Mutual Adoration Society

Richard Dawkins is constantly being sold to us as a leading scientist and one of the world’s smartest people. Yet I think this is mostly a media illusion. One way to see that for yourself is to survey the people who have written book blurbs for Dawkins’ upcoming second volume of his autobiography. If you think about it, just who would help promote the autobiography of the world’s greatest thinker and scientist? Other great thinkers and scientists, of course. The intellectual cream of the crop would pay tribute to one of their own for they, among all people, could truly appreciate the immense brilliance of Richard Dawkins.

So who is it that pays tribute to Dawkins with a book blurb for amazon.com? Here’s the list, as described on Amazon:

  • Steven Pinker, Johnstone Professor of Psychology, Harvard University, and author of The Language Instinct and The Better Angels of Our Nature
  • Lawrence M. Krauss is a theoretical physicist and cosmologist and the author of bestselling books including The Physics of Star Trek, and A Universe from Nothing. He co-starts with Richard Dawkins in the film The Unbelievers.
  • Bill Maher
  • Rebecca Newberger Goldstein, author of Plato at the Googleplex: Why Philosophy Won’t Go Away
  • Michael Shermer, Publisher of Skeptic magazine, monthly columnist at Scientific American, author of The Moral Arc
  • David Silverman, President of American Atheists, Inc.
  • Herb Silverman is Distinguished Professor Emeritus, founder and president of the Secular Coalition for America, and author of Candidate Without a Prayer: An Autobiography of a Jewish Atheist in the Bible Belt

[cough] Let me get this straight. When it is time to acknowledge the autobiography of one of the world’s smartest people, Dawkins’s publisher enlists a) a TV comedian/talk show host, b) a man who publishes the obscure Skeptic magazine, c) the leader of Madalyn Murray O’Hairs activist organization and d) a president of some secular club. Yes, there are a couple of scientists and a philosopher in the list. But let’s take a closer look.

Steven Pinker, New Atheist activist and winner of Richard Dawkins Award 2013.

Lawrence M. Krauss, New Atheist activist and Dawkins’ sidekick (in the documentary, The Unbelievers, Dawkins and Krauss are introduced as the Dynamic Duo).

Rebecca Newberger Goldstein, winner of Richard Dawkins Award 2014 and wife of Steven Pinker.

In other words, the scholarly endorsements come from Dawkins’s friends.

The funny part is the way all these Gnus wash each other’s hands.

Herb Silverman praises Dawkins book as “remarkable” when Dawkins wrote the forward to Silverman’s 2015 book, “Candidate without a Prayer.”

David Silverman praises Dawkins book as “Sometimes funny, sometimes fascinating, and always interesting” and back in May 2015, Dawkins praised Silverman and his book, “Fighting God”:

David Silverman is the bad boy of atheism and we need people like him……how refreshing it is to read a book that is not afraid to speak the truth, sans apology.

Shermer praises Dawkins book as something that outlines Dawkins “pathway to greatness” and in Jan 2015, Dawkins said this about Shermer’s book:

The Moral Arc displays the impressive depth of Michael Shermer’s scholarship, wisdom and empathetic humanity, and it climaxes in a visionary flight of futuristic optimism. A memorable book, a book to recommend and discuss late into the night.

Bill Maher is the New Atheist activist, anti-vaxxer, and winner of the Richard Dawkins Award 2009. Besides, he would lick Dawkins dirty feet if he could.

Given that we are dealing with a mutual admiration society, who apparently have created a cottage industry of promoting each other’s work, do you think any of those positive book blurbs are the result of anyone actually having read Dawkins 464 page book?

Look, on a more serious note, what you have here are a tiny clan of usual suspects who, collectively, have a disproportionate access to the microphone. Their goal, as activists, is to create the illusion that their extreme, anti-religious agenda is more widespread and mainstream than it is. Their goal, as capitalists, is to make as much money off atheism as they can.

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5 Responses to Mutual Adoration Society

  1. advancedatheist says:

    Notice that the New Atheists, despite their propaganda about freedom of thought and expression, will have nothing to do with the atheist John Derbyshire, who expresses and defends plenty of controversial, well-argued views that defy current political correctness. You’d think they would give him and similar secular intellectuals from the Dark Enlightenment a seat at the table once in awhile to have something different to talk about.

  2. Kevin says:

    Who else but a New Atheist is ignorant enough of religion and philosophy to celebrate New Atheism?

  3. itsonlyphotos says:

    I think you’re missing something here, which is that most people’s books are plugged by allies and people who are like minded. But this list seems to be highlighted by rather unpleasant, pompous people. That said, Richard Dawkins doesn’t really seem all that smart. He’s really like what you suggested he is, which is a media creation. Meanwhile there are probably thousands of zoologists and biologists who do actual scientific work who must resent the crap out of a guy who doesn’t really do any science. All of these New Atheist types have this celebrity veneer, but they don’t really seem all that open minded when the paradoxes and contradictions of the materialist philosophy are pointed out. I still think that Dawkins supposed knockout reason that people should not believe in God – because he’s too complex – is bizarre in that it is so unquestionably stupid. I would imagine that as far as science goes, Dawkins is probably resistant to anything that disagrees with his interpretation of genes, etc. Because scientific understanding is provisional, it’s possible some of his theories will be superseded or reinterpreted in his lifetime. I don’t think he’ll handle that well.

  4. Dhay says:

    Not everyone is sympathetic to Richard Dawkins’ autobiography, part 2. Nature’s reviewer, Nathaniel Comfort, thinks Dawkins’ ideas about genetics are obsolescent:

    Much of Dawkins’s research has been in silico, writing programs for evolutionary simulations. In his simulations, life is utterly determined by genes, which specify developmental rules and fixed traits such as colour. The more lifelike his digital animals (“biomorphs”) become, the more persuaded he is that real genes work in roughly the same way. Dawkins’s critics accuse him of genetic determinism. This synopsis of his work shows that his life virtually depends on it.

    A curious stasis underlies Dawkins’s thought. His biomorphs are grounded in 1970s assumptions. Back then, with rare exceptions, each gene specified a protein and each protein was specified by a gene. The genome was a linear text — a parts list or computer program for making an organism —insulated from the environment, with the coding regions interspersed with “junk”.

    Today’s genome is much more than a script: it is a dynamic, three-dimensional structure, highly responsive to its environment and almost fractally modular. Genes may be fragmentary, with far-flung chunks of DNA sequence mixed and matched in bewildering combinatorial arrays. A universe of regulatory and modulatory elements hides in the erstwhile junk. Genes cooperate, evolving together as units to produce traits. Many researchers continue to find selfish DNA a productive idea, but taking the longer view, the selfish gene per se is looking increasingly like a twentieth-century construct.

    Dawkins’s synopsis shows that he has not adapted to this view. He nods at cooperation among genes, but assimilates it as a kind of selfishness. The microbiome and the 3D genome go unnoticed. Epigenetics is an “interesting, if rather rare, phenomenon” enjoying its “fifteen minutes of pop science voguery”, which it has been doing since at least 2009, when Dawkins made the same claim in The Greatest Show on Earth (Transworld)…

    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v525/n7568/full/525184a.html

    So Dawkins allegedly hasn’t been at the leading edge of science journalism for some time.

    Prospect’s reviewer, Philip Ball, includes:

    If his critics wish to mine this book for damning evidence against him, they will find plenty here. Certainly it has its share of Pooterisms.

    http://www.prospectmagazine.co.uk/science-and-technology/book-review-brief-candle-in-the-dark-my-life-in-science-by-richard-dawkins

    A Pooterism is where you take yourself grotesquely seriously.

  5. Dhay says:

    In his bog post dated October 27, 2015 and entitled “Edward Feser: No dogs go to Heaven”, Jerry Coyne quotes three items of “self-promotion” on Feser’s website (from Feser’s blog’s header). I see they are by critics for the National Review, by the Times Literary Supplement and by the Daily Telegraph; that is, they are independent reviews (other-promotion?), and Feser was quoting independent critics who had promoted Feser’s works.

    Coyne’s own three items of “self-promotion” on his Faith vs. Fact page are by Sam Harris, Steven Pinker and Richard Dawkins; that is, he got his mates to puff him.

    http://jerrycoyne.uchicago.edu/Faith-vs-Fact.html

    It is duplicitous of Coyne to deprecate Feser’s “self-promotion” while providing an outstandingly bad example of puff “self-promotion” on his own website.

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