The latest panty-twisting at Uncommon Descent is over the Blasphemy Challenge. The poor dears are so concerned about all the heretics damning themselves that DaveScot is moved to weep and pray over them, and William Dembski writes a letter to Richard Dawkins asking him why he doesn’t expand the challenge to torment the Moslems (note that Dawkins is not responsible for the Blasphemy Challenge, has nothing at all to do with it, and hasn’t promoted it, so it’s rather peculiar of Dembski to act as if he is the Grand Overlord of All Atheists).
This wouldn’t be worth following, except that I think Dawkins’ reply is absolutely perfect.
I had not given the Blasphemy Challenge any thought until you called it to my attention. Now that you have done so, I do not seem to feel strongly one way or the other. As that admirable bumper sticker has it, Blasphemy is a Victimless Crime. So, am I going to send in my own film clip denying the Holy Ghost? No, that is not what Oxford professors do, they write books instead. Do I find it offensive that so many young people are sending in their film clips? No. I hadn’t listened to any of them before you raised the matter. I have now done so, and I must say I find them more charming than offensive. They mostly seem rather nice young people, and they are doing their bit, in their own lively and entertaining way, to raise consciousness and set an example to their peers. I am especially pleased to note how young they are, for organized atheists have, until recently, been noticeably and discouragingly grey-headed. I think we may be witnessing the beginnings of a shift in the tectonic plates of our Zeitgeist. I am delighted to see so many young Americans taking part, in a way that suits their age group better than mine or yours.
It’s a weird and rather stupid request Dembski has made. The reason they are denying one of the Christian gods is because that’s what most of these people have been brought up to believe; Dembski himself would probably have no hesitation about denying Mohammed, so that wouldn’t be much of a challenge. What these people are doing in these clips is rejecting the dogma with which they were indoctrinated, and I agree with Dawkins that this is a most excellent and wise thing for them to do. I would similarly think it excellent if young Moslems were all to cheerfully deny Allah, and young Jews to deny their god, and a whole wave of outspoken unbelief were to sweep across the world.
There’s another great bonus that Dawkins didn’t notice: the spectacle of the creationists weeping and having the vapors at the thought of people rejecting their superstition is simply too delicious.
Oh, my. The email revelations continue, with little Billy Dembski showing off a reasonable, polite letter from Dawkins, followed by grandiose, delusional gloating in a letter from Dembski. This is beginning to hurt; I normally wouldn’t have any sympathy for the Baron Munchausen of Intelligent Design, but this battle is so one-sided it hardly seems fair.
So Billy was going to tattle on Dawkins to his neighbor, George W. Bush? Wow.