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Richard Dawkins on Real Time with Bill Maher - Comments

The Science Pundit's Avatar Comment 1 by The Science Pundit

Janeane Garafalo got it right imo.

Sun, 04 Oct 2009 23:51:00 UTC | #403488

digibud's Avatar Comment 2 by digibud

I have to think Richard must have walked away from this thinking 'why the bloody hell did I waste my time with this?'. Maher didn't make any particular use of RD and almost seemed to ignore him. I was quite disappointed in the show.

Mon, 05 Oct 2009 00:13:00 UTC | #403491

encarta007's Avatar Comment 3 by encarta007

RD seems to have been at a loss of words there.
Jumping at every chance you get to blame religion isn't the smartest thing...
Sure it's evil in many ways, but I have to agree with the lady there....

Mon, 05 Oct 2009 00:25:00 UTC | #403493

mrgoodjob's Avatar Comment 4 by mrgoodjob

Do we attribute religious extremism to politics or religion?? I say, brains are to blame... particularly brains infected with parasitic memes such as religion and political idealism. Mix the two together and you get something not unlike Islam. Reducing religious extremism to either one or the other is utterly unnecessary. Dudes got broke brains, plain and simple. If broke brains lead to undesirable behaviors than something has to be done... regardless of what the underlying cause is. Behavior is the real issue here... yet we can certainly use religious and political identifiers as predictors of such behaviors. Those who belong to the statistical population in question had better do their damnedest to convince the rest of the world that they are of the benign variety, or they'll be the one's responsible for whatever negatives come their way.Is it the rest of the world's responsibility to educate themselves as to the differences between the benign and parasitic faith heads... well, maybe in some respect... but I for one demand a bit more iconoclasm from those within said population. If they're not against them... well, they're just as deserving of the term 'enemy' as the bombers themselves.

Mon, 05 Oct 2009 00:42:00 UTC | #403496

root2squared's Avatar Comment 5 by root2squared

Smart lady is right and also hot, as are the distinguished scientist and the comedian. I mean right, not hot, for those two. These factors all contribute towards the explosions.

Mustache guy was meh.

Lady in pink doesn't give a damn about the question and wants to make sure she doesn't lose the votes of the Arab Americans in her community.

Mon, 05 Oct 2009 00:48:00 UTC | #403497

NewEnglandBob's Avatar Comment 6 by NewEnglandBob

This is a typical show for Maher. There are some good things said but there is also a lot of nonsense - Maher generated that here himself. I think the NY Times columnist had it closer to being correct.

Mon, 05 Oct 2009 00:51:00 UTC | #403498

root2squared's Avatar Comment 7 by root2squared

"This is not a criticism"

Mustache guy is also a coward.

Mon, 05 Oct 2009 00:58:00 UTC | #403499

jamiso's Avatar Comment 8 by jamiso

The joke RD made at the end of the show was worth it

Mon, 05 Oct 2009 02:11:00 UTC | #403511

eric711's Avatar Comment 9 by eric711

Thomas Friedman made a great point about Muslims resenting the west for being so far ahead developmentally than they are.

Mon, 05 Oct 2009 02:36:00 UTC | #403514

njwong's Avatar Comment 10 by njwong

7. Comment #421706 by root2squared on October 5, 2009 at 1:58 am
"This is not a criticism"

Mustache guy is also a coward.

You need to read Thomas Friedman's ("mustache guy") book, "Hot, Flat and Crowded". He provides a fascinating analysis on how the discovery of oil and the wealth it generated led to the hardening of Islamic fundamentalism in all Islamic countries. The evidence he offered was extremely compelling. (He calls it the "First Law of Petropolitics: When the price of oil goes up, the pace of freedom goes down.")

This "coward" was awarded the Pulitzer Prize THREE times, the third time for his commentaries on terrorism (the Islamic kind) which were collected in the book "Longitudes and Attitudes".

To me, Thomas Friedman and RD are very similar: they are both good (and successful) writers, keen on educating the public about their pet causes, and actively doing something to bring about the changes they want to see.

I think your criticism is misplaced.

Mon, 05 Oct 2009 02:46:00 UTC | #403517

root2squared's Avatar Comment 11 by root2squared

10. Comment #421724 by njwong

Thanks for posting that link to wiki. Listening to him in the video made me think he was just some boring columnist. But in wiki, I found these Pulitzer Prize winning comments

In an interview with Charlie Rose in 2003, Friedman said:

What they needed to see was American boys and girls going house to house, from Basra to Baghdad, um and basically saying, "Which part of this sentence don't you understand?" You don't think, you know, we care about our open society, you think this bubble fantasy, we're just gonna to let it grow? Well, Suck. On. This.[22][23][24] ..We could have hit Saudi Arabia. It was part of that bubble. Could have hit Pakistan. We hit Iraq because we could. That's the real truth...

Similarly, in NPR's Talk of the Nation, September 23, 2003:

.. and sometimes it takes a 2-by-4 across the side of the head to get that message.

"Like it or not, we are at war with the Serbian nation (the Serbs certainly think so), and the stakes have to be very clear: Every week you ravage Kosovo is another decade we will set your country back by pulverizing you. You want 1950? We can do 1950. You want 1389? We can do 1389 too."

"If they [the Sunnis] won't [come around], we should arm the Shiites and Kurds and leave the Sunnis of Iraq to reap the wind."

Now I think he's also a gigantic asshole and a brain dead idiot.

Oh...and also a coward.

Mon, 05 Oct 2009 02:56:00 UTC | #403520

njwong's Avatar Comment 12 by njwong

11. Comment #421727 by root2squared on October 5, 2009 at 3:56 am

...Now I think he's also a gigantic asshole and a brain dead idiot.

Oh...and also a coward.

Well, it is your prerogative to form your opinion of Friedman based on some soundbites and quotes without understanding the context from where they were taken from. My personal opinion is that the Friedman quotes you referenced are no different from the thinking behind Christopher Hitchens' support of the Iraq war, or Sam Harris' support of the use of torture against terrorists. It is very important to find out the context in which those quotes were mined from. Just because Friedman espouses some libertarian hawkish thinking, like Hitchens and Harris, doesn't mean he is a "gigantic asshole" or a "brain dead idiot".

Anyway, I am very surprised you have not heard of Thomas Friedman. Since you are not familiar with his writing, why not read his column in yesterday's New York Times (it is about terrorism):

Mon, 05 Oct 2009 04:35:00 UTC | #403532

geru's Avatar Comment 13 by geru

I have just recently started to watch Maher's show and I really like most of what he has got to say, but the format seems a bit crowded, since there are usually 1-2 guests too many on the show.

This produces an unpleasant effect where some guests have two options, either sit there and say nothing for the whole show, or jump in at some point and shout out some short sound byte which will probably make them seem like they're a bit overeager because they have to give their view in a really short answer.

Guess this makes Real Time a kind of a Darwinist talk show since guests have to really struggle to get any word in, but at the same time they have to balance not to seem like they're constantly talking over the other guests. :)

Mon, 05 Oct 2009 06:41:00 UTC | #403543

pfrankie's Avatar Comment 14 by pfrankie

Smart lady= Janeane Garofalo
Janeane Garofalo
Mustashe Guy= Thomas Friedman
Thomas Friedman
Lady in pink Representative Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio)
Handsome Smart Guy= Richard Dawkins

Mon, 05 Oct 2009 07:55:00 UTC | #403559

Steve Adamo's Avatar Comment 15 by Steve Adamo

JG is one of my favorite return guests on Real Time, but I don't think she's necessarily correct in her assertion that US foreign policy is mostly to blame. While it definitely needs work, I don't think ANY foreign policy the US adopts will appease the fundamentalists (there or here...), so my thinking reflects Mr. Friedman's opinion more. Religion is definitely a prime factor, but the US will always be a lightning rod for every cultural & economic difference between the west & the more derilect parts of the Arab world. No matter what they do, the target painted on their backs will never completely disappear.

Loved the Einstein to Palin comment, though! Good one, RD!

Mon, 05 Oct 2009 08:11:00 UTC | #403560

maximus444's Avatar Comment 16 by maximus444

It doesn't take a genius to work out the Islamic backlash against the US is driven mainly by US foreign policy, then add in to the mix the likes of Bin Ladin who uses the worst of Islam to his full advantage. And Professor Dawkins doesn't sound very scientific or rational when he says "Why don't we just say its religion, they have a holy book that says kill the infidel."
Janeane Garofalo isn't smart from what I've heard her say on this or in the past, she just says the typical stuff that comes from any liberal or lefty.

Mon, 05 Oct 2009 10:47:00 UTC | #403578

root2squared's Avatar Comment 17 by root2squared

12. Comment #421739 by njwong on October 5, 2009 at 5:35 am

Yeah. I don't think I'll be reading anything by mustache guy unless it's called "How I stopped being an arrogant jerk and grew a brain".

Mon, 05 Oct 2009 12:34:00 UTC | #403599

Daisy Skipper's Avatar Comment 18 by Daisy Skipper

You know... I think they all had good points in their own way. At least all their points had some validity. Even Maher's point about guilt might have some truth to it. Though I get the feeling with him that he's a comedian first and a political/social analyst second.

Mon, 05 Oct 2009 13:14:00 UTC | #403608

funkydrummer's Avatar Comment 19 by funkydrummer

Loved Richards Quote on Einstien and Sarah Palin. I agree with some of the comments that Richards Time was somewhat wasted. I was so excited to hear he would be on yet unlike same harris he had a short time and the questions were wasted.

Mon, 05 Oct 2009 13:38:00 UTC | #403610

dankuck's Avatar Comment 20 by dankuck

Is there a Part II? I only see up to 9:33 and nothing about Sarah Palin.

Edit: Oh, I watched again and there's the part about Sarah Palin. My fault. Other comments sounded like people had seen the entire show. I guess it wasn't here.

Mon, 05 Oct 2009 14:26:00 UTC | #403612

fasharoony's Avatar Comment 21 by fasharoony

I think the thing Janeane was missing is that politics (ie foreign policy) only gives a focus to all the religious crazyness. The religious crazyness would still be there without the foreign policy. Also, blowing yourself up is peculiar to islam of course.

Mon, 05 Oct 2009 17:27:00 UTC | #403638

root2squared's Avatar Comment 22 by root2squared

Also, blowing yourself up is peculiar to islam of course.

That's an interesting point. We know that people don't just follow their books blindly. They pick and choose what they wish to follow. Even the bible advocates stoning to death for some things. Like adultery. But we don't see that happen in Christianity. We don't see that level of violence in any other religious culture.

So it seems it makes sense to see how Islam differs radically in practice from other religions rather than by the holy books. Think Islam and one of the first things that springs to mind is the burqa. The level of sexual suppression in some Islamic cultures is unparalleled amongst other religious cultures.

I remember seeing a documentary about elephant rage in which it was determined that one of the factors causing elephants to attack humans was sexual frustration. We know that most of the terrorists of 9/11 were from Saudi Arabia, which relates to sexuality as religion relates to thinking.

So maybe this is the extra factor that causes the explosions. No doubt, the west bombing and killing innocent civilians does not help this, so maybe it would be a bit more productive for them to drop copies of playboy rather than bombs in the middle east.

Of course, that doesn't answer why they prefer to keep women in beekeeper suits. Probably for the same reason some people drive Hummers to the supermarket.

Mon, 05 Oct 2009 18:01:00 UTC | #403646

steveb0503's Avatar Comment 23 by steveb0503

I loved the look Prof. Dawkins got on his face when Janeane started explaining her take on the matter!

Thought Thomas Friedman hit the nail on the head though IMHO.

If we non-believers don't start trying to put the WHOLE picture into perspective, we're not going to appear any less narrow-minded than the fundamentalists - nor will we be any more effective at fixing what is wrong with the world.

Religion is only the root of the problem (an admittedly deep and robust root) - but those beliefs still need to be put in the context of HOW those beliefs fit into the an individual's perceptions of the world around them (AND how religion influences those perceptions and vice-versa), and the interactions with their other beliefs regarging the world and their place in it.

I dunno, just my take on it.

Mon, 05 Oct 2009 18:18:00 UTC | #403649

lvpl78's Avatar Comment 24 by lvpl78

Garrofolo is talking rubbish.

She states that foreign policy, or politics, must be the major cause of terrorism since she states, roughly, "why is it the Americans that they take it out on?".

Has she heard of 7/7, the Madrid bombings, Bali, Mombassa, Mumbai, Jakarta or Ryadh? Seemingly not. It might seem like the US is targeted the most since it is the biggest Western country, but it is far from alone, and this is not about the policy of any govt.

Even if you were to take the position that it is because of foreign policy, say the fact that Al Qaeda's main objective is to remove US military bases from Saudi Arabia - you have to then ask the question - why do they want Western presence in Saudi Arabia to disappear? The answer is religion.

It's just like those apologists who claim the Israeli-Palestine dispute is over land rather than religion. Well, on the surface it is about land. But there are explicit reasons why that particular strip of land is so fiercely fought over. Religion.

Mon, 05 Oct 2009 20:03:00 UTC | #403671

jamiso's Avatar Comment 25 by jamiso

24. Comment #421879 by lvpl78

I agree her comment was stupid..."why is it the Americans that they take it out on?"... ignoring, i guess the fact that pretty much the grand majority of these attacks, even in Iraq, is muslims killing muslims.

Oddly enough, the USA has not gotten hit much at all. When you compare to say, Thailand or the Philippines.

And again, you cant deny religions root in these, and other conflicts, because without the religious aspects... Their would be no conflict in many of these places to begin with.

Mon, 05 Oct 2009 22:04:00 UTC | #403699

Akaei's Avatar Comment 26 by Akaei

Thirty-five years ago a Fire Marshal taught my third grade class that in order for there to be a fire there must be heat, fuel and oxygen.

The hot spots of terrorism (or violence in general) rely on conflicting desires, people and self-righteous ideologies (i.e. religion, patriotism or pride.)

If we remove any one of the three components the fire goes out.

We can't remove the fuel/people. On a smaller scale we could try to remove all the "problem" people (the fuel that is already on fire) but there are several issues with this solution. Overlooking the immorality of genocide (which should be reason enough for us to avoid this course) and war, removing the "problem" people tends to generate more problem people in the way of martyrs and sympathizers. So we would have to remove ALL people which defeats the purpose (both in the process and result) of trying to make a better life.

We can't remove the heat/conflicting desires. If there were only two people there would still be conflicting desires. We can hope to reduce the friction but we cannot expect to eliminate it. To some degree, humans (with few exceptions) have social drives and a sense of interdependence that mitigate the heat generated by selfish motivators. Civility is vital for diminishing the heat which, to be realistic, cannot be completely exorcised. Universal complacency is not achievable and would undesirable even if it were.

Perhaps we can get rid of the oxygen/ideologies that fan the flames. Pride is in our nature. Vanity. Social pride. Political pride. National pride. Religious pride. And even when we doubt ourselves we can draw from an idea we believe to be greater than ourselves. Doctrine. Dogma. Scripture. Imperialism. Faith. Adherence. The hubris, megalomania and self-perceived moral superiority of ideologues have stoked conflagrations of imposed suffering throughout human history.

Let us pray that we may put aside religions and outgrow our intractable subservience to ideologies. Let us cling to Reason first, and to Civility as well. Let us cling to demagogues and superstitions not at all.

~edit changed morality to immorality

Mon, 05 Oct 2009 23:08:00 UTC | #403722

Sally Luxmoore's Avatar Comment 27 by Sally Luxmoore

Comment #421930 by Akaei

Let us pray that we may put aside religions

Er... Do I need to point out the absurdity of this statement?

Mon, 05 Oct 2009 23:29:00 UTC | #403725

Akaei's Avatar Comment 28 by Akaei

Er... Do I need to point out the absurdity of this statement?

Nope. The irony was intended though I'll admit it's out of place given the ornate and solemn tone the piece took.

Tue, 06 Oct 2009 00:47:00 UTC | #403738

DalaiDrivel's Avatar Comment 29 by DalaiDrivel

I didn't realise that "moustache guy" was Thomas Friedman until comment posters mentioned it.

My mouth dropped at that point, because I had heard so much about him, and all the rave reviews of his books, all entirely positive.

Janeane Garafalo's statement I think was partly right, that America's vulnerability is in its foreign policy. I agree with others here however that other nations, like Britain, and Spain, can be and are targeted, indicating that foreign policy may not have everything to do with it, and so her argument isn't entirely valid.

Where I think Thomas Friedman's argument at the end, which I was going to point out and praise, before I even knew who he was, really holds its own is in the perception that America has, that it itself has furnished, It does have a notoriously nosy foreign policy, yes, but a) the United States is the most unapologetic, if at some moments, the most hypocritical, defender and promoter of human rights and freedoms, a position which is perhaps reflected and amplified by how it is perceived by the rest of the world, and b) Islam views itself as Thomas says, "God 3.0" explicitly superior to all other beliefs systems.

In other words, everyone's a target for Islam for cultural reasons. They seek to convert the entire world. America, in its defense of freedom, is merely pushing itself to the front of the line.


"This is not a criticism"

Mustache guy is also a coward.

Now I think he's also a gigantic asshole and a brain dead idiot.

Oh...and also a coward.

Yeah. I don't think I'll be reading anything by mustache guy unless it's called "How I stopped being an arrogant jerk and grew a brain".

You seem to be pretty emotional about him. Why should we take you seriously and assume your judgement has not been impaired?

Furthermore, you have expressed disinterest in furthering your knowledge about Friedman. I should hardly tell you that willful ignorance is extremely dangerous.

I suspect that you are just unwilling to change your mind because it would be embarrassing given how hard you came out swinging. You are the sole, and exceptionally vocal critic of Friedman here.

Ever heard of the saying "10,000 wolves can't be wrong?"

Friedman, by all accounts that I've heard, provides some excellent food for thought.

I question your phrasing (how emotionally you express yourself) and your willful closed-mindedness.

You sound, in summary, like a religious person, and the worst at that. Be careful, not for us, for your own sake!

(EDIT: Perhaps I'm smearing the religious as emotional and volatile. I don't think that the religious express themselves emotionally necessarily, but that most reasons for being religious are emotionally-rooted and that their emotional entanglement compromises their objectivity.

Also edited for clarity.)

Tue, 06 Oct 2009 01:08:00 UTC | #403744

Fuller's Avatar Comment 30 by Fuller

Garafalo spouted the standard its-the-wests-fault-somehow lines about terrorist attacks, not very convincing imo.

I was also disappointed the subject of science based medicine didn't come up.

Tue, 06 Oct 2009 01:56:00 UTC | #403750