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Desc:First 11 minutes is an interesting interview, hate emails start at 11:30
Category:Educational, Science & Technology
Tags:Richard Dawkins, SCIENCE!, dawkins, Email
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Comment count is 31
Fundies Say the Darndest things hosted by Richard Dawkins would pull very, very high ratings.
This show must happen.

With Richard Dawkins as the fundies, and Bill Cosby as Richard Dawkins.


Very nice impression of the Simpson's impression of Cosby. Very thorough.

The lovely thing is that over the past decade the real Cosby has basically turned into this.

He just sounds so pretty saying the words. As smooth as silk. Almost as good as George Takei saying the word 'douchebag'.
This sort of stuff always has such a strong cult of personality feel to it. Why is it so important that other people, who have no say in scientific matters, believe in evolution? Why does the truth have to be believed by all? From an atheist / scientific position, who cares if strongly religious people resist the idea that evolution is the way life develops? They also believe that man walked with dinosaurs and the Earth is 6000 years old, but none of us give a shit that they believe that, so why do people get insecure about ignorant people claiming evolution is a lie?
So, trying to stop fundamentalists for forcibly dumbing down our society and schools in order to better work with THEIR beliefs is "being insecure?"

Those are two different things. When Dawkins is saying that his ideal future world is no religion anywhere, he's not expressing his concern for whether or not evolution is taught in high school science class.

Rape Van Winkle
How is babby formed?

Because in that ideal future people wouldn't have to waste energy fighting to keep superstition out of schools. It would be a non-issue. And then there's all the other practical things that mythology impedes.

Most importantly though, in a _perfect_ world, people wouldn't NEED self delusion to feel good about themselves, or their place in the world.

Every religion includes the belief that the world would be perfect if everyone would just convert.

It's as laughable when you say it as it is when they say it. Life just isn't that simple.

We want to think it's all cut and dry and that the other side consists entirely of deluded savages, who are the only thing standing in the way of our glimmering utopia. If only it were that easy. If only they really were a bunch of superstitious idiots, and didn't count among their number hundreds of millions of reasonable, intelligent people who simply have reached a different conclusion about the world than you. If only arrogance were the solution instead of humility. The former is in such great supply, after all.

The cult of personality thing might have to do with the fact that most outspoken atheists live in fairly religious communities and cannot freely express their point of view without alienating themselves from their peers at best, enduring serious personal danger at worst. See minorities in general for more information.

The rest of what you're writing is really amazing. Forward it to the Dalai Lama maybe? Of course, he's on this weird kick about wresting ethics from religious roots, so I dunno. You're smart - you'll think of something.

What's really interesting about Buddhism is it is essentially a manner of coping with existence rather than finding the "right" way to live. This translates into little effort going into conversion of others, and a stronger emphasis on peoples actions as a collective, rather than simply as their sheeple.

The cult of personality thing was in reference to how fawning the questions were, that getting called an "interesting interview," and then a few minutes of laughing at the dumbest fundamentalists on hand.

As for comparing atheism to minorities, I don't buy that. Atheism is a lack of belief. I don't know why atheists (of which I am one) feel the need to make their lack of belief in something many other people believe such a major part of their identity. How absurd would it be to kick and scream about being persecuted for loudly extolling your belief that UFOs don't exist, even if you were being persecuted? I have sympathy for people that live in small communities or were born into highly religious families and are either forced or pressured to go to church because that's what is done and there's no anonymity where they live, but by far and wide the people who scream about "atheist persecution" are educated city people, generally in their 20s, who most likely only feel backlash against their neutral position because they're being so confrontational about it.

"How absurd would it be to kick and scream about being persecuted for loudly extolling your belief that UFOs don't exist, even if you were being persecuted?"

I'm confused. I thought that *was* atheism.

Rape Van Winkle
Let's have a serious discussion about it.

"How absurd would it be to kick and scream about being persecuted for loudly extolling your belief that UFOs don't exist, even if you were being persecuted?"

If the UFO believers were the overwhelming majority of the populace, as well as the almost complete majority of the government?

If all science and a vast amount of educated minds conceded that there was no evidence for UFOs?

If UFO believers were fighting as hard as they could to have my children taught UFO theory alongside actual scientific theory?

If non-UFO believers were the least trusted demographic in the country they were born in?

Would it be absurd to kick and scream about persecution then?

No, I don't think it would be.

I wouldn't have a problem with people believing evolution is a lie, if they weren't trying to ramrod that teaching and a host of others into our schools.

I don't have a problem with people having theological beliefs -- I've got plenty of my own -- but what's important is I recognize that I have no business pushing them on anyone else. And I certainly have no business trying to suppress or distort legitimate scientific teachings just because they my contradict my own personal beliefs.

We would not even have the word "atheism" if a lack of religious belief (or a belief in an absence of gods, or however you want to define it) did not come with a stigma in this society, and in many other societies as well. Atheism is peculiar in that it's not just lack of belief in something, but lack of belief in something that others expect you to believe in -- and if you don't believe, some consider it an attack.

What about the Danger
That was sort of a silly response to the question about science informing questions of morality. A neurologist could tell us something about the way a person's brain works when they're suffering, but that's sort of like going to the chemist to talk to us about combustion so we know whether or not an engine is running. Also, appealing to utilitarianism is going to run into the same kinds of objections that have been put towards it even if it's informed by all sorts of facts about the way things work.

Anyhow, what he wants to do is secret away issues of morality from religion, which is fine . . . but just relax. There are pleanty of good reasons why morality doesn't belong to religion and only people crafting strawman arguments are going to say science is dumb if it can't tell us why it's wrong to throw old people down stairs and tell cruel lies to children.
Well, he was answering the question as best he could given the fact that Sam Harris is currently the most vocal about now actual neuroscience can essentially prove the origin of ethics and morals.
Dawkins himself has already fielded this question on his own terms in his books with his own belief that science, per se, cannot "prove" morality, but that morals are evidence of evolution since ethical behavior benefits yourself and others and ensures a peaceful co-existence, thus the survival of your "tribe." Behavior that is truly anti-social and immoral will be shunned and weeded out for doing the opposite leading to a sense of justice such as exile or organized punishment.

Oscar Wildcat
The hilarious thing about his answer, Danger, is that it sounds _exactly_ like the "fundamentalist" buddhist nun that I know, save the part about putting you in the FNMR scanner to see where the glucose is being burned in your grey matter. If you're looking for a religion that breaks the morality part out of the whole silly Man in the Sky with the Penis and Beard business, Buddhism is your thing.

My question to Richard Dawkins would be this. "Tens of thousands of years ago, there developed amongst the talking monkeys the belief in God. This belief evolved over time, and was so successful an adaptation that now a majority of the monkeys carry that belief. Why are you so interested in eliminating what was obviously a very important evolved adaptation to our environment?"

In theory, I don't buy the "simply a lack of belief" argument, though I respect it. It seems to me that whenever you draw a conclusion about something unknowable, that is a belief. A true neutral position would be to simply not care, or to embrace one's lack of definitive knowledge on the subject as the closest one can get to the truth in this life (if ever.)

In practice, though, you're right. Most atheists, at least in my experience, don't go running around singing the praises of atheism. Those that do, such as Dawkins, have given up any claim they may have had toward neutrality. You can't go around attacking the other side and then say you don't take sides.

Oops, that was meant to be a response to Hooker's comment above. See, if God were real, WHY WOULD HE ALLOW THIS TO HAPPEN.

Wildcat, I don't know what Dawkin's answer would be, but here's mine.

Religion and belief in the supernatural were created as ways to cope with not knowing the why and how of the world and all it's confusing mechanisms.

We have evolved and explored the world to the point where we don't need religion to explain just about anything. Therefore, I would view religion just like I would a vestigial organ, something no longer necessary for our survival.

However, this is, to me at least, the tricky part.
I believe it's also useful for coping with the death of others (by saying they're still alive somewhere else) and the death of ourselves (by saying that we'll also still be alive somewhere else).

Now, I don't have an answer for religion being a source of comfort towards death, but I can say, other than that, all it does currently is stagnate our society, stunt progressive growth, and waste time/energy/resources that would be better spent elsewhere. In my opinion, at least.

Also, I think the fact that we've come to a time when people can actually look at religion and say "It's just an explanation for the things we don't know yet," is a sign that it's time to cast off the shackles of superstition, and get down to learning.

I like how his answer to "What is your most scientifically unsubstantiated personal belief" is "Life existing anywhere else in the universe will also have evolved through Darwinian evolution, and not instantly have sprung into existence."

Isn't that just like saying "My most scientifically unsubstantiated belief? Well I don't believe in magic."
Atheist kitty.
This is great, but the sycophantic laughter begins to get pretty annoying.
If God exists, the scientific method will find Him. Believers should be happy in the inevitability of revelation and leave people the fuck alone until it happens, or, better yet, let's all go preach that God needs money for a supercollider around the equator of Mars.
I love atheism frottage festivals here in POETV.
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