October 1, 2007


John Gray (Bryan Appleyard, 24th June 2007, The Sunday Times)

[John] Gray doesn’t present himself as funny, and is never reported as such, but he is very funny indeed. In conversation, he veers off into fantasies, usually about people whose world-view has collapsed. In the 1980s, he advanced the destruction of academic Marxism by publishing a review of a book entitled The Word as Deed: Studies in the Labour Theory of Meaning, by a widely ignored Hungarian thinker named L Revai, a man who had significantly influenced Wittgenstein, apparently. People wrote in to applaud this reevaluation of a shamefully underrated thinker. Some said they had known his family; others that they had met the man himself. This was strange, because Gray had invented Revai. “I was beginning to expect to meet him myself.”

It is a sign of Gray’s remarkable prescience that one of Revai’s “discoveries” was the “ergoneme”, a primitive atom of meaning that exactly anticipates Richard Dawkins’s idea of memes. “I intended it as a joke, but, sadly, he doesn’t. I intended to create something as far away from genuine science as possible, something akin to creationism or alchemy.”

Of course, Dawkins doesn't present himself as a comic either, but that doesn't stop folks from laughing at him.

Scientists Feel Miscast in Film on Life’s Origin (CORNELIA DEAN, 9/27/07, NY Times)

A few months ago, the evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins received an e-mail message from a producer at Rampant Films inviting him to be interviewed for a documentary called “Crossroads.”

The film, with Ben Stein, the actor, economist and freelance columnist, as its host, is described on Rampant’s Web site as an examination of the intersection of science and religion. Dr. Dawkins was an obvious choice. An eminent scientist who teaches at Oxford University in England, he is also an outspoken atheist who has repeatedly likened religious faith to a mental defect.

But now, Dr. Dawkins and other scientists who agreed to be interviewed say they are surprised — and in some cases, angered — to find themselves not in “Crossroads” but in a film with a new name and one that makes the case for intelligent design, an ideological cousin of creationism.

And he thinks Creationists are dupes?

Posted by Orrin Judd at October 1, 2007 6:19 PM

Is this file with Dawkins called Richard and Me by any chance?

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at October 1, 2007 10:04 PM


I read about this a few days ago and that was my reaction! Not very Bright of them, eh?

Posted by: Matt Murphy at October 3, 2007 1:33 PM