Talk:Richard Dawkins/Archive 4

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Contents

Summary of Established Evidence

From what I can tell, and as objectively as possible, over the course of the discussion the following have been established:

  • All appointments to professor level are the responsibility of the Personnel Committee, and are centralised within the University, as established here.
  • There is no direct documentation either directly confirming or denying that Richard Dawkins passed a peer review process - a requirement established by this document. However, he is listed as "Professor Dawkins" by the Distinction Committee in 1996, here.
  • This document refers to Dawkins once, using the word “post”. However, this word is used to describe professorships at Oxford in many other instances.
  • Richard Dawkins is addressed as "Professor Dawkins" by Oxford University itself – for example, here, here,here, and here.

I hope that all of that information is correct. Please correct me if otherwise.

I am working on a rewrite of the “professorship controversy” section, attempting to remain as neutral and as impartial as possible while clearly presenting the facts.

Feebasfactor 19:49, 15 October 2007 (EDT)

I agree that many people refer to Richard Dawkins as the Simonyi Professor. Why? Because Dawkins himself claims that he is the Simonyi Professor!! Surely you don't think that a self-serving claim confirms the claim.
Only one document in the above listing matters: the express requirements for the Simonyi professorship.[1] Surely we can agree that the express requirements for the Simonyi professorship are what one must satisfy before calling himself the Simonyi professor.
There has been no official statement explaining how Dawkins satisfied those express requirements. To the contrary, the establishment of the professorship suggests that Dawkins himself is given income for a "post" not subjected to the peer review requirements, and only future candidates will go through the peer review process set forth (and customarily required) for a professorship.--Aschlafly 20:30, 15 October 2007 (EDT)
Andy, at this point it is obvious that Richard Dawkins is a professor. For some reason, you have willfully ignored the evidence, presented ad infinitum, above. This is your blog, so you are of course, free to do that. However at this point, you are not making Dawkins look bad (which seems to be your goal) but yourself and Conservapedia in the process. --McIntyre 20:45, 15 October 2007 (EDT)
Sweet Fancy Moses!! Surely we can agree that your mind is jumping in circles to try and hold down this delusion of yours. There is no conspiracy. There is no four corner simultaneous day. Richard Dawkins has not fooled one of the most prominent academic institutions, one of the most prominent scientific scocieties, several prominent Christian apologetics organizations, several major news organizations, "liberal" or otherwise, into believing that he is a professor. Surely we don't think that you have uncovered the grand conspiracy, bringing down his precious house of card, forcing him to admit that this whole time it was a scam. After this you're gonna say his F.R.S is a sham, and unless we can dig up Newton to authenticate the process his fellowship is null and void. Do you see now how we can see through your rhetorical devices?
You have been challenged multiple times now to find at least one individual that supports your statement that Dawkins does not hold the Simonyi Professorship based on this little technicality that you've concocted. We've also challenged you to consider how this affects your own credibility. --Oppen1 21:42, 15 October 2007 (EDT)
Folks, no one has specifically identified anything false in the entry. The peer review requirements of the Simonyi professorship are clear and apparently you're in denial. Fortunately, others are logical and are willing to accept what the Simonyi professorship requirements expressly state.--Aschlafly 21:59, 15 October 2007 (EDT)
We all agree on what the documents say. Nobody denies that the establishment act set out the rules for a new professor. And that the a position for Dawkins was funded from the donation. And noone disputes that the distinction committee gave Dawkins the title. You have this story in mind of what or could not could have happend in-between those two documents were published. Unless you you give proof it is as believable as the account that on evening of the establishment act the university board carried Dawkins on their hands through the streets of Oxford, rejoicing in joy, praising his many accomplishments in Gregorian chants. I don't have proof for any of this either. Order 22:31, 15 October 2007 (EDT)
Andy, who would that be? Is this the part where you finally find someone to back you up? No, you're just gonna keep saying it over and over. It's already true to you, you've made it that way in your mind. I asked you again, do you think you're actually convincing anyone? How yould you rate your own credibility with anyone but yourself? --Oppen1 22:41, 15 October 2007 (EDT)
I'm not trying to "convince" anyone. The truth is worthwhile regardless of whether anyone else chooses to accept it. If it makes you sleep better at night believing that Dawkins is somehow the Simonyi Professor, then goody for you. Realize, however, that those who care about the truth are likely reach a different conclusion based on the express requirements of the Simonyi Professor and what Dawkins has failed to achieve.--Aschlafly 23:27, 15 October 2007 (EDT)
I've already stated, Dawkins is irrelevant, and do you not also care about your credibility? You are passed the point where you feel you need to justify your state of mind, and instead just state what you feel is "fact." I'm confident anyone reading this discussion and analyzing the facts (not "facts") will come to a conclusion different that yours. Your own justification for continuing to believe what you want to believe only hurts yourself. --Oppen1 00:08, 16 October 2007 (EDT)
Andy, whatever. We are all entitled to our own opinions, but not our own facts. The fact is Richard Dawkins, whether you like it or not, is a professor. Your continued denials of the obvious have made yourself and Conservapedia look foolish.--McIntyre 23:59, 15 October 2007 (EDT)
Folks, your namecalling and frequent use of words like "foolish" and "hurts yourself" is getting tiresome, even for a talk page. Post something substantive here, or be silly somewhere else. Thanks.--Aschlafly 00:16, 16 October 2007 (EDT)
I'm sincerely interested in how you view your own credibility. --Oppen1 00:22, 16 October 2007 (EDT)
As pointed out, ad nauseum, you have been presented with proof after proof. To my knowledge, no one has called you names, at least not in this discussion. The piont is, why do presist in stating that Dawkins is not a professor? And please, do not say it has not been proven, because it has been, over and over.--McIntyre 00:50, 16 October 2007 (EDT)
Feebasfactor has given has given substantive summary, with documents to back every point up. You keep repeating that Dawkins failed to meet the criteria. This is your own assesment, however, and you are not only not the instance that had to decide on it, you failed in addition to give any evidence that justifies your assement. The distinction committee, who was entitled to decide, and which had all relevant documents, disagrees with you, and the evidence that they did is their announcement. You have been asked repeatedly for evidence that the decision of this committee is fraudulent. You are blaming them for an unlawful act, and you should have evidence for such an accusation. Order 01:00, 16 October 2007 (EDT)
Feebasfactor's work was impressive, but left out key points like this: "Leading universities do not permit the 'buying' of a professorship for someone." That is indisputable, and Dawkins' bypass of this rule is an embarrassment to the academic community. That is true to an even greater extent if you insist that Dawkins holds a "professorship" bought by Simonyi.--Aschlafly 18:27, 16 October 2007 (EDT)
Endowment is fairly common in Anglo-Saxon Universities. What you need to prove is that someone did bend the rules. If you had proof, you'd have a scoop. But you haven't. Order 19:42, 16 October 2007 (EDT)
Endowments are common. Buying a professorship for an individual are not. I can't think of another example. Can you? I can see what's wrong with buying someone a professorship. What's next, "Oxford Professor Al Gore"???--Aschlafly 19:58, 16 October 2007 (EDT)
Pointing to Gore doesn't help you with the lack of evidence with regard to the Distinction Committee given Dawkins the title. You have been asked to give proof for the latter allegation. Asking for proof yourself for something else doesn't do it. Order 20:11, 16 October 2007 (EDT)
In other words, User:Order, you won't admit that is objectionable for someone to buy a professorship for someone else. If Simonyi's purchase of a professorship for Richard Dawkins is fine with you, then you should be fine with someone else buying an Oxford Professorship for Al Gore. But you won't admit that, will you?--Aschlafly 20:18, 16 October 2007 (EDT)
Purchasing a title which would entail breaking the rules the Oxford is not only questionable, it is probably also illegal. Therefore, I asked you to come up with proof. If you best argument is to bring in the name of Gore then your other arguments must be poor. It is kind of an admission that you do not have proof. 04:07, 17 October 2007 (EDT)
The Simonyi professorship has defined goals and criteria [2] [3] that were approved by university act [4]. You're comparing Oxford to a mail order diploma mill. You have not demonstrated that your criticism of the endowment is shared by anyone. You've been asked for a simple reference to prove that this elaborate fantasy exists anywhere but your head. --Oppen1 20:40, 16 October 2007 (EDT)

I apologize for leaving out the phrase "Leading universities do not permit the 'buying' of a professorship for someone." Perhaps I should have just instead asked for a source, or reworded to a less assertive or ambiguous stance. However, I'm not entirely clear on why this point is "indisputable"; what, for example, constitutes "leading universities"? Is their policy consistent? What reason do I have to think so? If a source can be found to substantiate this claim, excellent, but otherwise it has little value in its current state. Feebasfactor 23:24, 16 October 2007 (EDT)

Feebasfactor, that's the most amazing part of this whole debate. The Richard Dawkins fan club sees nothing wrong or unusual about buying a professorship!!! Can you believe it? Do you think the reaction would be the same if, for example, someone bought an Oxford Professorship for Michael Behe or Jonathan Wells? The howls of protest by the same folks who defend a purchase of a professorship for Richard Dawkins would be enormous. Surely we can agree about that.--Aschlafly 23:31, 16 October 2007 (EDT)
Andy, you imply that the "buying" of the title was illegal and in contrast with the established rules of leading universities as Oxford. Just because you call it "buying", doesn't mean that it was "buying", you will have to give proof. Otherwise it is a simple endowment. You are still failing to bring proof, instead you try to steer the discussion onto all kinds of tangents. Order 04:12, 17 October 2007 (EDT)
Order, don't duck the central issue. Would you say that the donation of a professorship at Oxford University for Jonathan Wells would be fine??? Look at how you use one standard for the evolutionist, but a very different standard for the proponent of intelligent design. When you can look at your contradiction objectively, then you will have taken a step toward your freedom.--Aschlafly 17:34, 19 October 2007 (EDT)
The central issue isn't Jonathan Wells. And it is neither the concept of endowed or named professorship. I have little problems with either of them. The central issue is your claim that Dawkins title isn't legit. You are implying bribe on the side of Simonyi and Dawkins, and violation of its statues by the University of Oxford. You have failed to give proof for either of these allegations. I can understand that you want to change the subject to Jonathan Wells - I don't even know him - since you failed on the subject Dawkins. Order 20:18, 19 October 2007 (EDT)
Well, I am not surprised, having debated Andy Schlafly before, I can attest that changing the subject is his standard tactic, as seen here. [5]--McIntyre 20:40, 19 October 2007 (EDT)

Well... Wouldn't it be fine? Would there actually be anything wrong with that? Ultimately it's up to the University of Oxford to handle such matters as they see fit. If it was deemed appropriate for a proponent of intelligent design, like Michael Behe or Jonathan Wells, to receive an endowment or to have a professorship donated or "bought" for them or whatever - then, well, what grounds does anyone else have to object? I apologize, I suppose I'm probably "missing the point" again, but I just don't see what's so wrong or unusual about it. I still don't know which are the leading universities that "do not permit the "buying" of a professorship for someone". Feebasfactor 18:36, 19 October 2007 (EDT)

Setting aside the issue of whether or not Dawkins assist the understanding of science by the public, I would be interested in knowing if there ever was a case where an endowment largely involved the hiring of one individual for a university or college. If so, was it a modern case? Conservative 22:14, 20 October 2007 (EDT)
Isn't that what an endowed chair or professorship generally consists of? Or did you mean something more specific? I was under the impression that those happen fairly frequently - but in any case, I don't really know either. On that note I'd like to ask about the "leading universities" again, as I'm still working on a possible rewrite of the "professorship controversy" section. However, I don't what to pester and the discussion has unfortunately gone off on somewhat of a tangent... Feebasfactor 00:13, 21 October 2007 (EDT)
No, an endowed chair is named in honor of someone, usually deceased. Leading universities never allow the donor to buy a professorship (recipient of the income) for someone who was not already a professor. Just suggest the idea of buying a professorship to someone who is a real professor and he is likely to recoil in disgust. Surely you don't think money should be able to buy that.--Aschlafly 00:24, 21 October 2007 (EDT)

Current article

IMVHO, the recent edits (by Conservative, I think) are much better. Still a bit of ad hominem in there but countering his views and writings is a much stronger position than the professorship issue, which is a distraction. Congrats. Ajkgordon 10:19, 16 October 2007 (EDT)

New section

Andy, maybe it would help others here if you clarified your position again. Your reply to FeebasFactor above suggests that you accept that Dawkins is a professor, but that he obtained his professorship through bribery, cronyism, fraud, favoritism, or some combination of those factors. Is that a more or less correct description of your stance?--Bayes 00:21, 21 October 2007 (EDT)

No, it's not correct. I'm merely pointing out that those who insist that a professorship really was purchased for Dawkins are making him look even less credible.--Aschlafly 00:24, 21 October 2007 (EDT)
So, all you have is problem with endowed professorships in general? Or can you be a bit more specific of what you are accusing Dawkins of, if not bribery, cronyism, fraud, or favoritism. I am currently browsing through the gazette of another leading university, and I already found one of you claims to be wrong (the one about endowments being named in honour of a dead person; it happens, but not exclusively). But I'd like to know what you are looking for. Order 00:40, 21 October 2007 (EDT)
The Distinction Committee at Oxford, as well as other documents related to Oxford, refer to him as a professor. If there were no mistakes or underhanded activities involved, is Dawkins not a professor? My point is that there are only a few possibilities:
  • Dawkins is a professor
  • Oxford, along with a number of other organizations listed on this page, is lying
  • Oxford, along with a number of other organizations listed on this page, has been defrauded through one of the means I mentioned above.
Which is it?--Bayes 00:48, 21 October 2007 (EDT)

A leading Intelligent Design Organization wants to promote this article

A leader of one of the top 5 intelligent design organizations said he wants to promote the conservapedia Richard Dawkins article until it has 1,000,000 views. In addition, a intelligent design advocate is going to ask a investigative journalist to investigate the situation in respect to the peer review process that Andy has been mentioning in respect to Dawkins current position.

I am guessing with the overspill into the evolution, intelligent design, atheism and other articles Conservapedia might be able to get way more than 1,000,000 views. I am hoping for 5 to 7 million views. I can also contact the press and I am guessing other conservative websites would promote this as well. Recently, Conservapedia got 60,000 views because one conservative organization linked to us and promoted us in relation to our homosexuality article. An even bigger organization says it also wants to promote our homosexuality article via a joint effort once I complete an article I am working on.

I am going to abridge the Richard Dawkins current article until the investigative journalist looks into the aforementioned matter above. Conservative 16:15, 21 October 2007 (EDT)

By the way, I have contacted Andy about the leader in the intelligent design organization promoting this article and also told him about the investigative journalist. Conservative 16:20, 21 October 2007 (EDT)

Great, we'll notify Oxford legal counsel.-Feiner 16:58, 21 October 2007 (EDT)

Contact Oxford about what? The matter is merely being investigated and there is currently no mention of the matter in the current article. Conservative 17:01, 21 October 2007 (EDT)

Wait, isn't it still there? Has the article been changed? I didn't think a clear consensus had been reached regarding this matter, so what sort of changes could've permissably been made? Sorry, I've been trying to follow and understand this article and its talk page, in the hope of maybe clearing up the issues and reaching an agreement on how to better word the article without compromising its points - but the changes as of late have been very confusing. Feebasfactor 20:38, 21 October 2007 (EDT)

Liberal

I notice that Dawkins is now described as a liberal in the opening para. While his views on religion and evolution can be interpreted as liberal by the religious right, is there anything else that would mark him out as a liberal? I'm just thinking about Christopher Hitchens who shares his views on those two subjects but is difficult to describe as a liberal because of his support for the war in Iraq. Indeed he is even described as a neocon on this site. Ajkgordon 13:06, 23 October 2007 (EDT)


  • Yes, something was sneaked in without any discussion, I see. Therefore I have removed the category, unfounded and liberal designation also unsupported, as not all Atheists are "liberals". Since his views are extreme, as opposed to the world at large, I put him in that category. --şŷŝoρ-₮K/Ṣρёаќǃ 17:25, 23 October 2007 (EDT)

Yes Dawkins is a liberal. I've listened to several speeches and he is supportive of the homosexual agenda, is opposed to George W. Bush and is hostile to religion. --Konservativekanadian 17:40, 23 October 2007 (EDT)

Dawkins was opposed to the war in Iraq --Konservativekanadian 17:41, 23 October 2007 (EDT)

Is that your definition of liberal? If so, is that also most Conservapedians' definition of liberal? Ajkgordon 17:43, 23 October 2007 (EDT)

I think if someone is in favour of censoring prayer in the classroom, is a environmentalists, is anti-Bush, anti-religion, and is a pacifist that it would qualify them as liberal --Konservativekanadian 17:46, 23 October 2007 (EDT)

  • See your talk page, Konservativekanadian. We may both be conservatives, but that doesn't earn you a free ride. I am sure you knew what you were doing, adding the designator and category, and I wasn't amused to have it pointed out. After discussion, fine to add it back. --şŷŝoρ-₮K/Ṣρёаќǃ 17:49, 23 October 2007 (EDT)
Uh-huh. As Christopher Hitchens meets most of those criteria and more except the last one, is he a liberal too? Ajkgordon 17:52, 23 October 2007 (EDT)
  • I keep hearing that same tired old refrain (mainly from Euro's and leftists), Ajkgordon. However, Iraq isn't the only NeoCon position Hitchens' takes. Perhaps you are getting all your information from the same tired left-wing sites? I have attended several dozen events with him as the main speaker, both in the United States and the U.K. I can assure you he isn't a liberal in the classic United States way. --şŷŝoρ-₮K/Ṣρёаќǃ 18:02, 23 October 2007 (EDT)
LOL, you're too suspicious, TK! I was just interested in knowing why Dawkins is classified a liberal and checking that this is correct from a conservative view. As you know, the term liberal means different things on different sides of the Atlantic and I was interested to see how Dawkins qualifies from the US perspective. I know Hitchens is a neocon (self-described) and as such is likely to have either been a liberal or retain many liberal traits. Ajkgordon 13:41, 24 October 2007 (EDT)

Dawkins is a liberal. I have a source that explains it. I will get more as well [6]. --Konservativekanadian 17:26, 24 October 2007 (EDT)

Pro-homosexual article from Dawkins website [7] --Konservativekanadian 18:07, 24 October 2007 (EDT)

Dawkins also supports global warming conspiracies [8] --Konservativekanadian 18:16, 24 October 2007 (EDT)

Maybe I'm missing something here, Konservativekanadian, but again how does being anti-religion, anti-Bush, non-homophobic/non-anti-homosexual, and pro-MMGW make Dawkins a liberal? I understand that many other liberals share those views but surely there's a lot more to it than that?
I don't have a problem if Dawkins is a liberal or not, but I have a problem with accuracy. If he is liberal (at least in the pejorative sense you almost certainly mean), then I suggest more reasons than the few you've mentioned, such as examples and cites of Dawkins supporting, among other things, universal healthcare (which, as a Brit, he probably does), welfare, redistribution of wealth, pacifism (not inc. Iraq), tax-funded abortion, gun control, pornography, and universal education. Or, of course, his own admission that he is a liberal in the Conservapedia sense.
Hope that helps. Ajkgordon 08:33, 25 October 2007 (EDT)
  • Perhaps we should say Liberal in the U.S. political sense of that word would be better, and less hating on CP, eh? --şŷŝoρ-₮K/Ṣρёаќǃ 08:38, 25 October 2007 (EDT)
I'm sorry, TK, but you'll have to be tolerant of me - I don't know what that means. I've been up all night! Ajkgordon 09:07, 25 October 2007 (EDT)
No! Send me coffee!! Ajkgordon 09:14, 25 October 2007 (EDT)
  • Ha! GO TO BED! Maybe I need to start taking block requests from users who need a break.....--şŷŝoρ-₮K/Ṣρёаќǃ 09:15, 25 October 2007 (EDT)
Yes, Mommy! (I wish I could. Clients, eh? Can't live with 'em, can't bury them in the backyard.)
Actually, Konservativekanadian obviously means the derogatory term as defined by this site. Personally I hate that term. But if that's what he means Dawkins is, then I think he should come up with more examples of why rather than just the few that even some conservatives share. Of course, it's just more ad hom and doesn't help in the case against Dawkins' views. Ajkgordon 09:21, 25 October 2007 (EDT)

I'm pretty sure he does support universal healthcare. I know he is a pacifist and is pro-environment. He is also supportive of abortion. I'm not sure about the healthcare 100% but because he lives in the UK, its likely he does. He does lean left on many other issues. I'll find more sources. --Konservativekanadian 09:59, 25 October 2007 (EDT)

A letter to Dawkins from another atheist criticizing Dawkins' liberal views. Dawkins breaks with some liberals and does criticize Islamic fundamentalism (although some liberals do criticize it as authoritarian and violent) but Dawkins equally criticizes Israel and America. The atheist criticizing Dawkins says he should support Bush because Christians are much more tolerant of gays and atheists than Muslims are [9] --Konservativekanadian 10:07, 25 October 2007 (EDT)

Thinking about it, the universal healthcare thing is probably irrelevant as almost every Brit would support it, even the most conservative. If the Conservative Party proposed replacing the NHS with a private US-style insurance-based system (not that it would), they wouldn't stand a chance at election. Just a case of habit, I guess. Ajkgordon 10:22, 25 October 2007 (EDT)

File:Deadhorse.gif
--şŷŝoρ-₮K/Ṣρёаќǃ 14:52, 25 October 2007 (EDT)

It's not dead. It's resting! Ajkgordon 15:19, 25 October 2007 (EDT)

File:Frustrated2.gif

I think he should be labeled as a liberal, certainly Dawkins is more liberal than Fred Phelps --Konservativekanadian 16:07, 25 October 2007 (EDT)
‎ I believe there is now sufficient evidence to change Dawkins view to liberal and to include him as a liberal activist. --Konservativekanadian 16:14, 25 October 2007 (EDT)

Reaction to Dawkins' views within the academic community

Please would a sysop have a glance at this and consider it for inclusion in the locked article. Thanks.
(TK, I apologise that you will have received this by email as well but even the talk pages were locked earlier. Please ignore, delete, curse, stick pins in as you see fit).


While Dawkins is respected by many within the scientific and academic community, there are some who are uncomfortable with his attacks on religion. One such example is Martin Rees, the Astronomer Royal and President of the Royal Society. In a debate in May 2007 between Rees and Dawkins, Rees said that science needed as many friends as possible and that creating enemies within mainstream religion will make it "more difficult to combat the kinds of anti-science sentiments that are really important". He also argued that it will make it more difficult to fight terrorism. Dawkins' counter-argument was that being nice to bishops helps to foster the view that faith is virtuous and can excuse any act on its behalf. Rees continued to argue that religion has no monopoly on being unreasonable citing examples of scientific sects such as the Raelians or extreme eco-groups as being as dangerous as religious fundamentalists.[1]

Robert Winston, a British doctor, biologist, science populariser, television presenter and friend of Dawkins has gone further. He has claimed that Dawkins' militant atheism and contempt for religion has brought science into disrepute.[10] Among theologians there are many critics, a notable example being Alister McGrath, Professor of Historical Theology at the University of Oxford. He has accused Dawkins of being ignorant of theology and has written a book challenging Dawkins' anti-religious stance, The Dawkins Delusion. Even among biology colleagues, there are critics. While Ken Miller, a biology professor, doesn't challenge Dawkins' views on evolution, he does take issue with his insistence that religion and science are incompatible.[2]

For himself, Dawkins claims bafflement that some scientists he respects are capable of religious faith.[3][4]

  1. Guardian story of Martin Rees and Richard Dawkins debate|http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2007/may/29/controversiesinscience.peopleinscience
  2. Discover's article on Darwin's Rottweiler|http://discovermagazine.com/2005/sep/darwins-rottweiler/article_view?b_start:int=1&-C=
  3. Richard Dawkins, 2006. The God Delusion
  4. The Humanist article Is Science A Religion?|http://www.thehumanist.org/humanist/articles/dawkins.html

Ajkgordon 13:48, 24 October 2007 (EDT)

Ah, the refs don't work on talk pages. But the code in the edit feature should work if c&p'd directly into the article. Ajkgordon 13:52, 24 October 2007 (EDT)

Fixed the ref's for you. --Colest 15:20, 24 October 2007 (EDT)
Thanks. Colest. Any sysops who wants to use my text in the article, please remove the line < references/> at the end. Thanks. Ajkgordon 16:05, 24 October 2007 (EDT)
  • Editing is turned off for all except a special user list, roughly between 1:00AM and 6:00 AM East Coast (US) time. Nothing was specifically locked here. I would have thought by now everyone would know that. --şŷŝoρ-₮K/Ṣρёаќǃ 18:09, 24 October 2007 (EDT)
Yes, I know about the night lock down. But I was unable to edit anything including talk pages until about 13:30 (EDT) yesterday. Ajkgordon 08:16, 25 October 2007 (EDT)

This article is now the top ranked truthful Dawkins article on the internet

If memory serves, this article used to be ranked #92 by Google about 7-10 days ago. Now it is ranked #33 by Google as can be seen here. It appears as if the next anti-Dawkins article is ranked #133 by Google and can be found here Now while I disagree with some of the Richard Dawkins article, I did add a lot of content to this article and I know there has been some interest in this article, so I thought I would let people know the article is climbing in the search engine rankings.Conservative 16:48, 25 October 2007 (EDT)

/pats Conservative on the back. Keep being so awesome, bro. --Colest 17:03, 25 October 2007 (EDT)
  • And here I thought we strive for accuracy, not "anti". Perhaps you just used the wrong verbiage? Because as it stands now, with the restoration of what Andy added, and the work of Ajkgordon, among others, we do have a accurate article, sans the hyperbole. So I would say it is wrong to say the article is "anti Dawkins". --şŷŝoρ-₮K/Ṣρёаќǃ 17:15, 25 October 2007 (EDT)
TK, are accuracy and having negative material about a person mutually exclusive? If so, why? With that being said, while Andy and I disagree regarding the articles content in terms of the articles' initial section in terms of accuracy, I don't think that accuracy and negative material about someone are necessarily mutually exclusive concepts. It is my hope the intial section be abridged, however. Conservative 17:59, 25 October 2007 (EDT)
  • Conservative, this isn't one of your blogs. It is unskilled and unprofessional to tout "negative" on an encyclopedia, as they should strive for accuracy, not proclaim negative articles about a person or thing. --şŷŝoρ-₮K/Ṣρёаќǃ 18:38, 25 October 2007 (EDT)
TK, considering that without the conservapedia article on Dawkins the only article that does not largely tout Dawkins is found at the 133 position of Google, I do think given Dawkins prominent critics that there is room for a article which has some legitimate criticism of Dawkins (as I said earlier though I do think the introduction should be abridged as I do not agree with the present introduction). I would also state that you did not show why negative and accurate are necessarily mutually exclusive. Conservative 18:46, 25 October 2007 (EDT)
  • ~Sigh~.

--şŷŝoρ-₮K/Ṣρёаќǃ 20:18, 25 October 2007 (EDT)

I can't agree that this is an accurate article or one free of hyperbole. The criticism of Dawkins' professorship issue is agenda-based - no other prominent source doubts his title - and even if some very select snippets of information on here might, just might cast the tiniest amount of doubt on the authenticity of his title, they are presented in such a way which is both exaggerated and misleading.
Now, of course, no-one expects Conservapedia to be NPOV - that's accepted. But this issue on his professorship remains totally out of the bounds of reality when it doesn't include disclaimers such as "while Oxford University, other academics and the mainstream media all recognise Dawkins' professorship, there is some doubt as to the manner in which he obtained the title..." for example. Wouldn't that be more reasonable?
Even my meagre contribution couldn't have said anything about his popularity, e.g. his books' bestseller status, his influence in the media, his reputation among his peers, etc. Indeed the few phrases I did include that tried to add some balance were automatically removed by Aschlafly before the item was edited in.
Of course, I wouldn't expect any Dawkins article on here to be neutral - he's a fairly aggressive opposer of religion, a promoter of evolution and quite possibly a liberal to boot.
But even the most strident religious right conservative can see that this article is a liability to Conservapedia. In that respect, I fear, Conservative's push to other websites may even do more harm than good - that this article may end up being ridiculed and held up as an example of Conservapedia even among religious conservatives.
If you want to see balance, just as a yardstick, you might want to review these two videos here and here. Both pro- and anti-Dawkins people can feel that their side won but they are carried out in a mutually respectful, considered and professional manner with no shrill ad hominen attacks or accusations of dishonesty or fraud. (Remember that, as they are British people, use of the words "liberal", "conservative" and "fundamentalist" have different meanings to the ones most usually accepted here).
There, I said it. Should I get my coat? Ajkgordon 09:55, 26 October 2007 (EDT)
When someone asserts that he is an expert, as in the case of someone who claims to be an Oxford Professor, then it is fair game to question such claim of expertise. That is quite basic and no one can credibly assert otherwise.
Oxford has spoken in clear terms in defining what the Simonyi professorship is, and how Dawkins merely receives the income from it until someone is promoted to the professorship through a rigorous peer review process.
Finally, no one credibly disputes that a leading universities do not allow a "professorship" to be purchased for a specific individual who had not previously been elevated to the status of professor by peer review.--Aschlafly 12:38, 26 October 2007 (EDT)
Actually, I agree with you more than you think I do, Aschlafly. Questioning claims and authority is part of what makes our enlightened western-style democracy so successful.
But... questioning is not the same as claiming that Dawkins' is a fraud based on a few nuggets of data, many of which are taken out of context. Yes, his professorship is unusual and yes, the manner in which it was created for him is unusual. But all other facts in this case point to his professorship being bona fide as shown by the recognition of his professorship by Oxford University itself.
I know we're going over old ground yet again but I would be much more inclined to take this claim seriously, as would other observers of this site, if there were other credible sources who also dispute Dawkins' claimed professorship. While I know that OR is not frowned upon here, one has to question the motives for it in this case.
For me this is a credibility issue. And I sincerely believe that Conservapedia's credibility will suffer and reduce its effectiveness in publishing the religious right's POV. Ajkgordon 13:34, 26 October 2007 (EDT)
Ajkgordon, your claims of "credibility" are getting tiresome. The loss in credibility is by those who pretend to be something they are not, and especially those who claim a credential that they have not really earned.--Aschlafly 10:05, 27 October 2007 (EDT)
I'm sorry if you find what I have to say tiresome. I would be interested to see another source that raises these issues and doubts Dawkins' credibility and credentials. It should certainly be cited in the article. Ajkgordon 14:35, 28 October 2007 (EDT)
Ajkordon, your last 22 contributions have been talk, talk, talk. That is so far beyond our rules that calling it "tiresome" is an understatement. We welcome substance here, as reflected by the not-generally-available, enlightening information about Richard Dawkins. Are others questioning his claims of authority? It wouldn't surprise me, but I don't know if they are. Others should be. Obviously we don't remove factual information here just because others have not awoken to the same facts yet.--Aschlafly 15:15, 28 October 2007 (EDT)
Well, as most of the articles to which I would have anything to contribute are locked, it's a bit difficult to do anything but talk, isn't it? And when I do contribute to an article like this, I can only do so through your censor. Hardly conducive. But I'll try to contribute until I'm blocked or bored. (I sense the banhammer hovering right now). Ajkgordon 16:33, 28 October 2007 (EDT)

Hi Andy, you have admitted that you read the decision by the distinction committee, so I assume that you are aware of its content. This is a legal document that gives Dawkins the right call himself professor. Bayes asked a week ago which of the following comes closest to your opinion, now that we have this official announcement:

  • Dawkins is a professor
  • Oxford, along with a number of other organizations listed on this page, is lying
  • Oxford, along with a number of other organizations listed on this page, has been defrauded (...).

You still haven't answered to Bayes trilemma. And once we established what you accusation is, you can of course expect me to ask you for proof. Unless you give proof.Order 05:00, 27 October 2007 (EDT)

Your link includes this statement about the appointments, and I can only assume the statement refers to Dawkins: "Please note that in a small number of cases the precise academic subject area in which the title is held is still under discussion. Any changes will be published separately when agreed." However, no subsequent confirmation of Dawkins' peer review was ever published, as far as I can tell. Moreover, I don't think the department referencing Dawkins in that link even had the authority to grant his professorship. So I'm confident that that is not worth the paper it was written on.--Aschlafly 10:05, 27 October 2007 (EDT)
The note doesn't refer exclusively to Dawkins, but to all of the more that 100 people that are mentioned in the document. It could have been any of them. It also says that the "subject" may change. But that wouldn't have invalidated the "professorship". And given that nothing was published on Dawkins, as you admit, it means that his subject didn't even change. But that aside.
I am glad we that you finally told us that you are accusing an official body of the University of Oxford of fraud. You are even claiming that the entire document is a fraud, and as such it might of course also invalidate the titles of any of the more than 100 people mentioned. This means that we can leave the discussion what the accusation exactly is behind us. Thanks. Order 04:21, 28 October 2007 (EDT)

File:Deadhorse.gif

Yes, you keep right on beating that horse, Order. --şŷŝoρ-₮K/Ṣρёаќǃ 06:31, 27 October 2007 (EDT)

I saw it move. Order 07:19, 27 October 2007 (EDT)
Good humor, User:Order. I appreciate that. Thank you.--Aschlafly 10:06, 27 October 2007 (EDT)

Evidence from Oxford and Merriam-Webster

The editors of a website who may not be named have contacted both Oxford University and Merriam-Webster and have received the following responses:

Oxford University has replied saying ....

Dr Dawkins, as he was then, was appointed to the Charles Simonyi Readership and subsequently had the title of Professor conferred in July 1996.

Merriam-Webster has replied saying ....

Since Dr. Dawkins holds two PhDs (in addition to numerous honorary degrees) and teaches at Oxford University, it is appropriate to use the title "professor" for him.

--British_cons (talk) 16:40, 7 November 2007 (EST)

Why would anyone take Oxford University or Merriam-Webster seriously? --MrJohnSmith (talk) 00:43, 8 November 2007 (EST)
Yes, perhaps referring to communications from the two main sources quoted in the article was a mistake. Ah well. --British_cons (talk) 13:32, 8 November 2007 (EST)
Evidence is over-rated. Ajkgordon 13:40, 8 November 2007 (EST)
Yes, sad, but apparently true.  :-( --British_cons (talk) 13:44, 8 November 2007 (EST)

NopityA.gif--şyŝoρ-₮K/Ṣρёаќǃ 14:52, 8 November 2007 (EST)‎

Nero played his fiddle while Rome burned, ya know. --Colest 15:17, 8 November 2007 (EST)
More likely an admission that the facts in the article have been fiddled. .-) --British_cons (talk) 16:17, 8 November 2007 (EST)
Fiddled? Ha! Nonsense. My admiration for Ashlafly grows every day. You people are obsessed with minor detail. He sees the big picture. Why should this conservative site concern itself with the posturings of liberal institutions such as Oxford University and Merriam-Webster. Dawkins is filled with deceit and must be exposed for what he is (and what he definitely is not - a professor). Try to think before you post on this topic again. --MrJohnSmith 16:47, 8 November 2007 (EST)

I know liberals love to cite hearsay when it is in their favor, but they are now claiming that an employee of Merriam-Webster can confirm that Dawkins is real professor??? That's a bit much, to say the least.--Aschlafly 18:23, 8 November 2007 (EST)

I agree. It's all just hearsay from liberals. If you want to cite that stuff you should get the people from Oxford and Merriam-Webster to come here and tell us for themselves. Otherwise, why should we pay any attention to your hearsay? Liberals love hearsay. --MrJohnSmith 22:08, 8 November 2007 (EST)
I suspect that you're a parodist. In fact, there used to be a [John Smith] on the site who was a troublemaker. SSchultz 22:55, 8 November 2007 (EST)
I suspect that Mr Schlafly doesn't understand the concept of hearsay. Strange for a lawyer. --MrsJohnSmith 07:45, 9 November 2007 (EST)
"MrsJohnSmith"? Jallen 07:47, 9 November 2007 (EST)
Yes. You may have noticed my husband posting here recently. --MrsJohnSmith 07:49, 9 November 2007 (EST)
Oh, and while I think of it, I should point out that your Mr. Schlafly really is making a wee bit of a laughing stock of himself on this page. Love him to death but he really is starting to look a tad foolish with his insistence on libeling a distinguished academic for what appear to be rather transparent, self serving reasons supported by absolutely no evidence. Again, strange. You would think a lawyer would understand evidence. I hope his clients don't see this site. --MrsJohnSmith 08:11, 9 November 2007 (EST)

Well, Mr Aschlafly, you quoted Merriam-Webster in an attempt to prove he is NOT a professor. I wrote to them to ask if their on-line definitions could be used to make this point. They replied to say it could not. You are the person using their definition (presumably written by one of their employees) to make your case he is not a professor. Now you dismiss their response apparently because Merriam-Webster are not the proper people to define their own dictionary. I must say that I have difficulty in believing you are serious.--British_cons (talk) 08:30, 9 November 2007 (EST)

British_cons, your reliance on hearsay is so unreliable that it's silly. You're more likely to fool folks over at Wikipedia with your argument. Godspeed to you in your efforts.--Aschlafly 20:43, 9 November 2007 (EST)

Um, I'm not wholly up to date with this discussion, but if Oxford University says that Dawkins is a professor doesn't that mean that he is a professor? I mean we can't really argue against the institution itself, right? TheGuy 19:58, 9 November 2007 (EST)

User:TheGuy, the content page here is clear that what Dawkins claims is a professorship "is actually described by Oxford as a 'post' during which Dawkins enjoys the income pursuant to the donor's intent." The links on the content page direct the reader to the original source backing this up. The only surprise on the talk page is that Dawkins' supporters feign surprise that he was never promoted by peer review to the Simonyi professorship. Godspeed.--Aschlafly 20:43, 9 November 2007 (EST)
With respect I was considering the alleged email from Oxford that stated that Dawkins was a professor, because really if the accredited institution that has the post believes that he is a professor then there is nothing that we can really do to argue, even if it disagrees with the dictionary definition (which in this case the editors seem to support the stance that Dawkins is who he says he is). Perhaps we could email Oxford university and try to clarify their position on the professorship as to settle this issue once and for all TheGuy 20:57, 9 November 2007 (EST)
TheGuy, liberals love hearsay but we aren't fooled by it. Does the alleged email even exist? If it does exist, then what does it say in full? Was the person who wrote it lying, or guessing, or playing games, or acting in a self-serving manner? What was the authority of who wrote it? Judges laugh at such hearsay, and so do we.--Aschlafly 21:05, 9 November 2007 (EST)
Absolutely, there is no evidence that any such email exists, which is why we as Conservapedia should email an official at Oxford to clarify their position. That way we have definitive evidence for the article that we can produce if anyone tries to attack us with falsities or hearsay. TheGuy 21:11, 9 November 2007 (EST)
Oxford University has already told us, and the content page explains it with the cite to the appropriate explanation by Oxford. A secretary at Oxford, or even a real professor, lacks authority to claim otherwise.--Aschlafly 21:23, 9 November 2007 (EST)
Please see below. In short it's no real effort to email the uni and it will provide us with unprecedented and undeniable support for the article provided we ensure we get the official view TheGuy 22:03, 9 November 2007 (EST)

Proposal to Email Oxford

There has been a lot of debate as to whether Dawkins holds a true professorship or whether his position is merely a post. It seems that even though this has been raging for a few months nobody has tried to contact officials at Oxford university to try to clarify their position. As such I am proposing that we do that, resulting in two major benefits:

  • It will end the dispute once and for all, both sides have been citing various documents from Oxford and an official response from the university would clarify their position and allow editors to focus on more rewarding exercises
  • Other sites have apparantly been alleging that they have emails from Oxford, and this hearsay only serves to undermine our integrity. If we had definite proof from Oxford to support our article then we would not only boost its credibility and support our claims but also provide a means to refute those who use falsities to attack us

The methedology I am proposing is as such:

  1. We determine who we email. It needs to be an official who can speak on behalf of the university, as such I am guessing a senior member of facualty
  2. We draft an email, something short and concise which asks the question and a brief summary of our positions (ie one side believes Dawkins holds a post, the other believes he is a professor). We will state that we want the official view of the university, not an individual opinion
  3. Andy, as the leader of Conservapedia, sends the email but carbon copies it to all involved. That way we can ask them to reply to all and avoid any allegations of hearsay from liberals
  4. We receive the reply. If it is not forthcoming after a period of time we could consider emailing another member of the university

This whole process may seem lengthy, but it shouldn't take much time at all, and when you consider the time wasted on writing lengthy arguments and finding sources it pales in comparison. Hopefully we will be able to gain the evidence we need and embed it into the article as to support and add unprecedented credibility to the claims made. TheGuy 22:03, 9 November 2007 (EST)

I'm open to asking someone with authority at Oxford several specific questions. But I'm not optimistic that this process will add any information to what Oxford has already very clearly stated and is accurately repeated and substantiated in the content page here. The only ones who seriously object to the truth here are those who promote Dawkins' ideology in one way or another.--Aschlafly 22:10, 9 November 2007 (EST)
LOL! Brilliant! Ajkgordon 10:50, 10 November 2007 (EST)
Very clearly stated? I thought that what we had ascertained, based on all the evidence and documents presented, is that there is a lack of documentation confirming Dawkin's ascent to professorship (i.e. he might not be a professor, there is nothing straightforward to say he is). If we could contact someone with authority to determine whether or not such documentation exists, that would certainly seem likely to clear up matters here (however, it wouldn't change the fact that Dawkin's professorship has been purchased for his benefit). Feebasfactor 11:06, 10 November 2007 (EST)
Well, I sent my e-mail to the press office at the University's web site and got the reply in a couple of weeks from: information.officer@admin.ox.ac.uk Would you like to know the email address of Merriam-Webster so that you can confirm that as well? I'm sure that you will get the same answers. --British_cons (talk) 12:24, 10 November 2007 (EST)
In other words, you don't even know who wrote the response email. Most likely it was simply a low-level clerk who lacked any authority or understanding of the issue.
But this discussion has made me think of one way to get an answer: email Dawkins and ask him to post or email a copy of the official letter that appointed him to his post. Even though Dawkins has responded to the discussion here before, I bet he won't post or email that letter because I expect it confirms he holds only a post, not a professorship. If he is unwilling to post his official appointment letter, then that would be confirmation.--Aschlafly 12:46, 10 November 2007 (EST)
British_cons, are you one of "The editors of a website who may not be named" or am I misunderstanding? Leopeo 12:55, 10 November 2007 (EST)

Mr Aschlafly: So you now accept that the email exists? And now you have to argue the the person who sent the email was not qualified to do so. Presumably you also feel that the person who wrote the email on behalf of Merriam-Webster was also not qualified to do so? User Lepedo: I contribute to many sites.--British_cons (talk) 13:15, 10 November 2007 (EST)

British_cons, I have no proof that the email exists. Regardless, the email does not represent anyone with the required authority.
Just tell Richard Dawkins to post his official letter awarding him the post. I can't wait to hear the excuses about why he can't do that.--Aschlafly 19:33, 10 November 2007 (EST)

Mr Schlafly: If I understand your increasingly kafkaesque position correctly, you are suggesting that the two emails from Oxford Merriam-Webster confirming Professor Dawkins is a professor either:

  • a)Do not exist, or
  • b)If they do exist, then the people who are paid to answer such questions on behalf of Oxford and Merriam-Webster do not, in fact, have the authority to respond on behalf of these institutions.

As far as Oxford is concerned I asked and received a reply from this address "information.officer@admin.ox.ac.uk" it can be found at the Oxford University website here: http://www.ox.ac.uk/public_affairs/press/index.html . The email from Merriam-Webster came from "kstamper@Merriam-Webster.com" after I made a query at their website http://www.merriam-webster.com/info/contact.htm . As you will not accept anyone’s word for it, the suggestion has been made that you email these people personally and post their answers here. That would improve your credibility enormously. Why don't you do it?--British_cons (talk) 09:00, 11 November 2007 (EST)

British_cons, learn why hearsay like what you suggest above is excluded from court proceedings. I'll try to improve the hearsay explanation so that you can understand the concept better.
In the meantime, since you're so good at using email, you can email Richard Dawkins and ask him to post his letter of appointment to the position. I look forward to hearing excuses as to why that will not happen.--Aschlafly 09:49, 11 November 2007 (EST)
I’m not quite sure what the legal concept of hearsay has to do with whether or not you are going to email the entities I have mentioned. Might I suggest that other readers email them and post their responses here? And you still haven’t answered the question: Why don’t you do it?--British_cons (talk) 11:29, 11 November 2007 (EST)
The legal concept of hearsay states that secondary or tertiary sources shouldn't be admitted into a court of law, unless particular indicia of their trustworthiness are presented. I think Andy's arguing that your Merriam Webster letter is hearsay. If you posted the full letter, it might work better, but also, don't you think that a dictionary is less than authoritative on an issue of academic integrity? Just wanted to help by clearing this up, I don't want to get involved in this debate other than that :-)-MexMax 11:39, 11 November 2007 (EST)
I fully agree that using a dictionary to attempt to prove the point is a bit strange. Weird in fact. I only make the point because the article states:"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." So - to verity the claim in the article - I wrote to Merriam-Webster to ask if that is what their definition meant. They told me it was a selective quote. I encourage all to write to them as ask the same question.--British_cons (talk) 12:39, 11 November 2007 (EST)

British_cons, your refusal to ask Dawkins himself, who has meaningful evidence in the form of his appointment letter, places you in no position to demand that others seek unreliable evidence in the form of an uninformed clerk's opinion at Oxford. When you first explain why you won't ask Dawkins for proof in the form of his appointment letter, then perhaps your request for hearsay can be addressed further. Godspeed.

Thanks for your good points, MexMax!--Aschlafly 11:41, 11 November 2007 (EST)

I can't get away from the impression that you are trying to change the subject. Your two main sources are Oxford and Merriam-Webster. They have both written to say that Dawkins is a professor. Rather than address that point you want to talk about what might happen if an email were sent to somebody else. Why don't you want to confirm the information from your two main sources? It's very easy.--British_cons (talk) 12:44, 11 November 2007 (EST)
British_cons, you suffer from last wordism. You're not saying anything new and you are not responding to the more important point. Our rules require contributions of a substantive nature, not silly reliance on last wordism. Godspeed.

So which of us suffering from last wordism I wonder? :-) At any rate it is clear that you do not have any intention of taking the simple step of contacting the individuals who you use to make your case, and who have explicitly stated that you are wrong. You do not even say why you won't do it - athough the implication is clear. Anyway, I shall say no more on this matter as your position (or rather a lack of one) has been made amply clear. I would however encourage any interested parties to take the same simple steps as I have taken to confirm the position with the relevant parties - and then post their responses here. And with that, Mr Schlafly, I leave you to practice last wordism. Godspeed.--British_cons (talk) 15:08, 11 November 2007 (EST)

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