Famous Scientist Notes that Richard Dawkins is Not a Scientist

The Gnus think Dawkins is some world famous scientist. But in reality, he is not much of a scientist. EO Wilson agrees:

Although Wilson has much to be arrogant about, few who have met him would accuse him of it. But the criticism must have hurt, and Wilson was evidently still feeling stung by it when writing his latest book, in which he rather waspishly describes Dawkins, a distinguished Fellow of the Royal Society and retired Oxford professor, as an “eloquent science journalist”.

“What else is he? I mean journalism is a high and influential profession. But he’s not a scientist, he’s never done scientific research. My definition of a scientist is that you can complete the following sentence: ‘he or she has shown that…’,” Wilson says.

“I don’t want to go on about this because he and I were friends. There is no debate between us because he’s not in the arena. I’m sorry he’s so upset. He could have distinguished himself by looking at the evidence, that’s what most science journalists do. When a journalist named Dawkins wrote a review in Prospect urging people not to read my book, I thought the last time I heard something like that I think it came from an 18th-century bishop.”

“My definition of a scientist is that you can complete the following sentence: ‘he or she has shown that…’,” Wilson says.”

Nice. And what has Dawkins shown? Dawkins himself always replies with his notion of an extended phenotype.
Yet after writing the book decades ago, did Dawkins ever go into the lab or the field to try to show his hypothesis was correct or incorrect? Nope. All he did was speculate about it and he left real scientists to do the work.

Yes, journalists can come up with hypotheses that scientists can later test. But that doesn’t make the journalist a scientist.

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4 Responses to Famous Scientist Notes that Richard Dawkins is Not a Scientist

  1. agogo22 says:

    Reblogged this on msamba.

  2. Kevin says:

    Well, you can’t very well call someone a top scientist if he isn’t an atheist, of course. In fact, atheism is a more important aspect of being a top scientist than, you know, doing science. That’s why gnu atheists never, ever praise Francis Collins, even though in science he is to Richard Dawkins what Superman is to Spongebob Squarepants.

    An atheist I know was posting memes on Facebook, and most of them dealt with how Christians don’t accept evolution. He would also make these lengthy posts about how he doesn’t like the way Christians refuse to accept evolution based on their religious beliefs. So, I asked him why he doesn’t post links to people like Collins, or his organization Biologos, or Ken Miller…prominent Christians who also fully embrace evolutionary theory and talk to other Christians about how they can accept science while also remaining faithful Christians. His response was “I’m not going to support Christianity.”

    So, the anger about Christians not accepting evolution was clearly fake, or at best extremely minor. The evolution thing was merely a contrived justification for the actual reason the posts were being made – an ideological hatred of religion that can’t in of itself be justified. I fully believe this is how the majority of gnu atheists think. They only love science to the extent they think it disproves religion. They are anti-theists first and foremost, not “free”thinkers or lovers of science or advocates of reason.

  3. Peter says:

    It’s interesting how religion seems to hover in the background throughout the article, whether it’s talk about “bland ecumenism” or 18th century bishops, or the anger which seems to have been aroused, where you would think people are denouncing heretics rather than engaging in a dispassionate, scientific enterprise.

  4. Ha, that’s great! I’ve thought this about Dawkins for some time now, but it’s interesting to see Wilson say it so matter-of-factly and in a civil way. Thanks for sharing this.

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