User talk:RichardDawkins

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Welcome[edit]

Welcome!

Hello, RichardDawkins, and welcome to Wikipedia! Thank you for your contributions. I hope you like the place and decide to stay. Here are some pages that you might find helpful:

I hope you enjoy editing here and being a Wikipedian! Please sign your name on talk pages using four tildes (~~~~); this will automatically produce your name and the date. If you need help, check out Wikipedia:Questions, ask me on my talk page, or place {{helpme}} on your talk page and someone will show up shortly to answer your questions. Again, welcome!  Al 21:29, 21 June 2006 (UTC)

Richard Dawkins[edit]

I noticed that you changed Richard Dawkins to lower the number of journals edited from four to two and to drop any mention of Episteme Journal. Do you have any citations to support this change? Al 21:30, 21 June 2006 (UTC)

It is unreasonable to ask for a positive citation to demonstrate that I did NOT found a journal called Episteme. I am telling you that I never founded a journal called Episteme. I didn't even know that a journal called Episteme existed. To the best of my recollection, I have only ever edited two journals, Animal Behaviour Monographs, and Animal Behaviour. I am on the Editorial Board of various other journals, but that doesn't count. Even if it turns out that I am on the Editorial Board of Episteme (it is possible to forget such things), I most certainly did not found it.
Richard Dawkins
RichardDawkins 12:51, 1 July 2006 (UTC)

This is an excercise in journalism, where all facts have to be checkable, not an exercise in frustration, so I did some research. It turns out that the CV on the web site lists "Founding Editor, Episteme Journal" in 2002. Off-hand, I would think that the founding editor is the first editor, not necessarily the founder of the periodical as a whole, so unless I find some evidence to the contrary, this matter is settled.

One of the basic requirements on Wikipedia is that all facts are checkable, which leads to another issue. If you do happen to be the subject of that article, then Wikipedia encourages you to contribute to it indirectly, but strongly discourages you from directly editing your own biography. The stated purpose of this policy is to ensure that "the subject of such articles do[es] not have any improper influence over their content". Fortunately, you can correct errors quite effectively just by leaving comments on the Talk page of the article.

Al 14:08, 1 July 2006 (UTC)

This is actually getting mildly interesting. The Episteme journal (ISSN 1472-3600) was founded in 2004, not 2002. Dawkins' name doesn't appear anywhere in the first five issues. The founding editors were Leslie Marsh and Christian Onof.—Laurence Boyce 15:14, 1 July 2006 (UTC)

We have a mystery on our hands, clearly. One likely possibility is that there's been more than one Episteme Journal. Another is that the CV is in error. In either case, no source supports the original claim that Dawkins founded the journal, so this may not be an issue that we have to resolve. Al 02:10, 2 July 2006 (UTC)

The Richard Dawkins...[edit]

...or just someone with his name? If yes, I loved The Selfish Gene... --Yossarian Soviet Canuckistan Flag.PNG 00:47, 22 June 2006 (UTC)

Confirmation of identity[edit]

I confirmed by email that this is in fact Richard Dawkins. He responded to a query sent to the official email address, and the headers of the response all check out.

Here's the text of the message:

I did edit it. The reason is that they said I founded a journal called Episteme in 2002. I have never even HEARD OF episteme and I certainly didn't found it.
So, yes, the person who purported to be me is indeed me! But thank you very much for checking. I am bowled over by how good Wikipedia generally is.
Richard

Al 12:58, 5 July 2006 (UTC)


I have just received independent confirmation that this user is Richard Dawkins. I have forwarded the email to Jimbo Wales.—Laurence Boyce 10:10, 7 July 2006 (UTC)

Wikimedia Commons[edit]

Hello Professor Dawkins, and welcome to Wikipedia! I apologise for your hitherto lukewarm reception, but you would surely wish us to be sceptical. I do hope you enjoy the place and decide to stay.

I have just created a primitive Richard Dawkins article on Wikimedia Commons. The purpose is to encourage you (or anyone else) to contribute quality images, over time, to this resource. The images could be simply of you, or they could be of you with other famous, or indeed infamous, people. It would be nice to have some pictures of Lalla too, as the ones we have are a little out of date – but of course it's all as and when you wish.

There are loads of examples to look at: Charles Darwin or our esteemed Prime Minister should give you the idea. I'm not an expert on copyright issues, but I know that the bar is much higher for Commons than it is for Wikipedia. All rights would have to be released; book covers don't belong there for instance. I don't suppose editing your own Commons article is half the faux pas that editing your own Wikipedia article would be, but someone will surely put me right otherwise.

By the way, you can't imagine how delighted we are to see you!

Laurence Boyce 19:12, 5 July 2006 (UTC)

As a quick explanation, Wikimedia Commons is a repository for freely-licensed images, videos, and audio clips, though it is by far used mostly for images. Also, let me pile on in welcoming you here. --Cyde↔Weys 19:21, 5 July 2006 (UTC)

Editing articles on your books[edit]

Wow! I can't believe what I am seeing. Is it really you professor Dawkins? I was just editing an article on one of your books. Now I need to go back to remove the few bad things I said about your book, among the hundreds of good things I said about it ;) Fred Hsu 03:11, 7 July 2006 (UTC)

Any comments re R.D. and God Delusion articles[edit]

Dear Prof Dawkins. As you may see there has been some lively debate on the Richard Dawkins and The God Delusion articles. We'd all appreciate any comments you might have time to make. NBeale 12:08, 9 November 2006 (UTC)

Conservapedia[edit]

Professor Dawkins, I am currently enjoying your book, "Blind Watchmaker." I'm a law student hitherto uneducated in much biology, so I appreciate the book very much. I've also been an editor on Conservapedia, trying to fight away some of the more terrifying conservative parts of the site (the homophobia, for instance). I speak for many non-creationist (dare I say, "liberal"?) editors on Conservapedia when I say that your assistance would be appreciated in correcting some of the shockingly flawed science that I know is there, but cannot speak to without expertise. I thank you for any comments you could offer, or encouragements to us, and I thank you again for your work in bringing science to an uneducated public (myself included). Cheers,-AmesG 04:31, 15 May 2007 (UTC)

I can't speak for Professor Dawkins, but I imagine a person of his stature must be busy, and sites like Conservapedia and Creation Wiki exist specifically to promote particular points of view. Where else would you expect homophobes and opponents of science to go? Wikipedia, on the other hand, has a neutral point of view policy, which is much closer to the scientific point of view than to any faith-based point of view. Faith-based points of view attempt to elevate pure imagination to the level of fact, and this leads to endless irresolvable arguments, because both individual and collective imaginations are irretrievably diverse. See: schism and religious war. Faith has a tendency to lead to conflict because it isn't based on anything that every sane person can agree on (it's just as easy for faith to mutate toward promoting suicide bombers as charity - in fact, some faith traditions promote both). Science, on the other hand, is based on objective facts which any suitably equipped human can observe (given enough time and resources). A neutral point of view must eventually lead to the facts, which makes it essentially the scientific point of view. Practically speaking, the very notion of being "neutral" on an issue is typically alien to a faith-based community. People who proselytize for a religion have been indoctrinated to reject neutrality in principle (they wouldn't promote their view unless they thought theirs was right and everyone else's was wrong), often maligning evenhandedness with pejoratives such as blasphemy. Thus over time, Wikipedia's neutral point of view policy tends to make Wikipedia a comfortable place for rational people, and not so comfortable for people whose faith motivates them to argue against facts.
If you want to battle conservatives and creationists on their home turf, where they make the rules, that sounds like an interesting exercise, and all the tools you need are available already, without the need to enlist the active expertise of giants in every scientific field. However, I have to wonder about your claim to have seen "shockingly flawed science" that you don't know how to refute. If you don't know how to refute a claim, or even how you would go about looking up someone else's written refutation of it, how do you know the claim is "shockingly flawed"? How do you know anything about it at all? One does not need to be an actual expert on every area of science to know how to look up canned refutations to the more popular anti-scientific claims. The people who are making anti-scientific claims are themselves unlikely to have much scientific expertise, so it shouldn't require vast amounts of scientific expertise to refute them. Instead what you need is something like an index to all the rational responses that have been made to irrational claims. To debate irrational people effectively, you simply need to classify all the arguments they present (almost none of which will be original) and look up the rational responses (which correspondingly need not be original, given that the greatest minds in history have already weighed in at considerable length). In other words, almost every argument you could have with someone espousing a faith-based view is likely just a replay of an argument already done better. Determining what argument one is replaying is easier to do when communicating asynchronously (as on a wiki) than when under a real-time constraint (as in a traditional oral debate). Armed with Google and a bit of time, you too can debate like a genius.
In any case, if you do want to enlist the aid of someone who has more skill at classifying and refuting irrational arguments, you can help by directing him or her to specific examples of what you mean by "shockingly flawed science." I can't imagine Prof. Dawkins has either the time or the inclination to read all of Conservapedia himself looking for those bits. Why don't you make a list on your Conservapedia user page of all the claims you question, to simplify the work for rational thinkers who might like to respond? --Teratornis 21:40, 20 July 2007 (UTC)
Some faith traditions promote suicide bombings? How dare you! Aren't you aware that Faith is a uniquely Christian concept? ;) --Dreaded Walrus t c 21:49, 20 July 2007 (UTC)
Wow, is that page for real, or did someone vandalize it into a parody page? I was not aware that faith is a uniquely Christian concept; what's next, an even less defensible claim that flawed thinking and silly word games are also unique to Christianity? The article admits that both the Old Testament and the Quran use the word faith. I don't see the logic behind counting the number of times a word appears in a given holy book. It seems to me that a deity should only have to say something once to make it matter, if that is to be the test. --Teratornis 19:51, 17 August 2007 (UTC)

Editing your own biography.[edit]

Hi, I noticed you have edited your own biography a few times. There is a short guideline here for such edits Wikipedia:Autobiography#If Wikipedia already has an article_about_you. Hope you continue to contribute. I very much enjoyed The Ancestor's Tale. GameKeeper 12:44, 28 October 2007 (UTC)

Erm, did you check the previous conversations on this page? Imagine Reason (talk) 21:32, 27 February 2008 (UTC)

Child Abuse?[edit]

Did you actually say that teaching creation in schools is akin to child abuse? If so, I would very much like to know why you believe this.Lordofthemarsh (talk) 20:36, 12 April 2008 (UTC)

Well, I'm not Dawkins, but I agree with him on this. Indoctrinating kids with creationism (especially the YEC variety) causes them to believe that all the science which contradicts the Bible must be a "pack of lies" devised by a conspiracy of evil atheists. This is worse than mere ignorance, because it actively prevents them from finding out the truth about the world around them: which is a pretty serious issue, especially for a scientist. And it often causes those misled kids to go on the offensive against science: I've just had to fix yet another bout of creationist vandalism of a science article, based on the "mutations cannot create information" lie (yes, it's a lie, not just ignorance: mutations can and do create information, but somebody decided to declare otherwise, and to indoctrinate creationists with that belief). I can see the parallel with the sort of child abuse that causes its victims to grow up to be abusers themselves. --Robert Stevens (talk) 08:45, 14 April 2008 (UTC)
Go read the God Delusion then, he discusses it there.92.16.104.227 (talk) 16:34, 16 May 2008 (UTC)

Vandalism on mermaid article[edit]

Hello, I noticed you encountered some vandalism at mermaid. The best way to deal with vandalism is to go to the page history and find out what has happened, then revert it. This will ensure you get rid of all the vandalism and restore any good information that may have been deleted/replaced by the vandal. Happy editing! Richard001 (talk) 21:46, 29 September 2008 (UTC)

Wow[edit]

Are you the Richard Dawkins? If so, it's an honor to talk (well, type) to you. I congratulate you on your work. Jonathan321 (talk) 23:55, 28 January 2009 (UTC)

I honor your work by keeping your Wikipedia biography free of vandalism. Thanks for your contributions to humanity.Obamafan70 (talk) 19:05, 17 October 2010 (UTC)

not a scientist[edit]

Only a few things. I am a non-believer, non-creationist, maybe a scientist if Math can be considered a science but: I can't help to say that your book "The god delusion" is certainly not the science point of view of religion and does not describe what are the points in which science is a more suitable tool to describe what is called reality. I understand it is an emotive book. Born from the need to make a counterattack to the antagonist positions. I understand that you are this person that have decided to become more an activist and a promoter of certain ideologies but you should be more careful to defend science for what it really is. You should take a look to the work of Popper or to a book which has as a sub-goal the same as yours as "The fabric of reality" by David Deutsch (which, by the way, cites your "The selfish gene"). Or at least if you just decide that you wan to continue strictly the same line add a disclaimer in a prominent part of the book that it doesn't necessarily represent the point point of view of science. After reading your "The god delusion" I feel ashamed of saying that I am a scientist or atheist because I feel that I am saying that my choice is based on what is said in your book. It is clear that one can not be explaining everyone one meet these things all the time. Abisharan (talk) 02:17, 11 March 2010 (UTC)

Looks like you guys scared him off...[edit]

Heh heh...! :| TelCoNaSpVe :| —Preceding undated comment added 07:03, 19 May 2010 (UTC).

Perhaps he was smited? smote? smitten? Zeus killed him. --Lurkmolsner (talk) 21:29, 11 June 2010 (UTC)
  • Of course not. You think he has time to come to WP to play around? Abisharan (talk) 21:57, 11 June 2010 (UTC)
And I'm not about to personally stalk him in Oxford. I even know where he lives. But not going to happen. --Τασουλα (Shalom!) (talk) 23:51, 10 July 2011 (UTC)

Wikisource[edit]

I'm glad you looked here, at least briefly, but do you know about Wikisource? We have a section there about you (s:Author:Richard_Dawkins) but alas it is empty because copyright doesn't allow us to host your works. If there are any writings of yours, however minor, that you would be willing to share under a Creative Commons license, I'm sure that they would be most welcome. Wnt (talk) 16:16, 7 February 2012 (UTC)

Great to see your edits sir![edit]

The 'possibility' that you can see this message itself is a great thing for me. I am extremely happy to see this userpage. I am speechless. Thanks for being there! -- Abhijeet Safai (talk) 20:03, 2 October 2014 (UTC)