INCREASINGLY, Richard Dawkins’ public output resembles that of a man desperately grasping for attention and relevance in a maturing community.
In the past few decades, Dawkins has succeeding in crafting an online character that ironically parodies the more militant tendencies in capital-A Atheism, serving as a useful reminder for all of us to be more nuanced and tolerant.
Or at least that’s the kind interpretation. The alternative is that one of Britain’s leading intellectuals really has degenerated to the point where he believes that the following is an intelligent argument:
All the world’s Muslims have fewer Nobel Prizes than Trinity College, Cambridge. They did great things in the Middle Ages, though.
Unsurprisingly, a lot of people have found this offensive. It contains no meaningful criticism of religion, nor can it reasonably imply any – there are many reasons why the residents of North Africa or the Middle East win less Nobel prizes than Cambridge scholars, just as there are many reasons why more men than women win Nobel prizes. And ‘designated religion’ is a long way down that list. Besides, on what planet are Nobel Prizes the best metric for achievement or progress?
No, this is simply a statement about Muslims – all Muslims – and a spectacularly bigoted one at that.