The Dawkins Cycle: an infographic


There are stages, I’ve noticed, to every Richard Dawkins Twitter storm.

It starts when he says something crass about a sensitive topic. (Child molestation/rape/‘all the world’s Muslims’.)

People whose ally he’s supposed to be get annoyed. Often they blog about it; often he trends. (‘Your a dick’ tends to get tweeted a lot, too.)

Dawkins becomes tetchy and berates them for being PC/absolutist/illogical/unable to think.

International media takes notice and reports the argument.

Dawkins publishes a response at RD.net, often referring to ‘a storm in a teacup’ or insisting – despite being a professional communicator – that the rest of the world was at fault for not grasping his true meaning.

People at wit’s end tend to give up at this point, but eventually he mouths off on something else and the cycle repeats.

I’ve come up with an illustrated guide.

DawkinsCycle

(On the other hand, there’s this.)

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Comments

  1. jamessweet says

    The socks tweet is a perfect illustration of what I have to say about Dawkins’ controversial tweets: The guy acts like a 73-year-old Oxford professor. Do we really need to say more?

    I noticed this in his books (which I loved) even before he started saying questionable/offensive things about feminism/social justice/etc. There was a pronounced “Hey you kids get off my lawn” streak that flashed through his prose here and there.

    Which is not to say that it shouldn’t be pointed out loudly and without reservation when he says something offensive or unhelpful. I’m just saying, I am confused as to a) why people are still surprised, and b) why certain people feel the need to take him seriously on these topics just because he is highly knowledgeable and insightful about other topics.

    Dawkins’ pop-sci books on evolution remain some of the best there are on the subject. And though the movement has largely outgrown his heavy-handed and un-nuanced approach, the contribution he made to atheism can never be taken away. But… he’s STILL a 73-year-old Oxford professor, and regularly acts like it. If I said, “Hey, an elderly stuffed shirt from a prestigious British institution says ‘phooey’ to feminism,” would anyone find that the least bit interesting? heh…

  2. says

    @jamessweet (#2)

    Having worked with him in a light capacity while I was an undergraduate at Oxford, I can tell you he’s exactly like that.

  3. soogeeoh says

    This “why are you surprised? … heh” feels a bit smug, and like “boys will be boys” too …

  4. UnknownEric the Apostate says

    But… he’s STILL a 73-year-old Oxford professor, and regularly acts like it. If I said, “Hey, an elderly stuffed shirt from a prestigious British institution says ‘phooey’ to feminism,” would anyone find that the least bit interesting? heh…

    I actually mostly agree with you here. I’d love to ignore The Dawk, the only problem is, those loud, dedicated anti-feminist/anti-“SJW”s types use every utterance from his mouth as a bludgeon. “Look, this INCREDIBLY INTELLIGENT person agrees with me, so clearly, we’re right and you’re wrong.” Pfft. Plato was pretty darn smart, but he thought aristocracy was the best form of government, so clearly nobody’s perfect.

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