Ok here’s one


Here’s an example of the kind of thing that the statement Richard Dawkins and I posted last week opposes.

John ‏@JohnTheSecular
So tell me, @RichardDawkins, what is “modern art” the result of, then? Your fuckwittery?

shop

Description: it’s a photo of Dawkins talking next to a passage in quotation marks:

“Too many so-called ‘great works of art’, from the Sistine Chapel to Bach’s Masses, were inspired by the Christ myth and therefore, despite their beauty, come from a place of anti-intellectualism and refusal to confront empirical reality.

The only pure, untainted art form left is the Japanese RPG.”

Richard Dawkins

That’s a shitty trick because it’s too plausible and people are passing it around and taking it seriously. It looks real. It’s not marked as satire.

That’s dirty pool.

Comments

  1. Decker says

    I am mystified as to why some people dislike Dawkins so intensely.

    I’m indifferent to the man.

  2. Decker says

    For a moment I was taken in by it.

    And for sure dislike doesn’t justify defaming someone in such a dishonest way.

  3. says

    But it won’t be pretty obvious to everyone. Believe me, I have wide and deep experience of this – people believe completely absurd things that get said and photoshopped about me. There will always be some who believe it.

  4. Matt Penfold says

    It would probably not be obvious to anyone who has not read quite a bit of Dawkins, especially his essays.

  5. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    It was not “pretty obviously a parody” to me, either. Ophelia’s right to point that out. It is dirty pool.

  6. Matt Penfold says

    It is not as though there is a shortage of stupid and idiotic things Dawkins really has said.

  7. Matt Penfold says

    So had JohnTheSecular offered any explanation as to why he is posting dishonest material about Dawkins ?

  8. says

    Yep, Dawkins the cultural Christian wouldn’t say something like that, and I’d be surprised if he knows what an RPG is. But that’s irrelevant to what is both important and (I would’ve thought) obvious: You don’t make up shit people didn’t say and attribute it to them, bad or good. It doesn’t matter if you’re trying to straw man them or make them look like a Brave Hero (TM); it’s insulting and wrong either way.

  9. Sili says

    I guess the only real tell is that Dawkins seems unlikely to be familiar with, much less like, modern videogames.

  10. Matt Penfold says

    I don’t know how much Dawkins knows about modern video games, but he clearly had some experience of them in the early days.

  11. Matt Penfold says

    Someone calling herself Little Lioness (@kelsthesecular) is claiming it was all satire and she and John never thought anyone would think it was not.

    Either she is a bit thick, or she is lying.

  12. Matt Penfold says

    Well it seems Little Lioness (who would seem to be JohnTheSecular’s partner) thinks showing the meme exists on Tumblr and FB is evidence Dawkins said it.

    How do you deal with someone so dishonest ?

  13. screechymonkey says

    Yeah, this falls into that middle ground of “stuff that is just silly enough to make Dawkins look ridiculous, but not silly enough to be an obvious parody to those who aren’t sufficiently familiar with his opinions.”

    Those of us who know that Dawkins is actually ok with “cultural Christianity,” and in fact remarkably blase about things like Ten Commandments monuments and public prayers compared to most atheists, can easily spot that it’s a fake. But if all you know of Dawkins is “he’s that militant atheist guy who hates religion” — and there’s plenty of folks for whom that pretty much sums it up — then this gets taken at face value and ends up being another reason why that Dawkins guy shouldn’t be taken seriously.

  14. carlie says

    I wonder if the person responsible has always hated Dawkins, or has turned on him in the wake of Dawkins announcing that he thinks being an asshole is a bad thing. (just because if he starts getting more blowback from former admirers, he might suddenly start to understand the extent of the situation)

  15. John Morales says

    Jafafa Hots, cf. #2.

    Again: Misrepresenting someone by knowingly attributing a false quotation to them without a disclaimer is an epitome of a dirty pool tactic, and that it may be jocular doesn’t change that.

    (Quoth Jafafa Hots: “It is bad if done with a disclaimer, but worse when done without.” ;) )

  16. says

    I agree with Screechymonkey when they wrote:
    “Yeah, this falls into that middle ground of “stuff that is just silly enough to make Dawkins look ridiculous, but not silly enough to be an obvious parody to those who aren’t sufficiently familiar with his opinions.” ”

    It is always a shitty trick, no matter who is the target, when the material is such that there is a reasonable expectation it could be taken seriously (when aimed at an individual or an organisation – Poeing a set of beliefs or an ideology I think is fair game).

    I will be honest, even being familiar with RD since childhood, I was taken in by this and assumed it was more than likely something taken massively out of context (like the creationists do on his panspermia-esque comments) than a total fabrication.

    Not so sure he is “remarkably blase about things like Ten Commandments monuments and public prayers compared to most atheists” though. His standpoint on such issues seems very much the norm in my part of England and I’d assume Oxford is little different from Lincolnshire in that regard (and probably only that regard!)

    PS: Ophelia, below ‘post comment I am offered three options. What the hell is the difference between option 1 “Notify me of followup comments via e-mail.” and option 2 “Notify me of follow-up comments by email.”??

  17. hoary puccoon says

    I have only read Dawkins on science, and have no interest in video games. And, frankly, the statement didn’t sound any stupider than his “witch hunt” comment.

    So, yeah, I assumed it was real.

    I find the idea that everyone who is anyone knows about video games– so we’ll all see it’s a parody– is even more clueless and arrogant than the clueless and arrogant statements we’re currently ticked off with Dawkins for.

  18. says

    Definitely dirty pool; given recent history in the atheoskeptisphere, the false statement comes across as entirely plausible.

  19. johnthedrunkard says

    Ruchnoy Protivotankovyy Granatomyot?
    Mistranslated as Rocket Propelled Grenade.

    Dawkins IS a smart fellow, satirizing him successfully would require at least enough knowledge or clarity to catch his cringe-worthy statements and extrapolate them into counter-arguments.

  20. says

    I find the idea that everyone who is anyone knows about video games– so we’ll all see it’s a parody– is even more clueless and arrogant than the clueless and arrogant statements we’re currently ticked off with Dawkins for.

    Yeah, that is pretty clueless and arrogant. However, who has said anything like that?

  21. shari says

    Unhappily, the mentions of Dawkins I have seen in media have been mostly negative over the last three years. He’s not making mainstream news for benevolent or activist events. If I ran across this online (where most of my cultural updates come from) I’d not have the context to doubt he said that as a joke. I would doubt he said it in seriousness, but the main problem is that I don’t have the time to indulge in verifying attribution.

    I was just reading about someone who pranked wikipedia by editing the Amelia Bedelia entry. I am so over juvenile bullshitters intentionally screwing with facts ‘because it’s funny’. It’s dishonest, and so are the creators. People do tell white lies – usually to spare someone’s feelings (no, it doesn’t smell dirty in here! I love your earrings – you are so talented to make your own jewelry! Of course, I have no problem watching your kids on short notice – have fun!) This is dishonesty to either make the viewers look bad, or make Dawkins look bad. Both are malicious.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>