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Richard Dawkins Goes 24 Hours Without Insulting Someone

Richard Dawkins Goes 24 Hours Without Insulting Someone

British atheist, ethnologist and biologist Richard Dawkins is seen in this undated photo. | (Photo: Facebook/The Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science)

Famed atheist author and intellectual Richard Dawkins may have gone a full 24 hours without insulting anyone on Twitter.

Researchers from the extremely prestigious Institute on Internet Trolling announced that Dawkins' Twitter handle appears to have not a produced a single vicious remark over the span of a full day.

"Our interns were going through Dawkins' numerous tweets and noticed the large gap late last night," announced a lead researcher.

"It appears as though, from 11:53 p.m. Tuesday until 11:54 p.m. Wednesday, Greenwich Mean Time, Dawkins did not a produce a single tweet bashing Christians, Muslims, creationists, or people with Down syndrome."

Absent during the aforementioned time frame, said researchers, was the usual talk of God being the worst thing ever, or religion poisoning everything.

File photo, dated August 19, 2009, of the Twitter icon displayed on a laptop. | (Photo: AP Photo / Press Association, Martin Keene)

Instead, Dawkins' handle included posts emphasizing his learned biology background and his academic interests in the natural sciences.

If the initial results are confirmed, the researchers noted, this could represent an unprecedented absence of online insults from The God Delusion author.

"This could be the longest gap of time Dawkins has ever gone without insulting someone," continued the lead researcher, noting that the previous record was 40 minutes.

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That instance was attributed to a power outage.

"Imagine how surprised we were to see nothing but positive comments and photos when we're so used to dredging through mean-spirited banter and pointless back-and-forths as with other accounts," the research head added.

Since opening his Twitter account in 2008, Dawkins has been known to spew forth hateful invective against a wide assortment of groups.

He has constantly trashed belief systems, tweeting or retweeting spiteful, and often simplistic, strawman attacks on religious beliefs.

While considering religion inherently bad, Dawkins has praised things like "mild pedophilia" and parents aborting babies if the child has Down syndrome.

Occasionally an individual post, if controversial enough, will be followed by 10 or 15 hastily written comments clarifying what he really meant.

The frequency of posts combined with the periodic double-mindedness has led some scholars to conclude that the Dawkins Twitter account may have multiple authors.

Others, especially conservative theologians, remain convinced that the Twitter handle has only one author and dismiss alternative views as "modernist babble."

In examining the preliminary results, experts are debating why Dawkins may have gone a full calendar day without posting a single tweet attacking other people.

Some have speculated that a recent book tour may have played a role. However others counter that even with a tight schedule, Dawkins (or the many people behind the Dawkins account) has been able to find time to punch out more nontheistic rancor.

Still others point to the possible loss or forgetting of a password, noting that in his advanced age it is possible Dawkins can forget things.

While many may have been relieved to open social media and not see a widely retweeted attack on their beliefs, others have expressed concern about the possible reduction in inflammatory Dawkins comments.

The United Atheist Internet Trolls of America, a union of non-believing trollers of comments sections which gave Dawkins honorary membership, has expressed concern.

"I can't believe that Dawkins is bowing to the pressures of Fundy Christians and their Flat-Earther Allies," wrote one UAITA member.

"It's just stupid," he added, before opening a new account and posting a series of random, profanity-laden diatribes against God on a random message board.

Even as many ponder the announcement, Institute researchers stressed that this was only a "preliminary report" and that more examination was required before they could confirm that Dawkins indeed went a full day without attacking anyone on Twitter.

"There is still some more number crunching and doubling back on tweets," said the lead researcher. "We will announce the final results when we can."

UPDATE: The very prestigious Institute on Internet Trolling has officially retracted its previous announcement. As it turns out, Dawkins made several attacks on Islam during the time period between Tuesday 11:53 p.m. and Wednesday 11:54 p.m. GMT.

"Upon reexamining his Twitter feed, our paid researchers found what our unpaid interns did not bother mentioning," stated the lead researcher to a gaggle of reporters.

"We tracked down a couple comments between Tuesday and Wednesday where Dawkins called Islam violent and sexist. While it does appear that he did go a full hour between insults, this is far below the previously assumed 24 hours first announced."

"We apologize for the error. In the future, we at the amazingly prestigious Institute on Internet Trolling will do our best to provide only the most accurate information on our research."

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