April 24, 2013

More on Dawkins. Morekins.

A further thought upon my blog post about Dawkins last week.

I made a suggestion that Richard Dawkins should stick to spouting wise about evolutionary biology instead of burping out whatever thought comes into his head about feminism, Islam and all the rest. I also, maybe as a lemma, suggested he wasn’t worth listening to unless he was speaking about evolutionary biology. But this isn’t strictly true and kind of poisons the well somewhat.
See, Dawkins is actually good at writing and research. Even when he writes outside of biology, his back-of-the-book bibliography is still ten miles long. His writing in The God Delusion was forceful, but generally considered. This comes with the benefits of writing a book. With a book you spend time scouring resources, references and witnesses; you can do rewrites and edits; you get peers and editors to check your work. By the time you’ve actually published your book, you’ve produced a (hopefully) finely honed piece of work.
Tweets are often none of the above. Dawkins’s tweets in particular tend to be whatever idea has rolled over inside his brain at any particular moment. Due to Dawkins’s quite substantial credentials and following, he tends to think every thought he has it worth sharing. It is not.
I guess we’re just not used to seeing raw Dawkins (Rawkins?) and perhaps this is a good opportunity to learn a valuable lesson in:
a)      Research
b)      Editing
c)       Peer Review
d)      Arrogance
e)      The old classic, ‘Engage Brain Before Opening Mouth’

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