Dawkins unfashionable already

On the irritation of some UK newspapers, and my irritation with them.

A couple of years since The God Delusion was published, and people already seem tired of the message. Quite obviously its an issue of importance to the man, and indeed it should be - if he weren't to make it an underlying theme in his newest Channel 4 series 'The Genius of Charles Darwin', it would have left a lot of people surprised, and many wondering whether he had lost tempo with the issue. The real scandal here is the position some respected UK papers are taking with their review of Dawkins first program. Certainly its permissible to have an opinion about the show, and whether thats good or bad is....well... irrelevant of my personal opinion, and they're quite within their rights to publish it.

The real problem here is the air that some of the reviews cultured, as if Dawkins was still 'banging on' about an issue that's already been flogged to death. Has it? Religion has been preached with delirious vehemence for thousands of years... why aren't we seeing a similar highbrow backlash against that? I think part of the problem has been turning an ultimately scientific issue into one of fashion and finance - done so by the media. Of course it was needed to publicize the issue, and its certainly done that: when The God Delusion first hit the shelves it was new, unabashed, daring, and it sold - to such a degree that any newspaper that slated it too earnestly stood a real danger of appearing antiquated and bitter. Are the roles really reversing themselves? Its to be believed apparently, after reading some of the 'aloof but secretly irked' reviews that floated around the UK papers in the following days:

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/libby_purves/article4474112.ece

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/arts/main.jhtml?xml=/arts/2008/08/05/nosplit/bvtv05last.xml

Bottom line, this is not a 'flares are no longer trendy' issue, and it should stop being treated as such. The God Delusion pissed off an awful lot of people when it was released, but its no good for those people to write casually disparaging reviews simply because they're still bothered by it: Dawkins latest series is about Darwin, and Darwin, his associated supporters and bulldogs were faced with nothing less than uproar by The Church. The context that the theory of evolution held when it was first broached is key to a good documentary about the man, and his ideas.

Dawkins position on religion - or more precisely, the position of a great number of people that Dawkins has publicized so well - is not yesterdays news. It will be a truly dreadful day if it ever becomes it; the problems are still here: religious wars, violent segregation in supposedly developed countries, the stifling of science, the physical mutilation of our children.... the list is long and horrific, and its so bloody archaic! And its happening right now! Enough.

Written by Tom Bates