Talk:Richard Dawkins/Archive 9

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Archive 8 Archive 9 Archive 10

Propagandist advertisement

Copied from my talk page: it's a response to this edit which removed a reference to self-published criticism of Dawkins for ignoring some meta analyses demonstrating the effectiveness of homeopathy:

Old Moonraker, I agree that Richard Dawkins is a contentious issue but this shouldn't make hime free of criticism. Please read the source. Yes, it comes from a personal site, but for convenience only as the other posted sites (the Network of Researchers in the Public Health of Complementary Medicine, the University of Queensland and the media release it came from) are restricted access and this has been copied to the website for public viewing only. The article is duly referenced in proper academic fashion. As for reliable source - I am a researcher at the School of Population Health at the University of Queensland in the field of complementary medicine and I am currently contracted by Elsevier to compile a book on the evidence base of CAM practice which will be published in mid 2009. I know the evidence of CAM (some works, some does not) but to apply scientific rigour one must await the results - not predetermine them according to bias or subjective opinion as Professor Dawkins has done. The fact that he promotes himself as the epitomy of scientific integrity and then fails to apply it (in an area where work is still very much in its infancy - hampered further by predetermined views such as Professor Dawkins that it isn't worth studying in the first place). If he stated merely that "there is no research" this would be okay, the fact he states "none of it works" despite quite substantial evidence for many treatments - certainly not all I'll admit - is not. As far as I knew the fact it is referenced by reliable sources meant that not a reliable source was not an issue in this manner as it was dependent on content rather than source. Wikipedia should become haven of protected species. For someone such as Richard Dawkins who has so many criticisms levied against him by a broad range of people (I have several colleagues who have refused to be in his 'documentaries' due to his lopsided opinion) yet so few of these listed in his 'encyclopaedic' is certainly not reflective. At least letting people know what criticisms exist - not just 'further reading' so that the page isn't merely a propagandist advertisement for the man.Grubbidok (talk) 17:32, 2 June 2008 (UTC)

The material has been reinstated. The section accusing Dawkins of "intentionally ignore[ing] valid supportive evidence of complementary medicine" seems to be bordering on a violation of the WP:BLP policy—there is no justification for this allegation of intellectual dishonesty. It should be removed again, and without delay. --Old Moonraker (talk) 18:04, 2 June 2008 (UTC)
Grubbidok says there's a book due to appear next year (though it's unclear whether this book will have anything to say about Dawkins), and that the criticism of Dawkins he/she has added to the article in fact comes from a source that is reliable, "duly referenced in proper academic fashion". If so, I suggest that Grubbidok should either cite the information properly (i.e. not use a blog as a source) or wait until the book is published. In the meantime, it is no more than gossip, and does not belong here. And even if there is a proper source, there are still questions to answer: Is it a useful addition to the article? Does it help readers in their understanding of the subject? I would not dream of trying to assess that until a proper source is produced. But in general it's as well to bear in mind that this is an encyclopaedia article about Dawkins, not a dumping ground for every scrap of unfavourable comment that can be unearthed. If that's the game, may I recommend taking it to Conservapedia, which has an article on Dawkins where as much dirt as possible is only too welcome? SNALWIBMA ( talk - contribs ) 20:52, 2 June 2008 (UTC)
Very good argument by Snalwibma. Wikipedia is not Conservapedia. Masterpiece2000 (talk) 04:16, 3 June 2008 (UTC)

I apologise for not making myself clear – you seem to have missed the point I was making. I apologise in advance for the length of this reply but I hope that I can make clearly the point is not a personal quest against Dawkins but a quest for open debate on scientific rigour. For the record the UQ response to Dawkins controversial screening on the showing of Enemies of Reason on the state-run ABC1 was the referenced piece – it was posted on the blog site for public access purposes only. Please read it before you make judgement. As for the book – it focuses on the absolute lack of evidence for CAM treatments, which is different from lack of evidence of effect (there is ample epidemiological evidence to support its use). This suggests that more specific research needs to be done in the area – as opposed to Richard Dawkins’ view that “it is not real medicine and therefore shouldn’t be tested as such”. This was not a book against Dawkins, but merely to state that this was an area in which I feel qualified to engage. The crux of the issue is that criticisms of Dawkins seem to be frowned upon on this site, and I believe this seriously affects the neutrality of the article. Whilst it is true it should not be a dumping ground for all and sundry, to let him off without being exposed to any at all is simply not suitable for a site of this calibre.

The idea of Richard Dawkins having a critics section is not new (see section 19). I would argue that evolution, complementary medicine and fascism rightly have criticisms predominantly listed so someone who levies against many of these should in all fairness also be subjected to the same treatment. We should not ignore the criticisms (especially considering their consistency across subject matters) merely because many of us unquestioningly agree with his views. The real question that I think his criticisms raise is whether his arguments suggest that dogma is allowed in science, but not in religion or what he calls pseudoscience. In fact – the fact that he quite frankly states his aim of converting readers “if the book works as intended religious readers will be atheists by the time they put the book down”. In fact his long time rival Gould has publicly repudiated the need to separate science from religion – they have existed for centuries. The renaissance was inspired by the miracles of Islamic Science before it hit Europe. Dogma is the real enemy of science, and is the same no matter whether it is from the religious or scientific camps.

In his own article “Is science a religion” written in the Humanist magazine in 1998 he stated that Faith, being belief that isn't based on evidence, is the principal vice of any religion. However, he often criticises the lack of evidence, as opposed to lack of evidence of effect in many of his criticisms. This dogmatic approach is not scientific in nature – he states that although some epidemiological evidence of effect – probably placebo in his view – exists in homoeopathy but because we don’t understand fully how homoeopathy works it should not be used as it is “not real medicine” endangers proper scientific process. The real scientific approach would be to investigate the effect – placebo or otherwise – and then make conclusions – rather than pre-determining its ineffectiveness according to his dogmatic beliefs.

We need more scientific inquiry into this area, not less merely because Dawkins deems it unworthy. Until conclusive evidence exists we cannot make judgements one way or the other. He states that there is a difference between feeling strongly, even passionately about a topic because we have thought the evidence to make judgement as opposed to making judgements based on internal feelings. Indeed, his expertise is biology and his research is undeniably first rate in this area – however, extending into other areas in which his expertise does not is dangerous territory. I have limited my riposte, for example, to his treatment of CAM. Not because I find bad science less abhorrent in other areas but rather as this is my field of expertise I know the arguments he has used hold no water (the met-analyses he used against homoeopathy has been rebuffed by academics and it ignored many of the other meta-analyses in the area – you can’t cherry pick your studies in good science) Dawkins critics across disciplines consistently state that he lacks the expertise in the areas in which he directs his criticisms and does not examine the evidence objectively. To hide this similar theme in the text seems to deny the right for people to know that he has critics in more than just the field of creationism. I am to be honest a little offended that you immediately dismiss these opinions to Conservapedia (I agree many of his views but merely disagree with his methods) as it seems to suggest that critics are only okay as long as they are “on your side” against the popular causes. If the man chooses to present himself as the epitome of rigorous scientific integrity that is his right but he (and his fans) should be open to the fact that those that legitimately disagree should also be able to argue their opinion. Otherwise that page risks being held prisoner to the cult of personality more appropriately seen on a fansite, not a Wikipedia article whose neutrality should not be questioned.

Should you deem this as necessary as many clearly seem to do (and the zealots see fit not to immediately remove criticisms) a raft of legitimate criticisms can be supplied – from president of the Royal Society Martin Rees; Bryan Appleyard in the New Scientist; a number of editorial pieces in Times, Guardian etc as well as a number of book sources and ‘reputable’ websites. I have no real issue who, what or how the other side of the debate is represented or at least acknowledged, so long as it is.Grubbidok (talk) 07:03, 3 June 2008 (UTC)

Please see WP:TL;DR. I don't think anyone here has a problem with including criticism of Dawkins in the article. In fact, there is a lot there already. If you have some more that merits inclusion, go ahead. Just ensure that such additions are:
  1. Built in to the fabric of the article in an appropriate location and style (not just tacked on or dumped, which has happened all too often)
  2. Useful new material (not simply a "me too" comment from yet another person, however distinguished, who feels he has to jump on the anti-Dawkins bandwagon)
  3. Of lasting usefulness and relevance (not added simply because it's "hot news" or relates to something that appeared on TV last night)
  4. Properly referenced to a reliable source (not based on a blog, personal opinion or original research)
  5. Fair, honest and accurate (not in breach of Wikpedia policies on biographies of living persons)
SNALWIBMA ( talk - contribs ) 07:31, 3 June 2008 (UTC)
Grubbidok, you are pushing your POV. Please don't do that. Masterpiece2000 03:44, 4 June 2008 (UTC)


Could somebody please change Richard Dawkins' picture on the right of the main page? I respect him and he just looks a little crazy in the picture that's all :P Jeffrey ten Grotenhuis 04:43, 8 June 2008 (UTC)

I'll have a look to see if there are any less crazy pictures in the commons Lightnin Boltz (talk) 11:25, 14 June 2008 (UTC)

Well so much for that, I just had a look and there really aren't any other in focus/good quality photos of Dawkins where he doesn't look evil or insane. If anyone knows of a free photo of Dawkins floating around 'teh interwebs'. Lightnin Boltz (talk) 11:32, 14 June 2008 (UTC)
I'll try and find one, whoever uploaded that pic is clearly biased, he looks freaking satanic :\ Pwnz0r1377 (talk) 18:48, 27 June 2008 (UTC)

Dawkins vs. Gould

I note that we seem to have articles on all books I know of by or about Richard Dawkins (e.g. Richard Dawkins: How a Scientist Changed the Way We Think, The Dawkins Delusion, but Dawkins vs. Gould: Survival of the Fittest by Kim Sterelny is left out. If we're looking at FAs we should also be casting an eye around for articles that we've neglected completely, and I'm fairly sure this is one of them; I doubt we would struggle to come up with some reviews of it to establish notability, and it would also allow an article to give greater details on the relationship between Dawkins and Gould. Richard001 (talk) 07:01, 25 April 2008 (UTC)

Good point, Richard. I intend to work more on other Dawkins-related articles in the near future. A lot of my editing time has thus far been taken up with this one because of it being a Feature Article candidate and what-not. I'll try to get something together on Dawkins vs Gould for an article. AC+79 3888 [ talk ] 21:39, 25 April 2008 (UTC)
Yes, the relationship between Dawkins and Gould is important. Masterpiece2000 (talk) 05:28, 26 April 2008 (UTC)
I have started reading this book and have made a stub on it. I will hopefully expand it beyond this point once I have finished it (I'm trying to summarize it as I go so I can write a decent synopsis). Richard001 (talk) 10:14, 2 July 2008 (UTC)

"Criticism" section

Is not an encyclopaedic section at all. It's just a list of books focused on Dawkins without any context and evidence that they are relevant. A separate criticism section is not a good idea anyway.--Svetovid (talk) 11:06, 16 June 2008 (UTC)

To some extent I agree, especially since criticism sections in general are discouraged and just plain dumb, but this section is actually a subset of the 'further reading' section which makes it somewhat of a special case. What is the history behind this section? --Woland (talk) 15:08, 16 June 2008 (UTC)
After looking through the history I found the more recent discussion of a criticism section from April which ended with the consensus of keeping out a criticism section. I could not however discover when this section was created or by whom. On a related note someone has been adding critical book after critical book which has left the 'further reading' section grossly out of balance. At the very least it should be trimmed down if not removed and integrated into the 'further reading' section without the two subdivisions. --Woland (talk) 16:13, 16 June 2008 (UTC)
Yes, it should not be headed "criticism" unless (a) it is trimmed down in the interests of balance and (b) the couple of books in praise of Dawkins are listed under "praise" (!). That would be silly, so get rid of the subheading, and list only four or five books about Dawkins, including both favourable and unfavourable reviews of his work. SNALWIBMA ( talk - contribs ) 16:20, 16 June 2008 (UTC)
Done.--Woland (talk) 18:07, 16 June 2008 (UTC)

Religious Stance

I have to question the appropriateness of including a religious stance and describing it as atheist in the infobox and I am not convinced that it would be pure pedantry address this issue. His atheism certainly shouldn't be hidden and it is not; being stated repeatedly in the article. Atheism, as mere lack of belief in any gods, does not constitute a religious stance. Similarly, mere theism also does not constitute a religious stance. You can be a religious atheist (eg. some forms of buddhism) or a non-religious theist (eg. someone who believes in the existence of the "god of philosophers" but does not associate it with any of the gods of religion and follows no religious tradition) without contradiction.

An accurate description of his religious stance would be none or no religion, though the religious stance section would probably be made redundant as a result, suggesting the lack of need for such a section.

If people think it should stay, as a compromise I would suggest replacing Atheist with Non-religious Atheist, or better yet, Secular Atheist (as secular, being synonymous with non-religious, actually constitutes a religious stance). Heihachi (talk) 03:14, 10 April 2008 (UTC)

I think that atheism does constitute a religious stance: it is an affirmation that one does not believe in any god or gods. "Secular atheist" is also a religious stance, that is true, but it merely adds detail. I have no objections to changing it to "secular atheist", but it is not a phrase I have seen used on any other Wikipedia article. AC+79 3888 (talk) 09:32, 10 April 2008 (UTC)
I agree that "atheist" is a religious stance, and that it should be there. But I would oppose changing it to "secular atheist" or "strong atheist" or "absolute atheist" or any other flavour of atheist. Not a good idea to try to put shades of meaning on it, least of all in a summary box. "Atheist" pure and simple is quite enough. Snalwibma (talk) 10:27, 10 April 2008 (UTC)
Wait, how can atheist be a religious stance? Is the fact that you believe the earth to be spherical, a stance on the shape of the world? No, Atheism is a stance like NOT collecting stamps is a hobby. Sort it out folks! —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:47, 10 May 2008 (UTC)
See also here: Wikipedia_talk:WikiProject_Atheism#Religious_stance:_Atheist.3F --RenniePet (talk) 11:12, 10 April 2008 (UTC)

Yes, I think that's right. Atheism is not a religion in itself; but it is a stance on the matter of religion. AC+79 3888 (talk) 11:43, 10 April 2008 (UTC)

I agree with AC+79 3888, Snalwibma, and Snalwibma. "Atheist" is good enough. Masterpiece2000 (talk) 05:05, 11 April 2008 (UTC)

I disagree on all this. To have "atheist" as a religious stance is antithetical to all that Dawkins is saying about religion i.e. it is a delusion and damaging to society etc etc. Sticking "stance" to "religion" doesn't make his view on the existence of God all of a sudden the ethical framework under which he operates. By our sticking "atheist" in there we are semantically overloading this one word to represent his actual stance on religion. This is wrong; very wrong. If by "religious stance" we mean someone's moral or ethical stance then we should say that rather than placing "religion" on a pedestal as implying morality or ethics. This is very much Dawkins' argument anyway (that we imply religion to set a benchmark for moral and ethical good) so it is doubly wrong to use "Religious stance" and "atheist" together. It should be removed on the grounds or we change the infobox.Ttiotsw (talk) 15:27, 12 April 2008 (UTC)

Who said anything about an ethical framework? That would be to imply that ethics are intrinsically linked to religious ideology, which is quite insulting to those of us without religious belief. It is the choice of Wikipedia to include this field in the infobox, so your quarrel is with those in charge. The duty of this article is to fill as much information into the given fields as is possible. If people take his atheism as a marker of his ethics, then in my humble opinion, they are small-minded bigots, but that's not really the issue here. AC+79 3888 (talk) 16:07, 12 April 2008 (UTC)
The infobox field prints out "Religious stance". Our using "atheist" is only valid if we were talking about the existence of God or gods. In other articles they insert "Catholic", "Muslim" etc rather than "theist" or "monotheist". As far as I know the intent of the field isn't to measure belief in God or Gods but to show the ethical or moral basis of the person. For many this means simply inserting their Religion (though as we know with demographic studies that is a totally unreliable measure of anything).
With Dawkins the closest equivalent would be, for example Secular humanist but it certainly isn't "Atheist" any more than we would set the Religious stance of say a Pope to "Theist". Ttiotsw (talk) 09:16, 13 April 2008 (UTC)
"Religious stance" doesn't mean someone's moral or ethical stance. Secular humanism and Humanism (note: capital 'H') are not religious stance. I think 'None' might be better. Masterpiece2000 (talk) 12:28, 13 April 2008 (UTC)
Technically, "none" is the most correct description of the religious stance of someone that doesn't have one, rendering the section unnecessary, and since there is only the very occasional mention of the religious stance of scientists that are known to be atheist and of critics of religion, it would not be out of place to remove the entry from this article. Heihachi (talk) 02:50, 2 July 2008 (UTC)

It's about bloody time someone changed that entry. I didn't bother changing it because I knew there would be massive backlash. How anyone can call atheism a religious stance is beyond me as the logical fallacy is glaring. Please guys, if you can't understand simple English get a dictionary. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:47, 15 July 2008 (UTC)

I also think that "Atheist" is, technically, not a religious stance. But for all practical purposes, it provides a quick reference to what could be vital information about a person. If someone is wondering if Francis Crick believed in God, then a quick glimpse at his infobox would at least provide a general idea. In the same way as the "Alma Mater" section gives you a rough idea of where someone studied, the "religious stance" entry can give you a starting point for further reading --Hamsterlopithecus (talk) 12:04, 27 July 2008 (UTC)

Regarding has a number videos of Dawkins Lectures and speeches. I am not sure how these could be incorporated into the article. Would like to hear other editors comments if these violate copyright or not. Or Wiki policy on this.

Richard Dawkins | Profile on

Richard Dawkins - Oxford professor Richard Dawkins has helped steer ... universe is queerer than we can suppose: Richard Dawkins on – April 20, 2007 ... Size: 27.8 KB Richard Dawkins on militant atheism | Video on TED Talks <p>Richard Dawkins urges all atheists to openly state their position ... Oxford professor Richard Dawkins has helped steer evolutionary science into the ... Size: 30.6 KB Richard Dawkins on our "queer" universe | Video on TED Talks <p>Biologist Richard Dawkins makes a case for &quot;thinking the ... Oxford professor Richard Dawkins has helped steer evolutionary science into the ... Size: 31.0 KB TED | Search ... ... Themes. Talks. Speakers. Joining TED. Member Profiles. Sign In. About TED. TED ... © TED Conferences, LLC. Contact | Help | Terms of Use ... Size: 3.7 KB Evolution's Genius | Video channel on TED Theme TED adores great design. A growing number of speakers focus their Talks on the most elegant designs that ... Richard Dawkins, perhaps the world's ... Size: 12.1 KB TED: Ideas worth spreading Focuses on the merging and converging —Preceding unsigned comment added by MisterAlbert (talkcontribs) 22:04, 26 July 2008 (UTC)


Dawkins' first name was listed as Clinton in the intro. This has been deleted twice (by the same IP). Do we have a source for his full name? The official website and sources for the intro didn't show it. —C.Fred (talk) 16:36, 28 July 2008 (UTC)

Here's one... Teapotgeorge (talk) 16:46, 28 July 2008 (UTC)
Another added: Who's Who. --Old Moonraker (talk) 16:28, 29 July 2008 (UTC)

Fallacious arguments

This article is rather biased, there are rebuttals of Dawkins' comments to others given, but it stops there. There are also some comments by Dawkins that are fallacious, that is to say, some quotes given in the encyclopedic text, which I have indicated, but someone keeps reverting it. Considering the majority of Dawkins' content in here is based around the philosophy of his, it's only natural and correct that fallacious arguments be rooted out and pointed out if it so happens to subsist in his quotes.—Preceding unsigned comment added by JFonseka (talkcontribs) 16:03, 29 July 2008

No, it isn't "natural and correct" for an encyclopaedia to have individual editors going through articles making personal judgments about which arguments might be fallacious. This would be original research or synthesis. The correct approach is to quote and cite a reliable source which has already discussed how the argument is fallacious. --McGeddon (talk) 16:09, 29 July 2008 (UTC)
JFonseka - it is not Wikipedia's business to "root out and point out" the fallacies in Dawkins' or anyone else's arguments. You are simply inserting your own point of view. And please remember WP:3RR before you do it again. SNALWIBMA ( talk - contribs ) 16:18, 29 July 2008 (UTC)

Suggestion to Improve Page

Would it be possible to move the active links containing the Dawkins website above the the list of references? I was reading the article, and when I reached the references I noted that the Dawkins website was not included, so I added it by mistake. When readers like myself get to the references we go no further. I know I should have looked at the Menu Box , but like many readers I tend to go straight to main coarse , ignoring the menu. --Charles Dee (talk) 00:41, 31 July 2008 (UTC)

The Genius of Charles Darwin

On TV: The Genius of Charles Darwin: Presented by Richard Dawkins, UK TV Only: Richard Dawkins examines the legacy of Charles Darwin. The three part programme will be broadcast on Channel Four at 8 pm on Monday 4th, Monday 11th and Monday 18th August.... dave souza, talk 14:56, 3 August 2008 (UTC)

I thought the first part was excellent and would have gladly watched it again a second time on Channel Four + 1, but someone else wanted to watch "The Dragon's Den"; a great programme like this [and no doubt the next two parts] should be regularly repeated to dispell the 'God Delusion'! Dawkins is also a more than able editor of the new Oxford Book of Modern Science Writing, but which contains none of his own work.


Improve the lead picture?

May I suggest that someone crop the lead picture (it has lots and lots of resolution), apply some basic enhancements to brightness and contrast, and maybe even blur the background a bit. That would make it better in my opinion. --RenniePet (talk) 20:48, 9 August 2008 (UTC)

Why such a large picture on this template? Can we change it (the size of the picture, regardless of the image used) so that it does not extend beyond what the text normally would, or minimally so? Given the size requirements, one that shows more of his face and less grey background would probably be better though. Richard001 (talk) 07:45, 13 August 2008 (UTC)


Yes check.svg Done ϢereSpielChequers 18:06, 8 September 2008 (UTC)

Is he married? Does he have a male partner? Or does his beloved science keep him warm at night? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:31, 25 August 2008 (UTC)

His marriages and children are covered in the article. ϢereSpielChequers 14:28, 1 September 2008 (UTC)
Dawkins seems to have only one child. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:50, 1 September 2008 (UTC)
Sorry my mistake, His marriages and one child are covered by the article. But remember this is an Encyclopaedia, we are compiling verifiable notable information. If you are a fan and want more information I suggest you take your questions to his site. I've had a quick look there to see if there is any extra biographical information which we could refer to the article, but not found anything, which could of course mean that he is being cautious - there are evil people out there who have threatened to do him harm. ϢereSpielChequers 16:19, 1 September 2008 (UTC)

Further reading section??

Yes check.svg Done ϢereSpielChequers 18:06, 8 September 2008 (UTC)

Why is the further reading section populated with anti dawkins and anti darwin books?

This should be removed. any objections? (talk) 21:27, 20 August 2008 (UTC)

I hold no brief to defend the inclusion of these books although I see merit in providing a listing of relevant publications which provide a critique. However, if you are going to encourage discussion of a proposed deletion here to a long-standing section which has clearly achieved some consensus within a mature but heavily edited article such as this I think its only proper to allow that discussion to happen. Deleting it two minutes later is disingenuous to regular editors particularly at the height of the holiday season in August. I am reverting your deletion and suggest we allow the status quo to persist to enable an adequate time and proper discussion to take place when editors are around to discuss and enable the existing or new consensus to be reached. Tmol42 (talk) 22:28, 20 August 2008 (UTC)
Reverted again lets just allow some discussion here first What's the rush its 2353 hrs in the UK?Tmol42 (talk) 22:54, 20 August 2008 (UTC)
it just seems odd to me that anti dawkins books would be included in his publications & further reading section. surely the types of further reading youd expect in his article would be selfish gene etc. no? (talk) 00:53, 21 August 2008 (UTC)
Criticism and "further reading" are quite other things. --Tadeusz Dudkowski (talk) 06:19, 21 August 2008 (UTC)
I did not find elaborate WP guidelines on what does and what does not belong in a further reading section. The current paragraph on the WP:Layout page seems to say that a list consisting solely of works by the page subject should be under Bibliography, whereas Further reading can contain works by different authors who provide background or more information on the page subject. In that light books that criticize Richard Dawkins do more or less belong here. Since many authors apparently feel the need to produce a book criticizing Dawkins, and especially his The God Delusion, if we were to maintain such a section, we may want to be selective on which books do get mentioned and which don't. — Ewald (talk|email|contrib) 08:50, 21 August 2008 (UTC)

I'm a bit puzzled by the deletion of the Further Reading section - some of the books seem to be polemics aimed at his The God Delusion, though one book, Richard Dawkins: How a Scientist Changed the Way We Think is a festscrift. That one at least, would be relevant for further reading insofar as it covers his influence. Autarch (talk) 15:37, 21 August 2008 (UTC)

Further reading is like bibliography: "If this section solely contains a list of books or other works authored by the subject of the article, then it may be titled "Bibliography", "Publications", or "Works"." It means there is a place for important (but not mentioned in references) information, and "more information" does not mean "criticism". Richard Dawkins: How a Scientist Changed the Way We Think is in template Template:Richard_Dawkins -- Tadeusz Dudkowski (talk) 18:24, 21 August 2008 (UTC)
ok well i dont think it belongs in the further reading section. i imagine these books would be better suited in a critism section. in this further reading section i feel it gives the impression the books are written by or supported by richard dawkins. anyone want to make a decision? (talk) 23:44, 21 August 2008 (UTC)
ok i see it has been removed by someone. this removal of non associated content is correct in my opinion. (talk) 23:55, 21 August 2008 (UTC)


This entire page seems whitewashed. Whereas Gould's page has an entire section on the controversies he's been involved in with sociobiology, Dawkins has none. Perhaps this is simply being omitted on this page because there is so much material on Dawkins, and I'm sure there is some long talk-page discussion on the issue. But be that as may, the lack of such a section when one is included on other pages makes it look like he is uncontroversial, and so in the right, whereas others like Gould are controversial, and so in the wrong. Corbmobile (talk) 03:43, 9 September 2008 (UTC)

Controversy sections are actually not encouraged on WP. Criticisms should be added into the body of the article where relevant, as they have been. Aunt Entropy (talk) 04:29, 9 September 2008 (UTC)
I would only hope that the usual science editors would taken it upon themselves to be consistent. Since it pretty much goes without saying that the majority of the information written on WP page for figures like Dawkins or Gould is going to come from people who support their respective ideas, it comes off as the Dawkins' side trying to tuck the argument away altogether. Would it not even be possible to use subheads? Corbmobile (talk) 04:55, 9 September 2008 (UTC)
Some people think that his views on Religion and especially Creationism are controversial, and both of those are in the article. Can you give some cited examples of other notable controversies that he has been involved in? ϢereSpielChequers 12:50, 9 September 2008 (UTC)
I was referring the controversy between Dawkins and Wilson and Gould and Lewontin. I am not suggesting that Dawkins' controversies are not present, but that their being meshed in with the subheads under "Work" makes them much harder to find unless you intend to read the whole article, which most people don't. If this "no controversy sections" is indeed the case, then I guess it is the Gould page in error. Still, if that policy is the case, I think it is a bad one---it makes any controversies harder to find, and therefore less likely to be read by anyone who doesn't intend to read the whole article. Corbmobile (talk) 13:59, 9 September 2008 (UTC)
I think that's basically the idea behind discouraging controversy sections - they draw out and highlight negative aspects of the article. Unless you wanted to balance "criticism" and "controversy" sections with fatuous "praise" and "support" sections, having separate controversy sections tends to harm the neutral point of view of the article, as far as I'm concerned. As long as the controversies he's been involved in are adequately covered in the relevant, neutral sections, I personally prefer the way it's handled in this article over the Gould one. ~ mazca t | c 15:55, 9 September 2008 (UTC)
Also, who is to define what constitutes a "controversy"? I guess that Dawkins annoying all the teapot-believers counts as one, but what about Fred Hoyle disagreeing with the big bang theory, or one biologist proposing a different model of reproductive skew than another? Maybe yes and no, respectively. Is it a controversy only when it gets noticed outside the specialist area? Maybe - but I would be very wary of setting ourselves (WP editors) up as arbiters of the controversial. Labelling something as "controversial" could come close to original research, and it can certainly act as a troll-magnet. I too think that the Dawkins article is better than the Gould one in this respect. SNALWIBMA ( talk - contribs ) 16:05, 9 September 2008 (UTC)
I'm trying to understand what is a controversy with regards to Dawkins. That he doesn't like creationism? Well, to scientists, that's not controversy, it just is. Evolution is a fact, Dawkins is probably the leading voice for science and against the intolerance of the anti-science groups. He might be controversial for the religious fundamentalists, but as a matter of this article, he's just Richard Dawkins. The use of Gould as an example is a bit different than Dawkins. Gould is behind the "sociobiology" field, which is controversial in the field of science (at least it was when I last studied EO Wilson and Gould on this topic about 20 years ago). OrangeMarlin Talk• Contributions 16:26, 9 September 2008 (UTC)
Controversies are covered in the #Evolutionary biology section. What's the problem? . . dave souza, talk 16:52, 9 September 2008 (UTC)

Irrelevant additions to the Dawkins page

The edits referring to comments by Leonardo Boff do not refer to Richard Dawkins at all; they are better suited for the Criticism of atheism page once sourced to a better source than a personal website.

Also general commentary against skepticism does not belong on this page either. Aunt Entropy (talk) 16:08, 22 September 2008 (UTC)

Comment self-deletion

Yes check.svg Done ϢereSpielChequers 18:06, 8 September 2008 (UTC)

We've had a few IP addresses mystifyingly deleting their own comments, since yesterday. If this is a genuine user having their attempted comments deleted by someone else who shares their IP, they should consider creating an account to stop this happening. --McGeddon (talk) 14:51, 6 September 2008 (UTC)

The Problem With Creation; + Mysterious Deletions

That would be me with the deletions; this is my first time wikicommentating and I was having a little trouble with the technicalities. I believe I have the hang of things now.

To the matter in hand: I've been trying to say that there's a problem with the articles discussion of creationism, because it describes it as the belief that everything is created by a god. This is vastly broader than my understanding, (and Dawkins use), of the term, and with this reading, people who consider that a god may have created the universe and set things up so that organic life and eventually humanity would emerge, such as the cosmologist Martin Rees, would be creationists. I've always considered that creationism meant a literal or close to literal belief in Genesis as it appears in the Bible - and one might of course use it in an equivalent sense with regard to Islam and other scriptural religions. Adding to the difficulty, the Wikipedia article on creationism is similarly ambiguous. As the articles stand, it makes Dawkins' reasonable practise of not debating publicly with creationists look amazingly intolerant and insular. The man himself is bad enough already without this exaggeration, so I suggest something should be done, but I'm not sure which article(s) to adjust because I don't know who's approach, Dawkins' or Wikipedia's is more accurate. It seems to me that there must be some variation in the use of the word in other quarters for this to happen, which is also a cause for concern. So I want to throw the issue open to the floor and see what others may suggest. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:43, 6 September 2008 (UTC)

Hi, I've reread the article on creationism and the second paragraph does differentiate between:

  • young Earth creationism, proponents of which believe that the days in Genesis Chapter 1 are 24 hours in length,
  • Old Earth creationism which accepts geological findings and other methods of dating the earth and believes that these findings do not contradict the Genesis account, but rejects evolution.
  • And theistic evolution which presumably covers Martin Rees' position.
    • In theistic evolution is the phrase "A very similar view, that is hardly distinguishable from a scientific viewpoint, is Evolutionary Creationism."

So creationism covers both those who take the seven days of Genesis literally and those who accept the evidence for deep time but not that for evolution. As Dawkins clearly is opposed to all types of Creationism I suggest that any discussion between the various forms of creationism belongs on talk:creationism, or talk:theistic evolution. Clearly Dawkins is combating all four views. As to whether Dawkins is "bad" and if so in what sense of the word, well this isn't the appropriate place for that discussion as Wikipedia has a strict policy of wp:neutral point of view. ϢereSpielChequers 18:06, 8 September 2008 (UTC)

Hello, this is unsigned wickicommentating novice again (see above.) I wondered if I'd be picked up on my use of the term 'bad'. I thought it might pass muster in the commentary section, on the basis that if I make my personal judgement clear here, (& you may notice I also indicate that I possess a negative judgement toward what the creationism article calls young earth creationism ) it could actually help everyone discuss matters. But of course perhaps experience of the wiki editing process reveals flaws in that benign theory. I would claim that it's fairly obvious in what sense I think he's bad, but at any rate your point is well noted.

I fear my remark about the creationism article wasn't as clear as it should have been; taken on its own merits the article is fine, but my actual concern was that it does nothing to clear up the ambiguity that arises in the 'Richard Dawkins' article, which still persists. Obviously, the place to do that is in the RD article itself. To reiterate my point: I know Dawkins is opposed to all forms of creationism. The problem is that when Dawkins talks of creationism he frequently means young-earth biblical literalists, and these are the people he will not publically debate with. The article creates, and the creationism article through no fault of its own augments, the impression that he refuses to debate in public with any religious believers whatsoever. This still needs fixing. Regards, (I'll sign myself this time.) (talk) 13:05, 10 September 2008 (UTC)

I'm still trying to make my case that there's a problem with the article here. It claims that creationism is "the religious belief that humanity, life and the universe were created by a deity." This is not satisfactory, for reasons I've given. There is some truth to WereSpielChequers contention that the 'creationism' article, as distinct from the RD one, is clear, but I would contend that it's not clear enough to easily untangle the confusion in the RD, and of course this confusion should not be there in the first place. Clearly, the two articles contradict each other, as the 'Martin Rees' position is creationism according to the RD article, and theistic evolution according to the creationism article. So it seems there is a strong case for improving the RD. Which I shall shortly proceed to do, if no-one has any objections....? (talk) 13:00, 15 September 2008 (UTC)

Hi In passing, note that the creationism article itself opens with:
As such, this article's rather brief definition isn't too far off the mark. I don't think anyone here would have a problem with the idea that there are a range of flavours of "creationisms" from deism (universe only) to Young Earth creationism (universe, life, humanity), or that Dawkins is mostly bashing one of these. But this isn't necessarily the place to thrash out a definition. We need something short here, and the current definition here isn't a bad one, even if it does preclude much of the subtlety. If you think up something better, maybe test drive it here first? Given that this article is about Dawkins and not creationism, I think the key aspect is shortness. Best regards, --PLUMBAGO 13:39, 15 September 2008 (UTC)

Thanks Plumbago. I wonder if concerns akin to yours were the reason for WereSpielChequers trying to talk me down? Have no fear. I may be a pedant, but I have no enthusiasm for bickering about definitions. Having mused, my intention is simply to prolong the sentence "...creationism, the religious belief that humanity, life and the universe were created by a deity." with the new ending: ", without recourse to evolution." Pithy? However, I'd also like to point out here that the Dawkins quote "a preposterous, mind-shrinking falsehood." refers to the belief that the planet is less than millions of years old. It's an attack, in other words, on young-Earth creationism. This is Dawkins main target, to be sure, but a more general quote covering both young- and old- earth versions would be preferable. I don't know, though, where Dawkins discusses old-earth creationism. Can anyone help? (talk) 11:19, 16 September 2008 (UTC)

OK I've made that change to the sentence at the beginning of Richard Dawkins#Criticism of creationism, and I've also amended the next sentence to clarify exactly what he was describing as "a preposterous, mind-shrinking falsehood." Is everyone happy with the change I made to the second sentence? ϢereSpielChequers 15:41, 16 September 2008 (UTC)

Well it's fine by me. (talk) 11:40, 30 September 2008 (UTC)


We must expand our media of Dawkins beyond just images. I'm slowly going through the stuff on YouTube trying to find a free video, but there are many other sources that could be searched as well (maybe someone reading this can even provide such media themselves?). I don't really feel our material on a person is complete if you can't hear their voice. Richard001 (talk) 02:03, 4 October 2008 (UTC)

The God Delusion

Dawkins has made it clear that anyone who believes in God is delusional.

exceptions to this can not be made. --Smoothcee (talk) 21:22, 11 September 2008 (UTC)

Your point being what exactly? TeapotgeorgeTalk 21:28, 11 September 2008 (UTC)
To write facts. --Smoothcee (talk) 21:29, 11 September 2008 (UTC)
Uh, could you be more explicit?--Woland (talk) 21:31, 11 September 2008 (UTC)
No ones's asking for an exception. However, by combining mention of Dawkins' calling religious belief a delusion, along with the specific mention of his father, the edited sentence reads as if he explicitly says somewhere that his father is delusional, especially when followed by a citation to his book. This falls under the provisions of no original research that suggests it's a violation of WP policies to create a synethesis of published material to advance a position. In this case, it is even worse, as I have never seen any reliable source even advanced to the point that his father was an actual believer, so it is unclear to what extent this is a "fact". Thus, there are two problems with this edit. One a violation of WP:NOR and second an unreferenced statement in a biography. I can see by your edit history that you are new here, but please take the time to read these policies, and see why this is disallowed, *especially* on biographies of living people. Edhubbard (talk) 21:32, 11 September 2008 (UTC)

Dawkins describes himself as having a normal Anglican upbringing. --Smoothcee (talk) 21:34, 11 September 2008 (UTC)

You may also want to read the policy about verifiability, not truth. This is an encyclopedia which means we basically regurgitate information, not draw conclusions from information and write about it. See the above policies that Edhubbard has pointed out. --Woland (talk) 21:55, 11 September 2008 (UTC)
"Normal Anglican upbringing"? What does that have to do with whether his father believed in God? Guettarda (talk) 22:13, 11 September 2008 (UTC)
Note that Dawkins's father is very much alive and well: use the present tense! Information on his (CJD's) religious beliefs is not relevant to this article; anyway I'd be surprised if he said he believed in God. (talk) 10:24, 29 September 2008 (UTC)

I would say that at the least this article is weakly neutral and at most is heavily biased. Sure it mentions controversy but it always gives responses and ends with a tone like "Dawkins took care of those criticisms." If you read some of the Wiki articles on his opponents its quite the opposite. Take people like A.E. Wilder Smith. Now I disagree with Dr. Smith's creationism, but an encyclopedia article is supposed to present the man's recoginitions, accomplishments, and criticisms. This article basicallly treats Dr. Smith as a failed scientists in every perspective. It gives criticisms and never gives any responses that anyone has given. This is just one of a myriad of examples.

The truth is Dr. Dawkins is highly controversial both among theists and atheists. As a scientist he is great and if he would have stayed in that field there would be no controversy. But instead he decided to take his beliefs into the realm of philosophy and theology and therefore stepped out of his expertise and has shown himself to be rather uninformed in these fields. He shows a basic lack of Christian theology and therefore presents a straw man when he presents Christian theology. His philisophical arguments are very weak at times, like is belief that science has somehow eliminated the need for God. Unfortunatley the 40 percent of scientists who are also Christians would find his understanding quite perplexing.

And even many atheists would not view religion with the hostility that Dr. Dawkins does. They would see religion as something that an individual is entitled to pursue and would not try to insult the beliefs of millions. This makes Dr. Dawkins controversial both among scientists and atheists and thus controversial even within his own fields.

The basic mistake Dr. Dawkins makes is the same mistake Christian fundamentalists make. Christian fundamentalists try to say that science points to God invariably. Dr. Dawkins says that science explains away God. Science does neither. Science is merely the observation and explanation of natural phenomenon. Once science is used to prove or disprove God it has now stepped into the realm of philosophy. Philsophocially, science can point to God or can explain away God, but scientifically it simply just relates data. Therefore, as a philosopher I would say that Dr. Dawkins appears to be a fundamentalist atheist and has much in common as fundamentalist Christians. He is dogmatic, intolerant, hostile, and believes that his interpretaion of the data is invariably the correct one. The truth is that the debate between creationists and Dr. Dawkins is a debate between two extreme sides of the spectrum, both are fundamentalists and misinformed. One is misinformed in science, and the other in theology and philosophy.

A true neutral article would have much more hard criticism on such a controversial man, and would give an historically accurate acount of Dr. Dawkins radical position both among scientists, atheists, and philosophers (and that's not even counting theologians).Ic2705 (talk) 08:49, 14 October 2008 (UTC)ic2705

Thanks for the nice editorial. Now we know your point of view, how about providing some concrete examples of how the article can be improved, providing reliable sources of course. --Michael Johnson (talk) 09:07, 14 October 2008 (UTC)

Here's just three quick examples of citations of scientists, journalists, and professionals who critize or disagree with Dawkins.

Denis Noble, an Oxford physiologist and system biologists critiques Dawkins idea of the selfish gene and offers an alternate and contrary view to Dawkins on how genes function. He says that both ideas are possible but that "no-one seems to be able to think of an experiment that would detect an empirical difference between them." (Denis Noble, The Music of Life: Biology Beyond the Genome, (Oxford:Oxford University Press, 1995), pp. 122-132) This simply points out that Dawkins's ideas in this field are more philisophical than scientific. This is how his ideas in this field should be presented.

On the Wiki article of The Dawkins Delusion two reviews are given of the boook that reflect the understanding of Dawkins' extreme and unexpert philisophical stance:

Jeremy Craddock, a former forensic biologist who is now a Vicar, writes in the Church Times that the McGraths "attend rationally to evidence, and present their findings unemotionally to answer The God Delusion...and make many justified criticisms." He adds that "Dawkins asserts that God is so improbable that he cannot exist, and that, if he did, he would need explaining..." But Craddock believes that Dawkins contradicted himself by asserting that the fine tuning of the universe (the seemingly arbitrary values for such as constants as the masses of the elementary particles, upon which the universe as we know it depends) needs no such explanation. Craddock concludes, "I am sad that Dawkins, once my hero, has descended to unscientific nonsense. McGrath makes much more sense."

The review in Publishers Weekly suggested that "The McGraths expeditiously plow into the flank of Dawkins's fundamentalist atheism ... and run him from the battlefield. The book works partly because they are so much more gracious to Dawkins than Dawkins is to believers"

These could be used as just examples of how Dawkins atheistic and philisophical beliefs are being assessed by certain people. No response from Dawkins is necessary for a response would not take away the fact of the existence of such criticisms.

Peter Medawar, an Oxford immunologist who won the Noble Prize for medicine comments that scientists need to be cautious about pronouncements that lie out of the realm of science unless they lose the trust of the public by confidenct and dogmatic overstatements (taken from The Dawkins Delusion, pg. 39, but also found in The Limits of Science by Peter Medawar , pg. 66.) Peter Medawar was not neccessarily a believer but was simply just a concerned scientist.

These are just a few quick examples of how scientists have reacted to Dawkins's stepping out of his expertise or how they would comment on his identifying science with philisophical pronouncements. Many more examples could be found from philosophers, theologians, and even other atheists. True criticism should be used to make this article more neutral and to show that Dawkins' philisophical ideas are in no way representative of scientists or even atheists in general. But from reading this article one would think that Dawkins is hailed by mainstream scientists, and secular atheists and philisophers as being the prophet of this age. This simply is not true and is extremely unbiased. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:11, 14 October 2008 (UTC)

Noble's comments might be of some value on the article on The Selfish Gene. Craddock and the Publishers Weekly are just endorsing McGraths views, which are already well represented in the article, and do we really need a McGrath cheer-squad? Medawar is basically saying what Martin Rees is quoted as saying. Is there any value in saying it twice? Or does Medawar say it better? You make the assertion that Dawkins is controversial both among scientists and atheists. That may well be true, and I doubt even he would deny he is a controversial figure. But just adding critics ad infinitum just invites a "pile on" of his supporters. The article becomes unreadable, and readers fail to get an understanding of his ideas, which I would suggest is the primary thing readers are looking for in this article. --Michael Johnson (talk) 00:04, 15 October 2008 (UTC)
Comments on and criticisms of The God Delusion belong at The God Delusion; detailed analysis of and/or ripostes to selfish genes belongs at The Selfish Gene or gene-centered view of evolution; the McGrath cheer-squad is best mustered at The Dawkins Delusion?. If you think any of those articles does not do justice to Dawkins' critics, take your concerns to those places. This article, on the other hand, is about Dawkins himself, not about the detail of his works, and it already contains several references to critics. Yes, it does tend to give Dawkins the "last word" at various points, but that seems entirely reasonable, given that this is a biography of a living person. We cannot allow the article to become a ping-pong match between Dawkins and his critics, or a place where the anti-Dawkins mob is invited to dump as much "Dawkins is evil" stuff as they can find. Can you suggest any specific pieces of text that you think should be changed, or added? SNALWIBMA ( talk - contribs ) 07:40, 15 October 2008 (UTC)

Documentaries and debates...

Debate between Richard Dawkins and John Lennox (2008) ... am I missing something? Is this being released on DVD or something? If not, then it doesn't really belong there, unless we're going to list every single debate in which he participates! AC+79 3888 [ talk ] 21:39, 5 October 2008 (UTC)

Agreed. --Michael Johnson (talk) 21:49, 5 October 2008 (UTC)


Would it be a good idea to have a criticism subheading as part of the article, or perhaps some of Dawkins' responses? Just a thought as I think the page presents his views as fact a bit. (Cooltrainer Hugh) 20:53, 12 October 2008 (UTC)

See the "Controversy" section about five sections above this one. ~ mazca t|c 20:24, 12 October 2008 (UTC)
Is this why you have put the "neutrality disputed" template on top of the article? I see no substantive challenge to the article's neutrality in what you say. If you've nothing to say other than that there should be a "criticism" section, and a vague comment that "the page presents his views as fact a bit", then the template should be removed. The first of these has been endlessly discussed above, and the second is meaningless without specific examples. SNALWIBMA ( talk - contribs ) 21:16, 12 October 2008 (UTC)
Echoing Mazca, still I'll repeat what I wrote above. Separate criticism sections are not recommended according to our guidelines. Criticism should be instead added to the relevant sections where the criticism is pertinent. Now, yes, there are other articles where this has not been followed, but other poorly formatted articles are not a good rationale for this one. Is there any specific criticism you believe the article lacks? Aunt Entropy (talk) 21:31, 12 October 2008 (UTC)
When I mentioned a criticism section I was thinking of his works. Criticism has only been discussed for the Selfish Gene and The God Delusion. Although on second thoughts that would probably be more appropriate for the pages of his respective works, rather than on Dawkins' own page. Cooltrainer Hugh (talk) —Preceding undated comment was added at 14:57, 13 October 2008 (UTC).


The article says that Dawkins "is" a professorial fellow, with the present tense. He is beyond the normal retiring age for Oxford University. In he is not mentioned. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:23, 13 October 2008 (UTC)

Try this link elsewhere on that same site. It refers to his Professorial fellowship in the present tense. ϢereSpielChequers 12:40, 13 October 2008 (UTC)
The site is self-contradictory. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:57, 21 October 2008 (UTC)

Eve Barham Dawkins

I suppose I'm not the first to notice this article, but thought I would bring it up here where it is more likely someone will read what I say. I have just noticed and read the article, though I'm not sure that this person is notable enough for an article. I don't really like to see articles like this deleted, but after I read it I immediately thought that his daughter Juliet would probably be just as notable as his second wife (the sources cited are just as much about her, and Dawkins has had much more to say about her in his books than he has about her mother, who I didn't even know existed until I read this (I guess I hadn't given much thought to the question of who her mother was...)). The writer is evidently a new user, so may not be familiar with the notability guidelines. It is well referenced, though the problem is that none of the references are about his wife herself - they just mention her. You need an awful lot of that sort of source to equal one that focuses just on the subject, and you generally need at least two of the latter sort to meet the requirements. Richard001 (talk) 07:50, 14 November 2008 (UTC)

I'm inclined to agree. It's clearly been written in good faith, but doesn't meet notability requirements: if it were judged to, it'd effectively be opening the floodgates to the inclusion of articles on relatives of pretty much any notable person, by the sole virtue of their being related. I'd be in favour of removing it and encouraging its author to make similarly well sourced additions to this one. AC+79 3888 (talk) 14:37, 14 November 2008 (UTC)
I also agree - Eve Barham Dawkins is only mentioned in passing or obliquely in the references supplied, and after a quick Google I can't see any non-trivial accounts of her. Hence I think the article on her would get deleted if put through WP:AfD - can someone do the honours?--A bit iffy (talk) 15:57, 14 November 2008 (UTC)
I think deletion is probably the order of the day, but I've tagged it up and informed its creator to check if they know something about the subject's notability that we don't. Much of the article seems to actually be about Eve Barham Dawkins' daughter rather than her. Cheers, --PLUMBAGO 16:30, 14 November 2008 (UTC)

Documentaries and debates

Yes check.svg Done AC+79 3888 (talk) 22:15, 18 November 2008 (UTC)

Regarding the "Documentaries and debates" section: ought the name be changed to just "Documentaries", given the fact that no debates are actually listed there, nor does it seem that any are likely to be? AC+79 3888 (talk) 14:52, 14 November 2008 (UTC)

Why is there no criticism of dawkins section here?? after all, there are many.... —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:42, 15 November 2008 (UTC)
This has been discussed plenty of times, see the archives. Anyone have thoughts on the Documentaries and Debates section title? AC+79 3888 (talk) 12:25, 15 November 2008 (UTC)
Yeah, that's a good idea.--Woland (talk) 20:51, 15 November 2008 (UTC)

Tidying up the external links section

Yes check.svg Done --AC+79 3888 (talk) 16:16, 21 November 2008 (UTC)

So the external links section has been flagged as containing inappropriate content. In line with WP:EL, what's the consensus on what needs to be removed? Wiki promotes the linking of "neutral and accurate material" that's "meaningful" and "relevant"; for example, content that would be included in the article itself but for copyright or other such reasons. I suspect that the Livejournal community dedicated to discussing Dawkins' ideas and activities link doesn't really belong, nor does the Richard Dawkins Resource Page. Neither of these are certain to be either formal or neutral enough at any one time for encyclopaedic purposes. The problem with links such as Richard Dawkins at TED Talks and Dawkins at the Clinton School – Lecture and Q&A Session is that Wiki is not a links repository, so unless there's something specifically informative about Richard Dawkins himself in any of these, it's just a case of arbitrarily choosing various talks/lectures of his and linking to them. Personally, my own feeling is that we should get rid of them all except for the official RD site, his Oxford University sites, the IMDb page, and the RDFRS site. --AC+79 3888 (talk) 00:00, 21 November 2008 (UTC)

Agree, perhaps leaving a <!-- Comment --> for editors saying what has been done and discouraging additions which do not comply with WP:EL. --Old Moonraker (talk) 06:54, 21 November 2008 (UTC)
Done, also added comment tag as suggested. --AC+79 3888 (talk) 16:16, 21 November 2008 (UTC)

Contributions to science

I came across a number of people who suggest Dawkins is some sort of Britney Spears of evolutionary biology, i.e. a little more than a media darling who wrote controversial science popularization books, his real scientific record (they claim) being far less substantial and successful. Since we live in an age where a scientist can hardly make a name for himself/herself (comparable popularity-wise to Dawkins) without a solid record of high impact, peer-reviewed journal papers, I think it's imperative to compile a list of his publications (other than books, newspapers and general interest magazines), at least the most prominent ones. If for no other reason, at least to silence such voices forever. Anybody has access to the ISI Web of Knowledge? Another alternative is Google Scholar, but there seem to be some ambiguities regarding author's names; my search wasn't very productive. (talk) 22:10, 23 November 2008 (UTC)

Agree, in principle, with starting a List of publications by Richard Dawkins but foresee notability issues, at least as regards your optimism in such a move helping "to silence such voices forever." Common sense suggests that any publications referred to by his peers at institutions awarding him their distinctions, etc. should be notable enough, but my experience at Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Darwin-Wallace Medal suggests otherwise... Though common sense did prevail in the end in that particular case :) --Technopat (talk) 22:57, 23 November 2008 (UTC)
Feeling bold, so going ahead and starting above List. If nothing else, it'll help reduce the length of the parent article. Any bets on how long it takes someone to AfD it? :) --Technopat (talk) 23:02, 23 November 2008 (UTC)
Didn't wait for consensus on this one 'cos nothing has been modified in mother article. The publications I removed are still mentioned in the body of the text and there's a great wikilink now. :) --Technopat (talk) 23:50, 23 November 2008 (UTC)
Is this the link you're referring to ? Good start, thank you! Now, to explain my "optimism" and need for rigor: I can (partially) see where some people might have a problem with honorary titles/awards etc. For example, Andres Segovia has received honorary PhDs from no less than ten universities, was invited to give master classes at important institutions, he's still revered by many, but that didn't stop John Williams (not doubt another important guitarist) to call him a "very limited musician", and he's not the only one! I'm by no means an expert in Richard Dawkins (therefore I'm yet to be educated), but my feeling is that he's viewed by many as a "atheist messiah", an umbrella under which many voices that were silent in the past can now find shelter and make themselves heard. Hence the question: to what degree those distinctions are the result of popularity and sympathy, and to what degree they originate in high impact scientific findings? On the other hand books don't undergo the same scientific peer-review process as, let's say, an article in “Nature” (plus, let't not forget, there are books out there claiming Ahkenaten and Moses are one and the same person, or that Elvis Presley is still alive). That's probably why they tend to harbour more speculative ideas and interesting (but yet unproven) theories. And don't underestimate the impact of journal papers! If I'm not wrong, the highest ranked journal is (or was at least sometime in 2005-2006) the Journal of Immunology (impact factor of ca 50), not “Nature”, or “Science”. Last time I saw that list there were some very highly praised medicine journals as well, and I'd be very surprised if there's none on biology or genetics up there. If Mr. Dawkins has made a contribution in such a journal (even if only one in a whole career) then any criticism, no matter how “rigorous” would be unsubstantiated. (talk) 00:35, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
I'd love to build up a really comprehensive list of all citable published material by Dawkins. I've added a few more (book and journal citations). If anyone's adding more, please use the Cite Journal template for journals, and the Cite Book template for books. --AC+79 3888 (talk) 22:45, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
I've started a topic in the discussion page for that article, best to keep it all over there. AC+79 3888 (talk) 22:57, 24 November 2008 (UTC)