The Richard Dawkins Foundation For Reason And Science Website Has Been Banned In Pakistan!

If you try to access from within Pakistan, this is what you get:

The Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science website has been banned in Pakistan!

The Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science website has been banned in Pakistan!

From the email I received today:

With its religious fundamentalism and extremely restrictive blasphemy laws, Pakistan has long been an enemy of free speech. We here at RDFRS are not surprised by the banishment of our website, but we are deeply saddened for the Pakistani secularists that depend on our website for information, organizing and most importantly, solidarity.

You can help us continue to reach secularists in Pakistan and other religiously oppressive countries. Your support will allow us to build a safe community for those ostracized and isolated for their beliefs. They can ban our website, but they can not diminish our resolve to make the world safer for nonbelievers. Please, help the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science reach out to our fellow secularists in Pakistan by contributing $20 [or any amount you are comfortable with and your budget allows for] today!

Free speech, free exchange of ideas, reason and science are much more effective weapons in the fight against terrorism and oppressive, religion-based regimes than soldiers and drones. Support the cause and help save our secularism, thereby making the world a better place for everybody, as I have, by donating to today.

God Is Not Great – He Is Boring

I’m giving up on “God Is Not Great – How religion poisons everything.” by Christopher Hitchens for the second time. On my first attempt I made it to 23% on my Kindle; this time around I stuck it out to 32%.

I’m a great admirer of Hitchens, and if I were the type to cultivate heroes, he would be one of them. I’ve probably watched 20+ hours of him in various debates/lectures/interviews on YouTube and nothing is more entertaining than watching him destroy a Jesus freak with logic and merciless acerbic wit.

I don’t think there’s anything he has said that I disagree with (apart from his support for America’s unprovoked attack on Iraq, and the subsequent decade-long train wreck of a war), and there’s nothing I have said that he couldn’t have said better. I hold the man to be a true intellectual giant.

BUT, watching him demolish some poor creationist dimwit on stage doesn’t necessarily translate well to the written format. Un-reciprocated snark and belittlement has little entertainment value. While the man clearly is a good debater and wordsmith, it quickly gets annoying when he tries to make a point of, and prove, his superiority in this regard in every other sentence. It makes you look like an arrogant prick. Furthermore, this style is most probably a turnoff for the very audience he (presumably) aims to convert, which makes me doubt his motivation in the first place.

While I do not consider myself anywhere near his academic league and intellectual stature, I haven’t read anything of his that I haven’t thought, or reasoned, myself at some level, however murky and dim. He has, nevertheless, helped illuminate and clarify my own nebulous speculations, I’ll give him that.

While I enjoy him “live” and respect him greatly, there is a strong element of snobbery about him and he clearly takes some sadistic joy in figuratively disemboweling his opponents that may be entertaining in a debate, but tiresome in writing. I’m not at all sure I would have liked him in person (and he probably wouldn’t enjoy hanging out with me). I might still give one of his non-atheist themed books a try, e.g “The Trial of Henry Kissinger” or his indictment of Mother Teresa, “The Missionary Position: Mother Teresa in Theory and Practice“.

In conclusion, lest there should be any doubt; I believe the world is a better place for Christopher Hitchens having graced us with his presence, cut untimely short as it was.