Dawkins’ Oxford Book of Modern Science Writing: Why Too Many Y’s?

A review, reposted.

As you probably know, Richard Dawkins was raked over blogospheric coals for having edited a volume of science writing that includes only about 3.6% of its works written by females. The observation was first made here at hgg, and has been discussed here at The Intersection, here at Aetiology, here at Questionable Authority, at Blue Lab Coats, here by Miranda (who has a dissenting view)
and here by Drug Monkey.

I have a few brief comments and then a suggestion. (more…)

The Damage Richard Dawkins Did

And now, the final installment in this series of posts (the previous installment is here).

Picture of Richard Dawkins Scowling

This is Richard Dawkins. There are about 27,000,000 atheists and other sorts of non-believes in the United States.

Richard Dawkins didn’t do any damage to himself. Most of the people who were going to buy his books will still buy his books, he’ll continue to pack lecture halls as he travels around giving talks, and he’ll continue to have the kind of influence that he has had for several years now, which is by and large a very positive one, on the way society approaches things like religion, atheism, and skepticism.

But he has probably lost some colleagues. His treatment of both the issues surrounding Elevator Gate and his treatment of his colleague Rebecca Watson was appalling. And yes, Rebecca and Richard were colleagues. The two of them have traveled similar circuits, sat on panels together, and so on. Despite what star struck fans may think, Richard Dawkins does not actually live in an utterly different world than the rest of us. He still puts his pants on one leg at a time, and he is still part of a community of people doing similar, and overlapping things. (more…)

Making sense of our fights on the Internet

After the Big Bang, more or less evenly distributed stuff and energy somehow became slightly unevenly distributed, which caused a kind of Universal Angular Momentum to set in which gave early heterogeneity and structure to everything that existed. The lightest elements formed more or less spontaneously, but in order for heavier elements to form matter had to get sufficiently clumped in stars that massive gravitational forces changed light elements into heavy ones. Perhaps if the initial clumping and spinning of stuff in the very early universe was a little bit different, the whole universe would have come out differently, in detail if not in other more profound ways. Or at least, I’d be wearing a blue tee shirt instead of a black one right now and I’d be using vim instead of emacs to type this blog post.

When Elevatorgate happened, the ensuing Universe Known as Rebeccapocalypse was shaped and determined by a number of early events that have caused the final result … well, not the “final” result, but the result that we are stuck with as of this writing … but had those first few days of Internet activity been a little different things might have come out a different way.

Here I would like to do two things. (more…)

PZ Myers Expelled, Gains Sainthood

As you have undoubtedly heard, a group of evolutionary biologists and evolutionary biology supporters attended a showing of the movie Expelled, in the Twin Cities, last night. This group included the very famous Richard Dawkins and the only slightly less famous PZ Myers. PZ and Richard, in fact, were together in line, along with PZ’s spouse, a daughter, and a future son in law. Other evolution supporters and at least one local evolutionary-type blogger were also in line.While waiting in line and minding their own business, PZ was spotted by the Expelled! production staff, and EXPELLED from the theater!!!! Richard Dawkins and the others were not picked up by this anti-truth security dragnet, and were able to attend the show.So we have this:i-02d055cc5b725058b9704aa7abc8bbca-LOL_PZ_Myers_Expelled.jpgvs this:i-788a601c915cd0401c7bcf00842672a1-LOL_Richard_Dawkins_Not_Expelled.jpgThis could not have gone better if Myers and Dawkins had planned it. This absurd move on the part of Expelled producers, along with various internet accounts by Creationist Christian Yahoos that give patently false descriptions of the event, belie the deeply smarmy nature of American Creationist Cultism.Later that evening, a film was made in a Minneapolis Hotel Room, staring PZ Myers and Richard Dawkins. By all accounts, this film is much better produced than Expelled!. The film can be seen here. The internet is abuzz with this event. The following is a list of all of the posts I know of on the internet about this event. If you feel that I am missing something, email me! (more…)