Culture & Ethics
Richard Dawkins Compares Rabbi to Hitler, Then Refuses to Apologize
Richard Dawkins just can’t seem to keep his foot out of his mouth. He has spent the last several weeks trying to recover from his embarrassing interview in the film Expelled where he concedes that intelligent design is a scientific hypothesis after all — so long as you limit the intelligence being studied to space aliens. Now, after denouncing Expelled as “wicked, evil” and an “outrage” for pointing out that Darwinism was one of the intellectual influences on Nazism, Dawkins has compared a popular Rabbi who dares to criticize him to Hitler! And he did it no less on World Holocaust Remembrance Day. No, I’m not joking. As I’ve said before, it’s getting really hard to parody the Darwinists. They do it so well themselves.
Dawkins’ latest target for invective is Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, one of America’s most popular rabbis. Rabbi Boteach is skeptical of Darwinian evolution, and he’s a critic of Dawkins’ effort to misuse science to disprove theism. In a speech last year at a conference where he appeared after Dawkins, Rabbi Boteach picked apart Dawkins’ misuse of science. That was too much for poor Prof. Dawkins, who a few days ago denounced the Rabbi’s comments as “a shrieking rant, delivered with an intemperate stridency of which Hitler himself might have been proud.” But the only ranting going on here is by Dawkins, who apparently has never listened to a recording of a speech by the real Hitler. Had he done so, he might have refrained from making such an over-the-top (not to mention tasteless) comparison. (Judge for yourself whether Rabbi Boteach’s speech reminds you of Hitler by watching it here.)
But there’s more. When Boteach criticized Dawkins for his rhetorical overreach, what did Dawkins do? Apologize? Of course not! Dawkins dug himself an even deeper hole. On May 8, he publicly responded to Boteach that he “did not say you think like Hitler, or hold the same opinions as Hitler, or do terrible things to people like Hitler. Obviously and most emphatically you don’t.” Although this wasn’t exactly an apology, at least it was civil. But Dawkins couldn’t help himself, and so he started up again:
I said you shriek like Hitler. That is the only point of resemblance, and it is true. You shriek and yell and rant like Hitler… throughout your speeches you periodically rise to climaxes of shrieking rant, and that is just like Hitler. Incidentally, Dinesh D’Souza yells and shrieks in just the same way. I suppose it impresses some people, although it is hard to believe.
…when you turn to the subject of evolution, you don’t know what you are talking about, so you yell and shriek to make up for it. Maybe yelling and shrieking works with an ignorant audience. It apparently worked for Hitler, but that is not a happy precedent. You should know better. Go and read some books about evolution, learn something about biology, and you’ll then find that you can talk about it in a calm and civilised voice.
You’ll find that you won’t need to yell and shriek like a madman, and you’ll be all the more persuasive for it.
Where is the Anti-Defamation League when you need it?