Richard Dawkins has recently made some incendiary remarks on Twitter towards Muslims. In classic form, he utilizes skewed standards to attack Muslims on his own terms. Considering that this isn’t the first time (and it’s likely to happen again), I decided that it’s about time that I cut any ties I’ve ever had to this man.
Anyone who’s known me for a few years will certainly be able to remember a time that I prescribed to Dawkins’ atheism. In fact, I still own a copy of “The God Delusion” that I got autographed by him a few years ago. Fortunately, I’ve moved on. Unfortunately, he hasn’t.
So if you aren’t caught up: Richard Dawkins is an evolutionary biologist, former professor at the University of Oxford, and atheist extraordinaire. He’s famous for books like “The Selfish Gene”, “The Extended Phenotype” (which is my favorite and is, admittedly, an excellent book), and “The God Delusion”. He’s also a bumbling fool when it comes to anything outside of his discipline.
Dawkins is notable for constantly defending his position on the infallibility of science. Science, he argues, is the only valid standard to measure the world, as if science was something outside of humans. If you can’t prove something scientifically, then it’s entirely bogus.
This week he got on Twitter and posted this incredibly scientific gem: “All the world’s Muslims have fewer Nobel Prizes than Trinity College, Cambridge. They did great things in the Middle Ages, though.”
Let that soak in for a second.
He’s basically mocking 23% of the world for not having enough Nobel Prizes. The irony of course being that Dawkins doesn’t seem to understand that Alfred Nobel’s society, based in Sweden, maybe has a bias. Who hands out Nobel Prizes? A bunch of Europeans. To whom do they hand out Nobel Prizes? A bunch of Europeans.
Coincidence? I don’t think so.
For someone who prides himself on using the standards of Science, Dawkins isn’t being very “scientific” when he criticizes Muslims in this way. The Nobel Foundation is not some perfect, absolute measure of human worth with regards to thinking. Let’s not forget, these people gave Obama a Peace Prize.
On this argument, however, Dawkins doesn’t even get creativity points. Neil deGrasse Tyson, another one of these atheist scientists who shouldn’t stray from his/her discipline, made this very same argument a few years ago in this idiotic lecture:
(For a break down of deGrasse Tyson’s lecture, check out: Neil deGrasse Tyson and the Myth of Islamic Anti-Science)
Apparently, these scientists aren’t interested in learning anything about history, sociology, anthropology, psychology, area studies, cultural studies, critical theory, development studies, geography, colonialism, philosophy, or anything that relates to actual human beings living out there in the world.
If you think I’m being too harsh, let’s assume that the Nobel Foundation is infallible. Okay, so now, where do most Muslims live? Asia and Africa, right? Do you think that they’re getting a whole lot of grant money work in super high-tech labs with state-of-the-art equipment? Are students there provided with education on par with Europe and North America?
Of course not. Because of historical circumstances (colonialism, wars, genocides, mass migrations), Africa and Asia did not develop on the same trajectory as Europe. Is this because Muslims are backwards and stupid?
The answer, just in case you’re wondering, is: no.
What makes Dawkins’ analysis so pathetic is that he was born in Kenya! He is a direct product of one of the most destructive forces in the world in the past few centuries: English colonialism!
Whether we want to take about how the Middle East was carved up by a Frenchman and an Englishman or if we’d like to talk about English colonialism in Egypt, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran, Malaysia…you get the idea…the fact of the matter is this: there’s probably a good reason that the “Muslim world” isn’t producing a whole lot of Nobel Prize-winning scientists.
So I don’t make this accusation lightly: Richard Dawkins, either because of willful ignorance or sheer stupidity, is a bigot and a racist.
Oh, and by the way, Dawkins has never won a Nobel Prize.