Talk:Richard Dawkins/Archive 10

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Archive 9 Archive 10 Archive 11

Dawkins on Deism

Should it be mentioned at all that Richard Dawkins says he can understand making a philosophical case for deism, even though he is an atheist himself? This seems to go contrary to his idea that any belief in God is a "mind-virus". I think it's worth noting. Not so much as a blow to atheism - like this shows that Dawkins is backing off the idea of God - but just that he can respect the deist idea of God. To see what I'm talking about google "serious case could be made for a deistic God" and you'll get plenty of sources for it. He stated an argument for deism could be made in a debate. I'm not sure which one. But the point is, I think this should be included in the article. Every time I put it up, It gets taken down. If people could give me a reason as to why, I'd appreciate it. Again - I don't think he's admitting some kind of defeat. Quite the contrary. Thoughts? -- (talk) 04:47, 7 December 2008 (UTC)

Nope - see WP:WEIGHT. Needs more sources per WP:RS rather than the one that was an Op-Ed with no mention of where the author "heard the statement from". Shot info (talk) 08:12, 7 December 2008 (UTC)

Reverted "uncomprehensionism" edits - correct?

I reverted this - two edits by Bilburt101, followed quickly by a spelling correction by an anon, as it all looked improbable ("uncomprehensionism"????). Was I right?--A bit iffy (talk) 20:11, 10 December 2008 (UTC)

I can't say for certain whether you were right or not, but I support your reversion. A google search on the cited reference (John Diamond, "Snake Oil and Other Preoccupations"), reveals that the book is real, but no connection to anything called "uncomprehension" or "uncomprehensionism." Perhaps Bilburt101 will favor us with an explanation. Mark Shaw (talk) 20:18, 10 December 2008 (UTC)

Extensive content about Dawkins in Anthony Flew article

The article on Anthony Flew contains a great deal on Dawkins. Surely this page is the place for content on Dawkins? Notably, one of the editors, Khamosh) has stated:

BUT, ok, I agree to remove [the content on Dawkins] IF AND ONLY IF you could add it to the Wiki article "The god delusion". and I know you won't do that, and if you do, I'm pretty sure, Dawkins' bulldogs will remove it from the article in an hour. The reason is clear and simple: They cannot tolerate criticism like Dawkins himself (as Flew indicates in his review of the book)

which suggests that the article is being used as a WP:COAT. (Note, I have posted a similar message to the God Delusion talk page). — Hyperdeath(Talk) 10:15, 23 December 2008 (UTC)

To my mind, there's no issue here. If the Flew article contains excessive information on critiques of one inidividual, then the page should be tagged for lack of complaince with WP:NPOV due to the aforementioned member pushing his/her own agenda. If said person wants to add information to either this article or to the one on The God Delusion then they are free to do so, provided that other Wikipedians feel that it is appropriate and meets the guidelines on content. That's the nature of Wikipedia. Cheers, AC+79 3888 11:51, 23 December 2008 (UTC)

Dawkins' new book

R.D. said on his forum that the new book will be called The Greatest Show on Earth: the evidence for evolution. Are his personal postings on his site an acceptable source or do we need to wait for this to be announced by a third party? AC+79 3888 11:01, 26 December 2008 (UTC)

  • 3rd party source or an official announcement from the publisher or something like that would be preferable. Self-published items don't usually qualify as reliable. DP76764 (Talk) 18:36, 26 December 2008 (UTC)
Ah, ok. I had suspected as much. Thanks for the reply. AC+79 3888 14:26, 27 December 2008 (UTC)


Not done ϢereSpielChequers 18:06, 8 September 2008 (UTC)

Does anyone know if he travels with bodyguards? Or, is he unprotected most of the time? I would imagine a man of his stature would surely have bodyguards. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:05, 25 August 2008 (UTC)

Why would you want to know that? I'm sure Dawkins's security arrangements are something he would not want made public. --Michael Johnson (talk) 21:54, 25 August 2008 (UTC)
Hang around in Oxford for a while on a sunny day and you'll probably see him pass by on his bicycle. Unless it has a cunningly concealed laser weapon, I think we can assume that Dawkins isn't overly concerned about security. Where would an Oxford don get the money for bodyguards anyway?! (talk) 10:18, 29 September 2008 (UTC)
From being one of the best selling science authors of all time? Lowk (talk) 17:01, 7 October 2008 (UTC)
I don't think he's very rich... He says in one video (An atheist's call to arms) that if his books sold as well as Stephen Hawking he would fund research (on religiosity and intelligence) himself. Richard001 (talk) 08:03, 14 November 2008 (UTC)
...and then he went ahead and created the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science to do just that. His later books have been bestsellers. He is certainly not in Bill Gate's category, but he should at least be comfortably well off by now. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 22:44, 7 December 2008 (UTC)
If he lived in the US he might feel the need for that, but he doesn't. (talk) 08:49, 3 January 2009 (UTC)

The debate on Darwin and Darwinism

In the same spirit as Channel 4's Christmas message, I offer the following on Darwin/Darwinism!

nitramrekcap (talk) 17:13, 27 December 2008 (UTC)

I don't think this user wants this mentioned in the Dawkins article (because there's very little mention of Dawkins in his writings); it seems to be merely a plug for his blog. Why here I really don't know. AC+79 3888 15:54, 28 December 2008 (UTC)

A douche?!

It says in the article that "Clinton Richard Dawkins, FRS, FRSL (born 26 March 1941) is a douche."

I believe that it should be atheist instead of douche.

Richard Dawkins and Artificial Life

Whilst I appreciate Prof. Dawkins contemporary work may motivate a lot of the active discussion and work on this article, his impact on the field of artificial life has been completely removed from both this entry and The Blind Watchmaker. I talked about this in the News section at the start of;

With Larry_Yaeger. I'm sure there are other aspects of Prof. Dawkins life that may have been similarly lost from this entry, however as a muser in the field of artificial life I would like some discussion of Prof. Dawkins work in the field including his attendance, speaking and instigation at various Artificial_life_organizations conferences and obviously the impact of The Blind Watchmaker on the field. Many thanks. --Barbalet (talk) 10:41, 10 January 2009 (UTC)

I think a paragraph or so would be fine. I feel like there is a little too much relating to religion, since most of Dawkins' work has been in biology. Still, there's probably room to add a bit about artificial life without subtracting anything; the article isn't excessively long. Of course, this could be expanded on in the article The Blind Watchmaker, which is in a pretty pathetic state given the number of people who are in a position to work on it (i.e. just about anyone who has read the book). Richard001 (talk) 08:24, 27 January 2009 (UTC)

The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution

Does anyone else feel it's quite a bit too early to have an article on this book? Based on sources available right now, is it even possible to push the article beyond its current length, all of which is covered here? Should we perhaps delete or redirect the article to this one? Richard001 (talk) 03:48, 26 January 2009 (UTC)

I think the article on the book is a good idea. It is bound to merit a full article in due course. The present article does no harm, and is a useful place-holder for the expanded version to come. SNALWIBMA ( talk - contribs ) 09:57, 26 January 2009 (UTC)
Well I suppose it gets it into the category system, but I thought we weren't supposed to have articles that were merely 'placeholders'. Richard001 (talk) 08:16, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
No strong feelings either way - but it is more than a placeholder. It contains quite a bit of information about the book, in fact. SNALWIBMA ( talk - contribs ) 08:18, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
I wouldn't say "quite a bit" - as I said, all the information there is contained on this (article) page. It does seem to be all the information that's available, however. Richard001 (talk) 10:00, 27 January 2009 (UTC)

Really long introduction

I feel the introduction could definitely be shortened a bit and some information moved to another section.Mwakin21 (talk) 20:36, 26 January 2009 (UTC)

Unlike many articles, the length here is good; see WP:LEAD. Richard001 (talk) 08:17, 27 January 2009 (UTC)

Feedback on photos

I feel the article's photos are a bit repetitive - all photos of Dawkins alone. I added one today of Dawkins with Ariane Sherine at the Atheist Bus Campaign launch, which is a little different from the others, but I'm sure some other relevant pictures can be added too.

Also, regarding pictures of Dawkins, we need something from a bit further back. We have enough but they're all from very recent years. Something 1990s or even 1970s would be good to show what he looked like during his younger days. They will be harder to get but there must be enough of him to make the task doable. Richard001 (talk) 10:05, 27 January 2009 (UTC)

Would a screengrab of Dawkins giving the Growing Up In The Universe lectures, or say from one of his older documentaries qualify for fair use here? AC+79 3888 (talk) 10:29, 31 January 2009 (UTC)
WP:COPYRIGHT states that Images and photographs, like written works, are subject to copyright. Someone holds the copyright unless they have been explicitly placed in the public domain, so it looks like the answer is probably no, unless the copyright holder is cooperative. Autarch (talk) 17:42, 4 February 2009 (UTC)
I know it would be copyrighted, but my question is if we say used it next to the section of text detailing his giving the Growing Up In The Universe lectures back in 1991, would it then qualify as fair use? AC+79 3888 (talk) 20:06, 7 February 2009 (UTC)

Religion field in info box

I don't like the recent edit that shows Dawkins as being "Anglican (pre-1956), No religion/Atheist (post-1956)". Rather than simply changing it, I'm hoping the matter of assigning each scientist a religious label can be revisited. Please see my attempt to have the field removed from the template.

A quick look shows previous discussions of "religious stance" on archive 4 and archive 9. --Johnuniq (talk) 07:20, 10 January 2009 (UTC)

I think this is an extremely disingenuous addition to the page. The field is not for listing any and all stances the person in question may have had (much less until the age of 15!); I've never seen it done on a single other Wikipedia article. I think it should be removed. AC+79 3888 (talk) 22:29, 10 January 2009 (UTC)
I'm disturbed that someone would think his childhood religion is someway important. A child's religion is determined by their parents, and the only really relevant position is a persons current religious stance. --Michael Johnson (talk) 00:48, 11 January 2009 (UTC)
It is a fact - why not include it? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:44, 12 March 2009 (UTC)
Readibility and relevance. It's in the info box don't forget not in the main article. Shot info (talk) 06:00, 12 March 2009 (UTC)


From the External links section, I've removed the sole entry under "Critiques" because, upon reading it, I find that it's simply a thinly disguised promotional fluff for some Objectivist nonsense known as rational egoism. --TS 15:49, 18 March 2009 (UTC)

Include Criticism section

I feel it is only fair to include a section with critics' views of Richard Dawkins' works. The current page strikes me as unbalanced. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:43, 11 February 2009 (UTC)

Please mention any specific suggestion you may have. However, this is a biography of a living person and they usually don't have a criticism section (whereas articles about a topic often do). It's not unbalanced for an article on a person to outline what they have done. --Johnuniq (talk) 03:15, 11 February 2009 (UTC)
There've been discussions in the archives about this, it might be worth reading Talk:Richard Dawkins/Archive 9#"Criticism" section and possibly other threads to avoid going over the same ground. WereSpielChequers 16:22, 11 February 2009 (UTC)
I think it should be put under "resolved issues" at the top of the page alongside the South Park trivia point. AC+79 3888 (talk) 14:29, 13 February 2009 (UTC)
The current Atheism and rationalism section contains a large amount of sourced criticism; try searching for the word "critic" in the article. --McGeddon (talk) 13:48, 13 March 2009 (UTC)
I'm curious as to what citations are being used to establish that Dennett and Pinker are anywhere close to Dawkins in perspective. Who is saying that? Either of those two gentlemen?Levalley (talk) 03:59, 26 March 2009 (UTC)LeValley

Criticism of Richard Dawkins

It is my opinion their should be a criticism section of Richard Dawkins and his views because he has gotten a lot of rebuttal since his publication of The God Delusion. Not just the book itself, but also his ideology, militant atheist movement, and his character. Why is there not a section of this already? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:46, 12 March 2009 (UTC)

Yawn... Do you really think that no one has suggested this? This talk page already has a section on precisely the same topic, and there are dozens more in the archives. Criticism of the The God Delusion is made (surprise, surprise) in The God Delusion article, whilst atheism is criticised in the Criticism of atheism article. Why do you want the content to be duplicated here? As for Dawkins's "character", do you have any respectable sources that criticise it? — Hyperdeath(Talk) 13:19, 13 March 2009 (UTC)
WP:CRIT gives some reasons why creating pure "Criticism" sections can be unhelpful. If you read the Richard Dawkins article, you'll see that there are already a significant amount of critical viewpoints quoted in the "Atheism and rationalism" section. --McGeddon (talk) 13:46, 13 March 2009 (UTC)
The documentary Expelled by Ben Stein has an interview with Richard Dawkins where he admits the scientific possibility of Intelligent Design. NancyHeise talk 00:12, 23 March 2009 (UTC)
Actually, he didn't say exactly that. What it did say it is rightly quoted in the articl of the documentary itself, as you can easily see in the voice Expelled. Lying about what people really say it's definetly not a good way to contribute to an encyclopedia Spree85 (talk) 05:54, 26 March 2009 (UTC)
Yes, it's covered in that article; see Expelled#Richard_Dawkins. Not sure how that's a "criticism" though. Guettarda (talk) 00:39, 23 March 2009 (UTC)
I placed it under criticism because Ben Stein clearly calls Richard Dawkins the chief engineer of the "Berlin Wall" erected by the academic scientific establishment that works to keep all discussion of the possibility of Intelligent Design out of the classroom even though there is evidence for such in the fossil record, genetics and biology that is supported by many scientists. This is a hefty criticism launched by several reputable people cited in the film and I think it should be included to make the Dawkins article comprehensive. NancyHeise talk 18:31, 24 March 2009 (UTC)
Dear Nancy, if there was evidence for Intelligent design and against Evolution from the fossil record, genetics or biology I would expect to see it in the New Scientist and other reliable sources. Until that happens we should continue to treat Intelligent Design as pseudoscience or theology and not science. Describing Dawkins as architect of a wall that prevents discussion is an interesting attack on him that might merit inclusion if its widely made by the ID camp, but it would need balancing with an explanation of the scientific method and that his status on this is as spokesperson for a scientific consensus, not some sort of enforcer of orthodoxy within the scientific community. ϢereSpielChequers 11:22, 26 March 2009 (UTC)
Hi Were, Stein was not the only person to criticize Dawkins or suggest that he was the architect of the wall. The documentary featured more than a few prominent scientists. I think Dawkins page is incomplete without mention of this criticism. I have no intention of editing the page and I am not interested in this subject, I just came here to help. I hope my good faith efforts are not being interpreted as some kind of theological dispute instead. NancyHeise talk 17:49, 27 March 2009 (UTC)
I don't see you as being contentious or unhelpful, Nancy. Before the term 'intelligent design' became so controversial (and grabbed by various theologies who for some reason want to be involved in the business of discussing biological evolution) there were quite a few people in anthropology who were interested in the notion of "what is intelligence," and came to similar conclusions to Dawkins (that there's still a watchmaker - but the watchmaker is blind or lacks some other kind of sensibility often attributed to the Judeo-Christian God). Dawkins himself still has a watchmaker in his argument - so to me, he still hints at "Intelligent Design" but rails against the term because he (and others) view it as "owned" by the theologists. This is an example of abandoning a perfectly good term (intelligence is not a merely human quality, many nature-built systems exhibit intelligence; further, humans have contributed a great deal to their own evolution over a few million years - and we're considered "intelligent," and design, a set of forces working together to achieve a result that works). But because popularization is the key here - and Dawkins is in no way "doing science," it is almost a moot point. People who are interested in coevolution and intelligence have to use different language - and it helps to ignore Dawkins to do that, since he is now bogged down in a continuing battle against the "ID people." I have no intention of editing this article either, and also, am merely trying to be helpful. I don't get into writing much about this subject here because the inevitable flamewars are too de-energizing.--Levalley (talk) 01:26, 31 March 2009 (UTC)LeValley

actual description of what Dawkins says in Selfish Gene

Has anyone thought about actually making clear what Dawkins is saying? There are plenty of legitimate critiques of his viewpoints (inside physical and biological anthropology) - anyone thought of trying to provide balance here? Or is that boring, too? Levalley (talk) 04:01, 26 March 2009 (UTC)LeValley

for example: what does Dawkins say a gene is? Does it do anything more than assemble amino acids? Is "life" a collection of differently structured amino acids? If so, Dawkins has easily and brilliantly resolved a troubling question (what is life, anyway?) Does he take into account polygenetic systems? How does he explain this synergy? (We all see there's coherency to the "system of life" - is it all down to amino acids? Why?) People like Frances Crick have pondered this extensively and not yielded to Dawkins's supposedly novel formulations. After all, if all he's saying is "evolution occurs," what's the big deal in that? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Levalley (talkcontribs) 04:10, 26 March 2009 (UTC)

Why is no one pointing out that just because Dawkins rejects the "Watchmaker" notion, he puts in a weaker but similar view - the BLIND watchmaker? Isn't it rather an extraordinary metaphor? There's still a watchmaker - but like the blind painter from Turkey - has to use non-ordinary methods, not comprehensible to ordinary humans - to make his watch? Sounds suspiciously, um, like intelligent design. You see, Dawkins is trying very hard to reject traditional religious viewpoints, but there's that watchmaker in the story, nonetheless. Why isn't anyone pointing this out? Everyone I know in anthropology points it out continuously.Levalley (talk) 15:52, 26 March 2009 (UTC)LeValley

Why not take this up on The Selfish Gene and The Blind Watchmaker, that is if you have some sources to support your view? --Michael Johnson (talk) 23:32, 26 March 2009 (UTC)
When I get finished with other Wiki things, I might just do that - although once done, I would expect this main article to reflect this rather obvious fallacy. It should be fixed, merely because it is fallacious on the face of it and it's in an already-existing article. There are lots of citations available, although they are not in the realm of popular writing.Levalley (talk) 17:56, 27 March 2009 (UTC)LeValley
No one, certainly not Dawkins, denies that, on the surface, that it appears that there is a designer (or watchmaker if you will) behind the various complexities found in nature. The point of the alleged watchmaker being blind is that with respect to the watch (or whatever particular complexity you want to talk about) the watchmaker can't see what "he" is doing, and indeed doesn't even know what "he" is doing. In other words, there is no actual intelligence behind the "making" of the "watch" (observed complexity), much less omniscience or omnipotence. The watchmaker in every story is nothing but a metaphor. There is no actual watchmaker. That's the point. --Born2cycle (talk) 20:07, 3 May 2009 (UTC)

Biography field

Dawkins's detailed biography, with virtually every teacher he and every little zigzag of his educational career far exceeds the detail level of most Wiki biographies, even for far more notable personages. And it's boring. Very. It needs to be edited down. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Levalley (talkcontribs) 15:54, 26 March 2009 (UTC)

Newspapers should not be quoted as truth

From the article:

In September 2008, Dawkins retired from his post as Simonyi Professor of the Public Understanding of Science, announcing plans to "write a book aimed at youngsters in which he will warn them against believing in "anti-scientific" fairytales."

For a start his plans to write a children's book are not the reason from his retirement, and a quotation from a Telegraph journalist shouldn't appear in an encyclopaedia anyway (other than in a section on reception), but also Dawkins himself rejected that particular spate of sensationalist misrepresenation. See forum posts from here. (talk) 10:09, 15 April 2009 (UTC)

When it comes to sourcing, newspapers are usually much more preferable than Internet forum posts. $0.02 DP76764 (Talk) 15:46, 15 April 2009 (UTC)
Surely a primary source (Richard Dawkins's own writing) outweighs tertiary (the Daily Telegraph reporting on somebody else's interview) when it comes to substantiating a statement about his own personal aims and opinions. (talk) 20:30, 15 April 2009 (UTC)
It is my understanding that a newspaper reporting on somebody else's interview would be considered as a secondary source. A tertiary source would be a statement from an encyclopedia, textbook, or other summarizing sources. A secondary source is a document or recording that relates or discusses information originally presented elsewhere. Dionyseus (talk) 21:52, 15 April 2009 (UTC)

Mimetic desire

It would be interesting if the René Girard's notion of mimetic desire could be included in the article, which would explain how similar or how different it is to Richard Dawkins' theory. The ironic aspect of this is that Dawkins' theory almost looks like a meme of Girard's theory. Also, Girard believes that memes are very much compatible with the anthropological and sacrifical foundations of Christianity, while Dawkins takes the exact opposite view and sees it as evidence for atheistic evolutionism. ADM (talk) 16:05, 2 May 2009 (UTC)

When you say Dawkins sees "it" as evidence for atheistic evolutionism, what is the "it" that you are referring to? I think Dawkins would agree that the anthropological and sacrificial foundations of Christianity are examples of memes. --Born2cycle (talk) 19:57, 3 May 2009 (UTC)

Richard Beliefe in Aliens

Off-topic discussion not related to the article. SNALWIBMA ( talk - contribs ) 07:07, 12 June 2009 (UTC)
The following discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.

Richard Dawkins believe that Aliens could have created earth.he also believe that Aliens are not god they are just common aliens with a superior intelligent. —Preceding unsigned comment added by SoSaSlava (talkcontribs) 01:57, 9 June 2009 (UTC)

That ain't what he said. Johnuniq (talk) 02:34, 9 June 2009 (UTC)

If you watch "Expelled" he said that the earth/humans could have been created on the backs of crystals. Look it up or watch it-it's true I swear. Swimmerfreak94 (talk) 00:52, 11 June 2009 (UTC)

If you watch "Expelled", you will find a whole lot of nonsense. It is not remotely a reliable source. If you look around a bit, you will find that the interviewer asked for wild speculation, but then cut the reply out of context.[1]. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 07:29, 11 June 2009 (UTC)

Try to be more open-minded. Gosh it's not nonsense because the sources ARE reliable. Look 'em up. And by the way, greeeat source. Of course the man who made himself look bad in an interview is going to say it's "propaganda" and lies. Do you think he would actually admit he's wrong? Not trying to make fun of you or anything, just trying to see where you're coming from...YOUR sources are pretty unreliable too, as they are only opinions and verrrry subjective. Sure, that's why Expelled did so well, it was chock full of lies. Sure. Sorry. Please don't take it the wrong way it's just sometimes you people are so frustrating... :) no offense meant. I'm trying to edit constructively, but it's so tough when you see something you really think is wrong...ugh. Swimmerfreak94 (talk) 03:48, 12 June 2009 (UTC)

[2]. Have you actually read the article? I have not referenced it for Dawkins' opinions, but for his description of the interview. "Expelled" has been nearly universally panned by critics - . It also was not particularly successful - but then, if you think that box office success indicates veracity, you might want to consider E.T. as a source. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 07:02, 12 June 2009 (UTC)
Ethical Points Of view

Richard Dawkins Also believe that the act of compassion towards other human being is a creational defect or misfire as he stated in an interview with the canadian TV.

Nonsense. Please use this page only to comment on what needs to be done to improve the article. Johnuniq (talk) 02:36, 9 June 2009 (UTC)

And you have proof that it's, "nonsense"...? Swimmerfreak94 (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 00:53, 11 June 2009 (UTC).

This is not a forum (see top of page). Please understand that most editors on this page are quite well aware of the nonsense written by people who don't like Dawkins. You are not going to convert anyone here. See the top of this talk page. Johnuniq (talk) 03:07, 11 June 2009 (UTC)

uhhh...not trying to "convert" can think what you want I really don't care anymore. Just saying that you probably shouldn't deride other people's contributions by just dismissing it as "nonsense" unless you have proof. sooooorrry. Swimmerfreak94 (talk) 03:45, 12 June 2009 (UTC)

In the popular culture

Should this article include a section about Richard Dawkins in the popular culture? For example, it lacks a reference to RD's parody in South Park. Albmont (talk) 19:01, 9 June 2009 (UTC)

It has been discussed in the past:[3], [4], [5], [6], [7]. The consensus is not to include it, but that it would be relevant to the pages on the South Park episodes in question. Autarch (talk) 19:35, 9 June 2009 (UTC)

The Extended Phenotype.

From the main entry:

"In 1982, he made a widely cited contribution to evolutionary biology with the theory, presented in his book The Extended Phenotype"

What is the source on this? Who is citing it? The EP is not a testable or falsifiable theory and therefore isn't scientific. What would it be cited for? To what end? In fact, it adds nothing new to the concept or discussion of niche construction but sloppy metaphors. From the first page of the book:

"This is a work of unabashed advocacy. I want to argue in favour of a particular way of looking at animals and plants, and a particular way of wondering why they do the things that they do. What I am advocating is not a new theory, not a hypothesis which can be verified or falsified, not a model which can be judged by its predictions."

"What I am advocating is a point of view, a way of looking at familiar facts and ideas, and a way of asking new questions about them. Any reader who expects a convincing new theory in the conventional sense of the word is bound to be left, therefore, with a disappointed 'so what?' feeling. But I am not trying to convince anyone of the truth of any factual proposition. Rather, I am trying to show the reader a way of seeing biological facts. " —Preceding unsigned comment added by Savagedjeff (talkcontribs) 20:11, 18 May 2009 (UTC)

Well, Google Scholar has 2219 references to this book. By comparison, Gould's The structure of evolutionary theory has 1126, and Hawking's The large scale structure of space-time has a bit over 5000. I'd call all these "widely cited". --Stephan Schulz (talk) 20:30, 18 May 2009 (UTC)

Did you even look through those links? By the second page a lot them are just links that happen to have the words "extended" and "phenotype" in them. Not even together or referencing the EP. That number should be cut down by quite a bit. Of course a pop science book is going to come up a lot.

And what is the contribution of it? It says it is a contribution to evolutionary theory. No it isn't. The notion of it being "cited" is also misleading. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Savagedjeff (talkcontribs) 21:25, 18 May 2009 (UTC)

You miss the point of the link. There are 392000 hits for the search - but the first hit is Dawkin's book and explicitly lists the number of scholarly works known to Google Scholar that cite it. This is the list of actual works that cite the book. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 22:13, 18 May 2009 (UTC)

I don't consider a lot of them "scholarly works". There are a lot of pop philosophy and science books on that list. Do you honestly consider The Meme Machine by Susan Blackmore and Dawkins to be scholarly? I bet a good portion of those citations are from the same small group of Dawkins lapdogs like Pinker, Dennett, and Blackmore. The fact that the EP is mentioned does not mean it is endorsed or accepted either. It is more known than it is accepted. It owes most of its "citations" to book sales and the cult status of its author, not because of its impact or acceptance in the field. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Savagedjeff (talkcontribs) 22:42, 18 May 2009 (UTC)

Well, you make your opinion fairly clear. Whatever the criterion Google uses to include works in Google Scholar, it applies equally to all works. And 2000 cites is an impressive number. We do not claim that the work is correct, or accepted, or solves all the problems of biology. We claim it's widely cited, and so it is. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 22:55, 18 May 2009 (UTC)

Fine, but I just want to add that Intelligent Design, among other things, is widely cited too. Using the same language and context for the claim that the EP is "widely cited". Savagedjeff (talk) 10:31, 21 May 2009 (UTC)

But why would you add that "intelligent design" is widely cited in an article on Dawkins? You might as well add a comment that Hitler's moustache is widely referred to. SNALWIBMA ( talk - contribs ) 10:37, 21 May 2009 (UTC)

I did it purposely because they are equally disingenuous to claim that they are widely cited. You object to ID being widely cited for the same reason I object to the EP being widely cited.

Savagedjeff (talk) 10:42, 21 May 2009 (UTC)

That is a ridiculous comment. The fact that Dawkins' book is widely cited clearly belongs in an article on Dawkins. Saying so in no way implies approval of the book, or of its influence. It's simply a matter of relevance. The reception of the book The Extended Phenotype is relevant to this article. Non-Dawkins-related comments about intelligent design are as irrelevant as Hitler's moustache. SNALWIBMA ( talk - contribs ) 10:55, 21 May 2009 (UTC)
Savagedjeff - you need to read WP:POINT. Furthermore, Dawkins' Extended Phenotype is extremely well-cited in the scientific literature (ISI Web of Knowledge lists > 600 citations; most scientific papers manage a handful at best). For a book, this is quite something. Not all of them can be dissing it. --PLUMBAGO 10:57, 21 May 2009 (UTC)

The EP, like ID, is NOT a scientific theory. It is not testable/falsifiable.

When you say "cited" what you really mean is "mentioned". That is my point. Memes is mentioned all the time too, probably a lot more than the EP. Why not put in here that memes is widely cited? Because then the context will be obvious. Everyone knows memes isn't taken seriously and is unscientific. Savagedjeff (talk) 11:04, 21 May 2009 (UTC)

Yes, cited more or less means the same as mentioned. Look it up in a dictionary. But (a) memes are already referred to in the same paragraph, and (b) what is your point? SNALWIBMA ( talk - contribs ) 11:08, 21 May 2009 (UTC)
Savagedjeff - yes, "cited" means "mentioned", but "mentioned" means "considered scientifically valuable". Scientific ideas that are not valuable or useful are simply not "mentioned", so for a work to be cited several hundred times is significant. I can only wish that my work had been cited this number of times! By contrast, ID is more-or-less only cited in scientific literature in the context of it being an anti-scientific idea. Essentially a distraction from the everyday job of science. With practically zero scientific papers to its name (because it has no scientific content) citing is, of course, difficult. Anyway, your objection to mention being made of EP being widely is clearly without merit - regardless of whether it makes testable predictions, it is valuable enough in scientific circles to be heavily cited there. And bringing ID in here is utterly irrelevant. --PLUMBAGO 12:35, 21 May 2009 (UTC)

"Mentioned" means scientifically valuable now? Where is this leap of logic coming from? Again, buddies of Dawkins mentioning it in their popular novels does not make the EP valuable. Or memes for that matter. Blackmore and Dennett are not biologists. Not even close. Neither is Pinker. Why should their mentioning of it hold any value? You would think there would at least be a standard of citing people in the relevant fields. These people are not part of any "scientific circle". This is why I can't take it seriously. Savagedjeff (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 01:21, 30 May 2009 (UTC).

So what changes are you recommending be made to the article SavageJeff? Shot info (talk) 03:31, 30 May 2009 (UTC)

First of all, the EP is listed as a theory here. Which implies it is a scientific theory. Like evolution or relativity. This is obviously wrong. EP is not a scientific theory in evolutionary biology. It is not a scientific theory period. Dawkins admits it isn't a scientific theory. So that should be removed. It does not reach the standard of a scientific theory. It is closer to a just so story than a scientific theory. EP is a theory the same way creationists think evolution is a theory. Call it something different, but don't call it a theory. Theories have standards.

Secondly, many of the "citations" for the EP are from personal friends of Dawkins, who also happen to have no authority or background in biology. Being "cited" by nonexperts(who also happen to be close friends) outside of scientific peer review is nothing worth mentioning.

Savagedjeff (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 05:04, 30 May 2009 (UTC).

Aren't you overplaying the usage of a word ("theory") in this article? The sentence in which it appears is merely trying to use readable English to convey what is meant by "extended phenotype". Using "theory" in the context of its sentence is not a promotion of an idea. Bear in mind that this is an article about Richard Dawkins. One of the books he wrote has a rather mysterious name ("The Extended Phenotype"), so this article has to briefly describe what it's about. If EP is totally invalid in some way, probably you could find some reliable sources, and they could be quoted. By the way, I wonder if having 2000 personal friends cite your book in Google Scholar is a record? Johnuniq (talk) 05:29, 30 May 2009 (UTC)
Well it's something by Dawkins in an article about Dawkins with cite(s). Mind you - I still don't see SavagedJeff actually making a recommendation here. So is the sentence removed? Changed? If changed, then what exactly do you want to see. Given that we're only dealing with a simple sentence, please feel free to follow this example. Shot info (talk) 06:03, 30 May 2009 (UTC)
At last. A useful suggestion from Savagedjeff. Yes, in the context in which it appears, "theory" is perhaps putting it rather strongly (and it's not described this way later in the article). I would describe it as "observation", though that underplays its importance. One could perhaps word it as "critical observation", since it's important enough to continue to be cited by other scientists. On that point, citations in scientific papers are not simply a nod to one's scientist friends - that sort of irrelevant name-dropping would be edited out of papers by their referees and editors. Citations are made to support statements that appear in a paper, y'know just like here. The suggestion that these 600+ citations in the scientific literature are all from Dawkins' friends is absurd, though that's not to say that some aren't. Contrary to cinematic stereotypes, scientists do have friends, and they often work in the same field, so citing the work of one's friends does happen, but not for the reasons implied. Anyway, swap "theory" for "observation" / "critical observation"? --PLUMBAGO 06:35, 30 May 2009 (UTC)

Yes, going from "theory" to "observation" puts the EP where it rightfully belongs. And there is nothing "critical" about it. It solves nothing on the subject and really hasn't gotten anywhere in the last 25 years since it was introduced. The use of the word "theory" is very important. I don't know how anyone interested in science, particularly evolution, can say otherwise. Considering the debate and ignorance about the use of the word "theory" that so often pops up.

Savagedjeff (talk) 22:25, 30 May 2009 (UTC)

Hmmm. Maybe "critical" isn't quite the right word. OK - how's about "In 1982, he made a widely cited an important contribution to evolutionary biology with the theory observation, presented in his book The Extended Phenotype, that..."? The ideas in the EP are important, hence widely cited, but the latter wording is probably confusing to readers who don't know what citations mean.
Regarding whether the ideas of EP solve anything, they aren't supposed to. Like the concept of the selfish gene, they are ways of viewing phenomena in biology that are otherwise conceptually hard to understand. Specifically, that other genes form a major part of "the environment" for a particular gene, that genes which occupy the same organism have shared interests, and that the phenotypic effects of genes are not confined to the organism they occupy. These are all important concepts in evolutionary biology without being "theories" (actually, perhaps "concept" is better than "observation"). Again, as evidenced by the high number of citations for Dawkins' book.
Hope this helps. Are we ready to change the lead yet? --PLUMBAGO 07:33, 31 May 2009 (UTC)
Or maybe "the idea ... that"? Any one of the three (observation, concept, idea) works for me. SNALWIBMA ( talk - contribs ) 08:19, 31 May 2009 (UTC)
One issue is that "widely cited" can stand as an easily verified and NPOV fact, while "important" needs a reference. Johnuniq (talk) 08:21, 31 May 2009 (UTC)
Agree with both. Throw "view" into the mix for the first... --Stephan Schulz (talk) 08:26, 31 May 2009 (UTC)
Good point from Johnuniq about "widely cited" versus "important". Keep "widely cited". SNALWIBMA ( talk - contribs ) 08:32, 31 May 2009 (UTC)
Can we expand on "widely cited" in a footnote? Or is that WP:OR/WP:SYNTH? --PLUMBAGO 09:03, 31 May 2009 (UTC)

I have gone ahead and changed "theory" to "idea" in the sentence about EP. If anyone prefers observation/view/concept - be my guest! Likewise if anyone wants to add a footnote to "widely cited" giving some measure of the number of citations. SNALWIBMA ( talk - contribs ) 08:57, 2 June 2009 (UTC)

From Michael Behe's Wiki: "Furthermore, Behe aimed the publication of this book at the general public,[17] gaining maximum publicity while avoiding peer-review from fellow scientists or performing new research to support his statements, contrary to normal interpretations of the scientific method." The same exact sentence could be said of most of Dawkins' work including the EP. Just sayin.

Savagedjeff (talk) 02:55, 25 June 2009 (UTC)

Dawkins and extremism.

I think some of these things should be noted.

Dawkins' view on the X-Files, which he equates with racism:

"Each week 'The X-Files' poses a mystery and offers two rival kinds of explanation, the rational theory and the paranormal theory. And, week after week, the rational explanation loses. But it is only fiction, a bit of fun, why get so hot under the collar?

Imagine a crime series in which, every week, there is a white suspect and a black suspect. And every week, lo and behold, the black one turns out to have done it. Unpardonable, of course. And my point is that you could not defend it by saying, 'But it's only fiction, only entertainment.'"



"Regarding the accusations of sexual abuse of children by Catholic priests, deplorable and disgusting as those abuses are, they are not so harmful to the children as the grievous mental harm in bringing up the child Catholic in the first place."


Savagedjeff (talk) 10:40, 21 May 2009 (UTC)

This page is to discuss what can be done to improve the article, so I can't work out what point you are trying to make. For the record, I'll just provide more context for your above quotes (it's totally wrong to claim that Dawkins equated the X-Files with racism).
In Unweaving the Rainbow, Dawkins said: "The problem with The X-Files is that routinely, relentlessly, the supernatural explanation ... usually turns out to be the answer. ... I am not saying that supernaturalist propaganda is as dangerous or unpleasant as racist propaganda. But The X-Files systematically purveys an anti-rational view of the world which, by virtue of its recurrent persistence, is insidious."
In your reference, we see the point Dawkins was making: "I had a letter from a woman in America in her forties, who said that when she was a child of about seven, brought up a Catholic, two things happened to her: one was that she was sexually abused by her parish priest. The second thing was that a great friend of hers at school died, and she had nightmares because she thought her friend was going to hell because she wasn't Catholic. For her there was no question that the greatest child abuse of those two was the abuse of being taught about hell. Being fondled by the priest was negligible in comparison." Johnuniq (talk) 11:44, 21 May 2009 (UTC)

In my opinion there has to be a section for critisism. This is unalienable. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Finding dismas (talkcontribs) 16:31, 21 May 2009 (UTC)

So write one. Remember WP:BLP and all the rest of the caveats, please. Mark Shaw (talk) 16:58, 21 May 2009 (UTC)
But first, I suggest, read and take account of the copious discussion in the archives of this talk page on whether to include a section of "criticism". SNALWIBMA ( talk - contribs ) 17:15, 21 May 2009 (UTC)
Or, preferrably add a section on criticism (on my wish list too!), and use the copious discussion as your inspiration when enhancing it. Be Bold! ... said: Rursus (bork²) 14:18, 23 May 2009 (UTC)
Criticism sections are discouraged on wp. Frankly, I think that its just bad writing. Of course, we'd have to have a praise section as well in order to balance things out (tongue firmly planted in cheek). --Woland (talk) 17:23, 21 May 2009 (UTC)
I think it is justified when a person attacks something, that the critics and defendants, if they are usable enough, have their arguments. I do not think that criticisms sections are discouraged, but appoint a policy page and I might change my mind. ... said: Rursus (bork²) 14:21, 23 May 2009 (UTC)
Sure. Check out: WP: Criticism sections. It even has its own template. I just think its better writing to place criticisms within relevant sections. If there is a controversy over a particular thing that two sides are arguing about then it can certainly have it own section with all relevant POVs in it, but a bunch of disjointed criticisms don't belong together, from my perspective. Ciao.--Woland (talk) 16:21, 23 May 2009 (UTC)
And all this does not free us from WP:BLP, WP:RS and WP:UNDUE. We should concentrate on reliably sourced and significant criticism, not on original opinion or the blogs of Tom, Dick and Harry. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 20:08, 23 May 2009 (UTC)
I would normally agree that a bunch of criticisms lumped together is less interesting than criticisms divided up into the various sections, but in the case of Dawkins criticism of his views has reached a critical mass that demands its own section. NuevoRico (talk) 00:05, 20 June 2009 (UTC)

Dawkins' claim that belief in God is a delusion.

This needs some kind of caveat I think. Mainly that it is an unscientific and nonexpert opinion. One that the psychiatric community certainly doesn't agree with.

Savagedjeff (talk) 00:56, 3 June 2009 (UTC)

Please review WP:TALK where it explains that "The purpose of a Wikipedia talk page is to provide space for editors to discuss changes to its associated article or project page." That is, please at least clearly identify some text in the article that you think needs work.
The article simply states that Dawkins wrote The God Delusion with a quick overview of its content and impact. Plenty of opposing views are mentioned. Wikipedia doesn't normally add editorial comment advising readers that the claims of a particular author are "unscientific and nonexpert opinion". Johnuniq (talk) 02:53, 3 June 2009 (UTC)

Well, Dawkins is a "scientist". Which is an authority he always appeals to. Science. Him being a scientist in biology might give people the impression that this claim is somehow scientific.

Savagedjeff (talk) 20:28, 3 June 2009 (UTC)

If people are so stupid that they mistake a provocative figure of speech for a medical diagnosis, we can give up writing, as the art of reading has already been lost. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 20:34, 3 June 2009 (UTC)
Further to that, a delusion is clearly defined, and in his view, the beleif in god is in accordance with this definition, it does not require an specefic education in order to deduce this. Rely Day (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 05:52, 7 July 2009 (UTC).

There is something wrong with this logic and it may beg the question : The same might be valid for those who think science is the " key " for everything , both are forms of belief , but not delusions . As per Fodor , human mind is fundamented on beliefs and desires . What is being attacked are people's beliefs that is cleverly called " delusion " for literature purposes as per S Schultz above .regards A. Marks

River out of Eden

The article on Dawkins' book has been moved to River Out of Eden (with an initial capital in "Out"), and the article text has been changed ("out" → "Out"). I would appreciate some opinions on this at Talk:River Out of Eden#River out of Eden and/or at WT:WikiProject Music/MUSTARD/Capitalization#Prepositional phrases. Johnuniq (talk) 00:18, 15 July 2009 (UTC)

Page move of NOMA

Please note discussion to move nonoverlapping magesteria at Talk:Non-overlapping magisteria#Move?. Just because I'm afraid of an overall lack of input, I'm trying to get some interest on other talk pages. WLU (t) (c) Wikipedia's rules:simple/complex 16:19, 20 July 2009 (UTC)

Fabric of Reality

Dawkins' refinement of Darwinian evolutionary theory is featured prominently in David Deutsch's Fabric of Reality. Shouldn't that be mentioned, if only in the form of a link under See also? (talk) 06:36, 21 July 2009 (UTC)


Dawkins returned from Berkeley in 1969, not in 1970. He was a Senior Research Officer at the Department of Zoology between 1969-1970, became University Lecturer in Zoology and Fellow of New College in 1970 and an ad hominem Reader of Zoology in 1990 ('til 1995, when he became Charles Simonyi Professor of the Public Understanding of Science, University of Oxford, and Professorial Fellow of New College). In 1989, he was awared a D.Sc. degree (Oxford).

"His father, Clinton John Dawkins, was a soldier who moved to Kenya from England during World War II to join the Allied Forces." Not correct or at least misleading: his father served in Nyasaland (now Malawi) in the British colonial service as an agricultural officer.See:

A comment on this by Dawkins himself: —Preceding unsigned comment added by Pluvialis (talkcontribs) 13:52, 5 August 2009 (UTC)

 —Preceding unsigned comment added by Alorski (talkcontribs) 13:52, 16 July 2009 (UTC) 


Dawkins FRS, FRSL. What does these words, letters or whatever mean? Is it his title or some knighthood or something. There ought to be some explanation? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:38, 23 July 2009 (UTC)

Fellow of the Royal Society and Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, respectively. The terms are Wiki-linked. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 09:51, 23 July 2009 (UTC)

South park

Look south park is probably more famous than richard. This is just a testament to how his fame has grown. That show is the only reason a lot of people have heard of him. If someelse had done something that would of been seen by a large audience, it would of been metioned in their article. I know there was a conceusus not to mention him but maybe we should reconsider?

Whether South Park is more famous than Richard Dawkins is debatable and more to the point, irrelevant. See this list of links mentioned at the top of the article in the header (reproduced here): [10], [11], [12]. Also see Wikipedia:Relevance of content. This issue has been argued about many, many, many times before. Autarch (talk) 22:21, 7 August 2009 (UTC)
More famous than Dawkins? Only if you haven't read a science book in the last four decades.... Agg56tt (talk) 22:25, 7 August 2009 (UTC)

Uh yes south park is more famous than Richard. No offense more people watch tv then read science books. If he had done some thing that would of made as many people have heard of him it would of been included in this article.

Dawkins had been a big name in science for four decades, three of which were before Southpark existed. If you get your information from recent popular culture then you likely know little about science and scientists.
No offense, but many people don't get their facts from animated comedy shows. But rather comedy shows deal with contemporary issues. You do realize the reason for putting Dawkins on was that The God Delusion because a huge best-selling, sparking in industry of responses and debates. Had Dawkins not been popular already, then there would be no parody.
Oh yeah, Achy Breaky Heart was once a national sensation. What's in popular culture now, will be off the air in the future. However, big names in academia stay big names in academia. If their ideas are transformative people will read them for centuries. It's called history. Agg56tt (talk) 19:11, 8 August 2009 (UTC)

why no metion

of his attack on wikipedia? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:32, 8 August 2009 (UTC)

So? Me teacher almost always bashes wikipedia too but still uses it for non-essenial stuff ebcause it is very accesible. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:11, 9 August 2009 (UTC)

Huh? He has cited wikipedia before... Agg56tt (talk) 19:14, 8 August 2009 (UTC)

animal rights activist?

In the Ancestors tale, he condemns specism and endorses Peter Singer's "great ape project." —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:51, 10 August 2009 (UTC)

That's just a philosophical position he takes, he's not an activist. I don't think this needs its own section, but if it's the done thing here on Wikipedia (not an expert) I suppose it could be mentioned in a section about his philosophical beliefs (that I can think of off the top of my head: atheism (obviously), plus materialism, scientism (although I think that's a pejorative term and maybe doesn't do justice to his beliefs in this regard), Darwinism, anti-speciesism, humanism. they'd need to come with references of course). Pluvialis (talk) 17:17, 10 August 2009 (UTC)

I just looked through the article and noticed the section called "Atheism and rationalism", which obviously addresses his most notable stances. Perhaps a mention of the sort of things listed above, including anti-speciesism, could be made there, although that section is under "Work" so, if this is added, it probably ought to be in the spirit of categorising the sort of things Dawkins has advocated in his work on atheism and rationalism. Bear in mind that in the introduction (last paragraph) there's already a quick summary of his positions. Pluvialis (talk) 23:03, 10 August 2009 (UTC)

I haven't seen the book for a couple of years, but I do not recall any statement on the topic that would warrant mention here. Johnuniq (talk) 02:29, 11 August 2009 (UTC)

is he a vegetarian?

it would be nice if we had some info on his views on killing animals for consumption. does he feel animals feel pain as they are sentient. is dawkins a promoter of vegetarianism —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:43, 23 August 2009 (UTC)

To my knowledge, he's not said a great deal either way on the subject - this would explain why there's no mention of his views. I also don't recall him making any arguments that animals killed for food are sentient, as you imply. ~ mazca talk 20:02, 23 August 2009 (UTC)
does he feel animals feel pain as they are sentient. yes he does say so in The God Delusion if I remember correctly. Don't know if he is a vegetarian or if that would be a relevant piece of information for this article. SPLETTE :] How's my driving? 20:52, 23 August 2009 (UTC)
In 2008 he was not, he discusses vegetarianism specifically in this interview with Peter Singer from 6:58 to 11:50, saying at 10:34 "I confess that I do eat meat", and I've never heard or read anything about vegetarianism and Dawkins before or since. Like most of us he eats meat and doesn't worry about it, but he is willing to admit the morals of it are shaky if pushed. I'm not sure if this is notable, however, or where it would be mentioned. Pluvialis (talk) 12:49, 29 August 2009 (UTC)

What foreign languages does Richard speak?

Others might disagree, but I would find this piece of information quite interesting. I know he seems to have some interest in German and apparently is familiar with bits of its history, but I for one have never found anything specific. Could somebody with more info add it? -- (talk) 14:43, 12 July 2009 (UTC)

While this may be interesting to you personally, that doesn't make it notable or encyclopedic. --Dannyno (talk) 20:06, 12 July 2009 (UTC)

Why not? If a notable person can speak German, how do you know that this wont be of interest or note to the general reader? AlbagubrathMegrahi (talk) 18:06, 26 August 2009 (UTC)

See below. If he once did an O-level in French, is that worth reporting, given its lack of relevance to his public life or career? Maybe not. Can he drive? Should that go in? Can he cook? It's all academic anyway since nobody seems to know.--Dannyno (talk) 19:39, 26 August 2009 (UTC)

Well to the average reader, it is as likely as it is unlikely that they would be interested in both. Its surely pov what is trivia? I mean, you could look at it the opposite way and omit all non science and religion related information for the same thinking of avoiding trivia. AlbagubrathMegrahi (talk) 10:56, 27 August 2009 (UTC)

If you say so. Gripdamage (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 13:10, 19 July 2009 (UTC).
First of all, because anyone can edit wikipedia, the fact that other stuff exists is no argument for inclusion here. But, more interestingly, I went and looked at the first few hits in your search. The first one in multilingualism so, of course it matches these search terms, but it's about people in general, not anyone person. Number 2, Nia Griffith? Ok, maybe. Number 3, Romina Power? The fact that she is a polyglot appears under "Trivia", a section which is explicitly discouraged for wikipedia (see WP:TRIVIA). Number 4, Annely Peebo? This is relevant, as it allowed her to play a leading role in a French language film. Number 5, Sandra Seifert. Not really encyclopedic there either, but ok. Number 6, China Sky. A fictional novel in which Japanese character who is captured in China. Number 7, Ville Haapasalo this one is borderline for deletion as not notable. I quote "Haapasalo stands 6 feet ¾ inches (1.85 m). He speaks four languages fluently: Finnish, Russian, Swedish, and English. His hobbies include playing trombone, ice-hockey, skiing, and skating. He has dark brown hair and green/gray eyes. He wears a size 52." Encyclopedic all around there... geez. Really, the fact that he has green/gray eyes and wears a size 52 is encyclopedic? How?
So, the WP:BURDEN is on you to explain why this information is relevant and encyclopedic, not to make snide comments that you think will support your case. What you need to do is in some way justify why this information is WP:NOTABLE and relevant to Dawkins' other accomplishments that we should include this as anything more than trivia. Edhubbard (talk) 14:03, 19 July 2009 (UTC)
I see no reason to be so hostile to this inclusion. There are all kinds of irrelevant but interesting trivia which are included in encyclopedic entries and short biographies. For instance, the fact that Dawkins' father was an Allied soldier is completely irrelevant to who Dawkins is publicly, but we include it because it gives us some further context about Dawkins' life. If anything alerting readers to the fact that Dawkins speaks other languages—if this is indeed the case—tells us something interesting about Dawkins personal intellectual interests, which is far more relevant than the occupation of a close relative. I don't care either way if you include this bit of trivia or not. I just find your argument against it odd and completely unconvincing. Best, Miguel Chavez (talk) 07:00, 4 August 2009 (UTC)
I'm not "hostile" to the inclusion of such information, if it can be found. I just don't happen to think it's notable. Who Dawkins' father was is certainly biographically significant. Which languages he can speak doesn't seem to be, since so far as I know Dawkins writes in the English language and hasn't made any particular issue of other languages in his research or writing. Maybe he learned French as school: who cares? But I guess you have to find out first. --Dannyno (talk) 16:13, 5 August 2009 (UTC)
I wonder what brand of hair shampoo he fancies. Does he prefers boxers or briefs? Does his odour remind one of llamas, or has he a comforting smell? Is his singing at parties a riot? Does he only like classical stuff? Will he come without warning, just as I am picking my nose? O tell me the truth about Richard Dawkins. --IronMaidenRocks (talk) 06:06, 8 September 2009 (UTC)