Sunday, November 18, 2007

world's most useless public intellectual?
I’ve just seem Richard Dawkins’ “ The root of all evil?” sometime after it was broadcast, I know, and my overall impression was that it was a waste of time. Dawkins’ sole point seems to be that Faith is irrational and belief isn’t based on evidence. Cue a wide variety of people telling Dawkins what they believe while he tells them that it’s irrational and that it isn’t supported by evidence. But pointing out their irrationality isn’t going to make any difference to the vast majority of believers, is it? It’s the same with conspiracy theories, any “evidence” you present to the contrary is simply sublimated into the belief, you’re an agent of the Devil trying to test someone’s faith or a stooge and dupe of Official History.

What there absolutely isn’t in “The root of all evil?” (and why the slightly cowardly question mark?) is any kind of structural analysis. Religion, especially in its fundamentalist modes is on the rise everywhere, the UK has more faith schools than ever etc. OK. Why? If Dawkins’ notion of the meme is to be believed then it looks largely like religion is the mother of all memes, still kicking every other belief system’s ass, including evolution's, everywhere from Tulsa to Tehran. What can we do about that then, Richard ? Err.....says Richard. How do you account for this retrograde step in evolutionary terms? This is the passivity at the heart of Darwinism, a variation of the Dialectic, there is an invisible force winnowing out the wheat from the historical chaff. We enlightened atheists must simply lead the others out of error to allow the proper "unfolding" to continue. This is a pretty pitiful notion of agency, live within truth and all is made right. I guess Dawkin thinks he’s not Anglican in the same way John Gray thinks he’s not a Neo- Liberal.

Of course, within the life-world of a scientist science assumes the role that Religion has for the believer, but we can’t all be scientists. Asking us not to be religious is asking us also to abandon a practice and Dawkin has nothing to offer us, as non-scientists in the face of this desolation, simply because he lacks at every level, at every point where his argument could develop, a politics. Without a politics the argument is banal and repetitive, deadlocked. To what extent is the rise in Fundametalism, the "narrativization" of science etc related to late Capitalism/ Neo libleralism? I waited for him to mention Communism. Surely he will at some point, I imagined. Nope.

If “The God Delusion,” is more of the same you can happily keep it off my Christmas list dear Blogreader.


dejan said...

Carl Dawkins is even more anal-obsessive than David Cronenberg. At least Cronenberg clysmatises himself through ass fantasies. But these laboratory types, they can't blow off their ass steam in any other way but TALKING. In effect their discourse becomes scatological to the nth degree. The meme that Dawkins is really searching for is a really big throbbing shaft up his overly tight rear end; who knows he might even see God for a fleeting moment before he passes out.

(You can notice a similar bowel structuration in certain strands of vulgar Marxism

dejan said...

luciano said...

Ditto! And a round of applause!!

Jake Smith said...

Isn't Dawkins just another fundamentalist believer? You could apply a lot of his arguments on him. Darwinism is just a theory after all.

Anonymous said...

well, no, he isn't " just another fundamentalist" and no Darwinsim isn't " just another theory", but those aren't my objections to Dawkins, my objection is that the political and social expression of the rationalist/ atheistic/scientific worldview is largely Communism and that the deeply relitivized, religion tolerant world he is exasperated by is one of the manifestation of Late Capitalism.. but at no point does he even approach considering this..