Monday, June 15, 2009

Reviewing Richard Dawkins

It's always good to receive comments on old posts. As well as being a reminder that these don't just disappear into the ethers, it brings back to mind the topics I've felt were important. I received a couple of such comments recently, on a post from January 2008. I'd been complaining bitterly about Richard Dawkins and his treatment of astrology. As this is an on-going debate - as far as I know he hasn't changed his stance on the topic - I decided to re-air that old post along with some of the comments received. I didn't include a natal chart in the original post, so here's a 12noon version for Dawkins' date of birth, in Nairobi, Kenya - 26 March 1941. I can find no time of birth, so ascendant and exact Moon degree remain a mystery.

Stand-out feature, for me: there are no planets in an Air sign. Unless his ascendant is in Air, it's a missing element in his makeup....which is a bit odd as he fancies himself as such an intellectual. He's certainly not a free-thinker though. Those three stubborn Earthy Taurus planets could present a kind of barrier to his three Pisces planets which, in most cases would indicate someone with at least a passing interest in the paranormal/astrology, maybe even someone who had psychic ability.

POST FROM January 2008:
I tripped over this video of a BBC TV programme in which Richard Dawkins derides and tries to discredit astrology, psychics and belief in the paranormal. I forced myself to watch it to the end, even though it made me angry.

Richard Dawkins claims to be scientifically minded, and a seeker of "the truth", but in investigating astrology he insisted on discussing only the Sun sign variety. If he has done even minimal research, he will know that this isn't the fair and reasonable way to investigate astrology.

Astrologer Neil Spencer was very patient, as shown in the programme, but in my opinion he was far too nice. He reminded me of many American Democrats - no fighting spirit, too passive. But perhaps this programme was edited to exclude anything which could put astrology in a more positive light.

Richard Dawkins is making money from his books and TV shows. In my opinion he's doing so just as fraudulently as some less genuine psychics conduct their businesses. He is not giving viewers the full picture, not presenting sufficient information for them to decide for themselves. He cherry picks those parts which are negative, to support his own skewed opinions.

Why hasn't some brave astrologer stood up and told him that he doesn't know everything about the universe and its workings? Astrologers don't know either, of course. They don't know now, and they didn't know in past centuries. What astrologers could, and can, see is that something is going on. Something, using astrology's main principles, works. Something relies on movements as recorded in an ephemeris.

"Because something is happening here
But you don't know what it is
Do you, Mister Jones?"
(Bob Dylan)

A set of astrological tools has been developed over many centuries, these tools are all there is with which to make any semblance of sense about that elusive something.

I believe the future will reveal the source of that elusive something. Some tools astrologers have used will become redundant, new and more efficient ones will replace them. This is my prediction, and I'm sticking to it. What we now call astrology will, one day, be found to be a small part of the way the universe works. Richard Dawkins and I will not be around by then though. I shall never have the satisfaction of seeing him eat his words.

SOME COMMENTS dated from January 2008 to June 2009
I've omitted most of my own responses to the comments, as they were mainly in thanks and agreement. I've added hyperlinks and an image of the chart that commenter Rog kindly provided via a link.

Out the Comet's Ass said...
Thanks for the video Twilight. If his practice of Science is as superficial as his understanding of Astrology I don't think we need to worry what this guy "thinks." I think he's just a "Pop" scientist. People go for 20 years to a psychotherapist and don't improve at all. I wonder why these guys don't attack the psychologists. That seems much more criminal.


January 08, 2008 Adrian Fourie said...



February 01, 2008 Rog said...
The "God Delusion"'s 'mother of all burkas', the dramatized hyperbolic metaphor by Richard Dawkins.

Using the 'artistic expression' of Dawkins as astrological (alchemical) material for chart rectification we get a chart like this:
Click to enlarge

I wonder if he knows when he was born...too bad we'll probably never find out...:)



November 21, 2008 Twilight said...
Interesting, Rog. I get a distinctly Virgo feel to the man, his voice and manner of expression.
But he annoys me so much that it's impossible for me to be objective! ;-)


November 22, 2008 Gabriel Pender said...
I have done a bit more detailed natal chart for Richard Dawkins. I discovered to no surprise that he is an Aries with a Moon in Pisces and an Ascendant in Pisces. Goodness Gracious Me!!! It's no wonder people are so damn well swayed by his projected ideals because Aries are very persuasive. They can have very black and white views without seeming arrogant. Because he has a moon and rising in Pisces which notably represents scepticism he achieves success in flaunting his very skewed ideas of astrology to those who bother to listen. Like the main writer of this article stated he didn't confront astrology in full total. I wish some very genuine astrologer would have a good hour talk on that TV show "Ted". I wonder how many people would turn up to listen to it. A Nobel Prize winner once said "If people think as much to astrology as there is, then there would be no need for any other science, yet if it were little as people think it is then it would not have survived for 6000 years". Hopefully the Age of Aquarius will sort everyone out.


June 08, 2009 Rog said...

I think that I find comfort in viewing our all-too-human attempts at faithfully describing what-goes-with-what-and-why as basically a 'religious' exercise. So, Science is but part of that mental spectrum--the part with most (if not all) of the truly objective evidence....:) To not concede this 'truth' is itself a kind of unforgivable 'blasphemy', a flaunting of one's weak reasoning skills, and essentially of no service to the greater good.
I never forget that my affection for astrological 'truth' is but an informal membership in a theocratically inclined bunch of radical dogmatists...a political party of sorts...none of who I actually agree with of course...:) Astrology belongs to Art , not Science. Art, itself, is no less than the 'reason' for all of creation. In short, I would rather watch how Dawkins unconsciously expresses his natal chart, and simply enjoy this feeling of having earned, for myself, an holisitic, priviledged, sacred, perspective...rather than trying to imagine the egoistic and unholy task of re-creating that particular man in my own image...:)


Shawn Carson said...

Have to admit that i was blissfully ignorant of this guy until i read your story and watched the video called enemies of reason. So glad that i did! This guy completely turned me around! Oh, sure, I have studied this topic for twenty years, and misguidedly thought there may be something to it, but his extremely scientific methods of having random people read their sun sign horoscope from a popular magazine, and letting them determine the accuracy of it is sheer genius. No wonder this guy is one of the leading scientists of our day!
The truth is that he is one of the biggest charlatans of our day, and i would put him in the same class as Rajneesh or and other hucksters who are attempting to line their pockets by peddling their own line of religious bullshit.
This guy has about as much depth as Jennifer Aniston or Suzanne Somers, and is way more shallow than even Oprah, for goshsakes!
The Rolling Stones sang that "every cop is a criminal" , and Dawkins is no better than a common con man who was apparently born with a silver spoon in his mouth. He could just as easily use that suave personality to sell used cars, and would achieve a higher rung on the evolutionary ladder in doing so.
The most aspected planet in his chart is Mars, which is part of a grand trine and also a t-square. He tried to bait the astrologer into participating in his own version of 3 card monte by challenging him into some rigged game, in much the same way as policemen try to bait their suspects into giving up their own rights. Thankfully the astrologer was way ahead of Dawkins and called him on the carpet as a mischief maker. He uses that arrogant smug personality and education of his to try to make
people feel stupid for not agreeing with him in much the same way as low level salesmen try to sell their wares by making one feel that they would be stupid to pass up such a great deal.
As you mentioned, this guy has no planets in air elements in his horoscope. A Jungian type of astrologer would read that as the psychology of compensation. In other words, Dawkins feels intellectually insecure and so he has gone and got himself some fine letters to tack on to the end of his name, from a well respected institution of higher learning, and even went and wrote himself a book! Now, no one could dare call him a dumbass, right? What a dumbass!
The sad truth is that the vast majority of people still exist in the same sort of herd mentality that Dawkins sells, and now he is recognized as a leading scientist, and is no doubt trying to line his pockets as quickly as possible, before he is discovered for the empty suit that he is.
Now see how you've gotten me all stirred up, Twilight!

anthonynorth said...

From the occasional comments of some who have been on his documentaries to counter his arguments, they are wasting their time. Editing seems to always be on his side.
If true, a worrying aspect, this.

Twilight said...

Shawn ~~~ LOL! LOL! Oh my! I love that comment! It should be framed and put on sale at e-bay.

Thanks, Shawn - you made my day!

Twilight said...

AN ~~` Really? That accounts for a lot. I shouldn't be surprised though. Integrity is a hard come-by characteristic among those peddling the hard skeptic/sceptic line.

Charlotte said...

Have you ever noticed the TONE of this idiot's "style"? He sounds like an immature undergraduate. Which he should have stayed. Which is his target audience, no doubt.

Twilight said...

Charlotte ~ Hi there. sorry for the delay in posting your comments. We've been away for a couple of days.

Yes, you're right about this guy's tone. I find him absolutely annoying on all levels. I wish he'd have chosen some other subject upon which to pontificate, then we could completely ignore him. ;-)