Wednesday, October 18, 2006


Evolution: Richard Dawkins on 'The Colbert Report' (Video)

Richard Dawkins on Comedy Central's 'The Colbert Report' (October 17th, 2006) discussing God, The God Delusion (Amazon UK | US), Creationism, and Intelligent Design:

[Video is working as of 29th October - please email if it stops!]

From the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science Newsletter:

What an interview it was!

Richard held his own and then some tonight on Comedy Central's 'The Colbert Report.' Stephen began the segment by saying "My guest tonight is a scientist who believes there is no God. You know what, he'll have an eternity in hell to prove it."

Stephen Colbert contributed to "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart Presents America (The Book): A Citizen's Guide to Democracy Inaction" (Amazon UK | US)

Books on Creationism from the Science and Evolution Bookshop: UK | US

Books on Intelligent Design from the Science and Evolution Bookshop: UK | US

Books on 'Science and Religion' from the Science and Evolution Bookshop: UK | US


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I hope it's understood that "The Colbert Report" is a satirical program poking fun at obnoxious political punditry, with host Stephen Colbert representing a caricature of Bill O'Reilly (of "The O'Reilly Factor"). Dawkins understood and got the joke, playing up to Colbert and making for a fun segment that got Dawkins' points across.
If that's what's called "holding your own and then some" then I think people of faith have very little to worry about.
And here I thought people of "faith" did not worry about anything, for theri god will take care of them.

The rest of us--people of reason--worry about people of "faith."

Dawkins rules!
I agree with wahoorob, in that Dawkins points were badly expressed and seemed only to punctuate his hand waving. He seems to have gotten lost in the realm of philosophy, a place he clearly doesn't belong. His book shows very little understanding of people who have a deep faith. He chooses indecisive and somewhat unhinged fundamentalists to represent the faiths they ascribe to and spends the majority of the time musing on their denial of his perspective as he dismisses theirs out of hand. The problem from my point of view is that America claims to be a secular society yet all major decisions are heavily influenced by religion. Morality has quashed politics and ethics, becoming entirely diluted and meaningless in the process. Dawkins is just capitalising on the split in America. Randomly: in my opinion two things need to begin changing, people who feel disgusted with the Christian neo-cons need to stop attacking them on the grounds of religion instead attack their policies and religions have to distance themselves from neo-cons who hide behind morality and god at the drop of a hat without any real meaning to their words. Religion and politics are not mutually exclusive. They can exist happily in tandem. Religion is a very different experience for each person but at their core all religions are based on principles of inclusion and community. Those who claim to have exact understanding of the words of god are dangerous liars. Holy texts are people's attempts, sometimes flawed, to express universal truths. Anyone who believes in an ideology without having questioned it or themselves is a fool. Religion like sciences is about asking questions. There is an important question both sides have to ask themselves are they fighting a religious war or are they being robbed blind by con men? People of faith aren't the ones you have to worry about, people with lots of money who want more are the ones to watch. Sorry that was slightly long as comments go.
"...Dawkins points were badly expressed and seemed only to punctuate his hand waving. He seems to have gotten lost in the realm of philosophy...."

It's interesting how your beliefs denied you the ability to consider valuable information and good sense.

I disagree with you entirely. I found Dawkins' comments to be extremely lucid and logical. He is arguing from a very solid standpoint and his views are, in my estimation, the a result of the best thinking we have at this time. It's empirically based rather than based on fantasy, wild speculation, or self-referntial, "philosophical," mental-masturbation.

While I agree that he uses whackos as examples to disparage the religious, he is providing an important function by pointing out a very real danger. These whackos vote and have an influence upon US law. They shouldn't.

A separation of church and state is necessary, and despite your claims about the basis of religious truth being benign, you don't have to look far to see the damage religion has done and is doing to the world.

Any believer who is not moved at least to doubt by Dawkins' words is trapped within the walls of a debilitating belief system. Such is the reason-killing ability of faith.

Make a thoroughly reasonable argument for belief in God and I will at least concede than I have been stumped and I will consider what is being said, but many religious people are so thickheaded that they cannot even conceive of thinking differently. That, to me, is sad. It's evidence of a crippled mind.
Why do you assume that I'm religious? In point of fact I'm an atheist. That doesn't preclude me from feeling that the wrong people are being persecuted.

You said that "It's evidence of a crippled mind.” meaning religious belief. That’s extremely harsh and unfair. It’s the same difference as saying all liberals hug trees and have degenerate intent. What’s interesting is that a great number of the last century’s minds of maths and science were religiously inclined and did not feel that one over rode the other. William Hamilton would be a good example.

I think you need to draw a distinction between militants/capitalists who use religious fervour to drum up business and those people who have thought about their faith. I realise that European and American perspectives on religion differ phenomenally.

I do agree that people of blind faith are foolish but I already said so in my previous post.

I think that it is not trivial that Dawkins chooses extremist who are unable to articulate any kind of point let alone express 2000+ years of thought on the subject. It is not useful and does not create an atmosphere conducive to change and improvement to derisively shout down all those who you feel are wrong. This is an inescapable truth.

Dawkins gives an unbalanced and trite view of religion and it is extraordinarily disappointing. I hugely enjoyed the Blind Watchmaker, but this is just a self aggrandizing attack on religion. He paints the view that all extremists are religious and all religions breed extremists. This is obviously a belief that you hold. It's disappointing that you felt the crux of my previous arguement was motivated by my religion. This is not a black and white issue and in the current climate it is not really an issue at all. The question isn't religious extremists it's accountability for elected officials.

How heavily unbalanced the book is discounts it as being anything other then a club for the militant anti-religious figures to beat religions about the head with. No one of religious leanings would be moved to doubt by this book all it does is encourage a siege mentality. What chances do people who want to reform their churches/communities have if they feel that the majority of liberals want them to be burnt as witches?
Dawson wasn't really given enough time to finish making his points. Great for Colbert and the whole O'Reily spoof model, but I would have liked the opportunity to hear Dawkins complete at least one thought without comic interruption.
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