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Richard Dawkins: 2 live TV appearances later today - Comments

strangebrew's Avatar Comment 1 by strangebrew

OP

Baroness Warsi will get a mention too.

I do so hope so..worthless parasite is worthless!

If she had something even semi-cogent to say...well she has not said it yet!

Tue, 14 Feb 2012 15:11:19 UTC | #917717

StevenSedai's Avatar Comment 2 by StevenSedai

My blood hasn't boiled quite so much in recent weeks as it did when reading extracts of Warsi's proposed speech to the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy. Surely any thinking person can see that this whole exercise in bringing Christianity back into public life is simply a sop to the average Daily Mail reader/frother, by what will presumably be a much-embattled Government come 2015?

Tue, 14 Feb 2012 15:20:21 UTC | #917720

hemidemisemigod's Avatar Comment 3 by hemidemisemigod

Don't forget, the full title is: On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for... for... um... no, it's gone. :-(

Tue, 14 Feb 2012 15:23:15 UTC | #917721

rookieatheist's Avatar Comment 4 by rookieatheist

For those in the UK/Ireland (and possibly also internationally) one can watch Sky News online on their website: http://news.sky.com/home

Tue, 14 Feb 2012 15:23:46 UTC | #917722

hemidemisemigod's Avatar Comment 5 by hemidemisemigod

Comment 4 by rookieatheist :

For those in the UK/Ireland (and possibly also internationally) one can watch Sky News online on their website: http://news.sky.com/home

It's also on Freeview Channel 82

Tue, 14 Feb 2012 15:30:50 UTC | #917725

MattHeavyweight's Avatar Comment 6 by MattHeavyweight

Well, Peter Oborne got off very lightly there.

Excellent question at the end there by Richard, just a shame Peter didn't have to answer!

Tue, 14 Feb 2012 15:52:47 UTC | #917733

ukvillafan's Avatar Comment 7 by ukvillafan

Just watched this and sadly, the interview had to end before Peter Oborne (?) could answer the prof's question about which of the murderous religious cults in Nigeria he would choose as the 'Established Church" of that country. Note - this is my precis and not Richard's actual words.

Tue, 14 Feb 2012 15:54:04 UTC | #917734

Jordan Wilson's Avatar Comment 8 by Jordan Wilson

Oborne's arguments were rather tepid. In many ways, I suspect that he was fortunate that the interview prematurely ended. I do not think it would have been difficult for the professor to dismantle his arguments.

Tue, 14 Feb 2012 15:58:59 UTC | #917735

Frode_74's Avatar Comment 9 by Frode_74

Pretty good, but a bit brief. Would have been interesting to hear the response to Richard's last points. Glad to see the presenter stayed well clear of the non-issue of the 'Origin' title from this morning's debate, which some morons clearly thought undermined Richard's entire argument...

Tue, 14 Feb 2012 16:15:45 UTC | #917743

I.Kant's Avatar Comment 10 by I.Kant

Here is a response from Will Heaven of The Telegraph:

Credit where it's due: Giles Fraser played a blinder on the Today programme. He was arguing with Richard Dawkins over the true definition of a Christian. People who identify as Christians don't really know what they're talking about, implied the biologist. "A majority of them don't seem to be truly Christian in the sense that they don't believe what Christianity teaches," he said. "Many of them don't go to church, they don't read the bible – an astonishing number couldn't identify the first book of the New Testament… they just tick the Christian box." All of which made him sound like a strict Mother Superior telling off her novices. But it was then that Giles Fraser pulled a fast one. "If I said to you what is the full title of the Origin of Species," he said, "I'm sure you could tell me that." Dawkins really did try – you could almost hear the wobbling jowl – but he simply couldn't. "On the Origin of Species… er… with, oh God… [laughter]… On the Origin of Species… um… there is, there is a subtitle… with respect to the preservation of favoured races in the f-f-fight… in the struggle for life." So the High Priest of Darwinism doesn't know the title of his own secular bible. Fraser had won: if people self-identify as Christians, he said, who are you to tell them otherwise? Too true. I was educated by Benedictine monks for five years – and call myself a (bad) Christian. But dammit it I had to double-check on Google: the first book of the New Testament is Matthew. Of course.

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/willheaven/100137269/on-the-origin-of-um-species/

Any thoughts?

Tue, 14 Feb 2012 16:17:29 UTC | #917744

StevenSedai's Avatar Comment 11 by StevenSedai

Any thoughts?

Yes; this is a stupidly childish take on the issue. Would anyone really equate not being able to recall the precise wording of a book title with complete ignorance of a subject with which you have been acquainted for years, if not decades?

The real point here is that Professor Dawkins was arguing (rightly) that the majority of people claiming to be Christians simply tick a box which crops up on a survey, regardless of their opinions on Christian dogmas, the role of women in the clergy, same-sex marriages, etc. Many of their real opinions turn out, as it happens, to be opposed to 'true' Christian dogmas, as the survey results show.

To pit an entire belief system against one man's temporary difficulty to remember the precise words of a book title, and to crow triumphantly when he stumbles in doing so accurately, is breathtakingly self-righteous, ignorant, and, to use Richard's own words, really rather pathetic.

Tue, 14 Feb 2012 16:34:30 UTC | #917751

rationalmind's Avatar Comment 12 by rationalmind

Comment 11 by StevenSedai :

Any thoughts?

Yes; this is a stupidly childish take on the issue. Would anyone really equate not being able to recall the precise wording of a book title with complete ignorance of a subject with which you have been acquainted for years, if not decades?

The point is that Richard Dawkins COULD remember the title. He was just taken aback by someone asking him such a question. It isn't just the precise wording of a book title but the very long title of a book too. It is very childish.

The real point here is that Professor Dawkins was arguing (rightly) that the majority of people claiming to be Christians simply tick a box which crops up on a survey, regardless of their opinions on Christian dogmas, the role of women in the clergy, same-sex marriages, etc. Many of their real opinions turn out, as it happens, to be apposite to 'true' Christian dogmas, as the survey results show.

Precisely. It is some brilliant work and just what you expect from a famous science professor. Study the subject and get some evidence.

To pit an entire belief system against one man's temporary difficulty to remember the precise words of a book title, and to crow triumphantly when he stumbles in doing so accurately, is breathtakingly self-righteous, ignorant, and, to use Richard's own words, really rather pathetic.

Absolutely!

It is any stigma with which to beat (the absence of) a dogma.

Tue, 14 Feb 2012 16:46:49 UTC | #917754

Alan4discussion's Avatar Comment 13 by Alan4discussion

Tue, 14 Feb 2012 16:54:35 UTC | #917761

Richard Dawkins's Avatar Comment 14 by Richard Dawkins

Can you remember the subtitle of the Authorized Version of the Bible?

The Holy Bible – containing the Old and New Testaments translated out of the original tongues and with the former translations diligently compared and revised, by his Majesty's special command.

OK, that is 29 words as compared to Darwin's 21, but "Matthew" is only one word and they didn't even have to remember that – just had to pick it out of a four-word multiple choice!

Tue, 14 Feb 2012 18:00:11 UTC | #917782

davem's Avatar Comment 15 by davem

just had to pick it out of a four-word multiple choice!

..and not exactly a difficult choice. I was thinking that the choices might be 'Matthew', 'Mark', 'Luke' and 'John', but no, it's been simplified...

Tue, 14 Feb 2012 18:15:50 UTC | #917789

sycorax's Avatar Comment 16 by sycorax

Warsi is the acceptable cosy face of Islam. And we all know what Islam's aspirations are.

Tue, 14 Feb 2012 18:18:16 UTC | #917792

Jumped Up Chimpanzee's Avatar Comment 17 by Jumped Up Chimpanzee

Richard, I assume on Newsnight you will discuss Warsi's visit to the Vatican.

If so, please give her hell for it. She really is the most arrogant, condescending, selfish and IMMORAL individual (and I say that as someone who still supports some Conservative policies).

Tue, 14 Feb 2012 18:24:08 UTC | #917796

six45ive's Avatar Comment 18 by six45ive

It was amazing that Richard's 'opponent' claimed that it's simply enough to call yourself a xtian irrespective of whether you go to church or read the bible. What nonsense! This is the kind of postmodernism/cultural relativism that really pisses me off. If a person came up to you and claimed they were a tennis player but had rarely, if ever, used a tennis racket to hit a tennis ball over a net towards another player then you'd be entirely justified in calling them a liar and telling them that they simply aren't a tennis player, but for some reason, because it's religion, you have to accept their lies and hypocrisy. This bullshit really gets my goat.

On Richard's slight hesitance in coming up with the full title of On the Origin of Species, it's irrelevant because nobody, including Richard, claims that book as a religious text and as a source of morality to live their lives by. If Richard had proclaimed Darwin to be a religious prophet of some kind and was attempting to live his whole life according to his teachings then it would have been relevant. As it stands it wasn't and was simply a red herring thrown into the ring to deflect attention from the important stuff which is the lack of xtianity in xtians.

Tue, 14 Feb 2012 18:28:51 UTC | #917799

TrickyDicky's Avatar Comment 19 by TrickyDicky

Comment 18 by six45ive :

" If Richard had proclaimed Darwin to be a religious prophet of some kind"

Well looking at a picture of Darwin on the back of a tenner, he certainly had more than a fist full of beard!

Tue, 14 Feb 2012 19:05:40 UTC | #917813

Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 20 by Steve Zara

Fraser had won: if people self-identify as Christians, he said, who are you to tell them otherwise? Too true.

In that case, I am going to take the opportunity to do some self-identification.

I'm Christian, tall, handsome, slim, age about 35, a quite amazing cook, well organised with considerable self-discipline. You should also take note of my flowing blonde locks that put the young Michael Bolton to shame. I'm currently in training for the gay men's synchronised swimming event at the Olympics, and busy writing my acceptance speech for the Nobel Peace prize given to me for my outstanding contribution to civilization through twitter posts.

Tue, 14 Feb 2012 19:15:58 UTC | #917816

Cartomancer's Avatar Comment 21 by Cartomancer

fumbles around for special pretentious amateur advising-on-policy hat

I think that it would be a very good move indeed if Richard made quite plain this evening on Newsnight that the survey is absolutely NOT ABOUT saying whether modern British christians "count as christian" according to some arbitrary definition of what christianity is. That's what Giles Frazer thought it was about, and what the Today programme interviewers seemed to think it was about. And you could use the data it provides for that, if you were so minded.

Unfortunately, it's a predictable conclusion to jump to and a predictable mischaracterisation to make, given that the source of the poll was the RDFRS. Accusations of "but who is Dawkins to tell christians what they should believe about their religion" could have been predicted as soon as the idea was mooted. I think it would be a good idea to pre-empt them and if this is not possible then to counter them. This must not be sidelined in the public consciousness by letting it become tarred with accusations that it is merely an opportunity for atheists to gloat and miss the point of what modern British christianity is really about.

Because what this was ACTUALLY about, it seems to me, was finding out what modern British christians DO mean when they self-define as christians. It's about how people actually use language to stake out an identity, not how so many people on all sides blithely ASSUME they use language to stake out an identity. It is nothing less than letting the silent majority of "normal" christians in Britain speak for themselves as to what they do and do not consider their christianity is about. And what implications that has for public policy-making.

It's the churches, with their creeds and their catechisms and their sunday schools and their faith schools, that try to tell British christians what they're supposed to believe. The RDFRS is telling the churches and the politicians what their religious constituents actually do believe, and in the most non-judgemental way it can - by letting their opinions speak for themselves.

Tue, 14 Feb 2012 19:55:44 UTC | #917824

phil rimmer's Avatar Comment 22 by phil rimmer

Cartomancer.

That hat looks pretty professional to me. Thats exactly how Richard should play it.

Tue, 14 Feb 2012 20:03:26 UTC | #917826

Alan4discussion's Avatar Comment 23 by Alan4discussion

Comment 10 by I.Kant

Here is a response from Will Heaven of The Telegraph:

I think this is what Wallygraph readers are led to believe is "an informed source"!
( or should that be "sauce"?)

Tue, 14 Feb 2012 20:28:48 UTC | #917830

jel's Avatar Comment 24 by jel

@Steve Zara

Wow, such an accomplished person. Myself, I'm a professional soccer player, county cricketer, astronaut, extremely fit, handsome with all my own teeth, charming, debonair, a great dancer and have a very high IQ.

What's not to believe?

Tue, 14 Feb 2012 20:38:29 UTC | #917833

God fearing Atheist's Avatar Comment 25 by God fearing Atheist

Can someone post a link to the 3:30 Sky News video please?

Tue, 14 Feb 2012 20:56:28 UTC | #917840

Tyler Durden's Avatar Comment 26 by Tyler Durden

Comment 10 by I.Kant :

Here is a response from Will Heaven of The Telegraph:

"But it was then that Giles Fraser pulled a fast one."

Does Will Heaven actually think this paints Giles Fraser in good light?

Pulling a fast one

Cheating people.
Fooling someone.
Playing a trick on people.
Making someone believe they see one thing but quickly shifting it before they can see what you've done.

Hoisted by etc.

Tue, 14 Feb 2012 21:24:43 UTC | #917846

clodhopper's Avatar Comment 27 by clodhopper

Gosh! I'd like to go out with Steve Zara so long as he doesn't talk about cricket.

Tue, 14 Feb 2012 22:03:43 UTC | #917858

the great teapot's Avatar Comment 28 by the great teapot

So you can't define a christian but you can define a nation as christian. How does that work?

Tue, 14 Feb 2012 23:03:24 UTC | #917868

jel's Avatar Comment 29 by jel

FFS, it's just started on newsnight & I already want to throw something through my television. Nazir-ali has just claimed magna carta, the enlightenment, abolition of slavery as purely christian movements! Oh, and he doesn't want special privilege for religion but because this country has been christian for so long we should just carry on. Grrrr.

Tue, 14 Feb 2012 23:15:50 UTC | #917869

shemonster's Avatar Comment 30 by shemonster

Just finished watching Newsnight. Finally you got to refute that ridiculous 70% of the country is Christian outdated BS and nice and clearly too. Good job Richard. My was that Bishop suprised.

Tue, 14 Feb 2012 23:19:45 UTC | #917870