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Smith's Avatar Joined about 7 years ago
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Go to: BBC rejects call for non-religious speakers on Thought for the Day

Smith's Avatar Jump to comment 33 by Smith

Good grief, atheism, secularism, humanism are not religions after all, at least to BBC.

Wed, 18 Nov 2009 02:51:00 UTC | #414350

Go to: Vaccination:A Conversation Worth Having

Smith's Avatar Jump to comment 103 by Smith

Maybe gentleman Richard is right now too occupied in writing a book debunking the vaccine deniers to actually debunk a fellow-atheist and above-all-very-funny vaccine denier right now.

Wed, 18 Nov 2009 02:19:00 UTC | #414343

Go to: A note about the 'Richard Dawkins Award' being presented to Bill Maher this weekend

Smith's Avatar Jump to comment 657 by Smith

Well, I guess I've missed the party then.

It's really strange Richard didn't address this issue himself.

Anyway, let's start with Josh's note. By the way, Josh, why are you writing this note for Richard? On Richard's order? If so, did you do so to the letter, or without misrepresenting his position? You see, we really wanna know what Richard thinks on this matter in details, but not, with all due respect, what you think he thinks. Did Richard approve or know of your note? Your note, as you can witness yourself, not only weren't able to settle things down, but seemed to alienate those who already found uncomfortable with the award's selection to begin with. (I have to point out, though. It does put a smile on my face when I read Steve Zara "decided" (again?) to be gone for good.)

Okay, let's be serious!

1. Let's suppose the AAI committee chose someone who made a Religulose-caliber film the last year but from time to time expresses something that would make Richard frown upon, say, (1) the jews should not be so greedy before Hitler and the mass murder against the jews is, without condoning it, "understandable", (2) the footage of the moon landing in the 60's is fake, or (3) mathematicians are wasting their time and above all tax payer's money to study prime numbers. Will Richard be "nevertheless happy to go along with it"? To put it properly: Under what circumstances will Richard (strongly) object the AAI committee selection? Taking a step back: do Richard even have some sort of veto power on choosing the recipient of an award that bears his name and, to a large extent simply because it bears his name, stands for advocacy for science and reason, whether you like it or not.

2. You cannot compare giving an award to someone who holds views that are contradicting to the award's mission statement and collaborating for a common cause with someone who holds views that you don't agree with. (Do you need explanation for that?) The examples (former(?) Bishop and Miller) from the note are actions of common senses. Surely, Richard doesn't have a "scientific-thinking-only" cause on his mission statement on collaboration project, right? (Rather, I doubt he even have a mission statement for that matter to start with.)
You are right to point out that Richard and Hitchens "don't see eye to eye on all political matters." But then I assume you do know the difference between political matters and scientific matters? And the very fact that we deem something political largely because it is perfectly acceptable for people to hold different or even opposite views on that issue? Can you honestly say that Maher's views on medicine are just political?

3. The note also stated that: "Honoring the creation of ‘Religulous’... does not preclude Richard's arguing against them on future occasions."
Well, how should I put it? Maybe Richard miss a golden opportunity to straighten out Bill Maher's strange views on medicine BEFORE the reception ceremony and have Maher himself rejected his falsehood in front of our eyes? Admittedly, Maher is too busy a person for this untimely re-education. And my suggestion does seem to make the award a conditional offer, which certainly reflects very badly on Richard himself. However, shouldn't
Richard at least begins some sort of remedial actions immediately, instead of waiting for "future occasions"? Sure, maybe Richard has a plan already and just likes to keep Josh and hence us in the dark for the moment.

It's not the first time I find Richard's dealing with people who are by and large "on our side" clumsy. For example, I asked awhile ago for his explanation on this site's promotion of Shermer's Origins Conference, which is partly sponsored by Templeton Foundation and its non-promotion of Science Festival, whose founding benefactors includes Templeton Foundation. Sadly, for someone who has an exemplary career in explaining scientific ideas and nuances, Richard certainly falls short of expectations in defusing, shall we say, political matters?

P.S. Maybe it is not made clear above. So let me state that while I both enjoy Maher's humour and disagree with him being selected for RDA (this year or before he comes clean of his strange views on medicine), I sincerely hope that Richard would make a genuine effort on drawing Maher fully to our side, since it is definitely a winnable battle, isn't it?. By the end of the day, however you try to whitewash it, it is Maher's name on the RDA, not "Religulous".

Mon, 12 Oct 2009 22:13:00 UTC | #405195

Go to: The power of nonsense

Smith's Avatar Jump to comment 7 by Smith

Richard

If you have time, would you take a look at this comment
http://richarddawkins.net/articleComments,3973,Correspondence-regarding-the-Templeton-Foundation,Richard-Dawkins-Daniel-Dennett-AC-Grayling-Edwin-Cartlidge,page2#390560
on another thread. Basically, I'm still wondering how you handle Templeton-sponsored events.

Thank you!

Wed, 08 Jul 2009 11:06:00 UTC | #377177

Go to: Correspondence regarding the Templeton Foundation

Smith's Avatar Jump to comment 74 by Smith

I would like to know the standard that Richard applies when judging whether a Templeton Foundation-associated/sponsored event deserves boycott, silent treatment, or half-hearted/minimal support.

Last October, Michael Shermer's Origins conference was partly co-sponsored by Templeton Foundation. His "explanation" was that TF was just helping out with the travel expenses. (In my view, he was just hiding behind technicality: You can always re-allocate your own resource to avoid or "minimize" TF's influence.) At the very least, RD.net here helped MS promoted this conference by posting this:

http://richarddawkins.net/article,3071,Origins---The-BIG-Questions-2008-Skeptics-Society-Conference,Skepticcom

After several posters, including me, expressed concern over TF's involvement, MS replied with a letter (added to the post linked above) indicating his previous positive experience with TF and his trust on TF's professionalism, insisted the conference was his own event, and urged the doubters to come to the conference and "see for yourself."

Several posters, including me, wondered where Richard stands on that particular event and other TF related events in general.

(My opinion only: Since Richard didn't replied but also didn't encourage others to go, I would consider the promotion effort by RD.net of the event as half-hearted.)

Just a week or two ago, there was this World Science Festival in NY city. It was overtly co-sponsored by TF. In fact, TF is one of the three "founding benefactors." RD.net, understandably, didn't post any advertisement for this event, except a post by Jerry Coyne detailing his refusal to participate because of the TF factor by posting his correspondence with Tracy Day, the Festival Co-founder:

http://richarddawkins.net/article,3824,Two-posts-on-the-World-Science-Festival,Jerry-Coyne

Obviously, (almost; I didn't read all the posts!) everyone cheered that Coyne made a stand. (My opinion only: I considered RD.net as not only giving silent treatment for the Festival but also mildly, through Coyne's mouth, calling for a boycott against it.)

So, I think some of us, at least, would be happy to hear if Richard can spare a few minutes to state/clarify his view on treating TF-associated events (in RD.net) in general.

Tue, 23 Jun 2009 15:07:00 UTC | #373260

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