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← [Update 1/27] Closing Statements - Richard Dawkins at the Jaipur Literature Festival

[Update 1/27] Closing Statements - Richard Dawkins at the Jaipur Literature Festival - Comments

Bala's Avatar Comment 1 by Bala

Youtube links with the annoying A/V sync problem fixed.

Q and A of Session 1

In support of Salman Rushdie

More youtube links coming soon. Watch this space. The final day debate has some speakers speaking in Hindi. A few of us are subtitling them in English. Will upload them once done.

Thu, 26 Jan 2012 16:28:42 UTC | #911735

Nilas's Avatar Comment 2 by Nilas

Nice, but the audio only comes out of the left speaker :/

Thu, 26 Jan 2012 16:54:19 UTC | #911744

Peter Grant's Avatar Comment 3 by Peter Grant

http://vimeo.com/35550822 Richard Dawkins at the Jaipur Literature Festival

Comment 1 by Bala

Youtube links with the annoying A/V sync problem fixed.

Q and A of Session 1

In support of Salman Rushdie

More youtube links coming soon. Watch this space. The final day debate has some speakers speaking in Hindi. A few of us are subtitling them in English. Will upload them once done.

Thanks!

Thu, 26 Jan 2012 17:09:10 UTC | #911749

Bala's Avatar Comment 4 by Bala

Edited version of the debate.

Man has replaced god: debate (edited)

Motion was later changed to "does god exist?". Atheists won :).

Nilas, thanks for noticing that. Will try to fix that from the next video.

Thu, 26 Jan 2012 17:33:21 UTC | #911759

Serena's Avatar Comment 5 by Serena

WRT the lady who asked if it was Richard's conscious decision to use simpler and simpler language over the years, and Richard replying that each was addressed to a different audience:

I'd like it if Richard writes books for an audience that has read The Selfish Gene and The Extended Phenotype. I consider The God Delusion "light reading"... something to read for a quick laugh, but essentially, I did not come across much that I had not figured out already for myself. (The Smolin bits were entirely new to me.)

Please, please, please.... write books for MEEEEE ! Oh, I'd also like extended video versions of The Selfish Gene and The Extended Phenotype. There! I announced my Christmas list in January.

Thu, 26 Jan 2012 18:06:51 UTC | #911772

Richard Dawkins's Avatar Comment 6 by Richard Dawkins

Comment 5 by SerenaP :

WRT the lady who asked if it was Richard's conscious decision to use simpler and simpler language over the years, and Richard replying that each was addressed to a different audience.

I'd like it if Richard writes books for an audience that has read The Selfish Gene and The Extended Phenotype. I consider The God Delusion "light reading"... something to read for a quick laugh, but essentially, I did not come across much that I had not figured out already for myself. (The Smolin bits were entirely new to me.)

I was genuinely surprised by the observation of the woman in the audience, apparenty endorsed by Serena here. I had truly thought that, with the exception of The Extended Phenotype (for professional biologists) and The Magic of Reality (for children), all my books, including The Selfish Gene, were aimed at the same audience as each other: intelligent non-specialist adults.

Shows how much I know!

Richard

Thu, 26 Jan 2012 18:17:07 UTC | #911775

FighterForReason's Avatar Comment 7 by FighterForReason

          [Comment 6](/videos/644736-richard-dawkins-at-the-jaipur-literature-festival/comments?page=1#comment_911775) by  [Richard Dawkins](/profiles/53)          :


                 > [Comment 5](/videos/644736-richard-dawkins-at-the-jaipur-literature-festival/comments?page=1#comment_911772) by   [SerenaP](/profiles/171745) :> >   WRT the lady who asked if it was Richard's conscious decision to use simpler and simpler language over the years, and Richard replying that each was addressed to a different audience.> > I'd like it if Richard writes books for an audience that has read The Selfish Gene and The Extended Phenotype. I consider The God Delusion "light reading"... something to read for a quick laugh, but essentially, I did not come across much that I had not figured out already for myself. (The Smolin bits were entirely new to me.)> I was genuinely surprised by the observation of the woman in the audience, apparenty endorsed by Serena here. I had truly thought that, with the exception of *The Extended Phenotype* (for professional biologists) and *The Magic of Reality* (for children), all my books, including *The Selfish Gene,* were aimed at the same audience as each other: intelligent non-specialist adults.Shows how much I know!Richard

In my experience of reading your work, the only difficulties I had were with The Extended Phenotype, but that doesn't mean I didn't learn a lot from your easier-to-read books.

Thu, 26 Jan 2012 18:23:25 UTC | #911780

Bala's Avatar Comment 8 by Bala

Book reading by Richard Dawkins and Lalla Ward. This was before the Q and A session on Comment number 1.

Thu, 26 Jan 2012 19:51:08 UTC | #911816

Richie P's Avatar Comment 9 by Richie P

Personally I really enjoyed The Extended Phenotype . I am not a professional biologist, but I don't think it's too hard to follow if you read it shortly after finishing The Selfish Gene (although there were some sections that were quite difficult). I actually found some chapters of The Ancestor's Tale quite difficult to follow, especially towards the end of the book as it get's closer to the grand ancestor of all life.

But generally speaking I would say that Richard's books are fairly easy to follow, and for the most part probably easier to follow than some of the other Popular Science books out there.

Thu, 26 Jan 2012 20:27:02 UTC | #911833

Serena's Avatar Comment 10 by Serena

Hi Richard,

I understand that it is quite likely that I am biased. The two factors that I could identify now are time and, information (... as in "the amount of surprise", with apologies to Shannon).

The Selfish Gene felt like a Revelation. I was in my early 20s, and that was about 10-15 years ago. I even gained insights into human culture -- beyond what I read in the book. One example that I remember vividly has to do with the Mosuo of China -- a matriarchal society where the woman is promiscuous, and a man has no responsibilities towards his biological children, but takes care of his sister's children. With the gene-centered view, this made perfect sense. No such explanation was offered in the medium where I learnt about them (it was TV, IIRC). (Apparently, the Akan of Africa have this in common with the Mosuo -- something I discovered just now when looking up the name of the Chinese society.)

Though I have read and enjoyed your other pre-2000 books, I don't have as clear a recollection of the experience of reading them, or of the revelations or mini-revelations I got. I attribute it to their information content. (... the Shannon kind!!)

Of the post-2000 books, I have read just The God Delusion, which I did, the year it was released. By that time, I had nearly 20 years of experience in arguing against faith. (I started rather early, and am a 1st generation atheist.) So... The God Delusion was a low-information book for me.

And so... all this blathering was in the benefit of putting my earlier comment in context: I don't have a clue if your style has changed.

Oh! And... on double-checking now, before I replied to you, I discovered that I have not read beyond the first 2-3 chapters of The Extended Phenotype. :-D I have something to read now, after all! I'm sorry I gave the wrong impression about this earlier. (Er... any thoughts on the videos?)

Thank you!

If/when I have something more concrete to say to you about your writing style, I'll let you know :-).

Thu, 26 Jan 2012 21:15:13 UTC | #911847

AnthropicConstance's Avatar Comment 11 by AnthropicConstance

As Richard notes at 48:35, there is a great tradition of India with regard to atheist culture. IMA, it goes along with tolerance of diverse beliefs and cultures. Non-belief has been seen as a stepping stone or phase of personal development in the Hindu culture, clashing harshly with the totalitarianism exemplified by the credibility of threats on Rushdie's life (caused, of course, by religious intolerance.)

In matters of humanism it is necessary for atheists, agnostics and anti-theists to recognize and absorb the better of such examples.

Fri, 27 Jan 2012 00:22:18 UTC | #911890

Daisy Skipper's Avatar Comment 12 by Daisy Skipper

These international talks by Richard (and other atheists) are so helpful in that they show atheists can be thoughtful and kind. The Q & A was a great example of this. Richard’s answer to the science as a religion question was particularly eloquent. I guess people mistake the passion of a scientist talking about what he loves with that of a preacher evangelizing. Also, his sign-off was so fantastic! What a great way to end.

Fri, 27 Jan 2012 01:53:47 UTC | #911903

Daisy Skipper's Avatar Comment 13 by Daisy Skipper

What a bunch of characters in that debate! I couldn’t understand half of what everyone was saying and it was hard to determine for which side some of them were arguing.

That guy who speaks at 18:30 is particularly funny. But Richard had the take-home point: 'it doesn't matter what feels right to you... what matters is what's true. And the only way to decide what's true is by looking at the evidence!

I wish something so obvious didn't need to be said!

Fri, 27 Jan 2012 02:57:49 UTC | #911908

Metamag's Avatar Comment 14 by Metamag

Curious how people are still asking stupid questions like equivalence between religion and atheism regarding proselytizing as if atheism has some content to impart instead of just being a response to verifiable demonstrable falsehoods.

How does something like that even occur to people since it is obvious atheism has no content, it's just like a mindless projection instead of a real question.

Fri, 27 Jan 2012 03:00:01 UTC | #911909

Metamag's Avatar Comment 15 by Metamag

Comment 6 by Richard Dawkins :

Comment 5 by SerenaP :

WRT the lady who asked if it was Richard's conscious decision to use simpler and simpler language over the years, and Richard replying that each was addressed to a different audience.

I'd like it if Richard writes books for an audience that has read The Selfish Gene and The Extended Phenotype. I consider The God Delusion "light reading"... something to read for a quick laugh, but essentially, I did not come across much that I had not figured out already for myself. (The Smolin bits were entirely new to me.)

I was genuinely surprised by the observation of the woman in the audience, apparenty endorsed by Serena here. I had truly thought that, with the exception of The Extended Phenotype (for professional biologists) and The Magic of Reality (for children), all my books, including The Selfish Gene, were aimed at the same audience as each other: intelligent non-specialist adults.

Shows how much I know!

Richard

I think this is more about the familiarity of the issues and the nature of the topic itself rather than the simplified language so there is no need to be concerned about this. Even if it is true it wouldn't be wise to underestimate the stupidity of general populace.

View count and rating of this horribly idiotic incoherent video(young, urban, tech-savy audience) might be a good example for this.

Fri, 27 Jan 2012 03:09:28 UTC | #911913

RSingh's Avatar Comment 16 by RSingh

Having spent 6 years in UK and always on watch for Prof. Dawkins video on youtube, I wish to thank Prof. Dawkins for engaging Indian audience. I wish I was there in the crowd. I never realized Prof. Dawkins popularity among indian readers!

Fri, 27 Jan 2012 03:10:48 UTC | #911914

Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 17 by Steve Zara

comment 13 by Daisy Skipper

That guy who speaks at 18:30 is particularly funny. But Richard had the take-home point: 'it doesn't matter what feels right to you... what matters is what's true. And the only way to decide what's true is by looking at the evidence!

I wish something so obvious didn't need to be said!

But it does repeatedly need to be said because it's pretty revolutionary. Looking at the evidence can be very hard to do when it points to a reality that is far from that you want to be true.

One way to look at this that I think is useful is to consider the evidence for atheism to have the same emotional impact for some believers as a diagnosis of a fatal illness. They don't want there to be any evidence that points to the fact of their ultimate mortality. They don't want this to be true so much that they can enter a state of flat denial. It just can't be right, can it?

I'm saying this with some confidence as this was my personal experience. It can be very, very hard to accept something as world-shattering as evidence that all your beliefs are painfully false.

As far as I know this emotional rejection of truth is a quite typical and normal human response.

Fri, 27 Jan 2012 04:54:40 UTC | #911924

Quine's Avatar Comment 18 by Quine

Steve: As far as I know this emotional rejection of truth is a quite typical and normal human response.

Unfortunately, this is exactly the case.

Fri, 27 Jan 2012 05:43:04 UTC | #911926

raam's Avatar Comment 19 by raam

I do hope that this visit to India has left Prof Dawkins with a wish to spread his enlightening message to India. I'm know that he has plenty of fans here, people whose veil of ignorance has been lifted by reading one of his books on science and atheism, but I feel that there are millions more who have simply never heard of him, or for that matter of Hithens, Harris, Dennett et al, because they've never read anything about atheism in our mainstream media. My humble request - Perhaps, as a start, he could try to publish his articles in some mainstream newspapers here, like he does in the "On Faith" section in the Washington Post. That will definitely create an argument here and will help atheists here to speak up respectably. Maybe in the future, opposition to events like the Rushdie affair will be more vocal.

Fri, 27 Jan 2012 05:55:39 UTC | #911928

prettygoodformonkeys's Avatar Comment 20 by prettygoodformonkeys

Comment 17 by Steve Zara

I'm saying this with some confidence as this was my personal experience. It can be very, very hard to accept something as world-shattering as evidence that all your beliefs are painfully false.

My experience as well; hard to understand for someone who hasn`t experienced it.

Fri, 27 Jan 2012 06:03:16 UTC | #911930

Michael Gray's Avatar Comment 21 by Michael Gray

Richard: is it possible that an element of the reasons that your readers claim that you have simplified your prose is that you have slyly educated your readers' comprehension of wonderful Oxford English such that it is they who have chronically changed, rather than you?[1]
I know full well that I have altered my didactic style to veer more toward yours, as I have considered your aptly distilled prose-style to be vastly superior, (in many areas), to mine.
______________________
[1] A scientific test of my hypothesis might be to discover a reader who has read your works in reverse order.

Fri, 27 Jan 2012 09:27:56 UTC | #911952

Corylus's Avatar Comment 22 by Corylus

Comment 21 by Michael Gray :

A scientific test of my hypothesis might be to discover a reader who has read your works in reverse order.

Yes, that would work. Another way would be for Richard to run a readability test on the different texts. These measure sentence length and word difficulty. (You can set your PC to do these along with the grammar and spell-check called up when you press the F7 button).

Fri, 27 Jan 2012 10:10:45 UTC | #911960

Bala's Avatar Comment 23 by Bala

I read God Delusion first. Climbing Mount Improbable second, Greatest Show on Earth, Unweaving the Rainbow, Selfish gene, and Magic of Reality last. Leaving aside Magic of Reality, I found TGSOE most readable. I had to reread the selfish gene a few times to grasp some concepts, but TGSOE was knife through butter.

Fri, 27 Jan 2012 10:24:05 UTC | #911961

drumdaddy's Avatar Comment 24 by drumdaddy

It is heartening to see how well-received was your message to the people of Jaipur. The world is awakening!

Fri, 27 Jan 2012 12:20:18 UTC | #911979

Premiseless's Avatar Comment 25 by Premiseless

I must say, I always thought it might enable sooner access to some of the concepts in Richard's books if versions could be published that were akin to Key Facts that one comes across as revision aids. A younger readership, especially at a translation to other language level, might then grasp these concepts much sooner and as we know, anything that gets in earlier than theism can only be a good thing! I wonder if us in the west will do well to find ways to aggregate literacy, more enabling accessibility of a global readership?

The comment from the audience that mentioned the irony of Richard talking so freely whilst Salman was ostracised was a moot point and especially moreso with Richard's response that it is a travesty he was kept away at all.

Fri, 27 Jan 2012 13:32:15 UTC | #911986

Bala's Avatar Comment 26 by Bala

Closing statements of the debate

Man has replaced god

Fri, 27 Jan 2012 18:58:16 UTC | #912043

justinesaracen's Avatar Comment 27 by justinesaracen

The best line was in the final session, and it was by an Indian atheist who said, "Every hospital in India has a prayer room or a temple. Why then do they wheel the patient into the operating room?"

Fri, 27 Jan 2012 20:26:19 UTC | #912050

Premiseless's Avatar Comment 28 by Premiseless

I thought them Indians sure kick some ass with their rational assertions. Yaay!

Fri, 27 Jan 2012 21:28:27 UTC | #912065

huzonfurst's Avatar Comment 29 by huzonfurst

I can only hope that there will be professionally-produced videos of this conference eventually.

By the way, the first book I read of Richard's was The Blind Watchmaker, shortly after it came out. I was absolutely delighted with it since it gave me the ammunition I needed against the believers of that time. As Mr Deity would say, Thankyouthankyouthankyouthankyouthankyou!

Sat, 28 Jan 2012 05:35:51 UTC | #912140

raam's Avatar Comment 30 by raam

I read the Selfish Gene first and then his other popular-science books before reading God Delusion and TGSOE and lastly Magic Of Reality. The earlier books I found more challenging not because of his english, which I always found beautiful, but because the earlier books were more technical, more jargon-laden. His last three books are broader in scope, meant for a much broader audience and I think the writing style has changed, consciously or unconsciously, to reflect that.

Sat, 28 Jan 2012 07:50:46 UTC | #912149