My Problem With Richard Dawkins

The God Delusion is one of the most interesting books I’ve read on the subject of skepticism. Its author, Richard Dawkins, has made many presentations I’ve enjoyed and I’ve just ordered his DVD, The Unbelievers. So yes, I’m a fan of Dawkins, but I do have some problems with his approach. The majority of the time, you are only going to enjoy reading Dawkins if you already agree with him.

Dawkins has been criticized heavily for his approach. He insults people he doesn’t agree with and he has a very intellectual elitist attitude. As an atheist his words are like music to my ears, but at the same time I say to myself, “These words will have no positive impact on the majority of religious people. These words are really just going to piss them off.”

But, we do need a variety of thinkers to encourage skeptical thinking. If a cause is going to succeed, it will need vehement voices. Dawkins gets many good points across, and isn’t afraid to say important things that would otherwise not be said. He isn’t a radical in the sense that he advocates a secular army exterminating all the religious people in the world, he’s just rude.

Dawkins turns a lot of people away from atheism, but at the same time the people who do turn because of him are strong voices. An argument for quality over quantity could be made here. Looking at the big picture, it’s hard to say if Dawkins is helping or hurting the cause for naturalist thinking, but he is trying. What do you think of Dawkins’ approach?

 

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  9 comments for “My Problem With Richard Dawkins

  1. July 23, 2014 at 12:14 am

    I’ve been an atheist for four years now, and although my shift from an indoctrination in Christianity was already beginning, I give Richard Dawkins credit for being the final ax blow that severed that 36 year connection to “faith.” He’s literally changed my life, and I am deeply grateful. His book The God Delusion made so much sense to me and his ability to break down why and how we believe what we do has been very important to my life since.

    I don’t think he deserves the criticism he gets from fellow atheists and skeptics. I also don’t believe that he is rude, elitist, or arrogant. I’ve found him to be very gracious, patient and sensitive to others as he debates and interacts with believers. (Yes, I’ve watched just about every YouTube video of him!).

    I’d love for someone to post a link of Dawkins being anything other than earnest, respectful and sincere. I simply haven’t seen it.

    • July 23, 2014 at 2:10 am

      Thank you for reading and commenting!

      I don’t think he is as rude or arrogant as people make him out to be but I have seen him get emotional in debates and come off as rude or angry.

  2. July 23, 2014 at 7:58 am

    There’s something about him that doesn’t sit right with me but it’s more of a gut reaction than a reasoned one. His book was excellent and I often agree with what he’s saying. Sometimes I don’t, like when he tried to coin the term ‘brite’ to describe atheists, which I found ridiculous.

    • July 23, 2014 at 11:36 pm

      Yeah I didn’t like the term ‘brite’ either. But he writes a good book!

  3. July 23, 2014 at 9:43 am

    Whether his approach makes atheists out of theists (it does. Just how many people has The God Delusion changed for the better?) is irrelevant at this point. Dawkins has enabled atheists to stand up for themselves without shame. That achievement alone is as important as his contributions to biology.

    • July 23, 2014 at 5:21 pm

      I agree with this. Thank you for reading

  4. Scott Kaelen
    July 28, 2014 at 2:59 pm

    Obviously as an atheist I agree with mostly everything he says, but not always the way he applies it. Yes, he looks down his nose at the immovable god-fearers, but especially so (and quite rightly) at those who are intelligent, well-read, who are learned about the formation of the Earth, human evolution, the universe… people who know as much as Dawkins and yet still refuse to let go of their faith. In fact, those people are more dangerous than the less intellectually enlightened folk who only believe in a god because that’s just how it’s always been in the history of their little bubble of existence. Dawkins is an elitist, but can yo blame him? He’s just totally sick of it all, like many of us. My excuse in holding onto a modicum of politeness about the whole thing is that it might impede any potential success I hope to achieve as a writer. In that way I feel shackled by a faith that I don’t prescribe to, and that only furthers my resentment of it. Dawkins must feel a similar resentment.

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