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Richard Dawkins is giving atheism a bad name.

Don Arnold/Getty Images

As one of the leading advocates of the New Atheism, Dawkins has been instrumental in trying to rebrand religious skepticism. Among other initiatives, Dawkins has promoted the idea that atheists call themselves “brights.” But Dawkins isn’t always terribly bright himself. On Twitter, he’s notorious for his daffy, tone-deaf comments on gender and race politics. 

Consider his take on the Ahmed Mohamed incident. You’ll remember that the 14-year-old Mohamed was arrested in his school when a teacher suspected that a clock that Mohamed had disassembled and rebuilt was a bomb. The incident is widely seen as an example of Islamophobia.

But to Dawkins, Mohamed is a fraud who should be called “Hoax Boy.”

For the “Hoax Boy” idea to make sense, you’d have to assume that he knew his homemade engineering would lead to his arrest, international coverage, and an invitation to the White House. Which, if true, means Mohamed is, on top of being a Hoax Boy, a kind of publicity genius.

To add to the absurdity of his long crusade against Mohamed, Dawkins tweeted a comparison between Mohamed and a youth who joined ISIS. Since the only thing Mohamed has in common with this youth is their religion, it’s clear that Dawkins is not just a little daft, but something much worse.