Hey, look, Richard Dawkins is being bashed again; this time by Deborah Orr:
As Dawkins must know, the difference between fairy stories and religious belief is that there comes a time in a person’s life when societal consensus deems it no longer seemly to believe in the former. Likewise, no one would find it cute if they moved in with their boyfriend, only to find that come Christmas he was hanging out his stocking and leaving a glass of advocaat for Santa. There is no such consensus over belief in God, far from it. No British prime minister and no US president has thus far agreed with Dawkins that belief in God is silly and irrational.
A claim is irrational when it has no supporting evidence whatsoever (god and Santa being fine examples).
Back to Orr, who kept on bashing Dawkins:
But I don’t think it’s quite time yet to berate believers as nothing but tiresome fools. Apart from anything else, there are still too many of them, and some of them are still too powerful. It’s easy to be brave when the consequence is a high public profile and continued book sales. Dawkins proselytises from a very safe place. A lot of people still live side by side with militant theists, and it makes them horribly vulnerable. That is no fairy story, made to be brushed aside. That is a fact of life on Earth.
I haven’t seen Dawkins berating believers as tiresome fools. I’ve seen him berate belivers’ beliefs as follies… because they’re. People deserve respect, but their ideas don’t, beliefs are fair game — that’s how democracy and science progress: by questioning ruling ideas, testing them out against our accumulated knowledge and letting people know how that turned out.
And yes, there are still too many believers and they’re too powerful, but were it not for Dawkins, there would be still more of them, and more powerful, and we wouldn’t have anyone as clear headed and with such a broad audience as Richard Dawkins to counter them.
I’m sorry miss Orr, but you can’t have it both ways: without Richard Dawkins powerful religionists would have it easier than they do and we atheists would have it a lot harder than we do, and many of us would be a lot more vulnerable, whether you like this fact or not.
(hat tip to José Fernando Flórez)