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← Leading scientist Richard Dawkins slams Scottish Football Association over sacking of Hugh Dallas

Leading scientist Richard Dawkins slams Scottish Football Association over sacking of Hugh Dallas - Comments

DocWebster's Avatar Comment 1 by DocWebster

The guy looks like a penis with ears doesn't he???

Wed, 01 Dec 2010 02:58:29 UTC | #556370

xmaseveeve's Avatar Comment 2 by xmaseveeve

FANTASTIC RICHARD!!! You go guy.

Wed, 01 Dec 2010 02:58:42 UTC | #556371

Atheist Mike's Avatar Comment 3 by Atheist Mike

How dare they call us followers?

Wed, 01 Dec 2010 03:02:59 UTC | #556372

Michael Austin's Avatar Comment 4 by Michael Austin

Comment 3 by Atheist Mike :

How dare they call us followers?

Follower- A member of a cause or activity (my Mac's dictionary). I'd say that we fit the bill nicely. I don't take offense to the name.

Wed, 01 Dec 2010 03:13:10 UTC | #556374

Neodarwinian's Avatar Comment 5 by Neodarwinian

The only part of that I really understood is that the catholic church still has too much influence outside its purview; raping little boys and and generally being wackaloonish.

Wed, 01 Dec 2010 03:16:46 UTC | #556377

Radesq's Avatar Comment 6 by Radesq

An evolutionary biologist and the most prominent of Britain’s militant atheists –

I wish Prof. Dawkins would show up for a debate in boots, camouflage and a beret just once - maybe hold up a black gloved fist after his closing. "Good evening I'm Richard Dawkins - militant atheist" that would be priceless.

Wed, 01 Dec 2010 03:22:04 UTC | #556378

tomt's Avatar Comment 7 by tomt

Interestingly the Sun now has a comment from Nil-by-Mouth a Scottish anti-sectarianism group which states that the email was tasteless but Kearney's response added fuel to the fire of sectarianism. I've tried unsuccessfully to find the original comment from nil-by-mouth so must reluctantly link to the Sun:

http://www.thesun.co.uk/scotsol/homepage/news/3254012/Bigotry-row-was-fuel-to-the-fire-in-Hugh-Dallas-email-affair.html

My two pence on the issue (not that anyones asking): RDF was definitely right to highlight the issue, however I don't support the way the campaign is being conducted because it doesn't seem to me that this response does much for the cause of reason and whilst sending some of these cartoons might be interpreted as an act in favour of free speech they do nothing to promote quality of speech.

Wed, 01 Dec 2010 03:31:04 UTC | #556379

xmaseveeve's Avatar Comment 8 by xmaseveeve

Comment 7, Tom.

'it doesn't seem to me that this response does much for the cause of reason and whilst sending some of these cartoons might be interpreted as an act in favour of free speech they do nothing to promote quality of speech.'

I disagree. Laughter is the best treatment. What would you do?

Wed, 01 Dec 2010 03:38:55 UTC | #556380

tomt's Avatar Comment 9 by tomt

@ xmaseveeve Hello again! I posted a response to your reply in the other thread you might enjoy.

It's clear that this campaign has absolutely succeeded in opening up the debate on this issue and in grabbing some media attention which is great.

I also agree (it might surprise you to hear) that laughter is the best medicine. The original photo with caption was a great ad-hoc act of satire, however personally I don't find many of the cartoons linked to particularly amusing or witty. What really concerns me though is that if you are going to reduce the influence of the likes of Pete Kearney you need to be able to engage support not only from Atheists, Agnostics and Sceptics but also from Catholics. The cartoons that are being circulated run the risk of pushing Catholics towards Kearney which is counter-productive.

What do I think would be more effective? At this stage I think whats needed is an email campaign to the Scottish parliament highlighting how the likes of Peter kearney are abusing legislation intended to end sectarianism in order to deepen it.

However my head is not so far up my own backside that I don't recognise the following:

1) Unlike Profesor Dawkins I have taken no action in the public sphere to combat the existential threat to civil society posed by faith based education and the creeping influence of religious special interests on public life

2) Unlike Professor Dawkins I have not taken a significant amount of time out from my day job to help further the cause of Rationalism and offer support to those trying to leave religions they no longer feel at home in

3) I have not (nor am I about to) taken the initiative to draft such a letter to the Scottish parliament.

I posted my concerns about the campaign because (perhaps misguidedly) I believe it may be useful for Professor Dawkins and other Atheists to know that there are those that dissent. I do often seem to find myself dissenting though so am considering just deleting my account and going back to relying on Chris H's column on slate.

Wed, 01 Dec 2010 04:17:03 UTC | #556384

ScottB's Avatar Comment 10 by ScottB

Comment 9 by tomt

I posted my concerns about the campaign because (perhaps misguidedly) I believe it may be useful for Professor Dawkins and other Atheists to know that there are those that dissent. I do often seem to find myself dissenting though so am considering just deleting my account and going back to relying on Chris H's column on slate.

You're absolutely right to post your opinion even though it may be contrary to the majority opinion on this forum- in fact, it seems to me, that's one of the best reasons to post your opinion. I too often dissent from the majority opinion (as do some of the most prolific posters on here; I'm thinking Tanweer, Stevehill, Hughcaldwell and others). Sometimes, there doesn't seem to be a majority opinion, at least on certain threads.

Please stick around. If everybody on here agrees on everything then it would be a very boring place.

Even though you may be attacked for your views (and I'm not suggesting that's your reason for leaving; I can see it's not), you get to share them and make somebody think. Some of my favourite posters on this site are people who I consistently disagree with, but they cause me to consider my own position and that's healthy.

To sum up: stay and if you think somebody on here is talking out of their arse, is mistaken or misguided or just plain suffering form a case of the screaming habbadabs, tell 'em so!

Wed, 01 Dec 2010 04:46:59 UTC | #556385

tomt's Avatar Comment 11 by tomt

@Scott b Thanks, to be honest I have fairly thick skin so being constantly labelled an accommodationist, concern troll or occasionally Religious Fundamentalist in disguise is not going to ruin my day.

The big problem is that I find myself hopelessly addicted to following and responding to the debate on the site - which is a massive time drain and personal weakness!

Wed, 01 Dec 2010 04:53:13 UTC | #556386

dreamer-71's Avatar Comment 12 by dreamer-71

Xtian supremacy and religious privilege rear their ugly heads once again.

Wed, 01 Dec 2010 05:04:56 UTC | #556394

zengardener's Avatar Comment 13 by zengardener

I didn't realize that the motivation for sacking this guy went deeper than Papophilia.

religion poisons everything.

Wed, 01 Dec 2010 05:07:59 UTC | #556396

Jos Gibbons's Avatar Comment 14 by Jos Gibbons

So now if Dawkins posts a comment on one of these threads it turns into an almost verbatim news article (without a link to the original)? This looks like a new form of journalism, where every opinion Dawkins ever expresses, however little he intends it to be "news", is "news". I don't know what to think really. But it does further my suspicion that journalists are obsessed with him.

Wed, 01 Dec 2010 07:15:37 UTC | #556436

Stephen Maxwell's Avatar Comment 15 by Stephen Maxwell

Sorry, but I find the condemnation of the SFA's sacking of Hugh Dallas to be absurd.

I'm an atheist. I'm Scottish and I'm also strongly against the Catholic Church, although I was brought up as part of it. However, supporting Hugh Dallas in this case is simply supporting the continuation of institutional bigotry in Scottish football. Let us remember that he used his work e-mail accont to send this joke. I don't care too much for the Catholic Church involving itself by demanding he be sacked, but Dallas' position was simply untenable.

We must also recognise the bigger picture here, that there is a refereeing scandal occuring in Scotland at the moment due to the exposure of a coverup of lies against one team in particular - Glasgow Celtic.

Now, unfortunately the religious affiliations that are generally credited to Glasgow Celtic and Glasgow Rangers aren't going to change anytime soon and it's simply a matter that the SFA have to work with, without any sort of bias.

Wed, 01 Dec 2010 07:46:30 UTC | #556444

Stevehill's Avatar Comment 16 by Stevehill

Boringly, this comes down to Dallas's contract of employment, which none of us have read.

If it bans taking a public position on religion or politics, or talks about improper use of the SFA's computer equipment, then there probably is a case for dismissal (regardless of who did the complaining).

As I said on the other thread, sectarianism in Scottish football is a cesspit, and at he very least it would be extremely poor judgement for Dallas to appear take sides, even in a laddish, jokey way. And if SFA contracts don't prevent inappropriate behaviour which is likely to fan the flames of sectarianism, they ought to.

I'm not sure we're really representing the voice of reason if we're encouraging a climate where Micks and Prods are more likely to throw rocks at each other.

Wed, 01 Dec 2010 07:46:37 UTC | #556445

cheesedoff17's Avatar Comment 17 by cheesedoff17

Comment 9 by tomt

I'll agree with you that neither of the linked cartoons were funny but they were appropriate. Humor isn't a medicine it's a bloodless weapon and we are using it here to defend someone.

Wed, 01 Dec 2010 08:26:08 UTC | #556456

tomt's Avatar Comment 18 by tomt

@cheesedoff17 I feel really strongly about the use and misuse of humour. I've had this discussion a few times on RDF. My view is pretty much summed up in my post here:

http://richarddawkins.net/articles/554257-somali-teenager-tried-to-set-off-car-bomb-in-us/comments?page=2#comment_556382

Click on the link included in that post which includes links to three of the best (in my view) skits on religion.

Anyway as I posted above I am definitely posting with unhealthy frequency so going to limit myself to <1 hour online daily from now on, I'm not trying to 'drive by comment' but I may not reply promptly to any replies to this post.

Wed, 01 Dec 2010 08:46:27 UTC | #556463

scottishgeologist's Avatar Comment 19 by scottishgeologist

Unfortunately, all this stuff paints a bad picture of certain aspects of Scottish life. Unfortunately, there is a lot of truth in it. Sectarianism is rife in certain quarters

Definitely takes ther shine off St Andrews Day!

HOWEVER, all is not lost. There was a very good bit of "geological TV" last night "Men of Rock" with Prof Iain Stewart, a Scottish geologist looking at the work of Hutton and Kelvin.

Gave biblical literalism a good thrashing. I was going to say "gave the YECs something to think about" but that "YEC" and "think" dont really sit well together...

Program is back on next week, should be good

Link here:

Men of Rock BBC

:-) SG

Wed, 01 Dec 2010 09:14:25 UTC | #556472

Stafford Gordon's Avatar Comment 20 by Stafford Gordon

You couldn't make it up!

Wed, 01 Dec 2010 09:26:40 UTC | #556475

hungarianelephant's Avatar Comment 21 by hungarianelephant

Comment 16 by Stevehill :

Boringly, this comes down to Dallas's contract of employment, which none of us have read.

I disagree. Just because there's a particular term in an employment contract does not mean that the SFA have an automatic right to dismiss him. Especially where the case involves a subjective opinion as to what is, or might be, an off colour joke. And if they are relying on misuse of the computer system, then it will only be fair if they also sack every other employee who has used it to send a personal e-mail, irrespective of content.

We all know that the e-mail clause is never, ever enforced, unless an employer has some other reason and want to circumvent the normal rules of fairness.

And even if the SFA did have a right to sack him, that shouldn't stop the rest of us commenting on whether or not they are sensible to do so.

Wed, 01 Dec 2010 09:38:05 UTC | #556481

josephor's Avatar Comment 22 by josephor

This is rooted in the Celtic-Rangers sectarian problem,if the SFA did not react to the joke it could be interpreted as anti catholic and have Celtic whinging about it and hard core Rangers fans gloating over it, that is Christian brotherly love for you. The Celtic-Rangers tribal hatred of each other force organizations to make very strange decisions such as this one. They will learn sometime in Bonnie Scotland that sport and religion don't mix.

Wed, 01 Dec 2010 10:41:35 UTC | #556513

billzfantazy's Avatar Comment 23 by billzfantazy

I don't think Richard should get involved in this, it isn't really a case of Dallas being sacked for attacking catholicism, its a bit more complicated than that! In Scotland there are two big football teams; Rangers and Celtic. (Personally I support Hearts, but I know they are never realistically going to challenge the "old firm" unless they are bought by Bill Gates!) Celtic are supported by those brought up in the Catholic religion, often of Irish ancestry; Rangers are supported by those raised as Protestants. I'm generalising a bit but ask any Scotsman and they'll agree with that basic dichotomy. Now, if a refereeing decision goes against Celtic for example, there are sections of the support who will believe the decision was made because the referee is a protestant. Really. This Paranoia is fairly prevelant amongst a certain section of the Celtic support, who are continually looking for evidence to back them up. Which brings us back to Dallas. The email he sends confirms to these Celtic supporters that he is anti-catholic and so would likely be biased against them. To these supporters this is just the thin end of the wedge, believing as they do that most Scottish referees are anti-catholic. If all this sounds mad, I don't blame you, but that's the way it is in Scottish football, and that's the reason Richard should stay well away from this quagmire!!!

Wed, 01 Dec 2010 10:47:36 UTC | #556517

skeelo's Avatar Comment 24 by skeelo

Comment 15 by Stephen Maxwell :

Sorry, but I find the condemnation of the SFA's sacking of Hugh Dallas to be absurd.

I'm an atheist. I'm Scottish and I'm also strongly against the Catholic Church, although I was brought up as part of it. However, supporting Hugh Dallas in this case is simply supporting the continuation of institutional bigotry in Scottish football. Let us remember that he used his work e-mail accont to send this joke. I don't care too much for the Catholic Church involving itself by demanding he be sacked, but Dallas' position was simply untenable.

I'm afraid your background seems to be clouding your judgment.

Supporting Hugh Dallas in this case is not "simply supporting the continuation of institutional bigotry in Scottish football" because his actions were neither evidence of sectarianism or bigotry. He merely forwarded a tame satirical email about the pope. He should be able to do this. Just as he should, if he feels like it, be able to send an email about how the Pope is doing a wonderful job and is an all round great guy!

His position may well have become untenable, but it should not have become so. It only became untenable because those such as Kearney have ensured that any criticism of the Pope, or the Catholic Church, is automatically accepted as evidence of sectarianism. Kearney has again fanned the flames of sectarianism in Scotland in a cynical attempt to silence all critics of the Catholic Church and its divisive effect upon Scottish society.

Wed, 01 Dec 2010 10:56:57 UTC | #556523

bhoytony's Avatar Comment 25 by bhoytony

A lot of people who seem to know very little about this are giving their opinions. This is tied up with a lot of other things. There is a lot more to this than the email and includes incidents which led up to the referees strike. That started with a referee lying to a manager and in his match report. Dallas knew about this, but declined to mention it when commenting on the incident to the papers. That led to the resignation of a linesman, Stephen Craven, who was asked to cover up the lies and who thought he was being blamed for what happened. He said he was a victim of harassment and bullying from Hugh Dallas and had had enough of him. The SFA then lied to the press saying that the linesman had left because of threats to his family from Celtic fans. Stephen Craven then had to tell the papers that this was untrue.

There is a mini-WikiLeaks type thing happening and someone inside the SFA is leaking match reports and emails etc. to an Irish Journalist and a Scottish blogger who are drip feeding it into the public arena. Without this I expect Dallas and McDonald would still be in a job. Apparently there is more to come and I wouldn't be surprised if it also includes Dallas.

I know it's a ridiculous state of affairs, but anybody who knows anything about Scottish football knows that any official cannot give the impression of favouring the Catholic or Protestant faiths. That's just the way it is, unfortunate as that may be. Anybody who thinks that sending silly emails to the SFA or the Scottish Catholic church will achieve anything is merely showing their ignorance of Scotland and the situation. I have no love of the Catholic or Protestant faiths, but to think that this is all about one religious themed email is just silly. It was a series of incidents that led to Dallas going, not one email.

Obviously, going by my login name I have a certain bias on this (ie. I cannot stand Hugh Dallas) but the facts regarding Stephen Craven etc. are there to be seen.

Wed, 01 Dec 2010 11:29:05 UTC | #556533

Dirty Kuffar's Avatar Comment 26 by Dirty Kuffar

Well done to Richard Dawkins for speaking out on this impingement on free speech. For too long, a certain type of Scottish Catholic pressure of a rather dark,unpleasant and menacing kind has had its way, silencing critics by accusing them of "sectarianism" (rather in the same way that islamists silence their critics by accusing them of islamophobia and racism)and playing to a lumpen victim culture of its own flock. I hope there is an outcry over this and the referee takes the SFA to an industrial tribunal and is both reinstated and compensated handsomly.

Wed, 01 Dec 2010 11:34:45 UTC | #556537

CottonRunt's Avatar Comment 27 by CottonRunt

I had to laugh when they referred to Professor Dawkins as a "militant atheist". As if he was the commander of a huge atheist army, armed to the teeth with AK47's.

At this present moment in time it seems to me that the catholic church seem to be almost looking for things to be offended by, because i have said before, how anyone could find such a mild and tame "pedo pope" joke offensive is beyond me.

Wed, 01 Dec 2010 11:59:06 UTC | #556545

Britoner's Avatar Comment 28 by Britoner

I think Richard should be careful. One Celtic forum had a fan saying Dawkins deserves a good kicking 'even if he is in a wheelchair'. I doubt he's even read A Brief History of Selfish Genes. ;)

Seriously...even given the pathetic sectarian situation that exists up there this is an over reaction. As for so called Christians calling for sackings...how does that tie in with their supposed forgiving philosophy?

Wed, 01 Dec 2010 12:14:03 UTC | #556550

Daz365's Avatar Comment 29 by Daz365

Blockquote

Comment 23 by billzfantazy :

I don't think Richard should get involved in this, it isn't really a case of Dallas being sacked for attacking catholicism, its a bit more complicated than that!

I Agree it's complicated, it’s not about the email, if this was a joke made by a Jimmy Carr or Billy Connolly We should be defending their freedom of speech, but in this case Dallas, as head of Scottish refereeing should have known better, in the current climate in the SFA with accusations of bias against Celtic this has just been used to fuel the fire.

Having said that, Peter Kearney is a ‘nasty little weasel’ He’s a typical bigoted, homophobic, religious fundamentalist and we shouldn’t send him religious jokes because of Hugh Dallas, but we should be advising him that his views are at least 2000 yrs out of date and if you can do that with humour, great.

Peter Kearney, Director, Scottish Catholic Media Office, St George's Buildings, 5 St Vincent Place, Glasgow G1 2DH eMail: mail@scmo.org

Wed, 01 Dec 2010 12:15:20 UTC | #556552

skeelo's Avatar Comment 30 by skeelo

Comment 25 by bhoytony :

A lot of people who seem to know very little about this are giving their opinions.

On the contrary, I would say that a lot of people thankfully unencumbered by the predjudicial baggage that often comes with living in Scotland are giving their opinions.

but to think that this is all about one religious themed email is just silly. It was a series of incidents that led to Dallas going, not one email.

It is primarily about the email and Peter Kearney's hysterical reaction to it. The forwarding of this email was enough to get 4 other SFA employees the sack, as well as Dallas.

I know it's a ridiculous state of affairs, but anybody who knows anything about Scottish football knows that any official cannot give the impression of favouring the Catholic or Protestant faiths.

It is indeed a ridiculous state of affairs, but the forwarding of that email offers not one iota of evidence that Dallas is in any way sectarian or bigoted. Nor does it in anyway demonstrate that he is unable to perform his contracted duties in a professional and even-handed manner.

The Catholic Church should not be whipping up prejudice and calling for people to be sacked for forwarding satirical emails and the SFA should not have caved-in under the pressure. This much is obvious to those of a rational mind outside Scotland. Inside Scotland, though, there are many with well-worn axes that they'd rather keep grinding, rather than face the truth.

Wed, 01 Dec 2010 12:46:55 UTC | #556567