Monday, September 21, 2015

Imagine That The Emeritus Chair For The Public Understanding of Science Slamming a Budding Geek For Doing An Engineering Project*

It's not every day that I can endorse what Mary Elizabeth Williams says but I agree with her about those great big tough guy "rationalists" Richard Dawking and Bill Maher using their fame and vastly over-sized reputations to go pick on a skinny, geeky, 14-year-old high school Freshman over his clock making project which he brought in to impress his Engineering teacher.   And to do it even as that other flamer, Sarah Palin was making similar veiled accusations based on the kid's ethnicity and color should put a dent into their vastly over-sized reputations.   Really, grown men, one of them an emeritus quasi-faculty member at Oxford University, for pity sake, bullying a 14-year-old boy.

I came to the conclusion yesterday that the kid was pretty much the adult in the situation, the one who said his clock was a clock, at no time calling it the bomb that the ENGLISH TEACHER, not the Engineering teacher, suspected it was.  Really, the principal should have called in the Engineering teacher to verify that the thing was what the kid called it if he had any suspicions.  I assume he has more competence in such stuff than the, what is it, four or five cops they called because the English teacher was afraid that the clock was a bomb when it beeped in her class room.   I hope all of the educators learned something from this.   I will exclude Dawkins from that wsh because, given his position, he doesn't deserve the title, educator.   He's a vector of bigotry and he has been one for pretty much the entire thirty or so years.  I wouldn't be surprised if that's not where Maher picked up that anti-social disease from Dawkins.  

What I thought of when I read that was the part of that great American novel, Dear Mr. Henshaw when Leigh's lunchbox alarm lay between him and his lunch the first time he'd set it.   Imagine if that teacher had been in charge of the lunch room that day.  The plot line would have been a lot different, Imagine what would happen if the kid had done this suggested school project?  He'd probably have gotten led off in cuffs when he was in fifth grade.   You  have to wonder if there is another category of crime forthcoming, carrying a lunch box while Muslim.  I'm surprised Dawkins and Maher haven't joined up with Palin in proposing one.   I have pointed out a number of times that neo-atheism is a lot closer to neo-fascism than they'd like to admit.

It has been more than ten years since I read Dear Mr. Henshaw to my niece, one of the truly great pieces of American fiction from the last half-century.   Young Leigh learns something in the course of the book.   Some people learn, some just become celebrity atheists and FOX level pundits.   I'm going to go read it, again.  Maybe someone should hand them a copy.

*  But, maybe it's understandable.  I don't get the impression from any of his writing that Dawkins ever does much with his hands to test the ideas he just cooks up out of conjecture.

Update:  Hate Mail - Well, of course he suspects someone else of thinking it's all about him when Sims knows it's really all about HIM .   It's rather hilarious for a guy who makes Zaphod Beeblebrox look self effacing to make that particular accusation.


  1. Now the popular argument is that Ahmed took a clock apart and put the pieces in a pencil box (some still call it a briefcase, although it's only 8 inches wide according to the website that says he took a clock apart).

    It is apparently impossible that, with all the DIY sites on the intertoobs, he could have cobbled together a clock with some electronic bits from Radio Shack, rather in the way we used to make crystal sets according to directions in "Boy's Life" decades ago. Or that this kid figured out for himself what to put together to make a clock.

    No, the only possible answer is he took a clock out of its housing. An old clock, something from the mid-80's. Because that's much more plausible.

    Besides, it doesn't make the brown kid look smart.

    It's not about race because it's never about race.

    1. And that's known because these people have, actually, seen the thing he built up close and checked it all out, right?

      Isn't it amazing how many alleged adults are obsessing over this. It's really no different from the "Obama birth certificate" in its motivation. I'm taking this as evidence that the neo-atheists are really just the flip side of the Palin-right. A 14-year-old boy and they're ganging up on him like Scut Farkus and Grover Dill. And Dawkins and Maher are supposed to be the cream of the intellectual crop. Looks more like crop failure, to me.