Talk:Richard Dawkins/Archive 7

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Archive 6 Archive 7 Archive 8


Following is a list of my suggestions:

We need to isolate the atheism free thinking from this article. It needs a total spin off, generic atheism needs to be moved into Atheism, or Neo-Atheism, or the like. Book reviews, critiques and challanages that are sourced should be moved into another page. The remaining stuff specific to dawkins and atheism, should probably be further split off into its own page Dawkins on religion. This article is way to big as is, and is poorly organized. I'll start working on these in a week, if no one has any better suggestions.

Dawkins uses the term Cultural Christian to describe himself -- this should probably be somewhere in the article. Jones, Lawrence (2007-12-11). "Atheist Dawkins Calls Himself a 'Cultural Christian'". Christian Post Reporter. Retrieved 2007-12-30. .

And there is a new article I've created Out Campaign, which should probably be linked to the Bright, neo-humanism, and the pink invis. unicorn through a Modern Atheism (1980 onward), or Neo-Atheism, WP:PORTAL.

Oh yes, above submitted by User:EvanCarroll. EvanCarroll (talk) 21:33, 30 December 2007 (UTC)

Hi EvanCarroll. Thanks for the suggestions. As you can imagine this article has been worked on by lots of editors, and although no article is perfect it's GA and in relatively good shape. Getting a consensus on major surgery would be very difficult I think. Apart from "too long" and "poorly organised" which seem rather subjective, and no ref to cultural christian (which is in fact already in the article) can you identify any specific problems? NBeale (talk) 06:36, 31 December 2007 (UTC)
The article is only 50Kbytes. That is not too big, but I agree that there is plenty of room for improvement in how the information is organized. Rather than factor out a subject, I think that a better approach is simply to delegate more of the "book tour" media such as interviews to the corresponding book pages. We still have to summarize his assertions, but some of the media-oriented content (by that I mean the quotes) can be delegated.-- (talk) 11:12, 20 January 2008 (UTC)


why don't you guys who have hijacked this page think that the neutrality is disputed when it is so obvious from the discussion page that it is?

the banner says neutrality is disputed. see discussion page. That is perfect for this page. how is it not? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:22, 8 January 2008 (UTC)

Darwin's Rottweiler

I'm fairly certain it was Charles Simonyi, not Alister McGrath, that first called Dawkins that. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:47, 7 April 2008 (UTC)

Censorship: Why was this removed

I placed a point about Professor Dawkins' debate with David Quinn which was removed, could I ask why this was? I feel the only reason for this is censorship because Professor Dawkins' was defeated in this debate, and those people who support his view do not want this to be known on his page. I will add this point back if no debate on the issue is raised. Thank you. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:59, 23 January 2008 (UTC)

As the person who deleted it, let me explain. Not censorship, but because: (a) we don't need to mention every minor media appearance, especially as the article already suffers badly from trivia-stuffing, and (b) the three sources given were all blogs, and therefore not reliable sources. I imagine the opinion that "Dawkins was defeated" is also based on those blogs, not on the verifiable facts or a balanced assessment - but that's just speculation. My motive for deleting was as stated. Snalwibma (talk) 14:16, 23 January 2008 (UTC)
I've now read the transcript of that debate, and in my opinion David Quinn comes across as a religious faith-head that basically says, "I believe in God because I believe in God, and arguments are not of interest". Two of the sites that claim that Dawkins was defeated are rah-rah Christian sites - what else can they say, "opps, Dawkins won the debate, there goes our entire raison d'etre"? The third site was more neutral, the Dawkins-negative headline not in keeping with the contents of the small comment for some strange reason. Anyway, whether that debate should be mentioned in the article or not is no big deal, but those three references are very slanted, and the claim that Dawkins "was defeated" in the debate is delusional (God delusional?) --RenniePet (talk) 19:50, 23 January 2008 (UTC)
You are not exactly a poster-child for neutrality, with your 'rah-rahs'. Why not include a link to the debate, and allow listeners to make up their own minds? (talk) 14:47, 6 March 2008 (UTC)
This is why most biologists should NOT engage in formal debates with creationists. They need no evidence for anything, not for the creation of the Universe or for judging the winner of a debate. Imagine Reason (talk) 21:53, 27 February 2008 (UTC)
There is no evidence at any stage in the debate that Quinn is a creationist. (talk) 14:45, 6 March 2008 (UTC)

Deschner Prize

After being voted one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time Magazine we have Dawkins "awarded awarded the Deschner Prize, named after Karlheinz Deschner.[1]" This seems to be a very minor non-notable prize with about 400 GHits (there is another completely different Descher Prize for music which complicates things) which seem to be mostly blogs, youtube and private websites. Unless someone can demonstrate that it is remotely in the same league as the other awards and recognitions I think we should take it out. NBeale (talk) 06:39, 28 January 2008 (UTC)

Just what I said several months ago! I see, however, that you have had the courage of your convictions and have done the deed. Thanks. Snalwibma (talk) 07:46, 28 January 2008 (UTC)
I can sort of half-read German, and the reference talks about a public ceremony with Dawkins' participation where the prize will be presented along with a monetary amount of €10,000 ($15,000). Sounds good enough for me to be included in the article. --RenniePet (talk) 09:44, 28 January 2008 (UTC)
PS. NBeale wrote on his/her edit summary "Deschner Prize seems very minor and lacks reliable sources" (my emphasis added). But there was a "reliable source" (in German), and other sources are easily found, for example this and this . I would like to restore the reference to this prize; will do it tomorrow if there are no objections. --RenniePet (talk) 10:06, 28 January 2008 (UTC)
No objections from me - I'm just wary of adding too much cruft, and I wondered if the D Prize was no more notable than the latest appearance on TV chat-show X. Snalwibma (talk) 10:16, 28 January 2008 (UTC)
I don't think the website of the prize counts as a reliable source, not does a clip posted on a youTube-type site. I don't of course deny that he won this prize, but I don't think it is remotely notable. Since I am an opponent of Dawkins I suppose I shouldn't object if getting a trivial prize from a fringe fanatic is the last thing mentioned ($15k wouldn't make much difference to Dawkins) but as a WikiPedian I feel we should maintain some standards, even in articles about our opponents. What do other people think? NBeale (talk) 20:45, 28 January 2008 (UTC)
One man's "fringe fanatic" is another man's guiding light? And if this was such a "trivial prize" and "$15k wouldn't make much difference to Dawkins", it was rather nice of him to show up, don't you think? :-)
Seriously, and with a disclaimer about my limited understanding of German, it seems like it was a well-organized event, with simultaneous video projection, implying a fairly large hall. It was held at the University of Frankfurt, who I doubt would be willing to convene an event held by a "fringe fanatic". And although the prize is named after Karlheinz Deschner, it was awarded by an organization called the Giordano Bruno Foundation. (Giordano Bruno being a name that should give all good Christians a good case of bad conscience.) Also, the reference currently on the article is not for the the prize organization itself (although it may be associated with it - someone better at German is welcome to look into it).
I've now watched Dawkins' acceptance speech (about 25 minutes). Video quality is attrocious, but the speech was great. Can we justify adding that link to the article? --RenniePet (talk) 21:16, 28 January 2008 (UTC)
The Giordano Bruno Foundation seems to be a non-notable toy of Deschner's patron Herbert Steffen. The point is that the lack of 3rd party coverage in reliable sources strongly suggests that the event and the prize are non-notable. And you can be very fringy and still rent a room at a university, esp if you are a well-connected industrialist, invite a famous guest, and pay cash. NBeale (talk) 10:18, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
It is exceedingly hard to find out anything about this prize. Almost nothing outside the Foundation's own website, and a mention on the Dawkins site. Lack of easily unearthed references elsewhere suggests to me that this is something we should quietly let go of. I can't see what it really adds to the article, and to the reader's understanding of RD. Apologies for the dithering! Snalwibma (talk) 10:23, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
Based on the value "Deschner Prize" brings to the article, the research by NBeale and Snalwibma strongly indicates delete. --Old Moonraker (talk) 10:40, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
I suggest we remove it from the article and link the video in the external links as en example of Dawkins' recent speeches.--Svetovid (talk) 12:26, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
Well, I think we should keep it. Masterpiece2000 (talk) 08:00, 1 March 2008 (UTC)

Internet notability

A recent survey indicates that Richard Dawkins is the 3rd most mentioned Briton on the Internet. See also [1], [2]. While it would violate NPOV to call him "great", and perhaps violate VP to call him "popular", this finding concerning - well, fame I guess you could call it - is interesting, and yet I didn't add this discovery to the article for two reasons.

Firstly, I couldn't think where to put it. Secondly, it occurred to me that it's not necessarily a worldwide-perspective thing. I mean, the Internet is worldwide, but where he ranks relative to other Britons is selective.

On the other hand, the researchers explicitly noted in the links I gave above that his was an anomalous case, since it was almost all musicians, and the rest were footballers, politicians and so on. Specifically, he is the only non-musician in the top 10.

On the other hand again, we do already have a lot of material that indicates just how noticeable he is. (For those of you who are interested, RD's web site had this as a story, the author being pleased that a speaker for atheism had, at last, been shown to be pretty high-profile. Well, you can read it your self - it puts it better than I do.)

I want it to be a matter of discussion as to where at all it should go and, if so, how to phrase it. Oh, and are both of these sources worth including? I wasn't sure which was the more notable. (talk) 18:49, 29 January 2008 (UTC)

We need some third party reliable sources writing about it.--Svetovid (talk) 20:50, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
Good point. The best I could manage is this, which is scientists worldwide from the same survey as the aforesaid, namely Garlik/QDOS. It shows Dawkins as the 2nd highest "scientist" worldwide. (The highest one is a French economist.) I can't find a list for Britons. Incidentally, a correction to my previous post: the Dawkins praise was actually from the New Humanist link; the RD site just reposted it, as it does with many articles on all sides. On the reliability front, maybe we should forget about it. Or maybe not. I don't know what people make of my third URL. (talk) 22:52, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
The fact that someone is often mentioned doesn't mean they are popular. There are 1.9M GHits for Richard Dawkins but over 6M for another widely read espouser of evolutionary ideas - who indeed got many more votes in his time. (But if you add the search term "idiot" the disparity is much less :-) All this "proves" is that this kind of data (which can be WP:OR and fancruft - or the reverse) is pretty meaningless and should be left out. NBeale (talk) 22:00, 1 February 2008 (UTC)
I explicitly distinguished popularity from notability, but I take your point that this stuff isn't precise enough to be worthwhile. Your method of estimating the frequency with which people are disparaged leaves much to be desired, but that's besides the point, as is the matter that Hitler's espousal was of ideas that contradicted the evolutionary science of his day as much as that of today, since he rejected natural selection for Lamarckism, just like Stalin. Anyway, I'm digressing. I accepted the first objections, let alone any later ones. So we have agreement here. (talk) 16:52, 4 February 2008 (UTC)

Moyers Interview

I was kind of curious about the quote attributed to Dawkins in the Moyers interview. I was under the impression he had more certitude than the quote attributes to him. After reading the text of the interview, I think the given quote subtley misrepresents what he actually intends. The quote leaves one with the impression that Dawkins thinks that the evidence for evolution is 'circumstantial'; that is; convincing, but ultimately ambiguous. After reading the full text of the article, his view seems much stronger than that suggested by the quote.

Full quote includes:

"Huge quantities of circumstantial evidence. It might as well be spelled out in words of English. Evolution is true. I mean it's as circumstantial as that, but it's as true as that."

The omitted bit suggests to me this: Most researchers like Dawkins, only want to talk about such things as function and evidence within a clearly defined context. In other words: all evidence will be 'circumstantial' to some degree or other. When Dawkins uses a phrase such as 'masses of circumstantial evidence' he is expression a conviction as strong as that expressed by a layman using the word 'true'. Dawkins is as sure of evolution as he is of anything. The way Dawkins uses 'circumstantial evidence' may be the same manner in which he would say his belief in the World Trade Center was based on 'masses of circumstantial evidence'. Omitting the full text of the quote makes the quote much clearer, but it also suggests that Dawkins opinion is more tentative and qualified than it actually is.

On a slightly different note, I took a quick look at the editing achives. Good Lord! I can't imagine how the editors have been able to wade through all that crap and end up with a decent, synoptic article. The editorial point on criticism is well made, though. As an atheist, Dawkins specifically repudiates God. Therefore all critcism that takes issue with that fact is simply moot. Consider the wikipedia article on Mohammed. It is relevant to describe his specific monotheism, but it is hardly relevant to catalog all the various other monotheists, polytheists, and atheists who can be expected to disagree with him. In declaring him a monotheist, one has already and implicitly classified his views as antithetical to those.

Enqualia1 (talk) 15:40, 12 February 2008 (UTC) (talk) 14:13, 12 February 2008 (UTC)

ELs (again)

Okay... so there seems to be a movement afoot to reduce the number of external links in articles (WP:NOT#LINK and all that) but I really think the links we used to have were extremely useful. I have put this on talk before but, despite no discussion taking place, someone has been removing ELs faster than I can restore them.

So... what do you guys think? To EL or not the EL? Mikker (...) 10:47, 13 February 2008 (UTC)

South Park

I know it's hardly as important as the rest of his work, but is it worth mentioning that 'he appeared' in the South Go God Go. According to that article he has commented on it. Maybe some sort of In popular culture section. John Hayestalk 21:42, 15 February 2008 (UTC)

This has already been discussed and rejected -- see page archives. Cheers, Joe D (t) 21:54, 15 February 2008 (UTC)
Seemingly at length. Probably best. Thanks. John Hayestalk 22:42, 15 February 2008 (UTC)

The gene-centred view

This topic is well covered in the "Evolutionary biology" section, but in places this is quite technical, e.g. "[Dawkins] is sceptical about non-adaptive processes in evolution (such as spandrels)" Now User:AC+79 3888 has just removed some simpler text, with only an automated summary to explain the edit: "His common theme in The Selfish Gene and many of his other works is that we are built as gene machines and cultured as meme machines and that the term "species" is very handy for classification, but is only plays a minor role in evolution." In what way is the deleted material wrong, please? IMO the first bit, at least, is a good summary and could well be retained. --Old Moonraker (talk) 15:51, 21 February 2008 (UTC)

The text in question was supplied without references to establish its veracity. This, I feel, is important, because, as someone who has read all of Professor Dawkins' works, I disagree with the sentiments regarding the importance of "species"; I feel that it represents Dawkins as treating the concept in far more trivial a manner than he actually does. Moreover, the piece in question was written in an un-encyclopaedic, colloquial manner ("handy for classification"). AC+79 3888 (talk)
Thanks for the explanation. I agree that the reference to "species...only plays a minor role" is a gross simplification, but is there a way to provide a simple introduction to the section? --Old Moonraker (talk) 23:20, 24 February 2008 (UTC)
I believe that there could well be an easy way of emphasising Dawkins' view that the gene is the unit of selection, which could make reference to his opposition to group selection without at all discussing the species concept. There is already a relatively well explained section on memetics, so I would doubt that that needs any simplification. Anyone else have a view on the matter? AC+79 3888 (talk)
In fact there is just such a thing. Dawkins' coined the term God's utility function to express just this point. Fred Hsu (talk) 02:46, 3 April 2008 (UTC)

This guy has no children?

What a shame--for the gene pool! Imagine Reason (talk) 21:23, 27 February 2008 (UTC)

I think he does actually... Mikker (...) 09:23, 28 February 2008 (UTC)
He has one daughter. Her name is Juliet. Here is a letter he wrote to her when she was younger, which appears in his book A Devil's Chaplain. AC+79 3888 (talk) 16:28, 28 February 2008 (UTC)
Yes, he has one daughter. Masterpiece2000 (talk) 07:54, 1 March 2008 (UTC)

'Humanism' with a capital 'H'

In the article Richard Dawkins was called a 'secular humanist'. I removed 'secular humanist' and replaced it with 'Humanist'. 'Humanism' (with a capital 'H' and no adjective such as 'secular' or 'religious') is a lifestance and it is naturalistic, scientific, and secular. Thus, adjectives such as 'secular' are unnecessary. Masterpiece2000 (talk) 04:15, 6 March 2008 (UTC)

Dawkins is also a vice-president of the British Humanist Association, which promotes Humanism (life stance). Thus, it would be more accurate to call him a Humanist. Masterpiece2000 (talk) 05:14, 6 March 2008 (UTC)
I disagree, his views are openly related to secular humanism. He is an honorary associate of the National Secular Society. He also contributed an article here on the topic of "Why I Am A Secular Humanist". Moreover, his being a secular humanist is not at all incompatible with his vice-presidency of the Humanist Association, as that is an umbrella organisation encompassing humanism of all types. AC+79 3888 (talk) 16:35, 6 March 2008 (UTC)
Well, Some prefer the term Humanist (capital 'H'), without any qualifying adjective. The term secular humanism emphasizes a non-religious focus, whereas the term Humanism deemphasizes this and may even encompass some nontheistic varieties of religious humanism. Dawkins emphasizes a non-religious focus. Now I think calling him a secular humanist would be more accurate. Masterpiece2000 (talk) 05:13, 7 March 2008 (UTC)
It's less ambiguous to call him a secular humanist, particularly as he's a member of such an organisation. (As opposed to, say, a religious humanist or a Renaissance humanist.) Autarch (talk) 09:49, 13 March 2008 (UTC)

Need for semi-protection?

There seems to have been a fairly sweeping increase in the amount of vandalism to the page of late. Does anyone else think that maybe it should be semi-protected, or is that an overreaction? AC+79 3888 (talk) 21:18, 11 March 2008 (UTC)

No, that is not an overreaction. The page should be semi-protected. Masterpiece2000 (talk) 04:14, 12 March 2008 (UTC)
I agree, though it is amusing to page through the edit history and look at the vandalism. It's funny, really, how these people fail to see the irony of their actions. (Einamozam (talk) 14:43, 25 March 2008 (UTC))

Weasel words?

The article states: "He is an outspoken antireligionist, atheist, secular humanist and sceptic, and he is a supporter of the Brights movement." Why are these things considered "outspoken"? What makes someone outspoken? Also, I left the title of this section plural to account for any other such instances. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:08, 11 March 2008 (UTC)

Dawkins is an outspoken antireligionist and atheist. However, he is not an outspoken secular humanist. I will make necessary changes. Masterpiece2000 (talk) 03:44, 13 March 2008 (UTC)


Should there be any mention that he will retire from his post in September of this year? Canadianism (talk) 02:54, 12 March 2008 (UTC)

Yes, I think it should be mentioned. Masterpiece2000 (talk) 04:24, 12 March 2008 (UTC)

Featured article candidate

I have nominated this article for the FA status. Other users are welcome to contribute. Masterpiece2000 (talk) 07:18, 13 March 2008 (UTC)

Good work. --RenniePet (talk) 14:34, 13 March 2008 (UTC)
I've read through the article and made some adjustments to wording and punctuation that I think make it read more smoothly. The article looks pretty comprehensive and well-sourced. While I'm no expert on Dawkins, unless some substantial information is missing, I see no reason why the article should not be given Featured Article acknowledgment. Nihil novi (talk) 10:12, 17 March 2008 (UTC)
Don't nominated articles have links to nomination page from article's talk page? Where is it? Fred Hsu (talk) 02:49, 3 April 2008 (UTC) link

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section.

The result of the discussion was not to add the link to the article. Masterpiece2000 (talk) 12:54, 13 April 2008 (UTC)

I added an external link to on this article which has subsequently been removed. I believe this link to be relevant as it is a site set up in response to the works and literature of Professor Dawkins. I believe it to be necessary as Wikipedia articles are to be objective, and this is the first external link to an opposing viewpoint. The site has links to many relevant articles and audio files including a link to the Dawkins-Lennox debate, and a discussion between Dawkins and McGrath (one of his most prominent opponents). Thus for the sake of both objectivity and completeness I believe this link should remain, and so shall reinstate it on or after 10:00 GMT if by then there are no compelling arguments to the contrary. Pete g1 (talk) 09:19, 13 March 2008 (UTC)

The link is not relevant. It is not a major website and we cannot include this link here. I would like to know the views of other users. I am removing this link. If majority of users agree to include this link, then the link will be included. Masterpiece2000 (talk) 13:19, 13 March 2008 (UTC)
I took a quick look at the site and it struck me as nut-case stuff, although somewhat more articulate than most sites of that kind.
As for whether the link should be included or not, I don't care much one way or another. There is one line of (simplistic?) thought that says that if an article contains lots and lots of negative feedback about the subject, then ha, ha, the subject must be wrong. But another line of thought is that the more negative feedback there is about a topic, the more likely it is to be correct! That's because the huge negative response is an indication of how well the original argument made the targeted audience squirm, and feel compelled to defend their obviously shaky positions. :-) --RenniePet (talk) 13:41, 13 March 2008 (UTC)
Richard Dawkins is the world's leading atheist and one of the world's leading biologists. He is controversial and confrontational. It is customary on Wikipedia to put links to critical sites on the pages of controversial public figures. Certainly Wikipedia pages on any 'leading creationist scientist' such as Michael Behe or Francis Collins has external links to one off articles by evolutionists and atheists that are critical. Atheistdelusion is not a one off article nor a wacky creationist site. It is merely a conglomeration of links to articles and audios critical of Dawkins. From what I can see it is the most relevant site on the entire web for anyone who wants to read views critical of Dawkins. What have we to be afraid of on Wikipedia in simply providing our readers with a place to find opposing views to a particularly well known and controversial evolutionary scientist like Dawkins? In the interests of simple fairness at least one link like this should be on Dawkins's page. Journalist492 (talk) 15:23, 13 March 2008 (UTC)
Francis Collins would be appalled by the label 'leading creationist scientist': he is a "theistic evolutionist" and an opponent of the ID and creationist movements. But I can find no criticism of his religious views on his page. Michael Behe is a totally different case: there is scientific criticism of him. --Robert Stevens (talk) 15:42, 13 March 2008 (UTC)
Looks like User talk:Journalist492 you have yourself tried to post a link from RD to this site previously and had the explanation on your talk pages User:Masterpiece2000 has again provided here as to why it is not appropriate and which I fully concur.Tmol42 (talk) 16:20, 13 March 2008 (UTC)
Robert Stevens, if you re-check Francis Collins's page you'll see an external link to a single essay by Sam Harris (atheist) in which he "delivers a scathing review of 'The Language of God,' a new book by Human Genome Project head Francis Collins that attempts to demonstrate a harmony between science and evangelical Christianity." If Wikipedia approves of a link to an atheist critiquing a book by a leading respected geneticist who believes in God, why won't approve of an external link on Richard Dawkins's page critiquing his book 'The God Delusion'? Journalist492 (talk) 17:10, 13 March 2008 (UTC)
OK, I missed that book review on the Collins page (and, arguably, it doesn't belong there anyhow, but should really be on the page that's dedicated to the book: however, that page is currently just a stub). I have no objection in principle to links critical of Dawkins (and there are already plenty of those, as references: the article makes no secret of the fact that there are notable people who disagree with him). But "external links" (especially in a featured article) are supposed to lead to high-quality reputable articles which provide further insight into the topic: and, frankly, that site is garbage. Maybe some of the stuff in the links on that site are worthwhile, but the main text is typical creationist fraud: "A certain Mr. Kettlewell's experiments with moths were discussed. Various shapes and sizes of horses were portrayed in a smooth and convincing sequence which, so I was told, mirrored exactly what palaeontologists had found in the fossil record. I don't remember much else, but I imagine that Archaeopteryx, Lucy the Australopithecine, homology and Darwin’s finches were all rolled into the mix somewhere... Through reading Evolution a Theory in Crisis, Icons of Evolution, Darwin on Trial and Darwin's Black Box - among many other books on the subject, both for and against - I discovered that all the textbook 'evidences' for Darwin's theory of evolution were at best inconclusive and at worst, flawed (and in some cases completely fraudulent)". Those sources have long since been debunked. Creationism and ID don't belong here, even as external links. --Robert Stevens (talk) 18:16, 13 March 2008 (UTC)
Creationist Ken Ham has a whole 'external links' section on his page entitled 'Critical of Ham' - four links. It's strange that Dawkin's page has no such external links! (Peter Fleming) 13th March 2008
Comparing Richard Dawkins (a promoter of actual science) to Ken Ham (a promoter of ludicrous crackpottery) is not exactly helpful, or relevant. --Robert Stevens (talk) 18:16, 13 March 2008 (UTC)
I believe your last comment runs contrary to one of the five pillars - "Wikipedia has a neutral point of view". I would be happy to include the link to in a sub-section of external links entitled 'Critical of Dawkins'. Pete g1 (talk) 22:43, 13 March 2008 (UTC)
This comes up a lot in discussions involving creationism/ID. The relevant policies are WP:UNDUE and WP:RS. NPOV doesn't commit Wikipedia to remaining neutral between mainstream science and fringe beliefs (or even to mention such beliefs in articles that don't specifically cover them), nor are we obliged to treat fringe/extremist sources as reliable. --Robert Stevens (talk) 23:00, 13 March 2008 (UTC) says that view points held by an extremely small minority should not be included. However the Christianity article says that there are between 1.5 and 2.1 billion 'adherents' to christianity and the Islam article quotes between 1.1 and 1.8 billion Muslims worldwide. These are both monotheistic religions and a belief in a God is intrinsic. With a world population of 6.6 billion, and taking the lower end of these stated statistics (i.e. 2.6 billion people who claim to be of one of these two religious viewpoints) leads to the statistic that at a bare minimum 39.4% of the worlds population believe that there is a God. This is by no means an extremely small minority. was created as a response to Dawkins' "The God Delusion" which is heavily critical of the belief in God. That is why an external link to it is relevant. Pete g1 (talk) 23:59, 13 March 2008 (UTC)
Creationism/ID is not synonymous with "Christianity". It is a minority/fringe viewpoint, a pseudoscience, rejected by all but a tiny percentage of scientists and a minority of Christians, and detemined to be unscientific in a court of law. And that is a creationist/ID site. Responses from "mainstream" Christians are mixed up with the usual crew of liars and loons (Johnson, Sarfati etc). Not a reliable source. --Robert Stevens (talk) 00:38, 14 March 2008 (UTC)
Well! I agree with Robert Stevens. I think User:Pete g1 should study WP:RS. The link supports creationism/ID. We cannot include any source which supports pseudoscientific theories. Masterpiece2000 (talk) 02:50, 14 March 2008 (UTC)
Perhaps, Robert Stevens and Masterpiece, you would consider the inclusion of external links to articles by people who you consider mainstream Christians - whether scientists, scholars or researchers. So, what of a section called 'Critical of Dawkins' in which links are posted to articles by Anthony Flew, Francis Collins, Peter Harrison etc.? Journalist492 (talk) 11:04, 14 March 2008 (UTC)
Read the archives of this talk page, and you will see that the question of including a separate "criticism" section has been discussed at length, and the consensus is against such a thing - see, most recently, here. Criticism is already woven into the fabric of the article, and several prominent christian critics are mentioned by name, with footnotes and links. The "external links" section is deliberatly a short list of key resources. If you can come up with anything suitable for inclusion (wide enough coverage, important enough, etc - regardless of its point of view), go ahead and add it. But I do think we need to be very wary of opening the floodgates to every-little-bloggish-website-that-happens-to-mention-Dawkins - again, regardless of whether it's pro or anti. Snalwibma (talk) 11:37, 14 March 2008 (UTC)
Thank you Snalwibma. You speak of 'consensus' but if you do a little research you'll find that Svetoid is an atheist, Masterpiece2000 is a humanist with a naturalist worldview and Robert Stevens is an evolutionist. We're not really talking about a broad unbiased 'consensus' - rather a simple case of opposition to a section openly critical of Richard Dawkins from people who favour Dawkins's worldview and support for such a section from others who are theists. Theists appeal to Wikipedia's 'neutrality' while atheists appeal to Wikipedia's commitment to 'the mainstream'. Are there any 'neutral' editors who could give a more dispassionate view? Journalist492 (talk) 12:09, 14 March 2008 (UTC)
...Whatever happened to "assuming good faith"? There are several entirely legitimate arguments against the inclusion of that particular website (including the fact that it's the personal website of a non-notable person). My own primary concern here is that Wikipedia shouldn't be directing readers to sites that contain blatant falsehoods such as "evolution is wrong because mutations cannot increase information" (a creationist lie: mutations can and do increase information). I am a "truthist", rather than a "falsist". And Wikipedia is, first and foremost, an encyclopaedia. --Robert Stevens (talk) 12:19, 14 March 2008 (UTC)
WTF? Journalist492: There is indeed a consensus. That does not mean that everyone agrees with everything, but that some of us have agreed to disagree but to let the majority decision stand. For your information, I am an atheist, a humanist with a naturalist worldview and an "evolutionist" (i.e. a scientist). Does that disqualify me from editing this article or having an unbiased view? Please refrain from what is very close to a personal attack on your fellow-editors, and stop trying to push your anti-scientific point of view. Yes, this is a controversial subject in some people's eyes - and there has been a sterling effort over several years to maintain the balance and impartiality of the article. Please contribute constructively or not at all. Snalwibma (talk) 12:48, 14 March 2008 (UTC)

Like I said above, that web site is nut-case stuff. Including the link or not including it does not change that fact. Should Wikipedia include on the page about the Earth that there are nut-cases who claim the Sun rotates around the Earth? (They used to be called Christians, and burned people with opposing views at the stake.) --RenniePet (talk) 12:33, 14 March 2008 (UTC)

Incidentally, it's not only nut-case stuff, but the web site is set up as a deliberate attempt to fool search engines and attract traffic from people who search for Richard Dawkins and The God Delusion. Here's the HTML info from the home page:
<title>Atheist Richard Dawkins - The God Delusion: Books, Debates, Articles, Audios & DVDs on Atheism by Richard Dawkins</title>
<meta name="description" content="Richard Dawkins, the world's most famous atheist, makes his home in Oxford, England. It points to a wide array of books, articles, DVDs and audios on Richard Dawkins and The God Delusion.">
<meta name="keywords" content="richard dawkins, god delusion, god delusion by richard dawkins, books by richard dawkins, audio by richard dawkins, dvds by richard dawkins, debates by richard dawkins, articles by richard dawkins, richard dawkins atheist.">
As can be seen, despite the fact that the site is anti-Dawkins, to search engines it presents itself as a site with information about Dawkins. --RenniePet (talk) 12:49, 14 March 2008 (UTC)
Very good argument by RenniePet. And, Journalist492, please assume good faith. Masterpiece2000 (talk) 08:52, 15 March 2008 (UTC)
- RenniePet, the HTML is irrelevant to this discussion. Furthermore the URL of the website makes it abundantly clear that the site is not pro-Dawkins or his ideas - all the HTML does is to tell search engines that users who search for Dawkins may be interested in the content of atheist delusion, as the diligent mind interested in considering all the evidence from both sides would be. This is standard practice in the design & construction of websites, but as I said, the HTML seems to be of very little interest or relevance to the topic of this discussion.
- With reference to your previous point, I know a considerable number of people, (among them biologists, physicists, chemists and mathematicians, which encompass the four main scientific fields of both practical and theoretical study and research) who believe in God and who oppose Dawkins and his ideas. And my point here is this; there are scientists (myself among them) who believe in God, and who believe that He created the universe and everything in it. Evolution is by no means a universally accepted theory within the scientific community, while Dawkins' claims that there is no God, and that belief in a diety is a delusion, is even more widely critisized (see Alister McGrath's The Dawkins Delusion?). Thus I suggest that the content of is not 'nut-case stuff', but rather that it promotes intellectual material in opposition to Professor Dawkins' ideas. Pete g1 (talk) 01:22, 16 March 2008 (UTC)
There is a lot of criticism of Dawkins in the article. This article is primarily an article about Dawkins and his ideas. Some critical analysis of his ideas is of course acceptable, but should not dominate. I know some people think he is the "antichrist" and will not be happy until the article consists solely of criticism, no matter how marginal, but that is not the purpose of the article. The site under discussion does not add to our understanding of Dawkins, it simply spoon feeds us some criticism, some intellectually valid, some not. And Pete, you are simply wrong in your claim that evolution is by no means a universally accepted theory within the scientific community. It's critics sit very much at the margin of science. You also appear to be taking the common creationist error - evolution (and science in general) has nothing at all to say about the existence or otherwise of God. That is a question of philosophy and theology. --Michael Johnson (talk) 00:37, 17 March 2008 (UTC)
I don't think the link promotes intellectual material in opposition to Dawkins' ideas. User:Svetovid‎, User:RenniePet, User:Tmol42, User:Robert Stevens, User:Snalwibma, User:Michael Johnson, and I oppose the inclusion of the link. The link should not be included. Masterpiece2000 (talk) 03:15, 17 March 2008 (UTC)
I too oppose its inclusion, as I think that it presents totally subjective, biased views on Dawkins and his work. Moreover, as has been pointed out, it attempts rather blatantly to trick search engines with misleading information on its content, and is something which Wikipedia should not be seen to promote, in my opinion. AC+79 3888 (talk) 21:32, 19 March 2008 (UTC)
Is it really the role of Wikipedia to _promote_ (see above)? I was under the impression that Wikipedia is all about informing, not promoting. It does seem that you guys in the above 2 paragraphs are happy to suppress the information and opinions contained in the atheistdelusion site. This suppression could be called censorship in some circumstances. Where is the harm in letting Wikipedia users see the information presented by both camps and leaving them to draw their own conclusions? You seem unhealthily ready to 'convert' people to your beliefs or, at best, suppress the questioning of your views...Uk-david (talk) 23:39, 24 March 2008 (UTC)
Now that is just being silly. Nobody is trying to censor or suppress Nor is anybody trying to "promote" (exactly what?). This is an article about Dawkins and his ideas. It should not be a collection of links to web sites that are simply compendiums of other writings. If there is material in that can help us gain a better understanding of Dawkins, source it to the original. --Michael Johnson (talk) 05:07, 25 March 2008 (UTC)

To Pete G1: Sorry, I hadn't noticed you'd replied to my message above a couple of days ago.

> while Dawkins' claims that there is no God

That is not true. Dawkins is a scientist, and he knows that he does not have a scientific proof for the non-existence of a god. As a good scientist he knows it is impossible to scientifically prove there is no god.

You, and most who attack Dawkins, love to repeat again and again that "Dawkins claims that there is no God", and then you take him apart on that basis. I'll just repeat what I've previously written (twice) on the talk page for The God Delusion:

"But to a large extent this is a red herring. What most of The God Delusion is about is not at all the subject of whether a god exists or not, it's about how crazy it is to believe in the particular God that Jews, Christians, and Muslims believe in. How ridiculous the Bible is and how parents do their children a disservice by indoctrinating them with their religion. How nonsensical and dangerous in particular the fundamentalist American Christians and ditto Muslims are. That is the main message of the book, but those who feel targeted prefer to focus on the "does a god exist" business, thinking that gets them off the hook, despite the fact that Dawkins never claims that no god exists." --RenniePet (talk) 23:00, 19 March 2008 (UTC)

The above discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section.

Book "Everything You Know About God Is Wrong..."

I cannot find much information on the book Everything You Know About God Is Wrong: The Disinformation Guide to Religion [with Neil Gaiman (Collaborator) and Russ Kick (Editor)] which was recently added. It appears from what I have seen that it is just a collection which includes a piece or pieces from Dawkins' other works, in which case it shouldn't be listed. Does anyone know more about it? AC+79 3888 (talk) 09:08, 14 March 2008 (UTC)

As you say, it's by Russ Kick. He anthologises Dawkins's 2003 Gerin oil magazine article—just two pages in a nearly 400-page volume. Having Dawkins as a "collaborator" in the work seems to be a ploy by some online retailer, or the publisher. It should be deleted. --Old Moonraker (talk) 09:36, 14 March 2008 (UTC)

I was also wondering about this, and my conclusion is much the same. We do not need to list every little contribution by Dawkins. Delete it. Snalwibma (talk) 10:10, 14 March 2008 (UTC)

Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed documentary

I recently added a small piece on this, which was promptly deleted by User:Svetovid. Surely it should be mentioned somewhere, given the amount of public discussion there's been about it? Of course, if the concensus is that it should not, then I'm quite happy to leave it out. Regards. AC+79 3888 (talk) 10:56, 27 March 2008 (UTC)

The stated reason for the deletion was that it was a recentism. If you disagree, post why. MantisEars (talk) 11:08, 27 March 2008 (UTC)
Well, although of course I cannot guarantee the longterm historical significance of this film, I based my judgement to include it merely on the fact that it has been featured rather prominently in news lately. Dawkins himself has written quite extensively on it. Again, as I am not at all sure this qualifies it for inclusion, I would like some opinions. Thanks. AC+79 3888 (talk) 11:27, 27 March 2008 (UTC)
I've given this a bit of thought, and I agree that it's best to wait for a while and see what the reaction is like to this film. Regards. AC+79 3888 (talk) 23:20, 28 March 2008 (UTC)


I nominated the biography of Dawkins for the FA status. However, the nomination failed. I think there are several reasons why it failed. I think the following are the reasons why the biography of Dawkins has suffered for so long:

1. Disruptive editing by POV-pushing editors: I consider the disruptive editing by POV-pushing editors as one of the main reason why the article has suffered for so long. We have to clean up the mess created by these users. I think the solution would be to semi-protect the article. I see no reason why IPs should edit this article. Most of them are vandals. The article should be semi-protected. And, established users who are guilty of disruptive editing should be warned and prevented from editing the article.

2. References: I have noticed that users have added references without using citation templates. Users are recommended to use the following templates:

Users should also add page numbers. Many book references don’t have page numbers.

I want to promote this article to the FA status. Others users are invited to make constructive suggestions. Regards, Masterpiece2000 (talk) 03:03, 2 April 2008 (UTC)

The comments at the FA review related to copy editing, Wikifying, insufficient inline citations, incomplete citations (including missing page numbers or other required details), and inconsistent citation form. All quotations require pinpoint page citations. I have not seen recent activity that would warrant semi-protection. Most IPs are not vandals, and Wikipedia has a strong policy commitment to allowing unregistered users to edit (I personally favor requiring registration as a prerequisite to editing, but that is NOT and WILL NOT be Wikipedia's policy). I've been trying to do some cleanup myself, but I am not personally inclined to fix everyone else's citation problems. A tiny point that not really an FA criterion: I don't think having all the images lined up on the right side is aesthetically pleasing; perhaps some thought should be given to the article's overall layout. Finell (Talk) 04:51, 2 April 2008 (UTC)
Finell, not all IPs are vandals. However, many IPs have vandalized this article. I can give you examples. Masterpiece2000 (talk) 08:54, 2 April 2008 (UTC)
I would support semi-protection in this case. As far as I am concerned, so much of my limited wiki-time and energy is devoted to undoing the vandalism, and checking for collateral damage, that there is none left for making positive improvements to the article. If we got rid of the sheer mindless vandalism (nearly all done by IPs) we would be able to focus on making it better, rather than just stopping it getting worse. Snalwibma (talk) 09:00, 2 April 2008 (UTC)
Yes, I agree with Snalwibma. So much of time and energy is devoted to undoing the vandalism. If the article is semi-protected and if we can use that energy to improve the article, the article will achieve FA status! Masterpiece2000 (talk) 09:14, 2 April 2008 (UTC)
Let's stop discussing page protection here. Anyone can request it at Wikipedia:Requests for page protection. Please just go ahead if you are so inclined; I will not go there to comment if you do. Finell (Talk) 16:57, 2 April 2008 (UTC)

(Outdented by Finell) It's clear that citations/references are the problem here. I have been doing my best to tidy them up, but there remain a number of issues. I am going to read fully through the article and try to sort it out as best I can. On the issue of semi-protection, as I have said in another post on this talk page, I agree that it should happen. I have seen few constructive edits by IPs, and lots of nonsense and vendetta. It detracts seriously from the time of those willing to improve this article. AC+79 3888 (talk) 09:58, 2 April 2008 (UTC)

Nice work being done on the article, especially by AC+79 3888 and Masterpiece2000! Please keep it up. One small point: Where an article in a printed periodical also appears on the Web, in my opinion it would be better to use {{cite journal}} or {{cite news}}, with full citation to the print version, rather than {{cite web}}. Finell (Talk) 18:31, 3 April 2008 (UTC)
And it keeps getting better! Regarding citations, please do not remove from the templates labels for attribute just because they don't have values now, especially essential ones like year or date of publication. They will have to be filled to reach FA status. Finell (Talk) 15:31, 4 April 2008 (UTC)
I'm going to attempt to find years and/or dates for references ASAP.--AC+79 3888 (talk) 17:52, 4 April 2008 (UTC)
I notice, however, that some references cannot be dated -- e.g. the Charles Simonyi Professorship homepage, and's profile of Dawkins. AC+79 3888 (talk) 17:58, 4 April 2008 (UTC)
With web sites, which of course can be changed at any time, you record the date you accessed the site. --Michael Johnson (talk) 21:44, 4 April 2008 (UTC)
There is no discussion about Richard and Ben squaring off in Expelled? I found in entertaining and amusing. Two world views... why not include it here? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:00, 22 April 2008 (UTC)

Yes, every reference on the page has an accessdate now. I cannot see any references which should have dates of publishing and do not. (If someone can find any, please either add dates or let me know). I feel that the article is either currently at - or very nearly at - the level of FA status. --AC+79 3888 (talk) 16:55, 5 April 2008 (UTC)

Just to add to that, I think that I will submit it for Peer Review at Wikipedia Biography soon.--AC+79 3888 (talk) 17:31, 5 April 2008 (UTC)

To italicise or not to italicise?

There is inconsistency in the article regarding the use of italics for "terms".

Paragraph two states that:

[Dawkins]...introduced the term meme...

Whilst the section on Religion has:

...(from which the term "faith-sufferer" originated)...

So, either both should be in italics, or both should be contained in inverted commas. I personally think the latter. A "term" is not the title of a work; it is just a linguistic phrase.

--AC+79 3888 (talk) 10:03, 3 April 2008 (UTC)

WP:MOS prescribes using italic for a term used as a term; a term used as a term is not a quotation, either. Finell (Talk) 17:52, 3 April 2008 (UTC)
Very well, I have edited in accordance with those guidelines. Regards. --AC+79 3888 (talk) 18:43, 3 April 2008 (UTC)


I assume (but do not know for sure) that Dawkins has Kenyan nationality as well as British, given the fact that he was born there and spent the early years of his life there. Anyone know? --AC+79 3888 (talk) 15:45, 4 April 2008 (UTC)

I'm no expert in this, but I do not believe that a person's nationality, at least for biographical purposes (legal purposes is a separate matter), is solely determined by place of birth. For example, if a mother and father of undisputed, undiluted French nationality give birth while on vacation in Las Vegas, would the child have U.S. nationality in addition to French nationality? I don't think so, even though the child would be a U.S. citizen under U.S. law. You may want to look into this further. Finell (Talk) 17:11, 4 April 2008 (UTC)
Thanks for the reply, Finell. I think unless we hear otherwise, it should be left as it is. I have never heard Dawkins publicly discuss the issue, I have asked on his website and no one seems to know. We can only be sure that he is a British citizen.--AC+79 3888 (talk) 17:39, 4 April 2008 (UTC)
Do reliable sources say that he is of British nationality? Do reliable sources say that he is of Kenyan nationality? From Wikipedia's standpoint, those are the deciding questions. Avoid WP:OR concerning his nationality (or anything else, for that matter). Also, Dawkins is a registered Wikipedian and monitors WP's articles about him, and occasionally edits them to correct factual inaccuracy (although that raises the issue of WP:COI). Finell (Talk) 07:44, 5 April 2008 (UTC)
Dawkins was born in 1941, when Kenya was a British colony. There was no "Kenyan nation" to be a national of. He would have been born a British subject, as was everybody born in Kenya at the time, and had left Kenya well before Kenyan independence in 1963, so the question of Kenyan nationality would never have arisen --Michael Johnson (talk) 08:00, 5 April 2008 (UTC)
Good point by Michael Johnson. Masterpiece2000 (talk) 08:39, 5 April 2008 (UTC)
"no "Kenyan nation" to be a national of" The British would make sure of that!



Congratulations on the major improvements being made. I suggest that the lead be reduced to about 1/4 or 1/3 of its current size, sticking to highlights rather than details, and the more detailed material be moved to the body of the article, to the extent that it is not already there. See WP:LEAD. Unfortunately, I have no time now to work on this. User:Tony1 gave the article a fairly comprehensive critique at WP:FAC; perhaps you could ask for his help in bringing the article to FA quality. Finell (Talk) 16:21, 8 April 2008 (UTC)

Ready for FA nomination?

I submitted this article for peer review at Wikiproject Biography, and the javascript programme which is commonly used to find faults didn't come up with a single suggestion for improvement. I've looked at it myself, can't see anything. I'm considering submitting it. But then, if people do not think it's ready yet, please explain why exactly, and myself and others who are interested in getting it to FA status can do so. Thanks. AC+79 3888 (talk) 16:47, 10 April 2008 (UTC)

I suggest waiting awhile, given how recently it was last nominated. Finell (Talk) 07:27, 11 April 2008 (UTC)

Is this a joke?

An article on claimed that Richard Dawkins is to guest star in an upcoming episode of Doctor Who! Is this a joke? If not, should this be included in the article? Ilikefood (talk) 21:14, 10 April 2008 (UTC)

It's in the article here. AC+79 3888 (talk) 21:26, 10 April 2008 (UTC)

Rottweiler and McGrath

In the lead: "Dawkins was first identified as "Darwin's rottweiler" by English theologian Alister McGrath...". I don't think this is right. I don't think McGrath was the first to call him that. I think it was Simonyi - see this article from 1996. Other sources do say McGrath coined it, but none of them seems to point back as far as 1996. Anyone know the truth? Maybe it would be wisest not to attribute the epithet to anyone in particular, unless we are certain. Snalwibma (talk) 08:41, 11 April 2008 (UTC)

Unless someone can establish it without any doubt then I think you are right; we shouldn't attribute it to anyone. AC+79 3888 (talk) 09:58, 11 April 2008 (UTC)
I agree with you. I will make some necessary changes. Masterpiece2000 (talk) 12:18, 11 April 2008 (UTC)

My edit summary got cut off for some reason, but using the words "identified as" sounds as if someone has grabbed Dawkin's collar, are read Darwin's name on the tag. "Nick-named" may be too casual too, so if someone comes up with something better, good. --Michael Johnson (talk) 12:32, 11 April 2008 (UTC)

How about simply "referred to as" or "described as"?AC+79 3888 (talk) 13:55, 11 April 2008 (UTC)
"Referred to as" sounds better. Masterpiece2000 (talk) 12:36, 12 April 2008 (UTC)
How about "nicknamed"? Autarch (talk) 19:27, 24 April 2008 (UTC)

Early life / Personal life

Should "Early life" and "Personal life" really be different subsections? Maybe they should be together under "Personal life"?--AC+79 3888 (talk) 09:56, 11 April 2008 (UTC)

No. I think they should be different. It will be easier for people to read the article. Masterpiece2000 (talk) 12:16, 11 April 2008 (UTC)

A Devil's Chaplain

Adding external links to all the essays available (legally) on the net would be an improvement for A Devil's Chaplain. I presume some are available on some sites without the author's permission, while others are fine. This article seems to be getting very difficult to improve on, so if anyone is looking for some lighter work on Dawkins feel free to help out with A Devil's Chaplain or any of the other underdeveloped articles on his works. Richard001 (talk) 02:35, 12 April 2008 (UTC)

There are already several links to essays here, but it could be expanded. His official Oxford University site has got an extensive collection of links to various essays/letters/papers, the most important of which do seem to be in the article already. As I say, though, more could potentially be added, depending on user consensus.--AC+79 3888 (talk) 15:57, 12 April 2008 (UTC)
Sorry, I meant A Devil's Chaplain, which I have linked again a couple of times. Using 'this' to mean two different things isn't very clear is it? Richard001 (talk) 06:35, 13 April 2008 (UTC)

Reference in Bioshock (suitable for inclusion?)

I spotted this in the Arcadia level of BioShock and considering the central themes of the game's plot - genetic manipulation, the ethics of the aforementioned and a non-religious, scientific society gone wrong, I felt pretty sure it must be reference.

However, there's no obvious place for it to go in the article and a lot of discrimination against games as a serious creative medium - although as this game sold 1.7 million in the last 6 months and is one of the highest rated games of all time, I think it's notable and deserving enough. ( (talk) 14:50, 12 April 2008 (UTC))

The problem is, right now it's original research to make the conclusion that he's the Dawkins referenced on the book. That said, if a major gaming magazine or two makes the connection and writes about it in articles, then we could cite those articles. —C.Fred (talk) 14:55, 12 April 2008 (UTC)
The problem is not that it isn't probably the same "Dawkins" (it probably is in the minds of the game creators) but that, as with South Park, it would be a trivial mention in which Dawkins probably had no involvement. It doesn't matter if any gaming mag picks up on this (and I would imagine that there will be plenty of anti-Dawkins bloggers who will spin this), it is still trivial unless there is evidence that Dawkins endorsed this product in some way e.g. obtained royalties or had a contract with the game company for use of Dawkins as a brand. I wouldn't expect that.Ttiotsw (talk) 09:25, 13 April 2008 (UTC)
Surely it's also worth pointing out that the game takes place in an underwater city created in the 1950's, which would require Dawkins to be rather precocious to be credited with a biological law. Thanny (talk) 11:38, 5 May 2008 (UTC)

No. Not worth including. It does not inform about Dawkins at all. Non encyclopedic. This is not a trivia forum. KillerChihuahua?!? 13:01, 5 May 2008 (UTC)

Richard Dawkins FA

I have nominated this article for the FA status. Masterpiece2000 (talk) 09:31, 14 April 2008 (UTC)

Discussion is here: [3]. Finell (Talk) 09:39, 14 April 2008 (UTC)
Yes, I encourage others to get involved. AC+79 3888 (talk) 13:00, 15 April 2008 (UTC)


can we not archive the entire talk page please? surely there has been some recent discussion.. (talk) 14:15, 16 April 2008 (UTC), please suggest ways to improve the article. We don't appreciate unnecessary comments. Masterpiece2000 (talk) 02:47, 17 April 2008 (UTC)
I suggest making use of User:MiszaBot to automatically archive the talk page. I've used it on several other articles, and it works really well. Also, Masterpiece2000, the IP's comment isn't unnecessary – (s)he was correct in saying that archiving recent discussions is not helpful. Adam McMaster (talk) 15:50, 19 April 2008 (UTC)

Questions about the lead

  1. In 1982, he made a widely cited contribution to evolutionary biology with the theory, presented in his book The Extended Phenotype. Was the theory originally presented in a book? Do other scientists cite the book as the reference for these ideas?
  2. phenotypic effects are not limited to an organism's body but can stretch far into the environment, which includes the bodies of other organisms. I didn't understand this before reading the extended phenotype article. The Central Theorem makes the point more clearly, if it is the same point...
  3. Dawkins is an outspoken antitheist and atheist. I felt this was somehow redundant after the paragraph before it.
  4. —as a fixed false belief. Does this add anything to the sentence? Maybe it does... But also, is this Dawkins' own definition of delusion?
  5. Dawkins has widely been referred to in the media as "Darwin's Rottweiler" Hmm... Rather than adding this at the end, it could instead introduce the paragraph I complained about above. Has that been tried? I will give it a try. It might really fail, so reverts are welcome. :)

Good luck with the FAC. --Merzul (talk) 14:51, 17 April 2008 (UTC)

  1. Yes, it was originally presented in this book. Says Dawkins: "I suppose most authors have one piece of work of which they would say `It doesn't matter if you never read anything else of mine, please at least read this.' For me, it is The Extended Phenotype. In particular, the last four chapters constitute the best candidate for the title `innovative' that I have to offer. The rest of the book does some necessary sorting out on the way." Daniel C. Dennett, who wrote an afterword for the book, regards it as seminal. Other quotations here.
  2. (nothing to say on this)
  3. Thanks for the suggestion, I moved the reference to atheism and antitheism to the preceding paragraph.
  4. Yes, it is, as laid out explicitly in the opening pages on The God Delusion.
  5. That's moved now. AC+79 3888 [ talk ] 20:00, 17 April 2008 (UTC)
Regarding (1). I was surprised, because I haven't heard of many widely cited contributions to science being first published in a book rather than say journal papers. The book is of course an OUP publication. Maybe it's not uncommon in evolutionary biology to present novel theories in a book. I don't think the article needs any clarification on this matter, unless anyone else was similarly confused. --Merzul (talk) 22:48, 17 April 2008 (UTC)
About (2), the hard part for me is "phenotypic effects". I have a rough idea of what phenotype and genotype probably mean, but can't quite grasp the idea here. Is the sentence is expressing the same idea as the Central Theorem of the Extended Phenotype? --Merzul (talk) 22:48, 17 April 2008 (UTC)

I'll out-indent and state the first issue more clearly, because I now noticed in the very early FAC comments that indopug was more or less similarly surprised. He said, "I find it weird that the lead introduces his theories based on the pop-sci books he had written them in..." The answer you gave there and what Silence said could help clarify this issue:

"Dawkins is much more significant and influential as a popularizer than as a researcher. Where he has had innovations, they have primarily been innovative ways of looking at phenomena, rather than new biology discoveries."

In this light, it makes perfect sense that The Extended Phenotype is a widely cited contribution to evolutionary biology. The question is, if and how the lead could clarify this. --Merzul (talk) 09:37, 18 April 2008 (UTC)

I don't have any book written by Richard Dawkins. I think a book reference is required. Masterpiece2000 (talk) 06:56, 19 April 2008 (UTC)

Talking about the FAC...

I found the sections on religion hard to follow. There is so much material, and it argues back and forth. More importantly, is this proportional to what Dawkins is known for? Clearly, the most recent media attention is about his atheism, but still... Well, I'm not a biologist, so I don't know, but my intuition says that atheism is given too much prominence here. Is the consensus that the article is proportional?

Also, why is the "Creationism" section after the "Atheism, humanism and rationalism" section? Isn't the logical/historical development of his popular science work from evolution and criticism of creationism, to only fairly recently, atheism and criticism of religion in general. --Merzul (talk) 15:38, 17 April 2008 (UTC)

As someone who is a big fan of Dawkins' work in the scientific arena, I would have to say that it is (in my opinion, unfortunately) proportional. The media attention received by Dawkins is, and has been, almost solely centred on religion. Just look at the citations. As for your second point, I'm undecided. I'd like to hear what others think. Regards, AC+79 3888 [ talk ] 20:04, 17 April 2008 (UTC)
I must say...before I joined Wikipedia, I knew little about Richard Dawkins. I think I read about meme when I was studying one psychology book! I think Merzul is right. "Creationism" section should be before "Atheism, humanism and rationalism" section. Masterpiece2000 (talk) 02:37, 18 April 2008 (UTC)
I agree that rearranging these two sections would be better (I seem to recall suggesting this a year ago...). The logical sequence, and the one that reflects RD's career, is evolution (scientific explanation of life) -> creationism (other explanation of life) -> religion (other aspects of the "other" stuff). Snalwibma (talk) 08:05, 18 April 2008 (UTC)
I've not edited the article for a while, but I think the current version is a bit over-heavy, probably on recentist grounds, when it comes to the atheism section. While it's certainly what Dawkins is currently best known for, and is it something that his career has gradually been moving towards, I think it could do with being shorter just for balance. I'll try to have a closer look next week at how best (IMHO) to trim it.
Just in passing, one thing that seems like an oversimplification is the blanket labelling of Dawkins as an atheist (which, to be fair, is a label he happily applies to himself). However, he's explicit in TGD that his position stops slightly shy of this, since it is something of a faith position. Anyway, the article makes no mention of this. It may be too difficult to incorporate such a subtle shift of position, and it may be something that others think is trivial, but since he does make a point of being clear about it in TGD, it seems worth mentioning to me.
Finally, the final two paragraphs in the intro could perhaps do with some form of concatenation and shortening. They overlap quite a bit, and I think a single paragraph on Dawkins' view of religions is probably enough. Your mileage may vary. Cheers, --Plumbago (talk) 08:55, 18 April 2008 (UTC)


Please see [4] on how the movie makers twisted his position. --NeilN talkcontribs 04:51, 19 April 2008 (UTC)

Shmuley Boteach debate

Shmuley Boteach, an American orthodox rabbi, recently released a video (for sale on his website) of a debate he had with Dawkins in Oxford in 1996 which Dawkins has said never occurred. Apparently, Dawkins lost the debate on religion (Boteach's side acquired more converts per a post-debate vote), which by Boteach's allegation "may account for [Richard Dawkin's] selective memory."

Here's the page with Boteach's response:

This clearly appears to be a "he said, the other he said" situation. All the information on this comes not from secondary reliable sources, but from Dawkins and the rabbi. Without someone else's verification, this doesn't seem notable. Redrocket (talk) 21:28, 20 April 2008 (UTC)
Yes, Shmuley Boteach debate is not notable. Masterpiece2000 (talk) 04:22, 21 April 2008 (UTC)

No Section on Critics of Mr Dawkins?

Maybe I need my glasses on, but almost all controvercial celebrities have a critics section.

Why none for Dawkins? There are surely enough of them to warrant such a section.—Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

This is brought up very regularly, but you have to check the archive. Most recent is here. --Old Moonraker (talk) 13:45, 21 April 2008 (UTC)
So a neutral point of view requires no critics section regarding Dawkins since it has already been discussed and is mentioned in old archives? Do I have your response right? I thought a neutral point of view meant representing both sides of controversial public figures? Whatever. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)
No, you don't have my response right: I was trying to be helpful. Please remember to sign your posts on talk pages. --Old Moonraker (talk) 14:28, 21 April 2008 (UTC)
I understand that you were trying to be helpful and I do appreciate it. But you completely ignored the point of the question about there being a need to balance the article. Somehow a buried archived comment isnt quite what I had in mind. As to signing the comment, I cant remember my password to my account, lol, I do need to track this sort of thing better, but the name for the account was RGCheek, if I recall correctly. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)
The point is that there is lots of criticism of Dawkins' views built in to the article. This has been extensively discussed, and the consensus (every time) is that a separate "criticism" section would be unhelpful to the reader and likely to lead to distortion. Much better to place contrary views in context, as is done throughout the article. That is the sense in which the article is balanced. But there really is a great deal of discussion about this in the archives, and it's not really "buried"! Snalwibma (talk) 15:53, 21 April 2008 (UTC)

Personally I dislike "criticism" sections. They are often one dimensional responses to complex issues, and break up the logical flow of articles. IMHO they are lazy and amateurish editing tools. The way this article handles criticism is much better, integrating it into the appropriate sections of the article. --Michael Johnson (talk) 22:35, 21 April 2008 (UTC)

>As to signing the comment, I cant remember my password to my account...
That's not what Old Moonraker was talking about. You "sign a comment" (irrespective of whether you're using an account or an anonymous IP address) by placing four tildes at the end of your comment. Then the necessary identifying information is appended, along with a time stamp. --RenniePet (talk) 22:51, 21 April 2008 (UTC)

academic life

As was pointed out in the FAC, much effort goes into maintaining the Work section, but what can be done about his life. In particular his academic work. He has papers on animal communication with John Krebs for example. Is there anything from Richard Dawkins: How a Scientist Changed the Way We Think that could be used to say something about his ethology work? --Merzul (talk) 16:01, 21 April 2008 (UTC)

I'm done for now. Please copy-edit aggressively. And since I don't have the book I added based on internet sources. It would be nice to have stuff from those essays. --Merzul (talk) 00:23, 22 April 2008 (UTC)

  1. ^ Deschner Prize, 2007