Dawkins cleaning off his shoe
On the surface it appeared Richard Dawkins signed an online petition to the Prime Minister of England, calling for restrictions on religious teaching of children. In fact, that was a sub-clause of the petition and when Dawkins learned of it, he withdrew his signature and disavowed the petition. Meanwhile, a fascinating discussion of the tension between civil liberty and the protection of children from religious dogma sprang up over on Dispatches, including explanatory responses from Dawkins himself. Very interesting and thought-provoking stuff: Dawkins and the religion petition.
(The thread is about an hour’s worth of reading at this time, with Dawkins’ entries toward the end. It will probably get longer. Update links below the fold.)
Updates: not a shining example of professional disagreement…
PZ Meyers (no fan of Ed Brayton, he) weighs in on his own blog with Never let facts get in the way of condemning Dawkins.
And Brayton tries to see if he can piss farther; Dawkins repudiates signature, PZ still lying.
And over on Panda’s Thumb is Richard Dawkins’ official statement on the matter (along with some other commentary from Nick Matzke). The whole post “Divided by a common language: Richard Dawkins clarifies his position” is definitely worth reading. I think this sums it up nicely:
“…Bloody hell! All that storm in a teacup for nothing! If only the petition had been worded properly in the first place … And if only I had read it more carefully … And if only Brayton had read it more charitably … No wonder lawyers and diplomats need special training. I’m out of my depth here.”
- Richard Dawkins
And Ed Brayton responds to Richard Dawkins: My letter to Richard Dawkins (beginning to sweep up some of the rubble now)