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Dawkins lecture draws thousands at OU - Comments

black wolf's Avatar Comment 1 by black wolf

Isn't it nice of the lone protester to come to the lecture to demonstrate a fine example of theistic rage, just to provide evidence that atheists who speak of the religious as 'insane', 'deranged' or 'deluded' are not erecting strawmen?
He has my gratitude.
Not that absence of mentally disturbed individuals would be any good indication of the general rationality of religious faith.

Sat, 07 Mar 2009 06:09:00 UTC | #333770

NewEnglandBob's Avatar Comment 2 by NewEnglandBob

As expected, Professor Dawkins handled the lecture and its lead-ins and follow up in a thoroughly professional and competent manner while brushing off the fleas.

Sat, 07 Mar 2009 06:11:00 UTC | #333771

SteveN's Avatar Comment 3 by SteveN

That was a refreshing and suprisingly positive article. Richard's presentations in his new tour seem to have some new 'material' - I hadn't heard, for example, Richard's 'Bridge over the River Kwai' analogy before. Are there plans to post a video of this? I would love to see it.

Sat, 07 Mar 2009 06:11:00 UTC | #333772

Szymanowski's Avatar Comment 4 by Szymanowski

the controversial scientist, a self-professed agnostic with strong atheistic leanings

Dawkins makes it very clear that he is a self-professed atheist, who is 'agnostic' to the extent that he would accept valid challenges to his non-belief in gods. He points out that he is also 'agnostic' about the existence of fairies, invisible unicorns and airborne pasta-based animals.

Sat, 07 Mar 2009 06:13:00 UTC | #333773

Nastika's Avatar Comment 5 by Nastika

Here's what's been posted to YouTube so far:

Response to the resolution: and the protestor:

Sat, 07 Mar 2009 06:14:00 UTC | #333774

Thomas Byrne's Avatar Comment 6 by Thomas Byrne

Nuts. Have to wait til I get home from work to see the 'protester'. I really wanted to know how he was replied to.

Sat, 07 Mar 2009 06:16:00 UTC | #333776

black wolf's Avatar Comment 7 by black wolf

The protester apparently asked 'what if you're wrong?'. Reeking old Pascal's Wager territory, same old, same old.
He was laughed out and went peacefully. I wonder what he thought about the fact that not a single person supported him. Probably something about conspiracies.
As I've commented at YT, who are theologians talking to when they claim that Pascal's Wager is not a valid or good argument? Is anyone listening? I mean, any rational person can realize this easily on his own (I did), and a huge number of the religious are apparently not paying attention to their theologians. What are theologians for if the very people who they're supposed to educate are ignoring them? Blasting each other with hot airs of verbosity and getting paid for it?

Sat, 07 Mar 2009 06:33:00 UTC | #333781

Dark Matter's Avatar Comment 8 by Dark Matter

"Dawkins' next book, "The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution," will be published in September."

I am really looking forward to Richards next book as I think that this is where the debate seems to be shifting - the nature of evidence and what actually qualifies as evidence.

There is a lot of interesting territory to be covered in this area with epistemology, empiricism, falsifiability, the logical positivists, David Hume, Karl Popper, the importance of peer review etc.

Personally, I hope that Richard makes a specific point of explaining what Carl Sagan talked about in the Demon Haunted world (included in Richard's excellent "Oxford book of modern science writing") about how science papers are accompanied by an error bar that makes allowances for uncertainty and correction. This is why the scientific method is superior to any other mode of inquiry because it is self-correcting.

Roll on September.

Dark Matter

Sat, 07 Mar 2009 06:42:00 UTC | #333782

phasmagigas's Avatar Comment 9 by phasmagigas

PZ mentions on pharyngula that some DI blockheads were in OK a few weeks ago.

Seems the wording of this resolution is too finely honed to be the work of an isolated individual, the way these creeps work, first its IC, then CSI then academic freedom, now its watered down to indoctrination of unpopular theories, whats wrong with them, dont they have any evidence for their side or something (question mark).

Sat, 07 Mar 2009 06:48:00 UTC | #333785

Butler's Avatar Comment 10 by Butler

"Intelligent Falling", Richard? Why not "Intelligent Decline"?

Sat, 07 Mar 2009 06:53:00 UTC | #333786

Roger Stanyard's Avatar Comment 11 by Roger Stanyard

PZ mentions on pharyngula that some DI blockheads were in OK a few weeks ago

Stepehen Meyer of the DI was in the UK in February "doing the rounds" apparently.

Sat, 07 Mar 2009 07:11:00 UTC | #333791

Roger Stanyard's Avatar Comment 12 by Roger Stanyard

Richard says :

"They've lost in the courts of law, they've lost and lost in the halls of science and they continue to lose with every new piece of evidence in support of evolution," Dawkins said. "Taking offense is all they've got left."

I disagree. Their objective is to undermine science in the eyes of the public and they are winning hands down.

In my neck of the woods (Hampshire, UK) they look set to get ID and creationism into schools according to documents from the Hampshite Country Council. It's all done with smoke and mirrors.

See the BCSE web site ( for further details.

Sat, 07 Mar 2009 07:16:00 UTC | #333793

phasmagigas's Avatar Comment 13 by phasmagigas


Stepehen Meyer of the DI was in the UK in February "doing the rounds" apparently

i suppose the DI seeks to find people in authoritative positions, figure out whos not got a clue what science is and then batter their minds with controversy, freedom, both sides, all that clap trap, hoping that it will infest some legislation somewhere and ultimately trickle down to classrooms.

Sat, 07 Mar 2009 07:18:00 UTC | #333794

rustylix's Avatar Comment 14 by rustylix

Let us not forget Intelligent Geography.


Sat, 07 Mar 2009 07:23:00 UTC | #333797

George Lennan's Avatar Comment 16 by George Lennan

Where can we see the stork theory of reproduction video??

Sat, 07 Mar 2009 07:31:00 UTC | #333802

MelM's Avatar Comment 15 by MelM

From Wikipedia:

Nicholson sets off on an inspection of the bridge and is shocked to find disorganization, shirking and outright sabotage. He orders Captain Reeves (Peter Williams) and Major Hughes (John Boxer) to come up with designs for a proper bridge, despite its military value to the Japanese. He wants to demonstrate the superiority of British ingenuity and also to keep his men busy to maintain morale.
I'm curious about what this has to do with religion other than that, in both, reality is evaded.

Sat, 07 Mar 2009 07:31:00 UTC | #333801

Paula Kirby's Avatar Comment 17 by Paula Kirby

George Lennan: Where can we see the stork theory of reproduction video??
Right here, George:,2478,Sexpelled-No-Intercourse-Allowed,RichardDawkinsnet
Enjoy! :-)

Sat, 07 Mar 2009 07:38:00 UTC | #333804

Koreman's Avatar Comment 18 by Koreman

Sat, 07 Mar 2009 07:41:00 UTC | #333805

Elles's Avatar Comment 19 by Elles

"Shut the fuck up... burn in Hell."

A certain quote immediately floated to my mind when I read that.

"People say that I'm strident." -Richard Dawkins

Very nice.

Sat, 07 Mar 2009 07:43:00 UTC | #333806

MelM's Avatar Comment 20 by MelM

12. Comment #349847 by Roger Stanyard,

I agree. What Dawkins says is all true up to the point about "Taking offense is all they've got left."

In the political dimension, they have definately not lost; and, if they win there, the rest will be reversed. Courts are ultimately corruptible by the political process as is all public education. The private schools could be the last to go down but that can also be done through tyrannical politics. In the U.S., the "Christian Nation" movement is attacking the wall-of-separation" and judicial independence. The attack has achieved cracks in the wall but, so far, it's holding. That's why we are still a secular nation even though the religious fanatics make a lot of noise and work on their fraudulent "Trojan Horse" plans 24/7.

NCSE news:

Florida: (as expected, their at it again this year)

Sat, 07 Mar 2009 08:02:00 UTC | #333809

millsm's Avatar Comment 21 by millsm

Didn't Nicholson also use the prolongation of the bridge building as a way to deter the torture and killing of his companions in the prosoner of war camp? This is not a black and white issue as Dawkins seems to suggest because without the completed bridge, the Japanese supply train would not have been destroyed and the prisoners would have been killed by their captors. Not a good example; I wish he could have found a better one.

Sat, 07 Mar 2009 08:16:00 UTC | #333815

brainsys's Avatar Comment 22 by brainsys

I have to say I am extremely disappointed with Richard's God scale of 1 to 7. I can only hope his next lecture at the Open University he dumps 'Bridge of the River Kwai' for 'Spinal Tap'.

That should give the old fella a much better rating of 10.999999...

Sat, 07 Mar 2009 08:42:00 UTC | #333818

galewgleason's Avatar Comment 23 by galewgleason

From my perspective on the floor it looked like the protester actually was told to "shut the fuck up" by someone next to him. Another woman next to him said something to the effect "he's been bothering us all night" and stood up to ask if security could come over to escort him out. The protester claimed he was a biologist and said something else to the effect that dawkins was wrong as he walked down the bleachers towards the floor, at which point he was shown the door amid booing. Also someone behind me yelled "go home and pray."
My memory may have failed me seeing as I was somewhat sleep deprived at the time, but that is how I recall it.
It was all a little juvinile but it would have been much easier if he had just waited in line for the microphone like everyone else before verbally assulting Richard. (Richard wanted to hear what he had to say after all)

Having gone to a Dawkins event at University of Texas and now the University of Oklahoma, it seems that the talk had a much higher significance and emotional charge in Norman than in Austin. I submit that this is because Norman and the surounding area is much more conservative than Austin, which pulls athiests togeather much more for support.

Sat, 07 Mar 2009 09:00:00 UTC | #333821

phasmagigas's Avatar Comment 24 by phasmagigas

galewgleason, yes its a pity the protester didnt just ask some questions, hed have got an answer just like anybody else.

Sat, 07 Mar 2009 09:05:00 UTC | #333824

bluebird's Avatar Comment 25 by bluebird

Hi MelM, for Florida did you mean this?

Also, yay for 'Kepler's' successful launch!

~~HBD to Vivaldi, Ravel, Barber~~

Sat, 07 Mar 2009 09:51:00 UTC | #333835

Halfpixel's Avatar Comment 26 by Halfpixel

Comment #349827 by Szymanowski

Dawkins makes it very clear that he is a self-professed atheist, who is 'agnostic' to the extent that he would accept valid challenges to his non-belief in gods. He points out that he is also 'agnostic' about the existence of fairies, invisible unicorns and airborne pasta-based animals.

That's extremely offensive. His Noodliness the Flying Spaghetti Monster is no mere animal... he is the Creator of the Universe. Show some respect.

Sat, 07 Mar 2009 11:49:00 UTC | #333848

mind hypnotized's Avatar Comment 27 by mind hypnotized

This article misquoted the protester. He never told Dawkins to "shut the f*ck up". It was some other guy who was telling the protester to "shut the f*ck up". All the crazy guy said was some junk about being a biologist and doing research. And of course, the obligatory comment about Dawkins going to Hell. But the guy who yelled at the protester should be given a medal or something, it was quite possibly the funniest thing I've ever seen.

Sat, 07 Mar 2009 12:15:00 UTC | #333850

cam9976's Avatar Comment 28 by cam9976

This is the beginning of the end for free speech in our once great country...

Sat, 07 Mar 2009 12:48:00 UTC | #333855

MelM's Avatar Comment 29 by MelM

25. Comment #349891 by bluebird,

Yes; that's it.

Guess it's time to start checking the Florida Citizens For Science blog again. With Expelled getting into the act, that was a horrific mess last year. Unless something has changed in the legislature this session, I would expect a bill to pass. Here's a cartoon on the FCFS site: (from the Gainesville Sun)

I missed the Kepler launch on NASA TV (web stream) by about 1/2 hour but was able to tune in later for the 3rd stage separation. I hope for great things from this planet hunter.
NASA's Kepler page:

Sat, 07 Mar 2009 12:55:00 UTC | #333856

MelM's Avatar Comment 30 by MelM

A book suggestion for Dawkins: "Evolution for Legislators"

Sat, 07 Mar 2009 13:05:00 UTC | #333859