Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Honey Man vs. Occam's Razor

I've been criticizing identitarians (aka Social Justice Warriors) quite a bit lately, but what about their arch-nemeses the New Atheists? I've been documenting both sides of this public idiocy coin for a couple of years now, including their mutual contempt society.

So what have those New Atheists been up to?

Well it appears that Sam Harris is continuing to be a complete asshole but I will have to address that later because right now

Richard Dawkins is still obsessed with Mohammed Ahmed, the kid who was arrested when his Texas school teachers thought the clock he made for a class project was a bomb.

Now I'm sure Dawkins has heard of Occam's Razor, which is:
(a) principle stated by the Scholastic philosopher William of Ockham (1285–1347/49) that pluralitas non est ponenda sine necessitate, “plurality should not be posited without necessity.” The principle gives precedence to simplicity: of two competing theories, the simpler explanation of an entity is to be preferred. The principle is also expressed as “Entities are not to be multiplied beyond necessity.
The simplest explanation of Mohammed Ahmed's arrest would be this:
Conclusion: a Texas school's fearfulness over a teenager's science experiment led to an over-reaction and then an unsurprising lawsuit. 

Simple right? Or maybe just too simple for an Islamaphobe like Richard Dawkins. Dawkins was known as an Islamaphobe long before he ever heard of Ahmed Mohammed.

Using nothing more than hunches and suspicions Dawkins, supported by his sycophants and cheered on by right-wingers, has attempted to turn it into something much more complex. 

Dawkins tweeted his evidence-free suspicion that Mohammed Ahmed is not the victim of misjudgment but the perpetrator of a deliberate media scam.

Then, because the clock was not proven to Dawkins' satisfaction to be sufficiently original, Dawkins accused the kid again without any evidence of being the perpetrator of a deliberate hoax

The Twitter-verse, rightly, mocked Dawkins for his absurdity in picking on a 14-year-old kid's failure to live up to adult standards of inventiveness.

But Dawkins remained convinced of the kid's nefariousness and so when Mohammed's parents sued the Texas school district, Dawkins was ready to pounce.

First he doubled-down on the conspiracy theory that the kid deliberately made the clock look like a bomb.

Now remember, Dawkins never presented any evidence that the kid was a deliberate perpetrator of a clock-hoax or a media scam. He simply proceeds as if it was a settled case.

The real lesson Dawkins appears to have taken away from the negative response to his September tweets was that people dislike him for suggesting that a kid could be criticized like an adult. 

And so in order to demonstrate the children are just as culpable as adults, he tweeted this immortal tweet:

Now there are several things to note about this.

First, Dawkins seems to think that a 14-year-old is the prime instigator of the lawsuit against Texas. And because he makes this bizarre assumption, he then suggests that Ahmed isn't really a minor - by putting "kid" into quotes.

Second, he suggests that the 10-year-old in the photo is also culpable for his actions, even though the caption for the photo itself  - which Dawkins provided - says "child executioner... being forced by Isis militants to decapitate his victim.

It's as if Richard Dawkins does not come from this planet, and doesn't realize that minors generally are expected to obey the adults on whom they are dependent. In Mohammed's case, his parents, in the ISIS child's case, murderous extremists. But Richard Dawkins apparently feels that for being in a situation where they obey the will of their elders, children are no longer "kids."

And somehow Richard Dawkins and his followers are so mind-bogglingly obtuse that they believe that it's just wacky that the famously Islamaphobic Dawkins could be criticized for comparing Ahmed to an ISIS forced-murderer kid. Dawkins keeps insisting that it has nothing to do with both being Muslim, just that they both happen to be minors.

"All" Dawkins did was say that Ahmed and the ISIS kid were equally culpable for their crimes. Except of course Ahmed was guiltless of a crime. Except that Richard Dawkins persists in believing he is guilty of a crime. 

Now in spite of Dawkin's dark insinuations about Ahmed, what he keeps harping on the most is that Ahmed did not employ sufficient creativity in building his clock and yet referred to it somewhere as his "invention."

What Dawkins and his followers appear to be unable to grasp is the absurdity that a celebrity scientist is spending his days criticizing a teenager for either bad word choice or boastfulness. A teenager who did nothing  legally wrong and would be unknown still except for his wrongful arrest.

However this isn't the first time that Richard Dawkins used his celebrity to criticize a nobody. People in the atheist community are well aware of Dawkins role in "elevatorgate."

In 2011, Rebecca Watson, known only in atheist circles, complained in a video - very briefly - about a guy hitting on her in an elevator and Watson said "guys don't do that." And this one tiny thing caused Richard Dawkins to have a hissyfit - the story is told here on Watson's blog The Privilege Delusion. As a result of going up against Dawkins, Watson was inundated with rape and death threats that went on for at least three years.

Richard Dawkins finally apologized in 2014 for his Dear Muslima letter, although vaguely - it was too little too late, Watson had already been terrorized by his slavish fan-boys.

So Dawkins has a history of using his celebrity to pick on nobodies for petty reasons. And Watson was attacked by fellow atheists who had formerly been part of her in-group. Ahmed Mohammed was already a member of a hated minority in Texas before Dawkins began to smear him as a criminal mastermind. And at the present time the leading Republican candidate for president, Donald Trump, has suggested that there be a special database to track Muslims
On ABC News’ This Week, host George Stephanopoulos asked Trump, "You did stir up a controversy with those comments over the database. Let's try to clear that up. Are you unequivocally now ruling out a database on all Muslims?"
"No, not at all," Trump responded. "I want a database for the refugees that -- if they come into the country. We have no idea who these people are. When the Syrian refugees are going to start pouring into this country, we don't know if they're ISIS, we don't know if it's a Trojan horse. And I definitely want a database and other checks and balances. We want to go with watchlists. We want to go with databases. And we have no choice."
Trump’s exchange with Stephanopoulos seems to be the clearest explanation of his position. No, he would not rule out a database on all Muslims. But for now, he wants a database for refugees.
And in such an environment, with such slavish followers, Richard Dawkins is attacking this nobody Muslim kid, implying he's guilty of crimes and should be considered culpable for them as an adult. And he seems to be implying that the fact that the kid's parents are suing for due process violations indicates he is guilty of all Dawkins' insinuations.

What could possibly go wrong?

Dawkins got lots of well-deserved criticism for his insanity on Twitter and on web sites such as NYMagazine: Richard Dawkins Is Really Committed to Calling Muslim Clock-Making Kid a Liar.

Now in spite of the fact that Richard Dawkins has become batshit insane out of fear of Muslims, he's also been very irritated by airline security procedures - something that you would think he would appreciate. So when they took his honey, he became furious and began a series of tweets that came to be known  "honey gate." My favorite response to Dawkins' self-importance was this:

I should mention that I despised Richard Dawkins long before he ever got a Twitter account both because of his advocacy of evolutionary psychology and my personal run-in with him on the Pharyngula web site. That was back in 2009 when everybody still thought Dawkins was a cool guy. Now everybody except right-wing Islamaphobes and hardcore New Atheists know that Dawkins has lost it.

One more thing before I finish with Dawkins - I notice that critics for the New York Times revere New Atheists. A review of Dawkins recently publish memoir begins:
Some lumbering robot, this Richard Dawkins. “Lumbering robots” was one of the ways in which this scarily brilliant evolutionary biologist described human beings vis-à-vis their genes in “The Selfish Gene,” his first and probably still his most influential book — more than a million copies sold.
Yeah he's scarily something. I wouldn't say brilliant.

More of my thoughts on Richard Dawkins elsewhere on this blog.