# Hypothesis Testing

Hypothesis: if you can take an idea which most people thought was the most hated concept in America this side of al-Qaeda’s mission statement and turn that idea into a book which stays on the New York Times bestseller list for almost a year, publishers will let you write your own ticket at least once.

Evidence: Richard Dawkins is being paid $3.5 million for his next book, Only A Theory? (to be published in 2009), which will lay out evidence for evolution. Hypothesis: People who have a vested interest in portraying Dawkins and other “uppity atheists” as detrimental to science education and/or Western civilization will ignore or undervalue this book, along with all other attempts by “uppity atheists” to parlay their notoriety for good causes. Evidence: Consider the reception (or non-reception) of Dawkins’s television series, The Enemies of Reason (2007). This is a lamentable oversight, since the struggle to keep pseudoscience out of medicine is surely an area on which atheists and at least some moderate theists can find a genuine common ground. Hypothesis: I could sure have a lot of fun with$3.5 million.

Evidence: Forthcoming. Come on, in the interests of science, pretty please, with blueberries on top?

(Tip o’ the fedora to Tyler.)

## 6 thoughts on “Hypothesis Testing”

1. Pseudonym says:

On one hand, it’s been a long time coming. For ages, we’ve needed a single book that lays out all the evidence for the general reader. If anyone can do that, Richard Dawkins can. He’s one of the best popular science authors ever.

On the other hand, I can’t help thinking that his previous book (you know, the one that WASN’T a science book) will tarnish its reputation, and cause people to dismiss it out of hand as part of the Evil Atheist Conspiracy.

And back to the first hand, it is very good that he’s using his notoriety for niceness instead of evil, as you said.

And back to the second hand, I can’t help thinking that maybe that was the point. Perhaps Prof. Dawkins’ lasting legacy will not be convincing anyone, but rather shifting the Overton window.

Either way, this book will be very welcome, if only because it’s a return to what Dawkins does best.

2. CleveDan says:

“On the other hand, I canâ€™t help thinking that his previous book (you know, the one that WASNâ€™T a science book) will tarnish its reputation, and cause people to dismiss it out of hand as part of the Evil Atheist Conspiracy.”
……..not much we can do about that one considering that simple biology textbooks are considered part of the evil Atheist Conspiracy by science deniers

3. Yeah — if basic science didn’t get people upset, we wouldn’t be in the situation we are now. Whatta world. . . .

About the “Overton window” thing: I suspect that different sectors of society have their windows in different positions, that these windows can migrate with varying speeds, and that what we’re seeing now is an increasing variety of those positions, rather than a shift of a single, National Window to a new location.

4. Pseudonym says:

Oh, good point. I forgot that in the Bizarro universe, Ken Miller is also part of the Evil Atheist Conspiracy.

5. And, of course, “atheists” hate God and worship Satan.

6. manigen says:

“And, of course, â€œatheistsâ€ hate God and worship Satan.”

Hey, everybody needs a hobby.