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No blood on the carpet. How disappointing. [Also in Polish] - Comments

Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 1 by Steve Zara

And that would have been no way to finish off a civilised evening.

I do think it was a remarkable evening. I wonder, Richard, did you ever imagine when you gave that magnificent TED speech on atheism all those years ago, that your efforts would have achieved all this?

Please forgive my petty comments about your mention of supernatualism. As you say, that was not the occasion, even if you had been convinced of the arguments. And what an occasion! I hope it sets a precent for religious leaders now taking atheism seriously, and realising that they have to at least deal in a civil way with its advocates, even if they are elusive when it comes to its arguments.

Sun, 26 Feb 2012 20:58:02 UTC | #922190

Mrkimbo's Avatar Comment 2 by Mrkimbo

If journalists were to get to know, and read, Dawkins instead of their beloved Strawkins, their live would become so much harder. They may have to (gasp) do some research and (groan) attack the ball and not the man.

Sun, 26 Feb 2012 21:01:57 UTC | #922193

SuedeStonn's Avatar Comment 3 by SuedeStonn

The media has always been cynical, and I would imagine it does so to get to the facts in some cases, but of late it's mostly cynicism because they need to write something that will sell. Why write that civilised men had a discussion and didn't try to verbally abuse one another? That won't sell! Everyone has an agenda, companies have agendas, and when things don't end up the way they want it's easier to sensationalize than objectify.

non est deus

Sun, 26 Feb 2012 21:08:23 UTC | #922194

Saiph's Avatar Comment 4 by Saiph

Aldous Huxley vs Bishop Samuel Wilberforce

Or journalists would have to check what they print.

Sun, 26 Feb 2012 21:12:35 UTC | #922195

kungfuhobbit's Avatar Comment 5 by kungfuhobbit

May I point out the mathematical fact that "6.9 recurring" IS 7...

ps this isnt an attempt at the latest ad-hom: 'Dawkins in maths blunder' ;)

Sun, 26 Feb 2012 21:15:22 UTC | #922198

RomeStu's Avatar Comment 6 by RomeStu

Of course the media always plays to the masses, re-writing and editorialising the truth to fit what they think their audience will want to hear/read.

Perhaps when they actually study the recent ipsos poll data about the true state of christianity in the UK, the media will swing round to ridicule the amount of over-representation that the church has in so many aspects of life......

......still, it's a nice idea, eh!

Sun, 26 Feb 2012 21:21:22 UTC | #922199

"'s Avatar Comment 7 by "

The level of ignorance amongst journalists of the so-called serious newspapers is breathtaking. Who came up with "Aldous Huxley vs Bishop Samuel Wilberforce"? It wasn't Adam Lusher was it? He seems confused about which generation is responsible for what!

Sun, 26 Feb 2012 21:22:58 UTC | #922201

Quine's Avatar Comment 8 by Quine

I was at a dinner party last month where one of the guests remarked that "Richard Dawkins can't possibly know there is no God." I told him, yes, that is the position Richard takes. He then started off, "He wrote The God Delusion ..." but I interrupted him and asked if he had read it? The answer was no.

Sun, 26 Feb 2012 21:36:55 UTC | #922206

johnw's Avatar Comment 9 by johnw

You might find this interesting.

Sun, 26 Feb 2012 21:37:25 UTC | #922207

rationalmind's Avatar Comment 10 by rationalmind

They are currently taking a vote on Richard Dawkins' Wikipedia page as to whether he is an atheist or not!

I have of course read The God Delusion. It is by bedside at the moment as it happens but the journalists obviously haven't.

Sun, 26 Feb 2012 21:37:52 UTC | #922209

ridelo's Avatar Comment 11 by ridelo

Isn't it required any more that a journalist does some research before writing about a subject? Like reading his most famous book? It isn't rocket science, eh? And confusing Julian and Aldous Huxley, even I wouldn't do that and I learnt English on my own.

Sun, 26 Feb 2012 21:44:12 UTC | #922210

The Truth, the light's Avatar Comment 12 by The Truth, the light

It's a little like some people meeting their favourite TV/Movie star and then discovering in real life that they are nothing like their screen character.

You would hope journalists would be able to distinguish between a manufactured image and the real one, but seems not to be the case.

Sun, 26 Feb 2012 21:44:41 UTC | #922211

kungfuhobbit's Avatar Comment 13 by kungfuhobbit

re: feeling like one cant win

Professor Dawkins, I am tempted to think that the only things supernatural in this world are your patience and temperance in debate. You strike a marvellous chord between grace and applying pressure with reasoned clarity - a composure which every critical thinker who faces irrational people must surely aspire to.

I admire this exceptionally; keep up the great work.

Sun, 26 Feb 2012 21:48:39 UTC | #922212

InYourFaceNewYorker's Avatar Comment 14 by InYourFaceNewYorker

Awful the way Richard is caricatured by some people. But that doesn't compare to what some right wingers did to Dr. Jack Kevorkian in his heyday. Of course, Dr. Kevorkian did more "controversial" things, making it easier for these nuts to make their straw man, but that's still not the point. People are stupid and don't think.

Julie

Sun, 26 Feb 2012 21:50:58 UTC | #922214

Alan Canon's Avatar Comment 15 by Alan Canon

I found the debate refreshing in its measured civility, and even gained some respect for Rowan Williams due his comportment. We are all in the same planetary boat, and this debate should be an example of how our discourse can be civil and productive even when our core beliefs are diametrically opposed. Thank you, Drs Dawkins and Williams.

Sun, 26 Feb 2012 22:07:24 UTC | #922219

Neodarwinian's Avatar Comment 16 by Neodarwinian

Journalists!!

We need a raft of journalist jokes. Rather like the layer jokes that were so effective in mocking ( and beyond mocking ) that " time honored profession. "

Sun, 26 Feb 2012 22:08:13 UTC | #922220

Schrodinger's Cat's Avatar Comment 17 by Schrodinger's Cat

The Daily Mail, as you might expect, picked up the same angle: “Career atheist Richard Dawkins admits he is in fact agnostic.”

I think most people would realise that's agnostic in the 6.9 sense and not in the dithery 50/50 sense. An agnostic ( at least an 'atheist agnostic' ) isn't someone who cannot make up his mind......he is simply someone who thinks that 'know' is a more important and relevant qualifier than 'believe'. The universe is utterly indifferent to anyone's beliefs about it......that's the sense in which I feel an expression of belief ( or otherwise ) is somehow irrelevant.

Sun, 26 Feb 2012 22:08:27 UTC | #922221

maria melo's Avatar Comment 18 by maria melo

I guess I was thinking most of the time that this couldn´t just take place between the pope and secular people, because the pope is just above all common people and just refused previously to talk with Prof. Dawkins and the words of Edgar

Morin: how can we believe in human rights if we don´t consider the person in front of us as "equal".

Sun, 26 Feb 2012 22:11:43 UTC | #922224

Metamag's Avatar Comment 19 by Metamag

I knew that irrelevant agnostic-atheist scale would come to haunt Dawkins.

to summarize:

“Atheism is not about absolute certainty, it is about giving an answer to a question that has a reasonable answer. Does god exist? No. Do you know this with absolute certainty? Irrelevant.”

The whole approach Dawkins made here and in his book is incoherent and only serves to confuse. Headlines like these were entirely predictable and preventable.

Sun, 26 Feb 2012 22:13:06 UTC | #922225

Floyd's Avatar Comment 20 by Floyd

The media is stupid and journalism is dead.

Sun, 26 Feb 2012 22:17:13 UTC | #922229

Floyd's Avatar Comment 21 by Floyd

          [Comment 11](/articles/645108-no-blood-on-the-carpet-how-disappointing/comments?page=1#comment_922210) by  [ridelo](/profiles/741)          :


                 Isn't it required any more that a journalist does some research before writing about a subject? Like reading his most famous book? It isn't rocket science, eh?And confusing Julian and Aldous Huxley, even I wouldn't do that and I learnt English on my own.          

I'm assuming you're being funny.

Sun, 26 Feb 2012 22:20:43 UTC | #922230

Jos Gibbons's Avatar Comment 22 by Jos Gibbons

On the 6.9 recurring issue, in non-standard analysis (of which I think even many mathematicians haven't heard) you can have a quantity infinitesimally less than 7 that can be thought of as 6.9 recurring in the sense it exceeds anything with finitely many 9s after the 6. This is the same form of analysis that can distinguish between infinitely improbable and impossible events by only assigning the latter a probability of zero. However, since this uses non-standard analysis and not, say, the theory of real numbers, I can see why it seems such an awkward choice of phrase. But remember that no infinitely improbable theism could be represented with a real number under 7. Of course, this raises the question, does Professor Dawkins (or the man that he spoke to) think the probability of a god existing is a real number > 0 (i.e. "it's 10 the minus a lot") or an infinitely small quantity that can be distinguished from 0 only if we introduce non-real values?

Sun, 26 Feb 2012 22:22:40 UTC | #922231

irate_atheist's Avatar Comment 23 by irate_atheist

7.1

Sun, 26 Feb 2012 22:41:08 UTC | #922234

papa lazaru's Avatar Comment 24 by papa lazaru

Comment 22 by Jos Gibbons :

Of course, this raises the question, does Professor Dawkins (or the man that he spoke to) think the probability of a god existing is a real number > 0 (i.e. "it's 10 the minus a lot") or an infinitely small quantity that can be distinguished from 0 only if we introduce non-real values?

Irrational number, surely!

Sun, 26 Feb 2012 22:45:19 UTC | #922237

StephenH's Avatar Comment 25 by StephenH

What a delightful read

I guess they are too busy writing tomorrow's articles to actually read any books

This is the media (a bubble-world within itself)

If it get's a little chilly across Scotland, with a hint of snow over the mountains, the media translate that as the headline:

'blizzards are set to sweep south across the Uk'

People out there, will instantly dismiss Evolution, but have they read any books about Evolution, or are they even slightly educated on the subject? The answer is usually no

I would not support forcing education down people's throats, in the same way, i'm repulsed by religion being rammed into people's minds.

People know very little, and yet have strong views and opinions.

They need to have the desire to learn.

Sun, 26 Feb 2012 22:56:50 UTC | #922240

lewis.breland's Avatar Comment 26 by lewis.breland

They will never read these books. Their caricatures sell journals, and so there really is no winning against the media. They really act like "The God Delusion" and other works of this nature are filled with hundreds of thousands of recurring "THERE IS NO GOD" lines.

Sun, 26 Feb 2012 22:58:41 UTC | #922241

Zeuglodon's Avatar Comment 27 by Zeuglodon

I lost my enthusiasm for journalism long ago when I tried it at university and discovered that it wasn't just about reporting news. I don't know which is worse: the idea that people would write so shamelessly or the idea that people will buy the newspaper only if they write so.

Comment 22 by Jos Gibbons

Don't overanalyse this. 6.9 recurring can be represented as a curve that aims for, constantly approaches, and yet never reaches a line representing the number 7. It's a fun way of saying that his allowance for belief in a deity is so small that, for all practical purposes, he's a straight-up atheist.

I'm glad to hear the discussion was civilized, even though I haven't seen it yet. I can't stand antagonistic "debates" because the clash of personalities gets in the way of the relevant intellectual issues.

Sun, 26 Feb 2012 23:03:06 UTC | #922243

kungfuhobbit's Avatar Comment 28 by kungfuhobbit

Comment 22 by Jos Gibbons :

                 On the 6.9 recurring issue, in non-standard analysis (of which I think even many mathematicians haven't heard) you can have a quantity infinitesimally less than 7 that can be thought of as 6.9 recurring in the sense it exceeds anything with finitely many 9s after the 6.

crumbs, you've got me there Jos!..I shoulda thought of the hyperreals...

Sun, 26 Feb 2012 23:09:36 UTC | #922247

Scruddy Bleensaver's Avatar Comment 29 by Scruddy Bleensaver

The dictionaries don't really agree with me but I think there's a subtle difference between being "sure" of something and to be "certain" of it. The former implies to me very little doubt, whereas the latter implies no doubt whatsoever. Therefore, like most people here, I'm sure there's no God, but I'm not certain, i.e.I'm your typical 6.9er.

Along the same lines, I'm sure the sun will come up tomorrow, but I don't think I'm certain of it as some very tiny possibility exists that something will affect the earth's rotation in my lifetime.

That said, once again people with a religious perspective show how they just don't understand us. No atheist can intellectually claim certainty about the existence of god(s), since we think all knowledge is provisional and we're always ready to change our mind if evidence were to be presented. Religious people, like politicians, think this is a sign of intellectual weakness rather than the intellectual strength and integrity we consider it to be.

I think we understand their position so much better than they understand ours.

Sun, 26 Feb 2012 23:11:40 UTC | #922249

TIKI AL's Avatar Comment 30 by TIKI AL

I find that godbots are more familiar with a scale of 0 to 10, so I state that I am a 9.9s to infinity non-believer, or that I am 99.9s to infinity % sure that there is no god.

I can't totally disprove gods existance in a courtroom or laboratory.

Sun, 26 Feb 2012 23:13:43 UTC | #922250