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Richard Dawkins on The Big Questions - Comments

Storeo's Avatar Comment 1 by Storeo

Richard I have to say I admire your patience in dealing with this, how shall I say, 'interesting' audience.

Tue, 08 Apr 2008 09:45:00 UTC | #149014

Silent.Bomber's Avatar Comment 2 by Silent.Bomber

I admire Richard's tenacity in the teeth of such an overwhelming mob of fools.

Tue, 08 Apr 2008 09:54:00 UTC | #149021

Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 3 by Steve Zara

The special guest will be the renowned atheist, scientist and writer, Professor Richard Dawkins.

I know what they are trying to say, but the term "renowned atheist" seems a bit odd to me. It implies a special skill at being atheist.

Tue, 08 Apr 2008 09:58:00 UTC | #149025

Stephen Maxwell's Avatar Comment 4 by Stephen Maxwell

During the programme, Richard used the best adjective to describe our feelings about some of the nonsense that the audience were spewing. Astonished.

I'm really in disbelief regarding a lot of the comments, particularly the African American Evangelical lady, and the Christian Choice Mayor of London Candidate. I can't believe he accused Richard Dawkins of arrogance, then said "of course the Devil exists."

What better example of delusion.

Tue, 08 Apr 2008 09:59:00 UTC | #149026

friendly-atheist's Avatar Comment 5 by friendly-atheist

betty king and that man running for mayor of london both made me cringe.

Tue, 08 Apr 2008 10:03:00 UTC | #149030

sceptic_ka's Avatar Comment 6 by sceptic_ka

Can immigrants make Britain more moral?
This is definitely a loaded question, they seem to imply that Britain is not moral enough.

Tue, 08 Apr 2008 10:10:00 UTC | #149033

robotaholic's Avatar Comment 7 by robotaholic

I have so much respect for Richard Dawkins. I don't like him having to sit over by himself either-but I wouldn't want to sit with those people-

Tue, 08 Apr 2008 10:18:00 UTC | #149038

Spiral's Avatar Comment 8 by Spiral

"Some people reckon he's the devil..."

I love prof. Dawkins smile on that one!
I'm sure some were scared to death, staring right into the eyes of the devil!

Tue, 08 Apr 2008 10:19:00 UTC | #149039

Sargeist's Avatar Comment 9 by Sargeist

I know it would probably backfire, but part of me really wants Richard to say: "Yeah, you know what, I *am* the devil!", wait for people to laugh, and then say "well, you can't prove I'm not, and I say I am, so I must be"

Tue, 08 Apr 2008 10:23:00 UTC | #149045

Dundee Atheist's Avatar Comment 10 by Dundee Atheist

Big Questions? Big Bairn's Questions more like.

Tue, 08 Apr 2008 10:24:00 UTC | #149046

Vadjong's Avatar Comment 11 by Vadjong

Luckily I have a mental blockade against debate programs, so I don't have to waste time sitting through this.
The furious talking, the clapping, everybody wanting to react at the same time, the inevitable inanity; the level of energy just grates my nerves, even before I find out who's right or wrong or whether I care about it at all.
I'll await your comments to get the gist of it in my own sweet time. Thank you in advance.

Tue, 08 Apr 2008 10:28:00 UTC | #149047

TheSwede's Avatar Comment 12 by TheSwede

Well, "Satan" meaning advarsary or opponent (I believe) would make RD the Devil, wouldn't it?

Tue, 08 Apr 2008 10:34:00 UTC | #149052

designsoda's Avatar Comment 13 by designsoda

I've never seen this line of argument of "We're discussing issues in a vacuum" to defend death threats against writers. Bizarre.

Tue, 08 Apr 2008 10:36:00 UTC | #149053

Sargeist's Avatar Comment 14 by Sargeist

Ah, trust TheSwede to make me think seriously about what I said! :)

I'm watching part 3 now... biggest problem so far: Nicky Campbell says "Surely all our views are valid, aren't they?"

What a load of shite.

Thank goodness for Richard's: "No". The greatest blunt No since Nick Clegg's.

Tue, 08 Apr 2008 10:37:00 UTC | #149054

Sargeist's Avatar Comment 15 by Sargeist

Hmm, part 4 now...

I can think of one person who needs to be discussing things in a vacuum... it would make the program a bit less shrill and annoying. grrr.

Tue, 08 Apr 2008 10:42:00 UTC | #149061

designsoda's Avatar Comment 16 by designsoda

I guess the whole "in a vacuum" idea is a convoluted way of saying "it's not that simple" in order to dodge a straightforward point.

Tue, 08 Apr 2008 10:53:00 UTC | #149066

10wattmindtrip's Avatar Comment 18 by 10wattmindtrip

The state that those peoples minds are in deeply saddens me.

Tue, 08 Apr 2008 11:06:00 UTC | #149080

LaTomate's Avatar Comment 17 by LaTomate

At least we know these people exist in this country now.

I wonder how they "selected" the audience. I raise my hat to Richard... I would have blown my top :)

Tue, 08 Apr 2008 11:06:00 UTC | #149079

radiohead's Avatar Comment 19 by radiohead

Its possible that's the audience was "carefully" chosen but this is an astonishing example of the plunge into moral relativism and political correct dishonesty that seems to pass for intelligent discussion in Britain. Everyone bar Dawkins it seems fails to see the elephant in the room which is Islam. A recent poll shows four out of 10 Muslims want to see sharia law imposed in Britain. I also remember another recent poll showing quite high support for suicide bombing among British Muslims. It was quite humorous to see most of the commentators mention Poles, Asians and Africans etc without mentioning what is on everyone's mind which is Islam.

The first part of the debate was smokescreen in another way as well, it equated morality with religion. Where was the British Humanist representative? Where was the butcher the baker and the candlesticker maker too? Talking about morality along with bishops, rabbis and Christian evangelicals? For the religious have about as much to offer us in terms of ethical insight with the tradesmen.

Islam in particular have nothing to offer the west. It reminds me of Sam Harris's stern warning that the west is at war with Islam.

(ha i have just seen a rep from the secular society)

Tue, 08 Apr 2008 11:09:00 UTC | #149083

Cartomancer's Avatar Comment 20 by Cartomancer

There's no other explanation for bad things happening than to conjure up big red pointy-eared daemon that's pulling all the strings? What! Did someone who wants to be taken seriously in our society ACTUALLY SAY THAT! I'm quite simply flabbergasted at the casual way in which this man disregards having to think about and analyse complicated historical problems. He actually betrays himself later on when he says something like "it's really very simple" with that approving tone. He actually does believe that a very simple answer which doesn't require any thinking is always the best answer. William of Ockham would be spinning in his grave to know he had such a facile co-religionist as that odious little man.

I need a lie down after that...

Tue, 08 Apr 2008 11:17:00 UTC | #149087

akado's Avatar Comment 21 by akado


I can't believe how mosty of these people acted and got claps by what they said ._.

it really is depressing to me.
I give large kudos to richard!
for having to put up with these same questions everyday and explaining the same thing in a way they can understand and even through all that they still twist your words to try to work against him.

KUDOS RICHARD for all you out up with!

Tue, 08 Apr 2008 11:17:00 UTC | #149088

Stephan's Avatar Comment 22 by Stephan

This is simply incredible and horrifying!
"Of course the devil exists, how can you explain Hitler and the Holocaust"... that's the kind of "reasoning" I would expect from and accept in a 3-year-old child! And here we have almost an entire studio full of adults who have been given (by natural selection, of course ;->) the mighty human brain for NOTHING! The fact alone that we are having a serious tv discussion on issues such as the devil in the 21st century, scares the hell out of me!!!
That outrageously stupid mayor candidate revealed it himself: "It's the only SATISFACTORY answer," he said. When I failed to pass the driver's test the first time, my bad driving certainly was not a SATISFACTORY answer, but well... do I have to say more? If wish thinking really is the guideline for truth today then we have not surpassed the dark ages, and the Enlightenment has never taken place...

Tue, 08 Apr 2008 11:30:00 UTC | #149096

Paula Kirby's Avatar Comment 23 by Paula Kirby

Cartomancer: He actually betrays himself later on when he says something like "it's really very simple" with that approving tone.
At one point, if I remember correctly, he (the "he" who is standing as London Mayor, no less!!!!!) concedes that there ARE other explanations for the Holocaust, but says that the devil is "the most satisfying one".

I have to confess I hadn't realised that my personal satisfaction had that much bearing on reality. Though I'm delighted to hear that it has - it's terribly good news.

Let's all have a vote and see which version of historical "truth" we find most "satisfying", shall we? Now then, where shall we start? How about the Battle of Hastings? Wouldn't it have been so much more satisfying if Harold had won? Yes? No problem! Consider it done.

Now then, I for one would have liked to see women get the vote on equal terms with men right from the very start - that would have been very satisfying indeed. So I'm going to close my eyes and wish very hard ... and voila!

Goodness. I had no idea being a historian was so easy. Or so much fun. Wonder if it works for science too? How about we have a vote to decide whether it would be satisfying if the Big Bang had been caused by an exploding crisp packet? It would save all those poor cosmologists so much time and trouble.

Tue, 08 Apr 2008 11:34:00 UTC | #149102

Eventhorizon's Avatar Comment 24 by Eventhorizon

The producers obviously excelled themselves in choosing the guests this week. It looks like they wheeled out the gold plated nutters to even the score a bit after choosing Richard, Peter Tatchell, Douglas Murray and the Secular Society guy.

Tue, 08 Apr 2008 11:39:00 UTC | #149105

Jiten's Avatar Comment 25 by Jiten

Richard hardly got a word in.Why invite a distinguished guest and then waste him by not using him more?Even that empty-head Miriam spoke more!

"Of course the devil exists, how can you explain Hitler and the Holocaust"... that's the kind of "reasoning" I would expect from and accept in a 3-year-old child!

Actually 3-year-olds cannot reason.3-years-olds are lovely,lively,full of curiosity little humans and there is no reason to denigrate them just to point out the stupidity of adult humans.Just say it straight.Some adult humans are just incredibly stupid.

Tue, 08 Apr 2008 11:46:00 UTC | #149111

Sargeist's Avatar Comment 26 by Sargeist


Great post, but I'm afraid I was slightly distracted while reading it because I wished really hard and am now a billionaire married to Naoko Mori.

The way the world works is such a surprise to me. How could I ever not have noticed before?!

Right, what's next... lime jelly trees and crisp bushes...

Tue, 08 Apr 2008 11:48:00 UTC | #149113

Vaal's Avatar Comment 27 by Vaal

That devil. He is a fantastic scapegoat!

Tue, 08 Apr 2008 11:49:00 UTC | #149116

Oromasdes1978's Avatar Comment 28 by Oromasdes1978

Interesting and sometimes highly infuriating debate but on the whole I enjoyed its lively attitude, especially the freedom to offend but not incite hatred debate.

I do have one question from it all, and its for Professor Dawkins.

Do you think Jesus actually existed as a human being? You mentioned that as a scientist Adam could never have existed and I completely concur with that, but I find it odd that you think Jesus did.

From all my studies into the subject I have not yet found any accurate description or historical account that proves Jesus of Nazareth ever existed as a human being, let alone a messiah.

My conclusions so far are that he is a character derived from the traditions of previous Near Eastern Religions that follows a set pattern of events, namely virgin births, death and resurrection etc. Since most religions were created by word of mouth, passed down throughout the ages I think it is no surprise that Jesus's story is not really in any way different from that of Horus the Egyptian god for example.

The connection with the Zodiac, the position of the sun in the sky, the significance of certain dates like the 25th of December or the Bright Star in the East etc are all also highly important when explaining the story of Jesus or even Horus as it is described in the Bible or the book of the Dead. These stories surfaced centuries before Christianity arrived and it is no coincidence that Jesus is described as he is.

I would be very interested to hear what you have to say on this matter, I have done a bit of research on it but I am always welcome to a new approach

kind regards

Philip Priestley

Tue, 08 Apr 2008 11:55:00 UTC | #149119

bmkern's Avatar Comment 29 by bmkern

I think my IQ may have gone down by watching that... what a miserable excuse for an informed discussion.

As a side note: so much for the British claim of superior reason in the public sector (vs. America)...

Tue, 08 Apr 2008 11:57:00 UTC | #149122

Bertybob's Avatar Comment 30 by Bertybob

I watched this "live" whilst decorating the hallway.

It always makes me cringe. Nicky Campbell does not help, generally a condescending arrogant tw*t.

Did anyone spot how Tom Butler expertly sidestepped the question about Exorcists in each Diocese?

I loved the jeer RD got when he said there was no evidence for God. Obviously the God botherers think there is. I'd love to just see the retort of "If you have any evidence I suggest you publish it as you will be having a jolly to Sweden to pick up your Nobel Prize for Physics".

Tue, 08 Apr 2008 12:01:00 UTC | #149124