I’m very late to this, but it’s extraordinary. I’ll simply repeat the question everyone else is asking: Is Dawkins crossing over to the dark side?
(Would it even matter?)
Just as with Bitcoin’s success or failure, I have no idea how it will end but will greatly enjoy watching it play out.
Years ago, Dawkins (and Pinker) broke my liberalism clean in two. It took me a while to reincorporate, but here we are.
I fully believe, though, that the Cathedral is quite capable of encapsulating the heresy for safe consumption.
Williams. But if the cause be not good, the king himself hath
a heavy reckoning to make, when all those legs and
arms and heads, chopped off in battle, shall join
together at the latter day and cry all ‘We died at
such a place;’ some swearing, some crying for a
surgeon, some upon their wives left poor behind
them, some upon the debts they owe, some upon their
children rawly left. I am afeard there are few die
well that die in a battle; for how can they
charitably dispose of any thing, when blood is their
argument? Now, if these men do not die well, it
will be a black matter for the king that led them to
it; whom to disobey were against all proportion of
Henry V. So, if a son that is by his father sent about
merchandise do sinfully miscarry upon the sea, the
imputation of his wickedness by your rule, should be
imposed upon his father that sent him: or if a
servant, under his master’s command transporting a
sum of money, be assailed by robbers and die in
many irreconciled iniquities, you may call the
business of the master the author of the servant’s
damnation: but this is not so: the king is not
bound to answer the particular endings of his
soldiers, the father of his son, nor the master of
his servant; for they purpose not their death, when
they purpose their services. Besides, there is no
king, be his cause never so spotless, if it come to
the arbitrement of swords, can try it out with all
unspotted soldiers: some peradventure have on them
the guilt of premeditated and contrived murder;
some, of beguiling virgins with the broken seals of
perjury; some, making the wars their bulwark, that
have before gored the gentle bosom of peace with
pillage and robbery. Now, if these men have
defeated the law and outrun native punishment,
though they can outstrip men, they have no wings to
fly from God: war is his beadle, war is vengeance;
so that here men are punished for before-breach of
the king’s laws in now the king’s quarrel: where
they feared the death, they have borne life away;
and where they would be safe, they perish: then if
they die unprovided, no more is the king guilty of
their damnation than he was before guilty of those
impieties for the which they are now visited. Every
subject’s duty is the king’s; but every subject’s
soul is his own. Therefore should every soldier in
the wars do as every sick man in his bed, wash every
mote out of his conscience: and dying so, death
is to him advantage; or not dying, the time was
blessedly lost wherein such preparation was gained:
and in him that escapes, it were not sin to think
that, making God so free an offer, He let him
outlive that day to see His greatness and to teach
others how they should prepare.
Williams. ‘Tis certain, every man that dies ill, the ill upon
his own head, the king is not to answer it.
When you say Britain is finished, there really is a clock ticking isn’t there? And Shanghai (like all else?) is beyond everything a matter of survival. There’s a war on two fronts being waged by a triumvirate. And conscription, and positioning accordingly…
It isn’t uncommon for intellectuals to be disappointed at how their ideas play out in the real world. Perhaps Dawkins has come to have mixed feelings about the left populism of his fanbase and the political determinism that follows. He may have felt like Dr. Frankenstein after having his privilege checked by Rebecca Watson. Who knows, maybe he even read a lengthy series of essays about how he got pwned.
I’ve promised an article on this, but never delivered.
Intellectually, Dawkins has always been on the dark side.
When “The Selfish Gene” was published, it was publicised far beyond the scientifially-literate audience for which it was written, and Dawkins found himself a target of criticism, not for the recent developments in evolutionary theory which his book was written to popularise, but for expression of ideas that were well established before Darwin was born.
I can’t help thinking that it was deliberate, on the part of the largely marxist scientific establishment which strongly disliked the direction that evolutionary biology was taking from the 1960s onwards, to steer Dawkins head-on into an endless, pointless battle with fundamentalist Christianity. If it was deliberate, it was an act of genius.
He could put the argument for evolution very well – The Blind Watchmaker is excellent – but sending an upper-class Englishman from Oxford to drag American creationists kicking and screaming into the nineteenth century in the name of the “Public Understanding of Science” was never going to produce anything better than slapstick. Though Dawkins’ chief intellectual enemies are leftist pseudoscientists, they are of his culture and do not offend him, while the culture clash with Kansas school boards and the like has mostly succeeded in distracting him, though to them Carl Linnaeus would serve just as well as an enemy.
Contemplationist Reply:June 13th, 2013 at 10:40 pm
To carry on, do you think the recent retarded atheist kerfuffle, among many other PC atrocities (Jason Richwine, Napoleon Chagnon) have turned Dawkins back to his original mission? That edge essay looks DEFIANT to me. The leftist slime in the anthropology poliburos have attacked Chagnon, and it appears that Dawkins is raising a banner of support.
admin Reply:June 14th, 2013 at 1:03 am
Very persuasive — but a little too generous to Dawkins perhaps. He has embraced ridiculous ‘naturalistic fallacy’ arguments in the realm of moral and political affairs which are entirely incompatible with intellectual integrity given his basic framework of beliefs.
He was on the “dark side” with his second book, “The Extended Phenotype”, which is why I think he kind of got sidetracked after it and started focusing on attacking theism. “The Extended Phenotype” was Dawkins’s swan song. I think he felt himself slipping away somehow and left a lasting legacy before going off into “deity worship nuts are the problem” land where he would never be a danger to the real meme engineers in places like the media and academia.
Ever since Richard Dawkins wrote “The Extended Phenotype” (of which he says “It doesn’t matter if you never read anything else of mine, please at least read this”) he has been made to pay penance in the form of attacks on creationists when not addressing his books to assorted popular scientific fashions. As someone who sees more to life than mechanism, I certainly have a bone or two to pick with Darwinians and mainstream science in general; but as mechanistic science goes, “The Extended Phenotype” was, indeed, a triumph of intellectual synthesis on par with Darwin’s original “Origin of Species” — and that is precisely why I believe Dawkins was stopped intellectually dead in his tracks once it was published in 1982. I couldn’t agree with his assessment more: If you read nothing else of his, please at least read “The Extended Phenotype” and I would go further and say, don’t bother reading anything else by Dawkins after “The Extended Phenotype” as it amounts to paying penance to the new inquisition for heresy. Further still, if you read nothing else in main stream scientific literature, please, at least read “The Extended Phenotype” chapter “Host Phenotypes and Parasite Genes” with particular attention to his comment on the extended phenotypic generalization of epistasis, modifier genes and dominance — because that will be the insight future historians of science recognize as the most important, not only of Dawkins’ work, but of 20th century science.
J Reply:June 13th, 2013 at 10:46 pm
That should be chapter 12, “Host Phenotypes of Parasite Genes”.
Orlandu84 Reply:June 13th, 2013 at 11:20 pm
I just wanted to say thank you for the information regarding “The Extended Phenotype.” I had never heard of the book or Dawkin’s concept of the phenotype. Time to go read “How Dawkins got pwned” and add “The Extended Phenotype” to my reading list.
nickX Reply:June 17th, 2013 at 10:42 pm
I strongly endorse this. _The Extended Phenotype_ is very highly recommended reading for those interested in the Darwinian side of the neoreaction. It describes some of the most important topics of _The Selfish Gene_ in greater depth, and reflects Dawkins’ own research more than any other of his books. And his research was starting to darkly enlighten biology in ways even the contemporary HBD movement can hardly imagine. Green beard effects, our bodies and minds under the control of genes other than our own…more disturbing than Lovecreft even if it had been just fiction and all the more disturbing for being cutting-edge biology. He stared into the abyss and retreated. It was a very big loss for civilization when he abandoned his own research in order to start shooting creationist fish in a barrel. Imagine if Einstein had abandoned his theoretical work in physics in 1904 in order to debate people who still believed the earth is the center of the universe. Something of a similar magnitude may have occurred with Dawkins.
Admin wrote “Would it even matter?”
I think dissent is terribly important.
I remember a friend of mine said some things about tendencies of blacks years ago (I was recently out of college) that were true but not PC. I called him a racist instantly and reflexively (yup), but meanwhile my mind was spinning fast because he is a good guy and I came to acknowledge some bitter truths quietly to myself. I have not called anyone a racist since. We are still friends.
I guarantee that many howls of dissent regarding Richwine were from people experiencing worldview-shattering cognitive dissonance and who really will not be the same now that scales are removed from their eyes.
The thing about truth is that once you’ve really gotten it, you have taken a one-way trip. When it happens, you acknowlege nothing and say nothing. That is exactly it. Your enthusiasm to be a tool for progressivism is gone and the wind is out of your sails.
On some level, if the only thing that comes of this dissent is that in the dark night of their souls a number of progressive realize that the thing cannot work, isn’t working, that is very satisfying for me. While the left breaks the right on a wheel of political defeat, the left breaks itself on the wheel of nature.
To paraphrase Carlisle, capturing control of the ship is not a prize but a burden when you must steer around a deadly Cape and the rules of the sea are rules you have no control over.
America has been such a beautiful ship in the past and the new owners are laboring frantically, with all the wrong navigation rules.
There are degrees of commitment to Leftism, just as there are degrees of commitment to the Dark Enlightenment. Dawkins won’t be joining UKIP any time soon, but that doesn’t mean he’s a fully committed Leftist, like Gould. It’s enough, in my mind, that he’s standing against the tide of ever-leftward movement in the intellectual realm. He, and others like him, are providing a base from which to move in the other direction, even if they don’t move in that direction themselves.
Nick B. Steves Reply:June 14th, 2013 at 6:43 pm
When Dawkins acknowledges the net benefits of religion to society and culture, then… maybe… he might be working generally against the left zeitgeist at least a little.
Anomaly UK Reply:June 14th, 2013 at 8:11 pm
Which religion, to which culture? He comes from an elite culture which hasn’t been seriously religious for centuries. If he ignored culture and went back to science, I would be more than happy. The establishment seriously dislikes his science.
Nick B. Steves Reply:June 14th, 2013 at 9:01 pm
Most… to most. I mean if religion was maladaptive, it would have largely disappeared from the “genome”. If religion were irrelevant to adaptive success, then various religions would be uncorrelated, and it would be less widespread in the genome… but they’re not uncorrelated and they’re very widespread. Ergo, religions (on net) advance adaptive fitness… even if we don’t (yet) understand why or how… But Dawkins is at war, more or less, with all traditional religions, and only tolerates ones that have evolved within the last 100 years or so. Basically, that religion is Progressivism, and Dawkins himself is a believer in it. Surprise, surprise.
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