Dawkins at OU: Im not going.

Ive decided not to go see Dawkins this Friday.

Do I want to see him? Of course! But Ive decided not to for the following reasons:

  1. There are no tickets for this event. The first ~2500-3000 people in line get in. The line is going to be a nightmare. Nightmare. About 100 people from OKC Atheists and local unis offered to help with line craziness (chairs for older folks, water coolers, snacks, etc), and it was decided that we were not needed. Ive spoken to people who are planning on starting to stand in line up to 12 hours before the talk starts… On top of it all, weve got repressed pissed off atheist/proscience folks standing in line for extended periods of time next to wackaloon True Believer Creationists… *sigh* I dont want to deal with that shit.
  2. Dawkins lecture isnt for ‘me’. After reading recaps from the Michigan folks, I dont need to see Dawkins lecture. There are, however, lots of people in OK who need to see it. And, there are lots of people who just really want to see Dawkins, whether hes talking about evolution or how to bake the perfect pie crust. His visit means a lot to them. I couldnt, in good conscious, take one of their seats.

Im tempted to swing by just to talk to people in line, but parking will be a nightmare too… *sigh*

So, to you brave souls who are going to stick it out in line Friday, take lots of piccies (if you Twitter/liveblog it, link up here!), make some new friends, and have fun! And for the love of god, please dont kill a Trinity Spawn. That would sooooooo be bad PR. Promise?


  1. #1 biopunk
    March 4, 2009

    aww. that sucks. but i hope you do swing by, ask some questions, take some pictures, step on some toes…

    somebody should.

  2. #2 Joey
    March 4, 2009

    Agreed that the talk will probably not be as earth-shattering as reading The Selfish Gene. But when you live in the cesspool that is SW OK, surrounded by science-ignorant evangelicals, and the author of The God Delusion is going to be anywhere nearby…well, we all have a price.

  3. #3 Carl Zimmer
    March 4, 2009

    Well, there won’t be 5000 people coming to see me give a talk in Tulsa later this month, so let me invite you to hear me.


  4. #4 Ian
    March 4, 2009

    It’s all Ed’s fault. Reading his review, I realised that I’m probably not Dawkins’ target audience. So while I’d love to see the talk, I’m not going to head over there hours before the doors open.

    But then, I just have to walk over the campus. I don’t have to drive down from OKC in rush-hour traffic…

  5. #5 Rhology
    March 4, 2009

    I disagree. I think you are exactly the target of Dawkins’ speeches, given the very poor quality of anti-theistic argumentation in which he engages. I don’t think he’s stupid enough to think that he’s convincing anyone who knows anything about the issues he addresses (though I could be wrong), so he’s most probably trying to rile up the troops to spread the gospel of secularism just a little bit more.

  6. #6 Lorax
    March 4, 2009

    For much the same reason (#2) I am bowing out of the talk tonight in the Twin Cities…..still a little sad about that.

  7. #7 Sili
    March 4, 2009

    Poor Dawkypoo.

    I’d be disappointed, if I were him.

  8. #8 Prometheus
    March 4, 2009

    I’m going because I told so many people I would (including R.D.) but I’m really not looking forward to watching the Banana Man video for the umpteenth time or a rehash of the last four science show radio interviews.

    I will also be a wreck because I have midnight balcony tickets for Watchmen the night before and work all day.

    When am I supposed to find time to drink?

  9. #9 Bayesian Bouffant, FCD
    March 4, 2009
  10. #10 ERV
    March 4, 2009


    Of course Ill come see you, Carl! YAY!!! Thanks for the heads-up!

  11. #11 Dustin
    March 4, 2009

    I don’t think he’s stupid enough to think that he’s convincing anyone who knows anything about the issues he addresses (though I could be wrong), so he’s most probably trying to rile up the troops to spread the gospel of secularism just a little bit more.

    ~That’s where you’re WroooOOOOng~!

    I gave a copy of “The God Delusion” to a kid I knew who came out of a private Christian school. He said it changed the way he looked at everything, and didn’t understand why all of his teachers had been so smug and certain about what they were preaching.

    Deconversion is a hobby of mine, and Dawkins delivers.

  12. #12 Dustin
    March 4, 2009

    OK — no killing Trinity spawn. Is it alright if the Trinity spawn die in the Zoology department’s gulag, instead?

  13. #13 Michael Fugate
    March 4, 2009

    Dawkins couldn’t possibly know less about theology than Rhology knows about biology…

  14. #14 BeamStalk
    March 4, 2009

    I am still going to try and make it. Should be fun with my gf’s 7 year old autistic kid. I will wait in line while they run around.

  15. #15 SVN
    March 4, 2009

    3. More time to finish up your proposal?

  16. #16 Rhology
    March 4, 2009


    The God Delusion is full of idiocy and drivel. That’s precisely what I mean when I say y’all are the targets. Although I suppose it could be speaking to weak-minded people who think that Christianity means being nice and absorbing Jesus-y stuff thru osmosis. I’d have to concede that one to you, true.
    But I recommend this review of TGD since you seem to have a high opinion of it.

  17. #17 Andrew @ EC
    March 4, 2009

    *splutter* Rhology, did you actually link to tribalogue on purpose??

  18. #18 John Phillips, FCD
    March 4, 2009

    Rhology, having seen the quality of your various ‘arguments’, as well as your ‘logic’, on this blog, I think you are probably one of the last people in any position to criticise Dawkins’ TGD. BTW, how many believers actually understand the ‘subtle’ and ‘sophisticated’ theology that simply tries to rationalise god and belief with mountains of hand waving and begging the question. Most believers have less of a clue about this ‘subtle’ and ‘sophisticated; theology than most atheists posting here. Additionally, the average believers god is very different from the god posited by these ‘subtle’ and sophisticated’ theologians. In fact, the ‘average’ xian wouldn’t recognise the god posited by ‘sophisticated’ theologians and it is the god that the average xian follows that Dawkins writes to and about in TGD.


  19. #19 Science Avenger
    March 4, 2009

    To save everyone some time, the review Rhology links to spends three pages in character assasination on Dawkins (the usual baseless crap: that he’s angry, desperate, blah blah blah) and those he chose to quote in his book. It then chides him for not quoting Dembski. No, I’m not kidding. Not sure if they included L. Ron hubbard later on, but it’d fit. That’s the level they’re on.

    Dustin, don’t bother Rhology with facts. In his world, idle theorizing trumps reality. See the “Gift to Rhology” thread for evidence.

  20. #20 Ty
    March 4, 2009

    Because, of course, you aren’t allowed to write a book pointing out that unicorns don’t exist unless you are an expert on the really deep and sophisticated unicorn stories.

  21. #21 Coriolis
    March 4, 2009

    This is why I think all biologists need to be educated in D&D rules.

    This way, at least you can say that you know all about *another* really sophisticated magic system.

  22. #22 Rayven Alandria
    March 4, 2009

    Yeah, I was disappointed when the OK Atheist group had to pull out of the volunteer effort, but you’re right, we are not the ones who really need to hear Dawkins. I would feel bad about taking seats from those who do. My family and I will not be attending either but I hope someone tapes it so I can watch it later.

  23. #23 Dustin
    March 4, 2009

    The arguments against Dawkins all seem to boil down to:
    1) Get super pissed.
    2) Scream that Dawkins clearly hasn’t read the sophistry of apologist X.
    3) When it’s shown that apologist X’s argument is refuted, pick a more obscure theologist and goto 2.

    By the time the algorithm terminates, we’re so far out there in theological wankland that what’s being argued has no resemblance to the religion of the people who park their asses in the pews every Sunday morning. And that’s why the book works on anyone who isn’t so completely averse to logical argument as to resort to sophistry to preserve their precious foregone conclusions. After all, they can retreat into obscurantist nonsense, or give up on their senseless superstition.

  24. #24 Lorax
    March 4, 2009

    The bible is full of idiocy and drivel….. Although I suppose it could be speaking to weak-minded people who think that Christianity means being nice and absorbing Jesus-y stuff thru osmosis. I’d have to concede that one to you, true.

    Fixed it for you.

  25. #25 Nemo
    March 4, 2009

    The God Delusion is full of idiocy and drivel.

    Yes, it’s about religion.

    Rhology, have you ever read P.Z. Meyers’ “The Courtier’s Reply”? It’s all that needs to be said on this ridiculous non-subject.

  26. #26 BobDobbs
    March 4, 2009

    Hey Abbie! When will you be giving a lecture?
    I’d buy a ticket.

  27. #27 nate
    March 5, 2009

    I’m going to show up maybe 30mins ahead. I’ll be surprised if I dont get in. I’ll be really surprised if there are 3000 people lined up ahead of time.

  28. #28 ERV
    March 5, 2009

    Nate– Thats probably what Im going to do too. Bring Arnie-man to hang out with people in line in the afternoon, pop by later to see if there are any seats left 🙂

    Bob– I give presentations all the time! Im ‘debating‘ some whackaloon later this month, and Im also speaking at the OK Americans United conference on ‘Academic Freedom’! Ill have details up as I get em, if you want to come!

  29. #29 Dances with MILFs
    March 5, 2009

    Someone as stupendously blinkered and committed to a delusional life as Rhology is would post here for only one plausible reason: self-hatred. I can’t imagine an alternative–he knows everyone’s going to laugh at him and shred both his cherished dogma and his “arguments” every time, yet he stays on.

    If he does in fact hate himself, I don’t blame him; he’s of no use to himself or the world at large, and basically commits a crime against nature every time he feeds himself (assuming he does so without help) or draws a breath of air (ditto). Every moment that he opts not to drive a giant knife through his own eye socket is a moment profoundly wasted.

    It bothers me that he has apparently chosen to breed, as virtually all hopeless idiots do. What fantastically damned DNA that sprog must possess.

  30. #30 Tommykey
    March 5, 2009

    If [Rhology] does in fact hate himself

    I don’t know if I would go quite that far, Dances. He told me that he not only believes I am horrible, but that he, along with all of humanity (presumably including his own daughter and soon to be born child), is horrible. He’s just (conveniently) forgiven.

    Part of the problem with these back and forths is that we argue with each other over strong beliefs and opinions and therefore our opinions of each other are shaped entirely by that. But for the most part, this happens between people who do not know each other personally. Therefore, we do not see each other in our totality.

    For all I know, Alan (aka Rhology) would be a rather pleasant fellow to chat with at a bar or in a Starbucks over issues unrelated to religion, such as sports, movies, renewable energy, et cetera. I don’t expect to ever find out, unless circumstances find me in Oklahoma or him in New York.

    Personally, my impression of him is that he is a rather bright guy whose intellect has been willfully locked within the confines of Biblical literalism. I would hope that some day he could break free of it (just as he likewise probably wishes I would embrace it). Why he ended up that way I can’t say for sure, though he of course is free to share if he wants to. My observations and experience (including personal) is that people embrace religiosity because they are experiencing a crisis or sense of despair in there lives, and they live in a milieu where people get “saved” all the time.

    While my religious fervor never quite approached Rhology’s, more along the lines of a moderate Catholic, when you believe that you are plugged into the most powerful being imaginable, it can create a sense of exhiliration and purpose, or a “Jesus High” as I call it. Rhology lives in an environment where he is probably surrounded by evangelicals and Biblical literalists, including family members and friends. So, that would naturally be the default position for him when it came to having a religious experience. I doubt that Islam was ever a possible choice for him, particularly with the prospect of alienating himself from the community. Again, he is free to amplify on that if he wants to.

    So, while I can also find him infuriating at times, I don’t feel the need to hurl ad hominems at him. Besides, it ends up just validating his opinion of those who do.

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