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The Hour - Richard Dawkins - Comments

Mocho's Avatar Comment 1 by Mocho


Sun, 25 Oct 2009 20:31:00 UTC | #408342

the great teapot's Avatar Comment 2 by the great teapot

Is it cos he is black.
Platitudes don't count as acheivements.

Sun, 25 Oct 2009 20:39:00 UTC | #408343

InYourFaceNewYorker's Avatar Comment 3 by InYourFaceNewYorker

Love the line about Bill O'Reilly in the last part. ;)

Sun, 25 Oct 2009 20:40:00 UTC | #408344

astronomer24's Avatar Comment 4 by astronomer24

The Hour interviewer is one of the nicest to watch of all the Dawkins interviews. His God Delusion interview with Richard is equally nice to watch, no sneering attacks, just questions and enthusiasm.

Sun, 25 Oct 2009 20:45:00 UTC | #408345

tadgh's Avatar Comment 5 by tadgh

Hmmm... doesn't seem strident to me. Never did.

Sun, 25 Oct 2009 21:10:00 UTC | #408355

Rationalartist's Avatar Comment 6 by Rationalartist

I know I'm in the minority, but I loved the Cohen Brothers Lady Killers. One day I'll see the original British one, and I have no doubt it is even better, but I just felt like sharing that!

Nice to see that interview again, caught it when it aired on CBC in September.

Sun, 25 Oct 2009 21:11:00 UTC | #408357

Jos Gibbons's Avatar Comment 7 by Jos Gibbons

Part 3 is great. RD is a fascinating individual. I'm also a Ladykillers fan. But if I ever find out the name of that woman narrating the opening animation, it's going on ... the list.

Sun, 25 Oct 2009 21:31:00 UTC | #408362

glid's Avatar Comment 8 by glid

#4 Yeah he's great. O'Reilly's got something to learn here.

Sun, 25 Oct 2009 21:39:00 UTC | #408369

mordacious1's Avatar Comment 9 by mordacious1

After watching Richard with Wendy Wright yesterday (old video), this is a breath of fresh air. I almost slit my wrists, what a creepy woman.

Sun, 25 Oct 2009 22:51:00 UTC | #408396

thewhitepearl's Avatar Comment 10 by thewhitepearl

Great interviewer. Great interview. Never knew the bit about TGD's six year wait. My brain just formed a new wrinkle.

Sun, 25 Oct 2009 23:16:00 UTC | #408401

TheLordHumungus's Avatar Comment 11 by TheLordHumungus

Will we ever get this guy in America? I have not seen a ton of his interviews but are they always this fair and balanced? News organizations in here could learn a whole helluva lot from this whippersnapper. George just got a new fan in the States.

Sun, 25 Oct 2009 23:57:00 UTC | #408428

BigJohn's Avatar Comment 12 by BigJohn

George Stroumboulopoulos is a superb interviewer. His questions are frequently, as in this interview, astounding in their perspicuity. There were two questions he asked which were so good that they made my jaw drop.

I subscribed to his RSS feed for a while,but, I found that his scope went so far beyond mine that I unsubscribed. Now, I look for specific interviews which, like this one, fit into my interests.

Now, if he would only change his last name so I could pronounce it...

Mon, 26 Oct 2009 00:50:00 UTC | #408451

DNR's Avatar Comment 13 by DNR

possible quote mine: Richard Dawkins, "if I'm arming children... what could be better than that?"--followed by some snappy comment about militant atheism.

Mon, 26 Oct 2009 01:42:00 UTC | #408462

SaintStephen's Avatar Comment 14 by SaintStephen

For all his syrupy sweetness, the host of this show could have made much better use of his time with a thinker of Dawkins' caliber. When your distinguished guest, the world's foremost atheist no less, begins rolling his bespectacled eyes and muttering "Oh my God, these questions..." -- you know you've dropped the ball. This interviewer had a carefully cultivated "hipster/slacker" demeanor, and didn't seem that prepared to me.

For instance, and totally OT, I would have peppered Richard with an evolutionary question that has arisen in our local California neighborhood, which contains a large number of monkey puzzle trees. The seed pods (or pine cones) of these trees are monstrous and heavy spheroids that literally come crashing down to the ground -- with deadly force -- in the Fall season. My question for Richard would be why they are so massive. My own explanation/hypothesis came to me when I looked up the trunk of one of these tall beasts from below, and saw the densely snarled collection of radial branches, which would seem prone to snagging or stopping lighter weighted cones from reaching the ground, and thus the seeds would never germinate.

So evolving large, boulder-like seed pods is an attempt on the part of the monkey puzzle tree to maximize its radial branch density (thus maximizing its photosynthetic energy-production surface area) while still maintaining its ability to reproduce successfully.

Comments anyone?

Mon, 26 Oct 2009 05:24:00 UTC | #408500

Grant N's Avatar Comment 15 by Grant N

DNR Re: quote mining. You're kidding. Right?!? That has never happened before.

But, what I really enjoyed about this interview, is that when George brought up the Metallica comparison (a reviewer made it before, sometime earlier this year*) and how kids were going home questioning their parents, he seemed truly surprised and most genuinely pleased.

Now I'd not be too surprised if George had actually read that review of TGSOE from Sept 7, 2009, but the likelyhood is that he didn't, and the coincidence of him making another Metallica comparison is uncanny. I don't know how large his research staff is, but for every interview I have watched him do, he is immensely prepared. Their bios always have high production value and you don't do that overnight.

Actually, Richard might like Metallica's hit, Nothing Else Matters. There's even an instrumental cover done by Finland's Apocalyptica

*Simon Ings - The Sunday Telegraph Posted on this site Sept 7, 2009.
"Dawkins is to the modern evolutionary synthesis what Metallica’s Lars Ulrich is to heavy metal: a
curmudgeon whose talent and passion have made him an unlikely poster boy."

Mon, 26 Oct 2009 05:31:00 UTC | #408502

alaskansee's Avatar Comment 16 by alaskansee

@ SS

George has grown from his days on Much Music (Canadian MTV) but as big john pointed out he covers everything from pop to, well, eh Dawkins. It's just good to see an interviewer unburdened by mystic mumbo jumbo and just ask some, all be it tame, but sensible questions.

Everyone likes monkey puzzle trees, well maybe not monkeys. The number of different ways trees and other flora have solved the surface area to seed size equation is as numerous as tree types. Will we ever know?

So 3 cheers for George and I look forward to the next woo free debate.

Mon, 26 Oct 2009 05:39:00 UTC | #408505

madame_zora's Avatar Comment 17 by madame_zora

Nice interview, Dawkins seems immensely pleased to be encouraging children to question automatic submission to authority, and rightly so. True respect is earned, not merely granted- you can only demand compliance. It's important for people to grow up understanding this important difference.

The questions at the end were cute, and not too personal. This interview will be seen by a wide audience, many of whom aren't very scientifically literate. For them, it's a lot more important to see Dawkins as a regular person with likes and experiences. For the rest of us, it's simply charming.

Mon, 26 Oct 2009 06:21:00 UTC | #408507

Kimpatsu's Avatar Comment 18 by Kimpatsu

I've just lost all respect for Richard. I mean, call yourself British and you never watched Doctor Who, the great Saturday teatime staple? Well, really!
(I'm just jealous that I've never been on the show...)

Mon, 26 Oct 2009 11:47:00 UTC | #408553

Sally Luxmoore's Avatar Comment 19 by Sally Luxmoore

The thing I like about this interview and the last one they had together, is that the two of them genuinely seem to like and appreciate each other. That's not all that common and it adds to the pleasant and productive atmosphere generated.
A good interview, relaxed and sometimes funny.

Mon, 26 Oct 2009 12:15:00 UTC | #408561

Enlightenme..'s Avatar Comment 20 by Enlightenme..

More scary than Metallica (and Elvis's hips & Jagger's lips I s'pose)
Yeah !

Loved the personal stuff in part three.
It was good to see Richard squirming a bit!

My Mum used to sing Joan Baez's early stuff, and I've been a fan ever since.

Now I'm gonna follow atheist 007's utube account list and watch the Bill Maher interview.

Mon, 26 Oct 2009 12:40:00 UTC | #408567

RainDear's Avatar Comment 21 by RainDear

A great light but very entertaining interview. But while I do share Richard's preference for the 1955 McKendrick's version of the Lady Killers, something disturbs me here a bit, enough to share it.

Even here, I seem to find a lot of people automatically dismissing newer films, plays and fiction books. Among them is Richard himself. Of course, we're all entitled to our opinions and artistic taste, nothing wrong with that. But there's an observation here to be made.

Not only on this site, but also elsewhere I find that among the more educated people, traditional and classical is usually preferred over modern and contemporary. The more educated people are, the more they seem to prefer older works art to new ones (apart from those with artistic education). It's as if contemporary art and new creative culture is somehow inevitably worse than things done in the past.

Actually, I'm quite certain the truth is almost the opposite. Pretty much as in science and technology, artistic competition is harder and contemporary artists have to work harder to find new ideas and to polish their technique. The cream of the crop is filtered from a larger meme pool. And of course, artists today are able to stand on the shoulders of some artistic giants of the past. So, I find it irrational to make a general claim that older works of art or entertainment are somehow more accomplished.

It may sometimes seem like art was better in the past, since all we know are the very best classics. The ones that stood the test of time. Art that was ridiculed a century ago is now part of our elementary education. Most 1950's British films were clumsy and boring, but the few ones that are still screened just happen to be the ultimate winners in the memetic competition. I even dare say that in comparison with even the best 1950's film directors, the cinematic skills of the Coen brothers is superior.

The reason I bring this up here is this: I do believe a lot of people stick to religion, even creationism for the same reason. Religion is old. Creation stories are old. The idea of a creator god is old. In the brains of previous generations, these ideas have stood the test of time. As a silly friend of mine once reasoned: There has to be some truth in astrology, because so many people have believed in it.

So, just like new art among the classics, all new science and its philosophy is treated with certain prejudice. As if by default, science has less cultural value than religion, since it's new. This is very likely among the main reasons creationism persists to exist. It seems that by this human default, we all like to stick to the old classics.

Mon, 26 Oct 2009 13:50:00 UTC | #408578

Enlightenme..'s Avatar Comment 22 by Enlightenme..

Bill Maher does a (minimal) bit of back-pedalling on that interview.

Also found an RD BBC World profile on atheist007's account that I hadn't seen before, from around 2003. (plenty of faults - bad quality & synch; attribution of "survival of the fittest" to Darwin etc)

Mon, 26 Oct 2009 14:03:00 UTC | #408581

PERSON's Avatar Comment 23 by PERSON

" 2. Comment #426605 by the great teapot on October 25, 2009 at 8:39 pm
Is it cos he is black."
That's a pretty low insult to both Obama's success, and to Dawkins' intelligence. Nice.

"Platitudes don't count as achievements."
Getting elected counts. Getting Iran to confess they had a second nuclear reactor counts. Restarting science programmes by pouring money into them counts. Pushing healthcare forwards through the legislative system is not mere platitude.

Are you ignorant of Bush's actions, Obama's actions or both?

Mon, 26 Oct 2009 14:04:00 UTC | #408582

Jos Gibbons's Avatar Comment 24 by Jos Gibbons

Comment #426815 by Kimpatsu

What he said was he never watched it while he was growing up. It debuted when he was 22, so that's hardly surprising. He also said he had seen every story featuring his wife Lalla Ward, which is a fair few of Tom Baker's adventures.

Mon, 26 Oct 2009 14:25:00 UTC | #408587

Sciros's Avatar Comment 25 by Sciros

Comment #426840 by RainDear on October 26, 2009 at 1:50 pm
Interesting post; I don't know if I agree that contemporary art is better, especially depending on what particular form you are talking about (fashioning musical instruments, architectural design, etc.). Certainly there is no shortage of fantastic artists when it comes to drawing and painting (and the CG equivalent) -- just open up a Spectrum book and look at a single year's "best" works. Some are clearly done by true masters of their art.

I think a good number of modern artists will make their way into the art history books on merit, but it does take a little bit of time for them to earn the needed level of public respect. Some have been around long enough that they're already getting it, I'd say (such as Giger).

It's the same with music in a way, although here I do think that probably 99% of the "current" stuff is indeed not good enough to last.

Mon, 26 Oct 2009 14:32:00 UTC | #408598

Lisa Bauer's Avatar Comment 27 by Lisa Bauer

#15 Grant N

But, what I really enjoyed about this interview, is that when George brought up the Metallica comparison (a reviewer made it before, sometime earlier this year*) and how kids were going home questioning their parents, he seemed truly surprised and most genuinely pleased.

Yes, I liked that bit a lot, too:

"...There are enough parents out there who don't subscribe to what you believe in who really are challenged by what you do. It used to be they were afraid of Metallica, now they're afraid of you!"

"Well...that's, um...interesting. I don't know whether that's really true."

"Oh, it's true, it's absolutely true, because you're challenging...what happens is you arm the kids to go home and have conversations with their parents in a way they wouldn't otherwise be armed."

"Oh, I can't be sorry about that. I mean, that's got to be a good thing, hasn't it? It really has."


"If I'm arming children to go and argue with their parents, what could be better than that?"

Mon, 26 Oct 2009 14:38:00 UTC | #408605

Enlightenme..'s Avatar Comment 26 by Enlightenme..

Reckon your criticism is a little misdirected, you seem to suggest this conservatism is most prevalent "among the more educated".
My reckoning is that this sentimental nostalgia is more of a general symptom of ageing. (I used to like cover-songs, but almost all recent cover songs of music from my era stinks!)

I also found Richard's whinge that the new 'Lady killers' was also.. American was..
..ungainly? (mind you, Hollywood does seem to trash most anything from another culture that it gets hold of!)

Your points about traditionalism reminded me of that old George Carlin sketch "our book is new, your book is old" (Mo- 'Well our book is even newer, and is the final proofed copy)

Homophobia and labia-removal are some more of the old classics.

Mon, 26 Oct 2009 14:38:00 UTC | #408603

SaintStephen's Avatar Comment 28 by SaintStephen

21. Comment #426840 by RainDear on October 26, 2009 at 1:50 pm

Old art versus new art. What an excellent topic for a lengthy, rapturous debate that would probably suck in every commenter on this site for the next several weeks. Just look at the forum topic on favorite music if you want an idea of how passionate people are about their art on

I think new art is good art for exactly the reasons you listed, but I think you gave old art the short shrift. Old art is just as good as new art because:

A) It was new art when it was first created, and therefore was good by your own standards, in its own epoch of course.

B) It may have been created during a time when the arts were less acceptable as an activity or pastime, aka Anne Frank's The Diary of a Young Girl. I would go further and even say that in general, the past was less amenable than the present in terms of its acceptance of art and artists.

I ranked your post as excellent anyway.

Mon, 26 Oct 2009 15:23:00 UTC | #408631

FU_LDS's Avatar Comment 29 by FU_LDS

RD was going along so well until he answered that question about the world leader. Wow. BO would be about at the bottom of my list.

Mon, 26 Oct 2009 19:57:00 UTC | #408787

Follow Peter Egan's Avatar Comment 30 by Follow Peter Egan

Yes, the Ladykillers is a classic. Ealing at its best.

Great, relaxed interview, but some interesting questions too.

Mon, 26 Oct 2009 21:04:00 UTC | #408821