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Richard Dawkins slaps creationists into the primordial soup - Comments

thewhitepearl's Avatar Comment 1 by thewhitepearl

Big Brother, surely the ultimate cultural meme of the moment

Seriously? People actually watch that? More mindless brain vapor.

All in all, it really is great that there is an indepth article about Dawkins. A " behind the scene" story so to speak. However, I'm disappointed with the way it was written. It reminds me of a middle school biography report. Ideas all over the place. Random sentences with random ideas and facts.

[edit] Is there a dog in the picture? By that dances with wolves looking statue? (It looks like he's holding a mini-sheep dog. Either that or a fat maltese)

Fri, 18 Jul 2008 18:02:00 UTC | #202712

maton100's Avatar Comment 2 by maton100

All hail the king of debunkery!

Fri, 18 Jul 2008 18:02:00 UTC | #202713

Laurie Fraser's Avatar Comment 3 by Laurie Fraser

Anyone who is a fan of P.G. Wodehouse has got to be a good fellow.

Fri, 18 Jul 2008 18:10:00 UTC | #202716

Chris Bell's Avatar Comment 4 by Chris Bell

You can see a small glimpse of Richard's house there. I bet a tour of his house would be fascinationg - lots of artifacts and such.

Hitchens gave a TV tour of his home! Come on Richard!

Fri, 18 Jul 2008 18:16:00 UTC | #202721

dragonfirematrix's Avatar Comment 5 by dragonfirematrix

To Dr. Dawkins, bravo! Live long and prosper.

Fri, 18 Jul 2008 18:28:00 UTC | #202726

Diocletian's Avatar Comment 6 by Diocletian

This was such great fun to read and not a single line about him being shrill or strident or the other all too common comments about him. Well done Kate Muir.

Fri, 18 Jul 2008 18:34:00 UTC | #202729

robotaholic's Avatar Comment 7 by robotaholic

One day I'll get this man's autograph :)

EDIT- the comments after the article are annoying and they only show the first few... I put my comment of support in but it doesn't show-

People are calling Richard Dawkins arrogant. I think claiming to know what a creator of the entire universe wants you to do, think, and say is far more arrogant than humbly following the scientific method of observation and repeatability.

Fri, 18 Jul 2008 18:54:00 UTC | #202737

thewhitepearl's Avatar Comment 8 by thewhitepearl

One day I'll get this man's autograph :)

Yeah me too. I wish he would come to Dallas. I want a picture with him. I'd have it printed on a canvas and hung on my wall. If I don't ever get a picture.....Well I'll just tattoo his face on me somewhere.

Fri, 18 Jul 2008 19:04:00 UTC | #202739

William1w1's Avatar Comment 9 by William1w1

I always try to comment about the article that I've read, so I'm glad that I can finally talk about Richard Dawkins.

I've always been an athiest, well at least since I could ask the question of why we're here. Throughout school, from roughly grade two onwards, I would try to convince people of the ridiculousness of believing in God. I must say that I often felt quite alone. Even when I found other atheists, they generally felt that religions deserve more respect than anything, even scientific inquiry. I often felt bad because I lost respect for people based on their beliefs. It was not until later that I realized that if someone believes something so massively stupid, then it should indeed be difficult to respect him or her.

And then I read 'The God Delusion.' Every argument Dawkins made resounded with perfection. He left no basic argument out of his book. I felt wholly satisfied because he had touched on everything that I wanted him to. Perhaps what was best was the realization that there are other intelligent and liberal people out there who find that religious people do not deserve respect for such ludicrous beliefs.

Richard Dawkins is awesome. I'm an 18-year-old man, and if I saw him I'd probably scream and then babble like a schoolgirl meeting her favourite pop-star... I don't think I'd ask for an autograph. I've never understood the importance of a signature. I would definitely take a picture if I had a camera though.

Fri, 18 Jul 2008 19:09:00 UTC | #202744

Lisa Bauer's Avatar Comment 10 by Lisa Bauer

The story about Juliet (also retold in Climbing Mount Improbable) brings to mind the time I also went out with my father one night to see Halley's Comet when I was 8, since I was such a huge astronomy buff at the time. The thing was, even with a (very small) telescope, there wasn't a heck of a lot to see, alas; all I remember is a tiny whitish smudge.

And the term "trailer trash" has made it across the pond, I see... ;-)

Fri, 18 Jul 2008 19:39:00 UTC | #202754

KrisRamJ's Avatar Comment 11 by KrisRamJ

There's a few more than 40 RD videos on YouTube - I just did a search and it's 3,670 if you search for "Richard Dawkins"...

Fri, 18 Jul 2008 19:42:00 UTC | #202756

Philster61's Avatar Comment 12 by Philster61

Long live King Richard!!!!!

Fri, 18 Jul 2008 19:46:00 UTC | #202759

black wolf's Avatar Comment 13 by black wolf

from the comments on their site:
"Dwarkins does not understand Americans. ... and the Supreme Court has ruled that Atheism is a religion equal to any other."
"( sorry darwin in wrong, evolution is just a viral infection)"
"To describe Hawkins as evangelical is pretty good..."
"... Christians who accept" evolution. That is, of course, the majority - including my Catholic Church."
"Dawkin's brand of Scientism is far more damaging then a few wingnuts in America that don't buy evolution (44% is nonsense). "

My comments on these:
- Why is it that believers apparently exclusively and persistently misspell Dawkins' name or can't tell him and Stephen Hawking apart? This reveals a willful ignorance of science and profound disrespect for a person's dignity. I try my best to spell any person's name correctly, even if it means I'll have to find a book that references him or a website to make sure. And in these cases, the article providing the correct spelling is right in front of their rage-dazzled eyes.
- The 44% figure is not only from a respectable polling institution, but has been corroborated by polls from other institutions and consecutive years. Flatly denying all those polls' validity from personal disbelief is a classic argument from incredulity and further illustrating how ignorance disrespects its own intellect.
- The SC didn't rule that atheism is a religion, and again, it is willfully ignorant or mendacious to claim it had.
- no, truth is not dependant on majority opinion or hurt feelings of national pride
- The Catholics and evolution:
"Although I, personally, believe in some form of evolution, I have serious problems with the way some theories of evolution are presented as fact, especially given the flaws in those theories, and any atheistic theory of evolution is, of course wholly incompatible with Christianity (and rational thought)." - commenter
"Evolution in the sense of common ancestry might be true, but evolution in the neo- Darwinian sense - an unguided, unplanned process of random variation and natural selection - is not." - Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn
While these do not represent the official majority position of the CC, we are well aware that it takes some degree of naiveté and obfuscative interpretative quibbling to bring the text of the scriptures into accordance with a complete view of the Theory of Evolution, inanely pretending that the authors of Genesis had been inspired to paraphrase evolution in the most obscurantist way conceivable. And they illustrate how quickly a large portion of the Catholic grass roots to some of is leaders would eagerly revert to 19th century creationism if science didn't uphold the pressure.

edits applied to grammar, content and added commentary 6:06 CET

Fri, 18 Jul 2008 19:51:00 UTC | #202764

Enlightenme..'s Avatar Comment 14 by Enlightenme..

In the first sentence: "a knight of the mind".

And obviously by now, along with Stephen Hawking, should be a member of The Most Noble Order of the Garter.
A knight of the realm.

Fri, 18 Jul 2008 20:34:00 UTC | #202785

black wolf's Avatar Comment 15 by black wolf

did you know that Hawking declined knighthood twice? He doesn't think such a title means anything to him or his professionial standing.

Fri, 18 Jul 2008 20:43:00 UTC | #202791

Hellene's Avatar Comment 16 by Hellene

Mr. Dawkins,

I would like to thank you for devotion to the principles of Reason and Science. It is my belief that as human beings it is our obligation to help the Universe find out about itself. You sir along with your peers, are on the apex of that effort. Here in Florida we are under threat of a named storm that keeps coming back season after season. It's name is Rhonda Storms and it besieges the state capital when the senate is in session.
She lost the round this year. I personally vow to use what little power I have to see that she loses the next. The so-called "academic freedom bill" must never be allowed to poison the minds of our youth.

Thank you.

Please keep inspiring us!

The Hellene.
Tampa Florida

Fri, 18 Jul 2008 20:54:00 UTC | #202798

NewSkeptic's Avatar Comment 17 by NewSkeptic

A polite, thoughtful article! Where did this kind of objective reporting come from? ;-)

I look forward to the programme and I am most keen to see what is in the Richard Dawkins DVD Collection!

Cheers, Skeptic!

Fri, 18 Jul 2008 21:29:00 UTC | #202805

Roy_H's Avatar Comment 18 by Roy_H

"The word Brights gets a lot of ridicule. A lot of Americans think it's arrogant, that it's saying non-religious people are cleverer than religious people. On average they probably are, but you're not allowed to say that."

Fri, 18 Jul 2008 21:36:00 UTC | #202806

mordacious1's Avatar Comment 19 by mordacious1

The podcast is the Dawkins-McGarbage debate.

Fri, 18 Jul 2008 22:38:00 UTC | #202810

irate_atheist's Avatar Comment 21 by irate_atheist

I should love to have everybody taught about evolution from a fairly early age, because it is so important, so exciting," he says. "It answers so many questions and mysteries; it solves so many problems. Until you know about it, you're wandering around on this Earth looking at trees and birds and flowers, not knowing why any of them is there. Evolution is the answer to that riddle, so you're not really a whole person if you don't know where you come from and why you exist. And it's not difficult. It's not like relativity, it's not like quantum theory â€" it's something teachable to fairly young children."
I agree wholeheartedly with this statement. If religion is allowed to wreck childrens' minds, the very least we can do is tell them the truth instead. Barring my untimely death, my son will be as educated as possible, as young as possible, about this. I can only but hope this will counter the expected propaganda from the four preachers, two vicars and the ex-nun in my in-laws.

Fri, 18 Jul 2008 22:53:00 UTC | #202813

Enlightenme..'s Avatar Comment 20 by Enlightenme..

Comment #213775 by black wolf :

did you know that Hawking declined knighthood twice? He doesn't think such a title means anything to him or his professionial standing. "

I'm not sure that's quite true.
There is no mention of this on wikipedia, and the way you phrase it suggests he has actually been cited for the honour, and declined it.
I very much doubt that has happened, and it's worth noting that Stephen Hawking is an OBE (or CBE) and also a Companion of Honour.

Sometimes things are attributed to people's off-the-cuff remarks concerning the merits of the British honours system, and how important it is to their standing &c, and then blown out of proportion by the media.

Correction to my post :
The part of the British honours system that Richard should be in is The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire.
I'm not quite sure how the system works, but it has a rank order (of course) ; MBE OBE CBE KBE/DBE and GBE , the two highest of which are knights/dames, addressed as 'Sir'/'Ma'am'.

And what did Charles Darwin get?..
(they cannot be awarded posthumously)

Fri, 18 Jul 2008 22:53:00 UTC | #202812

doglived's Avatar Comment 22 by doglived

Oh dear, the podcast features the comedian Alister E. McGrath. I tire of his routine: "I've discovered religion to enormously powerful and transformative." And then he goes on for many, many punch lines, none of which find my funny bone. He describes religion as if it's a kind of alcoholic Superman, who has the "capacity to do very very bad things as well as very good things ... and my real point is simply this, if you single out the bad acts of drunk superman it is easy to condemn him."

I must go re-read PZ's parody of McGrath which is truly funny.

Fri, 18 Jul 2008 22:54:00 UTC | #202814

Eventhorizon's Avatar Comment 23 by Eventhorizon

I'd like to see a cameo by Richard on The Simpsons next
Anyone have Matt Groenings email address?

Fri, 18 Jul 2008 23:10:00 UTC | #202815

beanson's Avatar Comment 24 by beanson

It is truly bizarre that Evolutionary theory isn't given prominence as a school subject at all levels. One would be hard pressed to find another scientific theory which has such direct bearing on the image we have of ourselves as human and is yet as easy to understand...

...and so easy to misunderstand and misrepresent- simply leave out the natural selection element, preach that Darwinism means randomness and one can easily convince the ignorant that it could have no explanatory power over design

Fri, 18 Jul 2008 23:15:00 UTC | #202816

Kubenzi's Avatar Comment 25 by Kubenzi

painted animals from an old fairground ride

Cmon Richard,youve been holding out.Pics or it didnt happen:D

Fri, 18 Jul 2008 23:30:00 UTC | #202818

mordacious1's Avatar Comment 26 by mordacious1


At least she is an "ex-nun". This must lead to some interesting dinner table discussions and possibly fisticuffs.

Fri, 18 Jul 2008 23:36:00 UTC | #202819

Dr Doctor's Avatar Comment 27 by Dr Doctor

"[edit] Is there a dog in the picture? By that dances with wolves looking statue? (It looks like he's holding a mini-sheep dog. Either that or a fat maltese) "

Its not fat, just fluffy.

"Richard Dawkins is that rare specimen, a public intellectual, a knight of the mind who goes into battle against the ignorance and foolhardiness of the populace. Unlike the French, who worship their public intellectuals, giving them pet names such as les intellos, and airing them regularly on serious television and in print, the British like to shove academics into a musty corner, or laugh at them. This was not always the case: the Victorians, with their public lectures and royal societies, gloried in debate and celebrated the thrills of fresh knowledge. The nearest we get to this now is celebrating the thrill of Germaine Greer walking out of Celebrity Big Brother."

Hoho, masterly slap down there of Germaine "I'm an intellectual you know" Greer and British TV.

Fri, 18 Jul 2008 23:38:00 UTC | #202821

purbrookian's Avatar Comment 28 by purbrookian

Hellene, you're on the money with the warning about the imbecile Storms. Keep up the fight against such industrial-strength ignorance.

Fri, 18 Jul 2008 23:46:00 UTC | #202822

Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 29 by Steve Zara

Hoho, masterly slap down there of Germaine "I'm an intellectual you know" Greer and British TV.

And a rather odd and inappropriate one. This is the same British TV that recently produced the wonderful "Live in Cold Blood" by David Attenborough, and which presents the Royal Institution Christmas Lectures, and which had a recent documentary on the ideas of Stephen Hawking.

The entire intellectual output of British TV should not be judged by Celebrity Big Brother.

Fri, 18 Jul 2008 23:51:00 UTC | #202823

Dr Doctor's Avatar Comment 30 by Dr Doctor

..and you are the master of what is appropriate, and what represents the output of British TV.

Why am I not surprised.

Fri, 18 Jul 2008 23:54:00 UTC | #202824