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The Greatest Show On Earth


The Greatest Show on Earth
Guardian Review
If Thomas Henry Huxley was famously "Darwin's bulldog", then Richard Dawkins is probably best described as "Darwin's pit bull". He gets his teeth into an argument, locks on and shakes it until submission is the only option. There's a certain glee when he admits to being "the devil's disciple" or the high priest of "ultradarwinism", and his admission has an undeniably macho swagger about it. Real men (and women) take the toughest line on natural selection. Suffering and pain in nature and humanity are merely there to service the genes. Anything else is "Sentimental, human nonsense. Natural selection is all futile." There is something bracing about belonging to this most astringent and clear-sighted set. Deluded theists! Wishy-washy agnostics! Welcome to the Fight Club. One is reminded of lines by Dawkins's favourite poet, WB Yeats: "Cast a cold eye / On life, on death. / Horseman, pass by."

 

Comments

This looks fantastic.

Does anyone happen to know what soundtrack was used for this promo?

Seems Timonen does the music too (it's on the credits). Quite a capable fellow.

Suffering and pain in nature and humanity are merely there to service the genes.

I think the toughest line on evolution ignores the obvious. Genes exist as an adaptation to perpetuate the existence of complex life.

We exist, to exist and to continue existing. That seems to be the real story behind evolution.

Richard Dawkins is sounding all friendly; kind of a switch.

This book would probably convince those on the fence, or those ready for an epiphany. It's hard to predict with people who are sooo grounded in faith that life started with the Old Testament stories.

If anyone would like to hear the music created for this video, here is the mp3:

http://c0116771.cdn.cloudfiles.rackspacecloud.com/TGSOE-promo.mp3

Great blog as always, Norm! Thanks for posting this video!

Josh

Hey, neat. Thanks for the MP3!

RedSeven: As I remember it Dawkins coined the phrase "Selfish Gene" in the seventies to label just such behaviour. This indicated that genes 'behaved' in such a way as to ensure that they are the genes that will be replicated.

I understand his point, but I also think he is simplifying things a bit. Its like saying that chickens exist to lay eggs, without acknowledging eggs exist to become chickens.

You are right, of course, but Dawkins has said this in any number of ways since "The Selfish Gene", as have many others, and people still need convincing, especially those 40 percent of US fundamentalists he is targetting in this short video. So I guess he feels it NEEDS to be stated simplistically.

I guess that is how it works. Most of those 40% have probably not read the bible but still know that Jesus loves them.

Frank and Ernie still said it best: "I'm sort of inclined to accept Evolution - I don't see why we should blame God for everything!"

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