NEW YORK -- Distinguished Oxford Professor Richard Dawkins has faced some erudite adversaries during his career. Bristol Palin, offshoot of erstwhile Republican Vice-Presidential nominee Sarah, is not one of them.
After the evolutionary biologist appeared on Irish TV last week, junior Palin voiced her upset in a blog post in which she accused Dawkins of “defending radical jihadists” as part of his agenda to advance his own “radical agenda.”
Speaking to host Gay Byrne on the (ambitiously titled) show ‘Meaning of Life,’ Dawkins explained how religion pushes good people to do evil actions. He said:
They themselves might not be horrible people. They might be actually very righteous people. They believe they’re doing right. I think the 9/11 hijackers all sincerely believed that they were doing the right and proper moral, religious thing. They were not in themselves evil. They were following their faith. And faith is pernicious because it can do that to people. It can do that to otherwise decent people.
Byrne countered that dictators, such as Stalin, Mao Tse Tung and Pol Pot were all atheists. “They did horrible things and they were horrible people,” replied Dawkins, “But not in the name of atheism.”
However, Palin insisted that Dawkins was “downplaying” the evil of the 9/11 hijackers. “The radical atheist ends up defending the radical jihadists, because according to his crazy ideas, they aren’t evil -- they were just brainwashed,” she penned. “This is an extreme misunderstanding and underestimation of our dangerous terrorist enemies.”
Palin continued: “This is the problem with radical atheists like Richard Dawkins. Their agenda is to attack people of all faiths. And Dawkins has to fit even something as obviously evil as the terrorist attacks on 9/11 into his own radical agenda.”