Obdormio.com Unwasted Hours

20 February, 2012

Serious Business: Richard Dawkins’s Family Tree

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — Obdormio @ 00:00

Someone twittered an article from the Telegraph, regarding Richard Dawkins.

My knowledge of Richard Dawkins is perfunctory at best. I haven’t read his books, nor the books arguing against him; I haven’t seen him speak, nor read many interviews with him; and I don’t really know what it is he does with his days. I think I have caught the gist of his opinions, from general cultural osmosis, but I am by no means educated enough on them to say anything useful about them. Luckily, this particular post requires me only to know that he is a controversial man and that he makes some people very angry.

Which brings us to the Telegraph article, which reveals, with an almost palpable glee, that Richard Dawkins’s ancestors owned slaves.

So what?

Seriously, so what? I mean, slavery is obviously a terrible thing and not something to tolerate, but how on Earth can Richard Dawkins help the fact that his ancestors did bad things? What is accomplished by throwing it in his face? How is it different from blaming Benedict XVI for the actions of Lucuis III? (An example, I should hasten to add, I just made up, which has no relation to anything Dawkins has said, since I don’t really know what Dawkins has said. See the second paragraph.)

The excuse for the article seems to be that Dawkins’s family is still rich from that past exploitation, a claim Dawkins refutes in his response to the article. In lieu of actual numbers, my instinct is to take his word for it. So what’s the point of it all?

I suspect I disagree with many of Dr Dawkins’s views, and should I ever find the time to educate myself on the finer points of them, maybe I’ll even write about my disagreement, but there has to be better ways of expressing disagreement than this. Especially if you’re an actual, real press newspaper. It just seems so childish, it’s hard to understand how it got published at all. Even if it turns out Dawkins still owns a giant estate somewhere where slaves are literally buried in the foundations, the article is more interested in embarrassing him than in revealing any real issue.

I don’t know much about the Telegraph either, really, or the British newspaper scene in general. Just from the apparent vendetta against Dawkins, I deduce that they’re on the conservative side of things, but this sort of article surely cannot be the norm? Either way, what a terrible first impression.

Powered by WordPress