Prof Dawkins had the right to do it..well ah..

Yes, belonged to Richard Dawkins. So, in that sense he had the right to close the forum and replaces it with a narrower blog system instead. Of course that is not taking into account what the good Professor wished to use his web site for and the impact of his change upon his own purposes.

Richard spearheaded a movement to try and build up science and reason in the face of growing irrationality. That movement needed a number of things, activists, resources and a refuge for those that wanted to come "out" as atheists. The later being the sole purpose of the Out Campaign.

The forum fulfilled an important role in all this: allowing thousands of members to organise activity; taking in new members who were either outing themselves or finding refuge from places where outing was too dangerous for them; building up scientific and reasoning resources; generating a community out of the proverbial herd of cats. To do all this required a great deal of effort and investment of both time and emotion by the volunteers.

What Richard has done is to disconnect that community, replaced real social connection with presentation and simple response, and told everyone in that community that their body of work over four years was a small, unimportant, trivial thing that can just be thrown away. He certainly has the right to do it but he does not have the right to avoid the consequences of such an action. the consequences are that he lost the activists and shut down one of the key instruments of his campaign. Maybe he doesn't understand this but that is what has happened nevertheless.

Don't be sad, its not all doom and gloom. Why? Because hundereds of refugees have built a new site with the idea of keeping on, but no longer under Richards banner. You will find us at

We are somewhat new and improved there. We are still committed to the guidelines allowing criticism of ideas but not attacks on the person. Now we have been able to rationalise the structure without the Richard Dawkins sales/fan aspect and with wider science range. On the old site there was General Science and then evolution and biology. The new site now includes Physics, Astronomy, Chemistry, Earth Sciences and more. The area on religion is more comprehensive and focussed as is the scope of topic areas for debunking creationism, pseudo science and other enemy of reason stuff. There are years worth of resources we are trying to salvage from the old site but its going to be a long task and some of it has been lost forever. So it goes.

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Comment by Cynical Soldier on May 5, 2010 at 11:19am
I read a bit about this, sounds like a mess. I don't think that Richard Dawkins was completely in the loop however. From what I hear, some guy decided to take control and screw things up and since he held a high position with Richard Dawkins he was able to. I'm not completely convinced (from what I've read) that Richard Dawkins was that much at fault.
Comment by DanDare on March 7, 2010 at 6:59am
I think there was an expectation that we would all just follow along. The mistake was that the forum community were not RD fans first and formost, they are a community of Rational Skeptics. Leaving for a new home was a good move. We are now doing a fair bit of introspection to decide what it is we are building and what activities the community will undertake. Most of us are fairly activist so expect to hear more over time.
Comment by Jaime Miller on February 27, 2010 at 11:42am
Thanks for the info. I have only just discovered the Dawkins website, and still had yet to explore the Out Campain, of which I am very interested in. I will now be following in the future...thanks again!



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