What is to be done with Richard Dawkins?
RD’s contribution to the tiresome “Dear George” that The Guardian felt compelled to publish last week:

After you and Jeb stole the election (by a margin smaller than the number of folks you executed in Texas) you were rightly written off as a one-term president: a fair advertisement for Drunks For Jesus but otherwise an idle nonentity; inarticulate, unintelligent, an ignorant hick. September 11 changed all that. Not that you covered yourself with glory that day. You are said to admire Churchill. Can you imagine Churchill, at such a moment, panicking all around the country from airbase to airbase? Even nasty old Rummy bunkered down where he belonged. … Go home.

[edit] Arse – I thought I’d deleted this – it was the start of something much bigger. I’ll leave it now that it’s published (thanks Sarah), but just to get the gist of it: how has a once original thinker and model of clarity descended to such flaccid recycled rhetoric? OK, so he was writing for a model Guardian reader, and the letter might have been a “20 quid if you write something by tomorrow” deal, but don’t you get the feeling he’s not doing the “public understanding of science” any favours any more? When the view of the archetypal scientist has shifted from lab-coated scatterbrain to obnoxious radio 4 game-show pannelist, I don’t see much progress.

It’s all very well being right, as he is on his home ground, but his talent at communication dropped off many years back. (Have you read any of his recent books?) Please, please can we elect a new media-wonk scientist? Send in your nominations to Melvin Bragg.

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