This site is not maintained. Click here for the new website of Richard Dawkins.

← Explaining the RDFRS UK/Ipsos MORI poll

Explaining the RDFRS UK/Ipsos MORI poll - Comments

Ignorant Amos's Avatar Comment 1 by Ignorant Amos

Paula speaks as eloquently as she writes....my first thought was "Watch with Mother".

Thu, 16 Feb 2012 19:57:32 UTC | #918535

alaskansee's Avatar Comment 2 by alaskansee

Well done Paula, no slip ups and you didn't let Beattie (radio Scotland, I thought I should listen in Paula's native language) get away with too much.

I'm a bit surprised at how aggressive the interviewer was, perhaps that's a meme we need to vocalise. Accusing some one who is seeking parity and fairness of being aggressive is definitely aggressive!

The next time "we" are accused of being aggressive when asking for the same as the religious I'd like to hear-

"That's very aggressive of you, do you not agree that we should all be treated the same?"

Thu, 16 Feb 2012 19:58:18 UTC | #918536

Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 3 by Steve Zara

Paula does this media business very well indeed. I actually wonder if these sorts of interviews aren't more effective in some ways than the ones Richard has done, because Paula is as yet not widely known (that will change), and so there is less stereotypical reaction to her.

Thu, 16 Feb 2012 20:19:41 UTC | #918541

Richard Dawkins's Avatar Comment 4 by Richard Dawkins

Paula does this media business very well indeed. I actually wonder if these sorts of interviews aren't more effective in some ways than the ones Richard has done, because Paula is as yet not widely known (that will change), and so there is less stereotypical reaction to her.

I think that's a very shrewd point.

Richard

Thu, 16 Feb 2012 20:24:17 UTC | #918543

kev_s's Avatar Comment 5 by kev_s

Re: #1: I suggested to Paula in Copenhagen (year before last?) that she should read children's stories, (Just the right ones of course.)

Thu, 16 Feb 2012 20:30:35 UTC | #918548

Ohtar's Avatar Comment 6 by Ohtar

Well done, Paula. How did you get all these interviews? Did you just ring up all the radio stations and offer them an interview?

Thu, 16 Feb 2012 21:22:13 UTC | #918567

Jumped Up Chimpanzee's Avatar Comment 7 by Jumped Up Chimpanzee

Comment 3 by Steve Zara Paula does this media business very well indeed. I actually wonder if these sorts of interviews aren't more effective in some ways than the ones Richard has done, because Paula is as yet not widely known (that will change), and so there is less stereotypical reaction to her.

Yes, there really need to be other voices and faces presenting the secularist and atheist positions. Brilliant as he is, it's very easy to see how the general public might come to regard Richard as an eccentric loner on this issue when he's almost the only one they ever see or hear.

Thu, 16 Feb 2012 21:44:40 UTC | #918574

rod-the-farmer's Avatar Comment 8 by rod-the-farmer

Comment Removed by Author

Thu, 16 Feb 2012 21:56:46 UTC | #918575

Cartomancer's Avatar Comment 9 by Cartomancer

Paula has far more restraint and civility about her in these interviews than I could ever manage. Very definitely the right choice, in all respects.

Thu, 16 Feb 2012 22:13:09 UTC | #918581

jardino's Avatar Comment 10 by jardino

Comment 2 by alaskansee

Well done Paula, no slip ups and you didn't let Beattie (radio Scotland, I thought I should listen in Paula's native language) get away with too much.

I agree totally. However, Paula was granted just about 5 minutes in a programme lasting over an hour. Most of the rest, I think, was taken up with discussions about a bankrupt football club. (I didn't listen live, but skimmed back and forth with iPlayer.)

Not untypical around here. "The Herald" has devoted about 4 pages in each of the last four issues to the same football story while Warsi is trying to get us into the Holy Sack.

We have a way to go ...

Thu, 16 Feb 2012 22:24:00 UTC | #918586

AtheistEgbert's Avatar Comment 11 by AtheistEgbert

The problem I think is that we're not explaining why it is wrong--i.e., undemocratic, illiberal or against equality--to give special privileges to religion or any democratic majority. At least 75% of UK Christians do seem to value equality over the tyranny of their particular religion, which is a huge relief for the rest of us.

But it doesn't matter if it's 54% majority Christian, or 72% majority Christian, special privileges to any majority or any minority is undemocratic and illiberal.

Thu, 16 Feb 2012 22:34:18 UTC | #918590

Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 12 by Steve Zara

Comment 7 by Jumped Up Chimpanzee

Yes, there really need to be other voices and faces presenting the secularist and atheist positions. Brilliant as he is, it's very easy to see how the general public might come to regard Richard as an eccentric loner on this issue when he's almost the only one they ever see or hear.

I get the impression that the British generally consider scientists to be eccentric loners anyway!

Thu, 16 Feb 2012 22:40:40 UTC | #918594

Jumped Up Chimpanzee's Avatar Comment 13 by Jumped Up Chimpanzee

Comment 12 by Steve Zara

I get the impression that the British generally consider scientists to be eccentric loners anyway!

It is a stereotypical view, although I didn't mean to imply that it was because Richard's a scientist that some people may think him eccentric, rather it's because he so often seems to be the only one wheeled out as "The Atheist Richard Dawkins". Hopefully that is changing now with the likes of Paula Kirby and Andrew Copson making such an impressive contribution in the media.

Thu, 16 Feb 2012 23:04:52 UTC | #918597

aroundtown's Avatar Comment 14 by aroundtown

Religion has been around so long and gotten a free pass so often that some don't even see or calculate that damage that has occurred by it's hand. Paula gave a well reasoned and relaxed view of the issue and I hope it will plant seeds of speculation and self-examination in the minds of people as to what they really do believe and give them the courage to openly express the doubts that many have when it comes to religion.

Fri, 17 Feb 2012 00:50:03 UTC | #918623

Metamag's Avatar Comment 15 by Metamag

Comment 3 by Steve Zara :

Paula does this media business very well indeed. I actually wonder if these sorts of interviews aren't more effective in some ways than the ones Richard has done, because Paula is as yet not widely known (that will change), and so there is less stereotypical reaction to her.

I completely agree and said as much many times before. Consider this blog post from Jerry Coyne

By being so frequent in media appearances Richard Dawkins is simple focusing all of inanity and fakery on himself with the explicit purpose of equating atheism with him. At this point attacking RD is a learned response, and repetition works well with general populace.

If you would have many sensible people in media like Paula Kirby, their focus would be more diffused and less prone to lying and strawmanning by default.

Fri, 17 Feb 2012 02:57:48 UTC | #918639

Martin_C's Avatar Comment 16 by Martin_C

I just don't get it! If you don't believe that Jesus CHRIST was literally the son of god, then you are not a CHRISTian! Is it not that simple? I don't see why you should be able to call yourself a christian otherwise. It's like going about calling yourself a republican when you vote liberal, it makes no sense, is very confusing and dishonest.

From now on I am referring to apples as bananas to make my point. There is a reason that words have definitions!

Fri, 17 Feb 2012 03:18:23 UTC | #918640

Martin_C's Avatar Comment 17 by Martin_C

Comment Removed by Author

Fri, 17 Feb 2012 03:31:43 UTC | #918642

Quine's Avatar Comment 18 by Quine

Well done, Paula! (glad to hear you got the sex position analogy in)

We could really use this kind of analysis in the U.S.. This is exactly what we are fighting, right now, in the case of the Catholics turning out NOT to support the positions on contraception that their bishops claim they do. It would be great to have reliable data to support the position (if true, and I suspect it is) that most people who are considered to be religious feel that religion should keep out of politics, no matter how often they do or don't go to church.

Fri, 17 Feb 2012 05:42:31 UTC | #918648

chris 116's Avatar Comment 19 by chris 116

I listened to the Radio Scotland interview, which began "Why are you so aggressive?" And then the interviewer spoke over her answer. He was the only one who came across as aggressive.

Well done Paula: unflappable under fire.

Chris

Fri, 17 Feb 2012 07:37:27 UTC | #918657

Sharpur's Avatar Comment 20 by Sharpur

Comment 16 by Martin_C :

I just don't get it! If you don't believe that Jesus CHRIST was literally the son of god, then you are not a CHRISTian! Is it not that simple? I don't see why you should be able to call yourself a christian otherwise. I

Yes, you would think that there was some minimum standard of qualification. I mean:

"Asked why they had been recorded as Christian in the 2011 Census, only three in ten (31%) said it was because they genuinely try to follow the Christian religion, with four in ten (41%) saying it was because they try to be a good person and associate that with Christianity."[my emphasis]

I always knew that the average member of the public was pretty intellectually lazy, but this worries me. Lots of folk on this site are saying that the survey pulls the rug out from under the oft-repeated claim that 70+% of the population is Christian. However, while Paula and Prof. Dawkins are busy emphasizing that we atheists aren't trying to tell anyone that they're 'not proper Christians'. We have - potentially - a situation where it will be claimed that anyone who 'tries to be a good person' counts as Christian!

There's already far too much vague blather about ill-defined 'Christian values'. I foresee the theists trying to flip the old argument that 'you can't have morals without religion' into 'if you have morals you must be religious'. And not just religious but Christian!

They'll be patting us on the head and saying: "There there you silly atheist. You kid yourself you don't believe in god, but growing up and living in our Christian country, with it's Christian traditions and Christian values has made you one of us all the same. You don't go about being immoral and horrible do you? Well then, you're a Christian, even if you don't think you are!"

It'll be like The Stepford Wives!

Fri, 17 Feb 2012 08:01:22 UTC | #918661

Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 21 by Steve Zara

Comment 20 by Sharpur

I always knew that the average member of the public was pretty intellectually lazy, but this worries me.

I have a far more optimistic view of things. I believe that the average member of the public is happy to think for themselves and throw off the prejudices that used to be present in their culture.

Fri, 17 Feb 2012 08:38:05 UTC | #918671

Tony d's Avatar Comment 22 by Tony d

How come the BBC interviewers found the questions in the MORI poll so aggressive? Perhaps the first question in the survey was,"Who you looking at ?" I think Paula is a very good spokesperson.

Fri, 17 Feb 2012 09:06:51 UTC | #918675

CdnMacAtheist's Avatar Comment 23 by CdnMacAtheist

Paula has a very good presence, and is a welcome addition to the growing chorus of the Voices of Reason. Great work by all at RDFRS, with the ripples from these 'revelations' just starting to spread..... It will be interesting to see what the UK Census results are with its rather less clear questions.

Fri, 17 Feb 2012 09:51:30 UTC | #918683

rationalmind's Avatar Comment 24 by rationalmind

Comment 16 by Martin_C :

I just don't get it! If you don't believe that Jesus CHRIST was literally the son of god, then you are not a CHRISTian! Is it not that simple? I don't see why you should be able to call yourself a christian otherwise. It's like going about calling yourself a republican when you vote liberal, it makes no sense, is very confusing and dishonest.

From now on I am referring to apples as bananas to make my point. There is a reason that words have definitions!

Absolutely! There is the Credo which starts as follows:-

"I believe in one god all powerful father , maker of heaven and earth, all things visible and invisible. And in one lord Jesus Christ only begotten son born of the father."

A significant number of self-identified christians to not believe in god and some don't believe Jesus existed!

(I am not, incidentally, a faithhead. I have NEVER been a believer. I saw through religion at about the age of six.The reason I know the words is I know Latin so I can translate and I am musical. I have sung the words of the mass in a secular setting many times. In fact I have a Mozart mass playing as I type this. )

Paula spoke excellently. She is extremely eloquent and is fortunate to have an excellent speaking voice with a calm and soothing air about it. This was the perfect answer to the interviewer who tried to make her out as aggressive. As someone who has done radio and TV interviews myself. I found the Scottish and Cornish interviewers extraordinarily hostile and "strident". :-)

Fri, 17 Feb 2012 10:04:48 UTC | #918687

jel's Avatar Comment 25 by jel

Very interesting listening to those broadcasts. Apart from the Radio Devon person, all the others seemed to have a preconceived idea of what the research was about and wanted to attack, he was the only one, imo, who actually wanted to engage with Paula and get her perspective on what the research was showing.

It was also interesting that all of the other 3 concentrated on their view that this research was just about telling christians that they weren't christians, or how christians should be. Paula had to pick them up on this each time and show that this research was more about how christians viewed things and wasn't RDF trying to impose anything on them.

All in all, a good series of interviews. I think Paula came across very well and if anyone, after listening to those interviews, wants to try to say that atheists are shrill and strident, then they quite obviously weren't listening.

Fri, 17 Feb 2012 10:13:51 UTC | #918688

alabasterocean's Avatar Comment 26 by alabasterocean

I see why you were so busy Paula - great job!

Fri, 17 Feb 2012 10:47:33 UTC | #918699

Paula Kirby's Avatar Comment 27 by Paula Kirby

Thanks for positive responses, everyone!

Jel: It was also interesting that all of the other 3 concentrated on their view that this research was just about telling christians that they weren't christians, or how christians should be. Paula had to pick them up on this each time and show that this research was more about how christians viewed things and wasn't RDF trying to impose anything on them.

I think this was just a reflection of the way these things are organised. I learned on Tuesday that BBC local radio interviews are co-ordinated centrally: the co-ordinator books a block of time in a studio for the guest, then offers local radio stations around the country the opportunity to book a short slot during that time for an interview. I assume that, as part of that process, the co-ordinator sends out a briefing note containing a summary of why local stations might want to interview the guest, because it was very noticeable that practically all of the interviewers in the 15 interviews I did during that one-and-three-quarter-hour stint used the same lead-in and the same description of the story, and asked very similar kinds of questions, on the whole.

Fri, 17 Feb 2012 11:06:44 UTC | #918705

snail-12's Avatar Comment 28 by snail-12

Good work Paula!

Fri, 17 Feb 2012 12:45:40 UTC | #918762

jel's Avatar Comment 29 by jel

15 interviews in 1 3/4 hrs! Blimey, you were busy.

I did think it strange that all of the interviews started off with the same pre amble, Should have guessed.

Fri, 17 Feb 2012 14:35:42 UTC | #918811

lol mahmood's Avatar Comment 30 by lol mahmood

I do most of my interwebbing on an Android tablet, which diesn't seem to handle the links. Any chance someone could preserve the interviews in downloadable mp3 format, please?

Fri, 17 Feb 2012 14:57:36 UTC | #918825