He is the champion of science, the talismanic leader of atheism, a hero of reason and logic. For most atheists and anti-religious groups the word of Richard Dawkins is similar to that of the word of Jesus to his disciples, divine.1
However, is he closed-minded?
Between the years of 1995 and 2008 he held the role of Professor of Public Understanding of Science at the University of Oxford and wrote his famous book “The God Delusion”.2 These two actions seem to echo hypocrisy, as how can someone who is meant to “communicate science to the public” also single out a large sect of the populace as fundamentally being wrong? Instead of engaging the public, this had an adverse effect of disengaging people who believe in God but also have an interest in science. He has created a precedent that says if you believe in religion/God you cannot be a true scientist.
Science should be communicated in a way that emphasises the underlying beauty of the natural world and entices people to do further personal research, not as an ideological battleground for two warring factions. Dawkins has fallen into a trap where his strong personal ideology has blinded him from communicating science to the whole public, rather only to people who agree with him. He has created a personal profile of condescendence and superiority that causes people to reject his view of science rather than embrace it.
Take for example his recent tweets on Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai. When the award was announced he immediately congratulated her but later tweeted:
“Of course Malala is religious now but give her time she’s only 17 & getting the education she fought for on behalf of girls like her.” 3
Even though it is not science related, it illustrates how he patronisingly puts across his view that religion is something that people can simply outgrow with the right education. This is one of many examples of Dawkins expressing his opinion in a manner that alienates people and destroys a platform for reasonable discussion, be it in religion or science.
If Richard Dawkins really is, as some people view him, the champion of science then he ought to place more emphasis on communicating the beauty of science rather than the faults of religion. He is closed minded to the extent that his books and speeches are doing more harm than good for science.
- http://www.newrepublic.com/article/119596/appetite-wonder-review-closed-mind-richard-dawkins – Last accessed 12/10/2014
- http://www.simonyi.ox.ac.uk/previous-holders-simonyi-professorship – Last accessed 12/10/2014
- @RichardDawkins – Twitter – Last accessed 13/10/2014