Dawkins flicks Comfort aside, effortlessly

I've long been a fan of Richard Dawkins, mostly from his books, but more recently from his willingness to stand up unapologetically for science and reason and say, effectively, "yes, evolution does make religion redundant." This is not a view shared - or perhaps willingly articulated - by most scientists. Most of us have been too successfully indoctrinated by the hissing, spitting masses. We've been told it's not polite to point out mental defectiveness in others. Most scientists today will say, if asked, that the facts of evolution doesn't necessarily conflict with religion, and the two can get along happily.

Hogwash. Religion exists in the flawed human brain for two reasons, and two reasons alone: 1) we can hallucinate, and 2) we want to feel really, really important. Believing that gods created the planet just for you apparently conveys quite the impressive sense of importance. But now that we, unlike our gap-toothed ancestors, firmly grasp how our planet and our species came into existence, childish notions of gods and angels are at best useless and embarrassing, and at worst suicidal. Yes, actually, science does negate religion. Evolution does pull the rug out from under fanciful notions that the creator of the entire universe agrees with you, personally, on every issue upon which you possess an opinion. Even the current Goa'uld host residing in the Vatican has admitted that Darwin was right, and evolution really does best explain biology. Sadly, the Pope appears too stupid to realize that admitting there was no Garden of Eden means there was also no original sin, which puts the old parasite out of a job.

But back to Dawkins. Last week Richard Dawkins rejected an offer of $10,000 to publicly debate uncommitted psychopath and believer in imaginary friends Ray Comfort, on the topic of atheism. Comfort is another one of those annoying little semi-persons who insists with smug assurance that he's got the true skinny on the Maker of All Things (who, one must not forget, agrees with the speaker on all the speaker's opinions), and if you'd only do the simple thing of agreeing with Comfort's unmedicated delusions then you too could enjoy total dissociation from reality. Which, according to Comfort, is an enviable state of psychological infirmity.

Dawkins does the right thing in refusing to debate with such foolishness. Where many scientists would worry and fret over theofascists' inevitable accusations of being chicken (or some such painfully stereotypical response), when said scientists are asked to debate with religiotic dolts, Dawkins simply says no, and then he mocks them. And it is a beautiful thing.
"It is not, therefore, a worthwhile inducement for me to travel all the way across the Atlantic to debate with an ignorant fool," he wrote. "You can tell him that if he donates $100,000 to the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science (it's a charitable donation, tax deductible) I'll do it."
Bullies like Comfort don't want a fair debate on issues of substance and logic. They don't want to rationally discuss. They only want to preach. When called on that fact they bluster and spit, and accuse their opponents of cowardice for not responding in detail to every halfwitted gout of verbal vomit they spew as if it were a rational point. Sorry, but when the crazy unwashed guy on the corner shrieks about bananas bearing direct signals from the Creator, one does not do logic a service by arguing back. One should best ignore such delusionals, or if cornered, mock them without mercy.

Dawkins gets it right. It's best not to debate clowns, when you can instead just laugh at them in front of everybody.

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Comment by unholyroller on March 2, 2009 at 6:01pm
Grnycassi-ism # 8: The worst thing one can do to an adversary is to deprive him/her of a target. Dawkins did the best thing possible. Ignoring the ignorant. Love your discription of the pope! All the priesthood, of whatever denomination, are parasites.
Comment by River Otter on March 2, 2009 at 1:10pm
Dawkins isn't the only one to refuse debate about creationism here lately.

Nicholas Gotelli, a professer at the University of Vermont did the same thing. Gotelli really put them in their place to by telling them, instead of debating they should spend more time trying to get their research peer reviewed and published in the Nature magizine. I found the link below this afternoon at PZ Meyers blog. If you all get the chance, check it out. It's a hoot!

http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2009/02/how_to_respond_to_requests_to.php#23more

Thanks for the post planetologist. :)

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