Monday, September 21, 2015

False Alarm!

Is it me or does Richard Dawkins seem like he wouldn't be all that fun at parties? The scientist is famous for his skepticism and that's awesome. Scientists should be skeptical. It's what separates actual science from say, Arkansas school board science. But sometimes it's ok to switch it off, or at least wait until you have all the facts.
"But is Steve a jolly good fellow? I'm not saying
he's isn't, I'm just asking: where's the evidence?" 
-Richard Dawkins, kind of
dragging everybody down
Yeah, better cuff him. He might
try to fashion a crude ham radio.
What the hell am I talking about? Remember last week when Texas teenager Ahmed Mohamed MacGyver'ed a clock out of a pencil case and some electronic bits and his school had him arrested for threatening them with a bomb while being named Ahmed Mohamed? He was suspended, but gained national media attention and support from like everybody. Everybody, except Richard Dawkins who hopped on the Twitter this weekend to accuse Mohamed of being a fraud. What the hell right? Ok, in fairness, Dawkins agreed that Mohamed's arrest was some bullshit, but he goes on to suggest that the whole incident was a stunt. 

"In many ways, we did the kid a favor."
-Police Chief L.A. Boyd,
not helping at all
Dawkins points out that Mohamed's arrest and subsequent newsy-ness led to a Crowdfunding campaign and an offer to meet the President, which, ok, he kind of has a point. It did sort of work out well for Mohamed, except, you know, for the arrest in front of his classmates, the rampant suspicion and the accusations of being a terrorist. But what evidence does Richard Dawkins have that this isn't on the up and up? A video on Youtube claiming that Mohamed's invention is just an alarm clock with the outer case popped off. 

"God? Preposterous! If there were a God,
why isn't there a Youtube video about him?"
Um, 'evidence' here is kind of a loose term. Sure, Thomas Talbot, the guy who posted the video, could very well be correct. Who knows? I'm not a digital clock forensic expert, and I suspect that Thomas Talbot is not either. In fact, I'm fairly certain that's not a thing you can be. Maybe Mohamed did just bust open his alarm clock and screw it to the inside of a plastic case, does that necessarily mean he's a liar? Maybe this was a stunt designed to call attention to a climate of anti-Muslim paranoia, or maybe this kid is just really bad at science projects.

The point is, I don't know and I don't think Richard Dawkins does either and before any more Youtubers or Emeritus Fellows at Oxford label him a fraud, shouldn't they get some proof or something? Besides, whatever Mohamed's intent, it seems like was a way better social experiment that it was an invention. Way better. I mean look at it:
No offense kid, but I don't think you'll be revolutionizing
the digital alarm clock industry anytime soon...

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