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Dawkins vs. Creationists

Part One

Part Two

There are more, but I simply can't force myself to watch.

(tip to Josh)



OMG...ignorance bound tightly by belief hidden behind a smile. Richard, not even your patience and intelligence can break through this impenetrable façade.

OMG! How does he keep from punching her in the face?

In video she breaks down and stops argueing against the evidence and simply argues how great religion is.

should say "in Video 3"

There are more, but I simply can't force myself to watch.

I couldn't get past ⅔rds of the first clip. The "ad hominem attack" charge to which she quickly jumped is actually the only way left to a rational person when dealing with a fundamentalist. It is as if a Boeing aeronautical engineer is arguing with someone who doggedly insists that heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible. After taking that person out and showing her airplanes, she still claims that her viewpoint is being suppressed by physicists and engineers who want the exclusive franchise on discussions of heavier-than-air flying machines. Patience and intelligence have no effect on intellectual dishonesty. Ity may be an "ad hominem attack" to imply that they are dishonest, but it is nevertheless the core problem.

The irony is that his ad hominem, or "ad honimen" as she seems to say a few times, is that there is an emotional arguement rather than a factual arguement behind her beliefs.

If you watch more and believe me it is painful. You see in later videos that when she gets hit with a hard arguement she says straight out that her point of view must be true because societies based on a loving creater are supereor to those based on scientific design (Hitler and Stalin). A fact irrelevant to the truth of her arguement, but rather an emotional religious belief.

" me an example of when one species changes into another." WHAT? Take her to the Museum of Natural History. Introduce her gently to the fossil evidence of the evolution of the horse. Point out the timeline and how long ago the Eocene period happened. Be patient. Do not talk about humans. This is too huge a leap and too threatening for the first lesson. Then go have lunch.

You want to kill the retards don't you?

Jack, kind and loving society is based on the static horse theory.

haven't seen the clips yet but obligated by my religion to point out a good one-liner when i see one. well done. andyo's had a couple of zingers lately too i was too lazy to comment. drinking coffee now.

Introduce her gently to the fossil evidence of the evolution of the horse. Point out the timeline and how long ago the Eocene period happened. Be patient.

Sounds great, but don't you just know that someone has done precisely this many times with her? You can't get to be her age and do what she does - deny the obvious and well-known facts of biology for a living - without having heard this many times before. My example concerning the impossibility of heavier-than-air flying machines isn't really far-fetched. She's is dishonest - there is no other word for it.

[a] kind and loving society is based on the static horse theory.


She's is dishonest - there is no other word for it.

it's much worse, actually. she's being PAID to be dishonest. which, again, makes me wonder why dawkins chose to debate her.

omg, tim made it thru the first 2/3 of the first one?? i couldn't even make it that far. this woman is "straight outta eastwick".

my only criticism is the same thing i always say: sure, it's amusing seeing dawkins being patient and gentle with the rationally challenged sometimes- but not this time. this woman is just some talking head for some organization and doesn't have a brain in her own head. she's arguing (among a lot of stupid shit) for SCIENTISTS who don't believe in evolution to be given equal play in the classroom- a seemingly reasonable request. so where are the debates between dawkins and these "scientists" (if there are any)? that's what i want to see. not "media personalities". and this poor waif doesn't even have a personality.

actually to be fair: i have seen clips of dawkins debating anti-evolution/creationist "scientists", maybe one or two, don't remember their names. (dawkins made mincemeat of them- that i remember). and i've seen him debate media personalities who, while frighteningly misguided at least have a brain. shmuly boteach is my favorite of these, although he embarasses me terribly as a jew. at least with him when dawkins lands a punch (which is almost all the time) he hits something. but arguing with this woman is like, as they say, "pissing into the wind". she's not even THERE. who is the intended audience for this stuff, anyway?

The resort to branding criticisms offered by an interlocutor instances of the 'ad hominem' fallacy is frequently erroneous. 'Ad hominem' is a formal fallacy; it is fallacious to think that a formally valid argument can become invalid with the introduction of a premise which refers to the qualifications or personal morals of the person presenting the argument. Nonetheless it is /not/ automatically fallacious when in an informal context such as here. Take the following example; someone says 'most economists agree thus-and-so'. You are, one assumes, not immediately in a position to evaluate the truth of this claim at the moment in time. Therefore it becomes relevant what the experience of the person making the claim is and what their potential biases might be. Are they presenting it sympathetically as evidence against their theory (most economists thing X, but they are mistaken) or have they some inducement to mislead you. Are they an economist, or someone who might be in a position to know? Who trained them and how thoroughly? These are not irrelevant considerations in informal circumstances; anything which would lead you towards a rational decision in, for example, picking a doctor or picking a lawyer is relevant in the application of credulity to a person.

If a Priest tells you there are good arguments to believe in the existence of God and you simply wouldn't understand them in the time they have to explain them they might be telling you to truth - and they would be in a position to know, but of course they are also likely to be biased. ("The Pope is doing his job today"). If on the other hand someone claims, apparently without any expertise in biology or paleontology or geology or the like that the fossil record shows thus and so or does not show such and such and says this in contradiction with a man held by professionals and laymen as one of the best evolutionary biologists of his generation, it isn't fallacious thinking to side with the latter over the former; it's a symptom that your cognitive mechanisms are in working order.

Similarly, while we're at it, it wouldn't be irrelevant to bring up in the case of someone presenting themselves as a moralist, immoral (or morally suspect) conduct they happen to have engaged in. It would be relevant to what I have to say about the morality of prostitution whether I have visited prostitutes; it would be relevant to what I have to say about fidelity whether I have cheated on my wife. This is because moralising (presumably) does not take place within a formal context and there might be reason for thinking it couldn't. That's not to say 'anything goes' in informal argument but similarly pointing at something and saying it would be a fallacy in an alternate context, with alternative standards of rigor and credulity, does not make it fallacious in all. hominem is not just a case of directing abusive language toward another person. There is nothing fallacious about calling people names or saying ugly things about them. The fallacy is committed when when one engages in a personal attack as a means of ignoring, discrediting, or blunting the force of a counterargument. . . p.199 Attacking Faulty Reasoning

All of which explains my use of scare quotes when referring to Wright's claim that Dawkins had made an ad hominem attack upon her.

Exactly :)

Although what she says is clearly false and absurd, she does come off as articulate, polished, and self-assured by which those who lack any inkling of scientific knowledge easily fall victim to her rhetoric, particularly those with anti-intellectual biases.

she does come off as articulate...


Apart from the fact that Dawkins is a brilliant scientist (and the woman being complete buffoon), Dawkin's replies came off weak not in the sense that they aren't factual (they are!) but that they simply weren't persuasive. That is key in a debate; something Hitchens and Harris excel at. A good reply to the creationist lady's claim that there is a controversy isn't to say, "No you're wrong. There is none." Who is that supposed to convince? The fence-sitters? The one's already convinced of the factuality of evolution? The fundies? It's just wasted breath, why even bother chatting with this dumb creationsit cunt?


I do agree. Hitchens and Harris are great at not only pumping out good answers, but making the point that the other guy is an idiot (when it's the case).

As I watched, I was struck by the similarity between Ms. Wright and Sarah Palin in their use of dismissive laughter when they could offer no reasonable response.

I was also amazed that she could say with a straight face that creationists have more regard for fellow humans. She seems to have no more regard for history than she does for science.

Onward Christian Soldiers!!!

I'm sure some of you have come across articles in that those with a strong sense of self-assurance and confidence are usually thought to be competent among their peers. This is rampant, from my experience and from articles that I have read, in the workplace wherein those that are most competent are usually overlooked because they tend to be introverted self-doubters; for instance, the Dunning-Kruger effect comes to mind.



thanks for clarifying that peter. i got what you meant about self-assurance and confidence. it was the "articulate" part that threw me off. i just thought the definition would have to be stretched beyond all recognizability to be included there, especially when richard dawkins is the "control group" :). but i agree with you in general, and i'm sure these are the reasons she was hired to do what she does. it certainly wasn't for her analytical capabilities. and throwing someone like that at dawkins is a particularly pitiless, corporate-type move. i just couldn't bring myself to watch these through to the end, but i hope she made it out with all her limbs intact.

or maybe not. us non-corporations can be pretty pitiless, too.

I still don't understand the fundamental reason that Evolution = True means "there is no God". I mean, the Catholic Church officially accepts that God made things through evolution, and they know their God-stuff.

And this woman.. what evidence could she offer for Creationism? "it was written in a really old book, next to the bit about the talking snake, and a woman that was made from a rib"

Oh, and before the part about stoning your children in public if they disobey.

oy. i was feeling masochistic today and had a few minutes to kill, so i went back and watched part 2. how awful! i wonder why dawkins is as gentle with her as he is? perhaps it's because she's a lady (of some sort) and he's a (forgive me ladies)um...GENTLEMAN? maybe this is why her corporate/creationist overlords threw her at dawkins. they thought her gender would give her some leverage and in fact it appears that it did. this answers reed's question "why didn't he just smack her".

i found myself wishing for something less violent but far more entertaining: dawkins repeatedly says "have you seen homo habilus, have you seen australapithicus, have you seen homo erectus...etc" in an effort to get her to admit there is plenty of evidence for transitional forms. she rebuffs him and changes the subject every time. then, at one point, apparently tiring of having to go thru the whole list, he just says "have you seen homo erectus?" and leaves it at that.

for me it would have been worth the price of admission (which is actually nothing, thanks norm!) if he had just said "have you seen homo erectus...BAY-BEEE?" but of course, dawkins is too much of a gentleman to say anything like that.

again, sorry ladies, but this one is just too much to bear, and i think it does in fact have something to do with her gender. i think that's part of why she was picked for the job.

and the next time he debates someone who wants to go on about darwin-inspired horrors (eugenics, infantacide,racial superiority theories etc.), instead of just defensively saying that those are misinterpretations of evolutionary theory, he should go right for the throat: "quite right, ma'am, and all the people slaughtered in the name of religion are misrepresentations of religion, wouldn't you agree? next.

That's a snappy response, Jonathan. I'd use it, too... but it sets up the wrong kind of comparison. If she has it her way, then accepting the counter-example would mean that it's true that it's unfair to raise the bloody history of religion as an example of what can go wrong with it, in the same way that the frauds in the early development of the science of evolution are not representative of the science itself.

The problem is that your analogy, while good for pointing out this inconsistency, ultimately equates a scientific theory with a theology. The two are different in very important ways. It's a witty retort, but the analogy allows creationists to slip into the same category as science.

And I'm sure that wasn't your intent -- I'm just saying it lends itself to an interpretation that shouldn't be afforded them.

fair enough, collin. i would just say that i think eugenics etc. (on the side of darwin) and wars/genocide (on the side of religion) actually are fair enough examples of what CAN go wrong with these things. it's just unfair to claim they are somehow germaine to the respective worldviews.

i would make exceptions for the koran, and maybe the early history of the jews (who basically sucked at genocide). interestingly, the christians, who follow a guy who was basically a hippie pinko peacenik, were actually the most succesful at the bloodshed game.

it's true that religion and rationalism are very different things, but they are both worldviews and i thought it was fair to compare them on that basis.

but in general i humbly accept your criticism, and thank you for putting it so kindly.

No surprise she's lying out of her scientifically improved teeth. Her reference to being arrested outside an abortion clinic in Houston (part five) is a lie. She was with the terrorist group Operation Rescue in 1992. The previous year Wichita was besieged with the kooks and hundreds were arrested. The judge placed a buffer zone in Houston to help prevent what happened in Wichita. Wright blatantly tore up the order and protested with the purpose of getting arrested.

I don't see how someone can claim to have so much respect for humanity but engage in terrorism, lying, and deception. Then again, she's a fundy and lying is in their nature.

God Is Not Pro-Life:'s%20not%20pro-life.htm

Wonderful things in the Bible, describing the Life-Loving, Fair-Minded Creator she adores.

I don't dislike sprituality, and even find science very fulfilling 'spititually', but people who use cherry picked bits from old book filled with passed down hearsay to justify their activities disturb my calm.

And life loving creator? What about the FLOOD? 9.999999% of EVERYONE.. dead. Boom. Gone. And we our children color happy pictures of the animals in the Ark. It's Katrina times a million, people! Don't you get it?

One of my favorite parts of the videos is when dawkins talks about clergy that accept evolution as the method of God.

She asks what denominations these clergy are.

He replies that they are mostly anglican and catholic.

She replies with something like, "well there you go."

It brings me some pleasure to see that the religious folks hate each other as much as they hate reason and facts.

"It brings me some pleasure to see that the religious folks hate each other as much as they hate reason and facts."

Hate brings you pleasure?

Misery loves company.

Hmmm.... You're pleased that they hate each other as much as you hate them?

The enemy of my enemy is my friend.

I am glad that those apposed to science and reasoned discussion don't make friends easily. The fringe staying the fringe is really key to my quality of life.

That's really sad Reed :(

gotta go with syngas here. reed's still funnier, though. to be fair, i totally snickered when she did that "well there you go" thing. but i'm not proud of it.

I was proud when I laughed. It's a defense mechanism, a way of dealing with those who are immune to reason. It would be unhealthy to internalize such rubbish. Laughter helps us maintain our mental health.

Syngas is just a little overzealous embracing his role as the contrarian.

i don't know why you should be "proud" when your "defense mechanisms" are engaged by shadenfreud, norm. i'm proud that i wasn't proud of it.

So you think you'd be better off if you never snickered at the absurdity of it all?

of course not. but snickering at the misfortune of large groups of people is nothing to be proud of. well, unless you do it like this, with a real sense of the absurd:

music starts right away, video only at 20 sec.

hey did you guys catch this one? it's a gas. :) it's basically hitchens and frye totally trashing not only the jewish religion but the jews themselves! the gloves are finally off, it seems. we (the jews) only get some stuffy english woman to defend us (i think she's a catholic, maybe anglican:)) but she seems decent enough (especially compared to hitchens and frye!), just ineffective. she doesn't even attempt to defend the jews from these unprovoked attacks, just the 10 commandments and the bible itself (a bit) not much of a debate, more a spittle-slinging slaughter. much more entertaining than the subject of this post, though (sorry norm)

It would have been perfect if Frye had talked about the penalties for disobeying "the commandments."

different commandments have different penalties in jewish law. many are dealt with "in the afterlife" or "only at the hands of heaven" (isn't that nice?).

the penalty for not carrying out the commandment to utterly destroy amalek, for instance, was basically shaul losing the kingship to david (who also didn't manage to kill all the people he was "supposed" to), and the jews suffering at the hands of the amalekites they didn't get around to destroying for, uh, a long time. with no prophet, no king, and no way to identify "amalek" these days, there's no real-life commandment and no real-life punishment for neglecting it. we "won". yay. lucky us.

but you're not really interested in discussing the bible or jewish law, so stop tempting me.

I think you are most likely refereing to the desert tribes business. I took it to refer to the authors of the bible and not modern jews. I suppose he could have meant either.

But they are of course right about the ten commandments. It is a silly and meaningless list.

What 10 year old, raised by wolves couldn't come up with the good ones, and what reasoned adult couldn't come up with far better ones.

> I took it to refer to the authors of the bible and not modern jews.

right, because the modern jews are really europeans descended from the khazars and the authors of the bible were actually black,bedouin or "palestinian". i could see that. yeah.

the reason you understood it the way you did is basically that you aren't jewish. it sounds a bit different from this side of the fence, especially with the soundtrack being hitchen's jewish mother rolling in her grave. wonder if he has any issues there... i know i do. :)

also, there was fry's remark about "they're still doing it today" which may have slipped your notice because, again, you are not a m.o.t..

but i heard it. i heard it very, very clearly. though my paraphrase from memory may be a little off.

I caught the "still doing it" which is what I said could be seen as either mean: Jews are still out there oppressing people today, or the authors of the old testament are still oppressing people.

One could be interpreted as anti-semitism, the other is a stretch to make anti-semitism.

I may have understood it that way because I am not jewish, but they may have said it that way because they are also not jewish.

But yes, I think modern Jews obsess over this desire to be the same tribe as those that followed Moses. Genetically, culturally, and in so many ways they have nothing in common with bronze age nomads.

But yes, I think modern Jews obsess over this desire to be the same tribe as those that followed Moses. Genetically, culturally, and in so many ways they have nothing in common with bronze age nomads.

ah, what the hell do you know about it? you must have forgotten who you're talking to. i actually study this stuff, remember. i don't just make off the cuff remarks just because they happen to agree with my political philosophy. if you really want a lesson in jewish "genetics, culture and oh-so-many-ways etc." open a new thread and i'll meet you there.

modern jews don't "obsess" about it. the vast majority aren't even aware that their very family trees are being assaulted by armchair politicians on blogs like this one used to be and in casual (political) discourse in general. the very idea of non-jews telling jews they aren't jews is a fairly recent and historically corrupt and questionable development. it's anti-semitism because, even if it were true, it has no meaning politically. it's historically based genocide, make no mistake and don't fall into the trap.

i myself DO obsess about it (in case you hadn't noticed) because of my own studies and my personally precarious position vis-a-vis the possible practical results of such foolishness. but most jews (i repeat) wouldn't have the faintest idea what you are talking about. which is to say, only slightly less than you do yourself.

all of this, of course, has nothing to do with the validity (or not) of the bible or the 10 commandments. which is why i find it hard to understand why you bit when i dangled the bait in front of you. do you truly feel you have a pretty good handle on the life and genetic/cultural characteristics of "bronze age nomads"? if you do, you wouldn't talk to them like that. it pisses them off.

I am no expert on Jewish genetics or culture.

I do know myself and enough about the celts the germanic tribes that I pull my genetics from to know that I have next to nothing in common of my ancestors of thousands of years ago. I don't live in the dark and make up ghost stories to explain away the things I don't understand.

I think that most reasoned people I know would say the same of their heritage. Beyond the basics of the human condition, weather, and winter spring and fall festivals there is not much that I would relate with them about.

Ironically I made that comment in part because I think the anti-semitism that one could interperet from the statements you pulled from the discussion is that they were saying you were the same as those ancient people. The slavery genocide, mistreatment of women, etc that is done in the old testament is not something I would associate with moern jewish person I have ever met.

I also object that you take my statement to mean Jewish poeple aren't jewish.

I was only saying that the jewish people change over time. THat seems hard to deny, and it seems a frightening desire to not change over 3,000 years. That in no way means, that there hasn't been a cultural that has existed for 3k years and modern people aren't as valid a member of that as their ancient ancestors.

sorry if i misunderstood you and/or overreacted. i did admit to a certain obsession up front. and i wasn't the one bringing up anti-semitism,i just mentioned that they were trashing the jews personally now instead of restricting their remarks to the text in question. i certainly didn't mean to imply hitchens or fry are actually anti semites, and much less so you. i apologize if i gave that impression. it's clear you all have your objections to the modern israeli state, and that's perfectly legitimate.

norm taught us when we wuz little bitty younguns not to throw that term (anti semite) around on his blog and i try to respect that. so don't worry, you'll have to go far beyond merely trashing the jews for me to call you an antisemite. :) i trash the jews myself all the time.

not here, usually. too many goyim watching. :)

about peoples' changing over time, the general lack of concern by "reasonable people" about their genetic/cultural origins, and the perceived "lack of desire for change" among jews, i hope we'll be able to discuss these things sometime, they are certainly of great interest to me, but i've already massively abused my privelages on this thread by dragging it off track more than once.

although i guess you are an "administrator", so do as you like.

I was not careful with my words and you are admittedly obsessed. These things will happen.

perceived "lack of desire for change"

This is not something I am putting on all Jews just on you taking offense to the idea that you aren't the same as your ancient ancestors, but your offense may be do to my poor word choice.

BTW This is a follow up video to a debate the woman took part in and got completely embarrassed. I posted it a few months back

This is her sad attempt to use editing to frame those that bettered her as less reasonable than her.

I love her little monologue at the end. "I know that certain aspects of the bible are unpalatable..."

Hey, no kidding. A code of law where this woman would have been property, raped without consequence, killed for simple violation of church rules.

We should all forget about that because it says that it tells me not to kill (unless ordered by religion or leaders endorsed by religion) and honor my mother and father (assuming of course I don't attempt to liberate my mother from her role as my father's property).

Simple bullshit.

assuming of course I don't attempt to liberate my mother from her role as my father's property

hey, hey! i thought children of divorced parents are supposed to be told "it's not your fault". are you saying the little bastards are actually part of some child avenger conspiracy?

If they have read their bible, they will stay out of it, even if their Dad beats their Mom.

now your'e just being ridiculous. you must be thinking of the koran.

I am guess I am interpereting the role of a woman as property as some restiction on her liberty and how a faithful child is compelled to view her.

hey, we all have restrictions on our liberty, bro. hows that "by the sweat of your brow" thing treating you?

Air conditioning is actually pretty cold in my office.

fucking metrosexuals. see, the bible doesn't tell THEM what to do. lucky bastards.

Except for drag queens, then the Bible has something to say.

On a side note, this indent-the-next-post-of-someone's-reply is really problematic. I think the indents should only happen once like how the comments in Youtube videos work.

And of course I don't really take pleasure from hate, but I do find humor and comfort in the self destructive behavior of wackos.

That is of course not true during National Brotherhood week.


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