Talk:Richard Dawkins/Archive 16

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Archive 15 Archive 16 Archive 17

Never prof

It has often been pointed out that Dawkins was never a professor at Oxford. He merely held an un-elected "post" at a museum. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:57, 12 July 2011 (UTC)

So that reference in the lede, that is from Oxford, that is not good enough for you? Dbrodbeck (talk) 14:10, 12 July 2011 (UTC)
No. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:20, 12 July 2011 (UTC)
You really need to explain why. HiLo48 (talk) 17:42, 12 July 2011 (UTC)
Anonymous IP said, "it has often been pointed out that Dawkins was never a professor at Oxford".
Response: The opinion of an anonymous IP. There is no information content to your comment. Oxford gets to decide who is a professor at Oxford. --Javaweb (talk) 20:08, 12 July 2011 (UTC)Javaweb
See, which gives all the proof that could be produced. The museum was owned by the university. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:06, 13 July 2011 (UTC)
The simonyi site does not mention the museum or the lack of an election. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:13, 13 July 2011 (UTC)
I prefer Oxford University as a source. It tells me (in that link above)...
Previous holders of The Simonyi Professorship
Professor Richard Dawkins: The first holder of the Professorship; from foundation in 1995, until the end of 2008.
It doesn't mention a museum. I cannot see what a museum has to do with any of this. I am willing to accept Oxford University itself as a very reliable source on who its professors have been. If you cannot, you are missing the point of Wikipedia. HiLo48 (talk) 09:18, 13 July 2011 (UTC)

My understanding is that he was the first holder of the post established under the benefaction, but that technically he was intially a "Reader", a post at Oxford that would be a chair anywhere else in the world. Later he was granted the right to use the title "Professor" along with many other who would undoubably have been Professors in other places. The number of named chairs is still very small, and until recently Oxford did not have Professors who did not hold named chairs. To give an example, in 1960, there were only two Professors of Chemistry, yet a totally academic staff of over 50 with at least a dozen FRSs. Where else would FRSs not be Professors? The post he held was based in the museum. One should not look at Oxford through American or Australian eyes as it is, as in this case, very diferent. --Bduke (Discussion) 09:36, 13 July 2011 (UTC) (actually from Oxford on my travels)

For what it is worth, this is what the blurb in The Selfish Gene (30th anniversary edition 2006) says:
Richard Dawkins is Charles Simonyi Professor for the Public Understanding of Science at Oxford University.
Born in Nairobi of British parents, he was educated at Oxford and did his doctorate under the Nobel-prize winning ethologist Niko Tinbergen.
From 1967 to 1969 he was an Assistant Professor at the University of California at Berkeley, returning as University Lecturer and later Reader in Zoology at New College, Oxford, before becoming the first holder of the Simonyi Chair in 1995. He is a fellow of New College.
Johnuniq (talk) 10:31, 13 July 2011 (UTC)

Our two IPs are pretty clearly the same user. (Plus, mentioning a politically driven pile of BS like Cnservapedia will get you nowhere). Let's move on. Dbrodbeck (talk) 12:32, 13 July 2011 (UTC)

Rabbi Boteach, quoted in Conservapedia, will be interested to learn that he is sh*t. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:31, 13 July 2011 (UTC)
Well, apparently he cannot read, as the source says Dawkins is a prof, so, make of that what you will (assuming you are reporting this accurately). Beyond that, it seems to me this discussion is rather useless with respect to our article. Dbrodbeck (talk) 16:34, 13 July 2011 (UTC)
Museum?!?!?! Conservapedia?!?!?! ROFLMAO! mezzaninelounge (talk) 17:08, 13 July 2011 (UTC)
Conservapedia? The wiki imitator that will permanently ban editors for writing non-right-wing stuff? See its article on how obese atheists are Richard Dawkins, James Randi, and Teller are not mentioned as they are obviously fit. --Javaweb (talk) 18:14, 13 July 2011 (UTC)Javaweb
Oh, my. That's simply priceless. I love how they got Kim il-Sung in there. (But I should point out that we're getting away from discussion of improvements to the article here....) Mark Shaw (talk) 20:43, 13 July 2011 (UTC)
My head seriously hurts when Wikipedia is the encyclopedia that anyone - including people who need to have warnings about nerf guns and hot coffee and still fail to heed them - can edit...sometimes IPs need to back away from the keyboard... Shot info (talk) 03:14, 14 July 2011 (UTC)

Important early work

See Dawkins, R. (1969). "Bees are easily distracted". Science 165 etc. Dawkins can easily produce science like this without a professorship or Oxford University. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:57, 14 July 2011 (UTC)

This is from our Conservapedia fan IP editor from the above thread. I think he's trying to make a point. I have no idea what it is. Anyone? HiLo48 (talk) 12:07, 14 July 2011 (UTC)
Yeah and umm if you look above he was a professor in 1969, at UC Berkley. Dbrodbeck (talk) 12:37, 14 July 2011 (UTC)
Anon IP, Oxford has an online reference proving professorship. You have had now 4 chances to understand that, including the article's own reference. You are wasting the time of your fellow editors. If you think you know better than Oxford who should be named professor there, feel free to discuss it with the University. --Javaweb (talk) 15:04, 14 July 2011 (UTC)Javaweb

Removing citations for statements

I can see why this edit was done. Too many details of the publication history is not interesting to the reader, who can follow the book's wikilink if he wants more. However, the edit also removed the citations supporting the remaining text in this section. If they are relevant to the text, could someone add them back. --Javaweb (talk) 18:15, 14 July 2011 (UTC)Javaweb

  • Done. No reverts please, until bringing a valid reason to add it here. Whoever wants more details can open the wikilink (that's what it's for). ~ AdvertAdam talk 19:58, 14 July 2011 (UTC)

Criticism section should be brought back up

It is absurb that the critiscism section has been deleted as Dawkins is highly controversial and has been subject to a wide variety of criticism by both religous and secular people (whether you agree with Dawkins or not). It must be noted that Dawkins has a large internet following of fans on his website that are keen on removing any criticism of him. We cannot remove it just because some of his fans call his critics "irrational" as it's just part of their personal agenda.

For this reason I have put up a list of critics of Dawkins (this is not a complete list so feel free to add proper criticism with references).

1. Michael Ruse: Philosopher of Biology at Florida State University who is an atheist

2. Frank Schaeffer: Is highly critical of both the Christian right and the New Atheists

3. Alister Mcgrath: Alister Edgar McGrath (born 23 January 1953) is a Christian theologian and apologist, who holds both a DPhil (in molecular biophysics) and an earned Doctor of Divinity degree from Oxford. He is noted for his work in historical, systematic and scientific theology.Author of the Dawkins Delusion

4. David Berlinski: Agnostic/ "Secular Jew" who is a mathematician and university professor. He wrote the book "The Devil's Delusion: Atheism and its Scientific pretensions"

5. Anthoney Flew: Former atheist and lecturer at the Universities of Oxford and Aberdeen, before posts as Professor of Philosophy at the Universities of Keele, called Dawkins a "secular bigot".

6. South Park: the satirical cartoon lampooned Dawkins in the episodes Go God Go and Go God Go XII. The show's creators, Trey Parker and Matt Stone also criticized Dawkins and Sam Harris in the mini-commentaries of the episodes.

7. John Polkinghorne: theoretical physicist, theologian, writer, and Anglican priest. He was professor of Mathematical physics at the University of Cambridge from 1968 to 1979. ""debating with Dawkins is hopeless, because there's no give and take. He doesn't give you an inch. He just says no when you say yes".

8. Steven Jay Gould: paleontologist, evolutionary biologist, taxonomist, and historian of science. Refered to Dawkin's attack on religon as "Darwinian Fundamentalism".

9. Mary Midgley: English moral philosopher who has criticised Dawkins on his stance on genetics and materialist reductionism

10. John Cornwell: journalist and author, and a Fellow of Jesus College, Cambridge who wrote the book "Darwin's Angel"

11. Anthony Kenny: philosopher and agnostic who wrote a negative review of both the God Delusion and Dawrin's Angel

12. RJ Eskow: Blogger on Huffington Post who has wrote numerous blog about the New Atheists.

13.The Trouble with Atheism: A documentary presented by agnostic journalist Rod Liddle which focuses on criticising atheism for its perceived similarities to religion, as well as arrogance and intolerance.

14. Reza Aslan: activist, an internationally acclaimed writer and scholar of religions. Wrote an article against the New Atheists although he made it clear that he was not against all atheists.

These are just a few of them. The point is that whether you like Richard Dawkins or not, he has recieved a large amount of critical attention. The person who claimed that the criticism section should be deleted was obviously a strong fan of Dawkins as he claimed that everything Dawkins said is "rational" and that all his opponents are "irrational". The point is that it should be up to the people who read this wikipedia article to decide whether they agree with the criticisms leveled at Dawkins regardless of whether Dawkins fans get offended or not. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:40, 28 May 2011 (UTC) (talk) 14:46, 29 May 2011 (UTC)

By constantly referring to Dawkins' fans, you are clearly demonstrating your own goal of pushing a contrary view yourself. Such an approach is inappropriate in Wikipedia. Suggestions for improvements to articles should not be based on deliberately changing an article's POV. HiLo48 (talk) 22:41, 28 May 2011 (UTC)
"By constantly referring to Dawkins' fans, you are clearly demonstrating your own goal of pushing a contrary view yourself. Such an approach is inappropriate in Wikipedia. Suggestions for improvements to articles should not be based on deliberately changing an article's POV. "

Incorrect, I clearly said "The point is that it should be up to the people who read this wikipedia article to decide whether they agree with the criticisms leveled at Dawkins regardless of whether Dawkins fans get offended or not." I clearly state that the criticism section is needed as Dawkins is a controversial figure. I also think it would be good to add some links about people who came in Dawkins defense.

I want an even sided article showing the positive and the negative reception but the negative was taken out instead of improved/ expanded and mentioning that the reason is because of a strong internet fan base doesn't make the negative reception of Dawkins illegitimate. If your so keen on not having it at least name it "Criticism and Debate". (talk) 14:46, 29 May 2011 (UTC)

First of all, please type "~~~~" at the end of your comments, so we know who you are :)
I definitely don't mind supporting a criticism section, as a part of WP:NPOV; however, just disagreeing with him or calling him names or nonsense is not a proper criticism here. If you have reliable sources to share, they're always welcome. Just keep in-mind to make a summary, not a big list, while respecting due weight. ~ AdvertAdam talk 05:42, 29 May 2011 (UTC)
None of these sources were "calling him names", they are proper articles, books and T.V programs. If you noticed, Ben Stein's "Expelled: No Intelligence allowed" was not put up on the list and I told people they could add some if they wanted to. Another point is that I never intended to make the actual criticism section a list. The list is just handy for anyone who wants to wants to write it in a proper Wikipedia format. Perhaps someone can write it in the proper format so It can go up there because Dawkins as we all know created a large response from critics which is even stated in the intro paragraph. Therefore the article should have more info on that sub-topic. (talk) 14:55, 29 May 2011 (UTC)

Personally, I think criticism sections are just plain awful, regardless of the topic. A proper, well-written article places any relevant, well-sourced criticisms within relevant sections. They are just bad writing.Woland (talk) 16:37, 29 May 2011 (UTC)

Criticism sections are necessary for controversial figures(as well as some counter-criticism) in order to show both sides of the debate. By the way let me make it clear that I don't want the criticism section to look like a list, I just made the list to help anyone one of the main editors wright a proper criticism section. I also don't see why theres an objection to adding the South Park "trivia" as many criticism sections of other public figures the show lampooned (Paul Watson, Glen Beck and etc) include a short reference to the show. Richard Dawkins, in a Q & A session at the Free Library of Philadelphia said: "I would have thought they could at least have got an actor that could do a proper British accent." On his website, Dawkins states: "I’m buggered if I like being portrayed as a cartoon character buggering a bald transvestite. I wouldn’t have minded so much if only it had been in the service of some serious point, but if there was a serious point in there I couldn’t discern it. And then there’s the matter of the accent they gave me. Now, if only I could be offered a cameo role in The Simpsons, I could show that actor how to do a real British accent." However the adademic criticisms are more imporatant. If Dawkins took the time to respond to it then I think wikipedia should state it but thats just me. Windrunner123 (talk) 20:37, 29 May 2011 (UTC)
Criticism sections should be avoided wherever possible and criticisms covered in the general article as is the case here. If we have a section specifically for criticisms are we going to have another section for praise in order to maintain neutrality? No. that would be silly. Leave well alone.--Charles (talk) 21:11, 29 May 2011 (UTC)
Exactly. I've even seen articles with "counter criticism" sections. Controversial figures don't need separate sections for criticism, it doesn't matter it it's Glen Beck or Stephen J. Gould. I know they exist in other articles, but that doesn't make them good.Woland (talk) 21:42, 29 May 2011 (UTC)
Agreed. The thing on South Park, BTW, is almost the definition of trivial. A person asked him a question, and he answered it. The article is fine. Dbrodbeck (talk) 01:15, 30 May 2011 (UTC)
"Criticism sections should be avoided wherever possible and criticisms covered in the general article as is the case here."

Heres my probelm with the statement: Criticisms are NOT being covered in the general article as they should.

With all due respect,since when are criticism sections avoided like the plague? Dawkins is one of the most heavily criticised intellectuals on the planet yet his article doesn't show that at all. The only one clear criticism you see is one quote from Martin Ree. Sorry but I have yet to hear of a good argument against adding a criticism section for Dawkins. If your so intent on not having a separte section than at least add some critiscism in the general article where they fit properly. Or is even that too much for his supporters to handle? Windrunner123 (talk) 00:54, 30 May 2011 (UTC)

Not for nothing, but you should probably try to read what people are saying. Criticism is fine and actually encouraged, so long as it's sourced. What we are saying is that a separate section for it is remarkably bad writing. Put the criticism in already existing sections. If you have trouble understanding this please feel free to contact me on my user page or by email. I would be more than happy to help.Woland (talk) 04:26, 30 May 2011 (UTC)
It appears the list of criticisms by the OP are focused on complaints about Dawkins' attitude towards religion and/or atheism. Is there something (other than another rant) which is not covered in the article? That is, the article clearly alerts the reader that Dawkins is an atheist and promotes atheism. It also informs the reader (somewhat redundantly) that there are people who do not like Dawkins or his promotion of atheism, and various arguments are outlined. Is there a missing point which satisfies WP:DUE? If so, please give a brief outline (with source) because the discussion so far is pointless. Johnuniq (talk) 02:15, 30 May 2011 (UTC)
How can you honestly pass off all those articles, people, ideas and opionons as "rants". Some attack his attitude, others attack his arguements but most attack both.... and so what if some of them are criticising his attitude as thats still a valid point.

"the discussion so far is pointless"

It's only pointless because you won't give any of these writers/critics an inch. Simply using smear words like "rant" shows that you pass them off with out looking at the links properly. Remeber, these are just suggestions. However some people see Dawkins as immune from proper criticism which is ridiculous.Windrunner123 (talk) 02:39, 30 May 2011 (UTC)

There is already in the article, criticism of both his evolutionary biology work, and his atheist views. It simply takes reading the article. A separate section seems pointless. It actually is up to us to decide what goes into the article, as long as we follow policy. Adding a section will not improve the article. Dbrodbeck (talk) 03:06, 30 May 2011 (UTC)
First of all, I'm assuming that the IP and Windrunner123 are one. I first replied to the point that criticism was removed by Dawkin's fans, so I said I'll support WP:NPOV critics. Confirming my point, personal commentary is not a valid criticism on an Encyclopedia. A criticism section is not the topic here, as it doesn't matter if the criticism is within the body or in a seperate section. What's important is if there is critics on his work to be considered. Dawkins is a very-harsh criticizer of Religions, so he has tons of enemies. A pointless criticism just means that it's not appropriate on an Encyclopedia. Again, reliable sourced criticism are welcomed. This is not a place for personal matters or fans. If you want to work on this, don't think about the seperate section, but strictly consider the content and share it here. ~ AdvertAdam talk 03:05, 30 May 2011 (UTC)

Should the Criticism Section be restored?

<Yes this section should never have been deleted. Who did so and why and when? I plan to restore it in 24 hrs unless there are very good arguments against. NBeale (talk) 08:07, 30 May 2011 (UTC)

Who decides what are very good arguments? Generally we workd by WP:Consensus. The fact that you are asking about why it was removed suggests you haven't actually read the reasons on this talk page (above). You shouldn't replace it without gaining consensus here. Dougweller (talk) 08:34, 30 May 2011 (UTC)
Oppose. Criticism is present within the article itself, where it belongs. Mark Shaw (talk) 13:06, 30 May 2011 (UTC)
Request to User:NBeale: Please don't restore this section, against the strong consensus. Your campaign against Dawkins—to pick just one example: the creation of this page—is making it difficult for other editors here to WP:AGF on your part. --Old Moonraker (talk) 13:17, 30 May 2011 (UTC)
Ditto. This has been discussed, we have an SPA that has just registered and NBeale wanting this back in. It is covered in the text, let us move on. Dbrodbeck (talk) 13:42, 30 May 2011 (UTC)

If we are going to integrate the "Criticism"

If the consensus is that we shouldn't have a criticism section but integrate the criticism into the article then we should probably have a working list. Adapting the above a bit I'd suggest the following notable critics (in no particular order)

  1. Michael Ruse
  2. Frank Schaeffer
  3. Alister McGrath
  4. David Berlinski
  5. Anthony Flew
  6. John Polkinghorne
  7. Steven Jay Gould
  8. Mary Midgley
  9. John Cornwell
  10. Anthony Kenny
  11. Terry Eagleton
  12. William Lane Craig
  13. John Lennox

— Preceding unsigned comment added by NBeale (talk) 20:40, 28 May 2011 (UTC)

To whoever posted that list, you would gain a lot more credibility if you began to follow Wikipedia conventions by signing your posts with four tildes, like this ~~~~. As for the list, can you now put together a similar list of equally important people who think Dawkins' work is great? If not, your goal here is clearly one of adding a negative POV to the article. HiLo48 (talk) 05:36, 31 May 2011 (UTC)
We already have criticism, we need not list everyone that has ever criticized RD. This is getting out of hand, and frankly very clearly a case of WP:SOAP. Give it a rest and move on. Dbrodbeck (talk) 11:40, 31 May 2011 (UTC)
I don't necessarily disagree that this is a case of WP:SOAP. But I'd say that, after having searched for all the criticism, it tends to be so because of a shortage of criticism; not because some persons want to overemphasize criticism. I won't plea for a separate criticism section and naturally the article should not be 90% criticism.
There should be at least 1 sentence about criticism in the "Meme" section no matter how general, and no it is not enough that the "Meme" article already has a criticism section of it's own. I'll make that sentence.
It would also be beneficial if this sentence:
"Criticism of The God Delusion has come from philosophers such as Professor John Cottingham of the University of Reading and Christian philosopher and theologian William Lane Craig."
could be followed by 1 or 2 sentences shortly summarizing their criticism that would improve the article's quality. I won't do that though.--Tomvasseur (talk) 20:15, 24 June 2011 (UTC)
New in WP I was wondering if it's normal to follow invariably a critic with his rejoinder by Dawkins or "Dawkins' defenders". -- (talk) 10:42, 14 July 2011 (UTC)
Been thinking about this criticism issue for a while. Probably not the ideal place to say this, but I want to try putting the words together. I think criticism sections are almost always going to be inappropriate in Wikipedia. Just about everyone has somebody who disagrees with them about something. Some, like outspoken atheists, will have more than many from conservative religious parts of society who disagree. That's a given. We cannot possibly list all the criticism, so what's the point of listing any? We should just describe what's significant about someone (i.e. why they have an article here) and let others decide on the merits of their actions and views. The same goes for people significant for their strong religious views. List those views, and let it stand. Going any further will inevitably create the debate of "how much further?" So, no criticism. OK? HiLo48 (talk) 12:17, 14 July 2011 (UTC)
"Going any further will inevitably create the debate of "how much further?"" - Not putting any criticism in has caused more debate than would probably have been from having some in the first place. And there is a way to define whether criticism is valid, the same way that we define whether anything else is valid, is it notable or not? If it's from an obscure article or an unnotable scholar then of course that type of criticism should be ignored, but if the comments are notable to the author and the author is notable in himself such as Michael Ruse then that should definitely be included. Use the same standard for adding positive content as you would negative content and then nobody can really complain about whats being added. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:31, 14 September 2011 (UTC)

Deleted sentece

I reverted an edit by Tomvasseur, which states that "Dawkins idea of the meme has been criticized by scientists and philosophers alike for different reasons." I reverted it not because I'm opposed to criticism but I found the statement to be uninformative and misleading. It is uninformative in the sense it does not reveal why or what aspect of Dawkin's ideas is being criticized, other than was criticized for "various reasons." There are a lot of things that can be criticized for "various reasons." Moreover, the part of the statement that points to "scientists and philosophers alike" is an overstatement. Terrence Deacon is a trained biological anthropologist and so he qualifies as a scientist. But are his views representative of the majority of "scientists?" More references needed. John Gray, who wrote the Guardian article that was used as a reference for the above reverted sentence, is a writer, but I am not sure of his credentials as a philosopher. It seems the reverted statement needs to be qualified and above all, it needs to be clear as to what exactly is being criticized and by whom. Readers I'm sure would like to know. I myself would like to know. mezzaninelounge (talk) 21:22, 24 June 2011 (UTC)

I'll explicate my choice for the way I wrote that sentence. I didn't want to be accused of adding too much criticism in the article so that's why I don't elaborate on what the precise reasons are, besides they can also be found in the article about the meme. That John Gray is a philosopher I take from his wiki page which says he taught a political philosophy course at the London School of Economics so I assume that, that is enough to make him qualify as a philosopher. It is perhaps a bit sloppy that I took that for granted and didn't but a reference in it, but the first time somebody told me about him it was said to me that he was a philosopher so I basically took that for granted. And if "scientists and philosophers alike" gives the impression that it is the majority who holds that opinion then I apologize for that, it is probably an inconvenience resulting from not being an Anglophone. What I intended to say was that there are both scientists and philosophers who hold that opinion.--Tomvasseur (talk) 15:26, 5 October 2011 (UTC)

Failed references

This is a cross post: I too was going to RV the edit, but I was beaten to it. I share the doubts about the references attached to the deleted edit: Although Terrence Deacon admits himself "far from convinced" by Dawkins's (and Susan Blackmore's) meme theory, the overall tenor is mildly supportive as, for example, it "may provide some new insights...this new synthesis will be [a] crucible". John Gray's reference was being asked to support Dawkins's meme theory being "criticized by many scientists and philosophers" in the WP article, whereas in fact it was the other way round: Gray, in his newspaper article, is criticizing the many scientists and philosophers ("Dawkins and Hitchens, Daniel Dennett and Martin Amis, Michel Onfray, Philip Pullman and others") who support the concept. --Old Moonraker (talk) 21:44, 24 June 2011 (UTC)

Infobox scientist/person

I think we discussed whether to use {{Infobox scientist}} (below left), or {{Infobox person}} (below right) before, and a recent edit has changed "scientist" to "person" so more information is shown. I guess we could remove the stupid ethnicity item, but are the other "information" points wanted?

Richard Dawkins
Born Clinton Richard Dawkins
(1941-03-26) 26 March 1941 (age 74)
Nairobi, Kenya Colony
Residence Oxford, England[citation needed]
Nationality British
Education MA, DPhil (Oxon)
Alma mater Balliol College, Oxford
Doctoral advisor Nikolaas Tinbergen
Doctoral students Alan Grafen, Mark Ridley
Known for Gene-centered view of evolution, concept of the meme, as well as advocacy of atheism and science.
Influences Charles Darwin, Ronald Fisher, George C. Williams, W. D. Hamilton, Daniel Dennett, Bertrand Russell
Notable awards Zoological Society of London Silver Medal (1989)
Faraday Award (1990)
Kistler Prize (2001)
Spouse Marian Stamp Dawkins (m. 1967–1984)
Eve Barham (m. 1984–?)
Lalla Ward (m. 1992–present)
Children Juliet Emma Dawkins (born 1984)
The Richard Dawkins Foundation
Richard Dawkins
Born Clinton Richard Dawkins
(1941-03-26) 26 March 1941 (age 74)
Nairobi, Kenya Colony
Residence Oxford, England[citation needed]
Nationality British
Ethnicity White British
Education MA, DPhil (Oxon)
Alma mater Balliol College, Oxford
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
Known for Gene-centered view of evolution, concept of the meme, as well as advocacy of atheism and science.
Notable work The Selfish Gene (1976)
The Extended Phenotype (1982)
The Blind Watchmaker (1986)
Spouse(s) Marian Stamp Dawkins (m. 1967–1984)
Eve Barham (m. 1984–?)
Lalla Ward (m. 1992–present)
Children Juliet Emma Dawkins (born 1984)
Parent(s) Clinton John Dawkins
Jean Mary Vyvyan (née Ladner)
Awards Zoological Society of London Silver Medal (1989)
Faraday Award (1990)
Kistler Prize (2001)
Website The Richard Dawkins Foundation

I've put the two infoboxes above (with image removed to save space) for easy comparison. Thoughts? Johnuniq (talk) 02:49, 21 July 2011 (UTC)

Don't know why you'd call ethnicity "Stupid." Depending upon what the person does, it may be very relevant information. Since Dawkins is an ethologist, and since he touches on ethnicity in some of his publications, I'd say that it does have some significance so I'd leave it in.--gargoyle888 (talk) 03:02, 21 July 2011 (UTC)
It is also worth noting what is left out by using Infobox person instead of Infobox scientist—namely, doctoral advisor and doctoral students. This seems likely fairly important summary information. Is expanding Infobox scientist an option? –CWenger (^@) 03:16, 21 July 2011 (UTC)

Criticism in section on religion

My edits in the section on religion have been reverted. Rather than start a revert war, I figured it was best to take this on the talk page.

It seems to me that the religion section is overly long, and either needs to be broken down into sub-sections so that people can access information, or just trimmed and extraneous information got rid of (or perhaps even have another page - "religious views of Richard Dawkins" or something). The stuff that I deleted was basically a list of "blah doesn't like Dawkins, neither does blah, neither does blah" - there weren't really any arguments properly cited, so I don't see how the information would be useful. Instead, I feel we should acknowledge that he's been widely criticised, but not necessarily give a list of names (except if citing an important point that they've made, as the article does with McGrath). The other thing was a reference to him being criticised for a silly remark about a former pope; lots of people (including thoroughly decent ones) get criticised for lots of silly off-hand remarks, and I'm not sure why that is significant enough to be included. HumeFan (talk) 19:12, 23 July 2011 (UTC)

I'm going to repost something I posted above a couple of weeks ago. It seemed to kill a discussion. Maybe it's a killer comment. Maybe it's garbage, but I think it's worth thinking about, even as a broader policy....
I think criticism sections are almost always going to be inappropriate in Wikipedia. Just about everyone has somebody who disagrees with them about something. Some, like outspoken atheists, will have more than many from conservative religious parts of society who disagree. That's a given. We cannot possibly list all the criticism, so what's the point of listing any? We should just describe what's significant about someone (i.e. why they have an article here) and let others decide on the merits of their actions and views. The same goes for people significant for their strong religious views. List those views, and let it stand. Going any further will inevitably create the debate of "how much further?" So, no criticism. OK? HiLo48 (talk) 19:17, 23 July 2011 (UTC)
I find the list of criticisms in the "Advocacy of atheism" to be unnecessary. If anything, it ditracts from the main point of that section, which is about Dawkins advocating atheism and NOT about how other people perceive his advocacy of atheism. If there has to be criticisms, then they should be listed within a criticism section. I know this is not a popular format, but the current one is no better. In fact, if anything, it's getting worst as HiLo48 correctly pointed out, everyone wants to give his or her own two cents about this. mezzaninelounge (talk) 19:27, 23 July 2011 (UTC)
I would think that criticism should be present where there is a non-fringe view. This criticism should be merged into the respective article though and not just added to a separate criticism section. IRWolfie- (talk) 21:59, 24 July 2011 (UTC)
I find conversations here frustrating at times. I made some carefully thought out points above, which seem to be just ignored in that post, simply by saying "I would think..." I gave reasons. Can you? And what did you think about my reasons for not including criticism? HiLo48 (talk) 02:36, 25 July 2011 (UTC)

I thought we just had this conversation.... ANyway, I am with Hilo, Dbrodbeck (talk) 11:21, 25 July 2011 (UTC)

  • Note: the revert was justified as we don't need to repeat the same words by multiple people. If there's scientific criticism about his work, they're welcome, otherwise, the rest whom just don't like him don't fit here. ~ AdvertAdam talk 02:52, 25 July 2011 (UTC)


He was born in the British colony of Kenya, not England. He calls himself British. --Javaweb (talk) 17:08, 30 July 2011 (UTC)Javaweb

Which is correct of course, Kenya was part of the British Empire at the time and he was born t British parents too. So no wonder he was accepted British citizenship--Topperfalkon (talk) 00:15, 1 August 2011 (UTC)
Richard Dawkins acquired British citizenship by descent. There was no individual accepting process. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:12, 1 August 2011 (UTC)
Richard Dawkins' legal status is not affected by any calling activity. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:18, 1 August 2011 (UTC)
Richard Dawkins probably acquired British citizenship six times over by descent, from two parents and four grand-parents. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:23, 1 August 2011 (UTC)
Clinton John Dawkins was born in Mandalay, but might have had parents born in Britain. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:31, 1 August 2011 (UTC)
I think you'll find English is a perfectly acceptable, accurate and factual way to describe him - and him being born in Kenya does not change this. He's in no way Kenyan, but as he describes himself as British however, that is best. But he's certainly English too, which is also a nationality in the sense England is a nation. --Τασουλα (Almira) (talk) 20:15, 13 August 2011 (UTC)
I agree. Kittybrewster 20:20, 13 August 2011 (UTC)

'religion' in infobox

an editor added 'religion none (atheist)' in the info box, I reverted, and it has been re added. It seems to me, if you have no religion, then you enter nothing in the info box. Thoughts? (Apologies if this has been discussed before). Dbrodbeck (talk) 20:11, 13 August 2011 (UTC)

Although it specifically says "none" in the infobox, it's also confusing and quite unessential to have it there, it may mislead readers into thinking Atheism is a religion which it most certainly is not. --Τασουλα (Almira) (talk) 20:17, 13 August 2011 (UTC)
Yeah that was my take as well. I don't think it had been there before either. 20:31, 13 August 2011 (UTC)
I also agree on the confusion part, as none ain't a religion also! Anyways, mentioning religion and sex orientation (in general) is highly controversial, so it's generally recommended to avoid them when they're not needed. There's tons of discussions about this already, so it's just not worth the time to include it. ~ AdvertAdam talk 21:13, 13 August 2011 (UTC)
I added an archive search box to the top of this page to find discussions. It was discussed in October 2010 and possibly before then. --Javaweb (talk) 21:43, 13 August 2011 (UTC)Javaweb

I agree with all the above, and... Religion fields for atheists are usually added to articles by people want to make a point - Either "Look, he's an atheist, so he's not a good Christian, therefore he must be wrong", or "Look, he's a great scientist, AND an atheist, so atheism must be good." Both approaches are attempts to add POV to the article. It should go. HiLo48 (talk) 21:53, 13 August 2011 (UTC)

I believe so. ~ AdvertAdam talk

Javaweb, I'm not sure if this discussion is what you're referring to. If not, then please provide it. That discussion has nothing to do with this one, as it's mainly about {infobox scientist} vs {infobox person} where it was one editor's opinion in his example of "religion = none". None should be empty (not shown). Again, I've explained my point above. Also, there's other discussions on similar issues on this article that refused the religion section, like this and this. ~ AdvertAdam talk 22:11, 13 August 2011 (UTC)

Thanks for searching the archive. I was not supplying the search link to show supporting views but in the hope it would be helpful. Thanks for searching. Dawkins is notable for advocating atheism and says his studies led him to that position, and his advocacy is a fundamental part of who he is and why people pay attention to him. Religion = None(atheist) is a perfect description. --Javaweb (talk) 05:56, 15 August 2011 (UTC)Javaweb
You got straight to the point. His scientific studies led him to atheism, not the opposite. The religion section is for people who's religious views are behind their works. He's a scientist, so lets focus on that. Correction: he's also notable for advocating atheism, which is clearly stated for interested readers in the lead. ~ AdvertAdam talk 06:23, 15 August 2011 (UTC)
And I must add that my interest in him is as a scientist, not because of his atheism (which seems just a logical result of his scientific work). I suspect that those interested in his atheism are his opponents on that matter, and hence come to the article with a POV they want to apply. Not healthy. HiLo48 (talk) 09:00, 15 August 2011 (UTC)
One way to solve this issue would be to restore the "scientist" infobox which has had the religion field removed as pointless for a summary box for scientists. See #Infobox scientist/person above. For the record I think there is no reason to have "religion" in an infobox unless the subject was documented to have a religious belief known to be significant to them. Johnuniq (talk) 22:51, 13 August 2011 (UTC)
Quite true. It's usually irrelevant to a scientist's work. (Or it should be.) HiLo48 (talk) 23:11, 13 August 2011 (UTC)

I agree that both "atheism" and "none" are not religions, and thus the religion field of the infobox should generally remain empty for non-religious people. However the arguments mentioned above that:

  • "Religion fields for atheists are usually added to articles by people want to make a point ... Both approaches are attempts to add POV"
  • "no reason to have "religion" in an infobox unless the subject was documented to have a religious belief known to be significant to them.

are not very strong for this particular article. Dawkins is well known as "an outspoken atheist and a prominent critic of religion" - he's probably better known (and certainly outside of the scientific world) for his anti-religion views than for his scientific credentials, and the "Advocacy of atheism" section is the largest single section of our article. His "religion" - ie his stance on God etc - is a significant part of his notability, so perhaps we should mention it in the infobox.
(My personal POV: I completely agree with Dawkins' views on religion.) Mitch Ames (talk) 01:48, 14 August 2011 (UTC)

Yes, but that's why it is discussed in the article. I think readers would fall into two categories: (a) those who know perfectly well that Dawkins is an atheist and who do not need to see it in the infobox, and (b) those who don't know, and who would not learn much from an "atheist" label in the infobox (they will learn the details from the article). I don't really mind about an "atheist" label in the infobox, but it does seem highly inappropriate to metaphorically force people like Dawkins to answer the question "what is your religion?". I have the same view about the "White British" ethnicity; see above. Johnuniq (talk) 02:13, 14 August 2011 (UTC)
The difference between religion and ethnicity is that one may think that all religion is delusion and thus asking one's religion is making a false assumption (ie that you must have one), but it is much harder to make the same claim about ethnicity. You'd be hard pushed to find anyone (notable enough to have an article) that was not part of "a group of people whose members identify with each other, through a common heritage, ...". Whether ethnicity is relevant is debatable, but its existence is undeniable. Mitch Ames (talk) 04:15, 14 August 2011 (UTC)
Agreed; I guess I'm opposing the labeling as excessive (I love the hatnote at White British: For the cattle breed, see British White). Johnuniq (talk) 04:43, 14 August 2011 (UTC)
I'm sure there are people who deny belonging to any ethnic group, just like those would object to being labeled as having any religion, even none or atheist. It seems irrelevant to me. Infoboxes are supposed to summarize and Dawkins is notable for being an atheist, so why not put it there? –CWenger (^@) 04:53, 14 August 2011 (UTC)
Because atheism is not a religion. HiLo48 (talk) 04:57, 14 August 2011 (UTC)
Then what's wrong with "None" as was done in the edit in question, with "(Atheist)" to clarify. Unless he objects to being called an atheist I don't see the problem. –CWenger (^@) 05:14, 14 August 2011 (UTC)
Using the Religion entry implies that having a religion is expected, and if someone doesn't have one we have to go out of our way to say so. That is applying a blatant POV. If someone doesn't have a religion, why should we even mention religion? HiLo48 (talk) 05:57, 14 August 2011 (UTC)
Religion simply does not apply. ArtifexMayhem (talk) 06:02, 14 August 2011 (UTC)
Religion is expected, which is why it is an infobox parameter. I honestly don't see the problem. I don't think Dawkins would give it a second thought if he saw that. But to be honest, if people want to omit it I don't think it's a big deal assuming atheism is still mentioned under the "known for" tag. –CWenger (^@) 06:45, 14 August 2011 (UTC)
Why should Religion be "expected"? That really sounds like you want to impose a particular social construct on everybody else. It may be normal where you come from, but it's not where I am. I have no idea of the religious beliefs of most of the people I know. (My friend the local Vicar would be the obvious exception.) HiLo48 (talk) 06:47, 14 August 2011 (UTC)
In this day in age, people who claim a religion still far outnumber those who don't. No value judgement whatsoever, just facts. I assume that is why we have a religion field in the infobox. I understand your point that none/atheism does not exactly match the field, but I don't think it's such a stretch that people are going to be startled by it. To me, it's akin to if somebody was gay and could not legally marry wherever they lived, but we still listed them under the spouse field, followed by (domestic partner).
Would it make any difference if the field was named "religious views" instead? I understand that atheism is not a religion, but it is a religious view, right? –CWenger (^@) 07:01, 14 August 2011 (UTC)
What would be your entry for Dawkins in a "Religious views" field? "None" would be very imprecise (he certainly has views ON religion), encountering all the problems associated with simplistic one or two word Infobox entries. (A reason I don't like Infoboxes anyway.) And, not wanting to go too far off topic here, but numbers of people "claiming" a religion is a very unhelpful figure. In my country, some 60% "claimed" a religion at the last census, but only 7% attend church on a weekly basis. So that claim at census time is pretty meaningless, isn't it? HiLo48 (talk) 07:15, 14 August 2011 (UTC)
Dawkins' "religious view" is obviously "outspoken atheist and critic of religion". Mitch Ames (talk) 09:41, 14 August 2011 (UTC)
Isn't that a bit long and complex for an Infobox? HiLo48 (talk) 22:41, 14 August 2011 (UTC)
Perhaps. If it is too long, "outspoken atheist" would suffice. Mitch Ames (talk) 10:45, 15 August 2011 (UTC)
We simply don't add religious views nor sexual orientation to everyone on the infobox. The field is there when it's something related to the person's significance (as already said above), not to say none. An example is a famous religious scholar, "Greek Catholic", "Baptist",..etc. Straightforward, we just don't use the field, even if the person's religious views are clear. The article already covered "atheist" in the LEAD, so can we move on? ~ AdvertAdam talk 08:36, 14 August 2011 (UTC)

Quoting earlier posts by Johnuniq:

For the record I think there is no reason to have "religion" in an infobox unless the subject was documented to have a religious belief known to be significant to them.
I think readers would fall into two categories: (a) those who know perfectly well that Dawkins is an atheist and who do not need to see it in the infobox, and (b) those who don't know, and who would not learn much from an "atheist" label in the infobox (they will learn the details from the article)

I agree with both of those statements. Following on from these two statements, one could then argue that for any article about any person, either:

  • The person has a notable/significant religion or atheistic opinion, in which case it will be covered in article, so there's need to include it in the infobox.


  • The person's religious stance is not relevant to their notability and need not be mentioned. (After all, we don't include the football team that the person supports - if any - but for some people, that's more important than which church or god they support.)

Thus we don't need the religion field at all, for anybody. Mitch Ames (talk) 09:35, 14 August 2011 (UTC)

An infobox religion would be fine if the person is known (from reliable sources) to have a religious belief that was significant to them (e.g. not just that they attended a Catholic school, but that they actively mentioned their Catholicism in later life). Johnuniq (talk) 11:00, 14 August 2011 (UTC)


See the article on Barnardo's. This does not seem to worry Dawkins as much as the Mortara case. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:23, 14 August 2011 (UTC)

Dawkins has passed over the behaviour of Barnardo in complete silence. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:37, 23 August 2011 (UTC)
Reading those two posts is like coming into a movie halfway through. What do Dawkins and Barnados have to do with each other? HiLo48 (talk) 20:49, 23 August 2011 (UTC)
A bit of context would have helped readers: In The God Delusion Dawkins commented on the Mortara kidnapping because the motive was religious: authorities in one of the Papal States removed a Jewish child from its parents to raise as a Catholic. Thomas John Barnardo kidnapped children to remove them from extreme physical deprivation, and so was outside the remit of the book.--Old Moonraker (talk) 21:10, 23 August 2011 (UTC)
Thanks. That does help. An interesting problem of perspective. In Australia, at least part of the History wars are about whether the Stolen generations were the result of white folk at the time trying to save Aboriginal children from physical deprivation, and hence justifying the removal of those children from their homes. HiLo48 (talk) 02:14, 24 August 2011 (UTC)


See This says that Dawkins lives in Oxford. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:14, 16 August 2011 (UTC)

First off, I might ask, who cares? Secondly, that is hardly a RS. Dbrodbeck (talk) 21:12, 23 August 2011 (UTC)
To the best of my knowledge he does live there (though I've never seen him out and about), but yeah who cares? He lectures there (Still?) but it's not important if he lives there. --Τασουλα (Almira) (talk) 23:37, 24 August 2011 (UTC)

Would...this be worth putting in the Ex links?

[1] I mean there's not much there. He clearly doesn't keep much of a profile on the University of Oxford website, and there's just a link to the Richard Dawkins foundation website. I dunno. --Τασουλα (Almira) (talk) 23:40, 24 August 2011 (UTC)

No, but thanks for looking into it. External links should be used rarely. --Javaweb (talk) 01:21, 25 August 2011 (UTC)Javaweb
It's interesting in its leanness, but no, it is not suitable. People who follow the WP:EL guideline (I'm one) routinely remove links like that as not providing information that is helpful for the article. Another favorite line is that Wikipedia is not a directory of all possible links. Johnuniq (talk) 01:30, 25 August 2011 (UTC)
Yep, I totally agree. Thanks for the feedback! --Τασουλα (Almira) (talk) 13:12, 26 August 2011 (UTC)


Dawkins has been accused of being a coward by Oxford philosopher and atheist Dr Daniel Came, for refusing to debate Christian philosopher William Lane Craig.1 Portillo (talk) 05:29, 23 September 2011 (UTC)

That says a lot more about Dr Came than it does about Dawkins. Sadly for him, Dr Came does not appear to even be notable enough for a Wikipedia article of his own, so my comment is largely wasted too. HiLo48 (talk) 07:00, 23 September 2011 (UTC)
User:Portillo has simply stated a fact there, there is no need to personally attack the status of a man who has a PhD in Philosophy and is a lecturer at Oxford University. That fact that he is not currently "notable enough for a Wikipedia article" has no merit on whether or not he was going to chair a valid and reasoned debate — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:03, 27 September 2011 (UTC)
(Thanks for having toned down your previously deleted remark. This is much better. - Please don't forget to sign your talk page messages with ~~~~)

Well, I'm sure that there are more facts to gather about the subject of the article, but I don't think that this particular fact is sufficiently notable. DVdm (talk) 19:17, 27 September 2011 (UTC)

The fact that the comment was made by one Dr Daniel Came is ancillary considering the context of the Telegraph artice which was originally cited, which concerns itself with Dawkins' lack of willingness to openly debate William Lane Craig (who, for the record, DOES have a Wikipedia entry) — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:26, 27 September 2011 (UTC)
Please don't forget to sign your talk page messages with 4 tildes (~~~~) - Thanks
Leaving the notability of P, Q, R and S in the middle, I don't consider the fact that "P said in the Q that R is a coward for not wanting to debate with S" sufficiently notable. If other newspapers would have picked it up and if this fact would have received broad coverage in the press, that could (perhaps) change things. DVdm (talk) 19:41, 27 September 2011 (UTC)
So by that logic, should every piece of information on Wikipedia which was only mentioned in one national broadsheet newspaper now be disregarded? -- (talk) 20:05, 27 September 2011 (UTC)
While this isn't true in general, it is often true in particular. You might review WP:NOTNEWS, WP:RECENT, WP:NOTABILITY and WP:UNDUE. aprock (talk) 20:30, 27 September 2011 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Came did not accuse Dawkins of being a coward: "In a letter to Prof Dawkins, Dr Came said: “The absence of a debate with the foremost apologist for Christian theism is a glaring omission on your CV and is of course apt to be interpreted as cowardice on your part." Regardless, was there a suggestion for improving the article? - ArtifexMayhem (talk) 22:32, 27 September 2011 (UTC)

Thanks for clarifying the actual language used. My reaction was at least partly to the use of tabloid language in the post that started this thread. "Accused" and "refusing" aren't words likely to engender mature discussion. Now that we know what was really said (written, actually) I'll paraphrase myself by saying that the original post says a lot more about User:Portillo than it does about Professor Dawkins. HiLo48 (talk) 23:11, 27 September 2011 (UTC)
And likewise, still leaving the notability of P, Q, R and S in the middle, I don't consider the fact that "Q reported that P wrote a letter to R saying that not debating with S could be interpreted as cowardice", sufficiently notable. DVdm (talk) 23:18, 27 September 2011 (UTC)
Recent articles from the Independent, the Guardian, and the Telegraph make the accusation. I think that satisfies the criteria for WP:N. Dawkins's response was published in the Guardian here. Joycey17 (talk) 06:28, 25 October 2011 (UTC)
The three links you cite are opinion blogs, not enough to establish WP:WEIGHT. An editor's opinion piece is not a prominent viewpoint. - SudoGhost 06:35, 25 October 2011 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────I also undid the second attempt to introduce this text but wrote such a long edit summary (per WP:NOTNEWS articles should not track every excited opinion-piece exchange of insults; even attributed, "apologist for genocide" is a bit much) that the revert had already been done. I know it's very exciting that Craig has got a rise out of Dawkins, and some people who need to find something controversial to write about have joined the fun. However, the matter really is trivial for an article such as this which is supposed to be a biography summing up a career—it is not a record of every skirmish. Further, the proposed edit (diff) could be interpreted as an undue promotion of Craig by attaching undue importance to a non-event (Dawkins did not debate Craig) through the insertion of text into this article (which is about a notable person). Johnuniq (talk) 06:49, 25 October 2011 (UTC)

It is interesting in the context of Dawkins's broader policy on debating, which gets significant coverage. WP:WEIGHT is established by three seperate reliable sources, especially considering the only mentioned content is that the opinion exists. Joycey17 (talk) 06:56, 25 October 2011 (UTC)
See WP:WEIGHT. Weight is not determined by the number of sources (which leads to citation overkill) but by the prominence of each viewpoint. That three newspaper editors expressed opinions on respective blogs does not give any prominence to the information, thereby giving it insufficient weight to insert it into the article. - SudoGhost 07:36, 25 October 2011 (UTC)
Weight is supported by coverage, though. "If a topic has received significant coverage in reliable sources that are independent of the subject, it is presumed to satisfy the inclusion criteria" (From WP:N).. Also, "Editorial commentary, analysis and opinion pieces are reliable for attributed statements as to the opinion of the author" (WP:NEWSORG). Note that what is being mentioned is not the fact that Dawkins refused to debate Craig, which would be totally irrelevant if not for the widespread, independent criticism it engendered. What I'm suggesting we mention is this editorial criticism for his behaviour in recent times, which is of high relevance in the context of the paragraph. Unless, of course, there is an unspoken rule here not to mention anything that doesn't cast Dawkins in a perfect light, I think there is reasonable grounds for its inclusion. Joycey17 (talk) 14:11, 25 October 2011 (UTC)
But how important will this particular little incident seem in a few months' time, let alone in a few years? Remember that Wikipedia is not a newspaper. It is an encyclopaedia, taking the long view, and this issue is already more than adequately covered by the comment that "Dawkins has ... refused to participate in formal debates with creationists." SNALWIBMA ( talk - contribs ) 14:34, 25 October 2011 (UTC)
(edit conflict) I think it is mainly Craig who is putting himself in a bad light with this stalking affair, and note that Craig is not the subject of this article. Dawkins: "In the interests of transparency, I should point out that it isn't only Oxford that won't see me on the night Craig proposes to debate me in absentia: you can also see me not appear in Cambridge, Liverpool, Birmingham, Manchester, Edinburgh, Glasgow and, if time allows, Bristol.". So, let it rest — it is not notable at this point. - DVdm (talk) 14:36, 25 October 2011 (UTC)
WP:N applies to article topics, not each individual item within an article. This is what WP:WEIGHT is for, which those sources do not satisfy. - SudoGhost 18:53, 25 October 2011 (UTC)
On the contrary, I think it does satisfy WP:WEIGHT, which states that an article must mention "all significant viewpoints that have been published by reliable sources". Dawkins's policy on debating is present, and if that has due weight, then widespread criticism of that policy will also have weight. To be consistent with your argument from WP:WEIGHT, the whole paragraph should be deleted. Also, whether or not anyone looks good or bad over this is completely irrelevant, seeming as it is simply a mention of a significant published view relating to an already-mentioned fact. Joycey17 (talk) 06:50, 27 October 2011 (UTC)
But how would the inclusion of this material not fall foul of WP:RECENT and WP:NOTNEWS? We do not document every little incident in someone's life. SNALWIBMA ( talk - contribs ) 07:12, 27 October 2011 (UTC)

I dont see this as a "little incident". I dont even see it as an incident. And I dont see it as Craig "stalking" Dawkins. Portillo (talk) 00:25, 29 October 2011 (UTC)

It's an example of those who don't like Dawkins' views finding rude words to throw around about him. It doesn't add anything to a description of Richard Dawkins, but says an awful lot about those who don't like him. Constructive and informed criticism of Dawkins' views from notable others could be valid here (although I still don't think much of such material in any article), but just making rude comments is NOT encyclopaedic! HiLo48 (talk) 00:34, 29 October 2011 (UTC)
It's not rude, I don't particularly dislike Dawkins.. It's just a small proposed note about criticism which has been made of his policy on debating in the media.. A helpful suggestion to give a small enhancement to the quality of the article being shouted down by overzealous fans. That right there is un-encyclopaedic. Joycey17 (talk) 02:49, 6 November 2011 (UTC)
Not rude? "Cowardice" is hardly a compliment. I have long argued that areas of criticism are generally unnecessary in Wikipedia. I recently looked at the Noam Chomsky article. He would have to be hated by a lot of Americans. But I was very hard pressed to find the one tiny piece of criticism in it, and it allowed a response from Chomsky. We don't need criticism. It can only lead to impossible arguments about how much. HiLo48 (talk) 03:43, 6 November 2011 (UTC)
Of course it is rude. Plus, I fail to see why someone calling him a coward is even notable. This is a giant waste of time. Dbrodbeck (talk) 12:27, 6 November 2011 (UTC)