Talk:Richard Dawkins/Archive 2

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http://www.conservapedia.com/index.php?title=Richard_Dawkins&diff=298303&oldid=297718

You are asking a lot of people to take you seriously when you remove encyclopedic material and replace it with unsourced opinion like this. This should be removed, and Andy, for the sake of the encyclopedia, you should welcome an open discussion on things like this rather than dismiss me for being a 'typical Liberal' or whatever. Graham 12:16, 24 September 2007 (EDT)

Christian scientists

I'm continuing the long discussion above here for clarity purposes.

There is nothing special about the data 1900 and hence the reversion of its arbitrary inclusion in the entry. Besides, most accomplishments in science after 1900 were also by devout Christians, such as LeMaitre, Damadian, and most of the quantum mechanics scientists. Einstein was not an atheist.

I'm puzzled by the obsession with criticizing fundamentalist scientists. Their numbers are greater than 1 in 100 among the most accomplished scientists after 1900, and larger than 1 in 3 among the greatest accomplishments in science in history. But even if were only 1 in 100, why the insistence on criticizing this particular Protestant movement? LeMaitre was a Catholic priest who first developed the theory of the big bang. Is the criticism of fundamentalist scientists supposed to criticize him also???? I don't get it.

If the point is that the Nobel Prize is not generally not given to devout Christians, I'll concede the obvious bigotry of the committees that select the winners.--Aschlafly 00:44, 26 September 2007 (EDT)

What you are arguing that people here are criticizing Christian scientist. I haven't seen any criticism of any Christian scientists here. What I have seen is a fair amount of criticism of scientists who might not have been devout Christians. It seems like you try to gain by putting down scientists who are not Christians. And by claiming deist pantheists Jews like Einstein for your side. This approach is quite interesting, to say the least. Order 01:01, 26 September 2007 (EDT)
You have no source to support the current text. The text is incorrect. You can only give two examples of post-1900 productive scentists who were devout Christians. Einstein was not a Christian. I am not criticizing fundamentalist scientists; Dawkins is criticizing fundamentalism. If he is wrong, then give some facts or argument addressing what he actually said. RSchlafly 01:11, 26 September 2007 (EDT)
The 1900 date is meaningless, and simply a device to distort the data. Science thrived before 1900. Also, I haven't just given two examples of productive scientists, I've given two of the most productive scientists. No atheists come close to either one. Here's a third example: Fred Brooks. Meanwhile, the claim of productive atheistic scientists remains completely unsupported. Godspeed.--Aschlafly 01:17, 26 September 2007 (EDT)
There are surveys of prominent scientists that show that many or most of them are atheists. But regardless, you have no support for the current text which is false and idiotic. Most productive scientists today are not devout Christians, and even if they were, they would not contradict Dawkins' attack on fundamentalist religion. RSchlafly 01:31, 26 September 2007 (EDT)
Your comments are not substantive, as now you rely on unidentified "surveys". I've given several examples of the most productive examples who were devout or "fundamentalist" Christians. More can be found here: [1] You still haven't given any examples of comparably accomplished atheists, or explained why you use the meaningless date of 1900 to distort the data, or backed up your claim above that "Many great 20th century scientists were atheists."--Aschlafly 09:15, 26 September 2007 (EDT)
A few names of atheist scientists have been put forward. You chose to ignore most of these names, and put a few others down. But, then again, what about Paul Erdos? It appears that he was wasn't too positive about God, and that he was still the most productive mathematician of the last century. Would you say that he was a still a Christian, or do you think that his contributions weren't that great? Or does he count as a non-devout Christian scientist that mattered? Order 02:30, 26 September 2007 (EDT)
Your list has been discredited in detail above. I doubt even Paul Erdos was an atheist, but note that he was not a scientist and some mathematicians dislike Erdos's emphasis on elementary proofs.
Mathematician actually appreciate Erdos achievement to find a emementary proof, it was one of the great achievements in the last century. And mathematics is science, its the mother of all science. But if you want to pretend to be ignorant about mathematics, I assume you are not, then be my guest. If it gives you peace of mind. And maybe Erdoes wasn't an atheist, since he referred to God on a regular basis. Problem is that he didn't call him "God", but he called him "Supreme Facist". Not sure if that makes him a devout Christian. Feel free to convince me otherwise. Order 18:43, 26 September 2007 (EDT)
The bottom line here is that no one can name an atheist scientist who accomplished as much as the numerous Christian scientists accomplished, as identified above.--Aschlafly 09:18, 26 September 2007 (EDT)
You didn't quite refuted any of the claims. You named three Chrisitan scientists in the last century, somewhat correctly pointed out that Freud did a lot of pseudo science, and for the rest you made vague allegations that you don't care much about the other scientists (like the two who did get the Nobel price, that Damadian should have gotten as well). The only thing that you have proven is that you view everything through the distorted prism of left-right politics, even elementary proof.
As probably Quine rightly said, you can hold any belief to be true, as long as you are willing to give up all other truths. Unfortunately I am incapable to let the idea go that Einstein wasn't a devout Christian, nor that Erdoes was a great scientist with a grudge against God. You on the other hand are willing to let all this go, just to keep your idea alive that all great scientists were devout Christians. You are willing to give up a lot for you goal, so I guess that deserves some respect. Order 19:03, 26 September 2007 (EDT)
Does their faith, or lack thereof, really matter? Graham 09:47, 26 September 2007 (EDT)
I answered that above, in my post of 22:44, 24 September 2007. Philip J. Rayment 22:57, 1 October 2007 (EDT)


It's hardly surprising that scientists pre- the mid-19th century were Christian. Christian institutions, especially in earlier centuries, were of the few seats of learning, states that could afford to sponsor scientific research were mostly Christian-based or affiliated, and the societies in which these scientists lived were almost entirely Christian. Atheism was a fairly uncommon belief system. However, from the mid-19th century on, it became easier to operate outside of Christian patronage and atheism was less unacceptable in society generally. Darwin was, of course, an atheist in later life but had a Christian background - he even studied theology with the intent of becoming a clergyman*. Einstein was, of course, neither a Christian nor a true atheist - he was Jewish by upbringing and agnostic on the subject of faith. And there are plenty of more modern eminent scientists who were or are either avowed atheists such as Feynman and Dirac or agnostics who don't pay much attention to questions of faith such as Hawking.

I maintain that this is simply a reflection on the conditions in which scientists worked then and now rather than any fundamental reason why Christian belief is a pre-requisite for a good scientist.

*By the way, you might like to read a beautiful book on the Captain of the Beagle - This Thing Of Darkness]. (It's the To The Edge Of The World trilogy on US Amazon but you can buy the original UK edition sold as the original title). It gives a different perspective on Darwin's voyages from the POV of his skipper. It's neither pro- or anti- Darwin as such, although he doesn't get much good PR in it. But it's a beautifully written book on how Captain Fitzroy, a devout, pious and honourable man, used his faith to advance everything he turned his hand to including the invention of modern meteorology. Ajkgordon 12:45, 4 October 2007 (EDT)

Dawkins states his belief that fundamentalist religion "subverts science and saps the intellect," a view that is contrary to the fact that the most productive scientists, from Isaac Newton to Louis Pasteur, were devout Christians.
That would imply that being a devout Christian is the same as being into fundamentalist religion. If that is not true, Dawkins' view that fundamentalist religion "subverts science and saps the intellect," is not contracticted just because the most productive scientists, from Isaac Newton to Louis Pasteur were devout Christians. Who were the other ones? Is that meant alphabetically so only includes scientist with surnames beginning with N, O or P? Best get rid of the word fundamentalist. That then might no be what he actually referred to. Does it matter?
RogerDailey 07:47, 16 October 2007 (EDT)

Edit undone?

Surely my recent edit should not have been reverted, and rather left for some other kind soul (or myself, at a later date) to build upon? I realise I am but a mere pup of the Conservapedia community, but it is somewhat stifling to my confidence if my contributions are reverted, purely because they have not met the (apparently) integer-based standard of quality. What can I do to ensure that my future contributions aren't erased? Dazed and confused, Love 19:30, 1 October 2007 (EDT)

Surely you jest. Your edit was a liberal distortion of the facts in order to make an atheist look like more of an expert than he really is. Please abide by our rules, or take your edits to a place that welcomes liberal bias, like Wikipedia.--Aschlafly 19:37, 1 October 2007 (EDT)
In all honesty, I feel the article reeked of bias. I did my best to replace it with a more neutral tone - I don't see what part of my edit could be considered "liberal". The majority of my edits simply helped the article flow more easily (such as changing "his atheism" to "an atheistic outlook" - the former seemed clunky). The most "controversial" thing I editted was the remark about his professorship - my edit still retained all the information (and references), but wasn't worded quite as pettily as it is at the moment - it's as if the author was trying to say "nah nah, he's not a real professor", which is hardly an appropriate tone for an encyclopedia. I'm really, genuinely interested to see where you feel my "liberal bias" was inserted. Love 19:44, 1 October 2007 (EDT)
I don't like reversions when there is salvageable material there (at least one grammatical change I agree with), although I guess that depends on how much needs reverting vs. how much should be kept.
But to your quandary... At Conservapedia we recognise that people are biased, and don't pretend to think that all bias can be eliminated in favour of neutrality. Neutrality, or at least the appearance of it, can itself be a bias, when it downplays the significance of something. For example, referring to a terrorist as a "freedom fighter" might appear to be an attempt to avoid a particular view of the person's activities, but if the "terrorist" label is accurate, using "freedom fighter" downplays the atrocities committed by the terrorist. Similarly, some of your edits to the article, whilst appearing to be "neutral", served to minimise the significance of matters that the author(s) considered relevant, and is thus a "liberal bias" in itself.
There are some situations where there is no middle ("neutral") ground, such as "do you think such and such an issue is important?". You either do or you don't—there's no third option. If you respond that you are undecided, that may be true, but by being undecided, you fit into the category of not considering the matter important (at least until you decide otherwise).
Philip J. Rayment 23:10, 1 October 2007 (EDT)
There are plentiful of third options. And you can be undecided exactly because you consider a matter to important to com to a premature conclusion. All you do right now is second guessing about Love motives. Order 23:22, 1 October 2007 (EDT)

Thanks for the replies. I realise that Conservapedia has different rules of operation than certain other wikis, but I'm not sure of the usefulness or reliability of an encyclopedia where the (clear) bias of an author is not removed - there would be no consistency between articles written by different authors, with different views, unless there is some sort of overall guidance (as their appears to be) - but then it can hardly be claimed that the collection of articles is an encyclopedia. I realise that this project was born out of dissatisfaction with Wikipedia, and good for you, if you think you can do a better job, but I don't see how you can go about creating a self-consistent encyclopedia the way you're going about it. I joined up in the hopes of helping a (relatively) new wiki through its infancy, but I was clearly unaware of how the project actually works. Love 12:29, 2 October 2007 (EDT)

I believe Philip explained it well up above. Having been on the other wiki, NPOV is claimed but is mostly an illusion for controversial articles and there is little consistentcy in how they are handled. Dawkins is discussed here based on the caustic approach he has taken in his life. Your efforts to assist are appreciated, but may I suggest in trying to help us out in our infancy that focusing on the 90+% of entries where no controversy is involved could be more beneficial. There are many articles yet to be created and there is certainly room for growth. Learn together 13:17, 2 October 2007 (EDT)
User:Love, we stick to the facts here. If you want to puff up Dawkins into something greater than he is, then perhaps Wikipedia would be a better place for that. Here, we don't allow liberal bias. Thanks.--Aschlafly 13:54, 2 October 2007 (EDT)

Note to User:Order

User:Order, you're in the wrong place if you think you're going to puff up Dawkins into a scholar. Don't remove the truth here. Go work on the entry of a real scholar, like Jonathan Wells or Richard Sternberg, if you like scholarship.--Aschlafly 18:51, 2 October 2007 (EDT)

This has nothing to do with puffing him up? Without any evidence that favoritism was involved the comment is simply opinion. You removed the fact template with the remark that there was nothing to back the comment up. If there is nothing, then remove comment. I tried to find any evidence that people complained about Dawkins appointment, but I couldn't find any. If you have any evidence that was favoritism, add a note to the comment. Its as easy as that. Order 19:36, 2 October 2007 (EDT)

I appreciate the attempt to give backup the claims, since it only improves the entry. But it should be noted that Prof. Rogers is also a Curator at OUM, and like Dawkins he also falls under the zoology depertment. See the staff list of this department. Order 00:58, 5 October 2007 (EDT)

Dawkins might be a fake professor, but claiming the the OUM isn't a "bona fide", blames OUM to pretend to be one. You shouldn't blame a museum for something it didn't do. It is alright to point out that he wasn't tenured at an academic department. BTW: I visited the museum this summer, and also the Pitt Rivers museum, and both are certainly worth a visit. Order 01:09, 5 October 2007 (EDT)

The OUM isn't a bona fide because it's giving out academic titles when it isn't an academic institution. SSchultz 01:16, 5 October 2007 (EDT)
Do you have proof that the OUM is giving out the titles? Because this quite an bold claim. Order 01:23, 5 October 2007 (EDT)

If both professors at OUM are fraudulent, then please give proof. I gave sources for both of them falling under the zoology department. You didn't give show, except that you want to engage in an edit war, over an unproven claim. Order 01:14, 5 October 2007 (EDT)

It's not an academic instituion, a professor is an academic title. I think that spells it out pretty clearly. SSchultz 01:16, 5 October 2007 (EDT)
So, what does this means is simply that they didn't get the title from the OUM, but maybe from the department of Zoology. There are plenty of Professors working at non-academic institution all over the US (Stanford Research Lab e.g.), and this is not because these labs are fraudulent, but because they work closely with one or multiple universities. So, give proof that the OUM is fraudulent. You can keep the version as is, because the latter part is by style and content obviously opinion. Few people will mistake it for fact. Just that it isn't exactly encyclopedic to insert opinion and unfounded claims. Order 01:14, 5 October 2007 (EDT)
I'm not arguing with a liberal. Andy has already directed you to stop presenting Dawkins as a legitimate academic, and yet you persist. SSchultz 01:25, 5 October 2007 (EDT)
When challenged to give proof for some fairly bold allegation against a respectable and world renowned institution, it doesn't support you claim to call someone a liberal. It just shows that you ran out of arguments. Either you can back up you allegations, or you cannot. If you would do a bit of research you could easily find some evidence that Dawkins position is somewhat different from the other professors at the museum and the department of zoology. Not quite sure why this is the case, favoritism or the fact that he is an endowed, and not an ordinary professor. Unfortunately, you chose not to do you homework, but to seek cover behind Andy's back. And I won't do your homework either, because when you said that you didn't discuss with a liberal, you probably meant me. Order 01:39, 5 October 2007 (EDT)
I think some understandable confusion here, arising from the different ways in which the title of 'Professor' is assigned in the UK and the US. Firstly, 'Professor' in the UK is only for more senior level academics - most UK universities do not have "Assistant" or "Associate" Professors, but instead have "Lecturers" and "Readers". Professorships in the UK are awarded in one of three ways: (A) They are departmental professorships, heading up a particular section of an academic department (these carry administrative responsibilities, and are necessarily limited in number), (B) Endowed - where the professor occupies a chair funded by a particular individual or organisation, (C) Named - where a chair is endowed specifically and solely for one particular person. Dawkins holds a professorial chair of the second kind. All these types of professorial chairs have been around for many hundreds of years. They do not reflect a different quality or level of professorial rank, so an endowed professor is an "ordinary" professor. Isaac Newton, for example, occupied the Lucasian Chair of Mathematics at Cambridge University in 1669, which is an endowed chair.
Dawkins' chair is indeed based at the Oxford Museum of Natural History (which is part of Oxford University). His academic work is within the Evolution group in the Zoology department. OurMike 08:45, 5 October 2007 (EDT)
I don't think there is any real confusion. Sadly, on these pages, a man is being attacked personally instead of his views. This brings Conservapedia into disrepute. Implying Dawkin's professorship is "fraudulent" and that he no more than a "museum curator" is beyond the pale. He is a professor, he is an academic, and he is a professor at a reputable university. Denying any of that is disingenuous at best, dishonest at worst. Editors here may not like what he says, they might not like his views on religion and creationism (leaving aside faith healing, horoscopes, tarot cards, dowsing and other things he has also attacked). They might not even like his tactics. It's these things - his views and tactics - that should be argued against rather than the man himself. Personal attacks, unwarranted personal attacks will produce nothing but sympathy for the man and perhaps his ideas, and Conservapedia will be doing the Christian Conservative community a huge disservice. Really, as it stands, it's a shameful article and should be changed back to at least a semblance of encyclopaedic professionalism. Ajkgordon 08:58, 5 October 2007 (EDT)
The article is self-defeating. It is so silly and transparently false that the casual reader is unlikely to take any of it seriously. RSchlafly 10:30, 5 October 2007 (EDT)
Agreed. And in the process, brings Conservapedia into disrepute. I strongly move that sysops either unprotect the article to allow decent editing or revert it to an earlier less ridiculous state. Ajkgordon 10:36, 5 October 2007 (EDT)
Even this article, on CreationWiki for goodness' sake, is much better than this one on Conservapedia. While it still doesn't paint Dawkins in a flattering light, it doesn't stoop to such falsehoods. (Although it does contain a couple of minor misrepresentations.) I would suggest that Conservapedia's article should aim for similar content and tone. Ajkgordon 11:36, 5 October 2007 (EDT)
Folks, no faculty department has given Richard Dawkins tenure or the title of full "professor". Instead, an atheist donated a job for Dawkins at a museum owned by a university. If you don't see a difference between those two, then I suggest you start calling other museum curators and even janitors "professor".
Dawkins' resume misleads people into thinking that he is full professor in a faculty department at Oxford University. He is not. Either you were also duped by Dawkins, or you're trying to dupe others. Sorry, we're not fooled.--Aschlafly 18:37, 5 October 2007 (EDT)
Do you have some source that says that Dawkins does not have the rank of professor at Oxford? RSchlafly 19:24, 5 October 2007 (EDT)
I guess Dawkins has still fooled some people. Eventually, I predict Dawkins will be shamed into changing his resume so that he no longer implies that he is an academic professor at the University of Oxford. Go to Oxford's Zoology Department and you find that it lists his status as "other" rather than as "academic".--Aschlafly 19:36, 5 October 2007 (EDT)
If your aim is to shame Dawkins to stop calling himself professor, you should list the various allegations that you and User:SSchultz made more clearly in article. Because it merely reads like an opinion. Order 19:56, 5 October 2007 (EDT)
What in the entry do you dispute? Nobody has disproven any of it, or even made a persuasive argument against any of it.--Aschlafly 21:34, 5 October 2007 (EDT)
If nothing has been disproven, and you have as strong evidence as you claim, why don't you put it as such in the article, and get rid of those "may"'s and "might"'s? Order 21:59, 5 October 2007 (EDT)
So now you're saying the criticism should be made even stronger??? Wow, User:Order, your criticism of the entry seems to wander all over the map!--Aschlafly 23:21, 5 October 2007 (EDT)
I say that if you mean it, and think that you can back it up, you should say so, and not waffle around. Otherwise it might look like you are not certain of your own claims, but just find it difficult to admit that you overreached your arguments. Order 02:46, 6 October 2007 (EDT)
Could you elaborate on why you think that his title might be misleading. Now that you removed the bit on being just a curator, all it says is that he didn't get tenure, but as Mike already pointed out, tenure doesn't apply to endowed professors in the UK. If anything this version just shows that you are unfamiliar with the situation in the UK. Not the best reason for such an allegation. Order 23:34, 6 October 2007 (EDT)
The assertions in the article about Dawkin's academic career are still incorrect, despite the most recent 'trimming'. Dawkins' title of 'Professor', as I've already explained, is absolutely normal within the UK system. He occupies an endowed chair, within the University of Oxford. This is equivalent to - for example - the Lucasian Chair of Mathematics at Oxford, or the Lady Margaret Chairs for Divinity at both Oxford and Cambridge. I don't know if Dawkins was ever offered tenure at a US or Canadian institution, but as the concept of tenure is somewhat alien to the UK university sector it seems misleading to highlight this as a shortcoming of a British academic. In any case, Dawkins did hold the position of Reader within the Zoology department at Oxford from 1990 to 1995 (when he took up the Simonyi Chair), so I think footnote 4 in the article is irrelevant. Reader is equivalent in seniority to a tenured Associate Professor within the US system.
If you want to argue that Dawkins does very little new research in zoology then I wouldn't argue with you, but given that his professorship is for 'the public understanding of science' it would seem appropriate that his efforts are directed towards communicating scientific views to a wider audience. That doesn't make his title either misleading or fraudulent. OurMike 08:14, 6 October 2007 (EDT)


Re: new footnote 5, about Dawkins not satisfying the Merriam-Webster definition of professor. The Oxford English Dictionary defines professor as:
"A university academic of the highest rank; spec. (in Britain and some other English-speaking countries) the holder of a university chair in a specified faculty or subject. Also, in N. Amer.: any teacher at a university. Also applied to people of similar status in institutions other than universities."
(And then clarifies it with this additional text: "In the medieval European Universities, at first simply a synonym of Magister or Doctor (degrees being originally qualifications to teach), but in this use not common as an English word. The right originally possessed by any Master or Doctor to teach publicly in the schools of a Faculty was gradually restricted to an inner circle of teachers, and the term professor came eventually to be confined to the holders of salaried or endowed teaching offices, or to the highest class of these, such titles as reader, lecturer, instructor, tutor, etc., being given to teachers of lower rank. In the old English Universities the original usage survives in the letters S.T.P. (Sacrae Theologiae Professor) for D.D.; the application of the title to holders of endowed chairs was largely due to the creation of five Regius or King's Professors by Henry VIII (a number increased in later years). The endowed teachers of some other subjects were at first called praelectors, but this title was gradually superseded by professor.")
This is surely clear and unambiguous proof that Dawkins, holder of an endowed chair at the University of Oxford, is a real professor, and that his title is neither misleading nor fraudulent. His endowed chair is not unusual within the UK academic sector (and as I understand it, would not be unusual in most US universities either). As I have said above, if your position is that Dawkins is not currently a professor of zoology, and that his endowed chair is not within the Zoology department then that is perfectly true - although Dawkins does not, in any case, claim this. His academic work, however, is within the zoology department, and prior to taking the Simonyi chair he held, for five years, the position of Reader (equivalent to tenured Associate Professor) within Oxford's Zoology department I think it would be unsupportable to argue that he has no senior academic status in the field of zoology.
Dawkins professorial chair is in 'The public understanding of science'. This is a position wider than merely zoology, so it is not surprising that the chair was associated with the University's museum rather than with the zoology department (or with, say, the mathematics, or earth sciences, or engineering science departments). Given his own academic background in that field it is also not surprising that much of Dawkins' most prominent writings are about evolution.--OurMike 11:28, 7 October 2007 (EDT)

Its typical of the Liberals here to try and give Dawkins legitimacy. The truth is that he is nothing more than a psuedo scientist and something far away from being an intellectual. Bravo to Aschlafy for having the intellectual courage to point this fact out. Boru 11:36, 7 October 2007 (EDT)

Hi Boru. Can you please highlight anything that I've pointed out in my posts above that is inaccurate or untruthful? If you want to argue with Dawkins intellectualism feel free, and if you want to argue that his science is wrong then go ahead. If you even want to argue that Oxford University grants chairs to pseudo-scientists then I look forward to seeing what evidence you can provide. However all of these have nothing to do with the fact that it is incorrect to suggest that Dawkins resume is "misleading if not fraudulent", when it states that he is a professor at Oxford University. He is. --OurMike 11:43, 7 October 2007 (EDT)

Another character trait of a Liberal; Attempts to twist what the opposition said in order to groom their own ego and sense of superiority. Stop trying to claim that you are seeking the truth in this, Liberal, when it is obvious you are just looking for an excuse to undermine our great and wise leader, Aschlafy. Boru 11:46, 7 October 2007 (EDT)

  • Andy might be great, and he is oftentimes wise (albeit a trouble maker!), Boru. However I don't see deceit above but I do see hyperbole. You are invited to make productive non-talk contributions to this, the fasted-growing educational Website! --şŷŝôρ-₮K/Ṣρёаќǃ 12:22, 7 October 2007 (EDT)
Maybe I was being a little judgemental there, but I think its obvious he is just trying to find something to undermine Aschlafy. Boru 12:28, 7 October 2007 (EDT)
If Andy would come up with better arguments than pointing to Merriam Webster, it would be difficult to undermine his position. Since when does an American online dictionary determine if a UK title is fraudulent or misleading? To give any credence to your claims you should give evidence that he or OUM violated University of Oxford or UK regulations and traditions. I am still waiting for some actual evidence to turn up in the Dawkins article. The fact that Andy took out the "curator" bit suggests that even Andy isn't too sure about the claims either. Order 00:20, 8 October 2007 (EDT)

Christianity vs. religion

No, I don't mean that Christianity should fight religion! I mean should the word "Christianity" be replaced with "Religion" in the title of that section in the article? I don't think he singles out Christianity above any other except that he uses more examples and anecdotes from Christianity because he speaks in mainly Christian countries. In his book and in his lectures he makes it clear he has a negative regard for all religion, not just Christianity. He is though particularly scathing of Creationism from whatever faith. Some note should perhaps be made of his friendship with some religious people notably the recently retired Bishop of Oxford and his respect for religious people of that type. Ajkgordon 14:00, 4 October 2007 (EDT)

Here is something we could state in the article

If one goes to the Brights Movement website it list Dawkins as a "enthusiastic bright".[2] Well go here and you will get a good laugh: [3] It appears as though perhaps none of Dawkins fans at his forum consider themselves "bright" and don't like the idea of being a "bright". Take a look at the Brights Movement article and you will see what a public relations disaster it was as it was seen as pure vanity and pride. You will see at the Brights Movement article that Dawkins associated being a bright with being an intellectual. Is Dawkins an "enthusiastic bright"? If so, is the last time he wrote an article promoting Brightness in 2003? Also, if he is an enthustiastic bright then why didn't the people at his forum say so? I think that we should incorporate the whole silliness of the Dawkins' promotion of the Brights Movement which wasn't very bright and we should raise the issue of his "enthusiastic brightness". Conservative 20:18, 5 October 2007 (EDT)

Royal Society membership

Perhaps most of the info in the "Royal Society membership" section of this article should be removed. It is already present in the actual Royal Society Membership article; his membership does not seem that important, so maybe we should only mention it here as an aside. Feebasfactor 16:32, 9 October 2007 (EDT)

Dawkins' Reply

Posted here, in case anyone was interested. Interpret as you will. I take no side in this issue. Feebasfactor 23:00, 7 October 2007 (EDT)

I think that establishes that several of the silly attacks on Dawkins are false. I would much rather see some true facts about Dawkins, and some legitimate criticism. RSchlafly 02:40, 8 October 2007 (EDT)

I agree, RSchlafly, but despite the errors that I and others have tried to point out, they still persist in the article. Others have tried to make those changes, but are reverted, so let me make one more attempt to clarify Dawkins academic position here on the talk page, so we can nail the factual errors in the article once and for all.

From the article:

Richard Dawkins (March 26, 1941-) is an outspoken evolutionist and atheist from England. He was an assistant professor of Zoology at the University of California at Berkeley for two years before becoming a Zoology researcher at Oxford.

This is true – his position at Oxford was Reader within the Zoology department. A position equivalent to Associate Professor at a US university.

He claims on his resume to be a "professor" at the University of Oxford, but in fact his "professorship" consists of a position donated for his personal benefit at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History.

As I, and several other contributors have pointed out on several occasions and on several different talk pages, Dawkins is unquestionably a professor at Oxford University. He holds his chair jointly within the Department of Zoology and the Department of Continuing Education, though it is administered through the Museum of Natural History. There is nothing particularly unusual about this, within the ancient and somewhat baroque organisation of the University, and several other professors within the University (including other professors within the Zoology department) have their chairs administered from the Museum in exactly this way. Just to re-emphasise, as this is the key point, Dawkins position is a full, normal professorship, on a par with any other within the University.

Leading universities do not permit the "buying" of a professorship for someone.

It appears that Oxford University does, along with other universities. If you take the position that Oxford is not a leading university, then that is a different argument.

As of October 5, 2007, the Oxford University's Zoology Department lists Dawkins' status as "other" rather than as "academic".

The online department list also shows that Dawkins heads a group within the Zoology department, and also lists other professors as “other”. I don’t know what “other” means in this context, but it doesn’t seem beyond the realms of possibility that it is a departmental shorthand to highlight, perhaps, that Dawkins has a position across more than one department, or across separate groups.

Since March 30, 2005, Dawkins' online resume has stated his academic credential as "Charles Simonyi Professor of the Public Understanding of Science, University of Oxford,"

Which, as explained above, is true. Dawkins is referred to as a professor of Oxford University on many other Oxford-hosted webpages. Another Oxford professor, Alister E. McGrath, states that “Oxford University conferred on Dawkins the additional title of “Professor of the Public Understanding of Science”. The Oxford University Calendar (the official directory of the University) gives his full formal title as “Simonyi Reader, and Professor of the Public Understanding of Science”.

when in fact Dawkins' position is at the Museum of Natural History, an institution merely owned by the University of Oxford.

And again. Dawkins’ position is held jointly between the Zoology and the Continuing Education departments, and administered through the museum. A professorship at the museum is not somehow a lesser professorship, or a mere honorific, and several other tenured professors within the University’s Zoology and Geology departments also have their chairs administered from the Museum.

The title "professor" is misleading, if not fraudulent, as the position does not satisfy the Merriam-Webster definition of "professor": "a faculty member of the highest academic rank at an institution of higher education."

It does satisfy the Merriam-Webster definition, as Dawkins does hold the highest academic rank, and is a faculty member of the Department of Zoology, at Oxford University. More importantly, it satisfies Oxford University’s definition of a professor, which refers to him with this title in its own calendar.

Dawkins admitted to several key facts above, and criticized others that have since been updated to reflect his comments. However, Dawkins was silent on the central characterization above that his online resume is misleading in stating that he is a professor of Oxford University rather than holding a donated position called a professorship at a museum.

By all means highlight that Dawkins’ current chair was endowed (fairly normal practice in higher education). By all means highlight that it is administered from the Museum of Natural History (along with several other tenured members of the faculty of Zoology, in a fairly unremarkable practice for the University). Neither of these facts make Dawkins’ resume misleading. He is a professor at Oxford University, as the University itself confirms. OurMike 07:21, 8 October 2007 (EDT)

Of course Dawkins will claim his innocence. That is a primary tactic of atheists - denial of reality to suit their own convictions. I don't think this changes anything. Boru 07:29, 8 October 2007 (EDT)

Perhaps the bigger picture is being lost here. The fact that Oxford University fully endorses Dawkins as a professor is surely a reflection on the institution as a whole? By trying to distance Dawkins from the university, perhaps we are doing exactly what they want. Cornovius 07:35, 8 October 2007 (EDT)

Current state of the article

Even though the errors in this article have been pointed out and cited several times, the offending content remains. If Conservapedia is to serve its audience and perhaps even recruit a decent following, it needs to make some pretence at accuracy. Being very cavalier with the truth will do nothing more than hamstring these efforts and the phrase "The Trustworthy Encyclopedia" will become nothing more than a joke even among existing Christian conservatives. Attacking Dawkins' views and methods is perfectly legitimate and it would be bizarre if this encyclopedia didn't. Attacking the man himself with inaccurate accusations is folly in the extreme. One Schlafly has got it right. The other, horribly wrong. Take a look at CreationWiki's entry on Dawkins to see how it should be done. Ajkgordon 10:37, 8 October 2007 (EDT)

What do you think is incorrect about the entry? Certainly any inaccuracies in any entry are promptly corrected, but your long-winded comment does not identify any inaccuracies.--Aschlafly 10:51, 8 October 2007 (EDT)
Sorry to be "long-winded" but the message doesn't seem to be getting across. The inaccuracies have been pointed out several times - you can scroll up to see them. Some I can see have been corrected - like Associate to Assistant professor - and that's great. But others are being ignored and that's a shame. I'm not an apologist for Dawkins but I'd like to see this site being as accurate as possible within the confines of its POV. I say again, attack his views, his books, his methods. But attacking the man with inaccurate accusations that can be seen to be false within five minutes with a browser is counter-productive. Ajkgordon 11:00, 8 October 2007 (EDT)
I conclude from your lack of specificity that you cannot identify any inaccuracies. Yes, "associate" was changed to "assistant", which I don't think anyone would consider to be earth-shattering. The resume of Richard Dawkins still claims that he is "Professor _______, University of Oxford," and I consider that to be misleading and perhaps fraudulent. His "professorship", if one can call it that, is actually at a museum owned by Oxford and the resume should reflect that. How would you feel if a president of a subsidiary of Coca-Cola put on his resume, "President, Coca-Cola"?--Aschlafly 11:19, 8 October 2007 (EDT)
The institution at which Dawkins is a professor is part of Oxford University. Oxford University is not a single body, but a collection of colleges, research institutes, museums, libraries, etc., all of which are an integral part of the university. As I said above, if we give the impression that Dawkins is not a real professor at Oxford, then we let Oxford off the hook for appointing him. Cornovius 11:26, 8 October 2007 (EDT)
So do you think the president of a library owned by Oxford University could put on his resume, "President, University of Oxford"? Of course not.--Aschlafly 11:31, 8 October 2007 (EDT)
The equivalent of "president" at Oxford University is Vice-Chancellor, and Dawkins has never claimed to be that. A professor is, to take the corporate analogy further, simply middle management. Cornovius 11:33, 8 October 2007 (EDT)
So are you saying that it would be OK for a Vice President or Managing Director in a library owned by the University of Oxford to say on his resume, "Vice President, University of Oxford" or "Managing Director, University of Oxford"? Of course not. That would be misleading.--Aschlafly 11:47, 8 October 2007 (EDT)
But he hasn't done that though. He hasn't claimed to be anything other than a professor at Oxford University. Not a vice president or managing director or any equivalent term. Look at the article on Oxford University (though the article on Cambridge University is clearer; its set-up is the same as Oxford), which say that these ancient universities consist of many bodies, all fully part of the university. Cornovius 11:52, 8 October 2007 (EDT)
Richard Dawkins is a professor at Oxford University, as the University itself confirms in its official calendar. If you give me a moment I'll go and get the reference and provide it for you. As I have explained at length above, the position is held jointly between the Zoology and Continuing Education departments. His resume is therefore not misleading, and certainly not fraudulent. It is administered from the Museum, as are several professorships within the University of Oxford. --OurMike 11:29, 8 October 2007 (EDT)
Haven't got the most recent Calendar available, but I can reference: Oxford University Calendar 2003-4, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2003, p.77. Richard Dawkins is the "Simonyi Reader, and Professor of the Public Understanding of Science."
That seems to be describing a title, not a position, just as a letterhead of an organization may list its directors and include their titles without their positions.--Aschlafly 11:47, 8 October 2007 (EDT)


(By the way Aschlafly, I deeply apologise for getting your surname wrong in my first post in the section! I have edited it.)
OK, I'll list a couple of reasons, even if I am repeating what has already been said above, as to why your allegations are false.
  • The Oxford University Museum of Natural History isn't a "subsidiary" in any meaningful sense. It is fully a part of the University of Oxford and one of its stated objectives is to "to promote research, teaching, and public education". This, by most accepted definitions, is an academic activity. Therefore the museum is a fully academic part of the University supporting its natural science work. I suggest that your Coca-Cola analogy is incorrect.
  • The above point is somewhat irrelevant because Dawkins' professorship is only administered by the Museum. It is actually shared by the departments of Zoology and Continued Education.
  • Dawkins' professorship is cited across the University of Oxford's website. If there was any question that his title was considered misleading or even fraudulent, the university wouldn't allow him to be titled as such. And I don't think many people would seriously argue that Oxford University is not a "leading university".
There's more but you already know this.
Again, I implore you, take this nonsense out. It's inaccurate, irrelevant, misleading, demeaning, counter-productive and not very Christian. Yours respectfully, Ajkgordon 11:57, 8 October 2007 (EDT)


Perhaps also worth quoting the Simonyi manifesto, which explains the structure of the chair when it was endowed at the University:
"The appointees should have the opportunity to continue their scientific work. This is best accomplished if their appointment in the Department closest to their field would be held jointly with the Department of Continuing Education. While being firmly based in Oxford the appointees should receive every possible support from the University for travel and for visiting professorships. In accordance to this, their teaching and administrative responsibilities within Oxford should be correspondingly limited and should be directed primarily towards the educations of non-specialists. They would be expected to write books and magazine articles in any medium for the popular as well as scientific audiences, participate in public lectures, whether through the University or otherwise and generally participate in the expression of the "Public Understanding of Science"."
Further evidence, if it really is necessary, that Dawkins position is - as has been repeated ad nauseum above - shared between the departments of Zoology and Continued Education.OurMike 12:06, 8 October 2007 (EDT)

Reply

The comments above defending Richard Dawkins' resume appear to me to be part misunderstanding and part deception. Cutting through it, I believe the following to be true:

  • Dawkins was given a position at a museum that the donor and he like to call a

"professorship" contrary to the usual meaning of the word

  • The Zoology department does not list Dawkins' status as "academic", but as "other"
  • Dawkins' resume should disclose that his professorship is at a museum owned by Oxford but does not
  • Dawkins' elevation to the status of "professor" (at a museum) was the direct result of donation for his sole benefit, which is not allowed at faculty departments of leading universities

If there is any error in the foregoing or in the entry, then please identify it specifically. If you're view is, "I don't care, I like Dawkins anyway," then you're certainly welcome to that opinion. But please realize that not everyone tolerates material omissions on resumes.--Aschlafly 15:55, 8 October 2007 (EDT)

OK, I give up. I have made my case, as have others. You choose to ignore it. As it's your website I guess that's your prerogative. I'm only trying to help but you seem hell bent on making this article a mockery of factual representation. Your loss. And sadly, a loss to the community you claim to represent. Good luck and God bless. Ajkgordon 16:03, 8 October 2007 (EDT)
(Actually I'd just like to add that I'm normally quite critical of Dawkins. Not as Darwin's Rotweiller but as a self-appointed anti-theist. He's a good public educator - has been since his TV lectures back in the early nineties. But this obsession he has with attacking religion I think is a mistake - although I think Christopher Hitchens goes even further. While I understand and have no problem with his argument that religion deserves no more respect than any other firmly held belief, I wonder if it's necessary for a Briton to attack what is primarily one side of an American debate. Creationism is almost a non-subject in the UK but I guess the US is a bigger market for his book ;) Ajkgordon 16:58, 8 October 2007 (EDT))

ASchlafly, I believe there are a number of errors in the above

  • Dawkins was given a Professorship at Oxford University. The Professorship is held jointly between the Departments of Zoology and the Department of Continuing Education. It is administered from the Museum, in common with several other professorships at the University. It is therefore incorrect to imply that the professorship is a position at the Museum unrelated to academic departments. It is also incorrect to state that the term "professorship" is used in a way contrary to the usual meaning of the word. It is a senior academic position, across two departments of the University. Oxford University itself clearly identifies the professorship as a statutory one within it's statutes and regulations.
  • The zoology department does not list Dawkins' status as academic. However since you have not been able to explain what "other" means in this context, it is misleading to use this as evidence that he is not a member of the faculty.
  • The official homepage of the Simonyi Professorship - the page on which the CV is cited - gives details of the connection with the Museum. Given this very obvious link to the relevant information, it is not at all clear why you believe this administrative detail should be covered in a resume.
  • Dawkins was elevated to the status of Professor at Oxford University, and the Simonyi chair is a statutory professorship. As the Oxford regulations show, all appointments to professor level are the responsibility, ultimately, of the Personnel Committee, and are centralised within the University. The chair was endowed, and Dawkins was intended as the first recipient. It was based across the Department of Continuing Education, and the faculty of the holder (in this case Zoology). It is incorrect therefore to say this is not allowed at the faculty departments of leading universities. It is. OurMike 16:58, 8 October 2007 (EDT)

Ajkgordon, unfortunately I can't find anything substantive in your comments. OurMike, thanks for being a bit more substantive, but you still don't refute anything here.
Dawkins claims to be a professor at Oxford University for an obvious reason: it enhances his credibility among some. But is Dawkins' claim of academic credentials as good as he says? Is Dawkins completely honest on his own resume? I think the answer to each question is plainly no.--Aschlafly 17:50, 8 October 2007 (EDT)


Hi Aschlafly. Can you explain why do you not think the evidence I've provided does not refute the four points you make? Unless you can explain what you find lacking it is difficult for me to comprehend your argument. OurMike 18:24, 8 October 2007 (EDT)
OurMike - why are you still persisting? Has it not yet sunk in that people against Dawkins views do not need to justify their arguements? Apparently the onus is on people who respect Dawkins to provide 100% carved in concrete proof of every word said, whereas those who choose to refute him can say whatever they want, backed up with speculation, hearsay and overuse of the word "might". You should have realised you were fighting a losing battle when Aschafly, when asked to back up his speculation replied with "So now you're saying the criticism should be made even stronger??? Wow, User:Order, your criticism of the entry seems to wander all over the map!--Aschlafly 23:21, 5 October 2007 (EDT)". Again, answering a viable question with a credibility attack. Thinking that you could ever provoke any real debate was just wishful thinking. Read the question - he asked you to refute his comments. Well all you did was answer them with a response littered with as much "proof" as he provided. Why should he respond to that? Oh wait...
You best watch youself or you'll end up with a derogatory entry about you on here too.
No-one will ever give a meaingful reply to any of your responses. They've made their case now. You can refute it if you want, but you'll be wrong. Apparently debate only works one way on this "Encyclopedia". --cezuk 16:47, 15 October 2007 (GMT)

Do People In General "Care" About Dawkins?

I have just asked this morning a random 10 people who were communicating with me in person, via Instant Messenger and on the telephone this question:

"Do you know who Richard Dawkins is? If you do, do you care about his qualifications or lack thereof?"

10 of ten said yes they knew who he was, and no they never gave much thought to either lack or possession of qualifications. Eight of the ten said they knew him to be a pompous ass and strident atheist more than a proponent of Evolution. Six of those eight identified as not being affiliated with any particular religion. Of the two remaining one was a Jew and the other a Catholic.

Bottom line, no matter a persons qualifications, or how they self-identify, being an snobbish jackass is the lasting impression you will make no matter what POV you are pushing or however august (or not) your qualifications are. But then, most of our Grannies could have told us that without a poll! --şŷŝôρ-₮K/Ṣρёаќǃ 17:30, 8 October 2007 (EDT)

TK, I've no doubt that's true. Regardless, my point here is to try and correct a factual error in the article that is consistently reverted. This is not a matter of opinion. Dawkins is objectively a professor at the University of Oxford, given that the University lists him with this title in it's official calendar and it's list of statutory professorships. He objectively meets the definition of "Professor" in the Merriam-Webster dictionary (given that the Simonyi chair is held jointly across the Zoology and Continuing Education departments of the University, though administered from the natural history museum). The article is also incorrect in stating that "Leading universities do not permit the 'buying' of a professorship for someone." - indeed they do.
If we can correct these factual errors, then we can all get back to the task of arguing about whether or not Dawkins is a snobbish jackass.
Regards, --OurMike 18:39, 8 October 2007 (EDT)
In my opinion stating that Dawkins is not a real professor at Oxford University, which he clearly is, makes Christians into liars. Is that what we want? Cornovius 19:00, 8 October 2007 (EDT)
Your opinion is baseless, Cornovius.
OurMike, you've said many times that the "Simonyi chair is held jointly across the Zoology and Continuing Education departments of the University." Do you have any proof for that claim, or even an explanation of what you mean by it? As another editor recently inserted into this entry, apparently the Simonyi chair expressly limits teaching! That, of course, disqualifies it from the definition of "professor", by the way.--Aschlafly 21:10, 8 October 2007 (EDT)

The objective truth is that Dawkins holds the Simonyi Chair at Oxford. Whether this makes him a "real college professor" or not is up for grabs, but he definitely has been granted a "professorship".

They made a position for him, so he can promote naturalistic evolution, but whether he's a professor or not doesn't really matter.

No one is really going to be swayed one way or another by academic credentials. It's only facts and reasoning that matters (to some) or faith and doctrine that matters (to others). Unless my essay on the three perspectives on science has any bearing . . . --Ed Poor Talk 21:24, 8 October 2007 (EDT)

Ed, the term "professor" does mean something to most people, as defined in the dictionary. Is Richard Dawkins a professor within that meaning? I think not. Does he claim to be? Yes. That's a problem for more reasons than one.--Aschlafly 21:33, 8 October 2007 (EDT)
Ed, can you explain how you derived the "non-academic" bit from the reference that follows this claim? I'm a bit unclear on when "academic" meant "must teach a lot in the university". I'm just asking because some the definitions of "academic" are "Of or belonging to a scholarly organization." (from TheFreeDictionary), "educational: relating to education, educational studies, an educational institution, or the educational system" (from Encarta), or "relating to education and scholarship" (from Compact Oxford English Dictionary). Dawkins and the chair seem to fulfill these requirements by belonging to Oxford University and having "education" explicitly in the job description.
Having established the "academic" bit, here is Compact Oxford English Dictionary's definition of "professor":
  1. a university academic of the highest rank.
  2. N. Amer. a university teacher.
  3. a person who affirms a faith in or allegiance to something.
So unless Andy is trying to attack the "highest rank" bit, I don't really see why Dawkins is not a prof. Unless you take the "limits teaching" thing and try to force it into the North American definition. --Jenkins 21:46, 8 October 2007 (EDT)
A professor is (a) an academic at (b) a university who (c) holds the highest rank. Museum curators are not professors, even if they like to call themselves by that title.--Aschlafly 22:09, 8 October 2007 (EDT)
...oh, so we're back to Dawkins (a) not being an academic, (b) not being a member of Oxford University and (c) having the rank of "museum curator"? Bold claims indeed. Got any sources other than your opinion and interpretation? So far, it seems that dictionaries and Oxford University disagree with you. --Jenkins 22:15, 8 October 2007 (EDT)
Read the entry. Museum curators are not academics of the highest rank. Academics of the highest rank attain that position through peer review, not a donation by an ally.--Aschlafly 22:28, 8 October 2007 (EDT)
Andy, would you mind putting that into the article, that the museum got him the title without following the academic guidelines. And can you elaborate on the allegations that you make toward the Oxford museum. To what extend are they involved in this? It seem that your argument relies on a strict interpretation of the Merrian Webster entry on "professor". However, M-W is just a US dictionary, not exactly relevant. To really make a case you should have evidence that Dawkins and the museum violated Oxford regulations and traditions and/or UK (common) laws.Order 22:37, 8 October 2007 (EDT)
A source supporting your bold "Dawkins is just a museum curator" claim would be appreciated, too.—The preceding unsigned comment was added by Jenkins (talk)

Verbatim copy of the Brights article

There is no need to quote the Brights Movement article almost verbatim. To discuss this movement we got the Brights Movement article, and it suffices to mention that Dawkins was supportive of this initiative that was run and started by others. Order 19:58, 8 October 2007 (EDT)

User:Conservative, the abbreviated version on the Brights movements is a lot more appropriate in it length, but Dawkins criticism of Christianity is more important than his endorsement of the Brights movement. The order of the paragraphs should be the other way round. Order 20:09, 8 October 2007 (EDT)
Order, given the quality of the Richard Dawkins criticism of Christianity I disagree with you. Anyways, I am waiting to put the Brights Movement material in later for technical reasons I would rather not go into. Conservative 21:30, 8 October 2007 (EDT)
Its not a big deal if you want to keep this order the way it is. If your main point of criticism is something in which he was barely involved then you can't have much to criticise him. And if you want to put the verbatim quote of the bright movement back, feel free to do so as well. It just obfuscates Dawkins position even more, by inserting too much information on a minor aspect. And in addition you will have the problem to keep the Dawkins article and the Bright article in sync and consistent. The nice thing about a wiki is that you can create separate article and link to them, and maintain each on its own, but of course nothing keeps you from not using this useful feature. If you want to make the article unworkable, feel free to do so.Order 22:24, 8 October 2007 (EDT)

Dawkins' Professorship

Aschlafly, contrary to your assertion above, Dawkins is not, and does not claim to be, a museum curator (although incidentally, as the University statutes make clear, the museum curatorships are held jointly with academic appointments). I do not know what evidence you have for this repeated assertion. Can you clarify? Dawkins is a professor, with a chair based at the Museum, and held jointly across the Zoology and Continuing Education departments. To put this another way, his office is in the Museum, his reporting lines are to the heads of the Zoology and CE departments. You have asked for evidence of this: Dawkins himself asserts that his chair is held jointly across the two departments; the Simonyi manifesto for the Chair explicitly states that it is to be held jointly between the Continuing Education department and the academic department of the holder (in this case Zoology); The Zoology department lists him as head of a Group; And finally and most significantly, the University act establishing the chair makes it clear that the chair is to be administered by the Committee on Continuing Education - through "the Director of the Department for Continuing Education, the professor, and the head of any discipline-based department or departments with which the professor is also associated". In Dawkins' case, Zoology.
The University act establishing the Chair is interesting because it also explicitly states that:
  1. The post does require teaching
  2. The Professorship is "subject to the General Provisions of the decree concerning the duties of professors" (e.g. is like any other professorship at the University)
  3. Though the Chair was endowed with Dawkins in mind, the postholder was ultimately elected by the Vice-Chancellor of Oxford University, alongside senior members of the University governance - ie peer review. (For the record, the same year that the Simonyi Chair was established, the University also established several other endowed chairs, including the Drue Heinz Professorship of American Literature, the Lester Pearson Professorship of International Relations, and the Cookson Professorship of Materials).
  4. It is also worth noting that the statute establishing the professorship makes no mention of the Natural History Museum, confirming that the endowed chair's associations with the Museum are tangential to the actual establishment, purpose, and qualifications of the position.
In other words: Dawkins is' a professor at Oxford University, as the Oxford University Calendar, Oxford University Gazette, Oxford University Statutes & Regulations, Oxford University Council, Oxford University's Vice Chancellor, and Oxford University Congregation all confirm.
Can the inaccuracies in the article please now be corrected? OurMike 07:29, 9 October 2007 (EDT)
Where does it say his post requires teaching? All I've seen so far is, "the Simonyi Professor is not expected to undertake substantial teaching and administrative duties within Oxford University".
How can you reconcile not expected to undertake substantial teaching with post requires teaching? (I'm not saying you can't; I just want to know how you see things.) --Ed Poor Talk 07:34, 9 October 2007 (EDT)
Ed, the establishing statute says:
2. The Charles Simonyi Professor of the Public Understanding of Science shall
(a) notwithstanding the provisions of Sect. I, § 5. B. cl. 1 (b) of this chapter, engage in teaching related to the Public Understanding of Science and in other appropriate forms of provision as agreed between the professor, the head of the appropriate discipline-based department, and the Director of the Department for Continuing Education, such teaching and other forms of provision to occupy no fewer than twelve hours and no more than fifty hours in Oxford in any academic year;
(b) promote the public understanding of science both within and outside Oxford.
Do you agree that the post is a Professorship at the University of Oxford? OurMike 07:41, 9 October 2007 (EDT)
I agree that the post is a "chair". Whether this chair is really a "professorship" is what we are trying to establish.
The biggest question for me is whether Dawkins really knows anything (and that is why he was rewarded with a nice position) - or whether he is just a very effective publicist for pseudoscientific dogma (and that is why he was rewarded with that position).
If we concede that Oxford has made Dawkins a full professor, then that gives him academic authority. Other academics, who disagree with his ideas, may of course refuse to recognize his authority. --Ed Poor Talk 07:47, 9 October 2007 (EDT)
Ed, I'm struggling to understand your position. If you accept that he holds a professorial chair, then how can you dispute whether he is a "professor"? It seems to me that you are using the term "professor" as shorthand for "intellectual". But "professor" is a formal, objectively defined position, which Dawkins clearly does hold. If you wish to engage with his ideas, or demolish his arguments then I don't have a problem with that. But it is disingenuous to allow factually incorrect statements to persist in this article. OurMike 08:12, 9 October 2007 (EDT)
Mike, the term "professor" is well-defined, and we've defined it here. A donor cannot simply call his friend a "professor" and expect everyone to use that title. Is Dawkins "a faculty member of the highest academic rank at an institution of higher education"?[4] Objectively, I'd say clearly not. I found that not even the zoology department at Oxford classifies him as an "academic".--Aschlafly 09:51, 9 October 2007 (EDT)
ASchlafly, as I have explained above, repeatedly, and with reference to a number of different sources, Dawkins professorship was awarded by (and is therefore recognised by), the University of Oxford. There is a link above to the exact wording of the act. The position - though donated with Dawkins in mind - was elected ultimately by the Vice-Chancellor of the university and a senior committee of the university, to be held jointly between the Department for Continuing Education and the Faculty of the post-holder (in this case Zoology). All Professorial titles, as I have also shown elsewhere on these talk pages, must be passed centrally by the Personnel Committee at Oxford. Dawkins' title is not simply a case of a donor "simply calling his friend a professor". Dawkins objectively holds the title at the University of Oxford. It is therefore inaccurate for the article to state this his use of the term is "misleading if not fraudulent".
Incidentally, Dawkins also fits the only definition of professor that you seem willing to accept - that of the Merriam-Webster online Dictionary. (A) He is a faculty member - you admit that he is listed on the Zoology department staff listings (where he heads a Group). (B) Dawkins does hold the highest academic rank of Professor, as the the Oxford University Calendar, Oxford University Gazette, Oxford University Statutes & Regulations, Oxford University Council, Oxford University's Vice Chancellor, and Oxford University Congregation all confirm (and prior to this he held a Reader position, equivalent to Associate Professor). (C) He is at an institution of Higher Education, Oxford University.
Can the factual errors in this article please now be corrected. OurMike 12:03, 9 October 2007 (EDT)

Ad hominem logical fallacy

I'm afraid that this article falls into this category. Some editors wish to attack Dawkins' views by attacking the man. While this may work fine in a courtroom, it's not very encyclopedic.

I have searched across the internet and particularly on websites that should be aligned closely to this one, such as CreationWiki, ChristianAnswers and Beliefnet, and cannot find any claim that even remotely suggests that he is not a real professor or that his Oxford University professorship is nothing more than an honorific and that he's just a museum curator. I know that we allow OR on here but this is just pure ad hominem opinion as has been shown numerous times on these discussion pages.

I don't suppose supporters of Dawkins or Dawkins himself will care too much because his books are not targeted at evangelists and creationists even though he has mentioned libel.

But anyone who has this encylopedia's best interests at heart should care - the article as it stands brings Conservapedia into disrepute.

Unless of course this is simply a technique to gain attention. Ajkgordon 09:46, 9 October 2007 (EDT)

Ajkgordon, your insubstantive postings here are getting tiresome. If you think you see an error in the entry, then clearly, specifically and logically state why. If not, then please refrain from filling this page with rants. Thank you.--Aschlafly 09:51, 9 October 2007 (EDT)
I and others have done and you know it. The only ranting I can see is on the article page. This is like pushing on a rope. Ajkgordon 09:53, 9 October 2007 (EDT)
In other words, you can't identify a single specific error in the entry. Apparently you simply don't like it when someone challenges Richard Dawkins' claim of credentials.--Aschlafly 10:16, 9 October 2007 (EDT)
Yes I can and I and others have done. The challenges expressed over Dawkins' professorship have been shown to be false - any reasonable person can see that. You choose to ignore the our genuine efforts to ensure accuracy. You either firmly believe that your challenges are valid or you're simply making noise. Fair enough, it's your website. As I said before, I give up. (I'll try to stick to it this time!) Ajkgordon 10:27, 9 October 2007 (EDT)
Twice I've asked you to identify anything specific that you think is in error and why. Twice you've failed to do that. It's clear you don't like anyone challenging Richard Dawkins' claim of credentials. Perhaps you'll never be comfortable with a site that allows such factual criticisms. Fortunately, many others here do welcome the surprising truth, and welcome reasoned criticism of claims to credentials by Richard Dawkins.--Aschlafly 10:37, 9 October 2007 (EDT)
LOL, I and others already have done! How many times do they need repeating? You haven't answered any of them, such as the museum not being a subsidiary but being an integral part of the university, Dawkins' professorship being shared by two academic departments however you interpret "other", OU's many recognitions of his professorship, how the endowed chair system works in the UK, that the the museum issue is administrative therefore a red herring, his recognitions as a bona fide professor across many other academic organizations... I could go on... and on... and on. But I can't see there's any point - your mind's made up.
I am extremely comfortable with a site that allows factual criticisms, welcome the truth and welcome reasoned criticism. But this article is not an example of any of these things. Respectfully yours and God speed, Ajkgordon 10:50, 9 October 2007 (EDT)
Ah, now you hope quantity will be a replacement for quality of your objections. Nope:
  • "the museum not being a subsidiary but being an integral part of the university
    • it's a museum. Do you know what a museum is? No museum is "an integral part of" a university. Are classes taught there? Do students have a "museum" major? Does it issue degrees? No, no, no, obviously.
For the Regulations for the Oxford University Museum of Natural History see [5] Order
And the chair is in any case only hosted at the museum - the seat is held jointly between the Zoology and Continuing Education departments.OurMike 13:28, 9 October 2007 (EDT)
  • Dawkins' professorship being shared by two academic departments however you interpret "other",
    • What's your evidence from Oxford for that claim? I see none yet.
The staff list at zoology [6], and the enabling act [7]. Order
As well as the Simonyi manifesto OurMike 13:28, 9 October 2007 (EDT)
  • OU's many recognitions of his professorship
    • Meaningless, and you provide no specifics. The dictionary defines what "professor" means, not wealthy donors.
The University of Oxford did more to define what "professor" means than any US dictionary. And not only because the University of Oxford existed way before any US dictionary, or the US itself for that matter. Order
The University of Oxford approved the formation of the chair (see the enabling statutes above), and the Vice-Chancellor and a senior committee of the governing council elected Dawkins to that post. He is listed as Professor in the official Gazette, and the official Calendar of the University. If the University calls Dawkins a Professor of Oxford University it is neither misleading, nor fraudulent, for Dawkins to call himself a Professor of Oxford University.OurMike 13:28, 9 October 2007 (EDT)
  • how the endowed chair system works in the UK.
    • You provide no details, and no one is debating the concept of an "endowed chair" anyway. We're debating the concept of a "professor".
According to Merriam-Webster the definition of "Chair" is "2c: PROFESSORSHIP <holds a university chair>". If you accept that Dawkins holds an endowed chair, then by definition you accept that he holds a Professorship. The two are synonymous. OurMike 12:07, 9 October 2007 (EDT)
Merrian Webster is insignificant anyway. What counts are University of Oxford regulations, not some US dictionary. This is also a point which has been brought up, but which Andy prefers not to address. His response just confirms that he hasn't read any of the material that you provided, in particular neither the status of the museum [8], nor the establishing act of the Simonyi professorship [9]. The establishing act of the University of Oxford alone has way more weight in this question as any US dictionary can ever have. Order 12:31, 9 October 2007 (EDT)
An endowed chair is a professorship funded by endowment. There are many many endowed chairs at universities in both the UK and the US and it is a system of funding for academic posts that dates back centuries. Holders of endowed professorial chairs are, by definition, professors. In the same year that the Simonyi chair was endowed, Oxford University also established at least three other endowed chairs. Merriam-Webster and the University of Oxford recognise that the holder of a university chair is called a professor. OurMike 13:28, 9 October 2007 (EDT)

Pick your best objection and try that. Apparently you lack a real objection.--Aschlafly 11:52, 9 October 2007 (EDT)

Assume good faith please, Aschlafly. All these points have been suitably discussed and cited by both sides. I'm not making any edits, just making some suggestions. Take 'em or leave 'em. Fair enough, your website, your discretion. Best wishes, Ajkgordon 11:59, 9 October 2007 (EDT)

Intermission: Boru and Jenkins

Ajkgordon,

It is obvious you are nothing more than a deceitful Liberal, attempting to undermine our leader. Please, if you have anything to add that is not biased then do so, but please do not undermine Aschlafy unless you have logically stated your objections. Do you take us for fools? Its obvious your only intention is to undermine Mr Schlafy. Boru 16:55, 9 October 2007 (EDT)

You're getting paid cash for each time you say "undermine X", don't you? Seriously, easy on the name-calling. Let's try to keep this page on-topic. --Jenkins 16:58, 9 October 2007 (EDT)
Unlike a Liberal, I will speak my mind without fear about how it may 'offend' someone. Stop twisting my words like you just have, Liberal. Have a little respect as well. Boru 17:06, 9 October 2007 (EDT)
Respect has to be earned. And talk pages are for article discussions. If you want to rant and ramble against liberals, go make Liberals and Muffins or How Liberals fail at Life and Everything or something equally deep to go with Liberal tools, Liberal Bias, and however else those articles are called - I'm sure your contributions will be appreciated there. Here, we're talking about article content. --Jenkins 17:12, 9 October 2007 (EDT)
Typical of a Liberal to overuse mockery in genuine discussion. I would say deceitful as well but you already realise that I think you are nothing more than a Deceitfull Liberal, someone who loves using Liberal Gloss in all his writing. Keep up what you are doing, Liberal, and one of the sysops might just ban you. Boru 17:18, 9 October 2007 (EDT)
Word to the wise: Clever parody is the one that's hard to spot.
I isolated our thread via a new headline ("Intermission: Boru and Jenkins") to avoid polluting a content discussion with chatter. I'm sure both sides of the content discussion will appreciate this. Furthermore, this will (hopefully) be my last post in this newly created section. Feel free to have the last word. --Jenkins 17:25, 9 October 2007 (EDT)
I've had enough, your constant insults and slurs do not warrant a response. Goodbye. Boru 17:28, 9 October 2007 (EDT)


I'm not sure that this warrants a reply but I will, probably against my better judgement.

Accusing me of being a liberal is one thing. Accusing me of deceit quite another. I have made it clear what I am doing on these talk pages. I haven't even edited the article. Rather I've challenged some controversial edits about Dawkins in these talk pages. I have not tried to undermine Aschlafly. I have tried to undermine some of his opinions on the subject simply because I think they are wrong. There is no deceit at all. You would do well from seeing the difference.

Your outburst in attacking me personally has been precisely what I have been arguing against in this article about Dawkins. It's ad hominem. You don't like my arguments that's fine. But accusing me of being a liar serves no purpose. If Aschlafly or another sysops wants to ban me because I'm not contributing enough content then they will. In the meantime I suggest you concentrate on the discussion about Dawkins. Ajkgordon 08:40, 10 October 2007 (EDT)

  • Ajkgordon, you are guilty of the very same thing you are complaining about! I blocked the user Boru last night...not you, eh? --şŷŝôρ-₮K/Ṣρёаќǃ 17:08, 10 October 2007 (EDT)
Am I? Apologies if so. Could you point out where I have attacked anyone on here rather than attacking their views? As far as I'm aware (although I could be mistaken) I've only tried to suggest ways of improving the article. Suggestions that have been ignored or argued against to the satisfaction of the editors (meaning I haven't been very successful!). Which is what these discussion pages are about. Please, point out where I have attacked other people and I will correct my behaviour. Ajkgordon 17:14, 10 October 2007 (EDT)

Christianity and Science

Cut from article:

a view that is contrary to the fact that the most productive scientists, from Isaac Newton to Louis Pasteur, were devout Christians.

I see no reason for this cut. In fact, I see it as deserving its own page. --Ed Poor Talk 22:00, 9 October 2007 (EDT)

The statement is false for two reasons. First, it omits the 20th century. Second, the (alleged) fact, even if it were true, it not contrary to what Dawkins said. The Dawkins quote is about "fundamentalist religion", not devout Christianity. RSchlafly 22:13, 9 October 2007 (EDT)
The statement does not omit any century. Propose your own ranking of the most productive scientists of all time, and your list will likely reflect the fact the most productive scientists were devout Christians.
I strongly doubt Dawkins was distinguishing between one type of devout Christian from another. "Fundamentalist religion" is an atheist's term for devout Christianity. If anyone thinks Dawkins makes a distinction, then I'd love to hear what the difference is.--Aschlafly 22:31, 9 October 2007 (EDT)
I am glad some people are reading my Christianity and Science article. :) I think I should put a link to this article in the creationism and YEC articles. At 200+ views it is not one of my more popular articles. :) Conservative 22:50, 9 October 2007 (EDT)
You might not recall this discussion, but it has been somewhat discussed before here and here. Order 00:31, 10 October 2007 (EDT)

Errors still persist in the article

Hi Aschlafly I have pointed this out repeatedly on these talk pages, but you have not yet responded to any of my substantive points. Perhaps you just haven't seen them, so here - once again - is the list of factual errors in the first part of the Dawkins article, and reasons why these should be changed. I'd be grateful if we could then correct the errors without them being reverted.

From the article:
  • Dawkins is the holder of a donated position at the Museum of Natural History
    • In fact Dawkins is the holder of an endowed position (a professorial Chair) at the University of Oxford. The chair is not a "position at the Museum of Natural History" (though it is based there). It is in fact held jointly across two departments within the University - the Continuing Education Department, and the academic faculty of the post-holder (in Dawkins' case Zoology, where he heads a Group). This is explained clearly and unambiguously in the endowment manifesto, and confirmed in the University act enabling the Chair [10]. Neither of these mention the Museum.
  • He claims on his resume the academic authority of a "professor" at the University of Oxford
    • Dawkins claims on his resume the title of Professor at the University of Oxford. As the University's official Gazette; the University's official Calendar (Oxford University Calendar 2003-4, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2003, p.77); and the University's Vice-Chancellor all confirm, he is entitled to use this title.
  • but in fact his "professorship" consists of a position donated for his personal benefit at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History.
    • This is a repeat of the error made above. As explained, the position is not "at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History", it is a professorship at Oxford University, held across two departments, though based at the Museum.
  • Leading universities do not permit the "buying" of a professorship for someone.
    • As is clear with the Simonyi endowment, leading universities do sometimes permit the endowing of academic chairs with a particular individual in mind. I am not clear if this sentence is intended to imply that Oxford University is not a "leading university". Can you please clarify?
  • The special terms of this gift allowed Dawkins to bypass the peer review promotion process customarily required before receiving the title of "professor".In other words, the gift establishes an endowment for future professors, but is held initially by Dawkins without complying with the customary promotion process required before someone can become a "professor".
    • This is a peculiar statement. It cites the establishing act of the Chair, in which Dawkins is granted the position, however this act was passed by the Council of the University of Oxford, the University's executive body which consists of the Vice Chancellor and the heads of Department of the University, and is itself elected by the University's Congregation. Given that this is an even more senior body than a board of electors it is not clear how this is not a peer review of Dawkins. Aschlafly, since you added this sentence to the article can you please clarify?
  • As of October 5, 2007, the Oxford University's Zoology Department lists Dawkins' status as "other" rather than as "academic".
    • There is a Zoology page which lists Dawkins' status as "other" within the Group 1A Evolution Group, however it also lists him as Head of Group 10, the Richard Dawkins Group, and refers to him twice on the page as Professor. It is not explained what the staff status of "other" means within the Zoology department of the University of Oxford, so it is not clear what this sentence is supposed to imply, or how it supports the contention that Dawkins' title is "misleading if not fraudulent". Aschlafly, can you please clarify?
  • Since March 30, 2005, Dawkins' online resume has stated his academic credential as "Charles Simonyi Professor of the Public Understanding of Science, University of Oxford," when in fact Dawkins' position is at the Museum of Natural History, an institution merely owned by the University of Oxford.
    • This implies for the third time that Dawkins' position is not actually at the University of Oxford. Dawkins' position, as the establishing act states very clearly is held jointly between the Department for Continuing Education and the postholder's academic department (Zoology) at the University of Oxford. The post is based at the Museum, as are several other doctors and professors of the Zoology and Geology departments of the University.
  • The title "professor" is misleading, if not fraudulent, as the position donated for his benefit does not satisfy the Merriam-Webster definition of "professor": "a faculty member of the highest academic rank at an institution of higher education."
    • The title of "Professor" is neither misleading nor fraudulent. Quite aside from the fact that Oxford University authorises him to use the title he does meet the Merriam-Webster definition. Professor is the highest academic rank, and this title has clearly been bestowed upon him by the University of Oxford (an institution of higher education), by its governing Council (consisting of the Vice Chancellor and all the most senior department heads). He is a faculty member of the Zoology department, as the department itself confirms. He holds a chair, which Merriam-Webster confirms is synonymous with professorship.

Can the errors in this article please now be corrected? OurMike 07:57, 10 October 2007 (EDT)

I fully agree with your points, but let me add another angle anyway. The more I read Andy's edits (article and talk), the more I get the impression that he doesn't know that there are differences between the UK and the US system. I first got the impression when Andy consistently used US dictionaries and definitions that UK dictionaries labeled with "N. Amer."
Here's something from Wikipedia's "Professor" article:
The basic difference between levels of professor according to the national academic system is that in North America, the designation is based on career, whereas in the rest of the world it is based on position. That means that if a North American Assistant Professor is performing particularly well, he or she can be promoted to Associate Professor, and if this is the case again, to (full) Professor. In the European system, the different fields and sub-fields of teaching and research are allotted certain (professorial) chairs, and one can only become a professor if one is appointed to such a chair (which then has to be free, i.e. unoccupied). Therefore, the different professorial ranks are not necessarily comparable.

Furthermore, "Professor" is also a honorific title, given when appointed to a professor's chair.

I believe that Andy's "peer review" thing (and, in fact, pretty much every other complaint and accusation of fraud and deceit) could be traced back to this simple difference: Andy is applying the standard he is familiar with, assuming that the rest of the world uses it, too. Unfortunately, this is a case in which that doesn't work.
Andy is of course free to complain about how the UK and the rest of the planet should suddenly start using the US system, but that should not be done in this article (unless Dawkins is somehow to blame for the system), and it doesn't change the fact that Dawkins is a professor. --Jenkins 12:30, 10 October 2007 (EDT)
LOL, I'm not sure that a link to a Wikipedia article is going to resolve any disagreement here! :) Ajkgordon 12:41, 10 October 2007 (EDT)
Yes, I considered this, but the way this discussion is going, I figured the success-chances of any source would be in the "Welcome to Hell, Mr. Snowball!" area. I could still hunt around for different sources, but I like the concise way this section puts it. --Jenkins 13:10, 10 October 2007 (EDT)
Thanks Jenkins. This distinction between the way the US and the UK assigns professorships ("professor" therefore actually being a rarer and more prestigious title in the UK) is also explained in an earlier section. Particularly useful is the definition of "Professor" from the Oxford English Dictionary which I posted further up this talk page, but which I'll repeat again here:
"A university academic of the highest rank; spec. (in Britain and some other English-speaking countries) the holder of a university chair in a specified faculty or subject. Also, in N. Amer.: any teacher at a university. Also applied to people of similar status in institutions other than universities." [my bolding. The dictionary then expands on this definition with the following explanation, again with my bolding:] "In the medieval European Universities, at first simply a synonym of Magister or Doctor (degrees being originally qualifications to teach), but in this use not common as an English word. The right originally possessed by any Master or Doctor to teach publicly in the schools of a Faculty was gradually restricted to an inner circle of teachers, and the term professor came eventually to be confined to the holders of salaried or endowed teaching offices, or to the highest class of these, such titles as reader, lecturer, instructor, tutor, etc., being given to teachers of lower rank. In the old English Universities the original usage survives in the letters S.T.P. (Sacrae Theologiae Professor) for D.D.; the application of the title to holders of endowed chairs was largely due to the creation of five Regius or King's Professors by Henry VIII (a number increased in later years). The endowed teachers of some other subjects were at first called praelectors, but this title was gradually superseded by professor.")
Let us hope Aschlafly will respond to the substantive criticisms of the errors in this article, listed point by point in this section and we can then go ahead and correct the factual errors in this article without fear of them being reverted. OurMike 13:24, 10 October 2007 (EDT)

Reply

The key document here is [11], which explains precisely what Dawkins holds: "a post in the Public Understanding of Science to be held by Dr C.R. Dawkins, Fellow of New College." That doesn't say "professorship" with respect to Dawkins. It says "post". I'm confident that Oxford University means what it said, and I have no reason to doubt it. So not only is the entry correct, but the word "post" should be used with respect to Dawkins rather than "professorship". The "post" does not become a "professorship" per the link until Dawkins is replaced by someone elected pursuant to the customary peer review promotion procedures. Note also, by the way, that it calls Dawkins "Dr.", not "Professor".--Aschlafly 18:29, 10 October 2007 (EDT)

Uh... he holds the "post" of "Professor of the Public Understanding of Science", and the document goes into good detail about the professorship. I'm also fairly certain that Oxford means what it said. Your evidence grinds down to the OU Gazette not repeating the word "professor" after X mentions of it. And the Simonyi page reads "Professor Richard Dawkins is the first holder of the newly endowed Charles Simonyi Chair in the Public Understanding of Science at the University of Oxford."
Are you telling us that the entire Oxford University, including the official site of the Simonyi Professorship, is wrong and that a stylistic choice in a sub-paragraph voids the entire title? And that you're the first person who stumbled over The Truth about the Simonyi Chair being actually vacant? --Jenkins 18:46, 10 October 2007 (EDT)
Jenkins, I can assure that Oxford University chooses its official words carefully and means what it says. And what it says is this: "the income from the endowment shall be applied in the first instance to fund a post in the Public Understanding of Science to be held by Dr C.R. Dawkins." That's "a" post, not "the" post. The text is clear: the endowment is first used to fund something for Richard Dawkins, and only afterwards is a professor appointed pursuant to the peer review procedures outlined. In legal terms, I'd say that Dawkins is the beneficiary of an income stream for "a post," and it is the (post-Dawkins) remainder that is the professorship.--Aschlafly 00:16, 11 October 2007 (EDT)

Andy, you might be confused by the use of the word post. The University of Oxford uses it instead of the word position. To back this up I did a search in the University gazette for the word post for all appointments of professorship [12]. There are ten pages of hits, here a selection from the first page:

  • Professorship of Human Geography
The Professorship of Human Geography is a new post, established as part of the University's commitment to strategic investment in the School of Geography and the Environment. [13]
  • Professorship Of Musculo-Skeletal Pathology
This is a new post within the Nuffield Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and is funded by the Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre NHS Trust. [14]
  • Sibthorpian Professorship Of Plant Science
Applications are invited for the above post, tenable from 1 October 2006, or such later date as may be arranged. The post is to be filled in anticipation of the retirement of Professor C.J. Leaver, CBE, FRS, FRSE, in October 2007. [15]
  • Professorship of Environment and Public Policy
The Professorship of Environment and Public Policy is a new post, also established as part of the University's commitment to strategic investment in the School of Geography and the Environment. [16]
  • Robert Turner Professorship Of Diabetic Medicine
The electors intend to proceed to an election to the newly-established Robert Turner Professorship of Diabetic Medicine with effect from 1 January 2002, or such later date as may be arranged. This is a new post endowed with funds provided for this purpose by Les Laboratoires Servier. [17]

So in the end it might just boils down to a problem that you are using a US dictionary, rather than a UK one. Hardly enough reason to call someone fraudulent. Order 01:24, 11 October 2007 (EDT)

Andy, here are more Oxford University Gazette entries (emphasis mine each time):
SIMONYI LECTURE

PROFESSOR R. GREGORY will deliver the second annual Simonyi Lecture at 6 p.m. on Thursday, 18 May, in the Department of Zoology. The lecture will be introduced by Professor Richard Dawkins, Professor of the Public Understanding of Science, and Dr Charles Simonyi is expected to be present.

CHARLES SIMONYI LECTURE

The Simonyi Lecture is presented by the Oxford Playhouse and New College in association with the Department for Continuing Education. It will be introduced by Professor Richard Dawkins.

CHARLES SIMONYI LECTURE

SIR MARTIN REES, FRS, Astronomer Royal and Master-Elect of Trinity College, will deliver the fifth annual Charles Simonyi Lecture at 5 p.m. on Friday, 7 November, in the Oxford Playhouse. The lecture will be introduced by Professor Richard Dawkins, Simonyi Professor of the Public Understanding of Science.

Dawkins Prize

The Dawkins Prize was endowed by a generous donation from the family of Professor Richard Dawkins, FRS, the University's Charles Simonyi Professor of the Public Understanding of Science.

You're seriously clinging to semantics by now, holding the interpretation of one word against a constantly growing body of evidence where Dawkins is being called professor, even by the same site. Unless you're saying that not a single person in Oxford University (not even to mention his undoubtedly numerous opponents) ever realized that Dawkins merely holds "a post", I would say you're merely seeing what you want to see. I suggest you read our article on confirmation bias. (In regard of the article's last sentence, I do hope that we don't have to wait for you to die before we can fix this :P) --Jenkins 07:22, 11 October 2007 (EDT)

Dawkins post - confusion resolved

Hi Aschlafly, Many thanks for your reply above. This has clarified the source of your misunderstanding re. Dawkins' professorship, so I'm glad to be able now to finally correct that misunderstanding so that we can at last remove the factual errors in this article:

Firstly, you are absolutely correct in your interpretation of the University statute establishing the chair. The University of Oxford does indeed choose its words carefully, and the act itself does not grant Dawkins a professorship. What it does is endow a Professorial Chair, with the endowment money being used to fund Dawkins prior to that chair being filled. The "post" that was funded at this time was called the "Charles Simonyi Readership in the Public Understanding of Science" - essentially this was just using the endowment money to fund Dawkins' existing Readership post within the Zoology Department while the formal process for filling the Professorship was gone through. For the details of this see the agenda for the Congregation meeting of 31st October 1995.

This is because the appointment to the Professorship was - regardless of the wishes of the benefactor Simonyi - the responsibility of the Chair's electoral board as established in the original act. As I understand the Oxford process, the naming of individuals to a Professorship is not carried out by a Council Act, it is the electoral board which confirms the holder, with this recommendation then passed by the Distinctions Committee. (I can't find a copy of the regulations from 95/96 when Dawkins received the title but see here for a flavour of how the Distinctions Committee worked in 2005). Once the relevant (peer review) board and committees had met and elected Dawkins, the Distinctions Committee could formally award the title, and Dawkins at this point became - formally - the Charles Simonyi Professor for the Public Understanding of Science at the University of Oxford. I believe this actually occurred in late 1995, although the official list wasn't published by the Distinction Committee until February 1996. Dawkins is listed as Professor in the Biological Science faculty

C.R. Dawkins, MA, D.Phil., D.Sc., Fellow of New College: Professor of the Public Understanding of Science

As that clears up this final confusion, I hope the factual errors in this article can now be removed. Thanks OurMike 09:36, 11 October 2007 (EDT)

That clears up a lot (and nicely showcases how non-trivial these things are when you get into the finer details), also for me, so kudos for the research work! Maybe we should distill some of this talk page into Charles Simonyi Professorship or something? Or, if it applies in general, improve the existing Professor article? It would be a shame if all this digging and researching would eventually only be compressed into a single "Dawkins is a professor" statement in one article. --Jenkins 09:57, 11 October 2007 (EDT)
That looks clear to me. It's a shame it took so long, but no doubt this misunderstanding will be cleared up as soon as the article is unprotected.--British_cons (talk) 14:22, 11 October 2007 (EDT)
Mea culpa. Just so we don't go round in circles one more time I should point out that I may have misinterpreted some of the finer detail of the Oxford University appointments process (I said it was baroque!). I’m not now sure whether Dawkins did go through the election board stipulated in the act for the Simonyi endowment. He certainly was awarded the title of Professor by Oxford University’s Distinctions Committee (a peer review body, which awards professorial titles within the University on the basis of quality of research), however it seems he may also have retained the original post granted to him by the endowment – the Simonyi Readership. I’m afraid, given Oxford’s frankly byzantine administrative traditions, it’s not clear whether the Professorship assigned by the Distinctions Committee therefore supersedes or is in addition to the Simonyi Readership that Dawkins was granted in October 1995. The Calendar implies that he holds both titles, as it refers to Dawkins as “Simonyi Reader, and Professor of the Public Understanding of Science”. e.g only his Readership is associated with the Simonyi endowment. The Professorial title would seem to be entirely at Oxford University’s own instigation.
Either way, it is hopefully now clear to everyone that Dawkins was granted the title of Professor by the Distinctions Committee of the University of Oxford, which clearly lists him as part of the Biological Sciences faculty of the University. The Distinctions Committee’s primary criterion for awarding a Professorial title is:
“... that research must be of outstanding quality, have led to a significant international reputation, and be comparable in distinction with that expected of a professor in other major research universities.”
I look forward to seeing the errors corrected once the article is unprotected. OurMike 14:39, 11 October 2007 (EDT)
I think the article is unprotected. But not for long if you start changing it, I fear! Ajkgordon 14:48, 11 October 2007 (EDT)

User:OurMike, I appreciate your efforts. We want the facts, and some of your information is helpful. But your information also raises new questions. Your reference to the designation of "professor" for Richard Dawkins is to a document dates mid-1996. But I think Dawkins claims to hold that professorship from the very beginning of its donation in 1995. That doesn't add up, and I wonder if Dawkins bootstrapped his 1995 claim into an inclusion in a list in 1996.--Aschlafly 00:32, 12 October 2007 (EDT)

Aschlafly, no problem. Glad to see my corrections have not been reverted now that TK has restored them, and that Dawkins' professorial title is no longer being questioned. I don't know the answer to the 95/96 question. My guess is that the 1996 Gazette is just reporting titles that were awarded the previous year. That would seem to be fairly likely - the Gazette reporting the Simonyi Readership, for example, is explicit that this title was awarded in October 1995, though it isn't actually reported until January 1996. The wheels of academia do turn exceedingly slow. I don't have access to the minutes of the Distinctions Committee so unless anyone has convincing documentation that goes against this claim I'm happy to give Dawkins the benefit of the doubt. OurMike 09:47, 12 October 2007 (EDT)

Don't continue reverting this article

Andy has stated how he wants this presented, and just because 5 liberals go into a huddle and come out agreeing doesn't mean that you can unilaterally change the article. Calling my reversion vandalism is slander, plain and simple. I'm restoring the article back to the correct version. SSchultz 23:26, 11 October 2007 (EDT)

Andy has not responded for a while to the latest clarification by Mike. What he wanted a few days ago isn't relevant any more given the amount of evidence that has been uncovered since. So, please don't revert the version, unless the discussion continues, and someone comes with new evidence contradicting the old one. Like that the this never happend. We didn't know this a few days ago. Order 23:32, 11 October 2007 (EDT)
I'm back online now after making some presentations today. I will look into this but anyone who has taken factual material out of the Richard Dawkins article is going to be blocked as SSchultz suggests above.--Aschlafly 23:45, 11 October 2007 (EDT)
Glad you're hear to restore order (no pun intended). SSchultz 23:49, 11 October 2007 (EDT)
As said, if you feel like you have to reintroduce factual errors, feel free to do it. Of course, it would have been better if the discussion would have continued. Order 23:59, 11 October 2007 (EDT)
Order, you may be on the verge of being banned for deleting factual information to introduce liberal bias, and for making false accusations. No one has identified any errors in the entry.--Aschlafly 00:14, 12 October 2007 (EDT)

Errors in article

Hi Aschlafly. I see you've reverted back to the previous version of the article. As I've gone into considerable detail above, establishing that Dawkins does indeed hold a Professorship at the University of Oxford (across the Zoological Department (Biological Sciences Faculty), and the Continuing Education Department, and NOT at the Museum), which was awarded by the Distinctions Committee of the University (which awards degrees on the basis of research), I am very surprised by this. Could you please let me know what errors you have identified in the proof I've repeatedly pointed you to here that gives you reason to state that Dawkins' title is "misleading if not fraudulent", or that it doesn't meet the Merriam-Webster definition of a Professor? Thanks in anticipation OurMike 17:03, 12 October 2007 (EDT)

The error is Aschlafly wants to smear Dawkins and he won't let something any liberal bias like the truth stand in his way. Which part of the conservative National Enquirer of the Internet don't you understand? RedDC 18:17, 12 October 2007 (EDT)

This discussion has continued for quite a while, but I can't see that it has been clearly resolved yet. In terms of how Richard Dawkins' position is described, I don't suppose there is any possibility for compromise? Willingness to compromise is not a sign of weakness, it's a sign of maturity and shows you are the bigger man. Perhaps something along the lines of first listing Dawkins as he is usually described (i.e. Professor at the University of Oxford), and following this with one simple paragraph (to keep the article clean) explaining how this description is contestable. That would be my suggestion, but I'm sure other compromises could be reached (I'd attempt one myself but I'd rather not be caught up in a edit war). I'd like to see this issue resolved in a reasonable, rational manner. Feebasfactor 18:33, 12 October 2007 (EDT)

Aschlafly, Feebasfactor, it is not clear to me what is actually contestable about Dawkins' title. I have provided unambiguous proof from multiple sources that much of the information in the article about Dawkins' current position is wrong. I have outlined below each of those factual errors that persist within the article. From the article:

He was an assistant professor of Zoology at the University of California at Berkeley for two years before becoming a Zoology researcher at Oxford.

Dawkins’ position at Oxford University after Berkeley was that of Reader.

Dawkins is the holder of a donated "post" at the Museum of Natural History, an institution owned by the University of Oxford.

The citation here is to the University decree establishing the Simonyi Chair (the Charles Simonyi Professor for the Public Understanding of Science). This act did also grant Dawkins a separate post in October 1995 (that of Simonyi Reader) however it is clear that the Reader position was based across the Biological Sciences Faculty and the Continuing Education Department, and not the Museum of Natural History (which is not mentioned in any of the documentation). It's not clear what relevance any of this has to Dawkin's professorial title as Dawkins was actually awarded the title of Professor for the Public Understanding of Science by the University’s Distinctions Committee, not through this act.

Dawkins claims on his resume the academic authority of a "professor" at the University of Oxford, but his "professorship" is actually described by Oxford as a "post" during which Dawkins enjoys the income pursuant to the donor's intent.

Dawkins claims on his CV the title of Professor at the University of Oxford. He does not use the term “academic authority”. The sentence in the article cites the establishing act of the Simonyi Chair, and refers to the “post” – actually the position of Reader - that Dawkins held prior to his professorship. As Dawkins was later granted the title of Professor of the Public Understanding of Science by the Distinctions Committee of the University it is not at all clear what relevance this citation has.

Leading universities do not permit the "buying" of a professorship for someone.

As the Simonyi endowment makes clear, sometimes leading universities like Oxford do allow the endowment of professorial chairs with particular individuals in mind. Is this intended to suggest Oxford is not a leading university?

The post becomes a "professorship" when a subsequent beneficiary is promoted to the position.

The same error again. It was the University of Oxford’s Distinction Committee which granted Dawkins the title of Professor for the Public Understanding of Science. The "post" in the cited act is the Simonyi Reader position, not the Professorial title Dawkins now holds.

The special terms of this gift allowed Dawkins to bypass the peer review promotion process customarily required before receiving the title of "professor". In other words, the gift establishes an endowment for future professors, but is held initially as a "post" by Dawkins who was never subjected to the peer review process.

Again this repeats the same error. The sentence above is based on the establishing decree for the Simonyi endowment, and is referring to the post Dawkins received (the Simonyi Reader). This Reader post is not the Professorship that Dawkins was later granted by the Distinctions Committee of the University. The Distinctions Committee is a peer review board, and awards Professorial titles principally on the basis of international research.

As of October 5, 2007, the Oxford University's Zoology Department lists Dawkins' status as "other" rather than as "academic".

This is true, although it is misleading as the Department also lists him with the title of “Professor”, and lists him as Head of a Group within the Department.

Since March 30, 2005, Dawkins' online resume has stated his academic credential as "Charles Simonyi Professor of the Public Understanding of Science, University of Oxford," when in fact Dawkins' position is at the Museum of Natural History, an institution merely owned by the University of Oxford.

Dawkins' position is based at the Museum, but the Professorship was awarded to him in the Biological Sciences faculty. Many Oxford university professors hold chairs that are based within academic departments (such as Zoology or Geology) whilst being administered from the Museum. This is not unusual practice for Oxford, and does not denote a different level of professorial rank.

The title "professor" is misleading, if not fraudulent, as the position donated for his benefit does not satisfy the Merriam-Webster definition of "professor": "a faculty member of the highest academic rank at an institution of higher education."

As explained above, the professorial title bestowed on Dawkins was granted by the Distinctions Committee of the University. Dawkins therefore holds the highest academic rank, is based in the Zoology department of the Biological Sciences Faculty, and gained the title through peer review. He is a member of faculty at the University. He therefore meets the Merriam Webster definition of a professor. His title is neither misleading nor fraudulent. The University of Oxford recognises him as a professor of the University. I have pointed out these errors repeatedly on these pages, but I lay them out here once again so that there is no confusion. I hope these factual errors can now be corrected. OurMike 18:39, 12 October 2007 (EDT)

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