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Richard Dawkins on Q&A

The Australian tour Continues (Tip to Killbot)

Part 2

Jb, you will note that the bible is explained to be a basis of Western morality at 7:50.

Part 3

Part 4



Jb, you will note that the bible is explained to be a basis of Western morality at 7:50.

(Andy grabs popcorn)

reed: 7:50 says no such thing, she's talking about mans "ability to question his own origins".

but i'd like to use this oppurtunity to say something i've never had the chance to say: (because orthodox jews are still uncomfortable with female rabbis): i'd tap that redhead rabbi any day! :)

she's talking about mans "ability to question his own origins".

In video 2 she is saying that the bible should be studied because it is a basis for several things, including morality. She seems like a mainstream christian when she does it too.

ah yes, got it, part 2. that's the australian politician lady, not the jewish rabbi lady. :) she mentions it very briefly in passing and you're right, she sounds like a christian fundamentalist, probably because she is one.

my favorite is the young australian politician-guy in the fancy suit who doesn't seem to have an opinion on anything at all- brilliant! and dawkins tie is just killer... but he says in this segment that (i paraphrase)"if there is a creator/intelligent designer than we're talking about a whole different paradigm for science/biology". i'd like to know, how is this so? the assumption that the creation "makes sense" has been absolutely fundamental to scientific achievement since, like, forever. in other words, that there's an "intelligence" to it. the greatest scientific discoveries were predicated on this notion, and still are. wtf is he talking about? does he think that "creationism"=religion? if so he's a moron.

If I'm not mistaken, I've heard Dawkins say that he doesn't have much of a problem with a God who set the system up and watches the universe unfold without interfering or with God = universe. Neither do I, for that matter. But, like Dawkins, I don't think an impersonal God explains anything (or alternatively, raises exactly as many questions as it answers). I doubt Dawkins would disagree with Einstein (“The most incomprehensible thing about the universe is that it is comprehensible.”).

Deism is for all practical purposes identical to atheism. I'm opposed to it because it's just not efficient thinking. Why introduce anything supernatural at all when there's no good reason to think it ever was there?

Frankly Dawkins to me doesn't seem like a great debater or putter-down of nonsense. He's probably the third or fourth of the 4 horsemen in my book. Harris and Hitchens are way way better at handling these things, and other non-horsemen like PZ I think would do much better. I haven't seen Sam Harris in a while, anyone else knows what he's up to?

I haven't seen Sam Harris in a while, anyone else knows what he's up to?

i too am curious, as i mentioned recently. this seems like a good place to ask.

I believe he's in UCLA conducting research on belief in at the level of the brain (he's the author of one recent study) and finishing up his doctoral degree.

Finally watched all four parts. Near the end, when Dawkins points out the absurdities of religion, the believers on the panel lose patience and pounce. They demand respect. In essence, they bring up the very notion (religion, absurdities and all) as a shield against the absurdities. This is exasperating, as Richard displays several times during the session.

Samm Harris is on Twitter!

Here's the link:

He's apparently done a TED Talk lecture that should be coming out soon and also publishing a new book on October 5th of this year entitled The Moral Landscape: How science can determine human values.

thank you!

i finally had a chance to view the last segments of this and in general really enjoyed the whole thing- so thanks norm.

i like the format where the "atheist guy" is just one representative on a panel where everyone is accorded equal "respect". and i think andyo is too harsh on dawkins. in spite of his brutal smackdown at the hands of middle-aged austrailian politician guy in the 4th segment- which hitchens, for instance, would never have taken lying down- it's clear that dawkins was an audience favorite, maybe THE audience favorite, and it is his gentle manner which allows for this. it didn't stop him from making some sharp points.

i too prefer hichens for entertainment/bulldog value, and harris for careful reasoning. but dawkins is probably the best bet for an atheist spokesman that "the masses" will actually listen to. in these days of image and soundbites, the guys who make it long term- like stewart- are basically all about charm. and this dawkins has in spades. in spite of all my quibbles with specific bits of reasoning and "talking points", i'm grateful to have lived to see the day when ideas like this are presented in mass media formats and treated seriously and, with all my disagreements and arguments with him, i think we can thank richard dawkins for that, more than the other "horsemen".

[i reposted this here in it's proper place, norm if you feel like removing it from the other dawkins thread where i mis-posted it that would be great.]

thanks for the links.

further to dawkins vs. hitchens: i think both of them have a similar image problem in terms of getting ruffled. difference is, when dawkins gets ruffled, you kind of feel sorry for him. when hitchens gets ruffled it's like "whoa, clear the room so nobody gets hurt!"

getting ruffled is always bad news- and not so much of a problem for harris or dennet, by the way- but of the two approaches i mention, dawkin's is better in terms of media staying power (meaning getting invited back into peoples living rooms.)

also: i don't mean PRETENDING to get ruffled, which is of course media gold. i mean the real thing.

To me there's something about The Dawk that comes off as just a tiny bit arrogant (and of course I don't mean the "arrogant" the religious like to say atheists are) when he gets fluttered. That smirk doesn't help either. If you're gonna smirk like that, go all the way and go Hitchens on their asses. The Dawk is a bit of a fuddy-duddy too.

The Hitch doesn't pull any punches. I can only dream about what he would have told that idiot that was scolding Dawkins condescendingly with the same old tripe about him being "insulting" when Dawkins was just stating facts.

this could be a very interesting comment thread, since all of us have been watching these guys "work it" for years (in my case entirely thanks to 1gm, tho i've done a lot of poking around since then) and it's very much like "who's your favorite guitar player/boxer/matador etc."

about the smackdown: i disagree with your take. i think that actually was dawkins attempt to be "in your face", which of course he does by merely stating facts- not always the best approach in that situation. but i don't think the politican guy was wrong about his intention to insult, and the audience saw it too, and i think that's why he backed down- because he knew it was true.

hitchens would have been much more aggressive, not merely relying on facts, and said something like "isn't it true, sir, that your religion is a pile of doggy doody?" in a case like that, where he's not trying to pretend harmlessness as dawkins was, he couldn't be attacked for pretense and his opponents would have been forced to deal with the actual issue.

so yeah, dawkins lost that particular scuffle, but by just shutting up and essentially conceding, he won the respect of the audience. and me, too. and he'll live to fight another day. hitchens typical approach would have seen him booed off the stage in a sort of self righteous glory that you and i appreciate but most people don't.

It's the accent.

sorry, i meant "forum thread" above. it already is an interesting comment thread, but it will soon go the way of all comment threads...

one more thing, andyo: your point about dawkins as a DEBATER is probably true, in the sense of one on one debate hitchens is a powerhouse. but in a forum situation like this, which i see as the wave of the future (or should be) dawkins is just a better horse to back. unless hitch lays off the booze and tones it down a bit. :) of course i still love to see him in action against a single opponent.

and i aint a'skeered of him, neither. i'd love to BE that opponent. :) topic: the horrors of the jewish religion and the settlement movement.

remember how he (very honorably, i might add) agreed to undergo waterboarding, so he could discuss it without being a hypocrite? i would try to get him to undergo his long-neglected bar mitzvah, with me and some friends of mine as tutors. could be fun. :)

i finally had a chance to view the last segments of this and in general really enjoyed the whole thing- so thanks norm.

Nobody reads the "Posted By" :(

oh sorry about that, reed. i usually try. thanks for this. and that fry interview- i totally lmao.

You are forgiven


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