Further to “Dawkins is destroying his reputation?” (He is now generally accepted as a figure of fun, when not just bloody offensive. A threat only to his allies.)
Unless, of course, you bring your charge card. No, really. Lawyer and writer John Gilmore says of Dawkins’ visit to Rochester, Minnesota:
The program began with an off-putting series of short videos, essentially haranguing the audience to become a member of the Richard Dawkins Foundation, with any number of membership levels available depending upon how much one wanted to pay in support of the cause. The similarity to televangelist pitches was so palpable that I couldn’t shake it off for the balance of the evening. Of course, other analogies to religion and religious fervor and structure that I saw that evening didn’t help.
Sure enough, when the new atheists discovered evangelism, they grasped the sleazy part.
At any rate a caricature of newly elected Iowa senator Joni Ernst appeared, with a comment from her about climate change. What this had to do with the thoughtful examination of life, biology, evolution and, not to be grandiose, cosmology I had no idea. Initially. Gradually, it dawned on me that the audience was to receive continuous reinforcement as to its specialness, its faux bravery in attending this event and its innate sense of superiority to those unenlightened fools who still believe.
After the hard sell to join the atheist borg, Dawkins and Sweeney took the stage, sitting comfortably in over-stuffed chairs with a small table between them. More.
And get this:
For something like $250 I could have spent a couple of hours with Dawkins before the main event but I’m allergic to paying for access to people like that. Perhaps I was mistaken to think in a Q & A session with an audience this large serious philosophical questions could be entertained. Yet the premise of the evening’s event was just that. It was never realized.
For something like $250 one could download more great books than one can read in a lifetime.
Special thanks to the people who persuaded Dawkins to behave that way. Not that they would ever admit it in public …
Next time, let’s order decaf from the wholesaler. Back to serious stuff soon.
Added: This may be the only really good evidence for the selfish gene.
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