The Other I

September 22, 2010

Finding the idiots

I am happy to report that even those English who are atheists, are beginning to object to the nature of Richard Dawkins’ bombastic attacks on believers.

There is a way in which his lack of respect for those who disagree with him make Dawkins even worse than the religious fundamentalists who believe they, too, have the right to impose their beliefs on everybody else.  But unlike many fundamentalists, Dawkins is extremely well-educated and as a professor at Oxford, recognized as an authority in his field.

Being convinced that one is right does not give one the right to treat everyone who disagrees with you like retrograde idiots and fools.



  1. What is the context for this? It must have been something quite extreme. Otherwise I’m intrigued as to why showing a ‘lack of respect’ can be worse than trying to impose fundamentalist beliefs on everyone else?

    Thanks, Chris.


    Comment by Chris Lawrence — September 23, 2010 @ 5:12 am | Reply

    • Chris,

      Yes, I agree: “lack of respect” is hardly worse than trying to impose fundamentalist beliefs on someone else. In fact, in many ways they are reflections of the same thing.

      And in retrospect, I should not have said that Dawkins’ version is “worse.” It was rather ill-thought out on my part. Where I was coming from is my suspicion that a great deal of fundamentalist thinking arises out of varying combinations of ignorance and fear. Dawkins obviously is not ignorant. In fact, I agree with him far more often than I disagree. And so in that sense, I find myself setting a higher standard for Dawkins. As I do for the pope, who also is not ignorant but who also so often shows in his own way a deep disrespect for views that differ from his.

      In neither case do I think it is a way to change people. I once was a committed Catholic. Calling me names did not change my mind one iota. I did not change my mind because I was called superstitious, fearful, or a blind follower. On the contrary. I changed my mind because of people who presented ideas that simply seem to make more sense. Similarly, I am not going to return to belief because my lack of faith condemns me to hell in the eyes of the pope, because I am a sinner, or am excluding myself from the community of saints.

      And so really, what I object to is not the expression of ideas. But the name calling. One of the things that has so delighted me about your blog Thinking Makes It So is that you never stoop to that. You present your ideas – about which you feel strongly – with a respect for your reader even though you may radically disagree. I appreciate that immensely. (And respect it, when it comes to that.)

      And so when I say thank you, I am grateful for more than just your current thoughts.

      Thank you


      Comment by theotheri — September 23, 2010 @ 2:48 pm | Reply

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Blog at

%d bloggers like this: