09, 27 May 2007 (UTC)
Awards and recognition is exactly what you would expect to find in an encyclopedia. The information is presented without hype - essentially it lets the facts speak for themselves. Notable negative awards like "worst dressed scientist" or something would be equally acceptable. --h2g2bob (talk) 16:12, 27 May 2007 (UTC)
No, that wouldn't be a notable award for a scientist.--Svetovid 19:45, 2 June 2007 (UTC)

There is a line in the Personal Life section that refers to Dawkins being 'reconverted' after being 'persuaded' by the argument from design. Initially I thought this was simply vandalism because it is so juxtaposed to everything I've read and heard from him. I have now read the referenced transcript and this is a blatant misrepresentation of what he said. He talks of 'reverting' not 'reconverting.' The difference is huge. He doesn't say he gave thought to the idea and was 'persauded.' Instead he talks of simply falling into design thinking as a kind of default. I think this sentence should be changed to better reflect Dawkins meaning. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 70.171.17.133 (talk) 18:16, 1 October 2007 (UTC)

Go ahead - be bold, make the change! Snalwibma 18:28, 1 October 2007 (UTC)

Dawkins on Wikipedia

Perhaps some people here will find this interesting. Quote:

I met some interesting people including the inventor of Wikipedia, the democratically assembled on-line encyclopedia which, by any reasonable standards, ought to be a total failure but somehow, unaccountably, comes through with flying colours whenever you look up something you know about.

Fredrik Johansson 14:07, 27 May 2007 (UTC)

Dawkins and Winston on Radio 4's Today programme

I know what I am going to be accused of, so let me explain. I have just deleted the following, which had been tacked on to the end of the "Religion" section: Robert Winston, who deeply admires Dawkins as as writer, is suggests that the tone in which he argues against religion brings science into disrepute and that, although he is not an arrogant man, it is unhelpful to present science in a rather arrogant fashion. This was backed up by a reference which read "Robert Winston and Richard Dawkins in discussion on the BBC Today Programme 28 May 2007 audio, uncorrected transcript"
I have deleted it because:

  1. It adds nothing new to the article. This criticism about Dawkins, or something very like it, is already there.
  2. If NBeale feels that this particular reprise of the theme is worth including, this is not the right place to do it, or the right way to do it. Please do not just tack stuff on to the end of a section. It may not even be the appropriate section, given the focus on "bringing science into disrepute" and "arrogance" in presenting science which you say are the notable features of the exchange between Winston and Dawkins. Try and build it in to the article so that it makes sense and aids understanding. And try to write it with some regard for grammar and syntax, and with wikilinks that work, instead of leaving it to others to clean up the mess. I am surprised at such poor regard for style and structure on the part of one who has been a WP editor for many months, and who is so proud to be a member of the Society of Authors! ;-)
  3. It was an interesting discussion on this morning's Today programme, but it is not encyclopaedia material. The source is an ephemeral radio programme. I do not think this meets the criteria for reliable sources. Actually, the source is not just a radio programme; it's an unverified transcript of the radio programme on NBeale's own blog, and this certainly does not meet those criteria. Sorry. I know it must be irresistable every time you come across something which looks like criticism of Dawkins. Please try harder to resist the temptation. Snalwibma 18:53, 28 May 2007 (UTC)
I listened to it, and thought it was a pretty lightweight five minutes that deserves no more place in the article than any of the hundreds or thousands of other interviews that Dawkins has done. The main thing that happened was that Dawkins pressed Winston hard on what's wrong with robust discussion of religion, and on whether Winston actually believes in God - Winston dodged answering, which was his right I suppose. I don't propose that anything to the effect that "Winston refuses to say in what sense he might believe in God" be added to the Winston article. Surely we all just need to keep a sense of proportion about this sort of trivial activity - a stray, ephemeral five-minute radio discussion - and basically avoid recentism. OTOH if Winston has said something unambiguously about Dawkins in some significant forum or in a published article or book, by all means let's cite that. It appears so far that anything he's said has been, at best, veiled. Metamagician3000 03:11, 29 May 2007 (UTC)
Hi S & M. Apols for my typo. I don't think M appreciates the place the Today programme has in the UK. It is probably the most influential public forum in Britain, and for Winston to say in such a public forum what many leading scientists have been saying in private really is quite significant. There is in fact another source for Winston's claim here. It is BTW quite clear that "reliable sources" don't mean "reliable written sources" and an audio placed on the web by the BBC is a reliable source - my transcription is simply to save people the trouble of listenting to the whole thing. There is also a similar criticism from Martin Rees reported here NBeale 08:17, 30 May 2007 (UTC)
I think a BBC audio recording placed on the web could in some circumstances be a reliable source, but AFAIK their run-of-the-mill output is deleted after seven days. It's just that, in an encyclopaedia biography that's supposed to encompass the subject's entire life, adding every incident of public criticism (or approval, for that matter) as it happens isn't going to produce a considered and balanced article overall. It does leave the impression that some editors are grabbing at and inserting any item of ephemera that comes within their reach, providing that it supports their POV.
Reading back, it seems that I'm just reiterating points already made above, but I'll leave it in just as a further indication of the balance of opinion among editors, albeit in this case a very infrequent one. --Old Moonraker 10:27, 30 May 2007 (UTC)
Well I guess the conclusion is that we shouldn't give as much weight as I thought to the Today programme interview, and content ourselves with observing that "Scientists such as Robert Winston and Martin Rees suggest that the tone of Dawkins's attacks on even mainstream religion is un-helpful, with Winston suggesting that it brings science into disrepute" NBeale 21:01, 30 May 2007 (UTC)
I also read the Guardian report that is used to support the statement that "Scientists such as Robert Winston and Martin Rees suggest that the tone of Dawkins's attacks on even mainstream religion is un-helpful" in this latest addition to the article. And here is the main point I would pick from it: Dawkins says that "If we are too friendly to nice, decent bishops, we run the risk of buying into the fiction that there's something virtuous about believing things because of faith rather than because of evidence. We run the risk of betraying scientific enlightenment." There was also some stuff from Martin Rees about science needing allies - "If we give the impression that science is hostile to even mainstream religion, it will be more difficult to combat the kinds of anti-science sentiments that are really important." But where was the bit about the tone of Dawkins' attacks on mainstream religion being unhelpful? Must have missed that bit. Odd, as the Guardian article is only 450 words long... Snalwibma 21:56, 30 May 2007 (UTC)
To say that we should not "give the impression that science is hostile to even mainstream religion" is, at least, a criticism of D's tone which is not to say "I an hostile to religion" but "Science is hostile to religion" (Hitchens, who has no scientific qualificiations whatsoever, repeats this trope in spades, but that's another story!) And actually I think Winston is somewhat misreported in the snippets in the Independent, it's not in fact the "failure to embrace spirituality" that he thinks brings Science into disrepute, but the arrogant tone. In this he says publicly what many - probably most - leading UK scientists say privately. NBeale 21:05, 3 June 2007 (UTC)
- and what did Rees say about "tone"? Attaching both Rees and Winston to an attack on Dawkins' "tone" made it appear that this was a considered judgement by a number of people, rather than the casual comment of one man. But the main point which should be at issue here is whether these "snippets" (your word) are worth including in the article at all. Yes, they are comments by "important people". Yes, they were made in "important" forums. But they are fundamentally throw-away, ephemeral, non-encyclopaedic remarks, yet more trivial cruft of the sort that such an article attracts. --Snalwibma 07:49, 4 June 2007 (UTC)

Quite. This article is always attracting cruft and recentism. Metamagician3000 14:18, 4 June 2007 (UTC)

Featured article

So what is this article missing to be featured? I think all the points from the last peer review have been covered.--Svetovid 19:49, 2 June 2007 (UTC)

Step 1. Switch back to the previous image. --Merzul 00:37, 5 June 2007 (UTC)
Why? The new one is sharper and bigger.--Svetovid 08:15, 5 June 2007 (UTC)
There is already one picture on this page from a strange angle. I prefer these top pictures to conform to some standards of "publicity photos" not just any candid shot from an interesting angle. This isn't a professional photograph, and I prefer a lower resolution that is somewhat professional over this sharp and large picture of him in a weird posture. --Merzul 11:46, 5 June 2007 (UTC)
(This is irrelevant to the FAC though as I wouldn't dream of opposing for this reason. This is just my opinion, so if you disagree, I'm fine with it.) --Merzul 12:01, 5 June 2007 (UTC)
As I've said several times before, the "Work" section - and the "Evolutionary biology" subsection in particular - aren't up to FAC standards IMHO. Several regulars here disagree though (Meta for one). (I'm also far too busy in the meatspace at the moment to help improve it). Mikker (...)
What in particular though? This general objection does not really help. --Svetovid 11:38, 7 June 2007 (UTC)

Secular humanist vs. Atheist

In the lead, I think we should either use both "atheist" and "secular humanist" or just atheist, as he describes himself as an atheist (at least in The God Delusion). I prefer the term secular humanist myself, but it's clearly not what he uses most often. -- Cielomobile talk / contribs 01:21, 16 June 2007 (UTC)

I had added "advocate of atheism" to the first sentence but it got removed on the grounds that this was covered by the third paragraph. However, in my view, when one thinks of Dawkins, one thinks "atheism" and not just "Selfish Gene" - in other words, his promotion of atheism (or secular humanism, whatever) is an essential part of the definition of Dawkins and hence should go in the lead sentence. (One small point: if we do agree to add to the lead sentence, it shouldn't be too much as there's a danger it could get cluttered. The lead should be simple and clear.)--A bit iffy 09:55, 16 June 2007 (UTC)
Not all atheists are secular humanists and not all secular humanists are atheists, so, if Dawkins is both, we should mention both because each adds information.
I don't think having atheist in the 1st para of the lead is a good idea - IMO the lead is pretty much perfect as is. Para 1: general stuff about him being an academic and about his university and discipline; para 2: why he's famous and some of his notable publications; para 3: his points of view on important issues. At most I think you have a case for mentioning The God Delusion in para 2, but that would prob make it too bloated. (We'd have to delete the mention of The Extended Phenotype, which would be bad...). Mikker (...) 15:13, 17 June 2007 (UTC)
I prefer using "advocate of atheism" because that is what he is known for. Generally, I find it pointless to add atheist (or catholic, Muslim etc. for that matter) into the lead in biographies.--Svetovid 17:04, 17 June 2007 (UTC)
I think it's fine as is now ("Dawkins is an outspoken atheist, secular humanist, and sceptic..."), but "advocate of atheism" in place of "atheist" would be fine too. Maybe we could note The God Delusion in the third paragraph? Something like "He has advocated atheism in numerous publications, such as his recent best-seller The God Delusion" might do. -- Cielomobile talk / contribs 06:34, 18 June 2007 (UTC)
I think "outspoken atheist" is pretty well equivalent to "advocate of atheism" so I'm happy to just leave things as they are. Also, I agree with Svetovid: it would be wrong to simply use "atheist" in the lead because that's not really a notable fact (many people are atheists). What is notable is his advocacy of atheism.--A bit iffy 07:16, 18 June 2007 (UTC)

I agree that his advocacy of atheism is what needs to be noted, whether in those words or as "outspoken atheist" is fine with me. --Serge 00:17, 19 June 2007 (UTC)

"Outsporken atheist" is fine by me. Mikker (...) 11:59, 22 June 2007 (UTC)
And by me. Metamagician3000 13:42, 22 June 2007 (UTC)
Describes him well. Sophia 19:17, 22 June 2007 (UTC)

Adding a sentence to the lead

I'm going ahead and adding this sentence to the lead, after the sentence about his atheism in the third paragraph:

Is that alright with other editors? I feel that he's best-known for his advocacy of atheism, so it would be appropriate to expand on that in the lead. -- Cielomobile talk / contribs 07:16, 19 June 2007 (UTC)

I am not too keen on the addition of this sentence (though I am not going to make a big fuss about it if others feel it should stay). Dawkins' atheism is already sufficiently covered in the lead, and extensively described later in the article, in the appropriate sections. To say that he is "best known" for atheism is a sad reflection of the recentism that infects so many WP articles. Dawkins may have caused controversy by a book published last year, and by a number of interviews given in the last few months, but taking a wider and more encyclopaedic viewpoint, he is surely best known for promoting the "selfish gene" idea. Snalwibma 10:59, 19 June 2007 (UTC)
Lets see:
advocate of atheism
He has since written ... books concerning ... creationism, and religion.
Dawkins is an outspoken atheist...
He has advocated atheism and argued against religion in numerous venues and publications...
The point is I think we get the point. The sentence is redundant, and labors the point. And I agree with the comment on recentism. His position on atheism and religion is perhaps the least remarkable aspect of his work. --Michael Johnson 11:19, 19 June 2007 (UTC)
I don't really care either way; it's not important. Remove it if you want, and I won't put it back. -- Cielomobile talk / contribs 20:05, 19 June 2007 (UTC)
I agree with Snalwibma. I'm perfectly happy with "outspoken atheist". Mikker (...) 11:58, 22 June 2007 (UTC)
I would have thought that including "controversy" in the lede for such an pugnacious polemicist as Dawkins is should not itself be, well, controversial. I'm will not conduct an edit war, but I don't understand why a notable, documentable, important summary of the facts of the situation should be so touchy. I'm no creationist and I've been an enthusiast for Dawkins' works on scientific biology and his progressively more polemic popularizations of evolutionary subjects. My problem is with burying the controversy for a figure who has made himself a controversialist, a lightning rod. DCDuring 17:30, 6 September 2007 (UTC)
I note that Richard Dawkins is promoting his new television show "Enemies of Reason". I think that the evidence that he is a professional controversialist is becoming overwhelming. It is, I believe a significant fact about the man, just as Linus Pauling's advocacy of Vitamin C and world peace are significant facts about him. From just the most superficial research on Google, I can even find a couple if citations from possibly credible sources for quotes calling him a lightning rod. And, to make the cheese more binding, go to his site and look at the Denver Post church-and-lightning-rod article that he has referenced there. DCDuring 18:19, 6 September 2007 (UTC)

Delisting from good articles

I'm considering bringing this article up for review to be delisted as a good article. I've been following this article off and on and personally consider it a prime example of what is wrong with wikipedia where a small group controls an article and it's tone. That said I'm not going to put it up for review if I'm the only one who feels this way. I'm interested in hearing from people who aren't commenting or editing this article regularly and may feel the same way or other neutral observers who think that this is a well written article. --BHC 09:34, 19 June 2007 (UTC)

Could you state reasons for that and particular objections? Why put it for review when we can discuss it here and improve it?--Svetovid 10:19, 19 June 2007 (UTC)
I've hardly edited this article, but I've had it on my watchlist for a while, so I'll comment. It seems to me to be sufficiently detailed, well-referenced and written from a NPOV. What specific problems do you have with it? Squiddy | (squirt ink?) 10:47, 19 June 2007 (UTC)
The particular problems I have with this page have been brought up before on this talk page and the archive, the reason I posted this request is that I feel that this particular article probably can't be fixed by consensus because consensus has not been working here. Since, I think, it can't be fixed I'd prefer not to highlight our dirty laundry by awarding it with a "good article". That's why I've posted this request for input, not to discuss particular problems but to see if I'm alone or in a significant minority of people who feel this article is being railroaded by overly interested parties. Thank you both for your prompt responses as well. --BHC 19:49, 19 June 2007 (UTC)
I've had this article on my watchlist for a while but have only made maybe two or three edits to it, and I don't see any particular problems with it. -- Cielomobile talk / contribs 20:08, 19 June 2007 (UTC)
How could you know whether you are alone or not if you are not going to tell us what problems you mean. This is almost funny.--Svetovid 20:32, 19 June 2007 (UTC)
I also only make occasional edits but don't see any real issues at all with this article. It's NPOV and informative without falling into the trap of going either way down the media hysteria line. You need to state your issues to help us see where you are coming from. Sophia 23:53, 19 June 2007 (UTC)

Funny, I keep wondering why we don't list it for Featured Article status. Of course, Dawkins is a controversial individual and some people will never rest until articles on such individuals are written in a way that discredits them. This article has been particularly difficult to police for that. Metamagician3000 05:24, 21 June 2007 (UTC)

Honestly, BHC, I don't think posting something like this is at all helpful. Making POV and WP:CABAL claims without evidence and then refusing to elaborate when asked is not at all productive. If you think the article is POV, please say so explicitly and we can discuss it. If you think that discussion is somehow unfair, there are various dispute resolution mechanisms in place. The first step, however, is to make a detailed case on talk about what you think is wrong. Frankly, I care far, far more about Wikipedia than about how Richard Dawkins is portrayed in it, so if you have a case, you might very well convince me. I don't want to speak for other "regulars" here, but I suspect the same is true of them. None of us are POV warriors. Please assume good faith and try to convince us. Mikker (...) 11:52, 22 June 2007 (UTC)

Mikker thank you for response, you are probably right in that this was less than productive. I had nothing but good intentions for WP as a whole, but, like I said in my first comment, I just don't have the time to argue with the keepers of this article to improve it. I also, apparently, overestimated the number of people who thought similarly to me about this article. I'll briefly lay out my basic problems with the article though.
I had two basic problems with the article, but after reviewing it again, the criticism is handled better than I remembered it. Certainly many controversial figures like Dawkins have significant criticisms from the opposite side and Dawkins seems to get a light go at it. Compare Pat Robertson to this article. We've got a sub-section devoted to Pat Robertson saying people with too much plastic surgery look oriental, but any mention of Dawkins on South Park would be stamped out immediately.
Which brings me to my second problem. Why is Richard Dawkins most popular appearance not at all documented? Taking a broad slice of the USA, and most likely the entire English speaking world, Dawkins is almost certainly most notable from his appearance on South Park. Since the airing of that episode I've seen many people attempt to insert some reference to it only to have it removed. Not only is it extremely notable, but certainly relevant. South Park portrayed their view of what could happen if the Dawkins of the world were in charge. I don't think it's worth noting he had sex with a post-op transexual in the episode, which I think may be the stumbling block of the more ardent Dawkins supporters. It certainly is confusing that the article makes time to list Dawkins many awards, including barely notable ones such as the Nakayama Prize but any attempt to mention Dawkins most important pop-culture appearance is quickly stamped out. --BHC 08:52, 29 June 2007 (UTC)
Dawkins is almost certainly most notable from his appearance on South Park Are you serious? That's your reason for wanting this article de-listed? Erm... no offence, but on this planet, that's probably the least notable thing about his career. ornis 09:13, 29 June 2007 (UTC)
I was considering bringing it up for delisting, and asked for comment on it. You appear to have taken this personally (if I read your tone correctly). A quick look at your contributions brings out my point exactly. You're very much a one-issue editor, I doubt I'd ever be accused of that. This kind of bulldog-like behavior can keep positive changes from happening to articles like this, because broad-based editors can't apply any perspective to the article unless they devote their time to edit warring. And yes, I believe if you grabbed 1000 people off the street and asked them for the most notable thing about Richard Dawkins the vast majority of respondents would only be able to mention South Park. --BHC 09:30, 29 June 2007 (UTC)
So, in essence, you are saying it's not a good article because it fails to mention a trivial appearance in a TV cartoon series. Hmmmm. Where is your evidence that Dawkins is "most notable from his appearance on South Park"? I agree that the awards section probably mentions some pretty trivial stuff which could be deleted - but there is also an awful lot of trivial "criticism" in the article. A review of all this stuff, both the pro-Dawkins and anti-Dawkins comments, and a weeding-out of recentist cruft on both sides, would probably benefit the article. Adding in yet more rubbish would not. Snalwibma 09:17, 29 June 2007 (UTC)
I'm of the opinion that a TV cartoon series can be valid social commentary and the medium doesn't make the message. I certainly don't think it's rubbish. The crux of my argument is not south park, in fact I briefly thought of not mentioning it at all because I knew people would seize on it. I am willing to admit when I was wrong and I was wrong in how the article treated criticism of Dawkins, it's much improved from what I remembered it and I didn't pick up on it fully when I posted the parent. Still, I can't think of a controversial figure like Dawkins who gets treatment like him on WP. I linked to the Pat Robertson article as an example, another is Philippe Rushton. In fact I can't think of a figure on the opposite end of the spectrum of Dawkins (like the two I've mentioned) who get the same kind of treatment that Dawkins does. --BHC 09:38, 29 June 2007 (UTC)
Think about it for a minute. You've come here looking for information about Richard Dawkins. Do you actually give two hoots that he's been scatologically caricatured by South Park? Which part of this caricature will you use to carefully consider your opinion of him? Personally, I have no strong objection to a short notice ("Dawkins has also been caricatured on South Park") in the article, but as information about Dawkins goes, this is surely close to the least pertinent. And, although I'm not usually afraid of slippery slopes, I suspect that adding this rather childish point will only encourage more trivia, to the general detriment of the article. As for dragging Pat Robertson and J. Philippe Rushton into the fray, well, there's really no comparison to be drawn there. The sources of "controversy" between these figures is really very different. Cheers, --Plumbago 09:58, 29 June 2007 (UTC)
I also don't want to drag any article into trivia hell. I guess we disagree on the content of the show. While I certainly believe his portrayal was silly, the underlying point behind it wasn't. The point to the two part episode (as I saw it) was that Dawkins militant atheism will lead to the exact same thing he derides so much, just with a new name. I know Rolling Stone mentioned it off the top of my head, CNN had a brief story on it at the time, so it was certainly notable in the US as more than a scatological caricature. Of course now I'm defending South Park on the Richard Dawkins talk page which wasn't my original purpose at all. Thanks for everyone's responses, I can certainly see there is little or no support for delisting this article from the Good Articles list. --BHC 10:28, 29 June 2007 (UTC)

Are you sure we saw the same show? The point of the two-episode arc is that people are just nuts, so they'll be just as willing to wage partisan wars over atheistic ideologies as they are over religions. The main point, though, was that the writers of South Park thought it would be funny to pair Dawkins up with Ms. Garrison for a cheap laugh. As much as I sympathize with their political leanings, I found these episodes to be an embarassment. ThAtSo 13:45, 29 June 2007 (UTC)

Where should it be added though? Awards and recognition maybe? But it should be only added as a fact mentioning that he appeared there without any biased or non-NPOV comment one way or the other.--Svetovid 10:56, 29 June 2007 (UTC)

(RI) Indeed, a better comparison might be to Charles Darwin or Thomas Huxley. And what precisely is the crux of your argument pray tell? ornis 10:25, 29 June 2007 (UTC)

Dawkins on Atheism

There's a study cited by Dawkins in "The God Delusion" that was mentioned on atheism, but then deleted on the stated basis that we shouldn't cite a citation. Coincidentally, the people deleting it correlated well with theists. Maybe some of the editors here would like to weigh in on this question. ThAtSo 18:40, 20 June 2007 (UTC)

Actually, I was one of the people who thought it was not good to reference something none of us have read. If you are assuming I am some kind of closet theist, you are mistaken. I have no supernaturalist beliefs. I do, however, have a thing about keeping Wikipedia articles to the highest quality I can manage. Metamagician3000 05:27, 21 June 2007 (UTC)

Nationality

Just noticed that an earlier edit of mine correcting his nationality from English (a ethnic term, not one of nationality) to British (genuine nationality) had been reverted. I have again corrected his nationality to British. England is not a sovereign state, the United Kingdom is. People are citizens of the United Kingdom, not of England, and possess British passports, not English passports. English is no more a "nationality" than is "Texan" or "Breton" or "Québécois". Do not confuse ethnicity with nationality. siarach 14:01, 3 July 2007 (UTC)

I hope you are kidding. Or do you suggest that citizens of Northern Ireland (British citizens) are not Irish either (those who are that is)? It's called nationality and not citizenship for a reason. Moreover, you can be both British and English (both are nationalities). You should try to change the English people article first then for it starts with: "The English are a nation native to England and speak English."--Svetovid 14:38, 3 July 2007 (UTC)
I have suggested nothing of the sort regarding Northern Ireland nor have i said anything which might be inferred to suggest anything of the sort. The almost universally accepted definition of nationality is that it is the same as citizenship. Yes one can be both British and English just as one can be American and Italian or French and Breton but the former is a reference of nationality while the latter one of ethnicity. Nationality is generally, indeed almost exclusively, understood to refer to the state of which one is a citizen and NOT ones race - the latter understanding being very much a fringe one (and in my experience confined only to wikipedia) and one i have (before now) only encountered in petty Scottish/English nationalists who doggedly refuse to accept that England and Scotland are not nations by the usual definition of the word which is sovereign state. Your reference to the English people article is irrelevant. However the sentence you quote is not incorrect - "nation" being a fairly vague term (although as previously pointed out generally understood to mean nation state/sovereign state) but its use in the opening sentence of that article does not vindicate the misleading use of nationality to refer to ones race or ethnicity and if you read the opening of the nationality article it quite clearly agrees with the definition of the word being tied to a sovereign state. You would not find profiles of non-UK citizens describing their nationality as being Bavarian, Prussian, Maya, Han or Zulu as opposed to German, Mexican, Chinese or South African and it makes no more sense to describe people of British nationality as being of English, Welsh, Irish or Scottish nationality. Indeed it is simply misleading and flies in the face of popular, orthodox, international understanding of what "nationality" refers to. siarach 17:08, 3 July 2007 (UTC)
Anyway, moving along, surely we only need a single nationality here? And British/UK is the obvious one, even if Dawkins self-identifies as "English" (which I'd be surprised at). --Plumbago 17:15, 3 July 2007 (UTC)
Whether he self identifies as English, Japanese or indeed Klingon it makes no difference to what his nationality is - this is dependant upon the sovereign state of which he is a citizen. siarach 17:18, 3 July 2007 (UTC)
Although the current definition seems fine, nevertheless English is a nationality as England is a nation, "a country within a country" as the FCO puts it, a fact recognised by enough international bodies, and the UK government, for the idea of English nationality to be valid, it is congruent to claiming that the nationalities of Austrian & Hungarian did not exist in Austro-Hungary --Gamma2delta 23:49, 8 July 2007 (UTC)
England is certainly a nation in one sense, but it isn't a sovereign state, and that's what it means for our purposes. The nationality of the English is British. English people carry a British passport. That's the way it works, right or wrong. The only important thing here is that we are consistent with the rest of Wikipedia. We do not have to adjudicate in favour of a "correct" understanding of 'nationality' or decide what the Austro-Hungarians should have done. --Dannyno 10:42, 9 July 2007 (UTC)

See the following discussions at Wikipedia:Village pump (policy):
Wikipedia:Village_pump_(policy)/Archive AT#Nationality
Wikipedia:Village_pump_(policy)#UK.2C_England.2C_Scotland....
--Svetovid 09:47, 10 July 2007 (UTC)

South Park

Dawkins was on SouthPark and it was really interesting and silly. I could not find this information in the article so I fixed it. We may want to have a seperate section for that information. Everyone should see those episodes if they can.—The preceding unsigned comment was added by 67.80.77.53 (talkcontribs) 21:53, 4 July 2007.

My apologies for not signing the comment and placing the information in the wrong place. I have repaired this by adding a cultural references section and putting this important information there. 67.80.77.53 03:24, 5 July 2007 (UTC)
This issue has been widely discussed before, and the consensus has been that trivia about South Park does not belong in this article. --Michael Johnson 04:09, 5 July 2007 (UTC)
I disagree and think this information should be in this article. I don't see any great consensus that this should not be in the article. I'm not going to put it back in right now, but I think we should have a discussion.—Preceding unsigned comment added by 67.80.77.53 (talkcontribs) 21:23, 5 July 2007
See in particular Talk:Richard Dawkins/Archive 3 --Michael Johnson 02:02, 6 July 2007 (UTC)

One indication that there's a consensus to exclude this bit of trivia is that it's been here before and been removed before. Another is that some people are speaking out against it and nobody else but you seems to be speaking in support. ThAtSo 00:26, 6 July 2007 (UTC)

Put it in the South Park article as it could be notable for that show. Considering this is a concise overview of Dawkins life and work so far there really isn't room for very minor stuff like this here. Sophia 07:58, 6 July 2007 (UTC)
At the moment there's no appropriate location in the article itself. Were the article to have a "popular figure" section like Stephen Jay Gould's article, then that might be a place to a single, passing sentence on South Park (although Gould's Simpsons' appearance was in-person, not a parody). But the article doesn't have such a section, the closest being "awards and recognition", though this is strictly for serious recognition, not the sort of recognition one gets from South Park. --Plumbago 08:08, 6 July 2007 (UTC)
Yes, it may be notable for Southpark, but not Dawkins. As said above its "silly." So it doesn't really serve any useful purpose. C56C 16:51, 10 July 2007 (UTC)

Please see also: Talk:Richard Dawkins/Archive 3#Pop Culture, Talk:Richard Dawkins/Archive 3#"South Park", Talk:Richard Dawkins/Archive 4#South Park again. KillerChihuahua?!? 15:45, 16 July 2007 (UTC)

This does keep coming up. I tend to think it is too trivial and ephemeral for mention. Metamagician3000 13:44, 19 July 2007 (UTC)
I mentioned this in an earlier discussion but I do think the South Park episode is Richard Dawkins most significant pop culture appearance, and certainly worthy of inclusion in this article. I guess there are two frames of mind here, the current consensus is that the SP appearance is too frivolous to be included in the article. The other minority opinion (although it's been raised by a large number of users, none as dedicated to maintaining this article as those who hold the first view) seems to be similar to mine: that south park is a highly popular show in the United States and there are a large number of people who may have never heard of Dawkins if not for it.
I certainly appreciate wanting to keep a clean article, I feel that far too many otherwise good wikipedia article are filled with too much hard to verify trivia, frat-cruft, sci-fi-cruft, anime/RPG-cruft etc. That being said, I feel that with as many clearly intelligent people we have editing this article we can find an acceptable way to integrate it smoothly into this article. --BHC 09:24, 4 August 2007 (UTC)
No, we can't, it's silly, please let it go. Please. ornis (t) 09:33, 4 August 2007 (UTC)
No offense is intended to you Ornis, but it's my opinion that of all the users who have posted here you are the least able to keep your personal views from affecting how you want the article written up. I believe that you are working in good faith to improve the article, but I think you might want to take a step back and gain some perspective on this. Dawkins may be a hero for your cause, but including South Park in his article won't make people looking him up think less of him. I suppose even if it would, it's not Wikipedia's job to make people look good or bad, but to be factual. Once again, I am not trying to attack you, but it's my belief that you may be too tied to this article. --BHC 09:51, 4 August 2007 (UTC)
Why is it exactly you feel the need to write these monologues advocating the addition of trivia to an article? ornis (t) 10:07, 4 August 2007 (UTC)

[unident] Surely the point at issue here is to keep the article as encyclopaedic as possible. BHC points out that many articles are spoiled by trivia and cruft, but goes on to argue for inclusion of an example of the very thing he deplores. Suggesting that the motive for keeping the stuff out is because Dawkins "is a hero for your cause" is missing the point: isn't it just about trying to maintain a quality piece of work? --Old Moonraker 10:15, 4 August 2007 (UTC)

I agree that the we should try to maintain a quality article. As I said, I'm fairly certain that in the United States the South Park episode is Dawkin's single biggest pop culture appearance. That rises above trivia, trivia is something small or insignificant. Your biggest appearance in pop culture is not trivial in my opinion. --BHC 10:27, 4 August 2007 (UTC)
It's both small and insignificant. His "biggest pop-culture appearance"? I guess you missed those popular science books, documentaries, articles and speaking tours, or the numerous books and articles written about him... or does popular culture just mean cartoons and video games to you? ornis (t) 10:40, 4 August 2007 (UTC)
I thought this was dead a buried. There is too much of this type of cruft clogging up otherwise serious articles on Wikipedia. --Michael Johnson 12:16, 4 August 2007 (UTC)
Exactly. Cruft and recentism. Metamagician3000 03:15, 5 August 2007 (UTC)
I recently asked Richard Dawkins if he'd been offended by the "South Park" episode, and he said that he certainly was not. He reiterated that he wished they'd gotten his accent a bit better, but that he realized that the show is a farce and that he wasn't being maliciously singled out. I don't know how much detail people are suggesting, but I hardly think it's "unimportant" as some seem to be suggesting. Most people of the "South Park" generation would (sadly) have no idea who Richard Dawkins was if it weren't for that episode.—Preceding unsigned comment added by 71.202.172.104 (talkcontribs)
When and where and is there a transcript from a reliable source so we can quote it ? Unfortunately it remains unreliable unless you have that source and it certainly is trivial whilst it wasn't an actual appearance; Dawkins did not contributed anything to South Park so it isn't really an "appearance" (compare this to the wheelchair man who has provided voice-overs for other cartoons and so can be argued has "appeared" in a cartoon). When Dawkins is credited for some content (voice, technical, foley, acting, narrating, editing or whatever) then it is an "appearance". Ttiotsw 09:00, 21 August 2007 (UTC)
...Indeed. Similarly, the Wikipedia article for Gerald Ford does not mention that he "appeared" (i.e. was parodied) on The Simpsons. And Jesus, Mohammed, Moses etc have likewise "appeared" on South Park. Being parodied by others is not at all notable.--Robert Stevens 09:04, 21 August 2007 (UTC)
Sorry but no. It was trivial the first time it was brought up, and the second and the third and time fourth through n-th time, and will most likely always remain trivial. ornis (t) 08:26, 21 August 2007 (UTC)
Whether it offends someone (including RD) or not is not the point here. Wikipedia is not censored so we don't have to care whether some info offends someone (as long as it's a fact, of course). The reason why it's not included is that there is no evidence that it's relevant - important enough.--Svetovid 13:49, 21 August 2007 (UTC)
If it can be cited as an event in his life, it can be included in Wikipedia. It's certainly notable to some extent. How or where it would fit is another matter entirely. Whether it fits the tone of the piece etc is another matter entirely. I find it unusual that there is little to no mention of his TV series (or events depicted - such as the clash with Haggard) that would lend itself to including other "appearances" including said South Park episode. However - simply because he has appeared in the show doesn't instantly mean it should be mentioned as standard; but then again persons such as Sidney Poitier get a mention in their own articles.--Koncorde 19:15, 21 August 2007 (UTC)
Something that people seem to be forgetting here is that RD didn't actually appear in it. This is not like the other celebrity cameos voiced by the subjects themselves. And that's what disqualifies this as an event in the life of RD. A caricature of him voiced by someone else does not consititute an appearance by him. If it did, every representation of George W Bush in tv shows around the world could be legitimately considered appearances by George W Bush himself. It could only be cited as an event in RD's life if it had in fact happened to him. It's not a question of offence given or taken. As RD didn't himself appear in South Park the caricature of him used in it counts only as a representation of his celebrity, and is therefore inconsequential in a biography of him. Yallery Brown 19:58, 21 August 2007 (UTC)
That's an argument that woul require Sidney Poitier, Bette Midler, Mel Gibson etc etc to have voiced themselves as a cameo. There's a number of reasons you could discount the South Park thing, one of them certainly isn't the fact he didn't voice himself. George Bush for instance gets a full wiki dedicated to Fictionalized_portrayals_of_George_W._Bush, Gibsons features as a section on "Satire". If someone is able to add a full, competent, and complete reference/citation regarding TV appearances, media references etc that does not detract from the article then that should be their freedom to do so; be it on the basis of satire, media interpretation, criticism from other atheists, theists, columnists or otherwise.--Koncorde 22:55, 21 August 2007 (UTC)
WP:OTHERSTUFFEXISTS? That's for the editors of those articles to deal with. As it is trivial cruft like that adds nothing to the readers understanding of RD. ornis (t) 23:03, 21 August 2007 (UTC)
If RD's mention on South Park is so essential to RD's biography why hasn't someone equitably inserted section on Darwinism and RD's academic career to the entry on South Park? Possibly because it doesn't belong anywhere other than where it is already - on the South Park Themes page? And, to clarify, this is not about "other atheists, theists, columnists or otherwise" defending RD or an agenda, it's about editors of Wiki defending a perfectly competent article from the vandalism of irrelevance. Yallery Brown 23:43, 21 August 2007 (UTC)
Hey, not recommended it's in there - just saying that if it 'can' be done in a way that is credible and doesn't negatively effect the quality - then I don't see the issue. I just think BHC has a point. Was not my original intention to step into WP:OTHERSTUFFEXISTS, merely to illustrate that "mentioning" something (however irreverent or "cruft") needn't be negative or detract from the piece.--Koncorde 12:35, 22 August 2007 (UTC)
I think we can safely conclude that the possibly of mentioning South Park credibly and in a way that is relevent has been given much consideration over some time, and the consensus seems to be that despite RD's seeming approval, his non-involvment makes such a reference irrelevant. Anyone seeking the information about the guest stars on South Park (or those who have been represented in it) can read up on it elsewhere on Wiki. However, consider your point noted. Yallery Brown 17:55, 22 August 2007 (UTC)

The Hour

As an interesting note, when Dawkins appeared on The Hour, the biography they showed in the introduction consisted of his birthday and "was satirized on South Park". [2] Reinistalk 10:56, 5 August 2007 (UTC)

Please can we let this go? It's getting old. A South Park appearance is simply not notable. Period. Mikker (...) 22:27, 14 August 2007 (UTC)

Dawkins' talk of changing the title of 'The Selfish Gene'

In his 'The Selfish Gene: 30 years on' speech, Dawkins says that he would like to change the title of 'The Selfish Gene' to something else, because of the misunderstanding that it brought about (people thinking that there is an actual selfish gene that makes everyone selfish etc.). He came up with ideas like, The Cooperative Gene and The Altruistic Vehicle.

I have recently thought up another idea. How about The Selfish Replicator ? This (1) avoids the misunderstanding that the original title brought about, (2) emphasizes one of the important ideas in the book - the gene is a replicator, as are memes, and (3) it is very similar to the original title. What do you think? Mr.P (the Zapffe enthusiast) 09:04, 1 August 2007 (UTC)

E-mail that to Dawkins if you want. Your ideas/original research are not relevant to an encyclopaedia.--Svetovid 14:42, 1 August 2007 (UTC)

Removal of "the iPod tutor" as a book.

I removed this book, generally because it's incredibly un-notable. The book is around 11th on the Amazon.com list, even when you google the term it shows up around once; it's an audio tutor book and not a audiobook. Also, the website has very little information, either. It seems to me that it's probably either the publisher of the book, the creator or some religious person who wants to preen in anti-dawkins stuff; there's plenty of books that ARE notable, and they are in the list. Uxorion 17:00, 15 August 2007 (UTC)

"11th on Amazon" looks like a typo. Actually as at 2007-08-15 it's at 422,029. Does anybody know how many copies that would represent? --Old Moonraker 17:25, 15 August 2007 (UTC)
It's not even relevant for the God Delusion article. A personal note: using ipod instead of digital audio player just shows how great a critical thinker the author is.--Svetovid 00:40, 16 August 2007 (UTC)
The iPod tutor is a complex combination of book of "flag points" which you get and with your iPod (or MP3 player), a broadband connection and your copy of The God Delusion (TGD) it allows you to examine TGD for errors/logic etc. I can't comment on the quality of this critique but such a interesting combination of technology, though it needs not be mentioned here, should at least stay in TGD article. I can't wait for these people to do the same trick on the Bible as what they say on their methodology ".....because back in the days before the iPod, you would pick up a book like The God Delusion and be on your own, and if there were any logical errors or factual mistakes in the book, they would enter your mind as sound information were you were not aware of them. Consequently, the chances of being misled by essentially counterfeit information would be extremely high,...."
certainly applies to that book. The irony. Ttiotsw 09:16, 21 August 2007 (UTC)
It's nothing new. You may as well just use a book with that critique, or CD, or tape...--Svetovid 11:52, 21 August 2007 (UTC)

Richard Dawkins and Eugenics

Should something be mentioned of Dawkins controversial comments in regards to Eugenics? - AbstractClass 02:29, 25 August 2007 (UTC)

What comments would those be? ornis (t) 02:40, 25 August 2007 (UTC)

http://www.sundayherald.com/life/people/display.var.1031440.0.eugenics_may_not_be_bad.php -AbstractClass 02:43, 25 August 2007 (UTC)

You'd really have to be scrapping the bottom of the barrel to consider those "controversial comments in regards to eugenics". All he's saying is that the spectre of hitler, has lead scientists away from asking: "Is eugenics ethical", to simply declaring it impossible, and ends by commenting that he thinks it probably isn't ethical, but in any case enough time has passed that we should be able to have the debate again. ornis (t) 02:57, 25 August 2007 (UTC)
The fact that it is controversial has nothing to do with your opinion on the matter, but the public responses to it.
As for my opinion, even with as much as he has said, it is clearly a notable thing, at the very least for it's sheer ignorance (would we volunteer for sterilization?) and possibly as highlighting the inevitable materialist break down in morality (we wouldn't volunteer).
It is hard to beleive, but eugenics programs were active in my state as late as the late 60s, and there are plenty of victims still suffering the effects of it. If society does decide to debate this again, I'd like to suggest we move those who fail to conceive of the possibility that we just might be more then the sum of our parts to the top of the list. Who gets to decide by the way? - AbstractClass 02:24, 26 August 2007 (UTC)
Your WP:OR and 2 bucks will get you a coffee. Got a source for any of that? ornis (t) 02:34, 26 August 2007 (UTC)
There are plenty of sources discussing dawkin's comments on eugenics(google "Richard Dawkins eugenics"), but none for your opinion (that it's not controversial). I claimed my opinion as my own and that it would have no relevance on the article itself is self evident. - AbstractClass 03:00, 26 August 2007 (UTC)
Cough up then, I'm not doing your leg work for you. ornis (t) 03:04, 26 August 2007 (UTC)
I did and there are plenty of reliable sources like creationwiki.org and creationontheweb.com./sarcasm Anyway, he said he wanted to see a debate about it not that he supported eugenics.--Svetovid 12:37, 26 August 2007 (UTC)
Truth be told I did too, turns out it's another canned controversy from the Dicso Institute. ornis (t) 12:59, 26 August 2007 (UTC)
what a moron. ornis (t) 13:27, 26 August 2007 (UTC)
These comments have been turning up on the Eugenics page. I've been removing them, largely because the actual RD comments are being selectively used and introduced inaccurately. Pls check if you are interested. Squiddy | (squirt ink?) 15:02, 27 August 2007 (UTC)
Thanks for the heads-up, it's on my watch list now. I guess I should have realised someone might try that. ornis (t) 15:11, 27 August 2007 (UTC)

Category

Would it be an improvement to create a Category:Richard Dawkins? I note that there is a Category:Books by Richard Dawkins, but this is rather restrictive and there are other articles directly related to him that are not in any such category. Richard001 03:20, 25 August 2007 (UTC)

It seems there was and it was deleted twice on the basis of too few articles. ornis (t) 03:32, 25 August 2007 (UTC)
How many articles does one need, exactly? If there is a category for his books, how could a larger category be deleted anyway? Richard001 04:10, 25 August 2007 (UTC)
Haven't a clue. The debate for the last deletion is here. At that time there was only two articles and the sub cat for his books, so maybe there might be case for one now. ornis (t) 04:14, 25 August 2007 (UTC)
Hmm... I didn't realize there was such an anti-eponymous category feeling. I created Category:Daniel Dennett myself recently. Perhaps the books category should be expanded to Category:Works by Richard Dawkins to include his essays and non-print works? Richard001 04:17, 25 August 2007 (UTC)


Did Dawkins only see the first part of his South Park appearance?

Here is another argument for the “nay” side of the “should we/should we not include Dawkins’ appearance in South Park on his Wiki page” debate. In reading Dawkins’ comments about the show - with him saying that as far as he could see, it didn’t have a serious point to make - I now believe that Richard only saw the first episode of the two-episode storyline he was featured in.

The main thing he describes in his response – being buggered by Mrs. Garrison – only happens in the first episode (apart from seeing it briefly in the recap at the start of episode two). Plus, he doesn’t mention the atheist otters and the other two groups of atheists that have an “atheist war” in the second episode, “Science Damn It!”. This is where South Park makes its point about Dawkins. So maybe we should leave Dawkins’ South Park appearance out of the Wiki article. What do you think? Mr.P (the Zapffe enthusiast) 21:52, 31 August 2007 (UTC)

This has been discussed ad nauseam, for example, a few lines above. You are mainly stating your opinion, which counts as original research, by the way.--Svetovid 15:19, 1 September 2007 (UTC)

Ages

The article says that Dawkins moved to England at the age of "eight". In 2003, he said that

he left Kenya at the age of "two". It is not clear where he was for six years. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 81.149.223.218 (talk) 12:53, 8 September 2007 (UTC)

  1. ^ http://www.beliefnet.com/story/202/story_20279_1.html
  2. ^ http://www.csmonitor.com/2006/1121/p09s01-coop.html