Richard Dawkins’ Twitter Response to Paris Terror Attack

Jan 7, 2015

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44 comments on “Richard Dawkins’ Twitter Response to Paris Terror Attack

  • Charlie Hebdo Murders

    The murders were incredibly stupid. Why?

    They tar the reputation of every Muslim. Nobody wants to live anywhere near someone so touchy they murder 12 people in response to a mere insult. Innocent Muslims all over the world are going to bear the backlash.

    If you make bizarre claims such as Mohamed jumped to heaven on a horse, without any evidence to back them up, you must expect ridicule.

    Neither Allah, Mohamed nor the terrorists were in the least harmed by the insult. The terrorists are making a mountain out of a molehill. I think they imagine the more outrage they show, the more devout others will think them.

    Since they do not show respect for other religions, it is rather thick of them to expect others to show exaggerated respect for Islam even greater than they show for Christianity.

    The attack was effectively a suicide mission. The non-Muslim world will not rest until all the perpetrators are run down.
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  • The perpetrators will very likely be caught and be given lengthy sentences. You are no doubt right that innocent Muslims will bear a backlash but as you suggest that backlash will be mainly in the form of shunning Muslims rather than the sort of widespread violent reaction to the Danish cartoons and later cartoons.

    Today’s newspapers in the UK make a lot of noise about free speech and salute the courage of the Hebdo staff in defending that free speech, but I doubt any of these newspapers will be re-publishing the Hebdo or Danish cartoons that were deemed an insult to Islam. Why? Fear?
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  • The news last night also blamed the French system for not being inclusive and alienating the muslim people and therefore encouraging fanatical behaviour. I thought it was a little choice after Cameron stating the UK as a christian country, unnecessarily but am glad the question has come up. This by no means excuses the murders but might just stop a few from joining the ranks of fanatics if they think their words are being heard. It might also encourage the maturity of political involement rather than violence in the muslim community which I think is lacking in most cases.

    The non-Muslim world will not rest until all the perpetrators are run
    down.

    I think most of the Muslim world will be equally relieved…..

    Today’s newspapers in the UK make a lot of noise about free speech and
    salute the courage of the Hebdo staff in defending that free speech,

    but I doubt any of these newspapers will be re-publishing the Hebdo or
    Danish cartoons that were deemed an insult to Islam. Why? Fear?

    I think most will refute your accusation of cowardice and claim common sense…….for the time being. I don’t think any sensible person can deny that such activities cause offence, as did the Jerry Springer stage play to christians, it is the reaction to this offence that has to be separated from that.
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  • As with all terrorist attacks these are aimed at drawing all “on your side” into the fray, by broadening the target of distrust. This is the simple principle of throwing the first punch in the Cowboy saloon. This forces an outraged response and a polarisation of sides in the ensuing fracas. These terrorists fight Muslims as much or more than any other to clear away any hint of muddling middle ground. This non fundemental Islam is after all the real threat to their own fanatical ideology, the worm in the bud.

    Acts of terrorism like this are ultimately aimed at people they feel should be their own. It is an open invitation to punch a Muslim….any Muslim, and do their job of gaining converts for them. Its an attempt to press a reset button and undo the changes they deeply fear.
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  • I have been watching a tv documentary about young men being recovered after being engaged in fundamentalist groups, some of them reported that while those fundamentalists ordered them to pray, he noticed that while boys were praying, they were just talking and drinking (what means that in fact they are not truly religious afterall). A clerig that taugh those young maen what “Jhiad” is -not what fundamentalist taught them- was murdered.
    A serious problem for social sciences to tackle?
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  • I think most will refute your accusation of cowardice and claim common sense…….for the time being.

    How do you mean common sense. If you mean it is only common sense for the newspapers to self-censor in order to avoid their employees being killed, then you have a point. But this was an opportunity for them to act together in response to this terrorist attack. If Charlie Hebdo recovers from this, do you think they should apply common sense and stop publishing certain comments and cartoons? The self-censoring by most newspapers certainly makes it easier for the terrorists to pick their targets.
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  • 9
    archsceptic says:

    On the day that Islamo-fascists commit an atrocity on the strength of a cartoon slight against their fictional ‘prophet’ – scientists of democracy discover a new strain of antibiotic and detect a possible Earth-like planet orbiting a distant sun. Shame on the useful idiots who even attempt to convolute excuses for this behavior. Round about now we should be seeing some pretty vast protest marches by the moderate Muslims of Europe in a show of solidarity with their hosts.
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  • Let me balance this with an equaly strong statement of the catastrophe of silencing dissenting or disagreeable voices, the crucial need for satire and the building of a mutual culture that favours not taking offence over not giving it. For me this is a tenet of the highest order. It is the better route to mutuality and understanding by a country mile.

    I think the failure to understand that the immense power of this principle, to generate stable communities, amongst those of the middle ground of “heads down and lets just be respectful” is quite possibly the biggest roadblock to progress. In so many other areas of strong emotion we have learned that we are by our culture not to act against others when we experience strong emotions, lust, greed, hate. Emotions, however genuine, are not a license for harmful actions.
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  • Mark,
    I am so glad that there are editors that do not react like you and give these animals exactly what they want. As Phil says below, these acts are carefully planned and if you are going to wok straight into their trap then what does that make you. They want to divide and you have to counter. Its not rocket science.

    The papers, quite rightly, are arguing for freedom of speech. It is phrased that way for a reason, a common sense reason. Freedom to offend would have fewer subscribers so lets stop playing silly buggers here. There are papers and magazines that specialise in satire and more power to their elbows but papers do not specialise in offence, unless its a tasty headline to sell more papers. There are plenty of people who will NOT watch Family Guy for that reason. This does not mean that there can be no satire, just that this is not the right time. the logo should be, ‘We do not negotiate or give in to terrorists’……as always.
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  • Round about now we should be seeing some pretty vast protest marches
    by the moderate Muslims of Europe in a show of solidarity with their
    hosts

    Easier done if the hosts could separate their faith from terrorists, even if for the sake of strategy and maybe atheists can just climb down from their high horses as well…..who knows?
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  • Freedom to offend would have fewer subscribers so lets stop playing silly buggers here.

    Without the freedom to offend there is no free speech.

    There are papers and magazines that specialise in satire and more power to their elbows
    but papers do not specialise in offence, unless its a tasty headline to sell more papers.
    There are plenty of people who will NOT watch Family Guy for that reason.

    I wasn’t suggesting that newspapers should specialise in offense – but I still think they
    should have published some of the offending cartoons out of solidarity today. Nobody is
    forcing you to watch Family Guy or read satirical magazines – “stop playing silly buggers”.

    This does not mean that there can be no satire, just that this is not the right time.

    This is exactly the right time.
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  • 15
    archsceptic says:

    By definition moderate Muslim protest marchers would “separate” and distinguish themselves from terrorists, and any apologia for terrorism – that would be the whole point of a “protest march” let’s see them out on the streets. It’s strange we have also not seen in Europe, “moderate” Muslims leaving in droves to do battle with ISIS to reclaim their moderate version of Islam from these extremists. Where are they? I don’t hear a stampede.

    And what do “high horses” have to do with the price of fish?
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  • There are more of hem than you so they can’t all be wrong.

    Is there a joke I missed?
    There are way more theists than atheists but I still think the theists are all wrong!
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  • Many theists (many Muslims!) understand the crucial importance of free speech. Apologists, I repeat, are the roadblock more often than not.

    In a statement, CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad said:

    “We strongly condemn this brutal and cowardly attack and reiterate our repudiation of any such assault on freedom of speech, even speech that mocks faiths and religious figures. The proper response to such attacks on the freedoms we hold dear is not to vilify any faith, but instead to marginalize extremists of all backgrounds who seek to stifle freedom and to create or widen societal divisions.

    “We offer sincere condolences to the families and loved ones of those killed or injured in this attack. We also call for the swift apprehension of the perpetrators, who should be punished to the full extent of the law.”

    France’s Muslim leaders have similarly condemned the attack as “barbaric.” “This extremely grave barbaric action is also an attack against democracy and the freedom of the press,” said the French Muslim Council (CFCM) in a statement.

    http://www.cnbc.com/id/102318066
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  • Google “Charlie Hebdo” and select images. The cartoons are pretty raw. Lots of anal sex, analingus, nudity, I had to search quite a while to find one that would pass Canadian muster to use on my home page about the story, and even it has Jesus and Hitler. The French on them is quite different from the French I learned in high school.
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  • A caller to the CBC made the following point. This attack did not happen in a vacuum. The cartoons were just the last straw. France illegally invaded Afghanistan and Iraq and killed tens of thousands of children whose deaths were ignored in the western press. France has supported the Israel apartheid regime 100% against the Palestinians (even though Israel does 26 times as much killing). Frustration and anger at these real injustices are what are really fuelling the murders.
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  • For the Children of Afghanistan! Said no terrorist this week.

    Let’s play Trump Cards. How many children the Taliban killed? At least 132, last time I checked.

    It’s Dogma, propaganda, terror, nothing more. They want to muzzle the press the only way they know, by setting a bloody example. They demand respect like bullies in the playground, and they picked on the little smart arse.

    Charlie Hebdo doesn’t pull punches for anyone. Catholics, Muslims, Jews, France’s government, their foreign policies, Israel, the US, the EU or the UK for that matter. So why target them?
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  • 32
    Lorenzo says:

    I’ll just report Weinberg words once more: Religion is an insult to human dignity. With or without it you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.

    I think the best reaction to this sort of atroccities is to stay united. All united, independently of beliefs and etnicity or wealth: the worst thing we can do now is devide into us and them and retaliate on “them”. And we sould demand once more, even more a secular school that’s accessible to every single girl and boy. These atrocities are prevented with education -because education cures the causes: fanatism, religiousness, absolute faith.

    Islam is violent. So is judaism. So is chrisitanity. Until we’ll have those three making war to each another around the Mediterranean we shall never have peace. Humans of peace should speak out louder than they are doing, I think infact that we should roar, once more “enough with religion! Please let us in peace”. Literally, in peace.

    I’m raising a pencil now, Je suis Charlie.
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  • The islamic community of Lisbon participated in a manifestation of solidarity together with the French ambassador, a former Pres and Prime ministers, the imam encouraged the islamic community to do so, as far as he was there too and very active to clear that these are not values of islam, as far as human life is sacred, and the respect for “the other” is a duty.
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  • I have once heard the ethologist Mark Bekoff stressing vehemently on a conference “you can consider everything else as relative, but not behavior” (considering Lorenzo Weinberg quotation, one sentence that Richard Dawkins appreciates too I suppose).
    So can science be violent too, I think (I´m sure actually)
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  • I think you may be confusing Science with how people, corporations or nations often choose to use scientific knowledge.

    Science is a method, a way to go about discovering things about the world.

    In this line, to say that Science can be violent makes hardly more sense than to say that Logic can be violent.
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  • Hi Roedy,

    I agree with your comments above and in part these too, but it feels to me as though you are stopping too soon. It also happens in the context of believing a book written by a war monger who lead battle and brutally murdered many in his quest for power, he condemned to death and damnation anyone who wouldn’t go along with his delusional pronouncements. This is not some serene philosophy misunderstood by extremists, it is a dogma ignored my moderate Muslims (most I agree) but followed by these individuals. You need to include this in the big picture too.
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  • 37
    Lorenzo says:

    Humm… I don’t recall anybody ever breaking into a laboratory where Bell’s inequalities were being tested and shooting everybody while shouting “Einstein is great!”, nor I recall any part of the scientific method that invites you to do war to anybody who wouldn’t believe your results -if it were there, the guys at DAMA would have exterminated people by the millions.

    So… No. Science is not inherently violent: it doesn’t promote violence nor it encourages it in any way. Like Cantaz already said, scientific knowledge can be used to do violence, in a rather terrible way as well. But that’s not Science itself, nor the violence is done in its name. In this sense, Science isn’t any more violent than trees are, because you can beat someone to death with a wooden pole or they occasionally fall onto someone’s head.

    That said, some experiments have been violent, if not to H.S.Sapiens to other animals, and some scientific procedures have been violent. But the scientific community tends to despise such procedures and, in general, to do Science you are required to avoid violence as much as it is in your power. But, once again, it was not Science itself encouraging or promoting violence: that kind of violence was considered acceptable, now it’s no more… If anything, this shows that humankind’s morality is evolving away from violence.
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  • Exactely, science and it´s praticse are integrated in human life, cannor escape from ethics etc.
    I know a sociologist that points out differences how scientific practise was different among the former soviet union and US for instance.
    There is barbarie perpretated in name of science too.
    Einstein was indeed great when he understood than science is not appart from general human ethics.
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  • 39
    Lorenzo says:

    There is barbarie perpretated in name of science too.

    Since you claim there is, you’re ought to be able to quote some episodes. Someone doing violence in the name of Science. Like “I’m gonna kill you because Science is great and you dare disagree”.
    Which is something different from some nut saying “I’m gonna torture and possibly kill you because I hope to advance science”.
    The point I was making is that in Science there’s nothing encouraging or promoting violence, whereas in religions those elements are there. Religions do promote violence and condone it -at times, they even praise it.

    science is not appart from general human ethics.

    Of course: Science doesn’t do morals. It doesn’t even do truth (and Einstein was wrong on that… and it’s not me just telling so: there are experimental results on that matter that prove him wrong). Science does knowledge: fitting to quantitative facts of nature, predicting, explaining at times.
    I also wouldn’t use the term “ethics”… I tend to prefer “morals”, since it does not imply a theory or any organicity.
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  • (…)If anything, this shows that humankind’s morality is evolving
    away from violence”

    what means that religion included, but perhaps not if you´d consider behavior from a so relative perspective, so relative that few would dare to consider morality even exists.
    (That´s why it must be so significative that religious leaders pull insttucionalized religion appart from violence and barbarie.)
    No one can escape from doing “morals, and “morality cannot be thought appart from ethics too.

    Since you claim there is, you’re ought to be able to quote some
    episodes

    No I will not dare to quote some “episodes” (dare you to read and seach for yourself, and, of course, no one can think with words but “thoughts”, so I will not quote this time).
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  • So can science be violent too, I think (I´m sure actually)

    Not as violent as thunderstorms or religious fundamentalists though. And science is unarmed, lacking navel assets and bombers. Otherwise it may deploy forces against climate science deniers and anti-vaccination quacks.
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  • 42
    Lorenzo says:

    No I will not dare to quote some “episodes”

    That’s just too comfortable: yours is the point, thus yours is the burdain of proof.

    what means that religion included, but perhaps not if you´d consider behavior from a so relative perspective, so relative that few would dare to consider morality even exists.

    Religion is pulled around by the evolution of morality, up to a measure. Example, which is observable by anyone: LGBT civil rights. Just a handful of years ago you could get arrested and sentenced to prison if you were spotted while engaged in anything else than the purest heterosexual behavior. Now this is unthinkable in a civilized country. Christianity just had to sack it up and retreat, but they are still saying that homosexuality is immoral and innatural, in the face civil rights and overwhelming evidence. And the big fight -that, it seems, they are losing- is on homosexual marriage, which is being recognized by a coutry after another.
    What religion is doing, brilliantly, is losing piece by piece its doctrine just to be presentable. Because morality evolves and, what they try to sell in its place, is now thousands of years out of date.

    No one can escape from doing “morals”

    Science, indeed, isn’t an individual, it’s a method and a body of knowledge. All what it can do for morality is telling us where it is likely to have come from -evolution by natural selection. But that’s all: it doesn’t tell what is right or what is wrong, what’s just and what unjust.
    Of course, you have scientists doing morals, we do that all the time… but that’s not Science doing it. It’s a bunch of humans.

    morality cannot be thought appart from ethics too.

    While morality has to work and, thus, has to live with paradoxical situations, ethics is more focused at systematizing or classifying moral duties… Until now, there’s no ethics, intended as above, that doesn’t lead to some plainly immoral act. The easiest example is the Kantian ethics, by which you end up to say it’s okay to pinpoint your friend to the assassin following him, because lying is bad. Which is contrary to everybody’s moral sense. And down in the bin it goes.
    I think that, to navigate the world in a moral and just way, you cannot take any shortcut: you have to think about the problem and constantly interrogate your empathy, your innate sense of justice, your experience. You’re also bound to get it badly wrong at some point, and you’re gonna face the consequences of that. It’s hard work, which makes a moral handbook or an ethics very desirable but, sadly, I don’t think you can have that on a large enough scale to actually feel comfortable.
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  • Among the 12 victims, some of my favourite cartoonist have been murdered. I have been following their work ever since I was a child. Cabu used to draw on TV programs I followed when I was a kid. Wolinsky used to draw in the newspapers my parents read. I always admired Charb’s insolence, tenacity, courage, humour and art. Today, I feel like friends have died. They incarnated left-wing humour, anti-racism, anti-fascism, anti-capitalism, insolence and atheism like nobody else here. I never subscribed to Charlie Hebdo but I bought it from time to time and always enjoyed it. I have been crying non-stop for the last two days, and I’m now fucking furious the killers have just been shot by the police and will never be judged and punished. I was wishing them a life time of prison rapes.

    The papers here keep repeating they all are Charlie, that it was an attack on freedom of speech and the free press. Were they Charlie when it was time to publish the Muhammad Cartoons ? No ! They were cowards. Free press died on the day they refused solidarity to the Danish newspapers. Had they shown unity then, nobody would have died now. But you know, they didn’t want to offend anybody… you must respect…

    What happened was not an attack on the free press. The bastards didn’t attack Minute, the extreme-right newspaper that wants to kick all Muslims out of France. They attacked atheist blasphemers. It is an attack against the freedom of blasphemy, not against freedom of speech. But nobody publishes that here because, you know, they don’t want to offend anybody… you must respect…

    Now, the imams and Muslims organisations will call French Muslim to condemn those attacks. Bull fucking shit ! They are the same imams and organisations that sued Charlie for publishing the Muhammad Cartoons ! The only words I want to hear from their lying mouths is “It is OK, you can make fun of Muhammad”. Otherwise, they can go to their hell fuck themselves with chainsaws. I don’t want to hear a single word about moderate religions of love any more. Believing nonsense deserves no respect. Good or bad, moderate or extremist, loving or hateful, they are just plain wrong.

    But nothing is done to promote atheism in this country. We really are in deep shit. Right wing parties are traditionally Christians (though they pretend to be secularist) and left wing parties court the Muslim votes (though they pretend to be secularist). We don’t have any prominent atheist intellectuals. All the information I got on the subject comes from anglophone websites and books, and very few of my co-citizens are as fluent in English as I am (I’m a high-school drop-out but I travelled a bit)

    Only two living philosophers address the issue of atheism in their books (André Compte-Sponville, soft atheism with conservation of Christian values, and Michel Onfray, against Christian values beyond atheism) but they are no good at public promotion of atheism, which is only a minor part of their work, and their books might have been read by 5 Muslims at most. And they are not half as good as The God Delusion, which have been slaughtered (or so I’m told) by its French translator. Especially nothing is done to help closet Arab atheist in France, and when I suggested some action to the local branches of far left wing parties, I was answered that they were not going to take any stand for atheism nor against religions. Even Marxism is not any more what you would expect it to be. Anyway, criticizing Islam is systematically associated with racism under the name of islamophobia. People keep debating about religion being good or bad, but nobody discusses religions being true or false.

    I don’t know if it will ever be possible for the great English-speaking atheists spokespersons to communicate their message to the French audience or if we’ll just have to deal with our own shit waiting for a jihad or a civil war, but I feel darn lonely as a militant atheist in my country. No public figure dares to tell French Muslims that there are probably no gods.

    If anybody needs help to translate into English Chalie-Hebdo’s cartoons or puns, or to understand that “French that you didn’t learn at school, and neither did I, by the way”, please let me know. I’ll be more than happy to help. Sincerely.
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  • the Guardian, Aug 3, 2015:

    “Hundreds of civilians killed in US-led air strikes on Isis targets – report

    Airwars project details ‘credible reports’ of at least 459 non-combatant deaths, including 100 children, in 52 air strikes.”

    Do we know how many civilians died from the bombings in Iraq and Syria carried out by France?

    Has the West mourned the loss of these civilian lives, including the 100 children?

    I guess they are “unpeople”, in Orwell’s term, whose lives don’t count.
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