Monday, 21 September 2015

Richard Dawkins on Twitter - nothing to apologise for

The media are at it again.  Richard Dawkins starts to discuss a controversial topic and his tweets are quoted because they seem to be either shocking or putting forward a strident point of view.  Some bloggers do the same thing, often advising Richard to keep quiet or get some sort of advice about what he tweets.

I find the reactions just a bit silly.  Richard Dawkins is an eminent scientist and science educator.  Richard is not a politician. He is not a religious leader.  He is not an elected leader of anything (at least not anything I know about).  He is an individual who is posting his opinions on an open forum.  He posts opinions which are often challenged, and he reads those challenges and sometimes changes his mind.  In doing this he is acting exactly as any supporter of reason should.

There are some who treat Twitter as a global soap-box; a place to make pronouncements, and to preach to the world your view of anything you want.  But that's a real waste.  The power of Twitter is communication, exchanges of views and feedback.  It's a source of much nonsense, of course, but it's also a source of great expertise.

If you want to treat the contents of a conversation by Richard as if they are pronouncements of doctrine then you are the fool.  If you want to get value from Richard's presence, then for goodness sake talk to him.  That's one great thing Twitter enables - conversation.

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