Richard dawkins has stirred up a bit of a Twitterspat with a completely innocuous comment.
Caitlin Moran decided Dawkins was declaring war on Muslims:
The Telegraph’s Tom Chivers put a but more effort into coming to the same conclusion:
Dawkins may believe that he is criticising only the religion, and its effects on the people who hold it, rather than the people themselves (“don’t hate the player, hate the game”), but his gleeful hurling of rhetorical stick-bombs doesn’t make that sort of distinction. Is he being racist? Maybe not, depending on how narrowly you define it. But whatever he’s being, it’s not nice, and it certainly isn’t advancing the various causes of secularism, atheism or everyone just bloody getting along.
Richard dawkins replies:
Funny that Steven Berkoff said something very similar about ‘the Theatre’ a few days ago whilst also criticising the BBC:
‘….his criticism was not reserved for the corporation as he claimed that in the last 30 years the theatre has not produced a single actor of worth and there is more talent in street performing.’
No one seems to think he was declaring war on the Theatre loveys.
By the by, the BBC reported the Telegraph’s version of Berkoff’s comments but failed to mention that he also said this:
Berkoff also reserved criticism for the “cringing banality” of Twitter, claiming that Stephen Fry is a fan “because this man loves attention. He has a million, million and half dopes listening to the utterly crawling banality of this man’s mind.”
The BBC has so far failed to mention the row over Richard Dawkins Tweet. I wonder why…is it like the UKIP member who wanted to introduce Sharia law and chop off hands that they also didn’t report on?….the BBC seems not to report things that don’t reflect their view that Islam is the Cradle of Civilisation from which everything good springs.
Perhaps they realise that Dawkins isn’t actually being controversial and that he speaks the truth…if so the BBC might not want to draw attention to that.
Is Dawkins speaking the truth?
What has Mehdi Hasan got to say? I’m not sure you could accuse him of launching a war against Islam:
He states that there are 1.2 billion Muslims in the world….and between them they have a total of 10 Nobel prizes. The Jews, with a population of 12 million have 150 Nobel prizes. All 6 Jewish Universities are in the top 20 in a world ranking. There are no Muslim universities in the top 200.
He goes on to say:
We wonder why we are losing battles, we are not being out fought, we are being out thought.
We are not under armed, we are undereductaed.
We have lost the ability to think, to acquire knowledge, to advance intellectually and then we wonder why our community is in such decay.
Which is why you might wonder why Hasan has recently Tweeted this praising the pompous Owen Jones for calling Dawkins a racist bigot because of his Tweet about Islam’s lack of Nobel prizes:
Not in our name: Dawkins dresses up bigotry as non-belief – he cannot be left to represent atheists
His anti-Muslim tweet is only the latest in a catalogue of smears
Hasan also quotes from this fellow , who must presumably also be considered an anti-Muslim bigot…despite, like Hasan, being a Muslim:
Pervez Hoodbhoy is professor of nuclear and high-energy physics at Quaid-e-Azam University, Islamabad. This article is based on a speech delivered at the Center for Inquiry International conference in Atlanta, Georgia, 2001.
Fearful of backlash, most leaders of Muslim communities in the US, Canada, and Europe have responded in predictable ways to the Twin Towers atrocity. They have proclaimed first, that Islam is a religion of peace; and second, that Islam was hijacked by fanatics on the September 11. They are wrong on both counts.
First, Islam – like Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, or any other religion – is not about peace. Nor is it about war. Every religion is about absolute belief in its own superiority and its divine right to impose itself upon others. In medieval times, both the Crusades and the Jihads were soaked in blood. Today, Christian fundamentalists attack abortion clinics in the US and kill doctors; Muslim fundamentalists wage their sectarian wars against each other; Jewish settlers holding the Old Testament in one hand and Uzis in the other burn olive orchards and drive Palestinians off their ancestral land; Hindus in India demolish ancient mosques and burn down churches; Sri Lankan Buddhists slaughter Tamil separatists.
The second assertion is even further off the mark: even if Islam had in some metaphorical sense been hijacked, that event did not occur on September 11, 2001. It happened around the 13th century. Indeed, Islam has yet to recover from the trauma of those times.
In the twelfth century Muslim orthodoxy reawakened, spearheaded by the cleric Imam Al-Ghazali. Al-Ghazali championed revelation over reason, predestination over free will. He refuted the possibility of relating cause to effect, teaching that man cannot know or predict what will happen; God alone can. He damned mathematics as against Islam, an intoxicant of the mind that weakened faith.
Islam choked in the vicelike grip of orthodoxy.
It was the end of tolerance, intellect, and science in the Muslim world. The last great Muslim thinker, Abd- al Rahman ibn Khaldun, belonged to the 14th century.
For Muslims, it is time to stop wallowing in self-pity: Muslims are not helpless victims of conspiracies hatched by an all-powerful, malicious West. The fact is that the decline of Islamic greatness took place long before the age of mercantile imperialism. The causes were essentially internal. Therefore Muslims must introspect, and ask what went wrong.
Today Muslims number one billion, spread over 48 Muslim countries. None of these nations has yet evolved a stable democratic political system. In fact, all Muslim countries are dominated by self-serving corrupt elites who cynically advance their personal interests and steal resources from their people. No Muslim country has a viable educational system or a university of international stature.
Reason too has been waylaid. To take some examples from my own experience: You will seldom encounter a Muslim name as you flip through scientific journals, and if you do, chances are that this person lives in the West.
Though genuine scientific achievement is rare in the contemporary Muslim world, pseudo-science is in generous supply. A former chairman of my department has calculated the speed of Heaven: it is receding from the earth at one centimetre per second less than the speed of light. His ingenious method relies upon a verse in the Qur’an which says that worship on the night on which the Qur’an was revealed is worth a thousand nights of ordinary worship
A more public example: one of two Pakistani nuclear engineers recently arrested on suspicion of passing nuclear secrets to the Taliban had earlier proposed to solve Pakistan’s energy problems by harnessing the power of genies. The Qur’an says that God created man from clay, and angels and genies from fire; so this highly placed engineer proposed to capture the genies and extract their energy.
We have but one choice: the path of secular humanism, based upon the principles of logic and reason. This alone offers the hope of providing everybody on this globe with the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
Note that all important phrase: Islam choked in the vicelike grip of orthodoxy.
Orthodox Islam…in other words fundamental Islam, the real Islam. In other words all those scientific advances of the ‘Islamic Golden Age’ were performed under an Islam that wasn’t really ‘Islam’…it was a loose, convenient interpretation that allowed Jews and Christians a great deal of freedom which they used to further their interests in science and learning with the side effect of helping the imposed ‘Islamic’ regime.
The real Islam choked such advances in a ‘vicelike grip’.
The reason people like Caitlin Moran feel able to attack Richard Dawkins and claim he is racist or anti-Muslim for his completely sensible comments is because organisations like the BBC have refused to delve into the history and meaning of Islam, the real history not the hagiographys that they produce deifying, ironically, Muhammed and glorifying Islam whilst hiding its darker side.
An example of which might be that whilst the BBC has covered extensively Stephen Fry’s comments about homophobia in Russia they refuse to acknowledge the very same thing on our own doorstep amongst certain communities as revealed by the ubiquitous Mehdi Hasan about his own homophobia as induced by Islamic teachings:
So let me be clear: yes, I’m a progressive who supports a secular society in which you don’t impose your faith on others – and in which the government, no matter how big or small, must always stay out of the bedroom. But I am also (to Richard Dawkins’s continuing disappointment) a believing Muslim. And, as a result, I really do struggle with this issue of homosexuality. As a supporter of secularism, I am willing to accept same-sex weddings in a state-sanctioned register office, on grounds of equity. As a believer in Islam, however, I insist that no mosque be forced to hold one against its wishes.