Number 5: Richard Dawkins’ Net Worth

Since the year is winding down, I think I will repost the top 5 most popular blog entries from 2015.  The first one was entitled, “Richard Dawkins’ Net Worth” and was posted on January 29, 2015.  Not quite sure why it was so popular, but I think the realization of Dawkin’s being so rich tied in nicely with the common perception that the man is simply “out of touch” with the way things are.  Anyway, coming in at #5 – 

Did you know that Richard Dawkins is not merely rich, but Super Rich?

Richard Dawkins is an English ethologist, evolutionary biologist, and author who has an estimated net worth of $135 million ($100 euro) according to the Sunday Times in 2012. He has earned his net worth due to book sales, science career and his television and film appearances.

$135 million dollars strengthens my previous case outlining the deceptive nature of Dawkins’ public image as a “lover of science:”

Retirement is a time in a person’s life when you finally get to focus all your time and attention on your true passion. This is especially true if the person who retires is both healthy and wealthy. Dawkins is all three – he has retired, he is healthy, and he is very wealthy. If his true love really was science, he would use all this free time and money to pursue scientific quests. For the first time in his life, he could focus on any unanswered question he wanted to. He would not need to write grants or go to meetings, or play any other of the social games needed to pursue his scientific passion. He could just go out there and do the experiments and make the observations! But alas, he has continued to be the man he has always been – a man with little interest in actually doing any science. Instead, his love for atheism has emerged in all its glorious splendor. Dawkins, the wealthy, retired scientist, invests all his time and money on atheist activism.

When I noted he was wealthy, I envisioned him as having a couple of million. Never did I imagine he had $135 million dollars. A man with that much money and free time who refuses to do science is a man who does not truly love science.

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ISIS: Sam Harris’s Spiritual Cousins

As we all know, Sam Harris likes to blame faith and religion for the killings caused by extremist Islamic terrorists.  In fact, after the terrorist attack in Paris, many atheists on the internet were sharing the following Sam Harris meme:


Apart from the nonsense of the terrorists not being cowards (brave men don’t attack defenseless civilians), what of this idea that it is “perfect faith” that drives the extremists to kill?

Consider the following news article from the Washington Post:

The tiny pill fueling Syria’s war and turning fighters into superhuman soldiers.

A powerful amphetamine tablet based on the original synthetic drug known as “fenethylline,” Captagon quickly produces a euphoric intensity in users, allowing Syria’s fighters to stay up for days, killing with a numb, reckless abandon.

There’s plenty more all over the internet.  For example:

Earlier this week when French police raided a cheap hotel room rented by the Islamic State (Isis) terrorists who had unleashed the Paris massacres on Friday the 13th, they were surprised to find among the debris of pizza boxes and sweet wrappers, used syringes, needles and plastic tubing. But there is growing evidence to suggest the gunmen, who killed dozens at the Bataclan venue, fuelled their slaughter with drugs, with some of the survivors of the horror reporting the killers appeared to be in a “zombie-like” state…… Captagon is known to be a drug used by fighters all over Syria, leading some to suggest that the hotel room discovery tells us that the Paris attackers had taken Captagon as part of their preparations before the attack……. Meanwhile, Isis pharmacists are understood to have produced the drug to supply to its militants to enhance their fighter feelings of invincibility and increase endurance.

Oh, the delicious, delicious irony.

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Posted in New Atheism, Sam Harris, Uncategorized | Tagged , | 9 Comments

Sam Harris’s Empty Attack on Pascal’s Wager

Several years ago, Sam Harris set out to refute Pascal’s Wager in the pages of the Washington Post. Harris began as follows:

The coverage of my recent debate in the pages of Newsweek began and ended with Jon Meacham and Rick Warren each making respectful reference to Pascal’s wager. As many readers will remember, Pascal suggested that religious believers are simply taking the wiser of two bets: if a believer is wrong about God, there is not much harm to him or to anyone else, and if he is right, he wins eternal happiness; if an atheist is wrong, however, he is destined for hell. Put this way, atheism seems the very picture of reckless stupidity.

But there are many questionable assumptions built into this famous wager.

When looking through the “many questionable assumptions,” it quickly became apparent to me that Harris doesn’t understand how the Wager works.  So first, let me spell it out and then we can return to Harris critique.

I was not raised as a Christian.  I became a Christian, and remain a Christian, because of reason and evidence.  However, I also recognize the limitations of the human intellect. Since my Christian faith is not rooted in intellectual certainty, I fully concede that I could be wrong.  I could be deluded.  That naturally leads to the following question – “What if I am wrong?”  It’s precisely at this point that the Wager comes into play.  For if I am wrong, if when I die I simply cease to exist, the answer becomes “So what?”  It’s not as if I will ever know or notice it.

Let’s now turn to Harris’s critique:

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Posted in Sam Harris, Uncategorized | Tagged | 17 Comments

Who is the Extremist?

Richard Dawkins Michael – Shadow to Light
Does not think Christian theism is a reasonable position Thinks atheism is a reasonable position.
Claimed religious faith “is one of the world’s greatest evils, comparable to the small pox virus.” Does not think atheism is evil.
Insists it is child abuse to raise your child in religious faith tradition. Does not think it is child abuse to raise your child as an atheist.
Is leader in an anti-religious hate movement. Is not part of any movement.
Gave public speech encouraging hundreds of followers to go out and mock religious people. Has given no public speech encouraging anyone to mock atheists.
Posts angry anti-religious tweets on almost a daily basis Posts blog entries that chuckle at New Atheists a couple of times a month


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Richard Dawkins Makes ISIS Stronger

Richard Dawkins could not wait to use the terrorist attack in Paris as an excuse to preach his culture wars agenda:


I see.  So over a hundred people have been murdered in Paris because of…..”religion”.  And “faith.”

If you ask me, Dawkins and the New Atheists are actually supporting and strengthening radical Islamic terrorist groups like ISIS.  How?

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The Wisdom of Haldane?

New Atheists are often proud of the fact that their familiarity with theology is so superficial. For example, philosopher Anthony Grayling rationalizes flippant dismissal of theology as follows:

For example, if one concludes on the basis of rational investigation that one’s character and fate are not determined by the arrangement of the planets, stars and galaxies that can be seen from Earth, then one does not waste time comparing classic tropical astrology with sidereal astrology, or either with the Sarjatak system, or any of the three with any other construction placed on the ancient ignorances of our forefathers about the real nature of the heavenly bodies.

Of course, such arrogance comes at a price and that price can be the flaunting of one’s ignorance. For example, Lawrence Krauss kicked off his WSJ defense of New Atheism with a quote that both Coyne and Myers embraced with glee:

My practice as a scientist is atheistic. That is to say, when I set up an experiment I assume that no god, angel or devil is going to interfere with its course; and this assumption has been justified by such success as I have achieved in my professional career. I should therefore be intellectually dishonest if I were not also atheistic in the affairs of the world. – JBS Haldane

Yet the Haldane quote demonstrates profound theological ignorance.

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Posted in Miracles, New Atheism, theology | Tagged , , | 15 Comments

Evidence Continues to Support Jordan Wooley

Twelve year old  Jordan Wooley was under the impression her teacher wanted her to label God as a myth.  The evidence indicates her impression was most reasonable.   First, let’s recall the uncontested evidence I have provided thus far:

  1. An internet search shows that the lesson Jordan had popularly defines “commonplace assertion” as unfounded belief.  An unfounded belief is a belief having no foundation or basis in fact.  It is perfectly reasonable to expect a 12 year old to thus interpret “commonplace assertion” as myth if the common interpretation was applied.

2. Pay attention to claim #8 on the assignment – “People with glasses are smart.” Keep in mind Jordan had to answer that one too. Now, I think all intelligent, honest people will recognize the intended answer for #8  was supposed to be “commonplace assertion.”  Yet we also know that as a common myth.  In fact, this page calls it a “crazy myth.”  Since everyone agrees the teacher insisted Jordan categorize “There is a God” as a “commonplace assertion,” the teacher was trying to force Jordan to group “There is a God” with another claim that is a crazy myth.  Once again, it is perfectly reasonable to expect a 12 year old to thus interpret “commonplace assertion” as myth.

Now, we have more evidence:

Deanna says her son had the same controversial assignment on the same day, just in an earlier class.

“I asked him what were the instructions for the assignment? He said, ‘well we had to look at these statements and decide if it was fact, opinion, or myth.”

But, the school district claims the word myth was never used by the teacher. As seen on the paper itself, the assignment was to distinguish between fact, opinion, and commonplace assertion. So Deanna asked her son to clarify.

“How did the word myth come into it?” She says she asked her son. “He said we didn’t know what commonplace assertion meant so we asked the teacher. She said the definition of commonplace assertion is myth. So, we referred to it as myth in the class after that.”

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Hemant Mehta’s Blog Continues to Attack 12-year-old Girl

Militant atheist Hemant Mehta continues to allow his popular anti-religious blog to be a launching site for attacking a 12 year old girl.  We’ve already seen many of his followers used his forum to attack the girl as being “stupid” and a “liar” (both accusations are completely unfounded).  But now it seems to be getting worse.  Yesterday, one of Mehta’s fans/followers decided to publicly attack the child as follows: 

This little bitch is freaking OUT because the question made her stop and wonder for a second.

She started to THINK!

And then, like a good Evangelical child, she panicked, and then tattled to her family and church!

She’ll be done with that faith inside 10 years. Just *thinking* about how her entire lodestar of her whole young life, thanks to parental indoctrination, might be wrong?

Snapping her.

Mehta, of course, allows the comment to stand and offers not one word of criticism.

ETA:  I stand corrected.  Mehta has now deleted the posting and banned the user.  I thank him for this.  

Posted in Hate, New Atheism | Tagged , | 4 Comments

Atheist Activist Flunks 7th Grade Critical Thinking Exercise

Why are New Atheists attacking a 12 year old girl?  Because of what she said in front of the Katy Independent School District board:

“Today I was given an assignment in school that questioned my faith and told me that God was not real. Our teacher had started off saying that the assignment had been giving problems all day. We were asked to take a poll to say whether God is fact, opinion or a myth and she told anyone who said fact or opinion was wrong and God was only a myth,” Wooley told board members.

Over at Hemant Mehta’s blog, his fans and allies are trying to smear little Jordan as a Liar (!) for saying this.    Mehta himself claims:

It’s not hard to spot Wooley’s mistake. She’s equating “commonplace assertion” with “myth.” That’s simply not accurate.

So let’s look at the actual assignment, as it has been posted all over the internet:

Yes, that looks like the assignment everyone is talking about.

The first thing I note is that the assignment makes it look as if the three choices of factual claim, opinion, and common assertion are mutually exclusive when they are not.  There are many things that are commonly asserted that are also factual or opinion.  For example, it is commonly asserted that Barack Obama is President.  It is also fact.  It is also commonly asserted that Richard Dawkins is an Islamophobe.  It is also opinion.

Hemant Mehta himself demonstrates this confused thinking.  He writes,

“The United States is the greatest country in the world.”

Is that true, false, or just something that a lot of people believe even though they can’t prove it?

Or, to put it in the language of a middle school reading class, is it fact, opinion, or a “commonplace assertion”?

The answer is obvious: It’s a commonplace assertion. People can give you their reasons for why the U.S. is or isn’t the best, but it’s not something either side can prove.

No, Hemant, the answer is not obvious.  For I would label it an opinion instead of a commonplace assertion.  That people can give you their reasons for why the U.S. is or isn’t the best, but it’s not something either side can prove, is precisely what we expect opinions to look like.  It’s silly and irrational to insist this claim is a “commonplace assertion” and not an opinion when it is clearly both.

So what’s going on with this assignment?  What we clearly need is how the three options were/are defined.  Note also that one option is “factual claim,” not “fact.”

Since this sounds like one of those stock school lessons, I found some presentations on the internet which were probably written either by students or teachers.  This one defines the three as follows:

Factual claim – a statement that claims truth and contains no value judgments  Ex: common colds are viral illnesses

Commonplace assertion – a common, unfounded belief  Ex: you get a cold when you get wet

Opinion – a personal view or belief based on emotions or interpretations of fact  Ex: Having a cold is the worst feeling in the world

Commonplace assertion.  Unfounded?  Er, that is defined as “having no foundation or basis in fact.”

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Posted in education, New Atheism | Tagged , | 30 Comments

Popular New Atheist Blog Goes After 12-year-old Girl

Hemant Mehta, the hardcore New Atheist activist who deceptively promotes himself as “The Friendly Atheist,” used his popular blog to go after a 12 year old girl.  Mehta throws out some red meat to his rabid fans and followers:

There’s a controversy currently brewing in Katy, Texas, because that question about God’s existence is being used as evidence for Christian persecution.

That accusation is being made by seventh-grader Jordan Wooley, who said the statement about God was a fact. Her teacher correctly told her that was the wrong answer. Now, Wooley claims she is being forced to choose between her grades and her faith.

Actually, you can listen to Jordan herself make her case:

Mehta claims the teacher did nothing wrong and that little Jordan made a mistake when she interpreted the phrase “common assertion” to mean “myth” since it could not mean “fact” or “opinion.”  If I get the time in the next couple of days, we will dissect Hemant’s reasoning.  For now, let’s focus on something else.

After setting the stage like this, Mehta’s atheist fans and followers took it from there and began to viciously attack the 12 year old girl.  Consider some of the comments that are hosted by Mehta’s blog (while keeping in mind that Mehta makes zero effort to control or tone down the hateful comments his blog encouraged):

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Posted in Hate, New Atheism | Tagged , | 24 Comments