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Dawkins Puts His Foot In It (again)
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It pains me to read Richard Dawkins commentary in The Guardian (via Matthew Yglesias). As I've mentioned before, I thought he was a brilliant scientist, thinker, and popularizer of science. But his political commentary is mostly misinformed sneering, spotted with petty insults directed at our President.

Some examples:


If the American victory is swift, Bush will have done our work for us, removing the hated Saddam and opening the way for a decent Islamist government. Even better, in 2004 Bush may actually win an election. Who can guess what that swaggering, strutting little pouter-pigeon will then get up to, and what resentments he will arouse, when he finally has something to swagger about?


"Swaggering, strutting little pouter-pigeon"? Surely this is political commentary of the highest quality. You're embarrassing yourself, Mr. Dawkins.

But besides the insults, he doesn't even get his facts straight. Here's my comment to Yglesias' site:


Dawkins is yet another example of how one can be brilliant in one area and absolutely blind and dense in another.

He says, among all the sneering and name-calling:

If war is so vitally necessary now, was it not at least worth mentioning in the election campaigns of 2000 and 2001? Why didn't Bush and Blair mention the war to their respective electorates?

Bush (and Gore) both took a hard line on Saddam during the 2000 Presidential campaign, as Dawkins would know if he'd done a simple Google search (or actually paid attention to our political process before trying to speak intelligently about it).

From the first debate: ''No one had envisioned Saddam, at least at that point in history, no one envisioned him still standing,'' Bush said, during a conversation about the Persian Gulf War. ''It's time to finish the task.''

And in the second debate: Bush, whose father was president during the Persian Gulf War, declared that the "coalition against Saddam is unraveling ... sanctions are being violated." If Saddam is developing weapons of mass destruction, he said, "There are going to be consequences if I'm president."

Dawkins knows biology. He knows genes. And he knows evolution. But he obviously doesn't know what he's talking about here.


Look, I'm all for people from a variety of disciplines, and not just the professional talking heads, expressing their political views. But some of the editorials run in the Guardian, from the likes of Richard Dawkins (last year he called Bush "the illiterate, uncouth, unelected cowboy in the White House") and Monty Python's Terry Jones, are just embarrassing in their snide lack of any actual insight and their reliance on petty insults.


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