Talk:Richard Dawkins/Archive 15

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Archive 14 Archive 15 Archive 16

"According to Dawkins..."

The phrase "according to Dawkins" is used several times in the article to describe a particular and personal view held by Dawkins. That is fine. But it is not appropriate as used in the section "Criticsm of Creationism", in discussing the processes of evolution: "According to Dawkins, however, natural selection is sufficient to explain the apparent functionality and non-random complexity of the biological world.." The sentence should be revised along the lines "Dawkins shares the view generally held by scientists that natural selection...etc" Sue Zuki (talk) 13:03, 15 October 2010 (UTC)

Well spotted. They were weasel words. Strongly agree. Fixed. SNALWIBMA ( talk - contribs ) 13:24, 15 October 2010 (UTC)
Strongly agree, as well. WP:WEASEL in full force there. Thanks for the heads-up, Obamafan70 (talk) 15:00, 15 October 2010 (UTC)

Religion: Atheist

Shouldn't it be Religion: None (Atheist)? It makes much more sense. — Kieff | Talk 00:11, 21 October 2010 (UTC)

A better approach would be to restore {{Infobox scientist}} (which was recently replaced with {{Infobox person}} with no discussion).
Doing that would omit the following:
Ethnicity:  White British
Education:  MA, DPhil (Oxon)
Occupation:  Ethologist
Years active:  1967-present
Employer:  University of California, Berkeley; University of Oxford
Organization:  Fellow of the Royal Society; Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature
Notable works:  The Selfish Gene (1976); The Extended Phenotype (1982); The Blind Watchmaker (1986)
Influenced by:  Charles Darwin, Ronald Fisher, George C. Williams, W. D. Hamilton, Daniel Dennett, Nikolaas Tinbergen (doctoral adviser)
Religion:  None
Spouse:  Marian Stamp Dawkins (m. 1967-1984); Eve Barham (m. 1984-?); Lalla Ward (m. 1992-present)
Children:  Juliet Emma Dawkins (born 1984)
Parents:  Clinton John Dawkins; Jean Mary Vyvyan (née Ladner)
Website:  The Richard Dawkins Foundation
The "Organization" field might be replaced with "workplaces". People would have to read the article for the other info. Johnuniq (talk) 03:02, 21 October 2010 (UTC)
The scientist's infobox seems more reasonable to me. Obamafan70 (talk) 03:29, 21 October 2010 (UTC)
No infobox at all would be better, IMHO. Infoboxes lead simpler editors to think that complex attributes of complex people can be expressed in 3 words or less. They cannot. HiLo48 (talk) 03:55, 21 October 2010 (UTC)
While he's both a person and a scientist, it makes sense to use the more specific format. Dylan Flaherty (talk) 03:56, 21 October 2010 (UTC)
I see HiLo48's point, but I think readers should still be held responsible for reading the entire article after reading the infobox. And yes, scientist as per Dylan Flaherty's reasoningObamafan70 (talk) 06:42, 21 October 2010 (UTC)

>In reality he is notable as an author, not a scientist, so Person is more NPOV. NBeale (talk) 22:46, 23 November 2010 (UTC)

I think that is a POV. He is notable as a scientist, although much of that is the publicizing of science through his books, and of course through his position before retirement - the chair for publicizing science. --Bduke (Discussion) 23:24, 23 November 2010 (UTC)

Possible changes

In the Biography section, near the beginning of paragraph three, "Oundle School Church of England school" this proper British English, or just type too fast? Also in Biography, paragraph four ends with a sentence fragment which would benefit by being reconnected to the previous sentence by changing the period to a comma. Thanks in advance. (talk) 06:27, 24 November 2010 (UTC)

Thanks for the report. We had a lot of editing a few months ago (some over-enthusiastic editors), and the text is so obviously wrong that I investigated where the error occurred in case some text was omitted in all the furor. However, it looks like it was just a minor error, and I have now corrected the two problems you mentioned. For the record, the clumsy text about Oundle School was added in this edit which used this ref; the ref includes "When the family returned to England, he went to a C of E school, was confirmed, and embraced Christianity until his mid-teens" which implies that Oundle was a Church of England school (roughly reasonable). Johnuniq (talk) 07:45, 24 November 2010 (UTC)
Nice. And fast. (talk) 11:32, 24 November 2010 (UTC)

Death of father

His father died recently and perhaps someone might like to update the article (changing tenses as well as a direct mention). I've added a brief mention of his fathers' work on converting the inherited estate into a farm as well as his death. I realised that the change in tense from "both his parents are interested" to past tense is debatable.Autarch (talk) 06:40, 12 December 2010 (UTC)

Thanks to both of you for resolving the race condition when a similar edit was done about the same time. It was handled well. Any advice for me on how to avoid overlapping updates in the future? Make this less likely? --Javaweb (talk) 21:03, 12 December 2010 (UTC)Javaweb
You can't really avoid problems like that, although preparing your text in a text editor before starting the browser edit can help. You could also look at the history tab just before saving your edit; history will show if a recent edit has occurred. I would normally put this kind of suggestion on a user talk page, but I have edited this section to insert a colon (:) to indent the above comment (it was joined on to the previous comment), so I thought I'd post here. Johnuniq (talk) 01:16, 13 December 2010 (UTC)
Having a separate browser tab with the history and refreshing it right before deciding to saving is easy enough. Thanks.

This will get rid of most of the problem.--Javaweb (talk) 03:21, 13 December 2010 (UTC)Javaweb

Meme culture/behavior

This edit changed the description of meme from "cultural equivalent of a gene" to "behavioral equivalent of a gene". The same edit has been made at Meme. It's possibly not worth worrying about, particularly since there is no precise definition of "meme", but a scan of the 30th anniversay edition of The Selfish Gene shows (in a book review at the back) that W. D. Hamilton says He floats the term "meme" ... for the cultural equivalent of "gene", and in the meme chapter, Dawkins talks a lot about culture and very little that I can see about behavior. For example, Dawkins wrote "Cultural transmission is analogous to genetic transmission in that, although basically conservative, it can give rise to a form of evolution." Opinions? Johnuniq (talk) 02:36, 15 December 2010 (UTC)


In the obituary in the Independent written by Richard Dawkins, nothing is said about any action Clinton John Dawkins saw in the Second World War. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:43, 16 December 2010 (UTC)

I don't think his father's being drafted in WW2 is important. Why mention his father's war service at all? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Javaweb (talkcontribs) 16:59, 16 December 2010 (UTC)
There were many ad hominem attacks on the page to say that Dawkins Snr was a draft-dodger. Editors cited his war service to counter this. The perpetrators may have gone away now. --Old Moonraker (talk) 17:16, 16 December 2010 (UTC)
Is there still a need for the mention of his Father's service? Any arguments to keep/remove it. It only belongs in a book-length biography and not in a wiki article so I say remove text. --Javaweb (talk) 18:46, 16 December 2010 (UTC)Javaweb — Preceding unsigned comment added by Javaweb (talkcontribs) 18:40, 16 December 2010 (UTC)
What his father did in the war is relevant to Dawkins' life, especially in regard to where he spent his early childhood in the 1940s. That is why it should be included in this bio. Jim Michael (talk) 19:24, 17 December 2010 (UTC)

Should the Criticism section be deleted ?

The critism-section should IMO be deleted (or at least expanded drastically). It mentions unscientific creationist-propaganda (Ben Stein's Expelled-movie) and does not any information about what exactly about Dawkins is being criticized. Ironically, most of the content mentioned is about criticism of "The God Delusion" and not Mr. Dawkins himself. Dawkins's website once featured a section dealing with books refuting The God Delusion, I don't know if it's still available as his website got redesigned. Nobody reads those books mentioned in the criticism section. I checked their rankings on

Darwin's Angel released: February 2008 rank: #1,455,278

Dawkins' GOD released: 7 December 2004 rank: #1,455,278

Dawkins' Delusion released: 16 Feb 2007 rank:#92,481

Expelled - No Intelligence Allowed holds a rottentomatoes-rating of 10%. It's simply intelligent-design-nonsense.

My point is: You can always write a book about another book / person / whatever you disagree with or do not like, but this doesn't render it a good book and therefore one worth mentioning in a criticism-section. Nuhr (talk) 20:51, 18 December 2010 (UTC)

I think the criticism section ought to stay. It isn't anything more than a list of books that are critical of his views at the moment anyway. All the books listed have their own article (so presumably pass notability?). Whether they are widely read or not is not relevant to their place in the article. Neither are the strength of the arguments they contain. That several books have been written specifically criticising Dawkins could be viewed as an indicator of his importance as a public commentator (why bother writing 50,000 odd words to rebutt the views of a man without influence?). Ka Faraq Gatri (talk) 12:26, 1 January 2011 (UTC)
I put that section in, in the form it remains, following this CfD discussion. I believe that the section belongs, because the subject and his work has been subjected to notable criticism. A point here is that the criticising books have their own articles. As such, they should be linked, either directly, or via no more than one step. Preferably, the section would be prosified, and in doing so, some comment could be made about the criticism, as per User:Nuhr. It would have to be referenced. Is there an independent source that comments on this criticism? --SmokeyJoe (talk) 13:03, 1 January 2011 (UTC)
It would be ridiculous to delete "criticism of Dawkins" - he is one of the most criticised writers on the planet. In addition to critics who are religious believers (like my mentor John Polkinghorne) there are atheists who very strong scientific and philosophical critics of Dawkins like Denis Noble, Terry Eagleton, Mary Midgley, Michael Ruse and Julian Baggini. And Dawkins' fundamental ideas about the Selfish Gene have been shown scientifically to be wrong ( see here for the detailed refs). NBeale (talk) 16:34, 1 January 2011 (UTC)
The blog article proves nothing. It offers nothing but appeals to authorities that few have heard of and their conclusions, without supporting arguments. The factoids chosen are not the most useful. For example, the blog refers to Mary Midgley as #1 on some Amazon sublist in the UK. More informative is she is #552,544 on and the book came out in September. Her field is moral philosphy, not evolutionary biology. Philosophy is a venerable field, as this scene in an ancient Roman unemployment insurance office "proves" but it cannot prove much in science. --Javaweb (talk) 19:19, 1 January 2011 (UTC)Javaweb
No objection to including a section describing the criticism that has been levelled at Dawkins, as long as it is written well, in a balanced way, respecting WP:BLP, and not merely used as a hook on which to hang the sort of nonsense that one finds here. SNALWIBMA ( talk - contribs ) 20:38, 1 January 2011 (UTC)
As a matter of interest, what do you think is "nonsense?": the Nature article, the Science article, or the article in the Journal of Physiology? NBeale (talk) 06:32, 2 January 2011 (UTC)
The articles are all perfectly fine. What is nonsense is the frame into which they are put, and the spin that is put on them. That is what we have to avoid here. SNALWIBMA ( talk - contribs ) 14:35, 2 January 2011 (UTC)
Spin is an understatement, its total bollocks. It needs a rewrite. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Pdog6666 (talkcontribs) 25 June 2011
Yes, my concern IS the nonsense above. The claims of people like Polkinghorne are irrelevant, because their god tells them what to believe. (Yes, I know he WAS a scientist.) Their beliefs are proudly not based on rational thought. To say that a non-rational thinker disagrees with a rational thinker wouldn't add much to the article. Genuine scientific disagreement would be valid, but it needs to be mainstream, and published in reputable sources. HiLo48 (talk) 23:14, 1 January 2011 (UTC)

<:You certainly can't dismiss anything that isn't science as irrelevant: we can prove that not everything true can be scientifically proven. Nor can you dismiss the work of scientists becasuse of their religious beliefs - it is ridiculous to say Polkinghore is "non-rational", have you read him? And unlike Dawkins, Polkinghorne made substantial contributions to science before he turned to writing on religious matters. But EO Wilson, Martin Nowak and Denis Noble are truly world-class scientists, and if a front cover paper in Nature isn't "mainstream, published in reputatble sources" from a scientific PoV then what is? NBeale (talk) 06:28, 2 January 2011 (UTC)

How do you prove that something is unprovable? --Dekker451 (talk) 10:03, 24 February 2011 (UTC)
I've already said that mainstream science published in reputable sources is fine. Polkinghorne is a priest, believing in God. That's a faith position, not a rational one. Yes, I do know of his past, but it's exactly that, his past. HiLo48 (talk) 06:35, 2 January 2011 (UTC)
Agreed. Mainstream science published in reputable sources is fine. --Javaweb (talk) 14:18, 2 January 2011 (UTC)Javaweb
OK I've added the papers, and a couple of books (including one I have co-authored but I'm not the main author and it is one of the better-selling ones, please amend if you think its COI-inappropriate) but I don't think "Expelled" belongs here, it's not a book or a paper. NBeale (talk) 18:19, 2 January 2011 (UTC)
The "Refereed scientific papers critical of Dawkins' views by notable scientists include" stuff is nonsense and needs to go. It is the nature of science that someone writes paper A, and later paper B disagrees with paper A. We do not list all the papers with criticism of the views of some scientist at their bio (cherrypicking and WP:SYNTH). If a secondary source were to describe a couple of such criticism papers, we might mention that; otherwise it is coatracking. As a matter of fact, the whole section is a coatrack, although I would not oppose a simple list of books with an article. Documents with a red link or no link clearly need to be removed. Johnuniq (talk) 00:34, 3 January 2011 (UTC)
And to add a book by Polkinghorne (and yourself) is not showing good faith. I have expressed very clear concerns about him which you have not addressed. He is now a man of God, not a scientist. Clearly his beliefs are driven by more than just the science. I cannot comment on your position, but I would advise against adding your own work. If someone else did it it may be better. HiLo48 (talk) 03:53, 3 January 2011 (UTC)
Why can't he be both a "man of God" and a scientist? --Dekker451 (talk) 10:03, 24 February 2011 (UTC)

<:Dawkins himself lists John Polkinghorne as one of the "good scientists who are sincerely religious" in The God Delusion. If Dawkins agrees that Polkinghorne is a good scientist, I don't see why we should take the view that he is not. NBeale (talk) 06:35, 3 January 2011 (UTC)

I'm sure Polkinhorne can still be an excellent scientist in areas where he doesn't have to put his faith first. But surely the simple fact that he does put his faith first makes it no surprise that there will be areas where he is obliged to disagree with Dawkins. It really makes his disagreements with Dawkins non-notable to the extent that they relate to this article. HiLo48 (talk) 07:05, 3 January 2011 (UTC)
Sorry this seems to be a confusion. It may not be surprising that Polkinghone and Dawkins disagree, but that doesn't make it non-notable. If the only notable disagreements were those that were surprising then most of history (intellectual and other) would be "non-notable". NBeale (talk) 09:23, 3 January 2011 (UTC)
It is simply not notable that a man of God disagrees with Dawkins on issues relating to religion. It might be important to you and Polkinghorne, but it says nothing about Dawkins. HiLo48 (talk) 11:25, 3 January 2011 (UTC)
I wonder if you understand what notable means? If so can you show how anything in WP:N supports your conclusion? NBeale (talk) 11:53, 3 January 2011 (UTC)

<We should def have the NTW and Noble papers, scientifically they are the most substantial cricisms to date. Removing Polkinghorne is clearly wrong in my view (even Dawkins thinks he is a "good scientist" who is sincerely religious) but as co-author someone without at WP:COI should re-add. NBeale (talk) 14:14, 3 January 2011 (UTC)

The long list of critical books makes as much sense as a long list of supporting books. There is a place for that in a bibliographic work, not wikipedia. Give a short list of the criticisms: irreducible complexity, there are things science currently cannot explain, etc. We also need to clean up The_God_Delusion#Reviews_and_responses and The_God_Delusion#Responding_books. --Javaweb (talk) 22:57, 3 January 2011 (UTC)Javaweb

I was coming to this talk page specifically to mention this. At the moment, it just seems to be an unsourced and somewhat arbitrary lists of works- there are plenty of major works not mentioned, and some Genuine criticism (not just a list of publications) belongs in the body of the article, not in a separate section. Lists of works that happen to be critical of the subject do not really belong here. J Milburn (talk) 18:30, 5 February 2011 (UTC)

I Agree with [User:J Milburn|J Milburn]]. There are two major classes of critics: 1. Folks like Francis Collins, the biologist who headed the Human Genome project and current NIH head. They believe in evolution and religion. He is already mentioned in the article. 2. Creationism/Intelligent Design, also mentioned in the article.

--Javaweb (talk) 22:03, 5 February 2011 (UTC)Javaweb

We certainly don't have a consensus to remove the Criticism section. And it is ridiculous to consider people like Denis Noble in the simplistic categorisation above. Dawkins is a highly controversial figure who has been strongly criticised by people from all sides of the religuous divide. We have "criticism" sections of almost anyone who is notable, and certainly should have one of Dawkins. NBeale (talk) 07:07, 6 February 2011 (UTC)
I find it sad that the emphasis of your posts is on criticising Dawkins, rather than discussing the words he says. But at least you have made it pretty clear that the criticism is religiously rather than rationally based. HiLo48 (talk) 07:20, 6 February 2011 (UTC)
It goes without saying that "Criticism of X" in any WP:BLP where X is a writer or thinker means "Criticism of X's writings or thoughts". Also please understand that (a) ratonal and religious are not remotely opposite. (b) Criticism of Dawkins comes from scientists, philosophers are other writers who may be Christian (eg John Polkinghorne, Alister McGrath) or Atheist (eg Denis Noble, Terry Eagleton, Julian Baggini) or agnostic (eg Mary Midgley, Anthony Kenny, Madeline Bunting). Frankly it is almost impossible to find a serious thinker who fully agrees with Dawkins. Perhaps Dennett, even Pinker has his reservations: and then we descend to the likes of Hitchins, Meyers and Harris. NBeale (talk) 17:36, 6 February 2011 (UTC)
NBeale, Wikipedia is not to be used as a WP:SOAP. If you have a list of books with a philosophy that you want to promote there are a billion urls out there to try. Your venom towards Dawkins for not respecting your religious beliefs is understandable but is making it impossible for you to contribute in an objective way. Your failed attempt to add an article Enemy of humanity], lumping Dawkins and Hitler together and subsequent editorial comments here on the Talk page make that clear.

--Javaweb (talk) 20:10, 6 February 2011 (UTC)Javaweb

Criticism section quite well established

Hi Javaweb. The Criticism section is quite well established (was added in Oct by Smokeyjoe) and it takes more than a couple of editors to remove it. My problem with Dawkins is not that he "doesn't respect my beliefs" but that his arguments are so bad. They are roundly criticised from pretty well every PoV. I know that, sadly, some people seem to treat him as a Prophet and his work as Holy Writ, but this attitude has no place in Wikipedia and we should objectively record both praise and criticism. NBeale (talk) 09:39, 7 February 2011 (UTC)

Being in for under three months hardly makes it well established. These kind of lists are generally undesirable as they encourage "stamp collector" type editors to keep adding ever more trivial examples. WP should be mostly written in prose.--Charles (talk) 10:16, 7 February 2011 (UTC)
I agree that it would be better to rewrite this as prose (I think it was in much earlier versions) but I certainly don't have time! But looking for "Criticism of" in Wikipedia gets over 50k hits, and if we have [Criticism section] for John Paul II as well as a whole article on that subject, I don't see why Dawkins should be exempt. NBeale (talk) 11:23, 7 February 2011 (UTC)
I agree with Charles and Javaweb. The criticism points are already part of the article, there is really no need of separate criticism section with list of not-so-notable points. -Abhishikt 17:34, 7 February 2011 (UTC)

For readers new to this discussion, it started 12,662 characters ago in the section header above this one: Should the Criticism section be deleted. This is a continuation of that discussion. Please look at the recent discussion above for context.

In WP:Criticism_sections#Quotes, there is this quote:

In many cases they [criticism sections] are necessary, and in

many cases they are not necessary.

And I agree with the view expressed by others that often, they are a symptom of bad writing. That is, it isn't that we should not include the criticisms, but that the information should be properly incorporated throughout the article rather than having a troll magnet section of random criticisms.

Browsing just the first half of the article again, I see discussion throughout on differing points of view of nonoverlapping magisteria, reductionism, gene-selection, altruism, claims he is ignorant of Christian theology...

--Javaweb (talk) 21:51, 7 February 2011 (UTC)Javaweb

I have just re-read the whole article and agree that criticisms are well coverd in the text. Just because many other articles have such sections is no reason to make another one. Rather the others should in most cases be removed.--Charles (talk) 22:44, 7 February 2011 (UTC)
The previous criticism section had no substance either just a list of books which don't really add anything to the article except as an opportunity to advertise other opinions. IRWolfie- (talk) 00:00, 8 February 2011 (UTC)
The criticism section should emerge in a different form (a proper summary, not a list). This way it would be easy to read and have both secular and religous critics as well as critics of his scientific research. After reading this page its pretty clear that there are a alot of people who don't want to see Dawkin's critics at all. This is intellectualy dishonest of them. Clockintime (talk) 03:05, 30 May 2011 (UTC)
You are new, or at least your account is. Please do not attack other editors - see WP:AGF. This has been discussed before and there is a consensus not to have a separate section. Dougweller (talk) 13:40, 30 May 2011 (UTC)


Apparently Dawkins sued/is suing his former employee and protege Josh Timonen. There seem to be lots of articles eg here, and even in The Independent. We should probably add something. NBeale (talk) 06:43, 3 January 2011 (UTC)

WP:NOTNEWS. SNALWIBMA ( talk - contribs ) 09:11, 3 January 2011 (UTC)
Why is this not news? It's in at least one MSM newspaper and lots of blogosphere, incl PZ Myers? NBeale (talk) 09:30, 3 January 2011 (UTC)
Sure this is news, but Wikipedia is not a newspaper. DVdm (talk) 09:50, 3 January 2011 (UTC)
This is about the Foundation rather than Dawkins himself and does not seem very relevant to his biography. It would be recentism anyway.--Charles (talk) 10:39, 3 January 2011 (UTC)
Well we have Dawkins on the Pope's visit which was pretty much equally recent, and where Dawkins was only one of the 50+ people involved. Also Timonen is not just some random employee - he is the (sole) dedicatee of Dawkins' latest book. If the Pope had fired his Secretary of State and was suing him for embezzlement I bet you'd all be insiting this was WP:N so why should equivalent news about Dawkins be supressed? NBeale (talk) 12:00, 3 January 2011 (UTC)
FWIW I think the mention of the papal visit and RD's response is also trivial and should probably be deleted. Wikipedia is not a collection of recent news items, nor is it a collection of titbits designed to enable NBeale to twist the knife in his pet hate-figure. Use your own blog for that! SNALWIBMA ( talk - contribs ) 12:09, 3 January 2011 (UTC)
I don't hate Dawkins at all - I just think he is deeply misguided and vastly over-rated (a view which as far as I can see is shared by most working scientists whether or not they are atheists). He has also become something of a cult figure which is always a bad thing. People need to get a balanced picture and this article is at least 80% adulation. NBeale (talk) 12:21, 3 January 2011 (UTC)
It might just be me, but how is (allegedly) being ripped off by an employee a key part of someone's biography? When people are looking for information about Dawkins, or anyone else for that matter, I don't imagine that they're interested in legal actions he may be involved in. Or is there a category for "victims of white collar crime" I'm unaware of? --PLUMBAGO 12:16, 3 January 2011 (UTC)
I don't think that anyone is surpressing anything here. There just seems to be a consensus about some things being sufficiently notable (like the pope thing), and other things being insufficiently so (like the Timonen thing). DVdm (talk) 12:23, 3 January 2011 (UTC)

<No I think Snalwibma and I both think that the lawsuit thing and the Pope thing are equally notable/non-notable. Why don't we delete the Pope Visit thing and then if people object we can consider both on the same basis? NBeale (talk) 12:26, 3 January 2011 (UTC)

A minor point, perhaps, but I did not say "equally"! The lawsuit is clearly not suitable material. The response to the papal visit is perhaps not worth including. SNALWIBMA ( talk - contribs ) 13:05, 3 January 2011 (UTC)
I think that what is currently present in the article about the visit is highly notable, if not essential. DVdm (talk) 13:12, 3 January 2011 (UTC)
Dawkins threatens legal action against X - it has no prospect of success and no legal action is ever taken. Dawkins actually launches a legal action against Y, claiming that large sums intended for his foundation have been misappropriated. It is not obvious why the first is notable and the second not. Surely the fact that his supporters WP:LIKE the action against X and don't like the one against Y being known more widely (even I was unaware of it) can't be the reason? And if it is, it is not a good enough reason for WikiPedia NBeale (talk) 13:47, 3 January 2011 (UTC)
Perhaps it does not seem obvious to you why the first is notable and the second not, but it looks like there is a consensus that it is. No big deal. DVdm (talk) 13:55, 3 January 2011 (UTC)
The lawsuit is brought by the Richard Dawkins Foundation which is run by five trustees including Dawkins. It is not therefore his sole doing or important to his biography.--Charles (talk) 14:23, 3 January 2011 (UTC)

<This lawsuit seems to be rumbling along under the radar.
(deleted promoted website url) --Javaweb (talk) 20:14, 31 May 2011 (UTC)Javaweb
contains updated information. I agree that it's not yet been picked up again by the media, but we should probably keep an eye open. NBeale (talk) 05:22, 31 May 2011 (UTC)

Oh yes, let's be alert to the possibility that we might be able to add some more negative comments some day soon and dress them up as based on a reliable source! Sorry, no. We absolutely should NOT "keep an eye open". We should simply follow standard Wikipedia principles, and report what satisfies the various criteria such as WP:notability, WP:reliable sources, WP:BLP. Anyone who "keeps an eye open" for something bad to add reveals his/her own bias and POV-pushing tendencies. This is an encyclopedia, not an extension of your anti-Dawkins blog. Move on. SNALWIBMA ( talk - contribs ) 14:11, 31 May 2011 (UTC)
Please don't add links to sites asking for donations like that one. Dougweller (talk) 15:34, 31 May 2011 (UTC)
Please don't tinker with other people's posts on a talk page unless there is a clear policy. "asks for donations" - should we not link to that as well? NBeale (talk) 19:20, 31 May 2011 (UTC)
Wikipedia:LINKSTOAVOID#Links_normally_to_be_avoided says in its first sentence,

Except for a link to an official page of the article's subject]], one should generally avoid: ... (emphasis in the original). --Javaweb (talk) 20:17, 31 May 2011 (UTC)Javaweb
<Curiously I can find nothing in this guideline about soliciting donations. It also applies to links in articles, not on talk pages. NBeale (talk) 09:07, 5 June 2011 (UTC)

Nowak Tarnita and Wilson

Should we include Nowak Tarnita and Wilson [NTW]. The lead of the section "a number of writers have taken issue with the views expressed by Richard Dawkins" Although NTW doesn't refer to Dawkins becasuse he made no orginal contributons to the Selfish Gene/Inclusive Fitness ideas, it delivers a scientific coup de grace to them ("Hamilton's rule almost never holds") and certainly counts as taking issue with the views expressed by R.D. NBeale (talk) 22:29, 3 January 2011 (UTC)

In a word, no. If the paper does not specifically mention Dawkins then it does not belong in an article about Dawkins. Pure WP:OR and/or WP:SYNTH. It might belong at Gene-centered view of evolution, however. SNALWIBMA ( talk - contribs ) 22:36, 3 January 2011 (UTC)
Here's an idea NBeale: why don't you write this up over at Hamilton's rule itself since NTW (WP:RECENT?) seems unmentioned there? Oh, I forgot, you never miss an opportunity, however misplaced, to bash Dawkins. --PLUMBAGO 09:34, 4 January 2011 (UTC)
P.S. Actually, there is a short (and somewhat arcane) portion about this in said article, but given the significance ascribed to NTW above, a longer discussion would seem to be in order. --PLUMBAGO 09:39, 4 January 2011 (UTC)
Well I've had a bit of a go but I'm rather to busy to do much to that article. NBeale (talk) 07:18, 5 January 2011 (UTC)
Plumbago replied to NBeale > "I forgot, you never miss an opportunity, however misplaced, to bash Dawkins."
For example, NBeale created the article Enemy_of_humanity, lumping Dawkins and Hitler together.--Javaweb (talk) 16:26, 5 January 2011 (UTC)Javaweb

Two things I noticed

Regarding this:

In January 2006, Dawkins presented a two-part television documentary The Root of All Evil?, addressing what he sees as the malignant influence of religion on society. The title itself is one with which Dawkins has repeatedly expressed his dissatisfaction.[94]

[94] # ^ "The Jeremy Vine Show". BBC Radio 2. 5 January 2006.

As far as I can see, this is ONE citation providing ONE example. So where's the proof that he "repeatedly expressed his dissatisfaction"?

Also, there's a mistake in footnote 95:

[95] Jacobson, Howard (11 November 2001). "Nothing like an unimaginative scientist to get non-believers running back to God". London: The Independent. Retrieved 2007-03-27.

The date for the article should be 21 January 2006.

RavenclawStudent2011 (talk) 16:51, 29 January 2011 (UTC)

He originally said it here:

Dawkins, R (2006). The God Delusion. Houghton Mifflin Co. ISBN 9780618680009. From the start I didn't like the title and fought it hard. Religion is not the root of all evil, for no one thing is the root of all anything."  --Javaweb (talk) 17:12, 29 January 2011 (UTC)Javaweb

Section was added to The God Delusion

Editors of this article will probably be interested in this new section added to The God Delusion called "Debate surrounding The God Delusion". I have not reviewed this section myself. --Javaweb (talk) 20:39, 8 February 2011 (UTC) Javaweb

doctor who

I have just noticed that his cameo apperance on "doctor who" is still missing so if someone could edit that it would be nice. (Doctor who Season 4 Episode 12) (talk) 18:50, 11 March 2011 (UTC)

  • It could probably be worked in if you provided a reliable source. --Ashershow1talkcontribs 18:57, 11 March 2011 (UTC)
Here are two.[1][2] A Quest For Knowledge (talk) 19:12, 11 March 2011 (UTC)

Misconception about "Prof Dawkins"

In our article on John_Polkinghorne#Awards we explain that he isn't "Sir John Polkinghorne" (although he is often incorrectly referred to as such). Similarly Richard Dawkins is often referred to a Prof Richard Dawkins although he isn't. We should probably do something to correct this widespread misconception. NBeale (talk) 07:47, 26 April 2011 (UTC)

The lead section explains that he was an Oxford professor. Other than that he is referred to simply as Dawkins. So what is the problem?--Charles (talk) 07:56, 26 April 2011 (UTC)
The problem is that he is still commonly referred to as Prof/Professor Richard Dawkins (>40k GHits since 2009) and part of the point of Wikipedia articles is to dispel Popular misconceptions.NBeale (talk) 09:39, 26 April 2011 (UTC)
What is the problem? It is quite common for people to use the term "Professor" as a courtesy title for a Professor who has retired. It is rather like army officers at the rank of Major or above continuing to use the title. --Bduke (Discussion) 10:33, 26 April 2011 (UTC)
So, do you want the article to say that he is now "emeritus", as he is retired? That would seem to be uncontroversial enough. Edhubbard (talk) 10:27, 26 April 2011 (UTC)
Edit: In fact, I think that's already pretty well covered by the first sentence "He is an emeritus fellow of New College, Oxford, and was the University of Oxford's Professor for Public Understanding of Science from 1995 until 2008." All of this clearly indicates that he is retired... so, are you saying he never was a professor? What concrete steps would you like to see taken? Edhubbard (talk) 10:32, 26 April 2011 (UTC)
Professor Emeritus is a title bestowed by the University, it doesn't just mean you are a retired former professor. John Polkinghorne for example is now Dr Polkinghorne even though he was Prof Polkinghorne. Similarly Richard Dawkins is now Dr Dawkins. This has no bearing on the correctness or otherwise of either person's views of course: it is simply a matter of fact that should be got right. However Dawkins Defenders like HiLo48 below seem to think that anything that apparently diminishes the status of Dawkins (like describing his profession, correctly, as a writer - he hasn't made any contribution to scientific research since 1980) is an attempt to "discredit" him. Ah well. NBeale (talk) 07:14, 30 April 2011 (UTC)
Shakespeare hasn't made any contribution to literature since 1616, does that mean he's not a writer? Plus Dawkins was lecturing/tutoring Biology at Oxford until a couple of years ago which sounds a lot like what a scientist might do. Do you have a source for the fact he's no longer a Professor? ―JuPitEer (talk) 07:28, 30 April 2011 (UTC)

Let's be blunt here. The real problem is that NBeale, a co-worker of John Polkinghorne's, is persistently using this place as a forum to try to discredit Richard Dawkins in any way possible. If anyone thinks I am not showing good faith here, please have a look further up this page, starting with the Occupation section. NBeale is working from a position of strong conflict with Dawkins at a religious level, and he is the one not showing good faith. Even the section I mention tells us that he is not new at this game, and that further examples of his form will be found in the archives. HiLo48 (talk) 11:47, 26 April 2011 (UTC) Jeffrey Skilling was the Enron CEO. Good try.


In this Richard Dawkins edit, the common English word "science" was wikilinked. Please see WP:OVERLINK.which begins:

What generally should not be linked

An article is said to be overlinked if it links to words that can be understood by most readers of the English Wikipedia. Overlinking should be avoided, because it makes it difficult for the reader to identify and follow links that are likely to be of value.

Belatedly signed... --Javaweb (talk) 18:28, 11 May 2011 (UTC)Javaweb

I agree that overlinking should not be done with plain English words. But this is not overlinking. Science is not some plain word, just as religion or atheism are not plain words. Science is a major a concept and an enterprise. I recommend that you read the science article to get a better idea of this. mezzaninelounge (talk) 16:17, 11 May 2011 (UTC)
What part of the science page are most readers are missing by not having the link that is not already covered in the article? --Javaweb (talk) 16:47, 11 May 2011 (UTC)Javaweb
Javaweb, Your statement is incoherent. I am not sure I get what you are saying. mezzaninelounge (talk) 18:36, 11 May 2011 (UTC)

Guys, the edit summary is not for discussions! I agree that there is no need to wikilink science, it's such a known topic (not like the others). It's just too much links and annoying for the reader. AdvertAdam talk 17:10, 11 May 2011 (UTC)

According to WP:OVERLINK, there are five listed criteria for overlinking. Science does not fit any of those criteria. It is not a "plain word," a geographical location, a measurement or a date, a non-first link, or a redirect. Science is central to the article. Richard Dawkins became an atheist and promoted atheism as a result of science. Moreover, he has written books about science and was Professor for Public Understanding of Science. Many of the ideas that he promoted are based on science. He is opposed to creationism precisely because he does not accept it to be a science and should therefore be excluded from science education. This is all there in the article. If rationalism and atheism are wikilinked, then there is absolutely no reason why science should not be. People who say that science is just a plain word or is not relevant to this article on Richard Dawkins, who IS A scientist, are clearly ignorant of science OR have an agenda to delink Dawkins from science, or perhaps both.; (struck out misunderstood sarcasm mezzaninelounge (talk) 20:10, 14 May 2011 (UTC)) mezzaninelounge (talk) 17:49, 11 May 2011 (UTC).
Daniel, your analysis of what the article contains is spot on. "This is all there in the article" so wikilinking "science" adds clutter and nothing else. My question above was "What part of the science page are most readers are missing by not having the link that is not already covered in the article?". I appreciate your interest in this article. --Javaweb (talk) 18:43, 11 May 2011 (UTC)Javaweb
Javaweb, First of all, I just want to say thank you for reading my discussion text and being willing to listen. Although this article talks about science, it does so in passing as the main focus is of course, Richard Dawkins. If I was a non-scientist and I read this article for the first time, I might come to the conclusion that science is central to this man's life. Therefore, I would like to read up more about science, which can be found in the science article. In that article, it not only defines science, but also discusses its rich history, how it branched off from philosophy, the process of science (the scientific method), science in policy, and etc. Plus, the word that is being wikilink from a small infobox. It doesn't clutter anything. If anything, it makes the list of things that Richard Dawkins promote appear consistent, which actually looks kinda nice. mezzaninelounge (talk) 18:55, 11 May 2011 (UTC)
By the way, when I said "it's all in there," I was responding to Mark's edit summary that "there is nothing special about the word "science" as it appears in this article at that point," which is not true for the reasons I just gave. mezzaninelounge (talk) 19:38, 11 May 2011 (UTC)

[See the above note about an unsigned edit; plus I've fixed the formatting a bit]

I've been asked why I have not discussed this here on the talk page. For the record: I simply have nothing to add to the above objections to the overlinking. The idea that "Science" must be Wikilinked because it is somehow "special" is just silly. Wikilinks exist to allow the reader to explore other topics which relate to an article, and which may be at least somewhat unfamiliar to her. If it's appropriate to link "Science," then it's also appropriate to link every other word in the article as well. Mark Shaw (talk) 18:19, 11 May 2011 (UTC)

Mark, it's clear that you're ignorant of science and of Wikipedia articles on science in general. Look at natural science, chemistry, physics, biology, social science, psychology, and other Wikipedia articles. All of these articles have a link to the science article. Should we remove those links as well because you think "science" is not special? That is clearly a fringe view (Wikipedia:Fringe). And just how is "atheism" and "rationalism" special and science is not? I can't believe I have to explain this in the 21st century. You have no argument and you know it. mezzaninelounge (talk) 18:30, 11 May 2011 (UTC)
Danielkueh (or mezzaninelounge), I invite you to read WP:CIVIL and temper your comments accordingly. Thanks. Mark Shaw (talk) 18:36, 11 May 2011 (UTC)
Mark, Why don't you take your own advice and read it to yourself, thank you very much. In the meantime, stick to the issues. mezzaninelounge (talk) 18:40, 11 May 2011 (UTC)

I ain't commenting much on the wikilinks, as much details were already given. Just a little comment to Mezzaninelounge/Daniael: no-one is questioning science's importance, and I'm also a scientist. Adding science is NOT because he's a scientist, but because he attributed to science. "natural science, chemistry, physics, biology, social science, psychology" wikilink science because they're talking about it and relating to it. Dawkins' life is none of our business here. The "known for" is a list of his activities or popularity, so rationalism and atheism is wikilinked because alot of people don't know what it really is, but science shouldn't because everyone know what it is (I'm not saying that it's not important). Too much links in such a small place is extremely annoying for readers, and I'm (personally) already annoyed by how it looks right now. AdvertAdam talk 19:58, 11 May 2011 (UTC)

This dispute is a contender for the Lamest edit wars gallery. Can't we decide the matter by flipping a coin? — Hyperdeath(Talk) 20:22, 11 May 2011 (UTC)

I agree, silly :p. It's nice to put a smile on our face, as the war is actually about the importance of science, instead of the wikilink. AdvertAdam talk 23:25, 11 May 2011 (UTC)
AdvertAdam. I don't understand this statement of yours, "Adding science is NOT because he's a scientist, but because he attributed to science." :Rirchard Dawkins IS a scientist and he has contributed and promoted science. Besides, science is already mentioned in this article. It's even part of a subheading. We're just talking about adding a wikilink. Dawkin's personal life (his interactions with his family and nap time) may be none of our business but he is a public intellectual and his present and historical life is all there in this Wikipedia article.
You are right, he is known for his list of activities, which includes writing about science (popular and peer-reviewed), promoting science, talking about science, and on and on about science. He does this because he is a scientist. Atheism is a byproduct of that.
As for familiarity, I think more people are familiar with rationalism and atheism, then they are with science. These two ideas/philosophies are more fundamental than science.
If you are annoyed by the aesthetics of the article, well, there's nothing I can do about that. Plus, it is not an issue or policy for discussion. The main issue here is "overlinking." So far, I have laid down all the reasons and rationale as to why science is not a plain English word and should therefore be wikified. In a small infobox. That is it. And I am just preserving that link (WP:Preserve). So far, no one has provided any cogent counterarguments. If anything, I keep getting "moving targets." mezzaninelounge (talk) 20:25, 11 May 2011 (UTC)
Hyperdeath, Agreed. I don't even know why I'm devoting much time to this. It is not so much the wikilink that bothers me but the ignorance of science and its centrality to Richard Dawkins and his work that does. mezzaninelounge (talk) 20:25, 11 May 2011 (UTC)
But as you and I both pointed out, this is covered in the article so it is not a problem. --Javaweb (talk) 16:06, 12 May 2011 (UTC)Javaweb
Javaweb, what are you talking about? Did you not read my response above? Do you honestly think all of science, its definition, history, method, philosophy, and use are all covered in this article on Richard Dawkins? And what has this got to do with overlinking? In fact, has anyone here really read this article or read most of Richard Dawkins's books and scholarly papers? mezzaninelounge (talk) 17:06, 12 May 2011 (UTC)
I don't care about the wikilink. I joined the conversation to clear two points, the silly edit-war and the reason science WAS added to the "known for". Daniel said " not relevant to this article on Richard Dawkins, who IS A scientist..." as if that's why science was added. So, I said "science" was not added because he's a scientist. That's not a valid reason. It was added because he contributed to science. I don't mind what you guys do about the wikilink; but if there was an agenda against Dawkins, there's other ways to remove science from that infobox, not just unlink it :). Peace AdvertAdam talk 23:25, 11 May 2011 (UTC)
AdvertAdam, thanks for the clarification. :)
Anybody else? Are there still overlinking objections to the wikilink? mezzaninelounge (talk) 15:04, 12 May 2011 (UTC)
Yes. There's you, who wants it, and AdvertAdam, who says he doesn't care. That's not consensus. Just leave it alone; it's a very general topic and everybody knows what it is. If you really want something to link, I might suggest some aspect of the scientific method or the like which pertains directly to Dawkins' rationalism. (By the way, and as an aside to AdvertAdam: I see no evidence that anyone wishes to leave the word unlinked for the sake of any "agenda against Dawkins.") Mark Shaw (talk) 15:25, 12 May 2011 (UTC)
Anyone can check and see my edits have no agenda against Mr. Dawkins: view the history of this Talk page and Richard Dawkins and search for "Javaweb". If anyone has concluded, looking at these edits, my edits have been unfair, please show us rather than assume. My concern is the forest of wikilinks making it harder to read articles and find the important links. I would ask folks look at the WP:OVERLINK guidelines. Hyperdeath, it is not important if a particular word is wikilinked but the proliferation of such links has degraded articles throughout Wikipedia. I would ask that editors use wikilinks with the guidelines in mind.

--Javaweb (talk) 16:06, 12 May 2011 (UTC)Javaweb

Mark Shaw, Well, there is me and the anonymous IP editor who created it to begin with. I'm afraid not everyone knows what science is. If they did, the U.S. government would not be devoting huge amounts of money (e.g., 10.2 billion in 2009) to "general science" education [3], and we wouldn't have "science majors/minors" at the college level. People know rationalism. Even Dawkins critics such as the Christian Apologist, William Craig, uses rationalism (supposedly) to argue his points [4]. So no, I again reject your argument that science is a "general topic that everyone knows". That's original research as you have no references to support that claim. If that was true, then there wouldn't be a need to form the Science Network, in which Dawkins and other scientists participated in to promote science [5]. If science was so widely known, then why all this work and money trying to educate the public on science? Why is there still a huge gulf between the public and scientists on straightforward scientific topics such as evolution, global warming, etc [6]? And besides, the science article does contain the "scientific method," but before people can read that, they need to know what science is and isn't.
So here is the skinny. I have laid down the reasons why wikifying a small-lettered word in an infobox is not overlinking. I have read the WP:overlink guidelines, and it does not fit it (see my discussion above). I have cited sources (WP:REF) to make the case of preserving it (WP:preserve) and not adding it. So far, no one, I repeat, no one has provided any claims backed by any reputable source to support their argument. I hate to say this, but WP:verifiability beats WP:Original Research. Plus, some arguments appear to deviate from the overlinking argument and are therefore irrelevant.
As for my previous remark on the "agenda to delink Dawkins from science," it was meant to be sarcastic, because I'm deeply puzzled by the strong and aggressive opposition to doing something that is pure common sense, noncontroversial, consistent with other articles on Wikipedia, intrinsic to this article, and convenient for its readers. Going by your logic, wikilinks to science in all science and other WIkipedia articles should be removed. In fact, that same logic would dictate that there shouldn't be a science article since that would violate the WP:Wikipedia is not a dictionary policy. How strange? The irony of all this, is that it is from editors who for whatever reason have an interest in editing an article on Richard Dawkins. It seems to me that they have little appreciation of science and its importance to Richard Dawkins and his scientific cause/work. mezzaninelounge (talk) 16:31, 12 May 2011 (UTC)
Javaweb, you have deviated from the discussion and present me with a moving target with your statement on "forest of wikilinks." That is your personal opinion and is not relevant to this discussion on overlinking. mezzaninelounge (talk) 16:31, 12 May 2011 (UTC)

This discussion is getting extremely ridiculous. The reason I said I don't care, because I already gave my reasons and opinion above. What I can't ignore is policies. Sorry Daniel, but you're taking this too far when you should be assuming good faith: accusing editors of having an agenda, ignoring my warnings of getting out of the discussion, and now accusing others for original research.

Calm down everyone, and this discussion is NOT to present the importance of science. A third-grade student knows what science is, or maybe earlier. Stating "science is a general topic that everyone knows" doesn't mean that everybody is experienced in science like me and you, but everyone knows what science is. Not everyone knows what "rationalism" is. I just figured it out myself in this discussion :)
The important thing about this last edit is to mention that Dawkins did contribute to science (in the infobox), which is there now!
The discussion should be over... as Javaweb provided the related policy. Period. Happy editing everyone AdvertAdam talk 07:20, 13 May 2011 (UTC)
AdvertAdam, I guess you didn't read my comments (or any of them) about being "sarcastic" about the "agenda" comment? Besides, if you don't care, then why should feel like you are a target of these comments? You can just ignore them. And as for policies, I have listed the main policy and a variety of other Wikipedia policies. There's a double standard here. People accuse me of "overlinking" and "edit wars (which they themselves are equally at fault)," but when I cite a wikipedia policy or two, I am accused of breaking a good faith policy? That's ridiculous. Quite frankly, it's pathetic.
In the end, the main argument in this section is whether "wikifying science is considered overlinking." A claim that is patently not true. I have provided reasons why science does not fit the criteria of WP:overlinking and I've provided citations to support my claim. Science is simply not a "plain word" and not everyone "knows it." That is clearly WP:fringe view. I've a plenty of citations, Wikipedia articles, and WP editors to support my position. If anything, most people have a misconception of science, which is all the more why that should be corrected. And that is why people like Dawkins do what they do.
So far, no one has addressed any of my points directly or disprove any of my arguments. They can ignore them if they want. But at the end of the day, no one has presented a rational AND verifiable argument as to why science is a "plain word" that should not be wikified. Wikipedia thrives on verifiability, NOT opinions (WP:REF). The only arguments I've heard so far relate to 1) esthetics and a 2) strict and misinformed interpretation of one Wikipedia policy.
Finally, as far as I'm concerned, if you are unfamiliar with science and scientific philosophy and/or if you haven't read Richard Dawkins works (popular books and scientific papers), then you have no business to be concerned about the content of this article. Period. mezzaninelounge (talk) 12:45, 13 May 2011 (UTC)
P.S. AdvertAdam, You really did not know what "rationalism" is before this discussion? What do you think science is based on? And you must not have read this article then. Oh well, better late than never I guess. :D mezzaninelounge (talk) 12:45, 13 May 2011 (UTC)
Hehe, I meant "rationalism" as a term, lol. I've lived in many cultures, languages and countries during my life, so I study things in many ways. The only reason I interfered is when policies were crossed, and I have the right to do so even if they're not on me. I'm not trying to dispute, but consider it a reminder and advice. PEACE :) ~ AdvertAdam talk 05:16, 18 May 2011 (UTC)

Influenced + Movement

I added to the persondata that he had influenced Daniel Dennett, David Deutsch, Jeffrey Skilling, Charles Simonyi, Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens and that the Movement he was most associated with was New Atheism. This was reverted for being un-sourced, but we don't generally source non-controversial material in persondata. Thoughts? NBeale (talk) 14:04, 26 April 2011 (UTC)

Lumping ENRON CEO Jeffrey Skilling with Richard Dawkins is bizarre. NBeale, Wikipedia is not to be used as a WP:SOAP. Your venom towards Dawkins for not respecting your religious beliefs is understandable but is making it impossible for you to contribute in an objective way. Your failed attempt to add an article Enemy of humanity], lumping Dawkins and Hitler together and subsequent editorial comments here on the Talk page make that clear. --Javaweb (talk) 14:49, 26 April 2011 (UTC)Javaweb

These are just the top notable people I could think of that were influenced by Dawkins. It is v well documented that Skilling was - and that Dawkins was horrified when he heard. But surely the point of "influenced" is not just "influenced - but only the nice ones". My personal opinion of Dawkins is not very relevant (FWIW no Christian I know of is concerned about Dawkins not "respecting" religion, we just wish that he was less idiotically venomous and took the trouble to understand what he was writing about), but contrary to the impression some have you don't have to be a Dawkins Defender to edit Wikipedia. NBeale (talk) 16:04, 26 April 2011 (UTC)
Not sure what you think Dawkins doesn't understand. He was brought up as a Christian etc etc. But arguing over his views isn't really relevant here.
Back to the original point, I don't see that "the top notable people I could think of" is a good enough justification to add them. ―JuPitEer (talk) 16:44, 26 April 2011 (UTC)
What is a Dawkins Defender? Do they have membership badges and a secret handshake? Looking at other instances of the scientist infobox template, the "influenced" category is rarely used. Where it is used, the people listed are those who based noteworthy scientific achievements on the work of the subject. None of the people listed even come close. — Hyperdeath(Talk) 19:41, 26 April 2011 (UTC)

he was friends with Douglas Adams, and met his wife through Douglas writing of the Doctor Who series. should Adams be added to the list? --IIVeaa (talk) 20:45, 25 July 2011 (UTC)
Being friends with is not the same as "influenced by" (unless you have specific evidence to the contrary). Mitch Ames (talk) 12:57, 26 July 2011 (UTC)

Atheism and rationalism

The subheading "Atheism and rationalism" is misleading and should be changed to just "Atheism," "New Atheism," "Advocate of Atheism," or "Promoting Atheism." Dawkins may have been described by others as a "rationalist" or "militant rationalist," but he never uses these terms, at least not in their proper philosophical context. He has promoted militant atheism [7], which is different from militant rationalism. He is a scientist by training, an evolutionary biologist to be more exact. He often appeals to scientific evidence when criticizing or countering religious arguments, creationism in particular [8] (also see Blind Watchmater, The God Delusion, The Greatest Show on Earth). Therefore, I suggest that the section heading be modified to just "Atheism" or "Advocate of Atheism," which is essentially what he advocates [9] and is a much more accurate description of him and his work. mezzaninelounge (talk) 19:48, 13 May 2011 (UTC)

The term militant atheism is used perjoratively against Dawkins also. It is better to use other terms which are not ambiguous. Dawkins is militant in the sense that he is outspoken about the use of reason etc [10], not advocating violence. IRWolfie- (talk) 21:48, 13 May 2011 (UTC)
IRWolfe, Agreed. But bear in mind that Dawkins himself advocated "militant atheism" [11]. But you're right, it might be misunderstood by readers that he is advocating violence when he clearly isn't. Hence, I think a subheading such as "Advocacy of atheism" would be most appropriate. It is straightforward and consistent with his work and what he actually says. mezzaninelounge (talk) 22:26, 13 May 2011 (UTC)
Yes, drop the adjective. Such words are rarely helpful in any encyclopaedia. HiLo48 (talk) 01:08, 14 May 2011 (UTC)
HiLo48, sounds good. On a separate but related issue, rationalism should also be removed from the infobox as well. But we'll still keep the third party descriptions in the text. mezzaninelounge (talk) 18:19, 14 May 2011 (UTC)

Elevator controversy

Regarding this "elevator controversy". It should probably be mentioned in the article, but two blocks of direct quotes looks WP:UNDUE and not enough WP:PROSE to me. Maybe InverseHypercube could develop this addition some more? --Fama Clamosa (talk) 08:49, 10 July 2011 (UTC)

I was not sure where in the article to mention it, and the biography section seemed the most pertinent (surely the "Work" section would not apply?). I agree that it is too long; I will trim it. InverseHypercube 09:02, 10 July 2011 (UTC)
I don't think it belongs in "Biography". Perhaps a new "Controversies" section is required? I'm sure there's probably plenty of other material to include in it - WP:Balanced, of course.) Mitch Ames (talk) 09:22, 10 July 2011 (UTC)
Uhh, articles normally do not feature material on the basis of "much controversy in the blogosphere". No problem waiting for other views, but I see no reason to keep such trivia (if something happens as a consequence, and if a mainstream publication writes an article that focuses on the incident as opposed to merely mentioning it, then the matter might be considered for a biographical article). Johnuniq (talk) 09:38, 10 July 2011 (UTC)
I must agree "controversies in the blogosphere" fails to impress and, having read some related blogs today, I can't agree there is really "much" of it either. So, to what extent does this incident provide us with important information on Dawkins or just tell us about society in general? I've propositioned several persons in my life and all of them didn't appreciate it [and vice versa]. Are there other similar incidents involving Dawkins? --Fama Clamosa (talk) 11:06, 10 July 2011 (UTC)
Careful with the 'other similar incidents involving Dawkins' - that might imply he was one of the principal characters in this internet drahmah, and he wasn't. In fact, he only commented on it (rather crassly, IMO, but that's beside the point). I don't think that any of this blog-froth is worth putting in an encyclopaedia, especially in an article about someone who is (a) much better known for other stuff and (b) only peripherally involved. I'd remove the whole section (oh, actually I did, but it's grown back.) Squiddy | (squirt ink?) 11:13, 10 July 2011 (UTC)
(PS: FWIW, I've just checked and been pleasantly surprised that there's no mention of any of this in the Rebecca Watson article.) Squiddy | (squirt ink?) 11:16, 10 July 2011 (UTC)
(1) She mentioned it in her vlog linked to in the Pharyngula blog and in comments elsewhere. (2) InverseHypercube trimmed the original addition (on my request) deleted by you. (3) The article is describing Dawkins achievements but it also includes a biography section. (4) IMO, this incident might be worth inclusion if it tells us more about Dawkins than it does about us all. As I hopefully made clear above, I think this is not really the case and thus that this should be removed from the article if there isn't more to it. --Fama Clamosa (talk) 12:00, 10 July 2011 (UTC)

Why is this at all notable? I say pull it back out; we shouldn't mention every little argument the subjects of Wikipedia articles have on their blogs. Mark Shaw (talk) 15:32, 10 July 2011 (UTC)

OK, removed from the article. --Fama Clamosa (talk) 16:05, 10 July 2011 (UTC)

I'd say it's very notable. It caused a lot of people to lose respect for him, and has caused David Allen Green to say:

Can Richard Dawkins still credibly pose as a champion of rational thinking and an evidence-based approach? In my opinion, he certainly cannot, at least not in the way he did before.[12]

Judging by all the news stories on this,[13][14][15] I'd say it's quite an important event in his reputation and public perception. InverseHypercube 18:39, 10 July 2011 (UTC)

Per WP:NOTNEWS the proper procedure is to wait a month (or a year) and consider whether anything is of such long term significance that it should be recorded in a biography (that decision would be based on any secondary sources with an analysis of the issue). This page is not a blog of every controversy. Johnuniq (talk) 01:36, 11 July 2011 (UTC)
I'm new to this "controversy", and quite frankly I have to say I have no idea exactly what the alleged controversy actually is. I have read what is currently in the article, and am none the wiser. What's in the article reads as if I've come into a conversation half way through, and nobody plans to share enough of the earlier parts with me so I can properly join in. Without commenting on the moral merits of whatever this is about, that content right now is garbage. Can I suggest that somebody who does know what this is ostensibly about has a look at the article and at least make some sense out of that part of it. In addition, maybe the actual alleged "controversy" needs to be described here in objective words, so that other editors can make informed comment. (Maybe my problem is that I don't read British tabloids. Is that it?) HiLo48 (talk) 01:49, 11 July 2011 (UTC)
HiLo48, Scene: A hotel holding an atheist convention. 1 man and 1 woman are in an elevator. Neither of whom I have ever heard of before. Man asked woman, at 4AM, would she like to come to his room for coffee. She says "No". He does nothing else. The next day, the woman complains about feeling uncomfortable. Atheist PZ Meyers mentioned it on his blog, supporting the woman. Bunch of different people commented. Finally, we get to the part where Dawkins has a small role. Dawkins wrote the quoted comment above. Being the only famous person commenting, he got the most responses to his comments but most of the comments were between the other folks. --Javaweb (talk) 02:22, 11 July 2011 (UTC)Javaweb
Is that all? It seems that Dawkins' biggest error may have been in expecting others to understand satire and irony. I'll await someone coming here to tell me exactly what was wrong with what he did. HiLo48 (talk) 02:38, 11 July 2011 (UTC)
I'm seeing very little support for the addition of this material. I agree with Johnuniq: let it go for a while (a month sounds about right) and see whether it has any real persistence as a notable event in Dawkins' life. As it is, it sounds to me a perfect example of what the nonce word "nontroversy" was coined for. I won't edit it out myself right away, but may do so later today unless I see a good argument for leaving it in. Mark Shaw (talk) 15:30, 11 July 2011 (UTC)
Hell a month even sounds short to me, but yeah, there is no need for this now. So far this is a teeny storm inside a tiny cup that itself is in a storm inside another cup... Dbrodbeck (talk) 15:37, 11 July 2011 (UTC)

Okay, due to consensus I have removed it for now. We'll see whether it should be added in a few months. InverseHypercube 16:37, 11 July 2011 (UTC)

In terms of long term impact this event will most likely be irrelevant. It was a blog comment, and the controversy itself was mostly not about him. LegrisKe (talk) 04:09, 13 July 2011 (UTC)