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Richard Dawkins: The greatest show on earth live - Comments

MAJORPAIN's Avatar Comment 1 by MAJORPAIN

Very enjoyable talk. The host was very genial and asked good questions. Thanks!

Fri, 09 Apr 2010 01:44:00 UTC | #457350

DeepFritz's Avatar Comment 2 by DeepFritz

I am loving this, the information about the up-coming book is great. I did love the first question - it did remind me of the "Richard Dawkins stumped" question, however it was designed to elucidate the answer given...

Fri, 09 Apr 2010 03:12:00 UTC | #457359

maximus444's Avatar Comment 3 by maximus444

Great talk and interview as always Professor Dawkins.

Professor Boyd asked a question about Jerry Fodor's latest book "What Darwin Got Wrong". Personally I think its nothing new or of value but I know a lot of lay people who are Darwinians but think Fodor's argument undermines natural selection for some strange reason.

Fri, 09 Apr 2010 03:31:00 UTC | #457363

Alternative Carpark's Avatar Comment 4 by Alternative Carpark


I particularly enjoyed the section about things happening in a vacuum - very interesting and very useful.

Fri, 09 Apr 2010 04:41:00 UTC | #457371

NakedCelt's Avatar Comment 5 by NakedCelt

"Your neighbouring island of Australia" -- heh heh. "The West Island", as we call it sometimes.

Fri, 09 Apr 2010 06:25:00 UTC | #457388

NakedCelt's Avatar Comment 6 by NakedCelt

Nice theory of trade, debt, and gratitude as prerequisites for religion, Richard -- but a somewhat unfortunate preamble. Some humans have no agriculture to speak of in their genetic past (!Kung, Australian Aborigines) but are no less inclined to religion. Agriculture hugely expanded trade and specialization, but there's good archaeological and anthropological evidence that they precede it by tens of thousands of years. All of which of course strengthens your hypothesis that trade was the precursor to religious/spiritual gratitude; just not the preamble about agriculture preceding trade.
Plus, your speculation on "family life" where "the woman stays home" -- ouch. Foraging women don't go as far afield as hunting men, but they don't "stay home" by our (or any agriculturalist's) sedentary standards. The thing about pre-agricultural environments is that useful plants are pretty widely spaced; you have to walk a lot to get what you need.

Fri, 09 Apr 2010 07:09:00 UTC | #457394

OverUsedChewToy's Avatar Comment 7 by OverUsedChewToy

It was a shame I couldn't attend this. I live in New Zealand and not New Zeland :P

Fri, 09 Apr 2010 08:11:00 UTC | #457412

Richard Dawkins's Avatar Comment 8 by Richard Dawkins

I just listened to the two conversations with Brian Boyd. I'd forgotten how strident I can be.

Fri, 09 Apr 2010 09:28:00 UTC | #457419

RDfan's Avatar Comment 9 by RDfan

So, RD is going to teach creation myths and science side-by-side in his new childrens' book? Hmmm. This may be ammunition for the Creationists, no?

Fri, 09 Apr 2010 09:46:00 UTC | #457421

mordacious1's Avatar Comment 10 by mordacious1


Indeed! Tone it down a bit, will you? ;)

Nice interview, by the way.

Fri, 09 Apr 2010 10:12:00 UTC | #457424

rogerdr's Avatar Comment 11 by rogerdr


As an American and having been heavily influenced by Cosmos and NASA astronomy, I'm stuck with making comparisons between you and Carl Sagan. I read The Selfish Gene and The Extended Phenotype and others of your earlier work thinking in those comparative terms, but now I believe I've done you a disservice by it (not that the comparison would be insulting either way).

I now see it as a complementary relationship. Whereas Sagan used sweeping, poetic illustrations of the story of life and the history of science to garner interest, I see you filling in some of the details; explaining the mechanisms of evolution especially, but speaking more of the particular scientific ideas rather than the life stories (fascinating though they be) of the people of science and its odd, hodgepodge, sometimes circuitous or serendipitous route to truth.

I think there's a place for many different approaches to popularizing science, and I'm glad to have seen both Sagan's and yours.

Fri, 09 Apr 2010 11:52:00 UTC | #457438

hfaber's Avatar Comment 12 by hfaber

Richard's idea about feeling gratitude and guilt and its connection to darwinism and vacuum behaviour is another example of his great and original mind. Thank you (pun intended) very much for sharing it, Richard!

Fri, 09 Apr 2010 14:15:00 UTC | #457474

HourglassMemory's Avatar Comment 13 by HourglassMemory

Richard, at the end of the first part of your interview with Boyd you say there couldn't be any atheists who are creationists.
Even though I clearly see where you're coming from with that statement, and agree with you, there ARE people who call themselves atheists, they indeed do not believe a god exists, and still think we were created.
They're the Raelians, a ufo cult. We were created by aliens according to them.
But of course I acknowledge you weren't thinking of the term "creationist" in this wide manner. At the end of the day this is a semantic thing regarding the word "created" but let's not go there. :)

Fri, 09 Apr 2010 16:44:00 UTC | #457558

The Plc's Avatar Comment 14 by The Plc

Is it just me or is the volume in these vids far too low?

Fri, 09 Apr 2010 17:29:00 UTC | #457570

Paul Pelosi's Avatar Comment 15 by Paul Pelosi

14. Comment #478180 by Wasted Tourist on April 9, 2010 at 6:29 pm

It's too low. I can barely hear them (USA).

Fri, 09 Apr 2010 17:50:00 UTC | #457577

wardsie's Avatar Comment 16 by wardsie

I notice that they still haven't fixed the spelling of New Zealand

Fri, 09 Apr 2010 18:52:00 UTC | #457604

reliableNference's Avatar Comment 17 by reliableNference

"Mental Money" and "Vacuum Gratitude"

I love it!

This is why I watch all of Richard's lectures, he's always coming up with original metaphors to better explain concepts that might otherwise fly right over ones head.

Great job RD and thanks for posting.

Fri, 09 Apr 2010 19:34:00 UTC | #457617

William T. Dawkins's Avatar Comment 18 by William T. Dawkins

Great Job! As always.

I love, listening to the diversity of accents the people have in each country.

Think I'll go do some vaccuum activities now.

Best Regards,


Sat, 10 Apr 2010 04:17:00 UTC | #457693

GOTT MIT UNS's Avatar Comment 19 by GOTT MIT UNS

@William T. Dawkins,

Interesting comment, mate.

Do masturbation and homosexuality fall under "vacuum activities" ?

BTW, my question is dead serious.

G'Day from Down Under (The Western Island :-)

Sat, 10 Apr 2010 06:30:00 UTC | #457705

SkepticalKiwi's Avatar Comment 20 by SkepticalKiwi

Thank you for this link. I was so sad I missed this talk and book signing.

Sat, 10 Apr 2010 06:51:00 UTC | #457708

Hossain Salahuddin's Avatar Comment 21 by Hossain Salahuddin

Dear Richard,

Great talk and interview!

Thanks a lot for coming down under. I have attended your lecture in Sydney and Global Atheist Conference in Melbourne and had the best time of my life.

Thanks again for enriching us with your books and talks.

Sat, 10 Apr 2010 09:35:00 UTC | #457727

SilentMike's Avatar Comment 22 by SilentMike

Well that was a very fun listen. lecture and interview added to my archive.

Sat, 10 Apr 2010 13:31:00 UTC | #457768

Stafford Gordon's Avatar Comment 23 by Stafford Gordon

As a father of twin daughters I would like to point out that to say "two identical twins" is tautological; "twins" will do.

Although I think that unless they are monozygotic they are simply two children conceived at the same time; our daughters are certainly distictly different from each other despite looking identical to most people.

Sat, 10 Apr 2010 18:48:00 UTC | #457814

seals's Avatar Comment 24 by seals

Just watched part 1. Uh oh - it sounds like the next book, in which Christian mythology will placed alongside the various other mythologies, may ruffle a few feathers!

Sat, 10 Apr 2010 19:13:00 UTC | #457817

Ignorant Amos's Avatar Comment 25 by Ignorant Amos

Great lecture and interviews.
Had to chuckle at the "supernatural knob twiddler" bit. Pretty much describes the RC clerics.

Edit. getting ma coat now!

Sat, 10 Apr 2010 20:49:00 UTC | #457825

InYourFaceNewYorker's Avatar Comment 26 by InYourFaceNewYorker

Oh, Richard! You were so strident and intolerant in those videos! :) Seriously, interesting conversation.

Hey, while I'm here and talking about stridency, I have an amusing story for everyone about how religion poisons everything; this story confirms again what Richard says about religion getting a free ride.

Tom Wilson, a comedian and the guy who played Biff in the Back to the Future movies was on my friends list on Facebook for a while (yes, it's really him). In his status he said that he was at a hotel at the same time as a convention for home schoolers. He then said that their names were always Noah, Sarah, Jacob, etc (ie Biblical names). I asked if there there was anybody named Beel Zeh Bub, and then commented that if he met anybody named Lucifer to tell him that I said "Hi." Then someone else commented that he would like to sing Weird Al's "Amish Paradise" to the people at the conference. I then joked that I would like to show them the video of Winnie the Pooh possessed (I'm sure you've all seen it).

Well, I was surfing his page, and suddenly I saw that the "Add as Friend" button suddenly appeared! He had removed me! I then saw that he left a comment in the thread saying that he had deleted a lot of "hateful" and "narcissistic" and "pseudo-intellectual" comments. So my making jokes about Satan is hateful towards these people? I don't think Tom Wilson is even religious (anybody who knows, correct me if I'm wrong). You'd think that as a COMEDIAN he would know that sometimes things people joke about will offend others! But no, even non-religious comedians think that religion deserves a free ride!

So I went and told some friends, "Guess what? I pissed off Biff. I guess I'm a butthead!" ;)


Sat, 10 Apr 2010 23:35:00 UTC | #457837

Manu's Avatar Comment 27 by Manu

Looking forward to the NEW BOOK meant for teenage kids. Though an adult I would love to read and give it as gift to many kids. Richard please hurry.

Sun, 11 Apr 2010 05:04:00 UTC | #457910

InYourFaceNewYorker's Avatar Comment 28 by InYourFaceNewYorker

Good things come to those who wait!

Sun, 11 Apr 2010 05:28:00 UTC | #457917

Wadsworth's Avatar Comment 29 by Wadsworth

9. Comment #478029 by RDfan on April 9, 2010 at 10:46 am

So, RD is going to teach creation myths and science side-by-side in his new childrens' book? Hmmm. This may be ammunition for the Creationists, no?

Well I think children cannot be shielded from bible thumping creationists, so it is better to confront and defeat them on the science battlefield in class. If there is no mention of Creationism as an alternative (pseudo)-scientific theory, then everything they learn in biology will just be quietly undermined as "materialism" in between lessons.

Sun, 11 Apr 2010 09:37:00 UTC | #458003

FreeWillyB's Avatar Comment 30 by FreeWillyB

Thanks again, Richard. A nice interview and talk. Explaining difficult things in an easy-to-understand way is a strength of yours. So I am so sorry that you also have to spend so much time explaining easy things.

Maybe the day will come when the term "creationist" will become as unnecessary as the term "atheist". The former because it's been forgotten; the latter because the need for it's very existence has been forgotten.

Sun, 11 Apr 2010 16:44:00 UTC | #458112