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Dawkins preaches to the deluded against the divine

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The bestselling author of The God Delusion was similarly fawned over by the Australian media, which uncritically lapped up everything he said.

This was even after (or perhaps because) he referred to the Pope as a Nazi, which managed to combine defamation of the pontiff with implicit Holocaust denial.

By comparison, Family First senator Steve Fielding may feel he got off lightly when Dawkins described him merely as more stupid than an earthworm.

For someone who has made a career out of telling everyone how much more tolerant the world would be if only religion were obliterated from the human psyche, Dawkins manages to appear remarkably intolerant towards anyone who disagrees with him.

The fact is, however, the shine has come off Dawkins. For sure, he remains a superstar for the legions who loathe religion. But, nevertheless, a strong feeling has developed in less credulous quarters that he has gone too far.

While he was writing about the "selfish gene" and the "blind watchmaker", he received a respectful reception even from those who might have disagreed with him but were nevertheless impressed by the imaginative brio and dazzling fluency of his argument. But then he left biology behind and became the self-appointed universal crusader against God. Flying the flag of Darwinism, he went to war against religion on the grounds that any belief that did not follow the rules of scientific inquiry was prima facie evidence of imbecility or insanity.

He became the apostle of scientism, the ideology that says everything in the universe has a materialist explanation and must answer to the rules of empirical scientific evidence; to believe anything else is irrational.
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