Put my comment in the thread already : “Richard Dawkins, what on earth happened to you?” by Eleanor Robertson in The Grauniad. Stick to the science, Dick.
Don’t know enough about Ms Robertson as to why she gets to publish a personal tirade against the individual, but the point is real (of all the 4, 5, 6 horsemen, not just Dawkins).
To say x is bad, y is worse, presumes bad and worse are some objective measures that lie logically related along some common scale. x and y are different sure, but they’re not to be reduced to objects.The value judgments depends on whose perspective and a lot more than are found in your philosophy (of science) Mr Dawkins.
The Eagleton quote is spot on. The horsemen should stick to their science, and show a little humility – given their public profiles – when launching beyond science, pushing scientism where its contribution is doubtful, even laughable.
His logical point that a statement about B says nothing about a previous statement about A – is true enough. His (scientistic) error is to pick an example topic where simple logical objective points are least relevant, and to be ignorant of the error or its significance. That’s the recurring error of all the “horsemen”, and the reason it brings the anti-personal reactions it does, rather than well-reasoned arguments. That argument is about what a well-reasoned argument is, and their capital error is the arrogant belief that science holds a monopoly on rationality – scientism.
[Followed-up by Dawkins here. Where, to be fair, he does emphasise his logical point about the X and Y statements. Rather than apologise, after all it’s OK to cause offense in his world, he does acknowledge that the subjective personal violation examples he chose as illustrations, could have been reversed without invalidating his original logical point. Which shows PRECISELY that these non-scientific examples cannot be decided / ranked / valued by his scientific logic – merely expressed as vacuous logical examples of no real world value – opposite statements having equal value, logically, scientistically, in the real world beyond science. THIS is what his detractors (me included) are railing against. Stick to the science Dick, or wake up to the real world. ]