Hrm. Well. Since so many people are emailing me about this (I guess the book is officially out now, since so many are reading it), I’ll come clean: I am mentioned briefly but flatteringly in Dawkins’ new book, The God Delusion(amzn/b&n/abe/pwll). I’ll spare you all the mystery, and quote it here, blushingly. It’s on page 69, in a section titled “The Neville Chamberlain School of Evolutionists” (no, I’m not one of the members, I’m a critic; but as you can tell from the title, it’s a strong criticism of a school of thought that says we must appease the fence-straddlers who fear the godlessness of evolution). He cites a couple of things I’ve posted here: The Dawkins/Dennett boogeyman,
Our double standard, and
The Ruse-Dennett feud.
A page worth of the relevant section is quoted below the fold. Hey, if you like it, buy the book!
The Guardian journalist Madeleine Bunting wrote an article
entitled ‘Why the intelligent design lobby thanks God for Richard
Dawkins.’ There’s no indication that she consulted anybody
except Michael Ruse, and her article might as well have been ghost-written by him. Dan Dennett replied, aptly quoting Uncle Remus:
I find it amusing that two Brits — Madeleine Bunting and
Michael Ruse — have fallen for a version of one of the
most famous scams in American folklore (Why the
intelligent design lobby thanks God for Richard Dawkins,
March 27). When Brer Rabbit gets caught by the fox, he
pleads with him: ‘Oh, please, please, Brer Fox, whatever
you do, don’t throw me in that awful briar patch!’ —
where he ends up safe and sound after the fox does just
that. When the American propagandist William Dembski
writes tauntingly to Richard Dawkins, telling him to keep
up the good work on behalf of intelligent design, Bunting
and Ruse fall for it! ‘Oh golly, Brer Fox, your forthright
assertion — that evolutionary biology disproves the idea of
a creator God — jeopardises the teaching of biology in
science class, since teaching that would violate the
separation of church and state!’ Right. You also ought to
soft-pedal physiology, since it declares virgin birth
This whole issue, including an independent invocation of Brer
Rabbit in the briar patch, is well discussed by the biologist P. Z.
Myers, whose Pharyngula blog can reliably be consulted for trenchant good sense.
I am not suggesting that my colleagues of the appeasement lobby
are necessarily dishonest. They may sincerely believe in NOMA,
although I can’t help wondering how thoroughly they’ve thought it
through, and how they reconcile the internal conflicts in their
minds. There is no need to pursue the matter for the moment, but
anyone seeking to understand the published statements of scientists
on religious matters would do well not to forget the political context: the surreal culture wars now rending America. NOMA-style
appeasement will surface again in a later chapter. Here, I return to
agnosticism and the possibility of chipping away at our ignorance
and measurably reducing our uncertainty about the existence or
non-existence of God.
That’s it, a brief mention…there’s a few hundred pages more that don’t mention me, just to put it in perspective, OK?