Richard Dawkins' cult of personality

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On August 16, 2014, Andrew Brown wrote an article for The Spectator entitled The bizarre – and costly – cult of Richard Dawkins which declared:

...the Richard Dawkins website offers followers the chance to join the ‘Reason Circle’, which, like Dante’s Hell, is arranged in concentric circles. For $85 a month, you get discounts on his merchandise, and the chance to meet ‘Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science personalities’. Obviously that’s not enough to meet the man himself. For that you pay $210 a month — or $5,000 a year — for the chance to attend an event where he will speak...

But the $85 a month just touches the hem of rationality. After the neophyte passes through the successively more expensive ‘Darwin Circle’ and then the ‘Evolution Circle’, he attains the innermost circle, where for $100,000 a year or more he gets to have a private breakfast or lunch with Richard Dawkins, and a reserved table at an invitation-only circle event with ‘Richard’ as well as ‘all the benefits listed above’, so he still gets a discount on his Richard Dawkins T-shirt saying ‘Religion — together we can find a cure.’

The website suggests that donations of up to $500,000 a year will be accepted for the privilege of eating with him once a year: at this level of contribution you become a member of something called ‘The Magic of Reality Circle’. I don’t think any irony is intended.

At this point it is obvious to everyone except the participants that what we have here is a religion without the good bits.[1]

According to The Richest, "Richard Dawkins..has an estimated net worth of $135 million ($100 euro) according to the Sunday Times in 2012."[2]

The atheist Jerry Coyne said about atheist meetings and Richard Dawkins fans:

But to me the speakers and talks have often seemed repetitive: the same crew of jet-set skeptics giving the same talks.

...a few things bothered me, most notably the air of self-congratulation (which I excused on the grounds of enthusiastic people finding like-minded folks for the first time), the “fanboyness” directed at some of the famous atheists (they hardly let poor Richard alone, and I’m not sure he liked that!), and the lameness of quite a few of the talks. Again, how much new can you say about atheism?[3]

Vox Day noted that the Richard Dawkins cult is similar to the cult of Scientology.[4] Dawkins was one of the founders of the New Atheism movement. The New Atheism movement, which has waned in recent years, was called a cult by the agnostic, journalist Bryan Appleyard in a 2012 article in the New Statesman in which he describes the abusive behavior of New Atheists.[5] Although the New Atheism movement does not perfectly fit the various characteristics of a cult, it does fit some of the characteristics.[6]

Waning influence of Richard Dawkins' cult of personality

The number of Dawkian atheists has significantly diminished post Elevatorgate and due to his generally abrasive manner, Dawkins does retain a small cult following (See: Richard Dawkins' loss of influence). The Dawkian atheists have been able to retain Richard Dawkins being labeled as an atheist in his Wikipedia article despite Dawkins repeatedly and adamantly declaring that he is an agnostic and/or flip-flopping his public persona between atheism and agnosticism (See: Richard Dawkins and agnosticism).

Richard Dawkins wrote a book entitled The Selfish Gene and Dawkins' fans tend to be arrogant, socially challenged, naive men (see: Richard Dawkins and pseudoscience and Richard Dawkins and historical revisionism and Richard Dawkins and women).[7][8][9] In February 2010, the news organization The Telegraph reported Richard Dawkins was "embroiled in a bitter online battle over plans to rid his popular internet forum for atheists of foul language, insults and 'frivolous gossip'."[10] In 2013, Rebecca Watson said she still receives harassment from male fans of Richard Dawkins.[11]

See also

References