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Shaw TV Interview with Richard Dawkins - Comments

Rawhard Dickins's Avatar Comment 1 by Rawhard Dickins

Whack darn ID sir!

Sun, 04 May 2008 09:26:00 UTC | #166139

Alfrescoid's Avatar Comment 2 by Alfrescoid

If this man doesn't change the world - we're all screwed (apologies to Penn)

Please, please, please Richard, come to Australia! The idiocy of religion is perhaps not quite so entrenched as in parts of the northern hemisphere (however apologists and faith-heads abound) - we might just start a mini groundswell here...my bones tell me there are many waverers in the antipodes...

Love your work.

Sun, 04 May 2008 09:50:00 UTC | #166145

GBart's Avatar Comment 3 by GBart

Bonobos have language too... sort of.

They at least have some simple spoken language in the wild.

Sun, 04 May 2008 10:15:00 UTC | #166152

JazzGuitar's Avatar Comment 4 by JazzGuitar

You can tell that this interviewer isn't super into RD. Still, given the garden variety ideas she seems to harbor about these questions, you can tell she's trying to be fair, as she sees it.

Sun, 04 May 2008 10:24:00 UTC | #166155

skip's Avatar Comment 5 by skip

I am impressed at how well Mr Dawkins explains his subject matter. It is refreshing to hear him come out strong and loud on issues like homosexuality, politics, childhood education etc.

You are a wonderful compassionate man Mr Dawkins!

Welcome to Canada

Sun, 04 May 2008 10:47:00 UTC | #166161

gd_edi's Avatar Comment 6 by gd_edi

Humans are the only animals we positively know have subjective consciousness? I would have thought that one's own self is the only entity we 'know' to have subjective consciousness, with all others being automata of various degrees of complexity.

Sun, 04 May 2008 11:24:00 UTC | #166165

TearsInTheRain's Avatar Comment 7 by TearsInTheRain

Hmmm, was it me or was the interviewer a bit . . . sedate?

I have yet to see an interviewer attempt to go right for RD's jugular: why base our life on evidence? Why is the scientific approach better than a faith approach? Are somethings just not a question of science? Almost all of RD's answers and defences can be boiled down to 'Where's the evidence?' - but why evidence? Why facts? Are not somethings just outside an evidence based approach? Is the belief in the scientific approach, rather than the scientific answers, not just as fundamental as a faith based approach?

Also, when answering the 'Why are there so many believers? ' question, I'd love to hear RD delve into the nature of the human psyche, the way we all need some kind of mode for living, or comfort, or guidance. In the bronze age, the most pragmatic was a religion. In today's age, it's science and rational thought. Some people choose to philosophize, others express art instead of hunting for answers.

Finally, will that later talk mentioned in the video be available too?

Sun, 04 May 2008 11:29:00 UTC | #166166

Carl Sai Baba's Avatar Comment 8 by Carl Sai Baba

I can't get it to play or download either.

Fortunately, someone posted this to YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cxd39SzIi5Y

Sun, 04 May 2008 11:33:00 UTC | #166168

phasmagigas's Avatar Comment 10 by phasmagigas

'local nonsense' i like that!!

Sun, 04 May 2008 12:07:00 UTC | #166176

Wosret's Avatar Comment 9 by Wosret

8. Comment #175102 by gd_edi


Humans are the only animals we positively know have subjective consciousness? I would have thought that one's own self is the only entity we 'know' to have subjective consciousness, with all others being automata of various degrees of complexity.


I thought the exact same thing. Beyond someone telling me they have subjective consciousness I have no more reason to believe they do than my cat does. Someone telling me something is true hardly is enough to say that it is positively true.

Though I'm sure it was a slip of the tongue, and he would admit the mistake instantly if challenged.

Sun, 04 May 2008 12:07:00 UTC | #166175

Cristian's Avatar Comment 11 by Cristian

It's amazing to me how people still find Pascal's Wager worth even bringing up. She started the show with it, but she did a fairly good job of asking questions. A good interview.

Sun, 04 May 2008 12:09:00 UTC | #166177

The Soilworker's Avatar Comment 12 by The Soilworker

Pretty run-of-the-mill interview. The sound of trucks backing up in the background is rather obnoxious though...

Sun, 04 May 2008 12:14:00 UTC | #166178

Peacebeuponme's Avatar Comment 13 by Peacebeuponme

Mitchell

I thought the exact same thing. Beyond someone telling me they have subjective consciousness I have no more reason to believe they do than my cat does. Someone telling me something is true hardly is enough to say that it is positively true.
Well of course, philosophically, I suspect you can't even prove you have subjective consciousness (MPhil can sort my thinking out here). However, the fact that you seem to experience it, coupled with the fact that you are human, suggests that other humans experience it too.

Of course, you could just be a lone consciousness running a simulation of everything you experience. But if that is the case, there is no point even talking about "humans", "cats" or "tables". In fact, there would be no point investigating the world at all.

Sun, 04 May 2008 12:24:00 UTC | #166182

Skepsis's Avatar Comment 14 by Skepsis

Thanks RWA!
Here is a video playlist with all parts
Click on "Play all videos"

Sun, 04 May 2008 12:31:00 UTC | #166184

Cartomancer's Avatar Comment 15 by Cartomancer

Humans are the only animals we positively know have subjective consciousness? I would have thought that one's own self is the only entity we 'know' to have subjective consciousness
That is a rather pedantic thing to say, especially given that Richard is clearly talking as a scientist here (i.e. the evidence for the existence of subjective consciousness in humans is overwhelming, in other animals less so) rather than as an abstract epistemologist (i.e. absolute knowledge of subjective phenomena in others is impossible). To take that as a serious argument against the existence of extra-personal human consciousness in the real world is much akin to the "well you can't disprove the existence of god" line we usually get.

Though if you want to be even more pedantic still I might point out that the language used is sufficiently imprecise to admit either meaning. Take the following syllogism: I am human. I know I am conscious. I do not know of any other being which is conscious. Therefore the category of humans is the only category I know to contain conscious beings. That could quite easily be contained in the phrase "Humans are the only animals we positively know have subjective consciousness".

I shall resume underlining all the split infinitives in the newspaper now...

Sun, 04 May 2008 12:34:00 UTC | #166185

Peacebeuponme's Avatar Comment 16 by Peacebeuponme

Cartomancer - thanks for saying, with your usual eloquence, what I was trying to.

Sun, 04 May 2008 12:43:00 UTC | #166186

phasmagigas's Avatar Comment 17 by phasmagigas

Of course, you could just be a lone consciousness running a simulation of everything you experience. But if that is the case, there is no point even talking about "humans", "cats" or "tables". In fact, there would be no point investigating the world at all.


thats pretty standard fare im sure, in fact some people probably figure thats the case, do crazy shit and then carry on their 'simulation' of a prison cell for a long, long time. real or not, i prefer my simulation to be a little more varied, preferably outside in the sun.

Sun, 04 May 2008 12:50:00 UTC | #166187

Peacebeuponme's Avatar Comment 18 by Peacebeuponme

phasmagigas

thats pretty standard fare im sure, in fact some people probably figure thats the case, do crazy shit and then carry on their 'simulation' of a prison cell for a long, long time.
Yep. And it would dawn on those people, while they were sat in the cell, that it would be fairly illogical to be a lone consciousness which had chosen to experience extended periods of distress. The reality of the situation would become apparent.

Sun, 04 May 2008 13:03:00 UTC | #166190

Chris Jackson's Avatar Comment 19 by Chris Jackson

Seems like a really good interview, lots of interesting background on RD. My only problem, at the moment, is the way the interviewer feels compelled to use sound-bites and too-short phrases during her questions. A minor, niggling fault, but it just spoils it for me. Otherwise, nice answers, good flow and an enjoyable, friendly (for once) interview.

Sun, 04 May 2008 13:05:00 UTC | #166193

the great teapot's Avatar Comment 20 by the great teapot

Did she say " The wonderful story of the ark". Would that be the cracking yarn where god wipes out nearly all of earths inhabitants, even those pate de foie gras geese who have no self consciousness.
Even stalin and hitler left more than one family alive (ed, although this probably had more to do with time constraints) and at least hitler liked his dog.

Sun, 04 May 2008 13:19:00 UTC | #166196

SteveO's Avatar Comment 21 by SteveO

It is enjoyable to hear some background and more casual discussion of tangents without hostility bringing it back to banging out the same old points.

The interviewer is daft though - she reminds me of how I must sound trying to be coherent when I'm woken up by a phone call.

Sun, 04 May 2008 13:19:00 UTC | #166197

liddlefeesh's Avatar Comment 22 by liddlefeesh

Excellent interview by Richard Dawkins as usual.

Sun, 04 May 2008 13:24:00 UTC | #166198

HourglassMemory's Avatar Comment 23 by HourglassMemory

There were 2 or 3 questions that were new.
I didn't have a problem with the lady interviewing him. Sure she was sort of random, but who cares? She asked questions.

And where was Dawkins going to after the interview? I think he was going to give a talk.
She talked about it in the last seconds...

Sun, 04 May 2008 13:38:00 UTC | #166199

SteveO's Avatar Comment 24 by SteveO

She was nice enough, it was just a little funny some of the random and ill-informed questions she came up with.

He was speaking at the University of British Columbia that day. Hopefully someone has a video of it.

Sun, 04 May 2008 13:55:00 UTC | #166201

Chris Jackson's Avatar Comment 25 by Chris Jackson

The interviewer was alright, but I just didn't enjoy the way she posed questions using so few words; sure, they were good, interesting questions, but her delivery made them seem quite cold. Put simply, she was a bit too terse in her questions, probably in order to extract a good sound-bite for the interview.

Having said that, from about 1/2 way through part 3 she began to warm up.

Sun, 04 May 2008 13:57:00 UTC | #166203

StephenH's Avatar Comment 26 by StephenH

Good interview.

Clarity Answers

The Interviewer facial expressions were interesting at times. Maybe it was just intense concentration

Sun, 04 May 2008 14:51:00 UTC | #166211

mejdrich's Avatar Comment 27 by mejdrich

"No, no, I've never had a letter from a Muslim. I don't think they read my books. No, I meant christian fundamentalists ... actually, I don't they read them either."

LOLOL

Sun, 04 May 2008 14:55:00 UTC | #166212

Cartomancer's Avatar Comment 28 by Cartomancer

Actually, I am a little disheartened at the way the interviewer dealt with the homosexuality issue. I get the feeling she is not homophobic herself, but she did present the position of religious homophobes without the antipathy it deserves from a public figure in the media spotlight. I almost got the impression she respected it as a viable moral position to take - even that's going too far for someone in her position.

Richard, as ever, made no such compromises. He sure is an unlikely public champion of gay rights, but a welcome one nevertheless. In fact I think he brings something very special and important to the cause - the link with rationality, sensible ethics and scientific understanding. I warmly approve.

Sun, 04 May 2008 14:56:00 UTC | #166213

BryanEvans's Avatar Comment 29 by BryanEvans

TearsInTheRain

Evidence is all about getting at the truth. It really isn't overated. I suggest you read The God Delusion.

Sun, 04 May 2008 15:30:00 UTC | #166216

pulsar1z's Avatar Comment 30 by pulsar1z

I Like the retort that people who believe that the Earth is only 6,000 years old are not very intellectual at all.

Sun, 04 May 2008 15:44:00 UTC | #166220