Wednesday, 22 February 2012

The Revd Dr Giles Fraser. Twat.


Over the years this blog has been in existence - on and off - I have generally tried to keep my personal opinions of other people's idiocy out of things. Unsuccessfully, I'll grant you - especially as regards Esperantists, cyclists who wear lycra, Italian leaders and Simon Jenkins - but there has been some attempt at least.

And I freely admit that this is partly because explaining my admittedly unusual (yet entirely rational) position as a church-going agnostic positivist takes a lot of time and is prone to frequent interruption.

However, there are times when one has to deliver the bitch-slap, with however heavy a heart, and last week was one of those times. Radio 4 had invited vacuous trendy vicar The Revd Giles Fraser to confront laser-guided Professor Atheist Angrypants Dawkins himself on some pointless survey or other about how many of the population are Anglicans (I answer "yes and no" to this one, myself; a position of which the C of E heartily approves and frequently takes itself).

Dawkins pointed out that a large number of alleged Christians cannot name the first book of the New Testament. Fraser then countered with an undergraduate debating-society cheapshot by asking Dawkins whether he could recite the entire title of Darwin's 'Origin of Species'. Dawkins promptly marched into the heffalump trap by saying he could, and then failing to do so.

Here's what he should - with the benefit of hindsight - have said:

"It matters not a whit whether I, or indeed anyone alive today, can remember the title of Darwin's 1859 magnum opus, nor even whether we have read it. And this is because science is not a religion, Darwin was neither prophet nor evangelist, and Origin is not a holy book. If you ask me to explain how we know evolution to be true, I would not start with a reading from Darwin, nor would I ask you to accept everything he wrote on faith. We would instead look at evidence. That is how science works. And furthermore, the best evidence we can show today was unknown to Darwin in 1859. Our understanding of the genome lays clear things that Darwin glimpsed but through a glass darkly. Thousands of transitional fossils are available in museums across the world which were still in the ground in Darwin's time. Christians, however, need the Bible because Christianity necessarily relies on revelations and faith. Without the book, there is nothing. Without Darwin's book, we can still show overwhelming evidence for evolution. So fuck off."

7 comments:

No Good Boyo said...

Well said, Gyppo! This Giles fellow is the worst sort of weedy Anglican, all CND and scarcasm towards his scientific betters. Still, Dawkins should have spotted that incoming, which suggests that perhaps he has yet to evolve fully, and our descendants can look foward to an Ueber-Dawkins the like of which we can only imagine. Something like Terminator 2, but with a library.

Scarlet Blue said...

Dawkins should employ you as his managing agent.
Silly of him to be drawn into a squabble such as that, he must have been very frustrated.
They should have settled their disagreement in the playground over a game of conkers... but probably couldn't due to health and safety issues.
Sx

Gyppo Byard said...

Boyo - the technology already exists to genetically engineer a race of Superdawkinses. So why hasn't it happened? I blame the alien space-lizards...
Scarlet - I imagine that after the live-broadcast fiasco the heavily soundproofed corridors of Broadcasting House rang to the sound of Dawkins yelling "OH BOLLOCKS!" for quite a while, while Fraser may have imploded due to smugness overload. Still, on the blogosphere it ain't over until everyone has commented on it...

M C Ward said...

Here here, I commend your comments to the House. I'm not one to batter religion, but the second paragraph of this article made my blood boil - "pastors" letting their superstitions take precedence over their duty of compassion to a fellow human being - and a helpless child at that: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murder_of_Victoria_Climbi%C3%A9#Post-hospital_events

M C Ward said...

Here it is again, courtesy of tinyurl: http://tinyurl.com/7w4sczn

The Jules said...

Do you know, Richard Dawkins has tree-dwelling primates in his ancestry, and he inherited his opposable thumb from them so you have to take anything he says with a pinch of salt.

Gyppo Byard said...

Mr Ward - indeed. A full and frank coverage of priestly idiocy would be beyond the powers of any one writer.

Jules - Indeed. And how ironic that taking a pinch of anything is an option only available to those with opposable thumbs. Just as only primates and others with full colour visions (mantis shrimps, for instance) can see red.