This site is not maintained. Click here for the new website of Richard Dawkins.

← The Elfish Gene

The Elfish Gene - Comments

Jay Cee's Avatar Comment 1 by Jay Cee

Brilliant!

I saw a poster in the Biology department recently which said "The Shellfish Gene".

It was, needless to say, about a particular gene found in crabs.

Mon, 09 Mar 2009 16:06:00 UTC | #334360

tantrangle's Avatar Comment 2 by tantrangle

I guess this flea is just hitching a ride...

Mon, 09 Mar 2009 16:07:00 UTC | #334361

Jay Cee's Avatar Comment 3 by Jay Cee

Comment #350424 by tantrangle

I guess this flea is just hitching a ride...


Aren't they all'

Mon, 09 Mar 2009 16:08:00 UTC | #334362

kaiserkriss's Avatar Comment 4 by kaiserkriss

Considering the amount of resources in terms of effort and time that has been wasted on fantasy games these days, is it any wonder previous generations fell for all that sky fairy junk?jcw

Mon, 09 Mar 2009 16:10:00 UTC | #334363

TalkyMeat's Avatar Comment 6 by TalkyMeat

Personally, I think fantasy RPG's are an awesome thing - compelling, immersive supernatural fantasies that no-one actually expects you to believe to be real. Score!

Mon, 09 Mar 2009 16:27:00 UTC | #334368

pyota's Avatar Comment 5 by pyota

I guess this flea is just hitching a ride...


this is not a flea; the book has nothing to do with evolution so why not live and let live? i know that's an unpopular concept in these parts ..

Mon, 09 Mar 2009 16:27:00 UTC | #334367

pyota's Avatar Comment 7 by pyota

Considering the amount of resources in terms of effort and time that has been wasted on fantasy games these days, is it any wonder previous generations fell for all that sky fairy junk?


for your information: hardly anybody who plays fantasy games thinks that the games reflect reality; that's why the genre is called 'fantasy'. are all games a waste of time in your opinion? if not, why then these? if people enjoy them, then its not a waste of time, in my opinon.

Mon, 09 Mar 2009 16:32:00 UTC | #334369

Wosret's Avatar Comment 8 by Wosret

And the otaku shall inherit the earth!

Mon, 09 Mar 2009 16:37:00 UTC | #334372

bobbyc's Avatar Comment 9 by bobbyc

Considering the amount of resources in terms of effort and time that has been wasted on fantasy games these days, is it any wonder previous generations fell for all that sky fairy junk?jcw


As someone who spent a great deal of his youth reading fantasy and playing fantasy RPG's i find it had quite the opposite effect on me, i came to see all forms of religion as some kind of fantasy and i was well able to tell the difference between what was real and what was not.

But then again after reading the lion the witch and the wardrobe when i was 8 i did check the wardrobe in the spare room.... just in case there was a secret magic land in there i was unaware of. now that i think about it i still feel a little let down that there wasn't

Mon, 09 Mar 2009 16:48:00 UTC | #334375

Giordano Bruno's Avatar Comment 10 by Giordano Bruno

Oops, posted on wrong article. To make amends I'll just say that a born-again dumb ass back in my school days used to go into nonsense tirades every time he caught me and my friends playing Magic: the Gathering or talking about it. Fantasy stories are a great way to show how made up worlds can be just as detailed in their "history" as our own, and frankly, most D&D worlds (I'm more of a PC RPGer and not so much pen and paper) are much more interesting than the depressing tale of YHWH the destroyer.

Mon, 09 Mar 2009 17:05:00 UTC | #334383

deejay64's Avatar Comment 12 by deejay64

Finally! My story is being told.

As a halfling master thief I was nigh invincible. Then I would go home in my Chevette , with Maiden cranked.

As my parents would berate me and call me evil , all I could think was , with the proper dice role Jesus could have magic missiled the whole Roman army and ruled , all based on a 1 d20(D&Ders will understand.)

This of course is all fantasy. I knew it wasn't , and could never , be real.

Nobody I ever played D&D with thought it was real. I saw more delusional behavior from "born again" dick-wads than from dope smokin , metal listenin , hard core D&Ders.

Mon, 09 Mar 2009 17:31:00 UTC | #334393

Techie Rob's Avatar Comment 13 by Techie Rob

deejay64

I have a feeling this book will parallel my tender years as well. I'll probably pick it up just for nostalgia's sake.

kaiserkriss
Like a couple of other posters have already mentioned, the fantasy, imagination, and independent thinking required to play these games made the foundation that my future atheism was based on.

Not to mention, you have to have a very broad knowledge base, the ability to use logic and rhetoric, as well as organizational and problem-solving skills to really get involved in them. These have also helped prevent any dogma get its blinders on me.

Mon, 09 Mar 2009 17:45:00 UTC | #334399

b0ltzm0n's Avatar Comment 14 by b0ltzm0n

As a teenager in the mid-to-late 80's I played D&D with my friends and absolutely cherished every momemt (except when our DM got pissed and me for being a loudmouth and informed me I had to roll a natural 19-20, else I would be sucked into my own portable hole for the duration of the session...)

Heck, my first video game was a PC version of D&D called "Pools of Radiance" which I hacked using XTREE GOLD so I could have infinite gold and items. Thanks to that experience I now make a very good living working in IT.

Mon, 09 Mar 2009 17:47:00 UTC | #334401

decius's Avatar Comment 15 by decius

<!-- -->
I had a better idea.




Mon, 09 Mar 2009 18:10:00 UTC | #334408

InfuriatedSciTeacher's Avatar Comment 16 by InfuriatedSciTeacher

My father was/is a born-again, and he hated that I played D&D.... which of course encouraged me to play more. I second the above idea that noone really takes them as real, at least none of the people I knew. It was a fun thing to do on lousy Saturday afternoons.

Mon, 09 Mar 2009 18:16:00 UTC | #334410

Dhamma's Avatar Comment 17 by Dhamma

I've come to really dislike some people playing RPGs such as WoW. I know of several that rather not get a job because it takes time from their 'important' life in a video game.

Surely not everyone playing WoW is like that, but an alarmingly great amount of people choose to escape reality with it... almost like religious people.

Mon, 09 Mar 2009 18:21:00 UTC | #334412

secondsoprano's Avatar Comment 18 by secondsoprano

My brother and sister were both members of a fundie youth group in their early teens. (I think my middle-of-the-road-Anglican parents were a bit embarrassed).

Brother was also a big D&D player.

Twenty years later, brother is an athiest, sister still a fundie.

Interesting ...

Mon, 09 Mar 2009 18:29:00 UTC | #334417

Goldy's Avatar Comment 19 by Goldy

Ooooooh Decius - you've made me go all a-tremble!

Must be the gin shakes again....

;-)

Mon, 09 Mar 2009 18:30:00 UTC | #334418

NewEnglandBob's Avatar Comment 20 by NewEnglandBob

18. Comment #350482 by secondsoprano:

correlation, not causal

Mon, 09 Mar 2009 19:11:00 UTC | #334434

Zarlan's Avatar Comment 21 by Zarlan

Flea?
The title doesn't ridicule Dawkins' book, or ideas, and neither does the book, so I'd assume that the title is a respectful homage, from someone who agrees with Dawkins.
Otherwise, why put it on the book?

On the point of role playing:
People who play role playing games, are generally BETTER, at separating fact, from fiction.
The process of role playing, tends to stress that, in how you have to think and behave.
...and it would be reaaaally problematic, for you to role play, otherwise.

I'd also say that most things (book, games, movies...) within genres like fantasy, and sci-fi, has the same effect, to make you better at separating fact, from fiction.
Not to the same extent as role playing, but still.

To believe these make you less able to make that separation is, in my opinion, no different from believing that violent games makes you violent.

I must say though, that I share Dhamma's concerns about, some (addicts mainly) who play MMORPGs.
I don't play them myself (I did, briefly).
They're seem fun at first, but then they become a repetitive and pointless process of nothing but grinding. (I love Progress Quest, for this reason. Look it up)

Mon, 09 Mar 2009 19:28:00 UTC | #334441

7sD's Avatar Comment 22 by 7sD

i loved playing d&d as a kid. i also read the entire dragonlance series several times. we need to affirm the value of creative imagination, and role-playing games are a great example of that.

btw, elves are awesome!

Mon, 09 Mar 2009 19:35:00 UTC | #334443

secondsoprano's Avatar Comment 23 by secondsoprano

NewEnglandBob:

I'm just adding to the anecdotal support for the concept that playing fantasy games may be somehow related to atheism.

Presumably not causal, although interesting to consider, as others have on this thread, that fantasy playing might increase one's imagination, independent thinking, understanding of how fiction/fantasy operates, general analytical ability etc, which would under the right circs contribute to questioning authority, distinguishing myth from truth etc, and thus to athiesm.

Mon, 09 Mar 2009 20:02:00 UTC | #334453

Greybishop's Avatar Comment 24 by Greybishop

Is it ironic that my favourite character to play was a seriously cowardly and evil cleric?

I even had a bitchin' lead figure that I painted in crusader colours. I still paint figures and I'd LOVE to run across that one again and re-do it.

Mon, 09 Mar 2009 20:07:00 UTC | #334454

SamKiddoGordon's Avatar Comment 25 by SamKiddoGordon

I loved playing D&D as a kid. I was always a wizard, nothing to imaginative, Merlin. It was great for complex thinking, problem solving and imagination.

Mon, 09 Mar 2009 20:09:00 UTC | #334455

MaxD's Avatar Comment 26 by MaxD

This is not a flea if its title is to be believed. This is some rather neat flattery to be honest. Begrudging this author his play on a popular work seems rather over reaching to me. Also that it seems utterly unconnected to the themes of actual fleas renders it unnecessary to take any offense at all.

Mon, 09 Mar 2009 20:28:00 UTC | #334458

TuftedPuffin's Avatar Comment 27 by TuftedPuffin

While D&D and the like have led us to atheism, they do also give some insight into the religious mentality...people want to escape. If you lived in the dark ages/a very religious community, and the only imaginative literature you has access to was religious, you'd probably end up as a religious person, if only to somehow get away from the dreariness of your life. Luckily for us we have fantasy that doesn't demand we believe in it or go to Hell.

Mon, 09 Mar 2009 20:43:00 UTC | #334460

MaxD's Avatar Comment 28 by MaxD

I played a great deal of D&D in my youth, and many of the players did not seem overly religious. But I do remember D&D attracted a fair number of weird New Agey morons. Ouja board using, tarot card consulting goons. It was one of the things that drove me away from the game as I got older.

Mon, 09 Mar 2009 20:53:00 UTC | #334461

Halfpixel's Avatar Comment 29 by Halfpixel

To all the people complaining about fantasy RPGs being a waste of time and "consuming people's lives:" please, come off it. The vast majority of people who play RPGs do not throw away their social and professional lives in order to do so, and there's nothing wrong with having a little fun now and again. We can't all be working every waking hour.

Mon, 09 Mar 2009 21:01:00 UTC | #334463

aquilacane's Avatar Comment 30 by aquilacane

Classic, he has the old character sheet on the cover.

I still have all my books from the 70's

Mon, 09 Mar 2009 21:50:00 UTC | #334468