Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Importance of Being a Dick

Coyne and PZ are making much of this quote from The Times in reaction to Hawking's proclamation that there is no need for a creator:

When it comes to religion, Stephen Hawking is the voice of reason. Not for him the polemical style that has propelled Richard Dawkins to the fore of national consciousness in the God debates. His argument is likely in the long term to be more dangerous to religion because it is more measured than The God Delusion.

Irritating, I know, since Dawkins' arguments are generally pretty measured. But I have an alternate take on this quote. This quote actually demonstrates just how successful Dawkins and the other Gnu Atheists have been, and reaffirms their importance!

Without books like The God Delusion entering the public consciousness, can you really honestly picture a major newspaper reacting positively to Hawking's proclamation? They'd be painting him as the mean nasty atheist who is spoiling all of the fun, rather than revering him as the wise and humble oracle who perhaps we ought to listen to after all. The public perception of Dawkins, regardless of its accuracy, paves the way for mainstream media to embrace messages like this.

I have written before about the importance of a multi-pronged strategy for social change. This silly little opinion piece from The Times just goes to show how crucially necessary such a strategy is. We need the entire continuum ranging from Mooney to Hawking to Dawkins to, well, someone like Pat Condell.

Without dicks, we are lost.


  1. I think the Team America World police quote from Gary sums it up pretty well.

    "We're dicks! We're reckless, arrogant, stupid dicks. And the Film Actors Guild are pussies. And Kim Jong Il is an asshole. Pussies don't like dicks, because pussies get fucked by dicks. But dicks also fuck assholes: assholes that just want to shit on everything. Pussies may think they can deal with assholes their way. But the only thing that can fuck an asshole is a dick, with some balls. The problem with dicks is: they fuck too much or fuck when it isn't appropriate - and it takes a pussy to show them that. But sometimes, pussies can be so full of shit that they become assholes themselves... because pussies are an inch and half away from ass holes. I don't know much about this crazy, crazy world, but I do know this: If you don't let us fuck this asshole, we're going to have our dicks and pussies all covered in shit!"

    I won't say who is the Team America, the Film Actors Guild or Kim Jong Il, since examples are trivially easy to find.

  2. Heh, I almost referenced the Team America monologue in my original post. GMTA, eh?

    The main reason I didn't is that ultimately I think that monologue, as hilarious as it was and as applicable as it is in general, seems to justify some pretty objectionable consequences of the Neocon agenda. Parker and Stone are great at taking demagogues down a peg or two -- but whenever they try to express an affirmative political opinion, I almost always find myself facepalming excessively.

    But yeah, what you said.

  3. Yeah, a lot of South Park is like that too.

    I think you are right though, and what bothers me about Plait's "No Dicks Allowed" speech. Even the most strident and "dickish" Gnu Atheists don't say "everyone be a bigger dick". There is a whole wide spectrum of approaches, and plenty of people have a hard time saying even the mildest things without getting all kinds of flack from believers about how mean they are.