Deconstructing Bourgeois Richard Dawkins

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The secular, capitalist system is unjust, oppressive and illogical, whilst the free market economic forces that define, drive and justify it, are inherently ‘anti-science’ in motivation (as such forces favour blatant greed over reason). Richard Dawkins is very much a product of this capitalist system, being a ‘white, middle-class (and therefore ‘privileged’) manifestation of it. He is not a Socialist in the genuine Marxist-Engels or Marxist-Leninist sense, whilst his underlying biological hypothesis of ‘self-interest’ (and ‘greed’) being the driving force behind the Darwinian process of evolution (which is actually premised upon natural selection), is disputed within British academia, as is evident from the Darwin Project’s criticism of his work. The truth of the matter is that Richard Dawkins could not have made the move from irrelevant academic obscurity into the public limelight, until a rightwing politician like Margaret Thatcher came to political power in the UK in 1979, with her particular brand of selfish conservativism and predatory capitalism. Armed with the cult of rampant individualism, Thatcher set about attacking and destroying the collective achievements of British Socialism. Thatcher sort aggressive and rightwing narratives to justify her callous attitude, and Richard Dawkins was one of the beneficiaries. His book the ‘Selfish Gene’ was released and propagated into a new climate in Britain of rightwing intolerance, aggressiveness, ignorance and naked self-interest. Just as Thatcher destroyed the British educational establishment (with Oxford Dons refusing to grant her an ‘honorary doctorate’), the work of Richard Dawkins paraded in the popular press and civil society as somehow ‘representing’ the ‘true’ face of Darwinism, (a position not accepted in the hallow halls of British academia), and which was used by the Tory propaganda machine to fool the general public into believing that Thatcher’s fascism equated with Darwin’s theory of evolution. In reality, the only correlation was between Thatcher’s fascism and Dawkins’ skewed interpretation of evolutionary science. Even today, many outside of mainstream academia mistakenly believe that the work of Richard Dawkins represents authentic Darwinian insight, when it most definitely does not.

Dawkins is popular because he appeals to the prejudices of White, middle class Britain, and the ignorance of the poorly educated and brain-washed working-class, mirroring and trumpeting racism and discrimination whilst appearing to legitimise this prejudice through a thin veneer of apparent scientific thinking. It is ironic that other than misunderstanding and misinterpreting the work of Darwin, Dawkins (who is a Zoologist by academic qualification) choses to attack religion, whilst he lords it over his ‘disciples’ like a guru whose every word is hung-on to with a religious zeal, by his obviously anti-religious followers. Anything can be criticised – including religion (which Marx and Lenin do very well) – but in so doing it is important to thoroughly understand the subject being deconstructed, and remain within legitimate academic boundaries throughout. Dawkins presents his own highly idiosyncratic view of religions, (which does not stand-up to impartial academic scrutiny), and then sets about attacking the premises he thinks he perceives, that underlie the religions he does not like. Most of the time he attacks Christianity, but in recent years his focus has moved toward Islam in what seems like a calculated effort to cash-in on the abstract ‘war on terror’ initiated by the US on any country that rejects or deviates away from capitalist ideology and the influence of US neo-imperialism. He tends to ignore Judaism because of the three related theistic religions, the laws protecting against anti-Semitism tend to render Dawkins mute in this area. His obvious rightwing Eurocentricism means that when he attempts to venture out into the world of Asian religion, his lack of genuine knowledge opens him up much more readily to immediate criticism. His ignorance about religion is laughable, particularly as his disciples vehemently (and uncritically) defend everything he says. In this regard, Dawkins has by-passed legitimate academia for the wealth generated by a popularity in the public domain that is beginning to look very much like a cult.

Dawkins attacks logic on fronts. 1) Anyone who disagrees with him is a fool, and 2) anyone who professes a religious belief is a fool. His ‘cure all’ is to state that religious belief is stupid and inferior, and that the religious way of life is inefficient, illogical, irrational and of no benefit. Marx does not make this judgement. Indeed, Marx readily admits that theistic religions are embraced by the desperate multitudes, and although likened to a strong drug (like opium), he further admits that such belief systems provide a type of relief from the suffering of life (just as opium provides a numbing of the pain of existence). Marx also acknowledges that Christianity in the West is in league with the forces of capitalism, and like capitalism, is comprised of a middle-class of churchmen and women who oppress the masses of workers who believe in theological dogma. The workers are told that if they work hard, do not complain or try to change the material injustices in this life (thus ensuring the continuation of the class system), then a reward will be waiting in heaven at the time of death. Dawkins too, has no interest in over-throwing the middle-class he belongs to, despite his attacks on religion. Dawkins wants a world free of religion, but full of capitalism and this is why his critique of religion should not and cannot be supported by Marxist-Leninists. Marx, however, does not waste his time (over than in sarcasm and wit) attacking the teachings of religion, but rather clearly explains that the mind-set that gave birth to religion was one of ‘inverted’ observation and mistaken assumption. Marx states that humanity developed religion by conflating thoughts in the head with objects or processes in the environment. The evolutionary position states that natural selection in the environment effected the development of the human body and brain, and that the mind emerged from the brain. Thoughts and feelings in the mind are conditioned responses from interacting with outer environment, whilst the brain-mind nexus builds-up, directs and monitors the inner processes premised upon these experiences. Therefore, the Marxian position is that processes in the environment led to the development of the human brain-mind, an that the mind did not, and cannot generate objects in the physical world simply through an act of concentrated will. For Marx, the abstract concept of mind is projected into the environment and mistakenly interpreted as an ‘unseen’ being that mysteriously generates and controls the world of matter.

The sophistication of the Marxist critique of religion is completely missing within the work of Dawkins. Marx suggests that the working class must educate themselves and reject the inverted mind associate with religion. This corelates with the development of a progressive and scientific mind-set which correctly understands the world, and is aware of the reality of the dialectical development of historical materialism. This is the process of the working class shedding its ‘false consciousness’ and replacing the ignorance of primitive existence with the scientific knowledge of the modern era. However, the belief in religion may continue as a personal belief within a modern society (where the ideas of the past sit side by side with the ideas of the present), with religious organisations not being allowed to interfere in the political development of a country. It is interesting to note that a number of modern religious adherents also subscribe to Socialist ideology as it rejects capitalism. Socialist thinking can be useful for religionists to purge their systems of any antiquated or oppressive elements, whilst associating the communality of religion with the Communism of developed Socialism. Both Marx and Lenin were of the opinion that as a Socialist society develops, and an eventual Communist situation emerges, the injustices within society that justify and fuel religious belief will fall away, and the conditions that generate the need for religious belief would dissipate. Religion as something ‘separate’ to society would disappear, with all the noblest aspects of religious thinking (in a secular context) being clearly evident within the material reality of Communist existence.

By contrast, Dawkins’ critique of religion is vulgar and petty, serving as it does the rightwing cause. He seeks not to understand, develop or transition religion, but stop it dead in its tracks, and wipe it out (like all good fascist thinkers who attack ‘difference’). In this regard, the rhetoric of Dawkins sounds suspiciously similar to that of the arch-Trotskyite Christopher Hitchens, and it is not beyond the realms of reality to speculate whether Dawkins is a closet follower of Trotsky. Certainly, within his book entitled The God Delusion, Dawkins follows the disinformation of US Cold War rhetoric by equating the fascist Adolf Hitler to the Communist Joseph Stalin (as if the two systems are the same and historically interchangeable). In the meantime, he continues to perpetuate the myth that secular society within a capitalist system is ‘superior’ to any and all religious codes of earthly existence. This perfect world that Dawkins so admires has seen the US kill around 25 million people around the globe since the end of WWII – an attack of neo-imperialism fuelled by the capitalist of the (secular) American State, and quite often justified on religious grounds. This is just one example of capitalistic terror inflicted by the developed countries of the West, on the lesser developed countries of the world. It would be logical to assume that if Dawkins truly possessed some type of higher insight, he would dedicate his life to revealing these injustices and working to prevent similar incidences from happening in the future, but of course, as he is invested within this capitalism, he remains silent. What he does do is assist this Western, imperialist attack upon the East by offering an attack of his own, namely upon religion, religious beliefs and religious believers. Dawkins’ critique of religion is rightwing and fascist in nature, do not be taken in by it.

 

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