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Open Your Eyes - Comments

InYourFaceNewYorker's Avatar Comment 1 by InYourFaceNewYorker

This is a beautiful passage. It never ceases to move me.

Sat, 23 Jan 2010 16:27:00 UTC | #434540

Ralphie's Avatar Comment 2 by Ralphie

It is truly a wonderful life....

Sat, 23 Jan 2010 16:31:00 UTC | #434544

uranium235's Avatar Comment 3 by uranium235


Sat, 23 Jan 2010 17:00:00 UTC | #434553

Bala's Avatar Comment 4 by Bala

The video for which this video is posted as response is well made too.

Sat, 23 Jan 2010 17:42:00 UTC | #434565

decius's Avatar Comment 5 by decius

Comment #453969 by ryguyrv

That's got to be the most convoluted argumentum ad populum to date.

Still invalid. Good bye.

Sat, 23 Jan 2010 17:52:00 UTC | #434567

blitz442's Avatar Comment 6 by blitz442

4. Comment #453964 by ryguyrv

Would Aquinas been ok with a few of these discoveries by Darwin?

- All organisms on the planet, including man, are descended from a very simple common ancestor. There is no special creation of man.

- The rejection of the classical philosophical concepts of teleology ("final causes"), and with it the rejection of the idea that Man could be the ultimate goal of any evolutionary theory.

- The imperfections and flaws in living forms that are predicted by evolution.

- The complete rejection of "essentialist" ideas of species, attributed to Aristotle and supported by Aquinas himself, in favor of populationist ideas of species that are integral to Darwinian evolution.

- The fact that suffering, competition and death are direct outcomes of evolution. How would this be squared with the Christian notion that the Fall of Man was responsible for these things?

While we might give Aquinas some credit at least for reviving Greek philosophy, your attempt to square Aquinas' medieval theology with Darwin's discovery of evolution by natural selection falls extremely short of the mark. It is not much better than the attempts to argue that the Quran accurately describes Big Bang cosmology.

Sat, 23 Jan 2010 18:08:00 UTC | #434572

blitz442's Avatar Comment 7 by blitz442

6. Comment #453969 by ryguyrv

This entire screed can be dismissed with the following point: popularity does not equal true.

And in case you haven't noticed, most of the world is NOT Christian.

Also, if you understood memes, you would then recognize that a successful meme is not the same thing as a beneficial or true one. Islam is a collection of largely awful memes that have spread quite successfuly.

A virus can be also very successful in replicating itself, and very destructive to the host. That's actually a more accurate analogy for Catholicism in the world.

Sat, 23 Jan 2010 18:18:00 UTC | #434573

justinesaracen's Avatar Comment 8 by justinesaracen

ryguyrv -
My holy book (the Egpytian Book of the Dead) also talks about creation and accounts for ALL the wonders of the earth and, with a leeeeetle twisting of the language, can also be made predictive of some of what Mr. Dawkins says. So my religion must be true.
But then we have a problem. Both our holy books can't be correct, can they? Whatever shall we do? Hmmm. How about both of us producing physical evidence of our respective divinities.
You go first.

Sat, 23 Jan 2010 18:19:00 UTC | #434574

Dhamma's Avatar Comment 9 by Dhamma

Very beautiful. However, I will always object to him using potential existence as a statistical matter. First off, if it's for variation of DNA it's such a mind-boggling number it's not even worth bringing up, IMO. Secondly, and most importantly, even the same DNA will produce a different consciousness, which is the only existence worth talking about.

Sat, 23 Jan 2010 18:32:00 UTC | #434577

j.mills's Avatar Comment 10 by j.mills

Meh, I'm kinda uncomfortable with Richard's 'we are the lucky ones' argument, evocative as it is. If we were, as some religions might have it, plucked from a Hall of Souls while the rest have to wait, we would indeed be 'lucky'; but the 'others' that Richard speaks of are only notional possibilities, not unlucky individuals.

ryguyrv says:

If you live your life based on the fitness of memes, you should consider becoming a Catholic, as we possess the fittest memes of all.
...which is further proof that religion breeds ignorance. Only a moment's googling reveals that:
Islam has overtaken Roman Catholicism as the biggest single religious denomination in the world, the Vatican said...

So will you be converting to Islam now, ryguyrv? Or do you not in fact trust your own argument?

Sat, 23 Jan 2010 18:53:00 UTC | #434584

louis14's Avatar Comment 11 by louis14

I wonder ryguyrv, whether you've got something to say about the video? If not, why don't you start a thread in the forum?

Sat, 23 Jan 2010 19:10:00 UTC | #434589

Zamboro's Avatar Comment 12 by Zamboro

ryguyrv, please stop trying to take credit for evolutionary biology on behalf of medieval Catholic apologists who had no understanding of it.

Sure, by substituting words into their writing as we please, we can make it appear as though they knew things they didn't. But that doesn't mean a whole lot. You can do that with any text.

Sat, 23 Jan 2010 19:14:00 UTC | #434591

darwin2's Avatar Comment 13 by darwin2

Dawkins help us appreciate the beauty of life and gives us excellent reasons to get up each day and smell the roses. He also extends this appreciation to the universe when he states that the most optimistic estimate of finding a planet with similar conditions to our planet is less than 1 out of a million. We have found over 400 extra solar planets so far in our Milky Way Galaxy and it is a safe assumption that most if not all stars have solar systems. Since our galaxy has approximately 400 billion stars and if one out of a million has conditions similar to our planet, then there are approximately 400,000 planets in our Milky Way Galaxy that have conditions like Earth that favor the Evolution of life and possibly intelligent life. And if our Galaxy is typical of the approximate 150 billion galaxies that exist in our universe and we multiply 400,000 by 150 billion galaxies, we come up with approximately 60 trillion planets in our universe that have conditions like Earth that favor the Evolution of life and possibly intelligent life. Now that is a magnificent mind blowing thought.

Sat, 23 Jan 2010 19:19:00 UTC | #434593

/Mike's Avatar Comment 14 by /Mike

Please don't feed the trolls. His comments have now been deleted. He may have seemed like a person with a real question but his account was created today and he'd copy/pasted the same basic comment 15 times.

Sat, 23 Jan 2010 19:40:00 UTC | #434597

Alovrin's Avatar Comment 15 by Alovrin

On the case /Mike.
You da man.

What was that text at the end.
Reverted to wild barbarism or advanced beyond all recognition-into colonies in outer space.
Or we could just dribble on in the present unseemly manner till extinction.
100,000 yrs in the future, its anyone's guess.

One thing is certain if we want "advanced beyond all recognition" we will have to cut down on those indulgent belief systems which make some fatheaded.

Sat, 23 Jan 2010 20:12:00 UTC | #434603

Alyson Miers's Avatar Comment 16 by Alyson Miers

I will confess that the idea of greater poets and greater scientists being in the ranks of the never-born leaves me rather non-plussed. In order to be a greater poet than Keats or a greater scientist than Newton, you must first exist. You must be a living human being who takes up space and uses resources and has a brain to develop and ideas to share. This is necessarily a subset of the people who are born, and no one else. The people who were never born possibly represent potential, but that potential is not just unrealized but unrealizable. In order for potential to become poetry or science, it must first be realized.

However, I do agree that the natural universe is a beautiful thing in its own right, and that understanding that universe is an entirely worthwhile pursuit. That is realizing potential.

Sat, 23 Jan 2010 20:29:00 UTC | #434610

SaintStephen's Avatar Comment 17 by SaintStephen

Thank-you Richard, for that beautiful video, enhanced by your sonorous, mellifluous voice, and mesmerizing words. I also would like to take this opportunity to thank you for the education your website has provided for me. Just how much I’ve learned was illustrated in bold relief, just yesterday.

My father required an emergency room visit two days ago (everything worked out fine), and the circumstance virtually necessitated a meeting with my older brother, for the first time in years, as we accompanied my mother to lunch at a restaurant adjacent to the hospital. This brother – I’ll call him Jim -- was an atheist well before me, or at least I thought so, but after yesterday’s encounter I’ll have to call him a 5.9 agnostic, on your 7-point scale. Jim is employed in the software industry, and has done quite well for himself, being quite frugal and wise with his earnings (unlike me).

Jim started out talking about tips, and how different tipping is regarded in Europe and Australia than in the US, but the conversation was soon dropped when my liberal heart began to “bleed” red for the “unfortunate few” at the bottom of the capitalist pyramid scheme. So he asked me what I would prefer to talk about, and I answered “evolution”, and his very surprising response was to bring up Zecharia Sitchin, a man I hadn’t previously heard of. Only one minute of patient listening was required on my part, however, to immediately understand that my brother had been intellectually hoodwinked by this charlatan clown of pseudoscience.

Jim explained that Sitchin had exposed “gaps” in the fossil record. My response caused Jim to go silent and listen intently, after I pointed out that Sitchin didn’t understand the theory of evolution, and therefore his lack of understanding then allowed him to create the “gaps” argument virtually out of thin air. I explained that fossilization was rare, and sporadic, and occurred in mostly soft sediment layers. I asked Jim if he had seen the recent Ardipithecus ramidus fossils, or if he had seen the proto-whale fossils with vestigial hind legs. I told Jim that evolution was proven beyond any doubt even in the total absence of the fossil record, by plate tectonic-related evidence, and more recently by molecular biology and the genome. Both of us having been raised as competitive swimmers, Jim quickly realized Sitchin was thrashing about and gasping for breath in the shallow end of the pool. So Jim then brought up the possibility that “aliens” had visited Earth and “retro-fitted” the primates with intelligent “surgical enhancements”; I immediately pointed out that panspermia as a theory was certainly possible, but that it didn’t solve the larger question of where the aliens themselves had originated from. The look in Jim's eyes was unmistakable. He hadn't ever considered the problem of infinite regression.

Our conversation on evolution skipped around to other topics, but I shan’t elaborate (you're welcome, readers). Suffice it to say that our brotherly debate ended with Jim looking me in the eyes, and saying:

“Steve, I must say, you do have depth. I guess the “gaps” Zechariah Sitchin wrote about exist mostly between his own ears.”

I smiled, admittedly with a little narcissistic glee. It was a great moment. But I know I don’t have much real depth in this area.

I just have Richard Dawkins.

Sat, 23 Jan 2010 20:52:00 UTC | #434615

awed's Avatar Comment 18 by awed

Absolutely beautiful ....
this video reminded me of Carl Sagan's Pale Blue Dot video .... i cannot get enough of both ...:D

Sat, 23 Jan 2010 22:33:00 UTC | #434628

RichardofYork's Avatar Comment 19 by RichardofYork

Unweaving the Rainbow is my favourite read ever

Sat, 23 Jan 2010 22:53:00 UTC | #434632

etny's Avatar Comment 20 by etny

Nice, but I agree with some here, the argument "trillions could have been born instead of "me"" is nonsensical. Unless there was an essence of "Dawkins" waiting to be incarnated in the material world, competing with other "essences" for a chance at "life".
If you stick to the materialist outlook, there are no "others" that could have been born (or is a sperm a "self"?), and even the "self" is an ill-defined entity, if an "entity" at all (see Metzinger and the "Ego Tunnel").
So it's interesting that Dawkins should use this argument in writing and very often, during his public appearances.

Sun, 24 Jan 2010 00:02:00 UTC | #434640

rockbank1's Avatar Comment 21 by rockbank1

I only have to look through my telescope, particularly with a binoviewer,at the galaxies and nebulae out there knowing that what I am seeing goes way beyond my DNA "programming" to feel very humble on our fragile earth.

Sun, 24 Jan 2010 00:29:00 UTC | #434646

chewedbarber's Avatar Comment 22 by chewedbarber

etny, it's an observation, that's all.

Of all the people that could have been born based on the possible combinations available, I was.

Sun, 24 Jan 2010 00:42:00 UTC | #434647

chewedbarber's Avatar Comment 23 by chewedbarber

22. Comment #454067 by rockbank1

Oh I don't know, for all that we know, today, you give a voice to the entire Milky Way -maybe more- and that's reason enough to be humble I guess. I'll let you know when I achieve something like it, humility I mean.

Sun, 24 Jan 2010 00:51:00 UTC | #434649

njwong's Avatar Comment 24 by njwong

17. Comment #454032 by SaintStephen on January 23, 2010 at 8:52 pm

Well, you have definitely opened Jim's eyes. Bravo!

Sun, 24 Jan 2010 01:13:00 UTC | #434650

j.mills's Avatar Comment 25 by j.mills

Ryan Vilbig is an anagram of I vary bling. (Well, it's as good a response as his drivel deserves...)

Sun, 24 Jan 2010 01:35:00 UTC | #434652

Dhamma's Avatar Comment 26 by Dhamma

Of all the people that could have been born based on the possible combinations available, I was.

But your consciousness is not a statistical matter. If it were, then identical twins would have the same consciousness. Your DNA could be considered a statistical matter, even though it's such a mind-boggling number it's hardly relevant.

Sun, 24 Jan 2010 01:40:00 UTC | #434655

quarecuss's Avatar Comment 27 by quarecuss

RE; Comment #453988 by blitz442 on January 23, 2010 at 6:08 pm

What an elegant answer to this "ryguyrv".
I get the feeling, judging by his later posting, that he has not read it yet or doesn't understand it.

Sun, 24 Jan 2010 01:45:00 UTC | #434656's Avatar Comment 28 by

18. Comment #454037 by ryguyrv on January 23, 2010 at 9:20 pm

Josh, the troll is back.

Sun, 24 Jan 2010 01:51:00 UTC | #434657

Dorothy Sutton's Avatar Comment 29 by Dorothy Sutton

Richard, this video is absolutely exquisite art:

first and foremost the poetic words(and the richness of the content therein), including your heartfelt reading in the inimitable tradition of our most revered British stage actors; then the lovely violin (haunting and familiar, but I can't call the piece - Mozart?)as background to some of nature's most interesting and arresting images.
Bravo! Thank you, Richard.
Some people are worrying so needlessly about statistics and numbers that they are missing the truth in the metaphor: we are all of us incredibly lucky to have been born. I for one am deliciously happy to have been born in the era of Richard Dawkins.

Sun, 24 Jan 2010 04:13:00 UTC | #434683

InYourFaceNewYorker's Avatar Comment 30 by InYourFaceNewYorker

Agreed. Richard, you are one of the greatest thinkers of all time.

I wonder who made the images and music for the video? Does anybody know?


Sun, 24 Jan 2010 04:18:00 UTC | #434684