"The God of the OldTestament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully."
I have to confess that I just bought my copy on Wednesday and haven't had a chance to read it yet. (I'm still about a hundred pages shy of finishing The Ancestor's Tale.) All indicatons are that it's going to be a very good read.
Later that evening, Dr. Dawkins appeared on The Rational Response Squad show for a 60 minute round table discussion. I found it quite interesting to see him in a setting other than a standard interview or rehearsed speech. The part I found most interesting was at one point, he brought up how many of his critics say that for political reasons he shouldn't make himself so prominent; quotes like "Darwinian natural selection is what led me to become an atheist (my paraphrase, I don't remember the exact quote)" hurt the cause. He said it was a strong argument, that maybe they were right, and asked what his fellow panelists thought about it. That, to me, exemplifies good scientific/rational thinking. You must always be willing to listen to smart people and question your own beliefs and rationales. Kudos to Dawkins for being able to do that.
When I found out that Dawkins was coming to town, I started searching for just the right thing to wear. I settled on a DNA double-helix necktie. I was hoping I'd actually get to talk to him, but it soon became apparent that that wouldn't happen. After waiting in the book signing queue for 20 minutes, one of the ushers came around telling everyone that there wouldn't be time to personalize autographs and that the author would only be signing his name. "Please have your book open to the title page." At that point, my only hope was that he would appreciate my tie.
When I got up there, I told him how I enjoyed the talk, as he autographed my book. When he gave me the book back, I slowly backed away from the table. Then he said "I really like the tie."
Now I know how a star-struck teenaged groupie feels when she finally gets to meet the idol whose posters adorn her bedroom walls.
"(sigh)," he fluttered "I'll never wash this tie again."