…and, no, I don’t mean Orac, his last few posts notwithstanding.
No, don’t worry, this post is most definitely not about Bill Maher. Rather, it’s how, while doing searches for that craziness, I found even more disturbing craziness. Even though I was disappointed in him on this one issue and even though I often don’t agree with him on religion, never let it be said that I don’t still have considerable admiration for Richard Dawkins. That’s why, when I came across some truly over-the-top attacks on Dawkins, I thought it would be worthwhile to mention them, as a little wafer to cleanse the palate before moving on to other topics this week. And, yes, be assured that I am moving on to other topics, particularly one that several readers have been begging me to take on. The only reason I haven’t done so is because I simply haven’t had the time to do it justice. Tomorrow or Wednesday, though, I promise to try to get to it.
But on to some true ridiculousness, specifically a post called Dick Dawkins Before He Dicks You.
The stupid, it’s the one thing that doesn’t evolve, isn’t it? In fact, it just keeps burning and burning and burning and burning. Let’s put it this way. Any post in which there is a picture of Richard Dawkins festooned with Swastikas all around him, as though they’re emanating from his heart, is indeed a black hole of stupid, so dense that anything resembling light or intelligence is hard pressed to escape. You have to be very careful not to have your intelligence sucked into the maw of this stupid. Tinfoil hats might help.
Now, I had never seen this blog, which goes by the name The Outraged Spleen of Zion. I’d give whoever the blogger is props for a rather cool name, which would make a decent name for a punk rock band, except that the concentrated idiocy on display on that blog is enough to stress even Orac’s protective circuits. Basically, prominently displayed on the blog is description of the blogger:
Virtual Goshen, Feral Nation, United States
BabbaZee is a somewhat eviscerated, self-educated, feral Jewtian writer, poet, and artist who believes passionately in the preservation of Western Civilization, in unity between Christians and Jews, and in the responsibility of GOD’s people to their covenant.
And this statement:
Next time someone tries to shove some Homo Stultus dogma down your throat it would please me very much if you would use the following links to express your disinterest in their Darwingelical Dawkins Da’Wa….
What is “homo stultus” dogma? Oh, just the usual nonsense:
HOMO STULTUS – A term coined by Petre Tutea
Ubiquitous human type of atheist who perennially denies the existence of GOD – he is “spiritually autistic” per Tutea, who includes the ignorant, the willfully stupid and the morally corrupt in genus Homo Stultus.
“…in his spiritual stupidity, he applies the logic of facts to the domain of mystery, thereby remaining a captive to this world in which he acts mechanically, like a spinning top”
If you want spirited stupid, this blog seems to be saying, this is the place. And deliver it does, misrepresenting Dawkins’ words in the most blatantly obvious way possible at every turn. There’s just too much there to list it all, and, quite frankly, after this weekend I’m not in the mood for an Oracian-length deconstruction because, well, I’m tired after having worked on my grant all weekend and I also blogged all weekend when I shouldn’t have. Let’s just take a look at a couple.
First, the blogger BabbaZee takes a pot shot at Dawkins’ statements about eugenics. I actually wrote about this before, pointing out that, while I thought that some of what Dawkins said was ill-advised, for the most part it’s nowhere near as bad as loons like BabbaZee try to make it out. For one thing, Dawkins’ article about eugenics was published as an afterword in a book specifically about “dangerous ideas.” It should thus not be surprising that Dawkins might be intentionally provocative about this apparently most dangerous of dangerous ideas. How Dawkin’s piece was published as a “letter to the editor” when it was nothing of the sort is unclear, and how it became associated with the headline or title “Eugenics may not be bad” remains mysterious. As I said at the time, the whole thing reeked of an orchestrated attempt to smear Dawkins. In any case, Dawkins was asking a rather provocative question: Is eugenics inherently bad, and, if so, why? He never struck me as advocating eugenics; rather, he seemed to be asking whether it’s possible to discuss the matter, now that Hitler has been dead for over 60 years.
The other thing that BabbaZee harps on is Dawkins’ statement that “Jews monopolize American policy.” Surprise, surprise! I wrote about that one too! In reality, I wasn’t too thrilled with Dawkin’s views but concluded not that Dawkins is a raging anti-Semite, which is what BabbaZee apparently thinks, but rather that used a bad analogy that revealed a lack of understanding of American politics and left himself wide open to these sorts of brain dead attacks.
Perhaps the silliest brain dead attack is the implication that Dawkins is somehow an admirer of Hitler. Basically, he quotes an article in which Dawkins discussed the changing zeitgeist of morality:
“I’m actually rather interested in the shifting zeitgeist. If you travel anywhere in the Western world, you find a consensus of opinion which is recognizably different from what it was only a matter of a decade or two ago. You and I are both a part of that same zeitgeist, and [as to where] we get our moral outlook, one can almost use phrases like ‘it’s in the air.'”
At this point, perhaps a word of explanation is necessary. Zeitgeist is a German word meaning “spirit of the age.” Dawkins here refers to the prevailing moral climate or mood of a given place or time. We may observe that what constitutes moral or ethical behavior differs from one culture to another; indeed, it may even differ within a given culture. This is not in dispute. The question, rather, is this: should moral standards be based on the societal zeitgeist or should they look beyond it to something else?
I asked an obvious question: “As we speak of this shifting zeitgeist, how are we to determine who’s right? If we do not acknowledge some sort of external [standard], what is to prevent us from saying that the Muslim [extremists] aren’t right?”
“Yes, absolutely fascinating.” His response was immediate. “What’s to prevent us from saying Hitler wasn’t right? I mean, that is a genuinely difficult question. But whatever [defines morality], it’s not the Bible. If it was, we’d be stoning people for breaking the Sabbath.”
All of which is a lot more complicated than than the comment BabbaZee came up with:
That’s right, that’s what he said, he said that, that’s what he said….
Well, yes, that is what Dawkins said. So what? I don’t think Dawkins meant what BabbaZee thinks he meant. And the question of how humans define morality really is a complicated question. What does define what we consider good and evil, right and wrong? Why do we no longer think that stoning people for breaking the Sabbath is morally admirable (or even acceptable)? Seriously. As Dawkins continued:
Dawkins sat back again. “I think that’s the best answer to your question, although I agree that it’s a complicated answer–it doesn’t come from anywhere simple–and it is necessary to say that whatever else it comes from, it most certainly doesn’t come from religion.” He considered me for a moment. “Anybody who thinks that they get it from religion really is deluded. Certainly nobody could maintain they seriously get it from the Bible. I take it you agree with that, because if you got it from the Bible you’d have to cherry pick which bits of the Bible you accept and which bits you don’t.”
It was a provocation intended to flush me out. I obliged.
“I would disagree,” I began slowly. “I believe you can get your morality from the Bible.”
“Well, which bits of the Bible?” His eyes flashed. “Presumably not Leviticus and Numbers and Deuteronomy?”
And, really, would anyone want to base morality on Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy? All those stonings and everything? Even fundamentalist Christians don’t base their morality on those chapters of the Old Testament. Even Jews don’t base their morality on those chapters of the Old Testament anymore, at least not the parts about stoning disobedient children and such. Their “fundamentalist’ label notwithstanding, they cherry pick what parts of the Bible they do and do not follow.
The reasons this particular attack on Dawkins caught my attention were two-fold: the stupidity of it all and the vitriol of it all, the latter of which was more than even I was used to. The odd thing is that Dawkins’ latest book, The Greatest Show on Earth, is not about atheism, but rather evolution. But apparently that’s enough to bring out the usual crazies.