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Richard Dawkins to Appear on Doctor Who

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the do-the-evolution-baby dept.

Sci-Fi 692

Ravalox writes "In an interview with The Independent, current curator of the Doctor Who legacy Russell T. Davis announced that distinguished evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins would be making an appearance in the new season of Doctor Who. To quote Davies: 'People were falling at his feet ... We've had Kylie Minogue on that set, but it was Dawkins people were worshipping.' Dawkins is the author of many best-selling non-fiction books, from The Selfish Gene and The Blind Watchmaker to The God Delusion, and a renowned advocate of both Darwin's evolutionary theory and the merits of atheism."

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Not the first member in his family... (5, Informative)

nebaz (453974) | more than 6 years ago | (#22996930)

I just thought I'd mention that Richard Dawkins is married to Lalla Ward, who played the Time Lady Romana (second version) in the original series. She was also married to Tom Baker for a short time.

Re:Not the first member in his family... (0)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 6 years ago | (#22996950)

Is this a guest spot for RD, or just a family reunion? damn!

Re:Not the first member in his family... (5, Interesting)

Jeramy (123761) | more than 6 years ago | (#22997132)

And Douglas Adams wrote for the old show. Douglas Adams and Dawkins were good friends.

Re:Not the first member in his family... (0, Redundant)

Carewolf (581105) | more than 6 years ago | (#22997476)

Douglas Adams wrote a couple of episodes for the old show. He didn't write the entire show.

And (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22996952)

He is going to be holding a toilet plunger and be shouting "Exterminate!! Exterminate the believer!!"

Richard Dawkins + Time Machine (5, Funny)

Centurix (249778) | more than 6 years ago | (#22996956)

Dr Who: Richard, what are you doing with that fish, duct tape and four lizard legs?
Dawkins: What, you think evolution *just happened*?

Re:Richard Dawkins + Time Machine (4, Funny)

Centurix (249778) | more than 6 years ago | (#22996978)

Dr Who: Wait, where did you get duct tape and four lizard legs? This is like a gajillion BC.
Dawkins: I brought the legs with me, I found the duct tape here. Who knew?

Big Deal (1, Troll)

sconeu (64226) | more than 6 years ago | (#22996958)

He's already been on South Park.

Dawkins may may a renowned evolutionary biologist (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22996972)

But he's only famous/infamous for his atheism, and he knows it. He certainly wouldn't be invited to be on "Dr. Who" if he wasn't an Atheist.
Ironically, atheism may have work out financially for him, but he sends the wrong evolutionary message by promoting it for society. Theists do better in society, so that's what he should remind people of, "survival of the fittest". Dawkins should promote theism, as those who embrace God are the fittest to survive in our society, due to social stigmatism on atheists..

Re:Dawkins may may a renowned evolutionary biologi (0, Troll)

Brian Gordon (987471) | more than 6 years ago | (#22997056)

I never really understood atheism anyway. They mock theists for their faith, but there's certainly no way to prove that there's not a god, so aren't they also believing in something independent of scientific proof? IMO agnosticism is the only tenable position for the non-theist.

Re:Dawkins may may a renowned evolutionary biologi (5, Informative)

exitmoose (940135) | more than 6 years ago | (#22997100)

Even Dawkins admits that, strictly speaking, he's an agnostic. He doesn't know that God doesn't exist. But there's any number of things that could just as easily apply to. No one says they're an agnostic with respect to unicorns. They just say "Unicorns aren't real." Only when it comes to this "God" concept, does everyone become such a pedant. If we applied the same standards to God that we did to unicorns, no one would take Dawkins to task for saying he's an atheist. He explains this all in "God Delusion." I suggest you read it.

Re:Dawkins may may a renowned evolutionary biologi (3, Interesting)

Brian Gordon (987471) | more than 6 years ago | (#22997136)

That's because it's only an important distinction when talking about God. Because some people really do believe that it's impossible for a god to exist and they operate under that assumption. Some people (like Dawkins) don't accept that and call themselves agnostic, but it's just intellectual and they're really atheists.. their world would be shattered completely if they learned that they were wrong. Agnosticism isn't just some technicality, it's a completely different way of thinking.

By the way I'm not promoting agnosticism; I think that you have to make a leap of faith [wikipedia.org] somewhere, and on this issue the options seem to me theism and strong atheism.

Re:Dawkins may may a renowned evolutionary biologi (2, Insightful)

Kuruk (631552) | more than 6 years ago | (#22997216)

I think the way agnostic people think would vary just as much as the way religious peoples thinking does.
   

Nonsense. (4, Informative)

warrax_666 (144623) | more than 6 years ago | (#22997244)

their world would be shattered completely if they learned that they were wrong.

"Learned" implies evidence, and if there were any evidence they would simply change their stance to the appropriate form of theism. That's the rational way to go about things. To date there has not been any single piece of credible evidence for the existence of God(s).

Like the other poster said: Please just read The God Delusion, it explains all of this.

Re:Nonsense. (0, Flamebait)

UncleTogie (1004853) | more than 6 years ago | (#22997494)

Like the other poster said: Please just read The God Delusion, it explains all of this.

Read it. IMHO, Dawkins being belligerent and quoting other people doesn't make a very convincing set of arguments.

Re:Dawkins may may a renowned evolutionary biologi (5, Insightful)

Plutonite (999141) | more than 6 years ago | (#22997432)

There is no distinction at all between any fictional beings, except perhaps that deities happen to be less likely to exist than unicorns. With the unicorn, the FSM, or the yet unseen sub-atomic particle you only need to admit (as a skeptic) that you cannot prove or say much about it, since no evidence for the positivity of it's existence has been shown.*

With gods and such, particularly the monotheist version,you just have to sit back and ponder on the entire scheme of the religion at hand to see how bizarre the underlying philosophy is. People think it's the tenets of faith/the law that makes religion un-likable, but that's not really it. I would be willing to accept any of that, but it is the "god" bit itself that is disgusting. Thousands of religions, each thinking they are "right", the others are wrong, their god is the Truth, all of them required of "believe" that. All of them expected to live and die by those respective "beliefs", those "leaps of faith" that become a microcosm of existence for each, sending them to the limits of insane behavior. And all of them not recognizing that it is their respective god that is responsible for this sick scenario, assuming we forget everything we know about physics and the dynamics of the world. Islam, the most philosophically advanced theology of the monotheist faiths(abstract god, non-deification of humans including prophets..etc), had its second Caliph arrest and kill anyone who talked about destiny/determinism debate. He had good reason to do so. The only gods that are not six-year-old in mentality happen to be the ones that do not "want" you to do things.... they sidestep the philosophical debate entirely. And by doing so, they warrant no attention from us as well - i.e the only sensible gods do not matter. It's a catch .22 that religion cannot win.

Religion is a simplistic, silly idea that has no place in the free world of today. We have strong instincts for it, sadly, but I hope one day we no longer need them to emotionally survive. The world is beautiful without deities. Let's grow up and forget about them.

* This is in contrast to mathematical logic, where you can indeed make statements about provability, both negative (there does not exist...) and positive(there exists...).

Re:Dawkins may may a renowned evolutionary biologi (5, Interesting)

cheater512 (783349) | more than 6 years ago | (#22997446)

Hey if God was proven to be real one day, I think every major religion would be shattered, not just Atheists.

All those religions. Not all of them can be right.
By proving that God exists you destroy hundreds of faiths overnight.

Re:Dawkins may may a renowned evolutionary biologi (4, Insightful)

elronxenu (117773) | more than 6 years ago | (#22997458)

It's not an important distinction because the set of all possible Gods is infinite, but Theists rarely believe that any kind of a God exists, they believe in their specific flavour. Jehovah, Allah, Zeus, Osiris, Freya, Thor, Ahulane ... there's no specific evidence to support the existence of any of them.

Likewise when you look in detail at the behaviour of the universe and physics, there's no need for a God of any kind to keep it all running. Whether there was a need for a God to start it all 13.7 billion years ago is irrelevant today.

For all his putative omnipresence, God is as elusive as the Unicorn. There's no more reason to believe in any God than there is to believe in Unicorns.

Re:Dawkins may may a renowned evolutionary biologi (5, Insightful)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 6 years ago | (#22997502)

By the way I'm not promoting agnosticism; I think that you have to make a leap of faith somewhere, and on this issue the options seem to me theism and strong atheism.
How about ordinary atheism, as in "I merely reject one more unevidenced god than you do"?

IMO, that's the *only* viable option. On one extreme, no one can prove that no gods exist. On the other, if you lower your standards of evidence to accept one religious claim, you have to accept them all (or else be hypocritical about it). So the only options are ordinary atheism (as in "I don't believe anyones religious myths") and self-delusion.

FWIW, 'agnostic' seems to have come into use due to a shift in the popular meaning of 'atheist'. Acording to Wictionary, the term didn't even exist before 1870. If people would try to quit reading more into a-theism than the word actually suggests, we wouldn't need a term for the neutral category.

But in excessively religious societies like ours, people tend to interpret atheism as yet another competing claim, rather than merely a rejection of other people's claims. For me, atheism isn't a religious belief; it's a *lack* of religious beliefs. I suppose you could call it "a belief", but only in the same sense that my lack of any particular reason to believe in Bigfoot is "a belief" about Bigfoot.

Re:Dawkins may may a renowned evolutionary biologi (3, Insightful)

Jedi Alec (258881) | more than 6 years ago | (#22997558)

Some people (like Dawkins) don't accept that and call themselves agnostic, but it's just intellectual and they're really atheists.. their world would be shattered completely if they learned that they were wrong. Agnosticism isn't just some technicality, it's a completely different way of thinking.

How's that? I'm pretty much in the same field myself, thinking the whole thing is a lot of hogwash.

However, if one of the gods decided to actually show up and do some, you know, godly stuff, and I'm not talking the ambiguous kind but serious, honest-to-whatever god stuff, heck, I'd be cool with that. Assuming he/she/it doesn't mind being poked by scientists for a bit anyway ;-)

Obviously that would take out the whole "belief" part though...

Re:Dawkins may may a renowned evolutionary biologi (1, Troll)

avajadi (232509) | more than 6 years ago | (#22997508)

Dawkins is the atheist analogy of a religous nut. His argumentation when it comes to religion is just as fanatically against religion as an american TV-preacher is for...donations.
Seriously, after 9/11 he went out in british media and used the terror acts as a springboard for his anti-religous campaigning, how extremist isn't that? I have no problem with people questioning faith or being agnostics, atheists or whatever, but claiming to be a rationalist and then going all atheist-jihadic like Dawkings has does not add up.
When is someone going to see through this man, he obviously has some profound issues to take care of.

Re:Dawkins may may a renowned evolutionary biologi (5, Insightful)

mcsporran (832624) | more than 6 years ago | (#22997146)

In the God Delusion, Dawkins is quite clear, I believe he titles the chapter "Why there is almost certainly no God".
Most atheists are aware that you can't prove the absence of God, anymore than you can prove his presence.
So most atheists could be called agnostics, but we are as agnostic about the Christian Yahweh, as we are about Thor or Shiva.

So yes we are technically agnostics, but that may confuse us with those who actually give some credibility to these superstitions.
Almost all atheists, are saying "There is no (credible reason to believe there is a) God"

Remember, Atheism is "Free of Theism", not "God does not exist"

Re:Dawkins may may a renowned evolutionary biologi (1)

Tomfrh (719891) | more than 6 years ago | (#22997406)

Remember, Atheism is "Free of Theism", not "God does not exist"

My position is that God does not exist. How am I not an atheist?

Re:Dawkins may may a renowned evolutionary biologi (1)

mcsporran (832624) | more than 6 years ago | (#22997526)

I'm not suggesting they are exclusive. You can of course be free of theism, and believe god does not exist. I'm saying the statement "God does not exist" is as valid as "God exists".
Neither can be proved true.

Re:Dawkins may may a renowned evolutionary biologi (3, Insightful)

glwtta (532858) | more than 6 years ago | (#22997154)

They mock theists for their faith, but there's certainly no way to prove that there's not a god, so aren't they also believing in something independent of scientific proof?

What a novel and exciting argument, no one's thought of that before!

Theism and agnosticism are orthogonal (as the kids say) concepts. Most atheists are agnostic, most theists are gnostic (not to be confused with Gnostic). There are some gnostic atheists out there, but not many - like you say, it's a hard position to end up in.

Re:Dawkins may may a renowned evolutionary biologi (3, Insightful)

kylebarbour (1239920) | more than 6 years ago | (#22997160)

It's because of Occam's razor [wikipedia.org] . Theism posits that a God or Gods exist(s). However, observable evidence doesn't necessitate that one exist; that is, a God is an 'extra', if you will, there's no phenomena that cannot be explained without the existence of a God. As such, the principle of Occam's razor - do not make theories more complicated than necessary - eliminates the existence of a God, because the world is simpler without one. This leaves atheism as the remaining scientific theory. Another way of thinking about this is that all parts of scientific thought have doubt inherently as a part of them, not just ones surrounding God. So, atheism and agnosticism are essentially equivalent - few atheists would argue that they can prove that there is no God.

Re:Dawkins may may a renowned evolutionary biologi (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22997218)

Occams razor is supposed to be applied to scientific theories.
Most religious persons would not claim that belief is a scientific theory.
Your argument just fuels creationist "science".

Re:Dawkins may may a renowned evolutionary biologi (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22997324)

Occams razor is supposed to be applied to scientific theories.
Not at all. It is a simple logical device which you can apply to any deduction.

Re:Dawkins may may a renowned evolutionary biologi (1)

khellendros1984 (792761) | more than 6 years ago | (#22997472)

That's the problem right there. Religion isn't logical. Applying a logical device to an inherently illogical construct doesn't work. In short, you can prove that the universe would be simpler without a god. But what's the point of arguing it, if the people you're trying to convince aren't going to accept the reasoning anyhow?

Re:Dawkins may may a renowned evolutionary biologi (4, Insightful)

orzetto (545509) | more than 6 years ago | (#22997172)

[...] there's certainly no way to prove that there's not a god, so aren't they also believing in something independent of scientific proof?

There is also no way to disprove that the universe was created by a tea pot orbiting Venus. There is no readily available tool to scientifically disprove that.

We atheists simply think that it is plain silly to believe in the tea pot because some ancient scrolls written by some guru says so. Now, if someone were to find the tea pot, or any trace of it, it would be interesting.

There is no such thing as proof outside math (1)

Pinky's Brain (1158667) | more than 6 years ago | (#22997180)

I'm not agnostic about the sun coming up tomorrow either.

Re:Dawkins may may a renowned evolutionary biologi (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22997184)

The only thing interesting about the parent is how people still don't bother to look up the meaning of words they don't understand, and prefer to just make them up.

Atheism is a _lack of belief_ in deities. They aren't taking anything just on faith.

Re:Dawkins may may a renowned evolutionary biologi (3, Informative)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 6 years ago | (#22997232)

I never really understood atheism anyway. They mock theists for their faith
Yeah, and here's what happens [chicagotribune.com] when a calm and reasonable theist tries to engage a drool-spewing atheist in a reasonable discussion.

there's certainly no way to prove that there's not a god, so aren't they also believing in something independent of scientific proof?
Actually, they are *not* believing in something that lacks any supporting evidence.

By your reasoning, we should believe every religious claim that has ever been made.

IMO agnosticism is the only tenable position for the non-theist.
Everyone is an agnostic, including you.

As for "non-theist", that's exactly what a-theism means. (The Greek alpha privative [wikipedia.org] is in fact cognate with our "non".)

Re:Dawkins may may a renowned evolutionary biologi (1)

ShadowMarth (870657) | more than 6 years ago | (#22997290)

If you can see that much, how can you not see that agnosticism is the ONLY rational choice?

Re:Dawkins may may a renowned evolutionary biologi (1)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 6 years ago | (#22997566)

No, Richard Dawkins is the one true prophet and we will roast the theists in the flames of derision on the internet ;-)

Actually the wittiest version of an athiest shahadah [wikipedia.org] is James Watson's "DNA is God and RNA is his prophet".

I dont know how to put it as pithily as that but it seems to me that most of the attributes of a Judeo Christan good apart from consciousness fit quite well with evolution. Omnipotent, omnipresent and Omniscient? Well it acts on every organism with herditity and improves its ability to reproduce. Evolved organisms seem to exploit every physical effect humans understand and probably all the ones we don't. And if you are omnipotent and omnipresent and omniscient, how conscious can you be? Consciousness to me implies that you constantly learn and change, and that implies that you are not all of the three Os.

Re:Dawkins may may a renowned evolutionary biologi (2, Interesting)

Siener (139990) | more than 6 years ago | (#22997316)

I never really understood atheism anyway. They mock theists for their faith, but there's certainly no way to prove that there's not a god, so aren't they also believing in something independent of scientific proof? IMO agnosticism is the only tenable position for the non-theist.
Here's my explanation of why it doesn't take faith to be an atheist [youtube.com]

Re:Dawkins may may a renowned evolutionary biologi (4, Informative)

demi (17616) | more than 6 years ago | (#22997398)

I never really understood atheism anyway.

Usually "agnosticism" means someone who actively believes you cannot know whether God exists or not. Atheism comes in two flavors: strong and weak.

"Strong" and "weak" refer to the comprehensiveness of the propositions encompassed, not to the degree of conviction or its vigor. A weak atheist position is that of a person who is without a belief in God. They don't "actively disbelieve" in God any more than you "actively disbelieve" in the brown chicken in my attic. There is no reason to think such a chicken (or God) exists--you simply lack belief in it, without "denying" the chicken. Or God.

A strong atheist position is the position that no God exists, supported by proof, evidence or belief. Whether this is the sort of thing that can be proved is perhaps open to debate--reasonable people disagree on whether it is a religious belief or not.

In my view, it's pretty slam dunk to see that any time a religious belief has resulted in something testable that could be offered as proof or disproof of God's existence, we have found that that sort of God doesn't exist. I don't know how many times you need to be told by someone that there is a chicken behind this door, no really, only to find when you open it that there is no chicken, before you suspect that there probably aren't any chickens here at all.

Re:Dawkins may may a renowned evolutionary biologi (1)

Boronx (228853) | more than 6 years ago | (#22997414)

Agnosticism is likewise the only tenable position for theists.

No proof does not mean 50:50 probability. (4, Interesting)

Epeeist (2682) | more than 6 years ago | (#22997418)

I think you would find that most atheists would accept that you can't prove that personal gods do not exist.

But that doesn't mean the odds are the same as a coin toss. If we take Christianity for example, each time we find an inconsistency in the Bible (no walls around Jericho, no reports of anyone outside the middle east reporting a global flood, no town of Nazareth at the time Jesus was supposed to be alive, no reports of graves opening and the dead walking in anything but the gospels) then it lowers the probability of a biblical god.

And people of faith take a much more extreme attitude than most atheists. They insist that the probability of their god existing is 100% exactly, while the probability of anyone else's god existing is 0% exactly.

They need to realise that if you can't disprove that Yahweh exists then you can't disprove that Zeus, Odin or Atum (at least he had fun creating the world) exist either.

Re:Dawkins may may a renowned evolutionary biologi (4, Insightful)

Alsee (515537) | more than 6 years ago | (#22997434)

I never really understood atheism anyway. They mock theists for their faith, but there's certainly no way to prove that there's not a god

July, 1998
A juror in Judge Esmond Faulks' court in Newcastle upon Tyne, England, eagerly asked the judge for the defendant's date of birth so he could draw up a star chart to help him decide the case. He was removed.

There ya go. Presuming that you agree it was *appropriate* to forcibly eject that juror, presuming you consider that juror mockable and perhaps even a dangerous loony-toon, now you completely understand atheism.

To elaborate, probably half the other people on the jury read their horoscopes during lunch. Silly, irrational, but Mostly Harmless entertainment value so long as they don't take it seriously and start fucking over other people based upon their faith in magical messages from the sky.

-

Atheism is the absence of belief in any deity (1)

daBass (56811) | more than 6 years ago | (#22997452)

Atheists do not "believe there is no god", instead, Atheism is the absence of belief in any deity.

Not believing something exists and "believing something does not exist" are two very different states of mind.

Wrap your head around that and you will understand atheism.

Re:Dawkins may may a renowned evolutionary biologi (1)

Nitroadict (1005509) | more than 6 years ago | (#22997482)

I disagree; I think agnosticism is not the best option for the non-theist, as it would still implicitly hold the concept of 'God' as having some type of meaning. I would think, depending on which interested non-theist you're talking about, that either Ignosticism or theological non-cognitiveism would be a better option. Consider:

"Theodore Drange sees atheism and agnosticism as positions which accept "God exists" as a meaningful proposition; atheists judge it to be "false or probably false" and agnostics consider it to be inconclusive until further evidence is met. If Drange's definitions are accepted, ignostics are neither atheists nor agnostics. An atheist would say, "I don't believe God exists"; an agnostic would say, "I don't know whether or not God exists"; and an ignostic would say, "I don't know what you mean when you say, 'God exists' ".
-http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ignosticism

links:

  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ignosticism [wikipedia.org]

  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theological_noncognitivism [wikipedia.org]

Re:Dawkins may may a renowned evolutionary biologi (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22997490)

It's a matter of simple probability analysis.
I as an atheist don't deny the chance of there being a god, just as I don't deny that there could actually be fairies in our well.
It's just so unlikely (in my opinion).

Re:Dawkins may may a renowned evolutionary biologi (5, Insightful)

exitmoose (940135) | more than 6 years ago | (#22997060)

But he's only famous/infamous for his atheism, and he knows it. He certainly wouldn't be invited to be on "Dr. Who" if he wasn't an Atheist.
There are plenty of atheists who aren't famous. I'm one of them. Dawkins isn't famous for his atheism, he's famous for being a vocal advocate of his atheism and doing it rather well. It's a subtle distinction, but an important one.

Ironically, atheism may have work out financially for him, but he sends the wrong evolutionary message by promoting it for society. Theists do better in society, so that's what he should remind people of, "survival of the fittest". Dawkins should promote theism, as those who embrace God are the fittest to survive in our society, due to social stigmatism on atheists..
And this, of course, is silly. Don't confuse Social Darwinism with Biological Darwinism. The rest isn't even worth a response.

Re:Dawkins may may a renowned evolutionary biologi (1)

identity0 (77976) | more than 6 years ago | (#22997208)

Also an atheist here. I haven't read his books, but I have read overviews of his general ideas, and he seems to be too much of a biological determinist to me. Since he apparently argues that people believe in God because of genetics and attributes many social behaviors to genes, I think his ideas lends itself to a belief in social Darwinism.

Re:Dawkins may may a renowned evolutionary biologi (2)

Cassius Corodes (1084513) | more than 6 years ago | (#22997276)

Which is why you should stop reading crappy reviews and just read the damn book. And read the selfish gene while you are at it - in my humble opinion its one of the best books ever written.

Re:Dawkins may may a renowned evolutionary biologi (1)

Konster (252488) | more than 6 years ago | (#22997520)

I sprained a mussel when I read "The Shellfish Gene."

Re:Dawkins may may a renowned evolutionary biologi (2, Insightful)

ezzthetic (976321) | more than 6 years ago | (#22997346)

Don't confuse Social Darwinism with Biological Darwinism.

Unfortunately, it was the Darwinists themselves who started this confusion (See the Desmond and Moore biography). Part of the appeal of evolutionary theory in the nineteenth century was that it appeared to challenge conservative social orthodoxy, showing that everything was in a state of flux. Evolution was a substantial plank in Liberal ideology.

Of course, it still isn't a valid inference. The fact that organisms might be competitive overall does not mean that humans are, any more than individual ants compete with each other.

All the same, it's not accurate to say that Social Darwinism is an abuse of the theory.

Re:Dawkins may may a renowned evolutionary biologi (5, Funny)

TurinPT (1226568) | more than 6 years ago | (#22997080)

Agree with the message above, priest/xaman/rabi is the only job where your boss doesn't exist.

Re:Dawkins may may a renowned evolutionary biologi (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22997130)

Do you have any supporting evidence for that theory?

I agree that it may apply in certain fields (politics springs to mind) - but speaking for myself, religion (or lack thereof) has not influenced any of the things in my life that I feel make me 'successful in society'. I also know a lot of other people for whom this applies.

I work in IT in Australia, your theory might apply more in different industries or countries.

Here's another thought - if things were reversed, and more people in the world were athiests (even a slim majority), would you say the best thing would be for everyone to be an athiest?

Re:Dawkins may may a renowned evolutionary biologi (5, Informative)

Alain Williams (2972) | more than 6 years ago | (#22997164)

But he's only famous/infamous for his atheism
He has published a set of highly readable books on evolution [google.co.uk] over many years.

He certainly wouldn't be invited to be on "Dr. Who" if he wasn't an Atheist.
Where is your evidence for this statement ? I find it sad that those of religious pursuasion are prepared to make definitive statements without the facts to back them up.

Theists do better in society,
Again: evidence ?

Re:Dawkins may may a renowned evolutionary biologi (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22997420)

"But he's only famous/infamous for his atheism
He has published a set of highly readable books on evolution over many years.

He certainly wouldn't be invited to be on "Dr. Who" if he wasn't an Atheist.
Where is your evidence for this statement ? I find it sad that those of religious pursuasion are prepared to make definitive statements without the facts to back them up.

Theists do better in society,
Again: evidence ?"

How the hell can I give you evidence for that statement, it's opinion. I don't have access to an alternate universe. I made a logical inference. You didn't back up any of your suppositions, or even countered my claims. Plus you took a huge leap by implying that I said Dawkins hasn't done work on evolution which I didn't. But did those books sell as well as "God Delusion"? Doubtful.

Re:Dawkins may may a renowned evolutionary biologi (4, Insightful)

Zombie Ryushu (803103) | more than 6 years ago | (#22997176)

Part of the idea is such that, most of the mono-theists think God is really all about them. God is so they can justify what they want. It justifies the suppression of the rights of minorities, It justifies the abuse of women, and children.

Its a little bit selfish to think that you matter so much to the creator of the universe, if there is such a thing, that he cares about small pointless things, that Humanity and its Earth somehow hold some special place in the cosmos. If there is a "First one." does it not stand to reason that we really wouldn't matter?

For example. Christians argue against abortion. but that has nothing to do with God really. It has everything to do with Muslims not outnumbering Christians because of population control.

Its even more self centered to think that a creator of the Universe would want to entertain or torment us until the end of time. Thats completely and utterly pointless.

You see where I'm going with this? its a Huge huge universe. Human beings are small, insignificant. The creator of the universe if he exists wouldn't blink twice at what Humans care about.

Theists are not more socially adapted to survival. Quite the opposite. The rational survive in an emergency. The religious panic and pray, and as a result die. As a result of religion, we have county school boards embroiled over "intelligent design." We have propoganda that claims that Evolution is completely random. We have politicians telling students that condoms don't work (They can break/tear but thats different.)and as a result STDs are rampant. Religion is a mad house that delights in psychotic behavior of all kinds. Its a cauldron and opiate.

Re:Dawkins may may a renowned evolutionary biologi (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22997280)

No, see, the point is that that creator of the universe DOES care, and in fact specifically created it to put us here.

I'm important, I'm here for a reason! In the grand scheme of things, I'm not an insignificant speck that doesn't have any real effect on anything! Please, I want to be a special snowflake.

I would personally rather risk the unbeliever's malady of loss of self-worth leading to personal illness and/or death than the believer's malady of ruining everyone else's lives with their bullshit (see: crusades, jerry falwell, that "god hates gays" church (all of them amirite?))

Re:Dawkins may may a renowned evolutionary biologi (1)

pkphilip (6861) | more than 6 years ago | (#22997510)

For example. Christians argue against abortion. but that has nothing to do with God really. It has everything to do with Muslims not outnumbering Christians because of population control.
Where did you get that from? Christians argue against abortion because the life of the fetus is considered sacred. Thats the only reason. It is the same reason that the church is against euthanasia.

Theists are not more socially adapted to survival. Quite the opposite
Research after research shows that the religious outlive atheists and are also generally happier.
http://www.webmd.com/content/Article/78/95776.htm/ [webmd.com]

I think your reasoning is clouded by your suspicion of religion (which is reasonable) and your distrust of anything to do with God.

But to claim that atheism makes sense isn't very logical.

Read:
http://www.anointed-one.net/atheism.html

Atheist survival (0)

Per Abrahamsen (1397) | more than 6 years ago | (#22997578)

Theists are not more socially adapted to survival.
They get more children than atheists, on average. So a selfish gene would prefer to be part of a theist over an atheist.

The rational survive in an emergency. The religious panic and pray, and as a result die.
As the quote exemplify, there is no guarantee that atheists think rationally even when there isn't an emergency. When there is an emergency, believing in something greater than yourself (which does not have to be a God) may prevent panic, and allow you to act rationally. But mostly behavior in an emergency has little to do with faith, and is a question of training. Your specific kind irrationality (putting irrationally much emphasis on the number of gods, a trend shared by outspoken atheist and outspoken theists alike) prevent you from seeing that, and may decrease your survival chance. Although not much, in modern society "emergency" no longer describe the situation of most deaths.

Re:Dawkins may may a renowned evolutionary biologi (5, Insightful)

xPsi (851544) | more than 6 years ago | (#22997222)

Theists do better in society, so that's what he should remind people of, "survival of the fittest". Dawkins should promote theism, as those who embrace God are the fittest to survive in our society, due to social stigmatism on atheists.
You are using the classic "religion is useful" argument. But just because it may be useful, doesn't mean it is true. What Dawkins is interested (as he has stated repeatedly) in is truth, not potentially locally convenient psychology. Also, categorizing atheists as you are is nonsense. We are all atheists with respect to specific theologies and gods we don't believe in. You know that feeling you get when people start talking to you in all earnestness about how great Poseidon is? That's how Dawkins feels about your god. Finally, using evolution and "survival of the fittest" in the way you are is an antiquated tautology. "Fittest" in an evolutionary sense is defined as those who survive and reproduce. Atheists seem to be doing fine in that regard and always have (much of China, for example, is atheistic by some Abrahamic standard and is, in fact, also mostly nontheistic too). Finally, I'm sure the fact that he's married to one of the most famous and popular Dr. Who characters of all time might have something to do with why he's appearing on the show (see the first post).

But he's only famous/infamous for his atheism, and he knows it.
I"m guessing his multiple bestsellers (many of which have nothing to do with religion) and being the inventor of the term "meme" AND his position as Charles Simonyi Chair for the Public Understanding of Science at the University of Oxford might have something more to do with his fame. By the way, he also happens to be a non-astrologer too.

Re:Dawkins may may a renowned evolutionary biologi (2, Funny)

Cassius Corodes (1084513) | more than 6 years ago | (#22997320)

Poseidon is great! - he totally whooped Odysseus's ass. None of this eternal torment after death rubbish, the wrath is here and now!

Re:Dawkins may may a renowned evolutionary biologi (1)

elronxenu (117773) | more than 6 years ago | (#22997504)

The Flying Spaghetti Monster will whip both of them. At once.

Re:Dawkins may may a renowned evolutionary biologi (1)

glwtta (532858) | more than 6 years ago | (#22997228)

Dawkins should promote theism, as those who embrace God are the fittest to survive in our society, due to social stigmatism on atheists..

Dawkins should promote a homogeneous population based on currently prevailing environmental conditions? Methinks someone needs another crack at understanding evolution.

Can't say I agree with your premise, either: the only place where that stigma actually matters is politics, and it's easy enough to fake it there.

(also, the word you are looking for is "stigmatization", but it's still kind of an awkward turn of phrase)

Re:Dawkins may may a renowned evolutionary biologi (0, Troll)

the_womble (580291) | more than 6 years ago | (#22997240)

as those who embrace God are the fittest to survive in our society, due to social stigmatism on atheists.
That may be true in the US, but Dawkins is British. As in much of the rest of Europe, it is religious beliefs that are stigmatised. Why do you think British politicians do not discuss any faith they have until after they have retired? Do you know about man who was not made an EU commissioner because he was a Catholic?

I do think Dawkins does do one thing that is harmful: he attacks theism without understanding it. He makes the common mistakes atheists make that faith is synonymous with belief and that that belief an arbitrary, unreasoned choice.

Many Slashdot posters do something else that is both harmful and dishonest: associating atheism with evolution. The vast majority of Christians (and most people I meet of other religions) accept the theory of evolution as well proven.

In fact, creationism is more of an characteristically American belief than a Christian one: every Christian creationist I have ever come across is either American or belongs to a heavily American influenced evangelical church. The other major stronghold of creationism is in the Middle East, where Islamic fundamentalists have a very similar mindset to Christian ones (or intolerant groups of any religion, or none, in general).

Re:Dawkins may may a renowned evolutionary biologi (4, Insightful)

warrax_666 (144623) | more than 6 years ago | (#22997306)

Do you know about man who was not made an EU commissioner because he was a Catholic?

That's disingenuous: He was rejected because he stated that he would be compelled to force his religiously based views on others -- it had nothing to do with him being Catholic.

I do think Dawkins does do one thing that is harmful: he attacks theism without understanding it.

This is a fallacy. You positively do not have to be understand very much about Norse mythology to realize that's it's a silly belief system. The same applies to other gods.

Re:Dawkins may may a renowned evolutionary biologi (1)

Cassius Corodes (1084513) | more than 6 years ago | (#22997372)

What makes you think he attacks theism without understanding it? I hear this clam often and am enquiring as to the reasoning behind it.

As another point what is faith if not belief (or any such related word)? The definition of faith incorporates the notion that its a choice not based on proof. In fact the second definition on dictionary.com is exactly this: "2. belief that is not based on proof:". To argue that this is a mistake to say as such is to say that our current definition of faith is wrong.

Darwin didn't get it all right, but. . . (1)

Fantastic Lad (198284) | more than 6 years ago | (#22997380)

Theists do better in society, so that's what he should remind people of, "survival of the fittest".


Since nearly the entire human sphere is made up of theists of one stripe or another, this is rather like saying, "People do better in society". Though, I can't help but think that society might be a whole lot better off if those people would stop sacking one another's cities over matters of religious difference.

Those who 'embrace god' are usually and typically really just embracing whatever nonsense and demonstrably false religious text has been provided them by their local equally lost-in-the-woods cult leader, usually spoon fed to them from a young enough age that the brainwashing is so deep they would rather spin forever in denial and a broad application of the most ludicrous arguments rather than consider the possibility that they are in fact psychological abuse victims.

God is certainly real; it's you and me and the earth under your feet and yeah, it's even the concept of a bearded maniac in the sky which so many people build churches and temples and mosques to sing euphoric praise to. God is everything under the Sun. And above the Sun. And the Sun too, while we're at it. --But the Spanish Inquisition would have cut my nuts off for suggesting such a thing, which is why the following is worth repeating. . .

Religion as it stands and as it has stood since its dawn is a crippling disease of the mind perpetrated by fools and villains designed to keep humanity stupid, depraved and forever blind to their own true history and potential.

But that's just my take. Maybe the current war in the Middle East has absolutely nothing to do with whose god is bestest.


-FL

Re:Dawkins may may a renowned evolutionary biologi (4, Insightful)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 6 years ago | (#22997390)

"But he's only famous/infamous for his atheism"

Yeah right, and Hawkings is only famous for his wheelchair.

"Theists do better in society"

Which society? - India for instance has at least twice as many polytheists as the entire population of the US.

Re:Dawkins may may a renowned evolutionary biologi (2, Informative)

Afecks (899057) | more than 6 years ago | (#22997422)

Theists do better in society, so that's what he should remind people of, "survival of the fittest".
That's just a myth.

Societies worse off 'when they have God on their side' [timesonline.co.uk]

It turns out that wallowing in ignorance is actually harmful to society. Who would have guessed, huh? Oh well. C'est la vie!

Re:Dawkins may may a renowned evolutionary biologi (1)

somethinghollow (530478) | more than 6 years ago | (#22997428)

Theists do better in society, so that's what he should remind people of, "survival of the fittest". Dawkins should promote theism, as those who embrace God are the fittest to survive in our society, due to social stigmatism on atheists.

I think a lot of the people with a lot of money are Scientologist. That doesn't make them "more fit to survive" than Christians, Buddhists, or atheists, and it certainly doesn't mean we should subscribe to their dubious dogma.

Ability to make money means nothing in the wild. Ability to lead the sheep may be a good trait, but it has nothing to do with religious beliefs. It has more to do with the ability to manipulate the hearts/minds of the people by whatever means available. Religious leaders have a leg up in that area because they are taking advantage of a common thread in humanity (that Dawkins attempts to get people to dispel).

Put Simply (5, Funny)

mcsporran (832624) | more than 6 years ago | (#22997030)

There is no god, and Dawkins is his prophet.

Re:Put Simply (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22997522)

You're paraphrasing something originally said of Paul Dirac. I think it was Wolfgang Pauli who said it first.

ATHEISM IS OF THE DEVIL! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22997038)

Old Lucifer is cunning and crafty. The best trick he ever pulled on all of us was to convince us that he doesn't exist! DO NOT BE TAKEN IN BY HIM! These atheists are spewing lies! LIES!!

Re:ATHEISM IS OF THE DEVIL! (2, Insightful)

mcsporran (832624) | more than 6 years ago | (#22997058)

Strange then that your god uses the same strategy, isn't it ?

Re:ATHEISM IS OF THE DEVIL! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22997396)

Of course you realise that atheists (such as myself) don't actually believe in the devil, so we're not worried...

Re:ATHEISM IS OF THE DEVIL! (2, Interesting)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 6 years ago | (#22997430)

No, the greatest cunning of the devil was to destroy the word of God by forming a church around it that would "interpret" it for the people, just as some formed a supreme court around the constitution to "interpret" it.

Dawkins' Popularity (4, Insightful)

ecavalli (1216014) | more than 6 years ago | (#22997046)

Mod me down if you think this is too far off topic, but does anyone else wonder how much Dawkins' popularity (as related by Davies) applies specifically to the Who audience and others like it?

I can't imagine the average person would get excited over the guy if he appeared on an episode of Friends or Deal or No Deal.

Luckily Mr. Dawkins seems to know his audience, and the Who fans' natural tendency towards the geekier, more analytical side of the human personality spectrum makes his appearance on the show a stroke of publicity genius.

Call to Worship (1)

Gay for Linux (942545) | more than 6 years ago | (#22997052)

"it was Dawkins people were worshipping."

Mister Dawkins, my daughter is deathly ill. Could you please heal her? [waves his hand] Oh, thank you sir. Praise be to the flying spaghetti monster!

Realignment of priorities is in order (5, Funny)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | more than 6 years ago | (#22997064)

We've had Kylie Minogue on that set, but it was Dawkins people were worshipping.

Kylie Minogue [google.com] was on the set and people were chasing Richard Dawkins??? Wow, that show really IS for geeks.

Re:Realignment of priorities is in order (1)

Oldav (533444) | more than 6 years ago | (#22997098)

....Or people who have heard Kylie sing....shudder

Re:Realignment of priorities is in order (2, Informative)

The Bender (801382) | more than 6 years ago | (#22997122)

Lordy. If I could only have been there I would have been able to bag me a Kylie Minogue while everyone else was prostrating at the feet of the almighty Dawkins. Another missed opportunity, dammit.

Re:Realignment of priorities is in order (1)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | more than 6 years ago | (#22997574)

Freema's hotter.

so's ol' Teninch, I mean, Tennant.

How profoundly sad (4, Insightful)

glwtta (532858) | more than 6 years ago | (#22997096)

That someone can be famous in the 21st century for being an "advocate of Darwin's evolutionary theory".

Re:How profoundly sad (1)

robo_mojo (997193) | more than 6 years ago | (#22997168)

Somebody's gotta do it.

Re:How profoundly sad (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 6 years ago | (#22997448)

I think that's the sad part, there SHOULDN'T be a need for someone high-profile to advocate it. It's so well researched that there really doesn't need to be much discussion, especially among laymen that aren't going to find anything new anyway (though they'll find plenty of old that anyone with more understanding would laugh off).

Re:How profoundly sad (2, Insightful)

Alain Williams (2972) | more than 6 years ago | (#22997212)

What should they be famous for ?
  • Quoting from a 2000 year old book of myths ?
  • Being able to run/jump/swim faster that some other people ?
  • Opening your mouth to music and making a noise that some people think better than the rest of us ?
  • Having a pretty face ?
  • Having appeared in a few films ?
We all have people who we admire, we all have different criteria. At least Dawkins is rational and uses his brain.

Re:How profoundly sad (4, Interesting)

glwtta (532858) | more than 6 years ago | (#22997254)

At least Dawkins is rational and uses his brain.

I was just saying that it's kind of a bummer that those qualities are rare enough to draw admiration.

Re:How profoundly sad (1)

Wordsmith (183749) | more than 6 years ago | (#22997258)

I think the point was that it's sad evolutionary theory, which is pretty well borne out, isn't the default belief, and needs advocates to defend it against the superstitious folk.

Re:How profoundly sad (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22997310)

I think what they are saying, and forgive me if I'm wrong, is that it's sad that in this day and age, Darwin's Theory of Evolution still provokes such controversy and that proponents of it attract such infamy.

I think though that the situation is probably a bit better than American readers might expect. In a lot of Western countries (although I can only speak for Britain and Australia) Darwinian evolution, whilst still a theory, is accepted by a majority of the population, and Dawkins doesnt attract a great deal of controversy. At least, not as much as he does in the US. I would say that a great deal more people in the US would know who Richard Dawkins is, than here in Australia.

Ironically I also suspect he wouldnt have attracted so much controversy 20 years ago as he does today. Religion is currently a highly inflammatory issue.

Re:How profoundly sad (1)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 6 years ago | (#22997442)

... evolution, whilst still a theory, is accepted by a majority of the population ...

Perhaps you should look up what a theory is. The word is popularly used to mean "unproven conjecture", but that's the exact opposite of what it means.

Atheists, Come Out! (4, Informative)

gQuigs (913879) | more than 6 years ago | (#22997120)

View his call to arms: http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/view/id/113 [ted.com]

Have we ever done a poll on religious beliefs on Slashdot?

Re:Atheists, Come Out! (3, Funny)

Alsee (515537) | more than 6 years ago | (#22997326)

Have we ever done a poll on religious beliefs on Slashdot?

Cowboy Neil won.

-

Re:Atheists, Come Out! (3, Funny)

bladesjester (774793) | more than 6 years ago | (#22997498)

I can picture that poll =]

Celing Cat
Basement Cat
Flying Spaghetti Monster
Discordian
Subgenius
Cowboy Neal

Re:Atheists, Come Out! (5, Insightful)

ringmaster_j (760218) | more than 6 years ago | (#22997564)

Atheists come out? Hardly! Reading all the replies to this article, I think the ratio was about 100:1 atheist to theist. On Slash, atheists rule the roost. So, actually, I'm going to come out as a theist.

Hi! I'm not scary, I swear! I don't think you're going to hell, as long as you're nice (i.e. I believe in the idea of the anonymous christian). I believe very strongly in evolution, and I think gays are perfect just the way God made them. However, I am very much a Christian. I have a calling in life, God has given me a task, and I need to follow it. Jesus died for my sins, and- I believe- yours too. He loves us, and when we sin it pisses him off. I don't feel smug, and I think of atheists as my brothers and sisters; we're all in this together. So please, please, please, you guys, don't talk about my religion like it's evil. Sure, when religion gets mixed up with politics it's a terrible mess (viz. Bush/Khameni) and it's caused a lot of problems in the past. Sure, there are a tonne of idiots in my church, and in others, who believe that you're all evil, and so are all the gays, and the Jews, and the Muslim. Sorry some of my people have tried to convert you. Sorry they don't look at science and realize the immense beauty of the way in which God has chosen to bring us into being. Sorry they've killed some of you for your beliefs.

What more can I apologize for? What can I possibly say to make you accept that I know we've done wrong? All I can say is this: when you deride religion, when you say it's "the opiate of the masses" or "the cyanide" as someone else put it, when you mock me for my beliefs, and when you brand me as some fundamentalist nutjob, it really, really hurts. It's not fair to me. It stereotypes, and it shows the same kind of logic that fundamentalists use. If you said "all blacks are criminals, they should go back to Africa", or "homosexuals are girly, they should all just be straight like me" you'd have everyone on your back, berating you for your insensitivity. It's the same thing with theists. Respect us, please, we have the right to practice our faith in peace. And if the fundy brigade comes with their wacko wagon and starts telling you that you're going to hell, and trying to shove a bible down your throat, I'll be right next to you, fighting those assholes off.

Drs. Who, Watt and Hu [0uttake] (3, Funny)

atrocious cowpat (850512) | more than 6 years ago | (#22997312)

Dr. Who: Where's Dr Watt? And I also need Dr. Hu right here real soon!
Dr. Watt: I'm here, and I can see Dr. Hu coming over there.
Dr. Hu: Whew, I really had to run fast! Hi, Dr. Watt, glad to see you. What's up, Dr. Who?
Dr. Who: I'll tell you in a minute, but first let me say how glad I am that this did not disintintegrate into some sophomoric cavalcade of misuderstood names.
Dr. Hu and Dr Watt: Say no more, we've all been there...

What's the plot? (3, Funny)

seanellis (302682) | more than 6 years ago | (#22997318)

Doctor: I will defeat you Credulons!
Credulon leader: I have faith we will prevail!
Doctor: (smugly) Meet my secret weapon - the Professor.
Dawkins: Hello.
Credulons: No! The skepticism! I'm melting!
Dawkins: That was simple. Now, how does this TARDIS thing work, exactly?
Doctor: No! The skepticism! I'm melting!
Dawkins: Oops. Time for a new title.

Close Credits, including "Next Week on Professor Who..."

H2G2 (4, Funny)

FrostedWheat (172733) | more than 6 years ago | (#22997342)

Dawkins is the author of many best-selling non-fiction books, from The Selfish Gene and The Blind Watchmaker to The God Delusion,...

... and Who is this God Person Anyway?

Decisions decisions... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22997364)

Dawkins thinking : "Hmm... I'm pissing off believers already and I've made this video with me and 3 other atheists, what to call it...what to call it...".

"Oh I know : http://youtube.com/view_play_list?p=A490902178E6854D [youtube.com] "

He's got a wicked sense of humor, he's the hybrid offspring of the person who invented "yo momma"-jokes and Dr. Kleiner from Half-Life 2.

From the Dick to the Dawk to the Ph.d.

Davies, not "Davis" (2, Informative)

1u3hr (530656) | more than 6 years ago | (#22997384)

"... current curator of the Doctor Who legacy Russell T. Davis"

1) His name is "Russell T. DaviEs"

2) "Curator of the Doctor Who legacy"? Bollocks. RTD is offically "writer and executive producer". Similar to a US "showrunner".

Doctor Who now only believes in Aliens (1)

tezza (539307) | more than 6 years ago | (#22997400)

Whenever there is something 'supernatural' in Doctor Who, it is now always Extra Terrestrial aliens. Plots involving G-d, spirits, daemons or anything that used to be supernatural or involve a place of worship is now explained away as a parallel universe being who's away from home. It just so happens that it all occurs with alien powers that look suspiciously like possession, dragons, ghosts. Doctor Who and others conveniently take refuge in Churches, mainly because as we know they're excellent defence against ET.

So the perfect place for Dawkins :: Steering clear of any mentions of G-d as such ; but there definitely could be G-d equivalent aliens out there doing any freaky stuff that cannot be explained by evolutiuon.

Ironic (2, Insightful)

LRayZor (872596) | more than 6 years ago | (#22997486)

" To quote Davies: 'People were falling at his feet ... We've had Kylie Minogue on that set, but it was Dawkins people were worshipping.' " Did anyone else notice the irony?

informAa7ive gnaagnaa (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22997500)

troubles of those fear th3 reaper
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