Richard Dawkins and morality

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The evolutionist and new atheist and agnostic Richard Dawkins said in an interview: “What’s to prevent us from saying Hitler wasn’t right? I mean, that is a genuinely difficult question."[1]

The new atheist Richard Dawkins when asked in an interview, "If we do not acknowledge some sort of external [standard], what is to prevent us from saying that the Muslim [extremists] aren’t right?", Dawkins replied, "What’s to prevent us from saying Hitler wasn’t right? I mean, that is a genuinely difficult question, but whatever [defines morality], it’s not the Bible. If it was, we’d be stoning people for breaking the Sabbath."[1]

The interviewer wrote in response, "I was stupefied. He had readily conceded that his own philosophical position did not offer a rational basis for moral judgments. His intellectual honesty was refreshing, if somewhat disturbing on this point."[1]

Richard Dawkins lost a debate to a rabbi and then denied the debate ever took place

See also: Richard Dawkins and Rabbi Shmuley Boteach and Atheism and Debate and Atheism and cowardice

Richard Dawkins
Richard Dawkins,

As briefly noted earlier Richard Dawkins had a debate with Rabbi Shmuley Boteach. Rabbi Shmuley Boteach was named the London Times Preacher of the Year 2000 and is the author of 20 books.[2]

Recently Rabbi Shmuley Boteach wrote:

...Dawkins attacked me on his website and denied that he and I had ever debated. My office quickly posted the full footage of a two hour debate which took place on October 23, 1996, a debate which Dawkins actually lost after a vote taken by the students as to which side, science or religion, caused more students to change their minds. In my article on the subject responding to his attack I was extremely respectful of Dr. Dawkins and was therefore shocked to receive a letter in return in which he accused me of speaking like Hitler. Had the noted scientist lost his mind? Hitler? Was this for real?[2]

WorldNetDaily offers the following quotes of Rabbi Boteach about debate and the initial denial by Dawkins that the debate never took place:

That is a particularly bold untruth. Our debate, which took place at St. Catherine's College, Oxford on Oct. 23, 1996, attracted hundreds of students and featured, on the atheist side, Prof. Dawkins and chemistry Prof. Peter Atkins, and on the religion side, me and Prof. Keith Ward, Oxford's Regius Professor of Divinity. Student president Josh Wine was in the chair," the rabbi explained.

"In a vote at the end of the debate as to how many students had changed their minds after hearing the arguments, Dawkin's side was defeated and religion prevailed, which might account for his selective memory," he wrote.[3]

Rabbi Boteach reported at Beliefnet:

I also gave Dr. Dawkins the opportunity to even score by accepting a further debate, at the time and place of his choosing (within reason, of course), to which he has yet to respond.[2]

A video of the debate that Dawkins lost to Rabbi Shmuley Boteach is available at Rabbi Schely Boteach's website.

A supporter of the Question evolution campaign wrote:

We don't believe a word Richard Dawkins says and for good reason. For example, he claimed to have never debated Rabbi Schmuley Boteach, but then he had to admit a debate took place as it was videotaped. According to the student audience, the rabbi won the debate as he convinced more students of the validity of his position concerning the existence of God.

Furthermore, an angry and embarrassed Dawkins then claimed the rabbi shrieked like Adolf Hitler. Now tell me, how do you forget a debate with a rabbi who supposedly shrieks like Adolf Hitler? Obviously, Dawkins exposed himself for the clown and fraud he is.[4]

Richard Dawkins' historical revisionism about whether or not he was ever an atheist

See also: Atheism and historical revisionism

Despite arguing for the position of militant atheism previously, the agnostic Richard Dawkins told the Archbishop Dr. Rowan Williams that he never said he was an atheist.[5][6][7]

Dawkins has exhibited a history of erratic behavior in terms of his public persona and whether or not he is an atheist or an agnostic (see: Richard Dawkins and agnosticism and Richard Dawkins' Publisher's notice of his upcoming book and the issue of inconsistency and flip-flopping).

Richard Dawkins on hurtful mockery

See also: Atheism and mockery

Richard Dawkins has encouraged his supporters to go beyond humorous ridicule.[8] He wrote, "I lately started to think that we need to go further: go beyond humorous ridicule, sharpen our barbs to a point where they really hurt."[8]

Richard Dawkins and fundraising

See also: Atheist fundraising vs. religious fundraising

Richard Dawkins' cult of personality

See also: Richard Dawkins' cult of personality and Atheist cults and Atheism is a religion and Atheism and leadership

Theodore Beale noted that the Richard Dawkins' cult of personality has some similarity to the cult of Scientology.[9]

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.[10]

Theodore Beale noted that the Richard Dawkins cult has some similarity to the cult of Scientology.[9] 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.[11] Although the New Atheism movement does not perfectly fit the various characteristics of a cult, it does fit some of the characteristics.[12]

See also: Richard Dawkins's Foundation and an embezzlement allegation and Atheist nonprofit scandals

Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science and embezzlement allegation

Richard Dawkins
The Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science had a scandal related to an embezzlement allegation. See: Atheist nonprofit scandals

See also: Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science and Atheist nonprofit scandals

The Independent wrote about the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science:

The Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science, has filed four lawsuits in a Californian court alleging that Mr Timonen, who ran its online operation in America, stole $375,000 (£239,000) over three years. It is claiming $950,000 in damages, while Mr Dawkins is suing him for $14,000 owed to him personally. Mr Timonen strongly denies the allegations.

In the 18-page complaint filed in a Los Angeles court, the foundation claims that Mr Timonen said the website he was running was just "squeaking by," making only $30,000 in three years, when in fact it was grossing 10 times that sum. The charity alleges that Mr Timonen pocketed 92 per cent of the money generated by the store, with his girlfriend spending $100,000 of the charity's money on upgrading her home before putting it on the market.

The funds apparently came on top of Mr Timomen's pay – of $278,750 over three-and-a-half years (£50,000 a year) – which legal documents filed by the foundation describe as "exceedingly generous and well above-market for someone of Timomen's age and experience...[13]

Atheist Hemant Mehta reported in 2011 that Dawkins ended his legal actions against Mr. Timonen.[14]

David Gorski at Scienceblogs wrote about this matter:

Timonen has responded. Although I find his denial self-serving, I do find it odd that there have been no arrests. After all, embezzlement is a criminal offense. If I ran a charitable organization and discovered that an employee had embezzled close to $1 million, I’d have called the police, not the lawyers. Something more than meets the eye appears to be going on here.

In any case, this makes me wonder: What is it about rationalist/skeptic groups that make them seemingly have such a hard time running their organizations well from a financial standpoint? After all, just a couple of months ago the Center for Inquiry (CFI) sent out letters desperately begging for more contributions. The reason was that CFI had one large benefactor whose yearly contribution funded approximately 20-25% of the yearly CFI budget. As clueless as I may be about finances, even I know that you don’t use such donations to run the operating expenses of an organization, because you can’t count on them from year to year and it’s too big a chunk. You use this money for special short-term projects and a rainy day fund. Not surprisingly, when this mysterious donor stopped donating earlier this year, suddently CFI was in deep doo-doo from a financial standpoint, prompting the desperate plea for donations and deep budget cuts. I realize that the down economy has played havoc with many nonprofit and charitable organizations, but these issues with skeptical organizations seem to go beyond just that.[15]

Richard Dawkins' family fortune and the slave trade

On February 20, 2012, the British newspaper the Daily Mail reported that Richard Dawkins' family fortune came from the slave trade".[16]

See also: Richard Dawkins' family fortune and the slave trade and Atheism and slavery and Atheism and forced labor

On February 20, 2012, the British newspaper the Daily Mail reported that Richard Dawkins' "family fortune came from the slave trade".[16] On February 19, 2012, The Daily Telegraph reported that Dawkins is being called to make reparations for his family's past.[17]

The Daily Mail reported:

Ancestors of secularist campaigner Richard Dawkins made their fortune from the slave trade, it has been revealed.

The outspoken atheist, who once branded the Catholic Church 'evil', is the direct descendent of Henry Dawkins who owned 1,013 slaves in Jamaica until he died in 1744.

His 400-acre family estate, Over Norton Park near Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire, is believed to have been bought with money made through slave ownership hundreds of years ago...

Richard's son, Henry, married into another of Jamaica's powerful slave trading families and left 1,013 slaves worth £40,736 when he died 1744.

The links with slavery continue down the family tree and in 1796 another ancestor, James Dawkins, voted against William Wilberforce's plans to abolish the slave trade[16]

Demand for Richard Dawkins to pay reparations

As far as the demand for Richard Dawkins to pay reparations, The Daily Telegraph reported:

He is now facing calls to apologise and make reparations for his family's past.

Esther Stanford-Xosei, of Lewisham, south London, the co-vice chairman of the Pan-African Reparations Coalition in Europe, said: "There is no statute of limitations on crimes against humanity.

"The words of the apology need to be backed by action. The most appropriate course would be for the family to fund an educational initiative telling the history of slavery and how it impacts on communities today, in terms of racism and fractured relationships."[18]

See also

Notes