Richard Dawkins is perhaps the most essential public intellectual in the world — just ask him! He was the first person ever to conclude that God does not exist, and has developed entirely original arguments to make this case. Along with Christopher Hitchens and Sam Harris, he has also developed a compelling strategy to convert people to atheism: being as big a dick about it as possible to as many people as possible. I’m sure this will be highly effective; perhaps it could form a third party and really get that Overton Window bully pulpited.
The arrest of Ahmed Mohamed has provided a basis for more shattering insights from the world’s pre-eminent thinker. Now, you might think people thought the arrest of Mohamed was outrageous not because a kid who showed some curiosity and ingenuity was frogmarched out of school in handcuffs even though nobody actually thought what he brought to school was a threat, and in a jurisdiction that has pointlessly banned Sharia law there’s good reason to believe that racial profiling was involved (although, yes, since sometimes white schoolchildren are subject to arbitrary and disproportionate discipline, we cannot prove to an absolute certainty that race was a relevant factor and can all pretend that racism doesn’t exist if we are so inclined.) But that’s not it. Clearly, people thought that Mohamed was a scientific innovator on a par with Galleleo (although not Richard Dawkins, let’s not go crazy here.) And Richard Dawkins is here to tell you that the widely held belief that Ahmed Mohamed invented the very concept of the timepiece itself is not correct. Whew! I think we can all thank Dawkins for this essential contribution to human discourse.
But that’s not all. Why would Mohamed perpetrate such a massive fraud? The idea that he had done something he thought was cool and wanted to bring it to school is nutty, on a par with thinking that fire can melt steel beams or LBJ could have tolerated having a Marxist radical like JFK in the White House. No, clearly this is part of a hidden agenda to make people feel sympathetic for a Muslim teenager by provoking school authorities into an overreaction (that, to be sure, would obviously have nothing to do with his race or religious background.) I find this theory very compelling and would like to subscribe to its Twitter feed! Belle Waring treats these important questions with the seriousness the world’s most important public intellectual merits:
As you assuredly know, a young man in Texas was recently arrested for a “bomb hoax.” Some people think it’s hoaxes all the way down. Dawkins and his compadres are making extraordinary claims, which require…well, any evidence at all, one feels. Let us imagine Ahmed Mohamed’s family has engineered a stunt. Ahmed makes (for some value of make which includes tinkering with maker modules or disassembling and reassembling old electronics. I mean, if you call that making. Which, tbh, I do.) Wait, that wasn’t a sentence. Anyway, he makes a ‘looks-like-a-bomb-on-purpose-but-is-a-clock.’ This thing, note, is in fact: a clock. Although the young man claims deep insight into the nature of time, he is obviously just aping Heidegger in a juvenile fashion, but so be it—so long as it be noted that I have noted he didn’t provide the police a fully satisfactory answer about what the passage of time really entails, I mean, what does the clock tell you when it tells you that another minute has passed and that now, it is now. My rigorous honesty compels me to denigrate his “clock,” simply because I am devoted to The Truth.
Wow. Much openminded. So scientific. OK, sorry, I keep getting off-track for some reason. Right, this hoax is designed to get Ahmed Mohamed reprimanded at school, then arrested, and then become an internet cause celèbré, and then get invited to the White House. First of all, Ahmed and his family have to have judged the over/under for “young brown man thought armed with deadly weapon getting shot by the police” vs. “grievance-mongerer fêted by liberal elitists” a safe bet. I, like, would not take those odds at all. Secondly, for this plan to work, the teachers and police officers have to act like morons all up and down the line. There’s no other way. Really, it has to be a Confederacy of Dunces down there. Do these Clock Truthers realize their grim vision of Texan society is far, far more cynical than mine? Dawkins’ zealotry has obviously clouded his judgment, something which often befalls fundamentalists. To be undeservedly fair, Dawkins has perhaps been walking this back but, you know how it is. You’re a well-respected biologist—but ONE pig. It happens to, like everyone. It’s an experimental phase!
If you think that the pig metaphor will make an appearance the next time Chip Kelly’s huguely expensive backfield gets -.7 yards a carry running behind the NCAA-caliber offensive line he assembled, you’re probably right.