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Five minutes with: Richard Dawkins - Comments

NewSkeptic's Avatar Comment 1 by NewSkeptic

First ... and first ever being first. ;-)

Another lovely view of Richard's 'front room/library'.

The stock standard material is covered, albeit succinctly - in five minutes.

Matthew wasn't an 'offensive', or 'attacking', interviewer. It seemed to be quite fair; an opportunity for Richard to offer a digest of some of the main points from one side of the debate.

Fri, 15 May 2009 23:50:00 UTC | #360600

halogenic's Avatar Comment 2 by halogenic

Regarding the "moral" question, I would say that humans are social creatures, we're taught how to behave and empathize with others from an early age, as it is beneficial for our co-existence.

Sat, 16 May 2009 00:12:00 UTC | #360603

Chris Davis's Avatar Comment 3 by Chris Davis

Delighted to hear Richard comparing death to general anaesthetic. I've been using that one myself for decades - ever since I first noticed what a profound suspension of consciousness GA is.

Sat, 16 May 2009 00:34:00 UTC | #360606

Chris Davis's Avatar Comment 4 by Chris Davis

@2. Comment #377517 by dampearth

Yes, but more than just the things we're taught - which fill in the fine detail of what morality is - we have a deep instinctive response to moral issues.

In the same way that some things (like someone spitting in our food) disgust us, other things outrage us (like undeserved cruelty or unfairness).

Both of these are hard-wired survival-enhancing responses. They also make logical sense, but our behaviour is not based on rational appraisal.

I note with admiration that even Darwin theorised an instinctive basis for morality in social animals.

Sat, 16 May 2009 00:40:00 UTC | #360607

AdrianT's Avatar Comment 6 by AdrianT

The interviewer is hellishly sexy.

Sorry, I had to say it ;-) ......

Sat, 16 May 2009 01:30:00 UTC | #360613

Sandra F's Avatar Comment 5 by Sandra F

Mr. Matthew Stadlen is really impressive! Usury is at the heart of the argument of the Christian Right against payday loans. Lawrence Meyers took a study from a Utah religious university on the short term loan industry, and exposed its faulty research, and pointed out that some form of interest or financing charge is good business, but the profit margins on payday lending are actually slim. The kind of profits the industry makes can barely make debt relief, never mind the kind of money you would associate with usury.

Sat, 16 May 2009 01:30:00 UTC | #360612

Enlightenme..'s Avatar Comment 7 by Enlightenme..

5 minutes - they should at least use a stopwatch so that you hear the interviewee for 5 minutes!

When the video finishes you get a 'watch also' thingy come up featuring Lord Robert Winston and Sir Terry Pratchett's 5 minutes.

He had some stuff to say about RD, but at least Lord Winny didn't assault our ears quoting Viktor Frankl this time when addressing the religion question ("only the spiritual could survive Aushwitz" (contra Primo Levi's accounts))

Sat, 16 May 2009 01:40:00 UTC | #360615

gyokusai's Avatar Comment 8 by gyokusai

Must... distribute... ;-)

"general anaesthetic," I like that.


Sat, 16 May 2009 01:41:00 UTC | #360616

cpr.tahli's Avatar Comment 9 by cpr.tahli

Rottweilers are very nice dogs? i must admit i've never heard that one before

my parents, who are both vets, always complain about how nasty they are!

maybe its just because they dont like being examined by vets or that my parents only see dogs owned by ignorant people on benefits

Sat, 16 May 2009 01:44:00 UTC | #360618

Blind Fith's Avatar Comment 10 by Blind Fith

As I said in a previous post, as a behavioural dog trainer, my findings are that Rottweilers are very nice dogs but, as they do not suffer fools gladly, in the wrong hands they can become very difficult!
It is the behaviour of the owners that produce the 'bad' Rottweilers and even the 'very bad' ones can be turned around with the right approach.

Sat, 16 May 2009 02:25:00 UTC | #360629

Jiten's Avatar Comment 12 by Jiten

I think these 5 min videos are a gimmick.

Sat, 16 May 2009 02:40:00 UTC | #360633

fergalbreen's Avatar Comment 11 by fergalbreen

Brilliant. Plus I got to see Richard's living room! Yay :)

Sat, 16 May 2009 02:40:00 UTC | #360632

The Truth, the light's Avatar Comment 13 by The Truth, the light

Good to see Richard defending himself against claim he is strident. Persistent he may be, but certainly never strident.

Sat, 16 May 2009 02:48:00 UTC | #360634

Dark Matter's Avatar Comment 14 by Dark Matter

"My fear of death was to a great degree linked to my religious concepts. Later on, I underwent minor surgery. By mistake I was given too much anesthesia. I felt as if I had disappeared out of reality. Where did the hours go? They flashed in a microsecond.

Suddenly I realized, that is how it is. That one could be transformed from being to not-being -- it was hard to grasp. But for a person with a constant anxiety about death, now liberating. Yet at the same time it seems a bit sad. You say to yourself that it would have been fun to encounter new experiences once your soul had had a little rest and grown accustomed to being separated from your body. But I don't think that is what happens to you. First you are, then you are not. This I find deeply satisfying.

That which had been formerly been so enigmatic and frightening, namely, what might exist beyond this world, does not exist. Everything is of this world. Everything exists and happens inside us, and we flow into and out of one another. It's perfectly fine like that."

Ingmar Bergman

Sat, 16 May 2009 03:19:00 UTC | #360640

decius's Avatar Comment 15 by decius

<!-- -->Apologies for the tangential and less-than-serious topic.

In a sense, pink elephants can be said to exist, and I don't mean just the albinos.

Cameroon's forest pygmy elephants re-emerge from mud baths in all sort of strong hues, due to the presence in their territory of brightly coloured clays - including pink - and they provide a stunning spectacle.

I don't know if this circumstance gave rise to the myth, but it may well be a possibility.

I couldn't find any photos of those, but here are two African elephants, following a bath in vermilion and blue clay.

Edited - added picture and location

Sat, 16 May 2009 03:55:00 UTC | #360645

Wosret's Avatar Comment 16 by Wosret

I'm offended by how many books he has on display there -- because it's more books than I have on display.

Deeply, deeply offended!

Sat, 16 May 2009 04:12:00 UTC | #360653

Sally Luxmoore's Avatar Comment 17 by Sally Luxmoore

I love that room! Light, airy, full of books... sigh.
I am guilty of room envy.

Sat, 16 May 2009 04:45:00 UTC | #360655

NewEnglandBob's Avatar Comment 18 by NewEnglandBob

"I couldn't see the clock"

Ah, the trials of getting older.

Sat, 16 May 2009 04:52:00 UTC | #360658

epeeist's Avatar Comment 19 by epeeist

Comment #377573 by Sally Luxmoore:

I love that room! Light, airy, full of books... sigh.
I recently came across this little application - (like others on the board I am a Linux user).

Would it be interesting to have a book collection application on the site with space for registered users to add to the list and with the ability for recommendations and disapprovals?

I am guilty of room envy.

Hopefully, hopefully we will have our building work done this summer and I will be able to get all of my books out of their boxes. Until then at least I too am suffering from room envy.

Sat, 16 May 2009 05:00:00 UTC | #360662

Sally Luxmoore's Avatar Comment 20 by Sally Luxmoore


That's a fascinating site for a compulsive list - maker like me. Boy, just to think of the time I could happily waste on that!
More practically, should you be unlucky enough to lose everything in a fire / flood etc, this could be the means both to claim on insurance and to re-purchase the whole lot.
The other option though, could be to photograph your bookshelves... (Bit quicker)

Sat, 16 May 2009 05:08:00 UTC | #360666

Gmork's Avatar Comment 21 by Gmork

I guess my Internet connection isn't British enough to allow me to see the whole interview? (It stops after about a minute or so in. No info, no nothing.) At least I got a laugh at the volume slider going all the way to eleven.

"Edit:" OK, so the Lord Winston interview works at least.

Sat, 16 May 2009 05:11:00 UTC | #360669

Matt H.'s Avatar Comment 22 by Matt H.

Good interview.

Sat, 16 May 2009 05:39:00 UTC | #360679

Mark Jones's Avatar Comment 23 by Mark Jones

I can see the Telegraph headline now:

Dawkins denies stridency claims, stridently.

Sat, 16 May 2009 05:39:00 UTC | #360680

epeeist's Avatar Comment 24 by epeeist

Comment #377584 by Sally Luxmoore:

The other option though, could be to photograph your bookshelves... (Bit quicker)
Yep, done that.

Of course it raises the problem of what you do with your catalogue -

Sat, 16 May 2009 05:51:00 UTC | #360685

Sally Luxmoore's Avatar Comment 26 by Sally Luxmoore

Epeeist: Mathworld site -
Whooshing sound as that goes right over my head...
I'm sure it's very interesting, though!

Sat, 16 May 2009 05:53:00 UTC | #360687

Enlightenme..'s Avatar Comment 25 by Enlightenme..

"At least I got a laugh at the volume slider going all the way to eleven"

Yes, I love that too, the once all-too-serious state broadcaster BBC doing a tribute to spinal tap - excellent.

We also have a satellite TV reruns channel called 'Dave'

Sat, 16 May 2009 05:53:00 UTC | #360686

Pidge's Avatar Comment 27 by Pidge

Were those Unicorns in the background, near the window?

Sat, 16 May 2009 06:07:00 UTC | #360690

Stephan's Avatar Comment 28 by Stephan

hm... the greatest and pretty much only interesting thing about this interview (to me) was seeing the room, that's about it... some silly, meaningless questions, and what's the point in conducting a 5-minute interview anyway?

Sat, 16 May 2009 06:19:00 UTC | #360693

Sally Luxmoore's Avatar Comment 29 by Sally Luxmoore


Ah, but this interview was not made for the likes of us, who are already very familiar with Richard's books and lectures. These little interviews are really tasters for those who may not have read the books, as well as exercises in what can be done in a short time, just as a short story can be an exercise in what can be done in a short space.

Sat, 16 May 2009 06:28:00 UTC | #360698

debaser71's Avatar Comment 30 by debaser71

Anytime asked about death, always bring up the fact that being dead is being like before you were born. So so so so simple.

Sat, 16 May 2009 06:51:00 UTC | #360706