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← Richard Dawkins replies to Libby Purves

Richard Dawkins replies to Libby Purves - Comments

thewhitepearl's Avatar Comment 1 by thewhitepearl

Well, well the letter was published after all.

I'm making my way over to see the comments being made on that side of the fence.

Fri, 08 Aug 2008 15:35:00 UTC | #214900

Matt H.'s Avatar Comment 2 by Matt H.

I made a reply, let's see if Times Online publish it.

Basically it was in response to Anita's post, where she wrote the following: "Didn't seen the programme but did find the tone of The God Delusion disrespectful. The best way to win respect for atheism is probably not to scornfully mock the views of others, irrespective of whether you think them ludicrous. I can't stand Oxbridge intellectual smugness. And yes, I am ex-Oxbridge"

I basically said Professor Dawkins has the right to say what he likes, and it's a good thing there are people like him around in an age where offending someone is seen as a hate crime. There's too much 'That's disrespectful, you can't say that' going around these days.

Fri, 08 Aug 2008 15:36:00 UTC | #214902

Primate's Avatar Comment 3 by Primate

I thought Dawkins did a wonderful job presenting the children the evidence for evolution. Instead of just stating that "Evolution is true and creationism is false!", Dawkins actually took the entire class to investigate the matters for themselves.

Libby's caricaturing of Dawkins "as stark as any bonkers tin-hut preacher from the Quivering Brethren shouting: 'Repent or burn!' Evolution or God â€" take your choice, kid!" Is completely off the mark and extremely dishonest. There is no "repent or burn!" tone in Dawkins' voice at any point in this video. His stance is merely "Investigate for yourself and draw your conclusions from the evidence."

I can't wait to see the next episodes! Good job Professor Dawkins!

Fri, 08 Aug 2008 15:41:00 UTC | #214903

maton100's Avatar Comment 4 by maton100

Yes...but look up Libby and you'll see the sky really is blue.

Fri, 08 Aug 2008 15:54:00 UTC | #214910

Wosret's Avatar Comment 5 by Wosret


Fri, 08 Aug 2008 15:58:00 UTC | #214911

Faithhead's Avatar Comment 6 by Faithhead

Thanks for the link Robert_S!!! Here is an exert of her article:

Note that only 22 per cent chose creationism and 17 per cent 'intelligent design"(few people know what that means, I suspect, and some will simply think it means that if there is a Creator he is intelligent). Asked what should be taught in school science, 69 per cent went for evolution. Better if it was 100 per cent, of course, but it hardly suggests an overwhelming scepticism shared by the entire population outside of - er - Hampstead Garden suburb.

How naive is she! How could she even begin to defend such stats. This is a prime example of how ignorance can run rampant, even in Britain.

Fri, 08 Aug 2008 16:05:00 UTC | #214916

Apathy personified's Avatar Comment 7 by Apathy personified

From the reply Robert_S posted

I assume he means the 1976 Horizon poll asking 2000 respondents

Emphasis mine.

Does she honestly think he is using that poll? I don't know what poll he has used, but i'm pretty certain that RD would have used a recent one.

Just wait for what she says after the next episode - bet she has already written her comment about it, just left a few blanks like 'When Dawkins BLANK, he was ramming atheism down peoples throats'

Fri, 08 Aug 2008 16:35:00 UTC | #214923

thewhitepearl's Avatar Comment 8 by thewhitepearl


I did.

Fri, 08 Aug 2008 16:56:00 UTC | #214926

Apathy personified's Avatar Comment 9 by Apathy personified

I totally agree - No doubt she'll be claiming, 'Clever me, am I someone and I rattled Richard Dawkins - i must be as intelligent as i think i am'

Fri, 08 Aug 2008 17:10:00 UTC | #214930

thewhitepearl's Avatar Comment 11 by thewhitepearl


I noticed that my comment has yet to make a cameo. I wonder if someone has to approve those as well?

Hope not. They might find it a little crazy that my comment ended with [whack]. Thus lowering my chances of it actually being approved.


He he, I just realised a lot more people are catching on with calling Mordy, Mordy.


I'm pretty sure shes been unconscious since I read her article yesterday.

Fri, 08 Aug 2008 17:12:00 UTC | #214933

the way's Avatar Comment 10 by the way

Silly woman.
One of the first things she does every day (I am sure) is to read the comments on RD net. She should know by now that the only "good christian", or indoctrinee of any cult for that matter, is a homophobic, misogynistic, racist bigot, no matter what they might cherry pick in suburbia.

Fri, 08 Aug 2008 17:12:00 UTC | #214932

EeekiE's Avatar Comment 12 by EeekiE

Accepting Evolution and being a Christian means jack-shit. The idea of Evolution of species pre-dates Darwin. The genius of it all is that it has been shaped by -"NATURAL"- selection.

The Catholic church accept "Evolution". In that all of life is related. However, they reject Darwin's idea that it has been shaped entirely naturally, and instead suggest it has been shaped by a god in some way.

This isn't a Christian celebration of Darwin. This is just a cop-out and an insult.

In exactly WHAT way is natural selection compatible with your THEIST Christian god.

Fri, 08 Aug 2008 17:17:00 UTC | #214936

Laurie Fraser's Avatar Comment 13 by Laurie Fraser

Libby Purves really peeves me. First of all, she cannot write, and she's supposed to be a journalist. Secondly, she cannot think, and she's supposed to be an analyst. Thirdly, her conclusions are illogical, vacuous and duplicitous. Get the bat, wp.

(P.S. whitepearl - I added a few more versions of "knock" on the other thread. I'm up to 14, so far.)

Fri, 08 Aug 2008 17:17:00 UTC | #214937

thewhitepearl's Avatar Comment 14 by thewhitepearl


I've already had two bat signals from concerned members of rationality, so rest assured I am [jerks neck from side to side] in full mode.

Fri, 08 Aug 2008 17:27:00 UTC | #214939

Kaleid's Avatar Comment 15 by Kaleid

I wonder how much of her really believes all she says, and how much is merely a necessary contradictory response, as a representative of Faith Central?

Fri, 08 Aug 2008 17:29:00 UTC | #214941

thewhitepearl's Avatar Comment 16 by thewhitepearl


All but one (Aw, come on mate-knock it off) is new to me. Thanks! I'll be prepared to hang with you boys before long. I'll even try to mimic the accent. I'll be a certified "sheila" before you know it!

Fri, 08 Aug 2008 17:36:00 UTC | #214945

Laurie Fraser's Avatar Comment 17 by Laurie Fraser

Bonz - I don't get anime porn.

Kaleid - Good point. It's the problem of any delusionist; any attempt to follow reason to its conclusion is thwarted by the cognitive scaffolding of a complex, historical illusion.

Fri, 08 Aug 2008 17:46:00 UTC | #214954

Don_Quix's Avatar Comment 18 by Don_Quix

I found the first episode of The Genius of Charles Darwin to be very entertaining and informative. Never once did Richard Dawkins come even close to "preaching", "ranting", or doing anything remotely like what he is so often accused of doing by theists. To me it came across that he was simply trying to educate the children in the show in a very calm and reasonable manner, and to make it interesting for them. It was a pleasure to watch, and I look forward to seeing the rest of it.

As for this Libby Purves person, I have no idea who she is, and I'm pretty sure I don't care.

EDIT: Also, anyone who accuses Richard Dawkins of the things that Libby Purves accuses him of has obviously never been to a Southern Baptist or Pentecostal church service. You'll definitely hear some REPENT OR BURN there...and they mean it...literally.

Fri, 08 Aug 2008 17:52:00 UTC | #214957

Drool's Avatar Comment 19 by Drool

Why does she say the poll is from 1976? It's from early 2006 and the original data is from these guys:

Fri, 08 Aug 2008 18:34:00 UTC | #214981

chuckg's Avatar Comment 20 by chuckg

Thanks Drool, The way my heat fried brain does the math is 17 plus 22 equals something close to 40 percent. That's where Richard gets it, I think.

Fri, 08 Aug 2008 19:08:00 UTC | #214987

Drool's Avatar Comment 21 by Drool

Oh and I forgot to mention; as you can see from the link, ID is clearly explained to the pollees:

The "intelligent design theory" says that certain features of living things are best explained by the intervention of a supernatural being, e.g. God.

I normally don't trust polls as a rule, for they can be deceptive and intentionally so (mainly due to how some organisations write them as opposed to their statistical accuracy). Yet they can highlight trends and concerns and this one does just that. 39% is bad, even half that - for either flavour of creationism/ID - is bad enough to be worried about.

At the very least, it shows a deep lack of science education and an awareness of reality and of nature, which is why programs such as the Genius of Charles Darwin are made.

Fri, 08 Aug 2008 19:13:00 UTC | #214988

robotaholic's Avatar Comment 22 by robotaholic

I hope Richard Dawkins just ignores her after this - it will just result in the creation of another Boteach- oh brother-

Fri, 08 Aug 2008 19:31:00 UTC | #214991

Laurie Fraser's Avatar Comment 23 by Laurie Fraser

The most disturbing aspect to the poll is that 15% do not believe that evolution should be taught in science classes. That's a fairly serious amount of fucktardism in itself.

Fri, 08 Aug 2008 20:39:00 UTC | #215012

Wosret's Avatar Comment 24 by Wosret

21. Comment #226834 by Bonzai

That isn't porn, it's from "Strawberry Panic". Not porn.

22. Comment #226839 by Laurie Fraser

What's to get?

Fri, 08 Aug 2008 20:44:00 UTC | #215015

Butler's Avatar Comment 25 by Butler

Bravo, Prof. Dawkins! Oscar Wilde would have approved of your scalpel-like use of wit and logic to dismantle your opponents.

Fri, 08 Aug 2008 21:55:00 UTC | #215026

ina.j's Avatar Comment 26 by ina.j

I think the statements of Libby Purves are so unbelievebly stupid, that prof. Dawkins should not have bothered to comment. Anyone who is capable to understand the comments would have understood that the statements are absurd. Those, who think, the statetements are 'touche', won't get the message of prof. Dawkins anyway.

Just out of topic completely and not making any point: Purvas means 'a dirt' in my language. No point, but a nice coincidence :)

Fri, 08 Aug 2008 22:23:00 UTC | #215028

Plasticity's Avatar Comment 27 by Plasticity

Just read Purves' reply here:

I thought this was very revealing of her overall position:

Meanwhile the Theos think-tank about faith has set up a project with the Faraday Institute and a grant from the Templeton Foundation , to conduct a project aimed at the Darwin anniversary. Its director writes to me:
"Basically the idea is to 'Rescue Darwin' from the crossfire of a battle (between the creationists and public atheists) that he had little personal interest in. There's more to it than that, but the main objective will be a kind of 'plague on both your houses', arguing that both the creationists/IDers and the militant atheists are wrong, that Darwinian evolution is compatible with Christianity...

Aside from my personal opinion that this is utter twaddle, I'm a bit shocked to see that Purves thinks a 'project' sponsored by the Templeton Foundation should be referenced as the moderate voice of reason. Hello? The Templeton Foundation? I haven't brought myself to check out the "Theos think-tank" yet, whatever that is.

Fri, 08 Aug 2008 23:27:00 UTC | #215031

Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 28 by Steve Zara

Comment #226929 by clearthinker

Any progress with a statement of your opinion on the fall, and on whether or not there was death and disease before the arrival of mankind on the planet?

If you have no problem with evolution, then you must have no problem with the mechanisms of evolution, which involve death and disease. But that is a bit of a problem for any idea of a "fall", as it means death and disease were around long before people.

Please explain which you believe - evolution, or a "fall" of mankind? Or if you manage to squidge the two into some intellectual gloop, I would be interested in how you do that too...

Fri, 08 Aug 2008 23:40:00 UTC | #215033

Wosret's Avatar Comment 29 by Wosret

38. Comment #226929 by clearthinker

...I know that there are those who claim it is supremacist, racist and arrogant...

Well, then those people would be idiots. Idiots who can't tell the different between an accusation about the level of someone's knowledge, and the veracity of their position, and an attack on the value, or quality of their person, because of race and/or geographical location.

I only hope that you somewhat live up to your ego-masturbatory name, and are not one of those morons.

Fri, 08 Aug 2008 23:46:00 UTC | #215034

Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 30 by Steve Zara

Comment #226933 by clearthinker

So no progress on clearing up your position on evolution then?

Fri, 08 Aug 2008 23:53:00 UTC | #215036