'All the world's Muslims have fewer Nobel Prizes than Trinity College, Cambridge. They did great things in the Middle Ages, though.'This was a tweet sent by Richard Dawkins. This has now escalated into a predictable torrent of commentary where one of Britain's leading scientists and promoters of scientific reasoning, and atheist, is being attacked by halfwits such as Owen Jones who retorts,
"How dare you dress your bigotry up as atheism. You are now beyond an embarrassment"Slightly less neurotically, another commentator opined,
'...some are accustomed to Dawkins being a bit of a troll. But this, in its deliberately obtuse (say what you like, but Dawkins is not a stupid man) baiting, was a new low...I have never seen much point in Twitter. It acts as an infinite cyberspatial conduit for masses of drivel and pointless statements to be made that need not. It encourages spur of the moment comments and immediate spontaneous reactions that bring out the worse in human beings.
if one is to try to address what Dawkins is really trying to say, which is that Muslims as a unit throughout history have done nothing since the Middle Ages, and that is clearly attributable to their stupid religion, then one must point out that a Nobel prize is not by any means a suitable or universal enough criterion.'
Twitter limits all utterances to 160 characters. It may well be useful to receive hyperlinks to other social media networks. But the very instantaneous nature of it can stimulate flash mobs who try to cause revolutions in Moldova to riots on the streets of London in 2011.
Surely, the whole problem with taking one statement on Twitter and spinning it into an entire pseudo-debate about what he really means is that those doing so are doing exactly what Dawkins wants-indulging in the usual outrage which Dawkins then sees as proof that he must be right.
The only discussion worth considering in relation to this statement is whether Islam has tended to retard the development of science in the same way that Dawkins et al have claimed Christianity did. But Twitter is simply no way in which to promote reason and discussion.
Technology cannot be disinvented but Twitter seems to be a largely negative development. It seems Dawkins uses it simply to wind people up the better to get people to react angrily so he can later pick off the irrational reactionaries and watch the 'politically correct' tangle themselves in knots towards Islam.
It's boring and conducive only to letting off of the repressed hysteria that is boiling under the surface of Britain's supposedly civilised society. There is little that is more tedious than watching bored people in a dull and largely docile consumer society latch onto anything to get their adrenalin kick.
This in itself is far more worthy of analysis than any possible 'message' a Tweet from Twitter could possibly convey. Why can't people just switch it off? Is it really so important to people's lives? It seems to feed online pyschopathologies both in what is sent and with the desire for outrage at something.
There is something weird and deracinated about Britain in 2013. It seems to consist of large electronically linked tribes who are roaming the land in search of an experience that will take them out of the mundane shell of their everyday lives and beyond into a realm of conflict and, perhaps, even violence.