Monday, October 10, 2011

Bill O’Reilly crushes Richard Dawkins

He says so and you can’t say it if it’s not true, right?

He does no such thing, of course. He misrepresents the book as some kind of atheist plot to mock god and when Richard says no it isn’t and explains why, Billo just says yes it is.

It’s physically painful to watch Bill O’Reilly in action.  He famously calls his show a spin-free zone, but it’s manifestly festooned with spin.  His claim to have ‘crushed’ Dawkins aside, he begins by claiming that Richard is on a crusade to “convince believers they’re idiots.”  That’s not spin?  How about introducing him as “atheist Richard Dawkins”.  Not “biologist Richard Dawkins” or “author Richard Dawkins” or even just “Richard Dawkins”.  Bill thinks that “atheist” is an unpleasant epithet and will influence his audience’s opinion of what follows.  Isn’t this the very definition of spin?  That’s why I called him Billo earlier: it makes him sound like a clown, which is what it is.  That’s spin.  I just don’t claim I don’t use it.

Bill then says that Richard’s book mocks god. He doesn’t provide any evidence for this.  He doesn’t even provide an example.  In his mind, saying that science can explain something is mocking god.

There’s an extraordinary part where Richard explains the format of the book.  He says that every chapter starts by describing a myth. Billo the Clown points at him and bellows “HA!” and smiles in a self-satisfied way as if that somehow proves his point.  From then, he’s relentless.  The fact that Judeo Christian myths are in a tiny minority in Richard’s book is a matter of ‘semantic games’, according to Bill.  What Richard really wants to do, despite The Magic of Reality not being about that at all, is to tell people they’re idiots if they believe in god.

Well they are, but the book is about science.  It’s about good and bad reasons to believe things.  Bill is just lying.

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