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Author Topic: "The God Delusion" by Richard Dawkins
Richard W
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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In his new book, The God Delusion, Richard Dawkins says that Pat Robertson "was reported as blaming the hurricane on a lesbian comedian who happened to live in New Orleans", and then notes in a footnote that it's "unclear" whether the story is true. He gives a link to the snopes page God's Wrath as the site that says it's untrue:

http://www.snopes.com/katrina/satire/robertson.asp

Oddly enough Dawkins then carries on using it as an example on the grounds that it's "typical" of something Pat Robertson would say. Seems that he was a bit too embarrassed to admit to falling for satire. (He actually gives the link to the original Dateline story too, so he must have read it - perhaps his satire detectors were playing up that day. It is pretty hard to tell satire from reality when it comes to some of the more extreme religious sites.)

OK, it is typical of something Robertson would say, and Dawkins includes some real quotes too, including the others from the snopes page, but it doesn't really help his case - it always annoys me when people I largely agree with include unnecessary weak points that you can predict will be picked up on by detractors who miss the larger argument.

He'd probably argue that all this demonstrates is that Robertson is beyond parody (fair enough!)

Still, that's quite an impressive citation, even if he does seem to be a bit sceptical about your page.

(edited to add a page reference. It's in Chapter 7: The "Good" Book and the Moral Zeitgeist, on page 239 of the UK hardback edition.)

Posts: 8725 | From: Ipswich - the UK's 9th Best Place to Sleep! | Registered: Feb 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Jordashe
I'll Be Home for After Christmas Sales


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I actually just got to see Dawkins speak at the local college a few weeks ago.
It was excellent! It seemed a little dry while he was giving the readings, but it was great to hear his responses to questions. He is incredibly well-spoken.
He also seems nowhere near as blunt as a variety of write-ups have implied. He's very gentle in making the argument, and for anyone for whom facts play an important role, he is very persuasive.

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Richard W
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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Yes, I've noticed before that his arguments are usually far more subtle when you read the arguments themselves than when you read the summaries and headlines in the paper. He just talks about things that are easy to misunderstand or misrepresent.

Having said that, parts of The God Delusion are more blunt than he sometimes is... rather than pretending for the sake of politeness that religious arguments deserve more respect than you might otherwise give them, he says he'll treat them as he would any other argument. It's quite funny to see somebody not bothering to be polite and instead spluttering about how self-evidently nonsensical a lot of it is.

I've never actually seen him speak - I'm sure I must have had the opportunity to do so in the past, but missed it.

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Adelaide
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I just got the book on the 18th - not done with it yet but I was going to post the same sighting as Richard!

--------------------
Natural selection is a beguiling counterfeiter of deliberate purpose. - Richard Dawkins

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snopes
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quote:
I've never actually seen him speak
I have. He was such a dreadfully dull speaker that we left in the middle of his presentation.

- snopes

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