Mockery is a game that can be played by two sides, as I endeavored to illustrate back in 2005 in a little parody of Dawkins' mockery of anti-Evolutionist Fundamentalists [HERE].
But contrary to scads of eminently rational Catholics and other Christian intellectuals who have offered serious-minded and duly argued rebuttals of the New Atheism [I won't even bother to list them: just go to Amazon and search for "New Atheism"], Richard Dawkins -- who should know better -- has long ago abandoned the chambers of serious argument for the limelight of grandstanding ad hominems, mockery, insinuation and innuendo.
“Don't fall for the convention that we're all 'too polite' to talk about religion,” Dawkins said, before urging rally attendees to ridicule Catholics' faith in the Eucharist.Sad to say, given his audience, this is powerfully effective stuff. It produces the desired effect: the smug satisfaction in those who then feel empowered by their derision of Catholics and all they stand for.
“Religion makes specific claims about the universe which need to be substantiated, and need to be challenged – and if necessary, need to be ridiculed with contempt,” he told the cheering crowd on the National Mall.
“For example, if they say they're Catholic: Do you really believe, that when a priest blesses a wafer, it turns into the body of Christ? Are you seriously telling me you believe that? Are you seriously saying that wine turns into blood?”
If the answer is yes, Dawkins suggested atheists should show contempt for believers instead of ignoring the issue or feigning respect.
“Mock them,” he told the crowd. “Ridicule them! In public!”
But it also lacks the least shred of intellectual integrity and honesty. He has chosen the tools of the classic Sophist: taking the worse side of an argument and making it appear the better through distortion and mockery over honest argument, with the goal of winning over the jury at any cost. Why? Because, like the Sophist, he no longer believes in truth, no longer knows what truth is, so that all that remains is persuasion -- not persuasion of truth by means of argument, but persuasion to agree through victory in mockery. Richard Rorty, you may recall, defined "truth" as "what your peers let you get away with saying." Dawkins has turned Rorty's definition of truth into a regular modus operandi.
Call it "science." Call it "reason." Call it whatever you want. Even call it "truth." It's nothing of the kind, but sheer hatred of truth, posturing as moral high ground. Get real. It's not hard to imagine you eventually calling for Catholic extermination camps and calling it the "greening of the planet" or "love of liberty." We're on to you, Dawkins. You're simply a poor intimidated English white boy who finds himself still trying to defend with self-congratulatory panache the dying and bloodless values a liberal agnostic Establishment. You're "age of reason" is dead. Your "reason rally" exhibits no more intelligence than the crowd at a National Wrestling Federation event.