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Dr. Richard Dawkins On Education, 'Innocence of Muslims,' and Rep. Paul Broun

Roblimo posted about a year and a half ago | from the choosing-between-science-and-some-hairy-guy-in-the-sky dept.

Science 862

In this video interview (with transcript), Dr. Richard Dawkins discusses religious exceptionalism with regard to the teaching of evolution, and the chilling effect of fundamentalism on the production of scientists and engineers. He says, "I can think of no other reason why, of all the scientific facts that people might disagree with or disbelieve, [evolution] is the one they pick on. Physics gets through OK. Chemistry gets through Ok. But not biology/geology, and I think it's got to be because of religion." He also addresses the recent comments from Rep. Paul Broun, who denounced evolution and the Big Bang theory as "lies straight from the pit of hell," and the recent Innocence of Muslims video that led to unrest in various parts of the world. "Freedom of speech is something that Islamic theocracies simply do not understand. They don't get it. They're so used to living in a theocracy, that they presume that if a film is released in the United States, the United States Government must be behind it! How could it be otherwise? So, they need to be educated that, actually, some countries do have freedom of speech and government is not responsible for what any idiot may do in the way of making a video." He also has some very insightful comments about religion as one of the most arbitrary labels by which people divide themselves when involved in conflict. Hit the link below for the video.

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862 comments

He's still alive? (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41765199)

Since he retired from "Family Feud", I thought he had passed. Good to know that he is still around.

Re:He's still alive? (0, Offtopic)

dskoll (99328) | about a year and a half ago | (#41765237)

I don't know if the parent post was supposed to be humorous or if the OP is ignorant. The host of Family Feud was Richard Dawson, not Richard Dawkins.

Re:He's still alive? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41765271)

YHBT.

Re:He's still alive? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41765281)

I don't know if the parent post was supposed to be humorous or if the OP is ignorant. The host of Family Feud was Richard Dawson, not Richard Dawkins.

That's called "ironic humor". You should look into it.

Re:He's still alive? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41765309)

ah, cheers for that. Couldn't figure out what he was talking about :)

Dawkin's is a piss poor social scientist (-1, Flamebait)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | about a year and a half ago | (#41765337)

He should stick to something he KNOWS about - like biology.

His other claims are largely bias - uninformed by fact or context.

There were protests about the film in Libya. How does his "theocracy" argument even apply to a country that was a secular state - more like Cuba? Iran, with a religious institution at the head of government, saw no such unrest.

Dawkins is a bigot. He unfortunately uses his impressive scientific and academic credentials to bolster the audience for his bigotry, and conflate the domains of his expertise to support his prejudice.

Re:Dawkin's is a piss poor social scientist (5, Insightful)

dskoll (99328) | about a year and a half ago | (#41765427)

There were protests about the film in Libya

The protesters there were religious, no, even if the state is not a theocracy?

Iran, with a religious institution at the head of government, saw no such unrest.

There certainly were protests in Iran [cnn.com] with Iran's supreme leader calling the making of the film "a criminal act".

Re:Dawkin's is a piss poor social scientist (5, Interesting)

Psyborgue (699890) | about a year and a half ago | (#41765627)

There were protests in almost every single Muslim majority country [wikipedia.org] without few exceptions (such as Singapore, which had it blocked), as well as some western ones, such as France, where violence also broke out. Was it because of the video? I'm not so sure. A week after the video was released the french satirical paper Charlie Hebdo released cartoons that were by far more vulgar than Innocence of Muslims (for example, depicting Muhammad naked). There was almost no response at all to that. Either they're becoming desensitized to cartoons or as many have commented, this was just yet another excuse to blame the foreign devil yell "death to America", "itbach al yahud" and run rampage burning stuff down.

Re:Dawkin's is a piss poor social scientist (0)

Dishevel (1105119) | about a year and a half ago | (#41765855)

The only place those ignorant, intolerant and violent fucks did not protest was Benghazi.

Re:Dawkin's is a piss poor social scientist (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41765917)

Singapore has no state religion. Buddhism is the most widely practised religion in Singapore, with 33% of the resident population declaring themselves adherents at the most recent census. The next most practised religion is Christianity, followed by Islam, Taoism and Hinduism. 17% of the population did not have a religious affiliation.

Re:Dawkin's is a piss poor social scientist (4, Insightful)

na1led (1030470) | about a year and a half ago | (#41765461)

Can you provide ONE example of his Bigotry? I can name thousands of example how Religions around the world are Bigots to non-believers! Mr. Dawkins doesn't go around beheading people for having different beliefs.

Re:Dawkin's is a piss poor social scientist (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41765507)

He also doesn't go around capitalizing random words in sentences.

Re:Dawkin's is a piss poor social scientist (3, Insightful)

Empiric (675968) | about a year and a half ago | (#41765793)

Can you provide ONE example of his Bigotry? I can name thousands of example how Religions around the world are Bigots to non-believers!

Calling all religious believers "delusional" by definition, meets your criteria fully.

As for "beheading", can you name something within Darwinian Naturalism that argues against it, if it increases the propagation of the behead-ers DNA? Stalin certainly didn't see that reason for restraint that isn't there, and you can easily google millions of examples of his own citizens, believers and atheists alike, killed by this formally-atheistic state. How much of Dawkins' non-correspondence to this demonstrable history of an actual large-scale test case, rather than a fantasy utopian atheist projection, is due not to the fact he -wouldn't-,,but rather -can't-, seems like a germane question. As is the reality of existence before any religion existed to blame--it would have been an ongoing intertribal bloodbath that is the very reason offered for why we exist in our current form and capabilities. Most of these projections against religion, are, simply, an "Argument from the Never-existed" fallacy that doesn't even propose to offer hard metrics, such as statistics, for -relative- comparison on what is a -relative- normative question. Understandably so, since the atheist worldview would lose immediately and overwhelmingly if we introduced actual hard data, simply by reference to the 20'th Century alone.

Re:Dawkin's is a piss poor social scientist (3, Insightful)

na1led (1030470) | about a year and a half ago | (#41765981)

People don't kill in the name of Atheism.

Re:Dawkin's is a piss poor social scientist (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41765815)

>There were protests about the film in Libya. How does his "theocracy" argument even apply to a country that was a secular state ...

Libya may not have been an official theocracy but it certainly was an implicit one in the sense that Islam was ingrained in everyday life as well as government policy (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islam_in_Libya#Islam_in_Gaddafi_Libya), but that's besides the point.

How do you explain protests in Libya against some inconsequential and unimportant "filmmaker" in California? One of his points was that there are those in the middle east that just don't 'get' free speech. For example, during the cartoon controversy there were organized boycotts of Danish goods. Think about that for a second, people were boycotting Danish goods because the government of Denmark "allowed" some little known newspaper to practice free speech! Sounds to me like those that participated in the boycott didn't really get it, no?

>Dawkins is a bigot.

In what possible way?

Re:Dawkin's is a piss poor social scientist (1, Interesting)

Bob-taro (996889) | about a year and a half ago | (#41765841)

He should stick to something he KNOWS about - like biology.

His other claims are largely bias - uninformed by fact or context.

There were protests about the film in Libya. How does his "theocracy" argument even apply to a country that was a secular state - more like Cuba? Iran, with a religious institution at the head of government, saw no such unrest.

Dawkins is a bigot. He unfortunately uses his impressive scientific and academic credentials to bolster the audience for his bigotry, and conflate the domains of his expertise to support his prejudice.

I don't know if I'd go as far as saying he's a bigot, but I think you make some valid points. Dawkins has made a name for himself by attacking religion, so he isn't likely to stop. I tend to agree with you, though. Anything "bad" done by religious people is presented as evidence of religion being bad in general - whether or not non-religious people do the same thing (e.g. rioting). But of course anything "good" done by religious people doesn't count in favor of religion unless NO secular person would have done the same thing.

Re:Dawkin's is a piss poor social scientist (-1, Flamebait)

mcgrew (92797) | about a year and a half ago | (#41765957)

He should stick to something he KNOWS about - like biology.

Mods, just because you disagree with a comment doesn't make it flamebait. I'm sure that whoever modded that was sure that Cornelius is a card-carrying anti-abortion creationist fundamentalist, but the fact is (from other of his comments I've seen) he's an agnostic. But he's right about Dawkins, especially when he says "Dawkins is a bigot." Why is it bigotry to say that homosexuality should be stamped out, yet not bigotry to say religion should be stamped out?

He is a bigot, and so is the antitheist who modded Cornelius down. Shame on you intolerant censorious fools.

Is this an election year? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41765283)

Hit the link below for the video.

Or do something useful with your time. How many more Obama advertisements can we expect today?

background noise (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41765289)

Please, commence the interview in a room with no radio playing on a background, or use sound-filtering. All the background sounds are very distracting.

v1ad (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41765293)

He is British, he must know what he is talking about.

Theocracies (3, Interesting)

thedonger (1317951) | about a year and a half ago | (#41765315)

The problem I see with Islamic theocracies - compared to the US constitution saying that we are endowed with unalienable rights by our creator - is that they get their laws from their god, not their rights. The are therefore free to trample on the rights of the individual in the name of their god. In the US, we are free to act like fools in the name of our god.

Rep. Broun needs to learn than belief in god and even Christianity does not mean the big bang or evolution are wrong. One cannot snap their fingers and make a cake; the ingredients must be mixed together and have heat applied. Why should god be able to circumvent the rules just because his cake is the universe?

Re:Theocracies (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41765389)

so, the constitution says you get your rights from your parent? Which one?

Re:Theocracies (1)

Zeromous (668365) | about a year and a half ago | (#41765799)

Seriously? This is a board of Computer Geeks- I can only assume you are ignoring the concept of recursive inheritance to make a 'funny'

Re:Theocracies (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41765449)

I'm going to be a pedant on this one, because although the Constitution is definitely based on the philosophy you mention, the words themselves aren't there.
The bit about being endowed by our creator with unalienable rights is in the Declaration of Independence.

Re:Theocracies (5, Insightful)

venicebeach (702856) | about a year and a half ago | (#41765523)

Rep. Broun needs to learn than belief in god and even Christianity does not mean the big bang or evolution are wrong. One cannot snap their fingers and make a cake; the ingredients must be mixed together and have heat applied. Why should god be able to circumvent the rules just because his cake is the universe?

I think the obvious answer to that would be because he makes the rules.

But more importantly, while you are right that Christianity in the general sense is not incompatible with these two scientific theories, certainly a literal interpretation of the Bible is incompatible. You'd have to do some pretty liberal stretching of Genesis to make it fit what we know about evolution. It's a pretty serious problem for Christians that their infallible sacred text contains bad theories about the natural world.

Note to future religious text writers: stick to unfalsifiable metaphysics and moral advice.

Re:Theocracies (2, Informative)

Jessified (1150003) | about a year and a half ago | (#41765725)

Note to future religious text writers: stick to unfalsifiable metaphysics and moral advice.

So much win

Re:Theocracies (5, Insightful)

Baloroth (2370816) | about a year and a half ago | (#41766017)

You'd have to do some pretty liberal stretching of Genesis to make it fit what we know about evolution. It's a pretty serious problem for Christians that their infallible sacred text contains bad theories about the natural world.

Not really. You see, the way the entire Bible is written, the "literal" meaning isn't as simple as taking the meaning of the individual words and putting them together, and the Bible (from the very beginning of Christianity) has always been looked at that way. For example, if I say someone has the "heart of a lion", I don't mean their ventricular structure is that of a feline animal. Similarly, in Genesis when they list the "days" and the creation of the world, it's an attempt at describing what happened in basic human terms. There couldn't even have been a proper "day" before the creation of the sun. The creation of "light" before the sun/stars is usually taken to be, on the literal level, not referring to electromagnetic waves, but to angelic beings (and the separation of angels and demons).

In other words, it isn't a scientific text, and shouldn't be read as one. It isn't even trying to describe science, and it's a serious misreading of it to think it is. It's like reading the Iliad as a history book, and complaining about the inaccuracies. That's completely missing the point. Thinking you know better than the Bible because you know more science than it does is not impressive, because the Bible was never trying to describe science.

To take a more modern example: it's like the people who complain about the unscientific nature of lightsabers in Star Wars. Congratulations on being a pedant (or, if you're George Lucas, introducing midichlorians in an attempt to be "realistic" and ruining the series), but Star Wars was never about the science. Science is nearly the last thing it is about (and in that way, it's pretty similar to the Bible, and yes I did just compare the Bible to Star Wars).

Re:Theocracies (5, Insightful)

Ogi_UnixNut (916982) | about a year and a half ago | (#41766063)

But more importantly, while you are right that Christianity in the general sense is not incompatible with these two scientific theories, certainly a literal interpretation of the Bible is incompatible. You'd have to do some pretty liberal stretching of Genesis to make it fit what we know about evolution. It's a pretty serious problem for Christians that their infallible sacred text contains bad theories about the natural world.

But who on earth is silly enough to take the bible literally? I was brought up a Christian, and not once did anyone tell me that the bible is a literal documentary on events, but rather a collection of stories written after they happened (especially the old testament, which is basically cobbled together from bits of the torah, and some other things). I've also not met a single Christian who takes the bible literally (and I even went to Sunday school).

The stories are a bit like the Greek myths, they have a moral or ethical point behind them, but in many cases they were written in such a way that your average peasant could understand 2000 years ago. We've developed much since then, and it would be lunacy to take their interpretation of the word of god as the literal truth.

Don't stick all Christians under your definition, personally I suspect that the Bible literalists are a predominantly American creation, for reasons that are beyond me to be honest...

Re:Theocracies (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41765525)

compared to the US constitution saying that we are endowed with unalienable rights by our creator

That's the Declaration of Independence, which has no status in US law. The Constitution (or more precisely, the Bill of Rights) makes no statements about where the rights come from. It simply asserts that people have them, and enjoins the government from infringing on them.

Re:Theocracies (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41765557)

Correct me if I'm wrong here but doesn't the bible say that god made the entire Universe and everything in it in 6 days? So if you believed in that wouldn't you be in direct conflict with science, the big bang theory and evolution?

Re:Theocracies (2)

slim (1652) | about a year and a half ago | (#41766007)

Correct me if I'm wrong here but doesn't the bible say that god made the entire Universe and everything in it in 6 days? So if you believed in that wouldn't you be in direct conflict with science, the big bang theory and evolution?

I think -- in Europe anyway -- even most Christians; even priests and bishops; believe that the 6 days thing is a metaphor, or that "day" is a figure of speech for some long period of time.

Actually literally believing that man was created 518400 seconds after the heaven and earth, that's for extra special loonies.

Re:Theocracies (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41765611)

Sorry. The inalienable rights thing is in the Declaration of Independence not the constitution.

Re:Theocracies (4, Insightful)

number6x (626555) | about a year and a half ago | (#41765617)

The 'Inalienable rights' statement is in the Declaration of Independence, not the constitution.

'Creator' or 'God' is not mentioned in the constitution. Article IV does state :

"The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States."

And, of course, the first amendment states:

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

Besides, fundamentalist christians should have no problem with a seperation of church and state. The bible explicitly tells them to render unto rome what is rome's and to god what is god's. I'm sure every last fundamentalist preacher and religious order in America voluntarily pays taxes, even though they are exempt by law. If they don't render unto the government what is due, they are not following the word of god and are hypocrites. I'm sure none of them ever do anything hypocritical!

Re:Theocracies (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41765807)

As a muslim, I completely agree! All the muslims countries are under a theoretical dictatorship under a democratic government illusions. I strongly agree better math-science based education system is the key to peace. But I feel we need to do the same with Cristian and other religious zealots!

Re:Theocracies (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41765999)

as a muslim you agree.....
as what don't you agree?

Re:Theocracies (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41766049)

good point!

Re:Theocracies (1)

aquabats (1985346) | about a year and a half ago | (#41765953)

The original writing of Genesis says "When it was done" not on the first day. Way back someone translated it because a work day is usually a task from beginning to end. This stuck and creates alot of problems with the book contradicting itself on the first page. How can you have a day and night before the sun was even created? The actual translation makes sense and leaves ample room for the Days of creation to become Millions or Billions of years. God created creatures and let them evolve. When he though they were at a good point, lets add some intelligence to these apes and make man.

Re:Theocracies (1)

dave420 (699308) | about a year and a half ago | (#41766027)

Broun should learn that politicians are representatives first, and people second. His religion shouldn't have any bearing on his political stance. That is a ridiculous joke, and something deplored in other western democracies. How can he represent non-Christian people in his constituency?

Why the noisy setting? (1)

debillin (1362917) | about a year and a half ago | (#41765329)

Very little consideration went into this audio. Vacuuming, background music? Amateur bro

Re:Why the noisy setting? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41765445)

getting a room in that hotel would have cost $150!!!!

Cause you have no proof? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41765333)

Well, I can drop a book and it falls to the ground, I can light a paper on fire and it burns... I can pour salt on a snail and it dies.. but evolution is just a poorly defined theory.
I don't believe in spontanous generation, I am a creationist, but I am also a scientist, and the fact is that there are too many loopholes in Dr. Dawkins' theories.

It isn't that I don't want to believe it, is just that I look at things with a critical eye. How is it possible that we can build the LHC and find the Higgs Boson, we may soon discover a cure for cancer, but no one is able at any point to spontaneously create life from inanimate objects? You would think that would be a rather academic activity in our time?

When you can spontaneously create life from raw materials, in a lab, let me know and I'll believe you, until then I'll keep up with my current belief system.

Re:Cause you have no proof? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41765451)

ah yes

you can't proof neither one of both theories, and so you go for the one that makes the most sense to you. Never mind that that's the one that makes the least sense.

got it.

Re:Cause you have no proof? (4, Insightful)

AuMatar (183847) | about a year and a half ago | (#41765471)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miller%E2%80%93Urey_experiment [wikipedia.org]

We can make the building blocks of life from inanimate objects.

Re:Cause you have no proof? (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | about a year and a half ago | (#41765599)

I think even beyond that we need to define life. It's almost certain that the earliest self-replicators did not behave much like life as we know it. The first "life" may have been little more than a pool of self-replicating organic molecules splitting through mechanical fission.

Intelliegent Design? (1)

Comboman (895500) | about a year and a half ago | (#41766035)

So intelligent scientists were able to design an experiment that created organic matter from inorganic chemicals, and you think that proves evolution?

Re:Cause you have no proof? (2)

AuMatar (183847) | about a year and a half ago | (#41765497)

Also, you don't understand what evolution is. Evolution says what happens *AFTER LIFE STARTED TO EXIST* and how it changes over time. How those original life forms were created is an entirely different theory.

Re:Cause you have no proof? (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | about a year and a half ago | (#41765553)

This is some strange variant of "If we can send Men to the Moon, surely we must be able to..."

There are plenty of complicated problems that are not easily solved. That these problems take time to solve hardly seems to me to be justification for inserting "Goddidit" as an explanation.

Re:Cause you have no proof? (3, Interesting)

slim (1652) | about a year and a half ago | (#41765589)

You don't need to believe in abiogenesis in order to believe in evolution. When people say that the evidence for evolution is overwhelming, they're not talking about abiogenesis. They're talking about the evidence for there having been periods billions of years ago when there were only single-celled organisms, and the evolution of those organisms into the complex life we have today.

If you like, you can imagine that a deity put life into those primitive origins.

Nonetheless abiogenesis seems plausible to me, and there have been experiments that demonstrate the processes that may have set things off. Look for the Miller-Urey Experiment, for a classic. Bear in mind that to go from primordial soup to single-cells, we're talking about a handful of freak occurrences, each one some 40 million years apart.

Re:Cause you have no proof? (2)

biodata (1981610) | about a year and a half ago | (#41765613)

Google Venter and synthetic bacteria. They already made a synthetic genome from raw chemicals and created a new species by putting the genome into an empty cell. Does this not even create any doubt in your scientific mind that this is just as possible as curing cancer? My bet is we will create synthetic life from scratch a long time before we find a cure for cancer.

Re:Cause you have no proof? (1)

Jessified (1150003) | about a year and a half ago | (#41765857)

The problem with a "Cure for Cancer" is that few people understand that cancer is just a name for hundreds if not thousands of diseases caused by just as many different cellular mistakes, each needing their own approach and treatment regimen.

You might as well say "Cure for Sickness," as in, "Medical science is useless: they haven't even come up with a cure for sickness yet."

Re:Cause you have no proof? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41765701)

Evolution is about the divergence of living organisms into separate species.

Speciation has been observed under laboratory conditions in various lifeforms, and is the basis of all agriculture. Pretending that it's not a fact is willful ignorance.

Shame about the background noise (2)

daveewart (66895) | about a year and a half ago | (#41765335)

Was there nowhere quieter to record? Piped music, other people chatting and moving about etc. A shame...

'news for nerds' (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41765347)

Let the atheist self aggrandizing masturbation begin!!!!

and.... GO

Religions are philosophies (3, Interesting)

concealment (2447304) | about a year and a half ago | (#41765383)

religion as one of the most arbitrary labels by which people divide themselves when involved in conflict

He's got it backward here -- it's one of the least arbitrary labels, since it reveals what underlying philosophy and values we stand for. It's similar to wars breaking out between existentialists and determinists, but we've found more interesting ways to encapsulate those philosophies in mythological symbolism.

Re:Religions are philosophies (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41765435)

Bullshit. Hitler was a Christian. Boy those are some GREAT values of this, do you share them too?

Re:Religions are philosophies (1)

Empiric (675968) | about a year and a half ago | (#41765535)

Hitler directed his Nazi propaganda apparatus to find a way to, in effect, replace "Christmas" with "Hitler Day". This objective is not indicative of a genuine Christian belief.

As is common with politicians, what one claims to believe, and what one actually believes, are often quite discrete.

Re:Religions are philosophies (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41765625)

Hitler was no true Scotsman!

Re:Religions are philosophies (1)

Empiric (675968) | about a year and a half ago | (#41765909)

The problem with this objection, in contrast to where it actually applies, is that Christianity actually has specific documented definition and norms.

That there is debate regarding particular points, does not make it an analogous "Scotsman" context any more than it would for physics.

Re:Religions are philosophies (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41765641)

I believe you got christianity and scotmanship mixed up

Re:Religions are philosophies (1)

Psyborgue (699890) | about a year and a half ago | (#41765817)

Depends. If you define Christian as "one who believes christ was the son of god and came to save mankind", then Hitler was most definately not a Christian. He used his reworked version of Christianity to get his foot in the door but had every intention of wiping Christianity out entirely once he got the chance [wikipedia.org]. He had quite a positive view of Islam, on the other hand. Seems the Jew hatred outlined in the Qur'an mixed well with his own views.

Re:Religions are philosophies (3, Informative)

Coisiche (2000870) | about a year and a half ago | (#41765677)

Well, despite what the guy at the top might have thought, your rank-and-file German soldier still had "Gott mit uns" on his belt.

Re:Religions are philosophies (4, Informative)

Black Parrot (19622) | about a year and a half ago | (#41765991)

Well, despite what the guy at the top might have thought, your rank-and-file German soldier still had "Gott mit uns" on his belt.

According to Wikipedia, you couldn't join the SS unless you professed some religion. It didn't matter which, so long as you had one.

"Jew" didn't count, since they deemed it an ethnicity rather than a religion.

Re:Religions are philosophies (1)

wift (164108) | about a year and a half ago | (#41765545)

I have to disagree. Those labels change from family to family and even person to person depending on their personal beliefs, their church, sect and priest/pastor/rabbi ..... Unless you are talking about absolute fundamentalists. The truth is a person's religion gives you a possible look into a person's values but it will not be accurate enough to rely on.

Degrees of compatibility (1)

concealment (2447304) | about a year and a half ago | (#41765663)

Those labels change from family to family and even person to person depending on their personal beliefs, their church, sect and priest/pastor/rabbi

Since you're not a fundamentalist, you agree that compatibility between beliefs is a matter of degree. However, that also means it reflects agreement on a general principle. Thus, it depends on what's in dispute to determine who's going to cluster with whom. For example, if it's materialists versus supernaturalists, almost all religions will be on the supernaturalist side. But if we're talking about more precise measurements, they may represent opposition to each other.

Re:Religions are philosophies (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | about a year and a half ago | (#41765689)

I have to disagree. Those labels change from family to family and even person to person depending on their personal beliefs, their church, sect and priest/pastor/rabbi ..... Unless you are talking about absolute fundamentalists. The truth is a person's religion gives you a possible look into a person's values but it will not be accurate enough to rely on.

Basically, religion is what people use to justify their actions and values, even if they directly conflict the formal dictates of that religion.

Re:Religions are philosophies (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | about a year and a half ago | (#41765743)

religion as one of the most arbitrary labels by which people divide themselves when involved in conflict

He's got it backward here -- it's one of the least arbitrary labels, since it reveals what underlying philosophy and values we stand for.

At the probabalistic level, it reveals every bit as much about where and in what century you were born, what language you speak, and probably strongest correlation of all, what religion your parents espoused.

Re:Religions are philosophies (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about a year and a half ago | (#41765843)

Which would be true if most religions were not interchangeably identical, and people did not always pick their parents religion.

Wars between religions are more like the fictional war between the United Atheist Alliance and the Allied Atheist Alliance, over the Great Question.

Re:Religions are philosophies (2)

DragonWriter (970822) | about a year and a half ago | (#41765845)

He's got it backward here -- it's one of the least arbitrary labels, since it reveals what underlying philosophy and values we stand for.

Its pretty much as arbitrary as most other identity labels; it is neither "one of the least arbitrary" (as you put it), or one of the "most arbitrary" (as TFS -- incorrectly, incidentally, as the transcript shows -- characterizes Dawkins position. Dawkins, characterizes identity labels in general as arbitrary, and characterizes religion as both "the principal" label used in motivating war, and "the most dangerous" one -- neither of which, IMO, is accurate, but that's a different argument.)

While philosophies are often tied to religions, religious identities rarely map particularly well to substantial differences in "underlying philosophy and values", and particularly the (perceived) differences in religions that are motivate us v. them distinctions are rarely even accurate.

Religions are software. (2)

MRe_nl (306212) | about a year and a half ago | (#41765965)

since it programs what underlying philosophy and values we stand for.

For a website with so many coders, it should be obvious all religious texts are Basic HomoSapiens software hacks.
Viral reproduction, root access(Externalized authority), disabling malware-detectors(Will believe bullshit), it's all in there. Suxnet.

Re:Religions are philosophies (1)

Dr. Manhattan (29720) | about a year and a half ago | (#41765975)

Actually, 'religion' is a proper subset of 'philosophy'. All religions are philosophies, but not all philosophies are religions.

Access (1)

mfwitten (1906728) | about a year and a half ago | (#41765425)

Please provide links to downloadable files for future videos; please don't force your users to suffer some terribly inefficient and limited player like that of an embedded flash player—not only does, say, mplayer use far fewer cycles to play the same damn video, but I can also speed up playback to nearly 2x the rate (without comical effect!), which greatly reduces the time it takes to watch a video, thereby allowing me to spend more time viewing slashdot advertisements. :-P

Re:Access (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41765661)

But then you cannot view the embedded ads within the flash video! Do you suggest they embed the ads in the downloadable version too?

Most Effective Aheist. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41765513)

have been both a Christian and an Atheist at different points in my life, so have a different perspective than most. Folks like Dawkins tend to be the loudest, but are the most ineffective at changing mids. If I were writing a play book for the Atheist movement, I would instruct all influential Atheists to model Michio Kaku. Dr. Kaku rarely strays into religous discussion, may make peripheral comments but doesn't seek to create a lot of controversy. Instead, he sticks to the main points of what he is proficient at and gives people, even those who are Christian or Muslim, someone to want to emulate. It becomes apparent that he is a non-believer in God, but doesn't alienate those who begin with a diferent viewpoint. Focus on living the life you should and people will follow.

I'd make a similar argument to Christians. Don't try to be like Ann Coultier or Rush Limbaugh. Like your lives like Mother Teresa who instructed people "to find your own Calcutta". Focus on living the life you should and people will follow.

-- MyLongNickName
(Slashdot keeps logging me out when I leave the main page)

Re:Most Effective Aheist. (4, Insightful)

Black Parrot (19622) | about a year and a half ago | (#41765809)

I'd make a similar argument to Christians. [...] Like your lives like Mother Teresa

FYI, not everyone holds MT in saintly regard.

(I don't know enough about her to have an opinion on it.)

Re:Most Effective Aheist. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41765833)

for goodness sakes, do not try to live your life like mother Theresa.

There's already enough suffering in the world

Chemistry and Physics get a pass... (3, Insightful)

swb (14022) | about a year and a half ago | (#41765565)

...because you'd sound pretty fucking crazy sitting in a flying airplane denying Newtonian physics and most every man-made object in the modern world relies on chemistry to make it -- plastics, composites, even metals.

Those two fields start out so far ahead in working, every day examples of their basic truths that challenging their more exotic variants seems risky and many of them are too complex for the drooling religious zealots to even begin to criticize.

Evolution doesn't have those kind of concrete, hands-on examples in every day life (well, OK it does, but...). To most people it's been distilled down to MAN USED TO BE A MONKEY AND GOD DIDN'T CREATE HIM BECAUSE THERE IS NO GOD AND THAT MEANS GAY MARRIAGE IS OK and they just can't accept that.

Re:Chemistry and Physics get a pass... (1)

slim (1652) | about a year and a half ago | (#41765653)

To most people ...

That depends where you live.

Re:Chemistry and Physics get a pass... (2)

Jessified (1150003) | about a year and a half ago | (#41765919)

ahhh the theory of gay marriage. My favourite theory of them all.

Also, I'm totally gay for science.

Re:Chemistry and Physics get a pass... (1)

Camel Pilot (78781) | about a year and a half ago | (#41766039)

You're right here. However if one takes the time and understands simple evidences such as ring species, biogeography, vestigial structures, primate ERV distribution between related species, etc. there just isn't any controversy.

Education is the answer to the problem. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41765597)

I don't think it is. In his own book, The God Delusion, he gives an example of a PhD Paleontologist who ignored all his education so that he could believe in the literal interpretation of the Bible.

Then there are the folks, like my father in law (BSME Texas A&M) who will say that current evidence _may_ show that humans evolved on this planet but one day there will be evidence that shows that we were put here. I am not joking or exaggerating. He uses science's own thinking to "show" that they may be wrong.

All the education in the World will not change the opinion of someone who puts their fingers in their ears and yells, "La la la la la la la ...".

Religion is all about people's emotional "thinking". When you ask a believer, their "proof" of God or whatever eventually boils down to a feeling. They "know" He exists and by "know" they're talking about their feeling.

It's that irrational trap humans fall into all the time and they confuse it with rational thought.

Re:Education is the answer to the problem. (2)

slim (1652) | about a year and a half ago | (#41765887)

Human beings are good at putting up mental walls, in order to ignore necessary contradictions in their thinking.

That's why it's possible to have geologists doing mainstream work, while simultaneously believing in creationism. They just put up a barrier in their heads, and don't think about both things at once.

I do genuinely wonder how many religious people, at some level, know that their "belief" isn't true, but behave as if it is, because they feel the world is a better place if everyone acts as if it's true.

Because its taught in school. (2)

uslurper (459546) | about a year and a half ago | (#41765639)

"I can think of no other reason why, of all the scientific facts that people might disagree with or disbelieve, [evolution] is the one they pick on. Physics gets through OK. Chemistry gets through Ok. But not biology/geology, and I think it's got to be because of religion."

Thats an easy answer. Biology and Geology are taught in school. For most middle-aged adults, these were high school requirements. Or the easiest versions were "Life Science" and "Earth Science". Physics and chemistry are electives for the nerds who are interested in the stuff.

Those that just don't "get it" are more apt to dismiss science and fall back on mysticism.

Expecting rationality in others is irrational. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41765643)

... and this is essentially why I don't like or respect Dawkins. It's where his rationality fails miserably.

apparently not (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about a year and a half ago | (#41765657)

I can think of no other reason why, of all the scientific facts that people might disagree with or disbelieve, [evolution] is the one they pick on. Physics gets through OK....... Rep. Paul Broun, who denounced evolution and the Big Bang theory as "lies straight from the pit of hell,"

Well, apparently physics gets picked on too.

Also, good job adding a transcript! I love transcripts!!

Afraid of losing a grip on their fantasies (0)

na1led (1030470) | about a year and a half ago | (#41765687)

Religious believers actually enjoy believing in non-sense, because it makes them feel good. They like believing in fantasies, same way people fantasize about super heroes, sex, money, etc. You take away their invisible Superman and they go kanipshit!

A US-Made Video (1)

uslurper (459546) | about a year and a half ago | (#41765723)

" They're so used to living in a theocracy, that they presume that if a film is released in the United States, the United States Government must be behind it! How could it be otherwise?"

-It doesnt help that the news, even our local news, headlined it as a "US-made" video when actually it was just some random guy.

Arbitrary Labels (1)

Antipater (2053064) | about a year and a half ago | (#41765759)

religion as one of the most arbitrary labels by which people divide themselves when involved in conflict

Really? I'm pretty sure a guy got stabbed this past weekend because he was wearing a Dallas Cowboys jersey in San Francisco. People get shot in LA and Chicago for walking onto the wrong gang's turf. Other people get special treatment because they joined a certain fraternity in college.

It's not often that I say this, but South Park hit the nail on the head. Singling out religion as the culprit for mankind's tendency to find idiotic excuses to justify violence is absurd. It's like blaming gunpowder manufacturers every time someone gets shot.

Stupid videos (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41765795)

I think stupid videos should be released every day insulting all world religions. This would over time de-sensify those who have a problem with it. The 20th time a religion nut calls for reprisals then the people are going to say, FGS, not again, it's just a stupid video, get over it.

Ignorant on social subjects (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41765805)

Mr. Dawkins should go back to the lab, he is and absolute ignorant about history, philosophy, religion, and many other social subjects.

Interesting! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41765813)

Shame about the crappy audio.

Everybody is Religious (to some extent) (0)

RobertLTux (260313) | about a year and a half ago | (#41765839)

Since your Way Of Life at its core depends on your belief of a Higher Power (as 0-N entities with Mu possible) even an atheist is somewhat religious.

Oh btw the In The Beginning X question is at the core of everything so thats why it does not get a "pass".

I'm amazed... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41765849)

That he says he can't think of a reason people pick on evolution. The fundamental truth of the world that is evolution is dictated by sexual selection, that is to say, the concept that "there's someone out there for everyone" is bullshit that is meant to control you. Admitting that it's possible for a trait to be passed on by genes and children be made by more than one marriage or (gasp) out of wedlock would mean that people might not be good little sheep and contribute to the whole. It makes you not try to excel, not try to put effort into advancing your chances in the whole sexual selection lottery that is life. You instead put effort into bettering the whole of humanity, which don't get me wrong, is wonderful in it's own right, but it's the typical person in charge stance of anything that is possible that they don't like saying "oh that's not possible, don't even look over there!" Understand, I'm not saying that admitting evolution happens would make everyone start rutting like animals, I'm saying the big high mucky mucks in the various religious organizations feel that way. We do tend to externalize those feelings we have that we repress the most..

Education is the answer to the problem! (1)

Camel Pilot (78781) | about a year and a half ago | (#41765875)

No doubt. Education is caustic to religious fantasies that are outdated and primitive. Science undercuts the traditional religious foundations.

Hypocrisy (0)

SirAstral (1349985) | about a year and a half ago | (#41765963)

Apparently Dawkins did not mind making negative comments about the muslim video while complaining about the comments that religious folk make about scientific claims.

Pot calling the kettle black much?

I do not see where religion and science conflict with each other on a merit basis. I only see conflicts with science and religion where people create them.

So what if there is evidence that evolution may be true, it still does not make it true and may only reveal how a Creator propagated new species. As someone who writes scripts I reuse a lot of code and I am sure the Creator was intelligent enough to do the same thing to save on time and effort like any intelligent being would do. So yea, one could say that my constant reuse of old script code would be considered a part of the evolution of my future scripts yet, that technically would not be the case.

A programmer is effectively a God in any program he creates, and the same question of "can a programer program a rock so heavy that he cannot create a program strong enough to lift it", could be applied. Yet despite that paradox a programmer has the exact benefits of Omnipotence and Omniscience where that program is concerned, the same being of a God/Creator. We keep forgetting that the status of a God/Creator implies an entity that operates outside of the same rules our corporeal existence is confined withing to the best of our knowledge. Making the assumption that a God/Creator must also be limited to our rules and understandings, is the very first reason we fail to understand how such a being could exist.

Everyone should get their heads out of their rear ends and stop blaming religion for crap and religion needs to stop hating science for what it finds as though it is some attempted disproof of their religion.

There is a lot of short-sightedness going on here and it is plentiful from both sides.

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