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Richard Dawkins on Talkback Radio - Comments

maton100's Avatar Comment 1 by maton100

Kudos to the prof.

Sun, 24 Aug 2008 16:34:00 UTC | #223811

radiohead's Avatar Comment 2 by radiohead

Thanks Richard.

We so badly need more Religious criticism in Northern Ireland and the raising of consciousness in peoples minds in regards evolution. I come from Northern Ireland though it's a better country now than it was, its still racked with hatred and delusion. There is a high prevalence of evangelical protestants who are every bit as fundamentalist as their American counterparts. Iris Robinson the First Minsters wife and a MP called Homosexuality worse than child molestation and--yes you guessed it an abomination.

I wrote the woman and my local newspapers a letter of complaint. The local newspaper (the Newtownards Chronicle) never even covered the story back in June. (it did print a letter of complaint from another Christian! And one that worked for the DUP! and its gets better simply said that Robisnon should not say those things in public!)

This woman along with many of her DUP chums are a disgrace to the country. Just to show I'm being even handed (as you do to be "politically correct") the Catholics and the Protestants have joined forces on the one thing they can agree on taking control of women's bodies Northern Ireland is the only part of the UK that does not offer abortions to women. If anyone's interested I have a blog article about Robinson which goes further into detail of what I wrote her.
http://theyoungcontrarian.blogspot.com/2008/06/predictability-of-stupidity-religion.html


In any case can I just say that I wish I had of really learned about evolution in school and what it means for human nature. To me Science was boring and biology was irrelevant. evolution is hardly taught at all. After reading Richard TGD, I read Unweaving the Rainbow, Pinkers the blank slate and Diamond's Guns Germs and Steel. These books are magnificent and science is not only relevant and useful but bloody fascinating. If only these sorts of things would be taught in school.

Richard I hope you will go on to support better science education in UK schools starting with Evolution and natural selection and what it means for understanding human behaviour.


Best and be well

Michael Faulkner.

Sun, 24 Aug 2008 16:47:00 UTC | #223817

rydrum2112's Avatar Comment 3 by rydrum2112

The second link doesn't have Dawkins both parts are in the first one.

Sun, 24 Aug 2008 17:37:00 UTC | #223847

NewEnglandBob's Avatar Comment 4 by NewEnglandBob

A good job by Prof. Dawkins and a good job by the radio host who was fair, knowledgeable and moved things along.

Sun, 24 Aug 2008 18:07:00 UTC | #223859

mmarchisin's Avatar Comment 5 by mmarchisin

Always a pleasure, and a privilege, to listen to Professor Dawkins. Thanks for posting these radio segments.

Sun, 24 Aug 2008 18:21:00 UTC | #223866

wouldbesakota's Avatar Comment 6 by wouldbesakota

I'm glad he puts up with these airings. It not only gives a chance to shoot down some creationists, but also demonstrates the virtue of patience of the professor. Yays for Richard!

People keep calling up to put forth the same creationist arguments over and over- it's really quite pathetic, because they don't actually research the arguments that clearly shoot down their ridiculous fronts. They just repeat each other and regurgitate creationist pamphlets.

Sun, 24 Aug 2008 18:30:00 UTC | #223869

MikedubB's Avatar Comment 7 by MikedubB

I thought the Doc did well. The callers are another story. It's like the screeners were intentionally choosing the lowest, most common denominators. I wish I could interview the man. I read 'The Ancestors Tale' a while back and, despite its breadth, was actually left with more questions than answers. (in a good way) Like a true genius, he raised my consciousness, inalterably, forever.

Peace

Sun, 24 Aug 2008 19:31:00 UTC | #223885

Chrysippus_Maximus's Avatar Comment 8 by Chrysippus_Maximus

The logic is just really painful.

Critical Thinking needs to be taught in kindergarten.

For christ's sake... Jupiter DOES NOT shield the Earth... I mean what the hell... and what on earth does THAT, if it were true, have to do with "there must be a designer"... That's just confirmation bias.

Sun, 24 Aug 2008 19:32:00 UTC | #223888

HourglassMemory's Avatar Comment 9 by HourglassMemory

"Right? Right? Right? Right?"
I can so understand Dawkins if he ever rolled his eyes.
I bet he could see the argument coming from very far, as most here would.

I actually do wonder where people's insatiable curiosity to KNOW THINGS has gone...
I can't imagine a human mind without wanting to try to dig out truths from the world around them. To look hard and think hard and "dig" hard and think even more.
I just find that so exciting! To have this tremendous opportunity of being able, in a way, to understand the world around us, and yet... people waste it with "There are flowers, therefore there must be a designer."
How can anyone actually sit down with that in mind and go on with drinking their tea or something?
I'd be follwing the bees that carried the polen particles and try to figure the whole thing out.
Do people actually care about FIGURING THINGS OUT anymore?

Why is so much importance given to ancient thought-experiments?
I think it was Dumas who said "How is it that little children are so intelligent and men so stupid? It must be education that does it."
And I think he is spot on. When those who educate you have not received an enlightened instruction on how the world works, and on how to think, you're going to remain with a very immature and malformed and undisciplined way of thinking about the world.

There's something "wrong" with schools. I even start wondering if schools serve to EDUCATE people or to SCHOOL them.
Because it's very different, like Mark Twain said: "I've never let my school interfere with my education."
There's a difference there that I think people let pass, or take for granted, and think one means the other.

I won't even start on this whole Education/School issue, but I don't think it's a coincidence when you start seeing a pattern of the world's most influential minds having problems with traditional schooling or schooling, period.

Sun, 24 Aug 2008 20:04:00 UTC | #223898

Don_Quix's Avatar Comment 10 by Don_Quix

Spinoza:

For christ's sake... Jupiter DOES NOT shield the Earth... I mean what the hell... and what on earth does THAT, if it were true, have to do with "there must be a designer"... That's just confirmation bias.
I beg to differ. Not only does Jupiter shield us from evil and destruction, but He is the supreme arbiter of laws and social order! Why, without Jupiter, there would be no morality or ethics...it would be total chaos!

Oh wait...err...wait...

Sun, 24 Aug 2008 20:13:00 UTC | #223900

HourglassMemory's Avatar Comment 11 by HourglassMemory

It is Zeus, not Jupiter!!! Zeus is older, therefore holds more truth and needs to be considered for a longer time.

Sun, 24 Aug 2008 20:23:00 UTC | #223902

robotaholic's Avatar Comment 12 by robotaholic

It is a commonly held belief that Jupiter shields Earth from comets or asteroids that might otherwise hit us.

Sun, 24 Aug 2008 20:25:00 UTC | #223903

Don_Quix's Avatar Comment 13 by Don_Quix

It is Zeus, not Jupiter!!!

Better not say that around any Centurions!

Sun, 24 Aug 2008 20:28:00 UTC | #223904

tuskensp's Avatar Comment 14 by tuskensp

Having been raised to be a devoted christian, I can understand how it is that many people don't realize they are making the same futile arguments over and over again. Giving up the hope for life after death and the other supposed benefits religion affords can be a very difficult thing to do, and it doesn't surprise me that many people jump through mental hoops to accommodate this. This is not to say that it makes those beliefs true.

Sun, 24 Aug 2008 21:04:00 UTC | #223917

Don_Quix's Avatar Comment 15 by Don_Quix

Giving up the hope for life after death and the other supposed benefits religion affords can be a very difficult thing to do, and it doesn't surprise me that many people jump through mental hoops to accommodate this. This is not to say that it makes those beliefs true.

There's not anything particularly wrong with hoping for a life after death. It's a natural and very seductive idea, since human beings (as far as we know) are the only creatures on this planet who can, from a very early age, perceive and fear their own future deaths. Nobody who is now alive can say for certain that there is or isn't some part of us that survives natural death...but based on what we know now right now, it's incredibly unlikely. If there is any kind of afterlife, it would almost certainly be totally unlike what the major religions would have you believe it is.

The problem I have with people who believe in religions is that they spend much of life preparing for something which is very, very likely not true. Instead of preparing for "the next world". you should be living your *life* and doing what you can to help future *living* generations after you are gone (whether it be your children, or grandchildren, or humanity in general, or whatever).

Then again, with technology advancing as fast as it is, it is possible that some people who are alive today may become nearly immortal at some point in the not too distant future...but that is a totally different discussion.

Sun, 24 Aug 2008 21:23:00 UTC | #223920

Robert Maynard's Avatar Comment 16 by Robert Maynard

Quick skim of Wiki, library of babel for the lazy learner: "Jupiter has been called the Solar System's vacuum cleaner, because of its immense gravity well and location near the inner Solar System. It receives the most frequent comet impacts of the Solar System's planets."

People who note this as evidence of 'design' should also understand that Jupiter is likewise credited with the chaotic coalescence of the asteroid belt and the rocky inner planets, including Earth.

Sun, 24 Aug 2008 22:20:00 UTC | #223926

Don_Quix's Avatar Comment 17 by Don_Quix

People who note this as evidence of 'design' should also understand that Jupiter is likewise credited with the chaotic coalescence of the asteroid belt and the rocky inner planets, including Earth.

But it *is* evidence of design! If Jupiter wasn't gobbling up rocks and influencing gravity in our neighborhood, we wouldn't be here! Therefore Jupiter == God == Designer! Q.E.D.

Just kidding.

It is fortunate we have a large planet like Jupiter with a large gravity well that does (occasionally) take hits for us. However, it sucks when Jupiter is on the other side of the sun from us and doesn't really offer much protection. So much for the clockwork design of the solar system!

Basically we're lucky that our species has happened to evolve and become sentient during a relatively quiet period in both our planet's and our solar system's history. It's very likely (in fact, almost certain) that a major extinction-level asteroid or comet will hit us in the next few million, if not thousand, years. Hopefully between now and then we will have evolved enough to be able to deflect it or to have moved off this planet :)

Sun, 24 Aug 2008 22:36:00 UTC | #223927

rod-the-farmer's Avatar Comment 18 by rod-the-farmer

Too bad we never got to hear more from that one caller who claimed many people who are NOT religious but object to evolution by natural selection. RD asked on what basis they objected, but we never got to hear the response. Just curious.

Edit to add...

Also, too bad RD did not get a chance to mention to that other caller that the moon has slowly been moving away from the earth. Any claim that the tides would be adversely affected if the moon were not at the "perfect" distance would therefore fall flat. Although how you would prove this gradual increase in the distance to someone who seems a bit weak in basic science would be interesting.

Mon, 25 Aug 2008 01:04:00 UTC | #223944

King of NH's Avatar Comment 19 by King of NH

Listening to these Q&A sessions with Prof. Dawkins, I hear the same questions over and over, the same arguments against evolution.

Perhaps Dawkins should have a Q&A collection, maybe written down somewhere. If Dawkins were to write a few books - like some on evolution, atheism, science - than people could read them before asking old and foolish questions publicly. Not to brag, but I think that's a great idea.

Some titles you can feel free to use, Prof:
The God Illusion
The Great Grandparents' Tale
Science Writing of Today
Growing Up in the Vast Space
The Root of All Bad

Mon, 25 Aug 2008 01:27:00 UTC | #223947

Vaal's Avatar Comment 20 by Vaal

18. Comment #236648 by rod-the-farmer

Also, too bad RD did not get a chance to mention to that other caller that the moon has slowly been moving away from the earth.

Rod, good point. The caller that rang who said that everything was perfect for life to form on Earth assumed that nothing has changed in Earth's history.

The Moon has not been at the same distance from the Earth for all of geological history. In early Earth history it was much closer (perhaps as little as 1/10 the current distance) causing huge tides, and slowing down the Earth's rotation. Can you imagine seeing the Moon that close and observing those massive tides?

The Earth's rotation 4.5 billion years ago was a little as 6.5 hours a day. 3.5 billion years ago the planet's rotation had slowed to 20 hours per day and even 100 million years ago the rotation period was 23.6 hours. Every year our day gets slightly longer, and the moon moves further away.

We are not just talking about the Moon; the Sun has not been the same in geological history and was actually cooler in our early history. In another 1 1/2 billion years the sun will be producing much more heat and radiation, enough to boil the oceans and extinguish most life on the Earth, except the most hardy bacterium.

Most of Earth's history, our caller would have found that if he had been instantly transported to another geological time, he would have suffocated as there was insufficient oxygen in the atmosphere. If he had been transported back to when the Earth was a giant snowball, with the Earth encased in ice from pole to equator, he would have found that extremely inclement. In fact, there is quite a small segment of the Earth's history which would have been suitable for humanity.

Not to mention other changes, such as the Earth's changes in orbit, changes in axial inclination, continental drift, the massive extinction events etc etc etc

Perhaps Richard should bring this up when presented with these blinkered idiots, who think the world has been is as it now for the whole of history, and "designed" only with humanity in mind.

Mon, 25 Aug 2008 03:13:00 UTC | #223972

Tyler Durden's Avatar Comment 21 by Tyler Durden

Whenever the "Argument from Design" rears its ugly head, especially with regard to the Earth, the words "Plate Tectonics" should follow smartly.

If the grand designer did in fact design our planet Earth, he/she/it did a half-ass lazy job of it.

That caller obviously knows nothing about astronomy if he's using the Sun/Moon as his premise. Why would this grand designer give the Sun a limited supply of fuel, which will ultimately result in the demise of our planet?!

As Hitch so often says: "Some design!"

Mon, 25 Aug 2008 03:22:00 UTC | #223974

decius's Avatar Comment 22 by decius

<!-- Be sure tags are closed -->Comment #236680 by Tyler Durden

The moon used to be much closer to Earth, and it's still receding, due to tidal friction, at the rhythm of 4 cm a year.

Ironically, cretinists use this fact as an argument for a young Earth.

Mon, 25 Aug 2008 03:30:00 UTC | #223975

cryptographix's Avatar Comment 23 by cryptographix

Those questions and answers were very fun to listen to.

Mon, 25 Aug 2008 03:39:00 UTC | #223978

Cokane's Avatar Comment 24 by Cokane

I am not at all surprised by the high level of general ignorance shown by the callers. Having been educated at a quite famous Northern Irish Catholic school, I can say that I was taught almost nothing about evolution in the 5 years that I studied science, and particularly biology. Having learned a little bit about biology since my time at school I am quite amazed when I think back to what I was taught, and more importantly what I was not taught. My memory isn't perfect but my only real recollection of evolution being mentioned at all, was with an almost disapproving passing comment in my religious education class.

I fully accept that I may just have simply forgotten that it was taught, but I doubt it as it was only 10 years ago. I can't imagine the significance of the idea and its over-arching relevance to much of the how the world developed and continues to develop would have passed me by, even at that age.

It would be interesting to discover, from those who have access to the relevant information, just to what extent evolution is supposed to be taught in the high school curriculum in Northern Ireland. And to what extent Catholic funded schools are bound by this curriculum in what they teach, and do not teach.

Mon, 25 Aug 2008 04:10:00 UTC | #223987

Invisible Talker's Avatar Comment 25 by Invisible Talker

Is it only me, or are most of the callers really unintelligible? They have so strong accents I can't hear what they're saying.

Mon, 25 Aug 2008 05:22:00 UTC | #224003

Tyler Durden's Avatar Comment 26 by Tyler Durden

Comment #236709 by Invisible Talker

Is it only me, or are most of the callers really unintelligible?
It's just you :)

The Northern Irish accent can be tough to understand if you're not used to hearing it. I'm from Dublin and have trouble with it on occasion.

I'm sure some of the lads here from the North can give you a transcript :)

Mon, 25 Aug 2008 05:58:00 UTC | #224008

SharonMcT's Avatar Comment 27 by SharonMcT

Tyler:

PM for you. :)

Mon, 25 Aug 2008 06:35:00 UTC | #224018

rod-the-farmer's Avatar Comment 28 by rod-the-farmer

Re comment #22 by decius


The moon used to be much closer to Earth, and it's still receding, due to tidal friction, at the rhythm of 4 cm a year.

Ironically, cretinists use this fact as an argument for a young Earth.

Interesting. I am not sure I remember seeing the details on how they would use this. Care to explain ? How would you 'prove' to a fundie that the moon was once much closer ? If they accept micro-evolution yet reject macro-evolution, then the mere fact the moon is currently receding would not in their minds prove it had always done so. Conservation of momentum is not always true, apparently.

At 4 cm per year, with a current distance of 385,000 kms, the length of time for it to move appreciably seems to be way outside the 6,000 years. Anyway, I always like revisiting the calculations of the notorious Bishop of Ussher to see how he came to that 6,000 figure. I seem to recall he even pinned the date of creation down to a specific Tuesday evening, in 4004 BC. (Giggle). Combine that with the two different lists of 'begats' in the bible, and the number of years between generations, and IMO the whole things falls apart - not that anyone needs to pay attention to it in any case !

Mon, 25 Aug 2008 06:39:00 UTC | #224020

bamafreethinker's Avatar Comment 29 by bamafreethinker

Were it not for those outrageous accents (think Holy Grail taunting), I would have sworn that this show was taking place in the bible belt USA! Richard does such a good job with this type of format/call-in questions.

Mon, 25 Aug 2008 06:59:00 UTC | #224023

decius's Avatar Comment 30 by decius

<!-- Be sure tags are closed -->Rod,

I don't remember the details, but the argument is debunked here.

I suspect that inmate Hovind needs to worry about his own moon, as we speak.

Mon, 25 Aug 2008 07:10:00 UTC | #224025