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← Richard Dawkins on The Late Late Show, 18.09.09

Richard Dawkins on The Late Late Show, 18.09.09 - Comments

adamd164's Avatar Comment 1 by adamd164

Apologies for the slightly lower sound in part 2 - this was an issue with their stream.

Sat, 19 Sep 2009 21:34:00 UTC | #399040

NewSkeptic's Avatar Comment 2 by NewSkeptic

Certainly a much more adversarial interviewer than usual. :(

I'm not know the history of The Late, Late Show, so I don't know its target audience.

I love Dawkins' answer to "what happens when we die?"

Sat, 19 Sep 2009 21:44:00 UTC | #399043

God fearing Atheist's Avatar Comment 3 by God fearing Atheist

TGSoE, otherwise known in Ireland as "The God Delusion" and a "friendly" priest who likes all RDs work, but does not agree on the Dog question.

Verdict:- Unexpected, but interesting.

Now, will RD get nicked for blasphemy ...

Sat, 19 Sep 2009 21:45:00 UTC | #399044

Enlightenme..'s Avatar Comment 4 by Enlightenme..

Shame on the 'friendly' priest for using up all the time for audience questions. He even tripped himself up trying to get to a 'Hawking used the word God'.

Mr Byrne (I think it was) was a better host and would have cut the priest off a lot sooner.

Sat, 19 Sep 2009 22:05:00 UTC | #399046

Styrer-'s Avatar Comment 5 by Styrer-

I've learned on the forum from the discussion of this topic that there is a sense that this is just light entertainment, and so the show is not to be taken too seriously. But one would be unwise to dismiss this programme's power to either reflect or endorse the opinions of this small nation. It's a show which has resided in public consciousness for donkeys' years, and is treated with a huge amount of respect as an RTE1 staple. Over here there were multiple columns devoted to discussion as to who should be permitted to wear the mantel of former presenters, and as a show which is hugely popular, one cannot ignore its significance.

On the forum it was seriously submitted that it was ok that Richard be presented with an unknown priest from the audience. Was it really ok that the time granted to a priest by Tubridy was really acceptable, when the same time could have been spent on learning more from an Emeritus Professor from Oxford?

This is indicative of Ireland's problem - it grants ridiculous levels of attention and trust still to representatives of its most corrupt, anti-human and frankly failed 'spiritual' body quite while the real experts, its scientists, are expected to kowtow to the church's dictates. One very prominent objection being pumped out by several parties here against a 'Yes' vote to the imminent re-presentation of the Lisbon referendum is that it might facillitate 'abortion' being permitted in Ireland. It is precisely to the ongoing religious sensibilities encouraged by the massive influence of the Catholic Cult that such a protestation is being levelled. There is a huge number of Irish who would say 'No' just because of this. Religion poisons everything? If not everything, it's not for want of its trying.

I think Richard's performance here was superb, offering as he did a friendly, smiley face of atheism to a country which is in dire need of seeing life through his scientific lens, and not through the monocle of a fucking life-destroying 'church'. May he please return to this country, as we need him more than ever.


Sat, 19 Sep 2009 22:07:00 UTC | #399047

firstelder_d's Avatar Comment 6 by firstelder_d

So the priest can understand far enough back to the big bang, and accept it. But because there is currently no explanation for how that started, that proves there is a god? Seriously? Once again god is the default reason, and requires no explain itself.

Gods: The Unnecessary to Explain, Explanation.

Can't remember who said that religion doesn't need to explain things well, just enough to be satisfying.

Sat, 19 Sep 2009 22:13:00 UTC | #399048

adamd164's Avatar Comment 7 by adamd164


I agree with you, I'd be far more cynical than others on here have been as to what this represents about our country. Ireland is undoubtably still suffering the effects of theocracy.

The fact that 98% of primary schools in this country are, in 2009, owned and operated by the Catholic Church, Ltd. is a damning indictment of our inability to escape its clutches and move towards being a truly pluralist state. (I could just as well have mentioned the new Blasphemy legislation).

I think organisations like Atheist Ireland may be important in normalizing the concept of atheism here in the future.

Sat, 19 Sep 2009 22:16:00 UTC | #399049

firstelder_d's Avatar Comment 8 by firstelder_d

Also, does this mark the first time a scientist has been on a late night talk show? I don't watch Leno, Letterman, or Conan very often but I don't think I've seen one on those shows.

Sat, 19 Sep 2009 22:16:00 UTC | #399050

firstelder_d's Avatar Comment 9 by firstelder_d

7. Comment #417192 by adamd164
The fact that 98% of primary schools in this country are, in 2009, owned and operated by the Catholic Church, Ltd

That's pretty disturbing

Sat, 19 Sep 2009 22:22:00 UTC | #399051

andrew.trapp's Avatar Comment 10 by andrew.trapp

Heh heh, as an American we have a different Late Late Show here, and (because all us Americans think we're the center of the universe) that's what I thought Dawkins was appearing on before watching the video. I wish Dawkins would do more American TV appearances, we really need to get the Good Word of Atheism out.

Personally, I didn't think it was _too_ confrontational. I agree it might have been nice to give some audience airtime to non-clergy, though as a non-Irish I can't tell whether having the priest on was a case of kow-towing to religion, or simply having a questioner with a (presumably) diametrically opposite point of view.

One problem I have with these pop-TV appearances in general though is that, IMHO, not enough time is given for Dawkins (or atheists in general) to really explain their position in depth. For instance with respect to the priest, I would have noted that although there are questions that science can not answer _now_, that doesn't mean that such answers are forever beyond human purview. Whereas religion looks at an unknown and answers with, "god did it, end of story," science endeavors to find real, testable explanations. Science does not give up at the sight of an unknown answer, but strives to make it known.

And for that matter, science does have a pretty good explanation of "why there's something instead of nothing." Inflationary theory, superstring theory, and (if we can get there) quantum gravity theories offer plausible, logical, and probably testable explanations of how our universe came to be without relying on gods or other supernatural hand-waving.

Sat, 19 Sep 2009 22:34:00 UTC | #399052

Vichama's Avatar Comment 11 by Vichama

Is it just me or did this seem like an attempted ambush? I also think the host's comment "I'm also asking questions that are interesting [6:09]" was quite rude. He didn't seem prepared to ask many questions about Dawkin's new book.

Sat, 19 Sep 2009 22:34:00 UTC | #399053

andrew.trapp's Avatar Comment 12 by andrew.trapp

@firstelder_d: No, scientists have been on before. Neil deGrasse Tyson frequently makes the circuits (I think he holds the title for Stephen Colbert's most frequent guest), and back in the day, Carl Sagan also did some shows, including several appearances with Johnny Carson. I also see Michio Kaku from time to time, and several small-name scientists when they come out with some provocative new book.

Sat, 19 Sep 2009 22:38:00 UTC | #399054

Styrer-'s Avatar Comment 13 by Styrer-

Comment #417192 by adamd164 on September 19, 2009 at 11:16 pm


I agree with you, I'd be far more cynical than others on here have been as to what this represents about our country. Ireland is undoubtably still suffering the effects of theocracy.

The fact that 98% of primary schools in this country are, in 2009, owned and operated by the Catholic Church, Ltd. is a damning indictment of our inability to escape its clutches and move towards being a truly pluralist state. (I could just as well have mentioned the new Blasphemy legislation).

I think organisations like Atheist Ireland may be important in normalizing the concept of atheism here in the future.

Extremely well said, sir.

I think it is unfortunate that Richard does not seem to realise quite what a religious country this is. He is absolutely right to make mention of the statistics he does about the US and to be trying to make a change there. But Ireland sits right on his doorstep and the level of ignorance about evolution and the concomitant belief in god are palpable, even at the higher circles of intellectual respectability where we would expect them to be less than noticeable. I would applaud Richard even more if he would spend more time visiting this benighted nation, quite while supporting in vocal manner organisations such as Atheist Ireland, which have all their incredibly difficult work ahead of them.


Sat, 19 Sep 2009 22:51:00 UTC | #399055

DeusExNihilum's Avatar Comment 14 by DeusExNihilum

Vichama : Is it just me or did this seem like an attempted ambush?

Yeah I got the same impression, i half expected PZ myers to burst in at any moment screaming "GET OUT RICHARD! ITS A TRAP!"

Sat, 19 Sep 2009 22:56:00 UTC | #399056

Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 15 by Steve Zara

I thought this was a reasonable interview, generally, even if it did wander away from the subject of the new book. It wasn't that confrontational, and Richard provided some great and witty answers.

Something I notice Richard is often asked with regard to evolution is "what about the future?". There is an entertaining series of programmes associated with an educational website - "The Future is Wild". It shows the kind of things that could happen in terms of live on Earth in 5, 100 and 200 million years, assuming people aren't around. It includes a mass extinction. Of course, this isn't what will happen, but it illustrates the kind of dramatic changes than can happen over millions of years:

Sat, 19 Sep 2009 22:58:00 UTC | #399057

MelM's Avatar Comment 17 by MelM

I'd like to see Richard appear on the new U.S. 10pm NBC Jay Leno show. According to Richard's schedule, he'll be in Burbank California on Oct 2; Burbank is where the Jay Leno show studios are located. There's also the 12:30pm CBS Late Late show with Craig Ferguson--from Los Angeles. Of course, an appearance "for the hour" on the Charlie Rose show would be a very big deal so far as knowledgeable viewers are concerned.

BTW, I think Richard has improved his interview abilities.

Sat, 19 Sep 2009 23:18:00 UTC | #399060

SaintStephen's Avatar Comment 16 by SaintStephen

(Off Topic. Apologies in advance.)

The Golf Delusion

The phone rang. It was Richard.

“SaintStephen… With regard to your incessant emails regarding John Miller…”

“That’s Johnny Miller, Professor Dawkins.”

“Oh. Yes, quite right. Nevertheless, as I attempted to explain to you in my half-dozen or so replies -- to date, I don’t debate with Mormon Theists. It’s a pointless exercise, truth be told. I mean, an angel named Moroni, magic undergarments, the whole thing seems…”

“Uh…terribly sorry to interrupt you, Professor Dawkins, but Johnny Miller is actually a golf pro. He’s not a real Mormon Theist in the sense of, say, Senator Orrin Hatch. Okay. I suppose I can’t really say what his actual beliefs are, but I do know that he won the 1973 U.S. Open AND the 1976 British Open, and is currently a golf analyst for the American NBC television network.”

“Oh jolly good. Well then could you please just tell me, in plainspoken English, what a man like this wants from me? Lalla is taking me to an art show this evening and I simply don’t have the time to…”

“Johnny wants to give you a golf lesson, Professor Dawkins.”

“Golf? Well I don’t see for a Manchester minute what golf has to do with Mormonism. Now if you’ll kindly excuse me…”

“Sir, with immense respect, I don’t think Johnny will be preaching to you. He’s consistently been rated by Golf Digest Magazine as one of the top instructors in the world. He’s in London this week on business, and I honestly believe he just wants to give you a golf lesson. He told me to tell you that he’ll make a believer out of you!”

*Shuffling papers.* “I did used to be something of a cyclist in my earlier days…”

“Come on, Professor. I’ll go with you for moral support, no pun intended of course.”

“Very well. But just for an hour, because as I mentioned, my lovely wife Lalla…”

“One hour, Sir. No more. Just sixty short minutes. Three thousand, six hundred seconds and not one second more.”

At my suggestion, Dawkins showed up to the driving range dressed nattily in scarlet knickers, a pair of brand spanking new Nike golf cleats, a white touring cap, and a sweater embroidered with transitional fossils. Miller was already hitting shots from an oversized bucket, the balls literally buzzing like bees as they were launched into the brisk afternoon air with soaring, parabolic trajectories. He turned to meet us both with a warm smile.

“Professor Dawkins, I’ve been wanting to get you in my church for a long time. Stephen, long time no see. I think our last meeting was when I was sitting on the trunk of my car in the parking lot at the AT&T in 1994, or thereabouts. I gave you my autograph, remember? You seemed a little out of it…”

*Dawkins interrupts.*

“The pleasure is mine, Mr. Miller. Please call me Richard. And quite an impressive church it is you have here, with all these beautiful Eucalyptus trees, myrtoideae, by the way, in the myrtaceae family.”

“Aren’t they great? Sometimes I think the Good Lord created them just to block my view of the greens -- given the way I’ve been driving it lately. Did you guys get a chance to putt on the practice green before you came out? Wow. The California bentgrass does really well over here across the pond. We cultivate it on my home course at Silverado in the Napa Valley North of San Franci…”

“Yes, Agrostis densiflora is a perfect example of Darwinian Evolution by Natural Selection. It’s quite similar, in fact, to the kinds of results that can be obtained in the breeding of dogs, or pigeons.”

*Uncomfortably long silence ensues.*

“The Zoysiagrass bordering the fairways is also doing really…”

“Zoysiagrasses, actually, because I’ve seen at least three different species thus far, including Zoysia japonica, sometimes called “Japanese lawn grass”, and Zoysia matrella. The derived Latin name Zoysia commemorates an 18th century Austrian botanist, Karl von Zois...”

“Shall we get started? Why don’t you warm up first with a few stretching exercises, and then…”

“Almost certainly. First off, however, could you explain to me precisely what it is that we’re attempting to do here today? I always do better when I understand where someone is coming from, and what their underlying theoretical foundations consist of.”

*Laughing.* “The golf swing is a matter of faith, practice, and mental discipline. This is exactly why I invited you here!” *Miller casually turns, and strikes a near-perfect five-iron. He then points at the ball while it is still in the air.* “You can’t teach that in Biology classes at Berkeley!”

*Dawkins turns and gives me a look that literally douses my face with hot fluorine ions.*

“Well done, Mr. Miller. You have a very powerful swing, indeed.” *Looks at his watch.* “But it is elementary physics, in particular the field of Mechanics then… yes? I don’t see anything here that Isaac Newton couldn’t have plotted up in a day, or three.”

“Please call me Johnny. My sponsor Callaway Golf uses Isaac Newton in their company logo, in fact.”

“Smashing. So it IS Mechanics. Splendid. Alright then, please proceed with the lesson.”

*35 minutes pass, with Miller assisting Dawkins expertly with the fundamentals of grip, stance, and alignment. Miller picks a shiny new range ball out of his bucket and tees it up for Dawkins, who still looks a little unsteady.*

“So are you ready to give it a try?”

“John, my questions would overflow the Book of Psalms, no offense intended of course. I’m having great difficulty with this ‘coiling up’ concept you keep referring to. I feel like I’m extruding my lungs through the slats of my rib cage when I do it quickly, and although it may be correct advice it certainly isn't something I will master in one session with you, or any golf professional. Another question would be what you mean by the word ‘release’, when nothing I see is being ‘released’ at all, at least not in the common usage of the term.”

“Man wasn’t designed to play golf. It’s just the way the Good Lord set us up, Richard. It takes faith, and a lot of practice. Think of the ‘release’ in the same way you think of throwing a baseball.”

“I’m not much into cricket, but your example just proves my point. Nothing is being ‘thrown’ here, because I’m quite obviously still holding on to everything at the finish, with the possible exception of my dignity.”

“You have to keep your hands ‘quiet’ throughout the swing, like I already told you. If you coil up and release your body properly on the downswing the hands will take care of themselves. Here, I’ll show you again.” *Miller gently takes the 7-iron out of Dawkins’s hand and without even looking, trap-draws a penetrating missile that narrowly misses a distant flag. He hands the club back to Dawkins, who accepts it reluctantly.* “Nuts. I hooked that one a little too much.”

“Genius, Mr. Miller. Absolute genius. But now I’m ‘releasing’ my body, am I? Whatever happened to ‘releasing’ the club? And as far as I’m cognizant, my hands have never uttered a single word in their entire existence, so I'm not sure how to convince them to be 'quiet', or whether it is even necessary. Furthermore, based upon this ‘body’ of evidence, I don’t think I’m going out on a limb to predict their continued silence for all of eternity. This is all very confusing for a hapless descendant of tree-dwelling primates. I’m also having considerable trouble maintaining my balance.”

“Yep. You betcha! See? Some things in this life require a more ’balanced’ approach. Like golf.” *Miller turns to me triumphantly.* “… and the relationship between religion and science.”

*Dawkins stares at me again with an expression that would frighten a rhinoceros.* “Funny that you should mention the word ‘balance’, Mr. Miller, because I’m quite certain you have precious little idea of its true meaning, or its interesting evolutionary implications in your chosen sport of golf.”

“Call me Johnny. I’m all ears. Are you EVER going to hit that first ball?” *Chuckling in a friendly manner.*

“Almost certainly. HOWever, during my numerous practice swings thus far, I’ve noticed that my grip keeps tightening on the club at various times, thus making it very difficult to perform the moves you’re suggesting.”

“You got a point there Richard. A really, really good point. That’s exactly what I meant by ‘quiet hands’. Tom Watson doesn’t like the expression because he chokes the blood out of his grip. Nicklaus came up with it, I think. Jack was always a leg man, with small hands for a man of his strength. Does ‘consistent grip pressure’ work better for you?”

*Smiling* “Choking the blood out of it. Yes, that’s quite good! Watson is very popular with us Brits. But getting back to the point, my ‘grip pressure’, as you say, cannot possibly be ‘consistent’ during the swing, at least not in the physics/mechanics sense of the word. If you could measure the actual pressure exerted by my hands onto this metal rod, or clubshaft as you call it, I think you might find it to vary quite a bit, due to numerous reasons such as centrifugal force, which is actually an ‘inertial’ force. And there is an even better reason.”

“Are you going to hit that ball or not?” *Laughing again.*

“All humans, Mr. Miller, share a common ancestor with tree-dwelling monkeys. When monkeys lose their balance, and risk falling out of a tree, their hands rather impulsively grip whatever is near to them -- very tightly in fact, in an effort to avoid a painful encounter with the ground below… which could be a precipitous drop of some 50 feet or more, at times, causing injury or even death. A wounded monkey on the ground in the forests of Africa or South America is easy pickings for many predators. It's a matter of life and death. The succor available to a monkey's grasp in a tree is comprised mostly of branches, twigs, and leaves, or perhaps even a fellow monkey's outstretched hand. Those monkeys with the quickest, most tenacious grip-responses survived over millions of years, and others became ‘weeded out’ by Natural Selection. The monkey hand is an amazing evolutionary device, the control of which is literally ‘hard-wired’ into our brains. But evolution knows nothing about golf, and never will. These evolutionary ‘monkey artifacts’, while being wonderful tools for survival whilst swinging in trees, unfortunately were not 'selected' for swinging golf clubs while standing upright on the ground. I should think it would take years of dedicated practice to achieve anything close to what you display with the greatest of ease, John Miller.

*Miller’s face becomes quite interested.* “Hey, that sounds pretty crazy, but I can actually see what you’re saying!”

“Of course you can, being the experienced and talented golf professional you are. To conclude then, it would be utterly purposeless for me to strike this first ball, since I’ve absolutely no idea what I’m doing, and furthermore my hands, legs, and brain need to be virtually ‘re-wired’ to overcome any natural tendencies to grip more tightly at the most inopportune of times. Such as when I lose my balance on these poor 68 year old legs. Losing your balance means you are essentially 'falling down', at least for a moment, before your brain makes a largely unconscious correction. I'm willing to bet Steven Pinker could explain this better than I could.”

“You’re not getting off that easy, Dawkins. You’re still in my class for ten more minutes. Now set up and take a rip.”

*Dawkins’s spectacles become CO2 Lasers, literally punching two corresponding holes through my head.* “Well, I really don’t see why this is necessary…”

“H-I-T the B-A-L-L, Professor. Do I have to spell it out for you?”

“Perhaps a short review would be helpful. So when I take the club back for instance how can I keep my left arm straight when the obvious evolutionary purpose of the anterior portion of the humerus bone and the corresponding socket in the scapula…”


I began looking for a tree to climb into.

Sat, 19 Sep 2009 23:18:00 UTC | #399059

Styrer-'s Avatar Comment 18 by Styrer-


PM waiting for you.


Sat, 19 Sep 2009 23:30:00 UTC | #399061

SaintStephen's Avatar Comment 19 by SaintStephen

Back at you, Sir!


Sat, 19 Sep 2009 23:43:00 UTC | #399062

sbooder's Avatar Comment 20 by sbooder

What an (EDIT) anbush job that was. It is rare that RD himself feels he has to challenge the line of questioning, but by what he said, it seems fairly obvious that he was asked on to the program to talk about his new book. And all this idiot of a host could do was try and court controversy, to the point; of even having a plain clothed priest in the audience.

Utter crap.

Sat, 19 Sep 2009 23:58:00 UTC | #399063

Border Collie's Avatar Comment 21 by Border Collie

Vichama ... Great avatar! Reminds me of everywhere I go.

Sat, 19 Sep 2009 23:58:00 UTC | #399064

Sarmatae1's Avatar Comment 22 by Sarmatae1

2. Comment #417186 by NewSkeptic
I love Dawkins' answer to "what happens when we die?"

I enjoyed that answer also.

About the funeral questions. The host asks "Why do you want a ceremony to see you off". Richard answer was excellent. "The elephant march". Just beautiful. My whole family shares the same sensibilities in funeral ceremonies.

It is agreed whenever the subject happens to come up between us that the purpose for funeral ceremonies are for the living mostly, not primarily for those who have died. A way for our family and friends to celebrate and honor those who we were fortunate enough to have known. And an opportunity to say goodbye in case you had forgotten to do so when they were alive. Funerals in my family are almost always celebrations. To remember the good times, and also the bad. As it is both that defined who we were.

One of the first funerals I remember in our family was when I was a boy of about eleven, the first I recall anyhow. It was my great uncle, my grandmothers brother. A somewhat rowdy man, fond of parties and drink of any kind. His wishes were to be cremated at a party on his western Massachusetts farm. But the cremation was to be done with his own white lightning which he was an ardent distiller of throughout his whole life, he was always so proud of that. You have to be aware that I was a boy during the great depression when burial on ones own property was still not at all uncommon. Cremation less so. The U.S. was a little more rustic in those times. On the momentous day the whole family gathered in a huge celebration on his farm, with no lack of his favorite music, food and of course drink. The biggest pass time at the celebration was various family members taking turns sharing their hilarious, sad, harrowing, thoughtful, triumphant stories from great uncle Christopher's life. Tears and laughter abounded with equal measure.

A proper pyre was made at a discreet and appropriate distance and a few jugs of his finest lightning was poured on. He arrived from the local doctor, which served as the morgue also, in the late afternoon in his own horse and wagon from his farm. The county had a nice shiny new hearse but refused to drive it down Christopher's road which he never did take much care of. So the hearse was met at the bottom of the road. Somehow it made things more appropriate that he arrived in that wagon, even though that wasn't planned. The celebration quieted, though only somewhat, as he, in a simple pine casket was laid upon the pyre and it was lit. After the resulting explosion, a new pyre was built, this time only using a few cups of his finest lightning. Great uncle Christopher's ashes were spread to the four corners of his farm as he requested.

I remember a big deal was made over a comment uttered by my aunts suitor, my mothers youngest sister, who had never attended one of our families funerals before. He was made to repeat it loudly to everyone there much to his embarrassment. I recall looking at his darkly reddened face as two of my uncles raised him onto their shoulders stumbling wildly at first due to overindulgence of Chris's home made libation. He cupped his hands and yelled "If this how your family has a funeral I don't want to be here at the fourth of July". The crowd of more than 150 erupted in long cheers.

Now the most recent funeral, last year, was my sisters husband who was a life long commercial fisherman and a prodigious gambler. The man would bet on anything. Texas hold em was the life blood which he survived on. His celebration was held at a private hall that was filled with poker tables that were rented for the occasion. Much the same as great uncle Christopher's celebration years ago, minus any explosions, there was a rowdy loud celebration with much food and drink. But the theme was poker. Also cheating. Yes Patrick was a card cheater. He was the cheatenest cheater who ever cheated, and we loved him for it. He could count cards with some success and cheated any way he could. So that is what we did, we played poker. For real money. Or chips rather, that you bought. And then you cheated any way that you could. All money collected by chip purchase was donated to his wife's charity of choice the red cross. I lost nearly two thousand that day myself. It was fun. Patrick was sent off with a kick and our final memories of him are memorable joyous ones.

Another odd custom in our family. Funeral planning is done while the person is alive and well(barring unexpected circumstances). But it is not done by the person themselves. It is done by brothers and sisters mostly. The plans are then submitted to the person for approval if they had not specified anything themselves. This is not written in stone and the family so large that there is no lack of help. I know what my brothers and sisters have planned for me. Hoo nelly its gonna be doozy!! My only complaint to them was that I wish I could be there to enjoy it.

Sat, 19 Sep 2009 23:59:00 UTC | #399065

Michael Nugent's Avatar Comment 23 by Michael Nugent

Here is a full transcript of the interview

Richard Dawkins on Late Late Show (transcript)

Sun, 20 Sep 2009 00:03:00 UTC | #399068

Guy McNally's Avatar Comment 24 by Guy McNally

It looked like an orchestrated ambush to me, also. Although a necessary part of book promotion, I can't imagine any author enjoying this kind of show format. Richard Dawkins handled himself with aplomb in the face of it, however.

Sun, 20 Sep 2009 00:22:00 UTC | #399070

Frankus1122's Avatar Comment 25 by Frankus1122


I liked that story.

I'd like to go to your funeral, although I don't wish you dead.

Sun, 20 Sep 2009 00:24:00 UTC | #399072

SaintStephen's Avatar Comment 26 by SaintStephen

1. Comment #417183 by adamd164 on September 19, 2009 at 10:34 pm

Thank-you very kindly for taping and posting that!

Call me a sycophant if you will, but I don't think I've EVER seen Richard in top form like that (but I haven't followed him for very long, either). I'll go as far to say that that was the most impressive single performance in the history of mankind, in terms of directly, clearly, and graciously answering easily the most difficult questions one skeptical human being could ever pose to another human being.

I thought the preacher was great, too, but I wanted to jump in through the screen and interject, very quickly: "Who created the Farmer in your example?" I wanted desperately to hear his answer to that simple question, but alas, it wasn't to be.

When the show became focused on just Richard and the preacher, I thought the host resembled a flitting fly, buzzing around the studio. He was obnoxiously irrelevant during this period, and only served as a convenient 'teleprompter' during the remainder of the show.

Great stuff. Richard kicks ass again.

Sun, 20 Sep 2009 00:33:00 UTC | #399075

F_A_F's Avatar Comment 27 by F_A_F

Richard, my new favourite quote from you (first vid 3:54);

....a gigantic and very expensive and very rich waste of time....

I laughed fairly heartily when you came out with that gem :)

Sun, 20 Sep 2009 00:39:00 UTC | #399077

SaintStephen's Avatar Comment 28 by SaintStephen

22. Comment #417208 by Sarmatae1 on September 20, 2009 at 12:59 am

Great story. I had no idea you lived in the Great Depression years, because your posts (and your often-hilarious avatars) betray your actual youth, Sir.

Comment ranked as Excellent.

Sun, 20 Sep 2009 00:45:00 UTC | #399078

sbooder's Avatar Comment 29 by sbooder

It looked like an orchestrated ambush to me, also. Although a necessary part of book promotion, I can't imagine any author enjoying this kind of show format. Richard Dawkins handled himself with aplomb in the face of it, however.

Thank you...ambush, that was the word I was looking for, in my first post, which I have now edited.

Sun, 20 Sep 2009 00:50:00 UTC | #399079

Sarmatae1's Avatar Comment 30 by Sarmatae1

16. Comment #417202 by SaintStephen

Brilliant! Enjoyed that thanks. Ranked excellent.

25. Comment #417215 by Frankus1122

Thanks... I think.

The hosts flippant questions about funerals sort of rubbed me the wrong way if you know what I mean. This is probably just my take but it seemed to me that he had an attitude when he asked RIchard "Why do you want a ceremony to see you off". Saying to me "What would an atheist be doing having a ceremony". As if to suggest that without a belief in god an atheist would automatically have no sense of cultural purpose. It seemed to me to be painting atheists in a pejoratively nihilistic way.

So I decided to post what is traditional in my family. Which by all accounts is an overall atheist family. I don't claim to know the minds of every one of them. Nothing religious about our ceremonies at all. Yet there is still tradition and culture. Quite large family too. Marriages done by justices of the peace also. Seemed to me like posting that was the thing to do.

Sun, 20 Sep 2009 00:56:00 UTC | #399081