me + richard armitage + richard dawkins, or: Interesting test case for Servetus as Richard Armitage fan girl

Screen shot 2014-09-10 at 10.22.24 PM***

Sometime today while I wasn’t looking, @RCArmitage followed @RichardDawkins!

Maybe because he wants to argue with him? I kind of doubt it, somehow. No idea why Armitage decided to follow Dawkins.

It would take more space than I care to use — and space here is free — for me to say what I think about Richard Dawkins or to mount a sustained critique of him, but his simplistic views don’t deserve any serious person’s time. I happen not to be an atheist, although there are coherent, credible arguments for atheism. There are much more insightful defenders of atheism in the world than Richard Dawkins. (If you’re interested, Mr. Armitage, I can send you a reading list!)

I tend to think of religion as a sort of music of the spheres that one hears or doesn’t (and it’s not the only thing in this world that fits in that category). I am a religious person, baptized as an infant and raised a conservative (I would say: neo-pietistic) Lutheran, converted to Judaism in my late adolescence, and am now a somewhat observant Jew. After an odyssey through Reform and Conservative Judaism, I’m now worshiping / davening with renegade Hasidim. And Richard Armitage has stated he’s not religious.

Months ago those of us in sympathy with Richard Armitage’s political opinions were asked to consider how we’d feel if Armitage espoused the opposite political opinion to our own or denigrated our views, and my reaction was that it wouldn’t be a problem for me. This is a test case. Because I feel pretty strongly about religion (as you know if you have read this blog for any length of time.)

This an instance of what I was talking about before — Richard Armitage showing Armitage-approved pieces of himself. Can I live with this? Yes, at least so far and with this piece.

Richard Armitage is not religious and he follows an idiot atheist who’s got a big reputation on Twitter. But his religion (or lack of it) is not what’s important to me about him.

[ETA: Please be sure to read comments. I was unaware of Dawkins’ position on abortions for certain fetuses, which I have now read about and find abhorrent.]

~ by Servetus on September 11, 2014.

94 Responses to “me + richard armitage + richard dawkins, or: Interesting test case for Servetus as Richard Armitage fan girl”

  1. I’ve always wondered if Richard Armitage has adopted a more Buddhist type belief system.

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    • in which case I guess he’d be subjected to Dawkins’ “good humored ridicule” 🙂

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      • Now I have read up on these subjects too (I only know a bit about Buddhism and zero about Dawkins). This is why I like the RA obsession…it is opening up so much to me…religion, music, theatre, people and places, the blogger who compares him to Greek art, etc (one of my favs)…U of RA… the list seems endless.

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  2. I saw that too…. I follow a lot of different types of things, some precisely because I don’t fully agree with them. I have problems, though, following people or organizations that are beyond funny/irreverent and crossed into disrespectful (and I don’t mean only toward God). I would consider following a thoughtful atheist….and I’ll just leave it at that.

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    • I think we want to be open to people considering all kinds of ideas. It occurred to me (below) that “following” is somehow different in my mind than “reading a book by.” Because I know that I read all kinds of books by people who write things i totally disagree with, because I want to know what they think. Somehow “following” implies in my mind something different from “exploring” or “learning about.” I”ll have to think about that more.

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  3. LOL, well said.

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  4. Interessant, dass du das erwähnst. Als “gut katholisch” erzogen war ich in meinen jugendlichen Fanzeiten oft damit konfrontiert, dass die Objekte meiner Begierde so garnichts mit meinem anerzogenen Glauben am Hut hatten. Das fühlte sich merkwürdig an. Mit zunehmendem Alter hat das an Schärfe verloren, allerdings sitzen meine Reflexe da immer noch. 🙂
    Ich habe schon noch einen Blick auf die religiöse Ausrichtung, auch wenn mich eine Abweichung von meiner Grundeinstellung dazu keinen Millimeter von meiner hemmungslosen Begeisterung abbringt 🙂
    Ich finde es wichtig, dass jemand menschenfreundliche Grundwerte hat. Und somit kann ich auch politisch bis zu einem gewissen Punkt folgen, bevor ich aussteigen würde.

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    • it’s an interesting question — I was raised in a way that was so religious that on the one hand, it was really only possible to associate fully with others of the same faith, but on the other, we really had a sort of “oh, well, whatever with the rest of the world, they don’t get it anyway” attitude toward the completely non-religious (which fits well with Jews, who don’t spend that much time thinking about the beliefs of non-Jews, except in crisis situations). I think often that I have more in common with religious people of any faith (or even with coherent atheists) than with the agnostic or the indifferent or the irreligious.

      But I figured this would be something that would make me and richard armitage incompatible quite some time ago.

      https://meandrichard.wordpress.com/2014/01/30/what-would-you-fight-about-with-richard-armitage-hypothetically-of-course/

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      • Danke für den Link. Sehr Erhellendes in den Kommentaren: “Politics does not enter the bedroom” Gnadenlos gut! Aber es kratzt schon am Thema. Denn wenn sehr tiefe Überzeugungen betroffen sind, kann man schon ans Limit kommen. Insgesamt komme auch ich besser mit Menschen klar, die ihrerseits anderer Leute Einstellungen tolerieren können und mich somit darin bestätigen, dass sie MEINER Bewunderung/Freundschaft würdig sind (soll nicht abgehoben klingen!), weil ich eben genau das versuche zu praktizieren. Als Fan führe ich halt auch eine Beziehung wie im RL , und da komme ich von meinen persönlichen Grundwerten nicht runter. Das ist mir in dieser Deutlichkeit aber auch erst aufgegangen, seit ich mich hier in diesem RA-Kosmos aufhalte. Je näher man sich auf dass POdB(=Persönliche Objekt der Begierde) einlässt (über das sinnfreie Ansabbern irgendwelcher knallengen und wurstpellengleich umspannenden Körperformen hinausgehend 🙂 ), drängen solche Fragen der Übereinstimmung einfach nach vorne. Und deshalb könnte (ich betonte “könnte”) auch eine solche Beziehung unter bestimmten Voraussetzungen zum Scheitern verurteilt sein. Es ist eben alles im Fluss.

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        • oh, absolutely. For example, I very much recognize the artistry of Céline without admiring him as either author or individual. There are definitely lines.

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        • But I think that’s the sort of core issue for me — I couldn’t have an atheist partner but Armitage is only a fantasy partner. What I need him for is the creative example / inspiration.

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          • Klar, die RL-Beziehung beinhaltet ja nochmal eine oder sogar mehrere Ebenen mehr. Die der “tatsächlichen” Nähe in jedem Fall. Und da muss es deutlich besser passen, als in der Beziehung als Fan, wo man sich vielleicht manches auch mal Schönreden kann. Wobei: am langen Ende funktioniert das weder im Fandasein noch im RL 🙂

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            • I’m not sure what you mean by “am langen Ende.”

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              • Ich meine, dass sich etwas Schönreden immer nur bedingt funktioniert. Als Fan kann ich vielleicht etwas länger die Augen vor manchen Themen verschliessen. Aber wie gesagt, dass geht selten lange gut. Als Fan und im RL, wenn man zu seinen persönlichen Grundwerten steht. Ist das verständlich?

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                • OK, I see what you are saying. I guess I don’t see it quite that way. I have good friends who are not religious in the least and as long as they can accept that I am religious, it’s not a problem. (That usually tends to be more of a problem on their side than mine, frankly.) Being religious is a basic value of mine; it’s a part of my personality that I can’t erase. So is toleration, however, which is something I learned over the years. I don’t think that choosing to be close friends with people who are irreligious or indifferent or even atheists is a violation of my basic values. I don’t think that that means I’m not in tension about these things with some friends, however. (Hard to be in tension with Armitage, obviously, as we don’t talk about these things as friends do — I suppose it could put me in more of a take it or leave it situation at least hypothetically.)

                  For me, most of these things fall into some kind of grey area (which doesn’t mean I don’t disagree with people and articulate that disagreement). There are a lot of things that we as humans argue about and study but don’t know about absolutely — perhaps most things. Yes, there are absolute places I can’t go with a friend, or a crush. But I try to separate those from things I merely find distasteful, or matters about which reasonable adults may disagree. I think the existence of G-d is a matter about which reasonable adults may disagree. That doesn’t stop it from being a core value.

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                  • Ich hoffe nicht, dass ich hier einen fundamentalistischen Eindruck hinterlasse! Bloss nicht. Ich stimme dir komplett zu. Mir ist eben auch diese beiderseitige Toleranz wichtig. Und im übrigen finde ich es intellektuell sehr herausfordernd, mich auf ein solches Thema deutsch/englisch einzulassen. 🙂 Die Gefahr der Missverständnisse ist nicht zu unterschätzen.

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        • The person who’s going to create the big scandal this year in the academic version of this situation is, incidentally, Heidegger, with a bunch of things to be published this year that finally settle the antisemitism / intellectual affinity with the NSDAP question.

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          • Das ist so ein totales Killerkriterium. NSDAP und alles in diesem Zusammenhang. Wie politische “Lichtgestalten” plötzlich in NS-Kontexten auftauchen. G. Grass , Walser fallen mir ein. Das Thema treibt uns Deutsche ja massiv um (zu Recht!). Und wie dann so manche Bewunderer plötzlich aus allen Wolken fallen. Interessanterweise zieht sich das durch verschiedenste politische Lager.

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  5. I’m not panicking yet- in a month where RA has asked us to donate to a charity that supports (amongst others) people with intellectual disability and Dawkins has advocated abortion for Down syndrome foetuses, there doesn’t seem much common ground. Perhaps it is for research purposes.

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    • uch, there’s something else I didn’t know about Dawkins and would have reason to disagree with. Blerg. Which, I suppose, points out that with a lot of the things we “like” or “follow,” we don’t always know the whole story.

      And yeah. I still think Armitage is a good guy.

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      • It was disgraceful. And even in his ‘apology’ he managed to be deeply offensive. Talk about digging a hole and then keeping on digging.

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        • I’m not surprised because the thing that Dawkins has repeatedly demonstrated he has more of than sound arguments is egoism. People like that can’t really apologize, because they don’t want to.

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  6. This is my first time commenting here so I’m sorry for jumping in and giving my two cents. I have to say I was little disappointed by this. Not because of Richard’s own personal views on religion but because having seen what this man (Dawkins) writes about religion…it is simply offensive. There is no other way of putting it. I’m Christian and consider myself to be quite open-minded. I’m happy for people to believe what they want to believe. I’ll do my own thing over here. You do whatever you wish to do. However the words this man writes are so hateful and venomous and it honestly did leave me feeling a little sad and with a bitter taste in my mouth. I don’t really know how I feel about this to be honest – that someone I deeply admire(d) is wasting his time listening to that kind of hatred! It’s sad.

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    • Thanks for the comment, and welcome.

      So — when I wrote this, I was only familiar with Dawkins’ books — not with his wider political views. I think the books of his that I’ve read (“The God Delusion” and one of his popularizations of Darwin’s theory, I forget which one now) are just stupid. Bolly told me about this question of aborting fetuses for genetic reasons, and I find that pretty repellent. Anytime anyone tries to exploit Darwin, who was trying to describe a scientific process, as a political or social theory, they are on the wrong intellectual path IMO. That said — I wonder how much of this Armitage is familiar with. To a lot of people, Dawkins is just “The God Delusion” and nothing more.

      Anyway, I don’t know — but I hear you and I can think of at least one prominent fan whose teeth are probably grinding at the moment …

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  7. A real shocker for me too, but what I take from this at this stage is that this testifies even more to what an outstanding actor he is. Proctor is the character he plays in The Crucible. Armitage is the actor who plays that character. Period

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    • This went to spam for some reason and I just saw it now. I’m going to decline to publish the link from the Daily Mail because that paper always seeks to exercise people rather than presenting things camly, and so I don’t believe it furthers the discussion. I think it’s probably unlikely that Armitage endorses pedophilia or acquaintance rape simply because Dawkins has had some nasty things to say about those topics.

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      • Of course Armitage does not endorse paedophilia or rape as I am sure neither does Dawkins. You are taking my comment or link to mean something it didn’t, and I am actually glad and grateful that you are not going to publish it. I would hate for anyone else to misinterpret my comment to you in this way. I am full of admiration for Richard and I would never want to taint his name or reputation in any way, shape or form, ever. I am simply bewildered by his interest in Dawkins. I guess only time will tell the reasons behind it. For now, it is for him to know those reasons and for us to respect them. Thank you for replying to my comment

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  8. Reading this I have very conflicting reactions. First of all I am worried that if I write honestly that I am agnostic, and therefore largely untouched by RA following a controversial atheist such as Dawkins, I could alienate my friends and readers.
    [APM activated] And secondly I wonder whether we are giving RA too much credit here. What I mean by that is that I sometimes wonder whether we might be overinterpreting his follow choices. I have said myself that a look at anyone’s follow list is like a browse through someone’s book shelves – it gives a certain insight into their interests. But that’s all it is – an indication of interest. I might have a book on my shelves that I read for interest – but I might disagree with (some or all of) the opinion expressed therein. I am inclined to give RA the benefit of the doubt. And to think that it reflects a European tendency towards scepticism but not a conscious alignment with a rather aggressive anti-religious movement. [APM off]

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    • I don’t think there’s a problem with you being agnostic, is there? I still love you, anyway.

      I didn’t think that a follow constituted a 100 percent endorsement of everything Dawkins said. I personally associate two things with Dawkins — uninformed atheism and a silly Social Darwinism manqué that I believe to have been largely discredited a century ago already, and I was assuming the follow probably related to Dawkins’ stance on religion. (I can also totally understand/imagine how three months of playing The Crucible might affect negatively someone’s position on religion if religion were understood to be Miller’s totally inaccurate picture of Puritanism.)

      But what’s interesting about this is some of the things that are prominent in people’s associations with Dawkins (what he’s recently said about abortions, for instance). I don’t think I’ve read anyone who’s said, uch, done with Armitage over this, but everyone draws their own level of association.

      And yeah, I’m inclined to think, whether that’s APM or not, that this isn’t Richard Armitage coming out for abortions of Downs syndrome fetuses.

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      • Ok, here’s another controversial statement that might lose me friendships: I don’t think that RA thinks all that much about his follows. The list is heavy on work mates and professional contacts, therefore literally a networking exercise. Then it is dotted with follows that are meant to represent his interests (I am still LOLling every time I think of the Department of Energy and Climate Change – their posts must be nerve-wreckingly exciting…) – middle-of-the-road politics, environmental awareness, alternative music, good causes. Reeks to me of general positioning for promotional purposes while causing least amount of controversy.
        I am far too unfamiliar with Dawkins to properly understand all the implications a follow of him might have. Like you, I would see this not as an endorsement of Dawkins’ theories/opinions but as a way of communicating a generally agnostic/atheist world view. I suspect that that is seen as far more controversial by American fans than by Europeans. (No judgment inferred.) The only criticism I have about that is that RA may not have thought this choice of follow through. For someone who wants to make it in America it may be a little bit too controversial…
        Glad to hear that my general agnosticism is tolerated ggg. If it makes any difference: While I find it hard to “believe”, I do sometimes envy those who do because I suspect there is a lot of reassurance and security and support in believing in a religious superstructure.

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        • fair enough, though how would one distinguish between a sort of careless follow and a follow for promotional purposes? If we think of FB follows as kind of identity markers?

          re: belief — on the whole religion hasn’t been something that has consistently enhanced my feelings of security in life, although it sometimes does that, mostly b/c I tell myself it should. I think it probably gives me something to do when I am insecure — ritual is really, really useful to me emotionally, that much is true. I mostly think though that I’m religious because I was raised that way in a manner so intense that the world doesn’t really make sense to me without religious metaphor undergirding it. I’m sort of religious in spite of my intellectual life.

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          • Hm, good point. There’s no way of telling, I suppose, unless it was explained to us. But then again, it can be both, can’t it? A not-fully-thought-through follow for promotional purposes. Someone take the “follow” button away from Mr Tweetitage before he alienates his core fandom 😀 Or bring in a professional Twitter slave.
            Interesting what you say about religion re. ritual. I would have also assumed that religious activity provides a ready-made framework and network of like-minded people who provide reassurance and support. Having said that – even atheists create such frameworks for mutual support. Is fandom another quasi-cult to fill the void? Sometimes I think that my fandom activities are ritualistic in themselves (blogging, commenting, RC once a year = like daily prayers, ablutions and the audience with the Pope).

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            • It hasn’t been my experience that I share all that much with religious people beyond religion — and a commitment to be in community with people in my community (giving and receiving), which is indeed significant.

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          • I’ve enjoyed browsing all the overnight comments… just to enlarge a little, I think Twitter’s “follow” has the same verbiage issue that FB’s “like” does or especially “fan” did. Twitter is a great realtime window into the world, and I explicitly don’t assume that ANYONE who follows something there agrees or identifies with it strongly (not just RA).

            Because of my current studies, I’m especially focusing on expanding cultural awareness, because it’s important for understanding others. So I’m branching out purposely (admittedly more in my RL account than here 🙂 – for me this has spiritual significance as well as being an intellectual and competency exercise, because I’m convinced God (and for me, God in Christ) cares about everything people care about in a love-filled and sin-wrecked world.

            (Hope I haven’t offended anyone…. anyone who is atheist, agnostic or otherwise disagrees with me doesn’t offend me in the least! Literally no need for me to enter Protection Mode on God’s behalf, lol.)

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        • can i just say i like the way you’re thinking and i agree with this 🙂 maybe i should check out the department of energy twitter 😉 Mind you i wouldn’t touch party twitter feed with a pole, any party!
          I really liked what you said about the comfort i envy sometimes from people who believe very strongly, but then again i like to follow the Pope on fb because i generally find the posts uplifting and positive (and though i’m Christian i am not catholic, but i do tend to be a bit loose on this front and not make that much distinction, not offence intended).

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          • Interesting question — because I also read a lot of Christian materials though I am no longer Christian. Some of that related to my professional focus, which related to Christian history, some of it relates to my past — and some of it is acknowledgement that my worldview is so definitely shaped by that experience that it just makes sense to me.

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          • Don’t go into the Dept of Energy’s twitter, I repeat DON’T go into the Dept of Energy’s twitter. You could be scathed for life. 😀

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    • Now — if Armitage had tweeted “I’m reading a book by Richard Dawkins,” that I would have found more interesting (even though that still wouldn’t have gotten me to tweet him). I might think that was a sign of an agile mind. Interesting, the associations we make …

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  9. To the first-time commentator who dropped the vid in here — I’m not going to post your comment. This post isn’t intended as a discussion about creationism vs. evolutionism or of the validity or non-validity of Dawkins’ views.

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  10. Twitter-Shitter ! 🙂

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  11. Dawkins is much more than his atheism. His early books were brilliant (as a biologist by training I found them beautifully written and fascinating). I find his increasingly raucous rejection of all religions annoying and a sign of a kind of arrogance rather common in British intellectuals (dare I say especially Oxford intellectuals…) And his recent books on evolution are just rehashes of his early work and I can only assume he’s churning them out because they sell. So I’m by no means a fan of his, but if RA follows him on twitter I doubt it’s for his atheist views, but more for his science.

    We know RA is interested in all sorts of things, demonstrated by the fact he was reading Stiff by Mary Roach (“The curious lives of human cadavers”). By the way, ANYTHING by Mary Roach is well worth reading – fascinating and also hilarious.

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    • interesting the associations we make — and how impressions work. I was much less willing to buy in to the book on evolution I read by Dawkins b/c “God Delusion” was so unserious. Anyway, we now have three different primary associations with Dawkins at work in this conversation.

      See musings above re: what it means to “follow” something. I’d add to that, having mused further — in my own social media I have a different toleration level for certain things than I do in my intellectual life. So while, hypothetically, I would read a book about conservative politics in order to learn something about them, I wouldn’t like the FB page of a conservative politician. Obvoiusly everyone is going to see this differently.

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      • I was also thinking about the ‘following’ aspect. It probably does me no credit to admit this but i follow a particular mummy blogger purely because her enormous ego, dreadful children and dodgy craft activities crack me up. And i’m sure i’m not alone amongst her 37000 following to be there for this reason. I definitely don’t equate ‘following’ with ‘liking’- present company excepted 😉

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      • Interesting, since FB has come up once or twice, to realize that (assuming I was still active on FB, which I’m not) I would be more hesitant to add controversial “likes” to FB, since to me it’s a more personal-by-nature site than Twitter. Twitter seems to me a nice hybrid vibe somewhere between Facebook and LinkedIn, and more workable / user-friendly than either one.

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    • Agree with all the points here, as a molecular biologist I especially agree about RD’s earlier work being ground-breaking. That’s how he has the position he has today.
      I love knowing what RA is reading, both as an indication of his wide-ranging interests and for possible hints on future projects. You have reminded me to put “Stiff” on my reading list. (Possible role as a forensic scientist? Or maybe serial killer?)

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  12. I think you are correct in assuming a casual “follow” on Twitter does not imply a full endorsement of that person’s beliefs. I know I would be editing my follow list a lot more carefully if that were the case. It could be a case of “This person might say something interesting. I want to follow the controversy.” I’ve followed people on that basis myself.
    As an atheist myself I would much prefer to invite RA to dinner than RD, even if I wasn’t a RA fan, because I’m pretty sure RA would be a polite, charming and considerate guest, but I suspect RD might be rude, confrontational and alienate half the guests. We all have to share this world and it’s much better to be respectful of another person’s beliefs even if you don’t hold the same ones yourself.

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    • Agreed. My thoughts exactly.
      RA has stated he’s not religious, but it’s safe to say that he’s adopted some set of values that may have been instilled during his upbringing and then developed further in an ongoing search process.

      My guess about RA is that he’s still searching, just as many of us are still searching for goodness knows what. He may be influenced by Buddhism and/or Zen or something entirely different.

      Do I need to agree completely with his viewpoints to be following his career? No, I don’t think so. I may even disagree sometimes. But then I don’t always agree with my husband about the deeper aspects of life.

      So, my conclusion to this is that following someone on Twitter does not necessarily entail a 100% support of that person/institution. It could indicate a curiosity about and search for something – or it could be future project-related?

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      • In relation to future projects, the problematic follow for me is Deborah Harkness. Please, not Matthew Clairmont! Sorry if this is anyone’s top film role pick, but I think I might skip it. So much of the book was unintentionally hilarious (vampire yoga, anyone?)

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        • OMG, please NOT this vampire-thing!!!
          shudder I don’t want to See him hanging on someones neck drinking blood, uuuuuuhhhhh. 😀

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  13. Dawkins is – sorry, APPEARS to be, as I don’t personally know him – a tosser, to put it bluntly, but I agree with LostinaGoodbook – following doesn’t necessarily mean endorsement of everything a person has to say, just that it might be interesting to read their tweets. I follow John Prescott for that reason!

    Speaking of RA and politics, when I checked out his followers in the first couple of days of his account coming into existence, he was following the Milliband brothers AND the Labour party. So I think it’s fair to surmise that he’s a Labour supporter. Curious to know how many US American fans would turn away from him for being “a socialist”, now that it’s technically confirmed? Just thinking because the word “socialist” seems to be somewhat of a curse-word in the US – not for everyone, I hasten to add, but a lot of people seem to think socialism = communism = root of all evil. Meanwhile, in Britain, Labour are frowned upon for not being socialist enough! Funny that.

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    • We already had this discussion about his politics in the fall, so I don’t really want to go there again, frankly, not least b/c I get exhausted by stereotypes of Americans that always appear in it.

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  14. Bejeezus, talk about missing the point

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    • Well, as some other commentators wrote, RA did read “Stiff”, which is rather entertaining in spite of its morbid backdrop (can you say that in English?), but it’s an indicator of RA’s open mind.

      I haven’t entertained myself with RD and so I’m disqualified in terms of commenting on his work, but from the previous comments, my curiosity is sparked – I may just read something of his and see if I find it controversial, repelling, interesting, etc…

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    • Please say what you mean, LG, or what you think the point is, without making an implicit attack on people in the conversation. Otherwise this comment is intentionally inflammatory, it will be deleted, and you will be blocked.

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  15. Going to test my fledgling wings and try a comment here, because this one really does fascinate me. I’ve been through the gamut of emotions on this one… I know and love several very beautiful souls with Down Syndrome, so Richard Dawkins is on my YUCKlist. I can only hope that Armitage, with this follow, is either researching a role [I must digress here- recently followed Deborah Harkness, now follows an Oxford geneticist… Matthew Clairmont is an Oxford geneticist… clue?? Personally hope not. Nothing against vampires because RA could absolutely captivate me as a compelling, alluring, mysterious vampire, but I couldn’t even finish the first book. Author’s vampire yoga and pretty dodgy grasp of genetic principles just didn’t work for me!]…. or, that he’s an observer here, and just interested in whatever controversy is next for Dawkins. I personally don’t care what his spiritual beliefs are, and just have to fall back on my perception that RA is a lovely, humble person who gives of himself both to his fandom and to his charities on a regular basis. I do know he treats handicapped admirers with special respect from reading accounts of this in forums, so I’m going to cling to that and try to just appreciate his incredible hashtags for now.

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    • I’d forgotten that about Clairmont (read it four years ago) — hmmm. Well, if Armitage wants to play an Oxford prof …

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      • 🙂 I have mixed feelings about this. But it wasn’t with that particular character (Claimont) in mind that I made the comment about research for a future project.

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  16. I think the term following on twitter can be misleading sometimes, because in practice what it means you see what that person posts; of course a lot of it is with people we then actually want to interact with but not necessarily. I’ve got one that i do follow and to say i dislike him is being very polite. I’d never interact with that person, i think the way he expresses his opinions is ‘ew’, nevertheless i want to see what he is up to because unfortunately he is influential in his field. This sounds to me like a bit of that. Critical curiosity? I hope so and i am inclined to think so. The reason why i am inclined to think so is that the only time in the Conversation on the Crucible when he expressed a very clear personal opinion, was when he and the hall with him rejoiced at the Culture MP getting the sack (among other things the was of the opinion Miller should no longer be in the curriculum as far as i understood, not that i follow politicians all that closely). So i think he’s got strong opinions about things, that he doesn’t necessarily discuss publicly (also because he doesn’t get much asked society/every day life type questions i guess) and keep an eye out for things, to agree and disagree with. Just me 2 pence.. ( and hello everyone, i’m new)

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    • Agree he’s never shown any sign of having been a conservative. I do think it’s all in the associations one draws …

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      • i agree and in spite of logic i get an uncomfortable feeling about it just because that person is somebody you just want to have as little as possible to do with, like avoiding dirt. One could read his stuff even if only to disagree, it’s the public association that is uncomfortable (tho it is just association and in itself neither + nor -)

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  17. I’m not a fan of Richard Dawkins either- more because of his personality than his personal views or Twitter controversies 🙂 Although I will admit he can be very intelligent and insightful at times. I’ll still admire Richard Armitage and his work regardless, because he seems like such a sweet and talented man.

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  18. I’m inclined to think his add is just for research purposes. Dawkins strikes me as the complete opposite of everything that Richard stands for as a human being. Just as several of you have pointed out, one has to look at the charities RA supports and the warm, considerate and genuine person he’s always shown to be to know how diametrically opposed they are.

    Although it’s true Richard’s said in the past he isn’t a religious person, I’ve always interpreted that as someone who doesn’t adhere to organised religion, but not as someone devoid of s spiritual life or even lacking in faith. Aren’t these replies for the latest Q & A organised by The Old Vic proof of his belief in a spiritual dimension, the possibility of ascension and the existence of a supernatural being? When asked what drove him to take up his role in The Crucible he said “The possibility to experience an ascent of the soul…” When asked what he’s learnt thanks to this role: “That truth may be buried, hidden, obscured, denied, warped and discarded but man becomes closer to his ‘God’ when he fights for that truth even at the cost of his own life. The courage to die for the truth.”

    And then there’s the following quotation from his “Interview with J Proctor”: “When he calls to God at the end and I sort of see a particular light and for some reason it just catches me in the eye and I feel an ascent. It’s amazing. ”

    Well, that’s my two cents.

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    • well, religion is as one defines it; there isn’t one definition and everyone is going to see it differently. It’s interesting, for example, that Armitage put G-d in scare quotes in his answer. To me that would imply that he doesn’t believe in a supernatural being and the whole quote suggests that there is not one such being anyway (“his ‘God'”, i.e., not G-d singular). Is that religious? Depends on one’s definition. Or is religion a set of practices? I used to teach this stuff so I could go on about it infinitely.

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      • Yes, I notice the inverted commas for God. I didn’t interpret it as lack of belief in a supernatural being as such but as a way of saying that He might be called different names, depending on the religion or belief one had- Allah, Jehova, Buddha, etc.

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        • afaik that usage wouldn’t call for scare quotes, which are by nature distancing, but whatever. The whole point of this discussion has been to point out that what you take from this follow relates to your associations with the thing followed; I don’t think that that point is drawn into question, really.

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  19. […] authorized, and his follows offered interesting, occasionally contradictory, information about him, although it was often hard to say just what. For me, Armitage’s presence on Twitter made it difficult to argue that he wanted to continue […]

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