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Jul 03 2012

Richard Dawkins: A most popular figure

Richard Dawkins was on Aljazeera’s The Stream last week. I was invited on a Google+ panel to ask questions, though I was only able to ask two.

Anyone who watched it could plainly see the programme’s bias in favour of religion. Look no further than the title labelling Dawkins a ‘polarising’ figure and the opening comment about his being called an ‘atheist fundamentalist’, which is of course the religious lobby’s sad attempts at equating atheism with Islamism and religious ‘fundamentalism’. Not that any of the bias was able to stop Dawkins from giving his usual brilliant responses.

But seriously, comparing Dawkins’ children’s book on science with religious indoctrination, saying Islam and science were compatible and that the barbarism of Islamism was the result of atheism and secularism surely had to be some of the most absurd assertions ever made by apologists for religion and Islam.

There is still much to say about the claims made in the programme by both hosts and guests and hopefully one day soon I will attempt to respond to the Islam-related ones but for now, if you haven’t seen the clip, watch it.

As an aside, the restricted format of the programme made it difficult to respond to Dawkins’ kind words about me and thank him. Suffice it to say that I have been walking around with an extremely large head for the past few days…

9 comments

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  1. 1
    Martin

    I thought it was a really good performance by Richard, and great to see you get some airtime too, Mariam. Credit to Aljazeera for doing the interview and allowing quite a few secular and atheist folks to make their points and ask questions. I wonder what the audience size and makeup is for The Stream.

  2. 2
    Raging Bee

    Good for Al Jazeera for admitting atheists exist. Once again, that network proves itself better than any of its US competitors, even when it’s spinelessly repeating all the usual blather about “atheist fundamentalists” and whatnot.

    Quite frankly, I’m surprised they did this at all. Al Jazeera is funded mainly by a rich zillionaire in a Muslim country, who could easily find himself stuck between bigoted radical Muslims and bigoted corrupt Saudi oligarchs who can’t really stand up to the bigoted radical Muslims. If they go any further in admitting atheists exist and actually have something important to say, the next bomb that blows up an al Jazeera office won’t be coming from the US.

  3. 3
    Reginald Selkirk

    Nice job.

  4. 4
    LP

    I hope religion goes away completely so people will finally be allowed to use their minds.

  5. 5
    Martyn

    That was an interesting watch.

    I loved Richard dawkins response to the suggestion that Islamism is a pushback against secularism @ 20:03.

    He says; ‘And if you took that at its logical conclusion, we’d all shut up and stop talking any sense for fear provoking other people to talk even worse nonsense than they already do’.

    He was so calm as he said it. I couldn’t help but LOL.

  6. 6
    OhioAtheist

    It was nice to see the clear question/response format. I can’t stand shows where people are constantly interrupted and talked over.

    I was glad to hear him stress that “secular” is not “atheist”. Now if we could just get people to understand that “atheist” is not “nihilist”.

    And congrats on the compliments from Dawkins! I’d clip that part and put it on an electronic picture frame that plays video ;-)

    1. 6.1
      Maryam Namazie

      Electronic picture frame… How did you know?

  7. 7
    Ara Bilgin

    One of the absurd remarks offered by a Californian partcipant (certainly a moslem) on Al Jazeera’s Stream stated that during the early days of secularization in Turkey women wearing islamic attire were killed just for that reason. Yet no such incident ever occured in Turkey but many such slanders were fabricated by the neighboring Arab countries to defame Ataturk’s reforms in Turkey.

    1. 7.1
      Winterwind

      I had heard that soldiers were ordered to pull headscarves off women’s heads if they saw veiled women in the street. I don’t know if that’s true, but it’s at least plausible, whereas the story of killing them is harder to believe.

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