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The Flea Circus Invites a Newcomer! - Comments

Yorker's Avatar Comment 1 by Yorker

Holy shit! All these fleas are making me itchy!

Wed, 01 Aug 2007 08:39:00 UTC | #56963

Slainte's Avatar Comment 2 by Slainte

I get the feeling that most of these fleas are written by WASPs. It's no wonder they make me antsy. They may seem bugged by all the atheistic books out there, but I'm guessing they really just want to ride the coattails and make a bit of scratch.

Wed, 01 Aug 2007 08:56:00 UTC | #56967

aitchkay's Avatar Comment 3 by aitchkay

A few ideas for any fleas out there in search of a host:

"Dennett's Dangerous Delusion"

"Hitchens is Not Great: how Atheism Poisons Everything"

"God is NOT a Delusion, Mr Dawkins. So There."

Wed, 01 Aug 2007 09:05:00 UTC | #56971

dgr8test97's Avatar Comment 4 by dgr8test97

Does any here know if any of these guys have anything intelligent to say? Also, why are all these guys WASPs?

Why does this God conflict always between the Rationalist and the Christians? I mean once in a while we get a Jew and a Muslim in there, but where are the Buddhists, Taoist, Shintoists, and Hindus? Keep in Mind these other religion make up over 1 Billion follows, many of whom read and write English.

Hell I take a Scientologist and Devil Worshipper just to see if they have anything new to say.

I doubt it, but as a rationalist, I like to make sure all the i's are dotted and t's crossed.

Wed, 01 Aug 2007 09:09:00 UTC | #56974

Enlightenme..'s Avatar Comment 5 by Enlightenme..

Mcgrath thinks atheism's on the wane, so I look forward to him writing 'The end of non-faith'.

Wed, 01 Aug 2007 09:32:00 UTC | #56984

stackoturtles's Avatar Comment 6 by stackoturtles

Wasn't the fleas showing up looking to feed off new dogs inevitable?

Amerika! I luv dis kuntry.

Wed, 01 Aug 2007 09:34:00 UTC | #56986

maton100's Avatar Comment 7 by maton100

Creative and original. I guess that's why they call it Intelligent Design. Where's my flea spray?

http://thestubborncurmudgeon.blogspot.com

Wed, 01 Aug 2007 09:40:00 UTC | #56988

drive1's Avatar Comment 8 by drive1

I'm in favour of anything that gets people visiting book stores. In my local store, the religion section is towards the back of the shop, and consists of 3 shelves of books. To get to it you have to pass the 'popular science' section .. a dozen shelves of books. The science books tend to have really snappy titles too .. with sexy words like chaos, time, cosmos, bang and penguin. The devil, it seems, has all the good books. Yay! Or should that be Muwahahaha?

Wed, 01 Aug 2007 09:50:00 UTC | #56993

aitchkay's Avatar Comment 9 by aitchkay

Enlightenment:

"Mcgrath thinks atheism's on the wane..."

Really? I wonder if he backs up this belief with any evidence. (Probably not, since when have faith-heads required any?) The enormous popularity of TGD etc does not support the notion that atheism is in decline. I wonder how many books the fleas are selling - anyone know?

'The end of non-faith' - ha ha.

Wed, 01 Aug 2007 09:55:00 UTC | #56995

Ole's Avatar Comment 10 by Ole

So far, no one have gone after Michel Onfray and his Atheist Manifesto

Ole

P.S.
Since Onfray is from France, perhaps he should be included in the group of "Atheist Musketeers"?

Wed, 01 Aug 2007 09:59:00 UTC | #56997

The Wee Flea's Avatar Comment 11 by The Wee Flea

Okay, here is my prediction.

Everyone who writes in answer to Dawkins is going to be written off as a flea. Whereas everyone who writes in support of Dawkins is going to be brilliant.

Everyone who writes in answer to Dawkins is just out to make money. Whereas everyone who writes in support of Dawkins is a hero who is fighting the good fight without any thought of monetary advantage. The fact that the atheist books will outsell the flea books by 10 to one is only an indication of the brilliance of the atheist books and the stupidity of the flea books.

Almost everyone who comments on this website will manage to disparage all of the flea books without having read a single one of them.

Yet despite all this there will be a bout of self-congratulation, mockery and self-righteousness. You will all go away feeling justified and immensely thankful that you are part of the new enlightenment and that you have nothing to do with fleas.

Such is the rationality and open-mindedness of the New Atheism.

Wed, 01 Aug 2007 10:02:00 UTC | #56998

socratzsche's Avatar Comment 12 by socratzsche

For a people with unsurpassed assurance of their beliefs, this says nothing more than insecurity--fear!

Wed, 01 Aug 2007 10:03:00 UTC | #57000

The Wee Flea's Avatar Comment 13 by The Wee Flea

And of course I should have pointed out that any flea book is indication of how insecure and fearful the Christians are, whereas any one of the numerous new atheist books is not because atheists are afraid, but rather because they are bold!

Aitchkay you asked "I wonder how many books the fleas are selling - anyone know?"

I cannot speak for the others, but in Britain my own book sold out within four weeks of going on sale. It is a drop in the ocean compared with the God delusion but nonetheless given that there is no advertising budget, that very few secular book shops take Christian books and there is no possibility of any secular media reviews, then it is quite surprising that it has done so well. The major difficulty is that the Christian books tend to sell only to Christians and unless you are a well-known Christian in the United States, that means it is a very limited market. I'm not too bothered about that because my main aim was actually to write for atheists and agnostics.

Wed, 01 Aug 2007 10:08:00 UTC | #57003

Planeswalker's Avatar Comment 14 by Planeswalker

Hey, the website finally got the right cover for "The Dawkins Letters"! Now David Robertson must be happy :)

Wed, 01 Aug 2007 10:09:00 UTC | #57004

aitchkay's Avatar Comment 16 by aitchkay

The Wee Flea:

I, for one, haven't read any of these books. Nevertheless I feel quite happy to dismiss them all. Is this reasonable? Yes. Afterall, what are the chances that they contain any new arguments, let alone a single strand of evidence, for the existence of God? Feel free to correct me if you know of any such arguments or evidence.

Wed, 01 Aug 2007 10:25:00 UTC | #57009

Slainte's Avatar Comment 15 by Slainte

Comment #60232 by The Wee Flea: "Almost everyone who comments on this website will manage to disparage all of the flea books without having read a single one of them."

I disparage them not based on their content but on their misleading and deceptive attempts to parrot the cover designs of the original books. I am, therefore, judging a book by its cover.

"Such is the rationality and open-mindedness of the New Atheism."

You presume, by your sarcastic comment on "open-mindedness," that we are completely ignorant of the content of the fleas. If they can't display originality in something as simple as cover design, why should we extend them the courtesy of assuming originality of content?

Wed, 01 Aug 2007 10:25:00 UTC | #57008

anotherclinton's Avatar Comment 17 by anotherclinton

I much prefer McGrath's "The Twilight of Atheism". The title itself suggests that Atheism must have a Midnight, a Dawn and a Bright Shining Day.

Wed, 01 Aug 2007 10:29:00 UTC | #57012

NAIANF87's Avatar Comment 18 by NAIANF87

I wonder if there exists a pill for these...

Wed, 01 Aug 2007 10:36:00 UTC | #57014

aitchkay's Avatar Comment 19 by aitchkay

The wee flea - what book did you write?

Wed, 01 Aug 2007 10:43:00 UTC | #57015

scottishgeologist's Avatar Comment 21 by scottishgeologist

Wee Flea: "Everyone who writes in answer to Dawkins is going to be written off as a flea"

Not necessarily - only if they write books that are parasitic on the back of Dawkins own book.

The titles alone are patently parasitic and totally devoid of originality.

Wee Flea: "Everyone who writes in answer to Dawkins is just out to make money."

Or more likely, writing to try to redress the balance since "faith" and its poisonous effects is now being questioned seriously. They are running about like rabbits caught in the headlights.


Wee Flea: "Almost everyone who comments on this website will manage to disparage all of the flea books without having read a single one of them.

Yet despite all this there will be a bout of self-congratulation, mockery and self-righteousness. You will all go away feeling justified and immensely thankful that you are part of the new enlightenment and that you have nothing to do with fleas"

Yet more patronising sarcasm. And you wonder why people launch vitriolic attacks.

Finally, regarding book sales, I would argue that any book that is a "Dawkins Response" and contains Dawkins name in the title, will probably sell OK among the faithful. They will be able to comfort and kid themselves that they have a David of delusion standing up to Goliath of reason.

Now if one of the flea writers had used a title like "Faith in the 21st Century - God for today" (just a pretty poor example, but you get my drift) I wonder how well it would sell?

And finally, Wee Flea, if you think that all this stuff is an "opportunity" to "reach out" to the agnostics, lets do a simple test:-

What is your average congregation numbers?
What is the population of the area you serve?

In one years time after your book and other apologetic works have done their stuff, re-do those figures. If there was say 0% increase in population but say a 30% increase in your congregation, I might think you had a point. In fact I would concede that in terms of evangelism, you were successful.

One condition: wealthy middle class "fish on the SUV" evangies moving into the area and starting to attend your church dont count. The figures need to relate to "agnostics" and unchurched.

Up for it?

Wed, 01 Aug 2007 10:44:00 UTC | #57017

Happy Hominid's Avatar Comment 20 by Happy Hominid

Comment #60227 by drive1 has hit it right on the head. The more books the better. Religion and any defense of the supernatural can't win the battle of ideas. For centuries these things weren't allowed to be debated. Finally they are fair game. Fleas will always exist, but it's still better to be a dog!

Wed, 01 Aug 2007 10:44:00 UTC | #57016

Spartan88's Avatar Comment 22 by Spartan88

The Wee Flea

..my own book sold out within four weeks of going on sale.


You should have stretched the print run to Two Copies!

Wed, 01 Aug 2007 10:49:00 UTC | #57019

Riley's Avatar Comment 23 by Riley

The Wee Flea (aka David Robertson author of "The Dawkins Letters"),

I've read many of the 'letters' you pre-released for your book and was openminded about what you might have to say. After spending a considerable amount of time I found your critique of Dawkins' book to be almost entirely lacking in relevant counter-arguments. Worse, your counter-arguments unforgivably misrepresent the arguments you claim to be writing in answer to. Unforgivable I say because I had on more than one occasion identified a "straw man" in your critique and made you aware of it (for example, Dawkins' argument for why labeling children might be considered child abuse). Even after being made explicitly aware of your mistake, you choose to go right-on repeating it. How can you claim to be writing in response to Dawkins' arguments if you knowingly misrepresent them in your book?

More often than not in your 'letters' you avoid the issues all together choosing instead to kill page after page with attacks against atheists as a group, conspiratorial allusions and endless whining about secular culture (which you erroneously think to be synnonymous with atheism), veiled derision of Dawkins' character, and open derision of Dawkins' fan base. While I consider a fair amount of personal derision now and then to be healthy, it's completely irrelevant to an argument.

.
.

That's what makes you a flea in my book.

.
.

Wed, 01 Aug 2007 10:57:00 UTC | #57022

Johnny O's Avatar Comment 24 by Johnny O

very few secular book shops take Christian books


I have to say Wee Flea that that is total bollocks. Waterstones, Ottakers, John Menzies, WH Smith.... ALL stock Religious books. Not just Christian as you seem to wish though.

I have however popped into The Salvation Army shop as well as a Religious bookshop, (which should be called a Christian bookshop), where I live and neither of these stock The End of Faith, The God Delusion, Breaking the Spell or God is Not Great. In fact there was no counter arguement or even books of any other faith.

I did spot The Dawkin's Delusion, which I bought and read and have to say that it seemed to be aimed at people who had not read TGD. I was surprised at how small it was having heard McGrath talk endlessly without actually saying anything. I was disappointed that he never tried to address the issues raised in TGD, instead questioned Dawkin's ability to actually raise them.

This has put me off buying any of the others. If you think there are better ones out there, (your own perhaps??) then please tell me. I would really like to hear a good arguement for the existence of a God...

Wed, 01 Aug 2007 11:07:00 UTC | #57025

robotaholic's Avatar Comment 25 by robotaholic

Obviously the much esteemed Professor Dawkins is making a splash with TGD. (which I must say is awesome) I hope the sales stay up - WAY UP.

Thx RD!

Wed, 01 Aug 2007 11:19:00 UTC | #57028

Fedler's Avatar Comment 26 by Fedler

aitchkay:

Afterall, what are the chances that they contain any new arguments, let alone a single strand of evidence, for the existence of God?
This is very much the crux of the issue. David, and other believers, have a different definition of 'evidence' than scientifically-minded people. Combine that with the fact that their evidence - as they define it - is not positive confirmation (supplying evidence themselves), but rather negative confirmation (criticizing someone else's evidence, therefore God exists by default).

When that fails, they throw up their hands and claim atheists "just don't get it" or are "not open to the type of evidence needed to quantify the spiritual" or something to that effect. I believe David has to know by now that every thread he enters will soon deteriorate (because he offers very little positive evidence - as defined by us), then he can stand back and say to his friends "See, what an ignorant and mean lot they are!" I truly wish there was a way around it.

Wed, 01 Aug 2007 11:20:00 UTC | #57029

jimbob's Avatar Comment 27 by jimbob

An apt analogy since fleas have been vectors for some of the worst plagues in human history.

Wed, 01 Aug 2007 11:57:00 UTC | #57042

quork's Avatar Comment 28 by quork

Does the David Robertson book make a case for the existence of pink unicorns?

Or is it wrong to judge a book by its cover?

Wed, 01 Aug 2007 12:04:00 UTC | #57043

happyatheist's Avatar Comment 30 by happyatheist

"Almost everyone who comments on this website will manage to disparage all of the flea books without having read a single one of them.

Yet despite all this there will be a bout of self-congratulation, mockery and self-righteousness. You will all go away feeling justified and immensely thankful that you are part of the new enlightenment and that you have nothing to do with fleas.

Such is the rationality and open-mindedness of the New Atheism."

LOL! Is this supposed to be "reverse psychology" so that atheists will run out and buy these books? LOL! Nice try. MAYBE I'll see if any are at the local library...but I won't waste a penny of my hard-earned cash buying one of 'em. That would be akin to donating money to the church. Why would an open-minded, rational atheist wanna do that? LOL!

Wed, 01 Aug 2007 12:10:00 UTC | #57046

scoobie's Avatar Comment 29 by scoobie

I cannot speak for the others, but in Britain my own book sold out within four weeks of going on sale.

Congratulations!
Numbers?

Wed, 01 Aug 2007 12:10:00 UTC | #57045