Sunday, August 03, 2008

Dawkins and Tebbit on multiculturalism

Richard Dawkins makes a scathing attack on Islam and multiculturalism in today's Sunday Times:

"Islam is importing creationism into this country," he says. "Most devout Muslims are creationists – so when you go to schools, there are a large number of children of Islamic parents who trot out what they have been taught."

"Teachers are bending over backwards to 'respect' home prejudices that children have been brought up with," he says . "The government could do more, but it doesn’t want to because it is fanatical about multi-culturalism and the need to 'respect' the different 'traditions' from which these children come. The government – particularly under Tony Blair – thinks it is wonderful to have children brought up with their traditional religions. I call it brainwashing."

"It seems as though teachers are terribly frightened of being thought racist," says Dawkins. "It’s almost impossible to say anything against Islam in this country, because [if you do] you are accused of being racist or Islamophobic."

This last point is particularly important, because when Norman Tebbit pointed in the early 1990s to the failure of certain immigrant communities, and Muslims in particular, to integrate into British society, he was roundly slandered as a racist. Tebbit pointed out in 1991 that "some of [the immigrant communities] insist on sticking to their own culture, like the Muslims in Bradford and so forth, and they are extremely dangerous."

Whilst the introduction of creationism into British schools concerns Dawkins, it is the strain of fascist ideology in modern Islam which motivated the suicide bombings of July 7th 2005, and thereby poses the greatest threat to our liberal society. With some justification, Tebbit now feels that his warnings have been vindicated:

"I do think had my comments been acted on those attacks would have been less likely."

"I've been opposing the concept of a multicultural society for 10 years or more and that's because a multicultural society is an impossibility.

"A society is defined by its culture. It is not defined by its race, it is not a matter of skin colour or ethnicity, it is a matter of culture.

"If you have two cultures in one society then you have two societies. If you have two societies in the same place then you are going to have problems, like the kind we saw on July 7, sooner or later."

Dawkins and Tebbit united then, in their attitude to Islam and multiculturalism? It is interesting how external and internal threats are capable of making very strange bed-fellows...


Jonathan said...

Yes, It's interesting how sometimes very different motivations in the cause of speaking out against Islam's ambitions do not prevent a united voice in the criticism.

Islam, it seems, can often attract such a 'uniting' force amongst its critics. Secular atheists and born again evangelicals, after all, often say very similar things when they are only speaking about Islam's secular-temporal effects.

It's also interesting, though, how we somehow feel it's weird that we might find ourselves agreeeing with someone (ie Dawkins) over one thing (Islam), but then disagreeing over another (i.e metaphysics..I don't care about 'creationism' as it happens). Why is this? As if we should expect that we should agree with people in all matters if we are to agree with them in some (the 'party political imperatives' in knowledge factionalism, as it were).

It might be nice to think that atheistic, secular rationalism could be a viable block of resistance to Islam, but I doubt very much that it could be, or will be. While I grant that that in-itself is not a viable argument in favour of Christian metaphysics, or non-Islamic spirituality in general, it's still something I believe.

Islam's appeal, amongst other things, is to the heart and the soul. And if you are not a highly erudite, clever academic, or more generally someone given to rationalism per se, you might find that you cannot live by scientific theory alone, and that you want to look to something more holistic to fill the void in your soul, if you feel yourself to have one.

I guess I'm just hoping that something other than Islam can fulfill that need.

Anonymous said...

Richard Dawkins developed the idea of religions being similar to viruses in the way they spread, and in 1989 he introduced a new word for such mind-parasites - 'memes' . But he wasn't the originator of the idea, which was first put forward by Winston Churchill, who compared Islam with the rabies virus:

"How dreadful are the curses which Mohammedanism lays on its votaries! Besides the fanatical frenzy, which is as dangerous in a man as hydrophobia (rabies) in a dog, there is this fearful fatalistic apathy. The effects are apparent in many countries; improvident habits, slovenly systems of agriculture, sluggish methods of commerce, and insecurity of property exist wherever the followers of the Prophet rule or live...

"No stronger retrograde force exists in the world. Far from being moribund, Mohammedanism is a militant and proselytizing faith. It has already spread throughout Central Africa, raising fearless warriors at every step. Were it not that Christianity is sheltered in the strong arms of science, the science against which it had vainly struggled, the civilization of modern Europe might fall, as fell the civilization of ancient Rome."

Note Churchill's reference to science. Until the beneficial effects of the scientific and technological revolutions began to feed through in the late seventeenth century, Europe was always in danger from Islamic attack. Following the high-point of Islamic aggression at the Siege of Vienna in 1683, Europe's growing technological superiority in weaponry gave it the upper hand against Muslim savagery - a supremacy which has endured until our present ongoing defeat at the hands of suicidal multiculturalism.

Jonathan said...

And yet note also Churchill's general belief in providence and a higher power; and implication in what you quote that western civilisation is intimately tied in with Christianity.

I do not, myself, see an effective defence against Islam rising in the West except through a strong Christian revival of a type (a somewhat transformed type I would wager)- especially in Europe. This will both not be anti-science in the ridiculous ways so much media hyped religiosity is these days conceived to be, and will be rooted in widely felt, direct transcendental experiences felt at the individual level.

So no more hidebound, servile allegiance to assertions of faith not deemed credible or believable, then. No more of that exoteric husk of a merely commemorated, ritualised faith of our ancestors.

Actually and ironically, one of Islam's missionary strengths, I
believe, is that it doesn't really need you to believe in God
that much, just that you say you do and perform your duties and behave in the prescribed, and not in the proscribed ways.

Christianity, however, to be itself depends expressly on
an interior sincerity and authenticity of commitment.

I respect Dawkins when it comes to his honesty regarding his own lack of personal spiritual experiences. Obviously, why should you believe in the existence of God if you feel no reason to. I just dont see why he has so sweepingly to dismiss the integrity of the experiences had by others of the transcendent.

A pity you are anonymous anonymous, well, if you had an interesting blog etc.