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Go to: Richard Dawkins & Lawrence Krauss Tribute to Christopher Hitchens - 2012 Global Atheist Convention

UncleJJ2's Avatar Jump to comment 5 by UncleJJ2

Wonderful eulogies from Richard and Lawrence. Thanks to both of you for the kind words about a man I so much admired. It brings back treasured memories.

The video tribute has some of the best of the 100s of hours of video we have of him on Youtube, thank goodness that is preserved for posterity. He was so eloquent I can listen to him for hours, and will do.

Sun, 27 May 2012 09:56:30 UTC | #943800

Go to: Q&A: Pell vs Dawkins - April 9, Easter Monday night

UncleJJ2's Avatar Jump to comment 105 by UncleJJ2

@ z8000783 I understand that the program is called Q&A and that the basic idea is to ask politicians and other guests a series of topical questions. We have a similar BBC program called Question Time which has been running for many years.

However the format of this particular Q&A was different from the usual one which has 5 panelists from the various political parties and other guests answering the topical questions in front of an audience picked for a balance of political views. Richard appeared on the normal format Q&A a few years ago and was quite successful. This version dealt with more difficult and intractable questions rather than topical ones and was entirely confrontational bewteen the two participants rather than spread across a spectrum of views across a panel. I guess the format was adapted to take account of Richard's meeting with the Archbishop of Cantebury a few months ago, in which case it failed.

Given that, I think the chairman did a terrible job. He (and presumably the program producers) tried to ask far too many questions in such a short time. Too many questions meant they could not be answered properly, the short answer to religious questions are often meaningless and useless or worse misleading. This put Richard at a severe disadvantage when facing an obscuratist know-nothing like the cardinal backed by a rigged audience with far too many catholic sympathisers.

These sort of questions need to be answered properly and often a considerable amount of groundwork needs to laid before the answer makes sense when explaining a position that a large part of the audience is unfamiliar with. This is unlike the topical questions on the normal Q&A where most people know both sides of the argument even if they only agree with one side. Richard could have blown the cardinal out of the water when he made the snide remarks and shut up tittering religious members of the audience if he had been allowed to explain his position clearly rather than being hurried on to answer yet another unrelated question.

Basically, there was far too much emphasis on asking questions to some artificial schedule rather than answering them in an intelligible way.

I think in future Richard should have a greater input on the format of a special program like this one (not if he appears on the normal Q&A). The chairman should have a lot less prominent role and there should be fewer questions and a lot more questioning, clarification of position and even discussion and agreement on points between him and other participant. That would be a lot more enlightening for the audience and viewers.

Unfortunately this was a wasted opportunity, but hopefully we can learn from the experience.

Wed, 11 Apr 2012 10:10:41 UTC | #933852

Go to: Q&A: Pell vs Dawkins - April 9, Easter Monday night

UncleJJ2's Avatar Jump to comment 64 by UncleJJ2

I've just watched this program and it has a horrible format and was very frustrating. There were far too many questions so none of them could be answered properly and the chairman kept cutting off both speakers to rush to yet another ill formed question that was half answered again. Several times Richard was denied the right to answer ridiculous debating points made by the cardinal that would have made him and his evil church look very mean spirited and stupid.

Given the aggressive and obscurantist manner of the cardinal there was no way the two participants could have had a conversation without a referee, that would have been chaos. That is the nature of a confrontational meeting like this between people with such a wide divergence of views. This was quite unlike Richards discussion with Rowan Williams and was always going to be.

Overall, the program would have been twice as good if it had half as many questions and gave both men enough time to establish what they really believed and answer each others points fully. The interest was in the interaction bewteen the two men. Richard would have crucified the cardinal and exposed his loony worldview given enough time but was hurried from pillar to post. I'm disappointed, but of course Richard did very well in difficult circumstances especially given his jet lag.

Finally, I can see why our Australian board members think Pell is a thoroughly unpleasant character but then that seems to be the way with all RC cardinals, we have some like that over here too.

Mon, 09 Apr 2012 15:36:37 UTC | #933357

Go to: Robert Wright promotes accommodationism, disses Dawkins

UncleJJ2's Avatar Jump to comment 88 by UncleJJ2

Wright has been like this for several years and his irritating attitude reminds me of a small child who can't give up his comforter. He is a smart guy and appreciates the intellectual arguments about god and religions and agrees with them (he's a de-facto atheist whatever he calls himself), but when it comes to acting or criticising the religious he retreats into his emotional enclave and cuddles his teddy bear. It's the classic conflict between head and heart and he's never really grown up emotionally and can't let go.

I've watched several of his more interesting conversations on the Bloggingheads.tv channel over the last few years. One of his best was with Hitch back in 2009 http://bloggingheads.tv/videos/2367

Another notable one was with Laurence Kraus http://bloggingheads.tv/videos/8822 in January

The most recent was with Jonathan Haidt on his new book and that is illuminating on what he means by multi-level selection and politics as a form of religion.

http://bloggingheads.tv/videos/9376

Wright is certainly not all bad but he is irritating and a major obstacle to the further progress of our ideas among the public and in political circles

Sat, 31 Mar 2012 11:19:34 UTC | #931513

Go to: The Sins of the Fathers [Also in Polish]

UncleJJ2's Avatar Jump to comment 124 by UncleJJ2

Comment 112 by Mr Notsure :

[Quote of deleted post removed by moderator]

I think you got the decimal point in the wrong place. Agricultural land is not worth anything like that unless it is likely to be used for building in the near future. Good land used only for agricultural purposes typically sells for between £5,000 and £10,000 depending farm buildings, access to water, roads and various local factors. So unless Richard's family farm is likely to be bought for residential building in the near future £8,800 per acre might be a fair estimate.

Sun, 19 Feb 2012 01:38:01 UTC | #919448

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