Friday, October 13, 2006

day two: the book snob


This afternoon a friend of mine, a very close friend who I have great respect for, sent me an excerpt from an inteview with Richard Dawkins, a noted scientist who gained recognition with his evolutionist theories. Now, I am in awe of Dawkins intelligence. His mind is flaming red with brilliance. And I also am keen to his theories of evolution, finding them an insightful as well as intellectual argument for the scientific definition of why we are.

He is also a raging atheist, which I don’t mind, as I have nothing invested in the idea of a God nor religion whatsoever. My friend, on the other hand, is a God hating troll, cursing the idea and anyone who believes it. This is also fine by me. It takes all kinds, right?

But this bit of interview made me sort of annoyed. I thought it seemed not only unenlightened, but sort of fascist as well. Read on:

Interviewer: it's interesting that you link those two words -- intelligent and atheistic. Are you saying the more intelligent you are, the more likely you are to be an atheist?



Dawkins
: There's a fair bit of evidence in favor of that equation, yes.




Interviewer
: That sounds like an elitist argument. Do you want to cite that evidence?




Dawkins
: It's certainly elitist. What's wrong with being elitist, if you are trying to encourage people to join the elite rather than being exclusive? I'm very, very keen that people should raise their game rather than the other way around. As for citing the evidence, a number of studies have been done. The one meta-analysis of this that I know of was published in Mensa Magazine. It looked at 43 studies on the relationship between educational level or IQ and religion. And in 39 out of 43 -- that's all but four -- there is a correlation between IQ/education and atheism. The more educated you are, the more likely you are to be an atheist. Or the more intelligent you are, the more likely you are to be an atheist


Now, the fact that he mentions the Mensa Magazine immediately set alarm bells off in my head. Can you be more of a pretentious douchebag please? Still, fair enough, I’m sure he reads it and is most likely a member, so fine, name drop your holier than thou rag, douchebag. But the tone he took I found quite offensive, and thoroughly condescending, to say the least. (also, to cite a study that only involved 43 couples is just dumb, or misleading, if you ask me. But I’m not a scientist, and many can attest to that.) Saying youre an athiest and have done enough research to prove this to yourself is fine, to say that everyone else should rise to your intelligence and denouce their God though, well that’s just plain ignorant.

I would assume that the more intelligent one got, the more they understood that not everyone can reach the same stratum of intelligence. The more educated one is, the better viewpoint they would have, the better understanding of the human condition they would have, the deeper tolerance they would have towards society. To actually propose that those that don’t have the same beliefs and ideas as you, are wrong, is sorely unenlightened, to say the least. With intelligence should come a further depth of sympathy, beyond the instinctual, moral obligations one has for their peers. With intelligence one should process more easily, the trials of others. It should be a deeper concern, as one gets more intelligent, not what others are thinking, but why they think it.

I asked my rabid, god hating friend why Dawkins would have such an ferociously narrow point of view, when it seemed to me that as he was vastly smarter than most people. Why would he even consider the notion that people who believe in god raise to his level of intelligence and thus, let go of their faith, when it seemed perfectly reasonable to not only accept them as intelligent human beings, but to let them believe in a higher being if it got them through the day. They believe in god, they aren’t stupid.

It seemed incredibly arrogant to me that Dawkins would take this stance. The only thing that seemed almost as arrogant was man saying he was created in Gods own image.

In any case, I figure that even though Richard Dawkins would intellectually intimidate me if I ever met him, I would still think he was a douchebag and try to find I way to tell him so.

And I don’t know if there is a God, and I don’t really care to tell you the truth, but I do think the human mind is an immensely powerful organ, and we should try to use it more, if only because it really is the only thing we have to offer. Regardless of belief, it is our duty, if nothing less, to explore the blemishes of history and, to some extent, accept our future will be impaired. Our not. Do as you will. The world will spin nonetheless.

1 Comments:

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:gray matters: by jkg is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at downtownalleys.blogspot.com.