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Review interview: Richard Dawkins - Comments

Jiten's Avatar Comment 1 by Jiten

Can't wait to watch this.

Sat, 02 Aug 2008 14:36:00 UTC | #211918

helen sotiriadis's Avatar Comment 3 by helen sotiriadis


Sat, 02 Aug 2008 14:46:00 UTC | #211925

Andrew Stich's Avatar Comment 2 by Andrew Stich

I agree.

Sat, 02 Aug 2008 14:46:00 UTC | #211923

Auraboy's Avatar Comment 4 by Auraboy

Nothing like a strident mad dog foaming atheist to give us all a bad name eh?

Sat, 02 Aug 2008 14:49:00 UTC | #211926

8teist's Avatar Comment 5 by 8teist

"Oh, Rowan Williams â€" what a sweet man," says Dawkins, a smile breaking over his face.

That may well be,but how can anybody take the clergy dressed in their ridiculous robes and stupid hats seriously?

Sat, 02 Aug 2008 14:58:00 UTC | #211927

Auraboy's Avatar Comment 6 by Auraboy

Dawkins has often said he has a rather soft spot for the gentle anglican liberals who don't seem too frothing mad. I suppose you could argue this is a failing but I think it just shows that Richard is as far from the zealot he's occasionally portrayed as.

Sat, 02 Aug 2008 15:09:00 UTC | #211929

Border Collie's Avatar Comment 7 by Border Collie

I say ... Chew them down to their ankles, Richard! As most of you know, there was a solar eclipse in northern climes this past week. Almost every article I read about the eclipse spent at least half of the article discussing, as you might guess, the superstitions, religious connotations, omens, fears, etc. associated with eclipses. Of course, I'm fairly certain that Bigfoot, the Loch Ness monster and other well-known denizens of TV world came out while it was dark, so that only fuzzy photos could be taken. Nevertheless, usually, somewhere toward the end of the article they might have a line or two actually explaining what an eclipse is. I'm glad that there's a person like Richard in the world to take issue with the incessant, prevalent BS.

Sat, 02 Aug 2008 15:23:00 UTC | #211930

Dax's Avatar Comment 8 by Dax

Dawkins has often said he has a rather soft spot for the gentle anglican liberals who don't seem too frothing mad. I suppose you could argue this is a failing but I think it just shows that Richard is as far from the zealot he's occasionally portrayed as.

I think a lot of us have some sweet spot for one benign "religion" or the other. I often get along with Unitarian Universalists quite well. They're a crazy bunch of deists, cultural christian atheists, vague christians, pagans, etc. I argue with them on a lot, especially their stance that all belief, even non-belief, is a belief in this higher unseen power (although some are fully atheist), and their acceptance of pseudoscience BS like homeopathy (not all of them)... but discussions stay civil, clear, and friendly. At least we share a common goal of not bashing heads in based upon differing religious beliefs.

Sat, 02 Aug 2008 15:23:00 UTC | #211931

VanYoungman's Avatar Comment 9 by VanYoungman

Rosie Millard can write. This is a wonderful piece.

Sat, 02 Aug 2008 15:29:00 UTC | #211933

Auraboy's Avatar Comment 10 by Auraboy

Oh yes there's luckily still room for debate with all my rather religously-fuzzy anglican, catholic and muslim friends who don't seem to want to ostracise or in some way blow me up. Most still think atheism is a very honourable and acceptable view until they dismiss it with 'but not in the Richard Dawkins sense'. Which I always assume they mean to mean 'rabid and frothing atheism'. And then I gently try to explain that this image is something designed by flailing opponents and lazy journalists rather than the genuine approach of Mr Dawkins himself. I think religious people are stunned when they consider the prospect of Richard sitting down to a meal with an Anglican minister and not tearing their throat out. Which is sad really. You won't find an evangelical sitting down for a calm discussion in case they become tainted. They'd rather shout and scream. It's interesting to see who has had the label 'strident' attached to them however.

Sat, 02 Aug 2008 15:44:00 UTC | #211939

InYourFaceNewYorker's Avatar Comment 11 by InYourFaceNewYorker

Have we risen completely above this? There are some males who fight other males over females and some males who will screw anything with a vagina.

Sat, 02 Aug 2008 15:48:00 UTC | #211943

Lisa Bauer's Avatar Comment 12 by Lisa Bauer

"If we were following Darwinian dictates, we males would be spending all our time fighting other males to get females, and screwing them all over the place in order to have lots of children and grandchildren. I'm very glad we have risen above all of that."

Richard is obviously thoroughly unfamiliar with the biographies of countless rock and rap stars if he seriously believes we've "risen above" all of that! ;-)

Sat, 02 Aug 2008 17:11:00 UTC | #211956

Free Man's Avatar Comment 13 by Free Man

Sorry for interruption. Is something wrong with the Featrued and Latest News section as it is not in the same place like before? Or is it just my notebook?

Sat, 02 Aug 2008 18:04:00 UTC | #211965

maton100's Avatar Comment 14 by maton100

Matt Damon ain't got shit on Dicky D.

Sat, 02 Aug 2008 18:20:00 UTC | #211970

theonlybap's Avatar Comment 15 by theonlybap

We need to rise above our Darwinian heritage

What exactly does he mean by that?
Do we not follow the "Darwinian" model? I wasn't aware we have a choice. Even though many of us humans don't engage in mortal kombat over each other doesn't mean we don't have sex or let alone want it. We are homos now, not australopithecii or whatever our closest relative that exhibited such behavior was. Haven't we evolved the behavior we exhibit today?

Sat, 02 Aug 2008 20:40:00 UTC | #211987

J Mac's Avatar Comment 16 by J Mac

What exactly does he mean by that?

I've always had trouble with such statements as well. But essentially it means we can choose to do things that are not necessarily in the best interest of our genes or our individual reproduction.

Our rationality, in the strictest sense can be seen as a "misfiring" of evolved psychological mechanisms. Clearly it is not adaptive for us to choose not to reproduce, but some people do. We can transmit information laterally rather than just vertically, and we can choose which information we transmit.

Susan Blackmore has a wonderful, though not always scientific, book called the meme machine where she argues that our personality, sense of self, or identity, is just a complex of memes. This meme complex is capable of "overriding" our genes "desires." Again we can do things not in the interest of our genes.

Though whether this is good or bad is hard to say.

Sat, 02 Aug 2008 20:48:00 UTC | #211989

Teratornis's Avatar Comment 17 by Teratornis

Yes, yes, that's it! The reason I'm not screwing women all over the place is because I've ... risen above it.

Leaving aside the rather severe conceptual difficulty of imagining something that could be in any meaningful sense "above" screwing women all over the place, it's wonderful indeed to turn my inability to attract large numbers of women into some sort of a virtue I can boast about.

But isn't that what religiots have been doing for centuries? Acting on their ceaseless urges is not easy for lots of men - but no worries, we'll just define acting on those urges as "sin." (Didn't Aesop in his wisdom point out that those grapes are very, very sour?)

One wonders how different religion might be today if the majority of men were overwhelmingly attractive to women.

Sat, 02 Aug 2008 20:52:00 UTC | #211992

Mbee's Avatar Comment 18 by Mbee

A few of the pupils readily tell him they don't believe in evolution because it runs counter to their religious beliefs.

What on earth are these students doing in a science class! They should quit Biology, Physics, Chemistry, Geography etc. indeed all of the sciences.
If they have turned off their brain to listening to facts and learning while they are in school then taking a science class is a waste of time and effort for both students and teachers. I wonder what the kid in the video wants to do when he grows up?

I hope they are smart enough to come and check out this site plus open their minds to what life is really all about.

Sat, 02 Aug 2008 20:59:00 UTC | #211994

theonlybap's Avatar Comment 19 by theonlybap

J Mac,

Well then that makes one think that maybe some people really are too smart for their own good, and nature weeds them out. Maybe our species is becoming more irrational because smart (defined as rational here) people reproduce less. Here I was being hopeful that religion was going to die.

I'm somewhat joking, but I there might be some seriousness in there.

Sat, 02 Aug 2008 21:20:00 UTC | #211999

J Mac's Avatar Comment 20 by J Mac

You're not far off. The fact that foolish people out-reproduce intelligent people is the theme of the movie "Idiocracy."

Evolution has no goal or direction; if dumb people reproduce more ... (and "dumbness" is hereditary)

As far as religion fading, people don't inherit their religion in that sense. Certainly there is a large correlation in parent's religion to child's, because they raise them to be religious. But we can all choose to reject religion or convert.

Sat, 02 Aug 2008 21:25:00 UTC | #212001

J Mac's Avatar Comment 21 by J Mac

Most forms of "intelligence" would be more meme based and could be transfered laterally.

My education and accumulated knowledge can be passed on to other people even if I don't have children. (This IS what universities are for.) So the goal is to pass on the knowledge to those who lack it. Teach and educate society.

And in teaching children to think critically, in teaching them how to reason and use science, we can "rise above" our darwinian heritage.

Sat, 02 Aug 2008 21:29:00 UTC | #212002

theonlybap's Avatar Comment 22 by theonlybap

I was making a positive correlation between irrationality and religion. I suppose that isn't necessarily true.

I enjoyed Idiocracy in that sense. It was a bit silly, but there have been many times afterward that I was able to make connections between the movie and actual situations.

Sat, 02 Aug 2008 21:32:00 UTC | #212003

J Mac's Avatar Comment 23 by J Mac

Well then that makes one think that maybe some people really are too smart for their own good, and nature weeds them out.

Natural selection as a substrate neutral process as proposed by Dennett will not weed them out necessarily.

You say too smart for their own good, implying that it is the quality of "smartness" that is associated with not reproducing as much.

This quality is clearly not genetic, as no gene for not passing on genes could ever survive.

The quality of "smartness" is in their ideas, their knowledge.

Nature may weed out the genes of the biological machine that carried the information. But the information can be passed on.

Nature will weed out only information that is not taught, or not shared. So do not let intelligence be weeded out; teach, share, debate, and learn.

Sat, 02 Aug 2008 21:38:00 UTC | #212005

Roy_H's Avatar Comment 24 by Roy_H

"A few of the pupils readily tell him they don't believe in evolution because it runs counter to their religious beliefs. It's only after he bundles them into a coach and shows them fossils at the seaside that one or two admit there might be something in this evolution gig after all. "

That should happen to every kid in the country, let them see for themselves, show them the truth.

Sat, 02 Aug 2008 21:50:00 UTC | #212007

theonlybap's Avatar Comment 25 by theonlybap

J Mac,

Right. Like I said, I was somewhat joking, so I was not thinking very deeply into the matter. But you bring up some good points.

Sat, 02 Aug 2008 22:28:00 UTC | #212009

Barry Pearson's Avatar Comment 26 by Barry Pearson

Sat, 02 Aug 2008 23:24:00 UTC | #212017

black wolf's Avatar Comment 27 by black wolf

As usual, many of the comments at timesonline on this are infuriating. 'Snails don't become monkeys! Atheism is dogma! Atheism is religion! Evolution is religion!'
Or the 'moderate' ones, which I prefer to call the intellectually lazy ones: 'God guides evolution, which I am certain of, so don't you dare say it's wrong.' 'Great scientific minds (like mine) believe in God, therefore it cannot be false.'
Not one of either sort argues for their position, they just declare their opinion to be true and valid by fiat. It's depressing. I've stopped laughing, it isn't funny anymore. The arrogance and hubris lies in demanding a gap, for no reason whatsoever but fear of death, desperately grasping at straws and idiotically calling someone close-minded for his statement that it's just a straw that will break. It is sickening to observe this power of indoctrination over people older than eight years old. Please, please stop it, just stop it.

Sun, 03 Aug 2008 00:09:00 UTC | #212023

bullwinkle's Avatar Comment 28 by bullwinkle

I was taught chemistry by Nick Cowan between 1973 and 1980. At that time he was in no way religious. My memory is hazy but there were quite a few teachers who were god-botherers and Cowan was quite scathing of them. He was more interested in Stoke City FC and his soul music show he DJ'd on local radio. What I do remember was he was a very good teacher. I find that worrying because if he's a tenth as good at teaching his religious nonsense as he was at teaching me chemistry, then there'll be a lot more god botherers coming out of my old school.

By the way, The Bluecoat School is not a private school, but is state funded. It was such a beacon of excellence that The People's Politician, Derek Hatton (remember him?) tried to have it closed down in the 1980's when he was running The People's Socialist Soviet of Liverpool.


Sun, 03 Aug 2008 01:32:00 UTC | #212036

Philster61's Avatar Comment 29 by Philster61

Just goes to show that movie stars,tattooed football players,and idiot reality TV stars aint got jack shit sexiness when it comes to Professors.
I think many women will agree that brains always wins out over everything else.
I think i have a man-crush.LOL.

Sun, 03 Aug 2008 01:35:00 UTC | #212038

LeroiJones's Avatar Comment 30 by LeroiJones

When I was last teaching eight year olds the children actually asked me to do something on evolution because they were facinated with the idea of what our ancestors were like. Of course I did the lesson happily and it was one of the most memorable I've ever done. The children did not want to stop talking about it.

Sun, 03 Aug 2008 01:53:00 UTC | #212044