Heroes: Richard Dawkins Named One of TIME’s “100”

10May07

Richard Dawkins
Richard Dawkins

Sitting at #73 in the TIME Magazine 100 (“the 100 men and women whose power, talent or moral example is transforming the world”) is one of my heroes, Richard Dawkins. Brilliant, fearless, erudite, articulate, impassioned, clever, polite, charming and very, very funny, Dawkins is a writer of remarkable clarity and a noble crusader for truth over myth.

His The God Delusion is a must-read for anyone questioning the utility of religion in the world. His Channel 4 documentary Root of All Evil? (which was the, er, genesis of Delusion) is a shockingly lucid examination of the consequences of unchallenged, antiscientific dogma. Also? Methamphetamine-addled cocksucker Ted Haggard makes a fool out of himself. (No surprise there.)

Here’s what writer Michael Behe has to say about Dawkins in the TIME article:

Of Richard Dawkins’ nine books, none caused as much controversy or sold as well as last year’s The God Delusion. The central idea—popular among readers and deeply unsettling among proponents of intelligent design like myself—is that religion is a so-called virus of the mind, a simple artifact of cultural evolution, no more or less meaningful than eye color or height.

It is a measure of the artful way Dawkins, 66, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Oxford, tells a tale and the rigor he brings to his thinking that even those of us who profoundly disagree with what he has to say can tip our hats to the way he has invigorated the larger debate.

Dawkins had a mild Anglican youth but at 16 discovered Charles Darwin and believed he’d found a pearl of great price. I believe his new book follows much less from his data than from his premises, and yet I admire his determination. Concerning the big questions, the Bible advises us to be hot or cold but not lukewarm. Whatever the merit of his ideas, Richard Dawkins is not lukewarm.

Kind of odd, though, that a bitter opponent would be called upon to remark on one of the “100”, since none of the other profilers appears to stand in stark philosophical contrast to their subject. Indeed, it was “intelligent design” cheerleader Michael Behe whose nonsensical and scientifically-bankrupt testimony was largely responsible for the stunning defeat of creationism in the Kitzmiller v. Dover Public Schools court challenge.

The smugly condescending “I admire his determination” is not just kind of odd but kind of hilarious, too, since “invigorating the larger debate” inevitably empowers more and more untethered minds to speak loudly in opposition to myth, nonsense and the infantilization of the human race through religiosity. Also? The God Delusion didn’t invigorate the debate, it effectively ended it.

Better you should visit RichardDawkins.net.



3 Responses to “Heroes: Richard Dawkins Named One of TIME’s “100””

  1. 1 Crumples

    I love your site and I have to tell you what an amazing writer you are! Your words are witty, sharp, factual, enlightening, inspiring and humorous all at the same time.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on Richard Dawkins. I wonder if he even knows he is a hero to so many people.

    Looking forward to your next entry… keep ’em coming, please!

  2. 2 bstewart23

    Thanks for the very kind words, Crumples. Very, very much appreciated!

  3. 3 KerstinMSD

    Richard Dawkins is amazing and a nice man, too. He writes a lot of books for us and is editing an anthology at the moment. I didn’t know he was so well-known outside of the UK…that makes me feel much happier!


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