The biggest of the false promises of a less religious world was that everybody would be a lot more rational and less prone to superstition and irrational behaviour as belief declined. In 2006 when Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion was published, one could almost be forgiven for thinking this was true. With the (highly exaggerated) threat of Islamic Terrorism being the strongest example used to buttress their arguments. Not even twenty years have passed since but this time has seen a sharp decline in the amount of people professing religious faith or belief in God. Yet, it would be hard to argue that society has since become more rational in parallel with this decline.
The recent withdrawal of an award given to Richard Dawkins twenty five years ago by the American Humanist Association is excellent proof of this.
This is not the first time he has fallen afoul of freethinkers for his freethinking. A decade ago he was in similar trouble for rightfully dismissing the the hysterical reaction of some purple-haired harpy to being invited to have coffee by a (no doubt) unattractive man in an elevator. This was in 2011 and this also happens to be about the time where I noticed the crowd that supposedly valued reason becoming more and more loopy. This was mostly to do with feminism and racial issues and as of writing, it has got considerably worse and is ever accelerating.
Richard Dawkins has caved every time he has been called out for things like believing in the biological reality of male and female as the Christians he’s spent most of his public life ridiculing do. Things have now come to a point where freethinkers as they were in the 90s and early 2000s look more like conservatives which they are not now and never were. This is also because conservatives (much like Dawkins), retreat whenever they’re attacked.
Part of this post is indeed me mocking the sad state Richard Dawkins has found himself in at the end of his life. But if he had any humility (and I genuinely hope he has some), he could perhaps view this as a mercy. It is a mercy given him that his more courageous and far more likable ally in the atheist movement never got. Christopher Hitchens died in late 2011 when the fruits of their labour were beginning to ripen. His own brand would have never survived the feminist scolds today and he would have found himself more and more embraced by the conservatives who held him close to their bosom when he advocated raining fire down on the Levant.
Richard Dawkins, like Hitchens, only believes in eternity in the form of a legacy and unlike Hitchens, is alive to see it unravel before his eyes. I wasn’t even aware this organisation or award existed but I’m sure he was and quite proud to receive it at the time. What is still more amusing is his apologies were considered insufficient which makes him look even more pathetic to his growing list of enemies as well as his dwindling fan base.
On the subject of his fan base, their common physiognomy is something I was unfortunately not aware of when they were at the peak of their self-righteous stridency in the early 2000s. As frumpy scold’s “awful” experience in the elevator suggests, the kind of men who go to atheist conventions are almost uniformly unattractive — their physical appearance matching neatly with their obnoxious personalities. Something the younger me really wishes he’d realised when they infested message boards fifteen years ago. None of them are what I have described as honest atheists.
If he has the sense to realise it, Richard Dawkins will count this as a blessing. He has enough time left as of writing to change his ways. No matter what he does, his books will not be widely read or remembered in the future. Not even the swelling masses of irreligious have much patience for those who define themselves by the emptiness of their souls. I am confident Richard Dawkins books will be read in the future but not by who he would have ever hoped to. I expect religious scholars will occasionally open the few remaining copies stored in universities in order to better refute error — not that his arguments were ever that sophisticated.
The only way Dawkins can have any lasting legacy in this world would be to give what would be an astonishing mea culpa before he passes (as he believes), into nothingness. To say he was wrong and hopefully to repent and convert to true Faith in Jesus Christ. It would be unlikely of course but it is far more likely than the future Dawkins and his faithful had in mind when they began their anti-religious crusade.