But Whatever Nice Things You Have to Say About Richard Dawkins, It's OK to Dismiss Most of His Fans Because ...
They simplify his rhetoric to the point of uselessness.
It's true, I find most of Dawkins' thoughts to be more appropriate as a rebuke of man's corrupt practices in organized religion than anything insightful into the possibility of a higher power, but my thoughts on Dawkins personally are not the issue. Undeniably, Dawkins is a highly educated, eloquent, accomplished man with an extensive body of work. But for so many of his knee-jerk atheist fans, he's been reduced to bite-size catchphrases.
Just because he coined the phrase "meme" doesn't mean he should have become one. A scholar's thoughts on concepts like the existence of a higher power and/or man's attempts to pervert the need for such a power into corrupt institutions do not adapt well to Facebook postings. At this point, he is the go-to guy for when the least articulate atheists want to sound smart. He's been reduced to Prof. Spaghetti Monster, Ph.D.
Personally, I couldn't even begin to understand what the use of "religion" means here. Whether it's Bertrand Russell, Penn Jillette, Ricky Gervais, or Dawkins, these indictments of "religion" in general from super white renounced Christians sound very much like specific rebukes of certain forms of Christianity. Not all of the world's religions are adversaries to science, and the fact that Dawkins' website was hacked last week proves that some people who find him offensive actually embrace technology and know how to use computers. But the accuracy of Dawkins' beliefs aside, this kind of useless semantic debate is obviously going to ensue when you reduce complex work to sound bites.
To Dawkins' Worst Fans, I Say ...
Personally, I don't care whether you believe in God or not. I change my mind on the subject daily. I don't care if you can quote The God Delusion cover to cover as if it were some holy book (although odds are that if you like name-dropping Dawkins every two seconds, you probably haven't even read it). Just do me one favor. If you do quote Dawkins, don't drop the mic and leave the stage like nothing more needs to be said, as if the possibility of the divine -- of some form of something beyond our limited conception -- has been obliterated because a highly educated Englishman has constructed something eloquent, reducing all faith to ignorance and fear. Bertrand Russell did that quite well a century before Dawkins, and millions of believers remain. Some of them have actually read Russell and Dawkins and still think there is much to consider and debate because, after all, we're only talking about a simple thing like the meaning of creation and existence.