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← Debate between Richard Dawkins and Madeline Bunting

Debate between Richard Dawkins and Madeline Bunting - Comments

maton100's Avatar Comment 1 by maton100

Bravo Richard!

Thu, 14 Feb 2008 13:06:00 UTC | #120630

Kinobe's Avatar Comment 2 by Kinobe

"But what *is* belief?"

"What about emotional truth?"

Cringeworthy, but nice to see a moderate's obfuscation brought out so clearly.

Thu, 14 Feb 2008 13:24:00 UTC | #120635

maton100's Avatar Comment 3 by maton100

I wish they would concede that the stories are bullshit, then we could evalute the practical and social function of the text (which isn't much).

Thu, 14 Feb 2008 13:26:00 UTC | #120637

kram50's Avatar Comment 5 by kram50

I'm way past the point of lauphing at religion...now I feel frustration and an increased level of vexation that makes me want to shake the delusion out of credulous fools.
I'll get over it...maybe!

Thu, 14 Feb 2008 13:46:00 UTC | #120642

observer's Avatar Comment 4 by observer

well done Mr Dawkins
Ms Bunting is defending the indefensible arguments. Every one opposed to scientific scrutiny of religion has only one argument, "How do you define truth?".

Planes designed by scientific truth really fly but anything made of these spiritual truths is utterly useless if it exists.
homeopathy, tarot cards, astrology are all spiritual "truths" .

Thu, 14 Feb 2008 13:46:00 UTC | #120641

Milton's Avatar Comment 6 by Milton

I think when arguing about labeling children it's more convincing to compare religion to political movements.
"You don't say a democratic child or a republican child" Marxist works nice too!

Furthermore I'd like to add that a child should have the right to label itself anything. It maybe goes without saying, though.

Thu, 14 Feb 2008 13:47:00 UTC | #120643

Mango's Avatar Comment 7 by Mango

Wonderful tactic -- one doesn't have to answer what one believes by asserting that the word "belief" doesn't apply to what one believes!

Thu, 14 Feb 2008 13:51:00 UTC | #120644

jimbob's Avatar Comment 8 by jimbob

As I listened to the debate unfold I couldn't help but think that Ms. Bunting is aptly named --- the image of bits of rag blowing in the wind being all too metaphorically obvious.

That aside, if it comes to labels, "postmodernist" would seem to be a good fit?

Thu, 14 Feb 2008 13:54:00 UTC | #120646

jakelovatto's Avatar Comment 9 by jakelovatto

It was hard to keep my food down listening to Madeline Bunting's piffle.

Thu, 14 Feb 2008 13:56:00 UTC | #120649

Dad's Avatar Comment 10 by Dad

I think Ms Bunting's obfuscation spell was broken. Her clammer for the right words simply highlighted her confusion and lack of clarity. I could almost taste her moderate stance being broken down further as she questioned who the hell she was.

Thu, 14 Feb 2008 14:07:00 UTC | #120651

Richard Morgan's Avatar Comment 11 by Richard Morgan

I am willing to believe that Madeline Bunting is a well-educated, cultivated, intelligent person. This means, then, that in the absence of any verifiable evidence (during this debate), I am a Buntingist.
Like many of you, I positively cringed with embarrassment for her when she came out with things like "there is some truth here which is not about "evidence", not about "fact" ".
One last thing, at last we can be clear about what Richard is referring to when he uses the expression "child abuse" : it is both the labelling of children as Christian or Hindu AND teaching them about hell fire.
EDIT : Richard admits that he is "not trying to be a good politician". What do you guys think about that?
Does it matter?
Do "we" need good politicians?
If so, are there any volunteers here?
(Diancanu and I would most certainly not be in the running!!!!)

Thu, 14 Feb 2008 14:08:00 UTC | #120652

Jiten's Avatar Comment 12 by Jiten

God,Madeline is so stupid (at least when it comes to religion-although she may well be just plain stupid).

Thu, 14 Feb 2008 14:09:00 UTC | #120653

Matt H.'s Avatar Comment 13 by Matt H.

12. Comment #126930 by Jiten on February 14, 2008 at 2:09 pm

God,Madeline is so stupid (at least when it comes to religion-although she may well be just plain stupid).


I vehemently disagree. She sounds like a very intelligent and reasonable person. She is just slightly deluded when it comes to 'truth'. She accepts evolution as truth, but couldn't come to the same or opposite conclusion about the divinity of Jesus. Therefore, her religion is clouding her judgement on this matter. That doesn't make her stupid, at all. Just deluded.

Thu, 14 Feb 2008 14:16:00 UTC | #120656

Sally Luxmoore's Avatar Comment 14 by Sally Luxmoore

So, does she believe in the virgin birth or not? She NEVER answered the question.
She may call herself a catholic, but the Carbolic Church would not recognise her weird wishy washy views as theirs.

Irritating the way she interrupted all the time.

Yet again, I admire Richard's patience at putting up with someone who treats her own illogicality as liberal intelligence.

Thu, 14 Feb 2008 14:19:00 UTC | #120658

Richard Morgan's Avatar Comment 15 by Richard Morgan

Richard admits that he is "not trying to be a good politician".
What do you guys think about that?
Does it matter?
Do "we" need good politicians?
If so, are there any volunteers here?
(Diancanu and I would most certainly not be in the running!!!!)

Thu, 14 Feb 2008 14:21:00 UTC | #120659

eXcommunicate's Avatar Comment 16 by eXcommunicate

I wouldn't for a moment say Madeline was/is stupid. For me it seems she is still on her spiritual journey and is a bit confused. Good interview with Richard though! I agree somewhat with Bunting's assertion that fundamentalism is rooted in a kind of insecurity. Fundamentalist organizations offer structure and security to vast portions of the population that feel they need it. We Atheists like to proclaim our undying individualism, but we have that "luxury" of individualism here in the fat and happy West. Many rural communities here in the U.S. heartland are rotting economically at the core. Times are extremely insecure for many many Americans. Its no accident, IMHO, that Christian fundamentalism thrives in those states in the Union that a.) the rejection of worldly authority (far away evil Washington DC), b.) have fewer social safety nets, making Churches the providers of social security instead of secular providers, and c.) are more rural/conservative in nature, and ultimately isolating. This kind of environment just breeds tribalism, out-group hate, and fundamentalism.

If Hamas or the local Church of Christ is the one providing for your family's social, emotional, and/or financial security, then who are Atheists and/or the big bad secular West? The ones that will take that security away. It's a simple, but deep psychological equation that occurs in every one of us, not just "fundamentalists". It's the root of tribalism.

So what do we do to replace that security net and loosen the grip of fundamentalism and ultimately religion altogether? All I hear from fellow Atheists is that they want to rip the blanket off people and expose them to cold hard truth and reality. No solutions at all, but to throw cold water onto a freezing man. Sure, rip that blanket of false security and false truth off of a person, but a person still needs warmth. What we need instead is a different kind of blanket, not just cold water, or else religious fundamentalism will never wane.

Thu, 14 Feb 2008 14:23:00 UTC | #120660

Tosser's Avatar Comment 17 by Tosser

The more I here from religious people in such debates, the more that Daniel Dennett's idea of "belief in belief" makes sense. The religious person here talks about metaphors, emotional truths, and so on, falling into a haze in which she can't even address straightforward questions like, "Was Jesus born of a virgin."

Thu, 14 Feb 2008 14:25:00 UTC | #120661

HourglassMemory's Avatar Comment 18 by HourglassMemory

This conversation was very calm.
I really liked it.
And I loved hearing Richard saying "Let me finish! Let me finish!" almost like a kid. (and I don't mean this in any indirect insulting way. It just reminded me of a child whose lolipop had been taken)
It was great.

Thu, 14 Feb 2008 14:28:00 UTC | #120662

jakelovatto's Avatar Comment 19 by jakelovatto

From the sickly religious moderates to the blunt bible-believing christians.

http://library.digiguide.com/lib/uk-tv-highlight/Wonderland:The End of the World Bus Tour-2611/Documentary/

"Most package-holiday tourists are seeking sun, sex or adventure, but the customers in Sharon Stolebarger's charge are looking for something rather different. Sharon is the tour rep on a special ten-day holiday for people who believe the Apocalypse is only a few years away. Her customers are off to Israel to take a last-chance look at the "valley of Armageddon" - before it's awash with the blood of unbelievers - and to be baptised in the very waters that Jesus once walked on. They even get the chance to spend a day helping out at an Israeli military base - the highlight of the holiday for many of the tourists."

For those who have access to BBC iPlayer
http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/page/item/b008yykd.shtml?q=wonderland&start=1&scope=iplayersearch&go=Find Programmes&version_pid=b008yyhx

Thu, 14 Feb 2008 14:30:00 UTC | #120663

nlewkowitz's Avatar Comment 21 by nlewkowitz

If Bunting is concerned with 'how people get on', when does she say that people need religion in order to be good to each other? I think it has been shown by Dawkins, Harris, etc that we do not need religion to function as moral and ethical beings. Besides being misguided, her only other point refers to how Richard delivers his message. Richard's blunt style deals with religion no different than any other myth...we can't take anybody seriously who believes in Thor - the same goes with any other religion. Continue laughing Richard.

Thu, 14 Feb 2008 14:31:00 UTC | #120665

Jiten's Avatar Comment 20 by Jiten

OK.I accept the rebuke.Madeline may not be stupid just deluded.It's just that listening to such drivel from her makes me froth in the mouth.

Thu, 14 Feb 2008 14:31:00 UTC | #120664

Jiten's Avatar Comment 22 by Jiten

The poor don't need the religious to give them charity.They need social justice.The poor are robbed to make the rich rich.

Thu, 14 Feb 2008 14:38:00 UTC | #120666

The author's Avatar Comment 23 by The author

Oh my Zeus: Madeline Bunting doesn't have any idea of anything, yet she is earning her money as a journalist - someone who is expected to enlighten people.

Thu, 14 Feb 2008 14:40:00 UTC | #120667

ericcolumba's Avatar Comment 24 by ericcolumba

This lady speaks gobbledygook.
It really is like listening to the insane

Thu, 14 Feb 2008 14:41:00 UTC | #120668

Skep's Avatar Comment 25 by Skep

Madine Bunting is wayyyyy too hung up on the idea that subjective opinions and feeling are "truths." We really should reserve the word "truth" for things that are factually true and not allow others to get away with declaring "alternate 'truths'"

Thu, 14 Feb 2008 14:43:00 UTC | #120669

FSMTeapot's Avatar Comment 26 by FSMTeapot

Madeline's tactics seemed very similar to me to numerous other people I've talked to. When challenged on a specific point, they cloud the issue with nothings and misty arguments, which you have to clear before you can get to the point, and this allows them to hide behind using a nebulous question (i.e. "emotional truth") and say "I don't know, and I assume you don't either, so this shows the issue to be far more complex then you think". No. They are making it far more complex than it needs to be.

I also detected just a hint of sarcasm whenever she couldn't actually answer something: trying to suggest it was too obvious to need it.

Thu, 14 Feb 2008 14:46:00 UTC | #120672

the way's Avatar Comment 27 by the way

"Shrill"? "Ranting"? "Antagonistic"? "Elitist"?...and now it's "Splitting our sides with laughter"!...What's the next put down?..."Having too much desire for evidence based reasoning"? Faith...Belief without evidence that's all you need to get by in todays world.

Thu, 14 Feb 2008 14:47:00 UTC | #120673

Stephen Maxwell's Avatar Comment 28 by Stephen Maxwell

Richard was fantastic here. When he presses Catholics on the question of belief in the Virgin Birth, much like Muslim clerics on the penalty for apostasy...I can't help but have a big smile on my face while hearing all the stuttering in the response.

Thu, 14 Feb 2008 14:48:00 UTC | #120674

kram50's Avatar Comment 29 by kram50

I would agree that Madeline is not stupid . If she was, then we would have to label all deluded individuals with a weak argument as stupid. We all know that there are many, smart people in this world who can't bring themselves to point of reason. Maybe "Critical Thinking" has something to do with it.

Thu, 14 Feb 2008 14:50:00 UTC | #120675

AllanW's Avatar Comment 30 by AllanW

Interesting conversation.

The obvious flaws in Buntings performance were her tendency to butt in, her inability to listen to thoughts as a whole but just hear odd phrases, her lack of considered response (just an intuitive rather than judged comeback) and her breathy, excited delivery; staccato words tumbling over each other (which betrays a mind running straight through the tongue rather than the frontal cortex).

All of that is aside from her ill-considered position, of course. It was obvious that RD moved her position by argument from a combative adversary to a less confident, more agreeable and essentially docile end-point. She is by no means stupid (she has obviously read something at some time) but I think demonstrates a severe lack of critical thinking; she exhibits the typical non-scientists positivist approach ('oooh! That sound good, I'll believe that is a fact until someone presents something more sexy.') rather than thorough or deeply questioning.

RD was impressive again. Part of that is his willingness to depart from the deferential, academic etiquette of hearing the other person until they have finished on the occasions when he is interrupted; bravo. It's not bad manners to point out when the other person is exhibiting bad manners (to paraphrase :)).

And it was plain which of the contestants had spent far more time thinking and preparing their position for the debate and its implications.

Is this part of a series of debates on different topics or just a one-off; anybody know?

Thu, 14 Feb 2008 14:51:00 UTC | #120676