Pharyngula

A day of Dawkins

He just got here, and already Richard Dawkins is stirring things up in Minnesota. He was interviewed on MPR this morning — unfortunately, I had to miss it as I was scrambling to get ready for class — and it sounds like the interviewer was offended. The station live-blogged the interview, and it looks like some of the listeners were offended, too, while others are invigorated.

Get online quick and you might be able to hear the tag-end of the interview.

Comments

  1. #1 Ricky Gremlin
    March 4, 2009

    I read the blog. Any word if this will be uploaded as a podcast?

  2. #2 Marc Abian
    March 4, 2009

    I’ve been listening for about 30 minutes, the host seems fine.

    You were mentioned in the expelled screening story PZ.

  3. #3 Matt Heath
    March 4, 2009

    haha Liveblog calls you “Meyers”

  4. From the liveblog:

    “Miller says the description of “imaginary friend” makes it sound “infantile.” Dawkins says it should.”

    Touche’.

  5. #5 Glen Davidson
    March 4, 2009

    I’m pretty sure they don’t say Jesus was born to a “version.”

    Sounds fairly boilerplate, the old “what came before the Big Bang,” like saying “magic did” would solve the problem. The “arrogance” of saying that “God doesn’t exist,” which really is all right (they, and we, say that Zeus doesn’t), so long as it’s understood in the usual scientific sense, as being not an absolute statement about existence.

    Glad to see “expelled from Expelled” mentioned, the height of IDiot hypocrisy.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/6mb592

  6. #6 Mozglubov
    March 4, 2009

    I am not sure how Dawkins puts up with being asked the same questions over and over and over…

  7. #7 www.10ch.org
    March 4, 2009

    If they are all so confident about their beliefs, then there is no reason for any of them to be offended.

  8. #8 Matt Heath
    March 4, 2009

    CD@5: The answer to “What happened before the Big Bang” ought to be something like “That depends; what definition of “before” do you have that makes sense given the curvature of space-time at the Big Bang?”

  9. #9 tony
    March 4, 2009

    What the hell is a comment in german about a “food bank crisis” doing in a thread about Dawkins in Minnesota?

    Somebody’s bot has gone all wrong! Oh Noes!

  10. #10 Pete Rooke
    March 4, 2009

    The part that raise my hackles is that this is a public broadcaster! And Dawkins now intends to lecture at a public university.

  11. #11 IST
    March 4, 2009

    The comments contain many of the same tired arguments we get here and on RDnet time and again… It frustrates me that these people 1) can’t read, 2) don’t listen or 3) choose to blatantly ignore the responses they must receive every time.

  12. #12 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    March 4, 2009

    The part that raise my hackles is that this is a public broadcaster! And Dawkins now intends to lecture at a public university.

    You say you’re 22 years old and you already have hackles? And this raises them?

    Get out of the house man. Experience life.

  13. #13 AJ Milne
    March 4, 2009

    You say you’re 22 years old and you already have hackles? And this raises them?

    I’m not sure if I have cockles. But I’m pretty sure this would be warming them, if I did.

  14. #14 justin
    March 4, 2009

    I don’t know if I’m crazy, but PZ’s first link has an embedded player for the interview. I don’t think it was there when I first checked the page. It’s right under the headline.

  15. #15 Janine, Insulting Sinner
    March 4, 2009

    Oh dear, we must start censoring people so that the Rookie does not have to express his concern.

  16. #16 bobxxxx
    March 4, 2009

    “I am not certain there is no God,” Dawkins replies.

    Richard Dawkins, I’m sorry but I think you’re sucking up to religious insanity when you say this. Would you say “I am not certain there are no pink elephants orbiting Pluto.”? I hope not. Why would you have any less certainty about the non-existence of magic fairies, also known as gods?

    God is just another word for magic. I’m certain there’s no magic in the universe for the same reason I’m certain there’s no Easter Bunny.

    Mr. Dawkins, as the second most prominent atheist in the world (you’re almost as famous as PZ), please act like an atheist instead of conceding to religious idiots you can’t be sure they’re wrong.

  17. #17 Pete Rooke
    March 4, 2009

    @ Janine

    I often find myself immersed in the filth that characterizes the obscene on sites like this. You of course are free to hold any belief you want. You should not have the right to force that belief upon others, thus infecting them, violating them, humiliating them, destroying the hope of those whose only desire is to live to see their children marry and then have children of their own.

  18. #18 NewEnglandBob
    March 4, 2009

    Sounds like Prof. Dawkins handled himself and the interviewer and the callers quite well, as usual.

  19. #19 Matt Heath
    March 4, 2009

    Would you say “I am not certain there are no pink elephants orbiting Pluto.”?

    If it was clear that the questioner intended “certain” to mean “metaphysically certain”, I for one would be happy making that statement.

  20. #20 Evan henke
    March 4, 2009

    I lost some respect for Ms. Miller, she really seemed upset and took the good Dr. to task for the preface of The God Delusion.

  21. #21 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    March 4, 2009

    I often find myself immersed in the filth that characterizes the obscene on sites like this. You of course are free to hold any belief you want. You should not have the right to force that belief upon others, thus infecting them, violating them, humiliating them, destroying the hope of those whose only desire is to live to see their children marry and then have children of their own.

    How exactly is that happening in relation to this post by PZ?

  22. #22 Pete Rooke
    March 4, 2009

    Does NPR provide a daily thought of the day (in the manner of the BBC) from a religious leader? If not they should consider it.

  23. #23 IST
    March 4, 2009

    Pete Rooke> Did you express the same concern when Rick Warren was given all the time he wanted to blather on at the inauguration? on public tv and radio? I thought not…

  24. #24 Odonata
    March 4, 2009

    #17 – I don’t see it as Dawkins “sucking up to religious insanity”. I see it as a prominent scientist saying he’s willing to change his mind if evidence appears contrary to what he thinks.

  25. #25 Matt Heath
    March 4, 2009

    Dawkins moves towards Cosmic Ancestry!

    Other than both implying extra-terrestrial life aren’t “being that could pwn us” and “alien with whom we share an ancestor” basically orthogonal?

  26. #26 Pete Rooke
    March 4, 2009

    I lost some respect for Ms. Miller, she really seemed upset and took the good Dr. to task for the preface of The God Delusion.

    That is refreshing, is there an online playback facility? If not I’m sure Dawkins’ acolytes will post it soon enough. I should also be interested to hear the callers criticisms.

  27. #27 Janine, Insulting Sinner
    March 4, 2009

    Let me see if I have this correct, you are fascinated by the “obscenity” you find here. Why else would you keep reading and posting here. But I am free to believe what I want as long as I do not try to infect other people out of fear they will no longer marry and have children.

    You do know that many of the regulars here are married and have children. And nothing is stopping those children from marrying and procreating.

    Your logic is not like our earth logic.

  28. #28 Matt Penfold
    March 4, 2009

    Does NPR provide a daily thought of the day (in the manner of the BBC) from a religious leader? If not they should consider it.

    Why would NPR want to emulate one of the worst aspects of BBC Radio 4′s output ? Personally the moment TTFD comes up it is time for me to get up and brush my teeth. I come back to Today when the crap has finished.

  29. #29 IST
    March 4, 2009

    Pete Rooke said

    often find myself immersed in the filth that characterizes the obscene on sites like this. You of course are free to hold any belief you want. You should not have the right to force that belief upon others, thus infecting them, violating them, humiliating them,

    Obscenity? where?! I don’t need to respect your absrud beliefs, because they’re absurd. If you proposed that the Earth was flat, you would deserve to be humiliated… get over it. We’ll happily let religion be when it buts out of everyone else’s life, stops trying to indoctrinate children, and ceases to make nonsensical claims about the real world and parade them as facts. You come on, make cockamamie statements, and then whine when people ridicule them… you’re welcome to do that, but if you truly don’t like it the other option is to simply not come to the site. How hard would that be?

  30. #30 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    March 4, 2009

    Pete “total fool” Rooke, there is no need for religion whatsoever. You have not justified it. Nor have you shown physical evidence to prove your imaginary deity. Delusion city where you are concerned. Religion is for wimps, reality is for atheists.

  31. #31 KI
    March 4, 2009

    I see Pete needs to get off again. You do know that excessive, chronic masturbation can affect your prostrate, right?

  32. #32 Patricia, OM
    March 4, 2009

    So far Dawkins has done nothing for my hackles or cockles, but the effect on the nipples is a whole other thing.

  33. #33 stogoe
    March 4, 2009

    Your logic is not like our earth logic.

    OMG Proof of Cosmic Ancestry! Was Petey McPete Pete Pete Pete the one with the skirts made from human skin, or was that What A Stinker?

  34. #34 bobxxxx
    March 4, 2009

    I see it as a prominent scientist saying he’s willing to change his mind if evidence appears contrary to what he thinks.

    Odonata, Am I wrong to say “I’m 100% certain Easter bunnies are not real” because there might be new evidence for rabbits who hide eggs from little children?

    It’s just as ridiculous to say there could be evidence for magic god fairies.

  35. #35 NewEnglandBob
    March 4, 2009

    No, bobxxxx, you can not be certain there are no pink elephants orbiting Pluto.

    Nothing is certain except for exact observations (even those can be misleading), not even our own death is certain because things can change.

    Prof. Dawkins is highly skeptical that any gods exist, but that is as far as a rational person should go.

  36. #36 KI
    March 4, 2009

    sunnuva…prostate, although you may be prostrate for your activity.

  37. #37 Matt Heath
    March 4, 2009

    ermm Pete Rooke are you opposed to NPR as a public body broadcasting ,messages taking sides on religious questions (as suggested @ 10) or in favour (as suggested at 23).

    Is the point that it’s non-establishment is very important for views you disagree with but not otherwise? (Incidentally any non-establishment problem caused by having a religion basher on once would be fixed by having a religion booster on; I’d be amazed if there haven’t been dozens).

    Also, religion vs. irreligion and establishment vs. non-establish put aside, TFTD is a world of inane.

    Janine’s Buffy reference is of the highest win.

  38. #38 Primewonk
    March 4, 2009

    Pete Rooke @ 18 stated:
    “I often find myself immersed in the filth that characterizes the obscene on sites like this. You of course are free to hold any belief you want. You should not have the right to force that belief upon others, thus infecting them, violating them, humiliating them, destroying the hope of those whose only desire is to live to see their children marry and then have children of their own. ”

    But it’s OK for fundamentalist Christians to force their beliefs on others? It’s OK for fundamentalist Christians to violate and humiliate others in the name of their version of a god? Seems like a bit of a double standard.

  39. #39 jwc
    March 4, 2009

    Wow, the interviewer was pretty combative really. I listen to Terry Gross a lot and she’s the ultimate in neutral interviewer in my eyes. This interviewer pushed Dawkins around way too much.

    Dawkins has more patience than Job LOL.

  40. #40 Newfie
    March 4, 2009

    You should not have the right to force that belief upon others, thus infecting them, violating them, humiliating them, destroying the hope of those whose only desire is to live to see their children marry and then have children of their own.

    You see, Pete… if religions abided by this, most of us would be fine with it. But people with the woo, cannot just keep it to themselves, they have to spread the virus good news. I’ve yet to have an atheist knock on my door, and try to sway me with their message. Religious wackaloons tend to come to my door about once every couple of months, if they sent out intelligent people, it wouldn’t be so bad, but the idiots they send have no sense of reason, history or facts, and they become boring after a couple of minutes when they can’t respond to a simple question. God is not love, Pete. God is complete ignorance. Enjoy your bliss.

  41. #41 E.V.
    March 4, 2009

    Ah Pete, using a flail to scourge his own back while beating off to Pharyngula and shouting “DELIVER ME! DELIVER ME!” . So how is he typing his posts since both hands are bu…. oh, never mind. *ew*

  42. #42 Jerome
    March 4, 2009

    I just lost a ton of respect for Kerri Miller. I listen to her from time to time and have enjoyed some of the interviews she’s given, but this one was terrible and she should be embarrassed. I was waiting for a Bill-O mike cut.

  43. #43 Steve_C
    March 4, 2009

    Ignore Pete fucking Rooke. He’s an idiot and a hypocrite.

  44. #44 Cary
    March 4, 2009

    I don’t know if Kerri Miller was just playing devil’s advocate very well or what, but she did come off as personally offended by some of the remarks, even if that was not her intention.

    Otherwise, another hit out of the ballpark for Dawkins. I can’t wait for this evening’s speech.

    I very much liked him relaying the story about PZ getting kicked out of “Expelled” but not himself! Good times, good times.

    It’s kinda funny to watch people struggle to hold onto their religion in any way they can in the face of overwhelming evidence that goes contrary to all of their beliefs. It’s an interesting aspect of human nature in some aspects. Almost like an addiction?

  45. #45 dean
    March 4, 2009

    “Does NPR provide a daily thought of the day (in the manner of the BBC) from a religious leader? If not they should consider it.”

    Why should they – there is no daily comment from Dawkins, or PZ, or others.

    Do you actually think at all, or just post in unrelated spurts?

  46. #46 E.V.
    March 4, 2009

    Naughty, naughty Patricia. You shouldn’t talk about nipples. You know how it makes Peter moist.

  47. #47 Wolfhound
    March 4, 2009

    I often find myself immersed in the filth that characterizes the obscene on sites like this. You of course are free to hold any belief you want. You should not have the right to force that belief upon others, thus infecting them, violating them, humiliating them, destroying the hope of those whose only desire is to live to see their children marry and then have children of their own.

    I went to submit this delicious bit of paranoid fucktardery from our resident catlick dipshit to FSTD but, alas, I got a message that FSTDT is “no longer accepting sumissions”. What gives?!

  48. #48 Matt Heath
    March 4, 2009

    NewEnglandBob, except that (as long as you are careful not raise it to some Platonic absolute) “certainty” is a useful concept in everyday language. I happy to say I’m certain that I picked up my keys this morning even though it’s possible that my memories of using them in the day could be the result of my brain being bombarded by cosmic rays.

  49. #49 AJ Milne
    March 4, 2009

    Why would NPR want to emulate one of the worst aspects of BBC Radio 4′s output? Personally the moment TTFD comes up it is time for me to get up and brush my teeth. I come back to Today when the crap has finished.

    ‘Sides which, it looks to me like public radio already carry a slate of ‘religion and spirituality’ shows–and shows which carry stuff in that domain less exclusively. See ‘Sound and Spirit’, ‘Speaking of Faith’ and ‘Humankind’, for a few my Google-Fu was able to unearth…

    I hope this ameliorates any remaining… concern.

    Oh, and as to certain other fine whines that have emerged just this now, just so we’re clear: destroying* false hope is somethin’ some of us like to think of as a public service…

    And some of us just think of it as an evening’s entertainment.

    (*And/or brutally mutilating/mangling, with or without humiliation. But hey, everyone needs a hobby.)

  50. #50 cmotdibbler
    March 4, 2009

    Response to Wolfhound @ 47, FSTDT ran out of electrons due to the overflow of stupid!

  51. #51 frog
    March 4, 2009

    Caller: “What came before the Big Bang?”

    That, to me, is the crux of the intellectual vacuity that is religion. There’s a set of bugs in the human cognitive system like that — thinking that because you can form a grammatically correct sequence of phonemes that appear on their face to say something implies that it’s actually a meaningful question.

    And Dawkins falls right for it (or dodges the issue?), by saying that’s a physicist’s bailiwick. Not impressive, but it is just a mass media outlet after all — I hope it was a dodge, and not Dawkins being a bit dull himself on certain questions (which I tend to think with his lack of understanding that “superhuman” is not exactly what people mean by divine).

  52. #52 Benjamin Geiger
    March 4, 2009

    JWC @ #39:

    What, was Soterios Johnson too busy dancing?

  53. #53 Crystal D.
    March 4, 2009

    All I can say is, I’m really excited to see him tonight again. Hooray!

  54. #54 Marshall Nelson
    March 4, 2009

    More evidence for Cosmic Ancestry

    Science 20 February 2009:
    Vol. 323. no. 5917, pp. 1045 – 1048
    DOI: 10.1126/science.1165675

    Isotopic Evidence for an Aerobic Nitrogen Cycle in the Latest Archean
    Jessica Garvin,1 Roger Buick,1* Ariel D. Anbar,2,3 Gail L. Arnold,2 Alan J. Kaufman4

    1 Department of Earth and Space Sciences and Astrobiology Program, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195?1310, USA.
    2 School of Earth and Space Exploration, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ85287, USA.
    3 Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85287, USA.
    4 Department of Geology, University of Maryland, College Park, MD20742, USA.

    The nitrogen cycle provides essential nutrients to the biosphere, but its antiquity in modern form is unclear. In a drill core though homogeneous organic-rich shale in the 2.5-billion-year-old Mount McRae Shale, Australia, nitrogen isotope values vary from +1.0 to +7.5 per mil ({per thousand}) and back to +2.5{per thousand} over ~30 meters. These changes evidently record a transient departure from a largely anaerobic to an aerobic nitrogen cycle complete with nitrification and denitrification. Complementary molybdenum abundance and sulfur isotopic values suggest that nitrification occurred in response to a small increase in surface-ocean oxygenation. These data imply that nitrifying and denitrifying microbes had already evolved by the late Archean and were present before oxygen first began to accumulate in the atmosphere.

    The clear conclusion is that the programs for aerobic respiration were already present when oxygen became available and were simply activated by increasing oxygen levels. And rather than “evolving” de novo, were brought here by extra-terrestrial couriers.

  55. #55 JBlilie
    March 4, 2009

    See this link to listen (click on the listening control at top of page)

    http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2009/03/04/midmorning1/

  56. #56 frog
    March 4, 2009

    PR: You should not have the right to force that belief upon others, thus infecting them, violating them, humiliating them, destroying the hope of those whose only desire is to live to see their children marry and then have children of their own.

    Wow, and PR continues right on projecting his own sexual perversions on others. This kind of in(s)anity is truly classic. This place is just great for finding examples of the kind of mental disorders that characterize the right.

  57. #57 Dan J
    March 4, 2009

    Do you actually think at all, or just post in unrelated spurts?

    LOL! I think Peter Rooke (sounds like a porn star name to me) has trouble thinking anything not already written in his Bible.

  58. #58 Marshall Nelson
    March 4, 2009

    It wasn’t clear that the last paragraph was my interpretation and NOT part of the abstract.

  59. #59 Sarah
    March 4, 2009

    #53 – Ditto. I’m very excited that I will see Richard Dawkins at the lecture tonight too! I’ll have to look for you Crystal.

  60. #60 KI
    March 4, 2009

    Those who need a place to congregate and meet up before tonight’s lecture could do worse than to meet up at Palmer’s on the West Bank (shameless plug) where the weekly “hippenanny” will be taking place starting about five o’clock. Your chance to hear amateur musicians play (or butcher, depending on your point of view) folk tunes from Stephen Foster to Iggy Pop. PBRs are$2.50.

  61. #61 Carlie
    March 4, 2009

    You should not have the right to force that belief upon others, thus infecting them, violating them, humiliating them, destroying the hope of those whose only desire is to live to see their children marry and then have children of their own.

    Pete, are you saying that Richard Dawkins is so awesome, people go sterile just by listening to him? What an interesting superpower.

    Also, talking on a radio show one has been invited to =/= forcing beliefs onto others. Learn to logic.

  62. #62 Marshall Nelson
    March 4, 2009

    9:41 a.m. Caller: “I’m sick of this nonsense called religion.” But says people who declare “God doesn’t exist” are as arrogant as those who say “God exists.”

    “I am not certain there is no God,” Dawkins replies. “No scientist should say categorically, ‘there is no anything.’ You have to doubt everything and be open to evidence. There could be a supernatural being — I bet there is a superhuman being somewhere in the universe.”

    Are you listening Paul?

    Dawkins moves towards Cosmic Ancestry!

  63. #63 Cary
    March 4, 2009

    I don’t think the “big bang” response was a dodge at all.

    Dawkins explained his understanding of the concept and merely was being honest that a lot of the science behind theoretical physics is beyond himself.

    That’s not to say that one can’t have a grasp of the basic concept but I think he’s saying that if he attempted to explain the science behind the idea that there may not have been anything before the big bang he would be doing a disservice to the topic.

  64. #64 E.V.
    March 4, 2009

    Charle Wagner is back as Marshall Nelson.
    He, like Pete Rooke, crave PZ’s approval so much, that they’re willing to humiliate themselves just to get his attention, isn’t that sweet?

  65. #65 Patricia the Vulgar, OM
    March 4, 2009

    E.V. – Now, now, you know it’s my job to spread a certain amount of delicate moisture around here.

  66. #66 Matt Heath
    March 4, 2009

    WOW that site linked on Marshal Nelson’s name is at least 0.4 of a timecube.

  67. #67 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    March 4, 2009

    I never understand why banned idiots like CW feel they must morph and try to post here. They must not be well socialized, otherwise they would stay away. And what information MN is going on about is preliminary and will require years to determine if it is repeatable, or just a fluke. Until then, it doesn’t really matter.

  68. #68 SC, OM
    March 4, 2009

    Is it just me, or is Patricia especially funny this week?

  69. #69 E.V.
    March 4, 2009

    Patricia:
    But you create such conflict with poor Peter’s peter.

  70. #70 Richard
    March 4, 2009

    Wolfhound @ 47:

    FSTDT is apparently in the process of moving from .com to .net.

    Submission page is at: http://www.fstdt.net/SubmitQuote.aspx, and appears to work.

    -Richard

  71. #71 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    March 4, 2009

    Charlie Wagner the insane does a great impression of a seagull.

    Flies in, craps all over everything and then flies off.

    Occasionally there is a squawk.

    Charlie was that you who shit on the front of the garage yesterday?

  72. #72 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    March 4, 2009

    Is it just me, or is Patricia especially funny this week?

    She is in top form. Feeding the Rev.’s cooties to her chickens was great.

  73. #73 Sven DiMilo
    March 4, 2009

    It wasn’t clear that the last paragraph was my interpretation and NOT part of the abstract.

    Actually, Charlie, it was abundantly clear. The authors of the abstract likely know the difference between aerobic nitrification and aerobic respiration. And the weird leap to Kozmik Kourierz is something one would be surprised to read in Science, to put it mildly.

  74. #74 dean
    March 4, 2009

    Matt: “WOW that site linked on Marshal Nelson’s name is at least 0.4 of a timecube.”

    I’ll bite (and show my ignorance ;D ) What is a timecube?

  75. #75 David Wiener
    March 4, 2009

    Wow – Peet Rooke is totally, completely insane.

  76. #76 SteveM
    March 4, 2009

    Peter “delusional fuckwit” Rooke:

    You should not have the right to force that belief upon others, …

    True, so please explain how Dr. Dawkins forced you to turn on your radio, tune it to MPR and listen to his interview. Explain to us how he forced anyone to buy tickets and attend his lectures. Show how you or anyone was forced to listen to him and I’m sure we will all support you in protesting these actions. If not, then STFU.

  77. #77 Matt Heath
    March 4, 2009

    @dean: A Timecube is the SI unit of web-crazy. Here’s the wikipedia article on the site so you can get an idea of the nature of it before deciding if you actually want to see it.
    It is conjectured that no website can be more than 1 timecube of crazy.

  78. #78 Vic
    March 4, 2009

    #26, Pete Rooke

    is there an online playback facility?

    Well, you could try looking for the answer … oops, sorry. Didn’t mean to insult your religions beliefs.

  79. #79 AndrÚs Diplotti
    March 4, 2009

    Dawkins says atheists should be just as forthright in their views as those who believe God is real.

    And that is exactly what many believers can’t stand and even call “intolerance”. I’ve seen many people claiming that the world would be a much better place if unbelievers just kept “a respectful silence”.

  80. #80 Steve Ulven
    March 4, 2009

    When I started up my car this morning I heard a familiar voice, could it be? Yes, it was Richard Dawkins and I was delighted that I still likely had another 20 minutes that I could listen to him. But then… a deep sadness overwhelmed me. I realized why he was on MPR in the studio, because he was here today to give a speech that I will not be attending. I hope you guys that get to see him have a great time tonight. I hope even more that there will be video of what I missed.

  81. #81 Konstantine Palanski
    March 4, 2009

    Don’t know how long this will stay up so grab it while you can.

    I recorded the full length lecture of Richard Dawkins first stop at Michigan State University.

    Follow the following URL for the links: The Purpose of Purpose

  82. #82 dean
    March 4, 2009

    Thank you Matt. That will be a very handy reference.

  83. #83 Konstantine Palanski
    March 4, 2009

    If you can’t make it to the lecture, you can download it by following the link below.

    Don’t know how long this will stay up so grab it while you can.

    I recorded the full length lecture of Richard Dawkins first stop at Michigan State University.

    Follow the following URL for the links:The Purpose of Purpose

  84. #84 Adrian Burd
    March 4, 2009

    From one of the comments on the MPR page:

    Independent of the actual arguments about truth and belief, which don’t interest me that much, I’m fascinated by the contrast in rhetorical styles. Dawkins argues like a Brit and a scientist: polite and ruthless. Here in MN we tend to spend a lot more time trying to make our listener feel comfortable by avoiding such terms as “infantile.”

    It warms the cockles of this Brit scientist’s heart!

  85. #85 Knockgoats
    March 4, 2009

    You should not have the right to force that belief upon others, thus infecting them, violating them, humiliating them, destroying the hope of those whose only desire is to live to see their children marry and then have children of their own. – Pete Rooke

    So Rooke comes right out with it: he wants the power to silence atheists, to prevent them talking about their beliefs – because he recognises that when they do so, religious believers can be persuaded by the atheists’ reasoning. In short, he knows his ludicrous sky-fairy fantasies cannot survive criticism and rational argument.

  86. #86 Konstantine Palanski
    March 4, 2009

    Sorry for the double post! Didn’t see that the first one got pushed through, my apologies.

  87. #87 Cary
    March 4, 2009

    And that is exactly what many believers can’t stand and even call “intolerance”. I’ve seen many people claiming that the world would be a much better place if unbelievers just kept “a respectful silence”.

    Are you advocating that we should keep a respectful science?

    Many believers think a lot of things. Mainly they just don’t want to hear anything that could shatter their perception of their perfect little worlds.

    It’s always about the majority trying to silence the minority. But is that majority real, or just perceived?

  88. #88 Carlie
    March 4, 2009

    I’ll offer Pete a deal: We’ll shut up if all of you do. Once there is never any mention of god in the public sphere, we’ll be more than happy not to make fun of the people who believe in it. Care to shake hands on that?

  89. #89 Patricia, OM
    March 4, 2009

    *vulgar blush*

  90. #90 Sengkelat
    March 4, 2009

    I enjoyed the interview. I was a tad disappointed with Dawkin’s “I can’t be certain that there’s no god” line. It’s correct, but taken on its own it sounds like he’s agnostic, whereas in The God Delusion he makes excellent arguments for non-agnosticism. What I was hoping to hear was his point on certainty; that if we’re 99% sure that there’s no Easter Bunny we say there’s no Easter Bunny, so if we’re 99% sure there’s no God we should say so, rather than affording it a special “unknowable” status.

  91. #91 Don
    March 4, 2009

    Just finished listening to it. Haven’t had to time to do more than glance at the comments, but the interviewer was fine. Not ‘on-side’, but giving good open questions and leaving time to answer. Actually listened to the answers. The callers were pretty cool too. They asked questions as though they wanted to hear his answer, not as though they were primed or offended.

    Really good broadcast.

  92. #92 Marshall Nelson
    March 4, 2009

    “I was a tad disappointed with Dawkin’s “I can’t be certain that there’s no god” line. It’s correct, but taken on its own it sounds like he’s agnostic,..”

    Maybe he’s changed his mind ;-)

    We get too soon old and too late smart!

  93. #93 Helfrick
    March 4, 2009

    The callers were pretty cool too. They asked questions as though they wanted to hear his answer, not as though they were primed or offended.

    I got the same impression and wondered if it had to do with the fact that this was on mpr. I’m pretty sure that had he been on Glenn Beck, the quality of participation may have been a bit different. That first fellow did ramble though, didn’t he?

  94. #94 Don
    March 4, 2009

    Looked at the thread now. Who on earth is this Pete person and did any of you actually do that to him? I know this site can get a bit rough to to infect and violate someone to the point where their children are infertile is going too far.

    I don’t want to me mistaken for a Concern Troll, but whoever violated and infected Pete should at least apologise. Although, on the plus side you seem to have taken him out of the gene pool.

  95. #95 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    March 4, 2009

    MN, Dawkins has always had a slight equivocation with accepting evidence for god. As a scientist, if presented with prooper physical evidence, he would believe. But he doesn’t expect the evidence to be found or presented.

  96. #96 E.V.
    March 4, 2009

    Pete has run to his crucifix strewn safe room rambling on about “human leather” and “dirty pillows with turgid nipples.” He’ll be back to his old sick self in no time.

  97. #97 Bonobo
    March 4, 2009

    I can listen to Dawkins all day, seriously

  98. #98 ApeMachine
    March 4, 2009

    Wow, yay Pete you found this msg and here it is from me to you, ready?

    “you’re a fucking moron”

  99. #99 Alex Deam
    March 4, 2009

    I enjoyed the interview. I was a tad disappointed with Dawkin’s “I can’t be certain that there’s no god” line. It’s correct, but taken on its own it sounds like he’s agnostic, whereas in The God Delusion he makes excellent arguments for non-agnosticism. What I was hoping to hear was his point on certainty; that if we’re 99% sure that there’s no Easter Bunny we say there’s no Easter Bunny, so if we’re 99% sure there’s no God we should say so, rather than affording it a special “unknowable” status.

    God has error bars?

    Seriously though, what Dawkins said is philosophically correct. Maybe colloquially you would be more “certain”, but why shouldn’t he use precise terminology correctly? Why should he have to act as intellectually devoid as the fundies themselves? If listeners don’t understand this, then they can easily be helped by the point about not being certain that the Easter bunny doesn’t exist either.

    Regardless, if this way of expressing his views turns people into agnostics rather than atheists then so what? They are just one step further along the line, which is where we want them to go. If he turns people into agnostics, then doesn’t that mean what he’s said is a success? And what’s to stop people going away afterwards and thinking about, and turn their agnosticism into full blown atheism?

  100. #100 LeeLeeOne
    March 4, 2009

    As I have stated in rd.net, this is exactly the discussion that needs to be made. They cry foul. We challenge not only the venue for foul but we challenge their basis for “foul.” Support MPR, support NPR, support IPR; * Public radio (*PR). And support education. thanks pz and seed and science in general!

  101. #101 Sean
    March 4, 2009

    This is an MPR story not NPR. Thanks for your reading comprehension kids.

  102. #102 Bart Mitchell
    March 4, 2009

    I was surprised that Dawkins didn’t jump on her when she said “…search for evidence that supports your theory”

    THATS NOT HOW IT WORKS!

    Collect evidence THEN form a theory. If you do it backwards, your doing science wrong.

  103. #103 Shamelessly Atheist
    March 4, 2009

    From Marshall in #54:

    “The clear conclusion is that the programs for aerobic respiration were already present when oxygen became available and were simply activated by increasing oxygen levels. And rather than “evolving” de novo, were brought here by extra-terrestrial couriers.”

    What a ridiculous conclusion, Marshall. Natural history is rife with examples of enzyme systems originally serving one function being co-opted for a new one. Positing “extra-terrestrial couriers” is patently unnecessary, spurious and smacks of being produced by a wearer of a tinfoil hat.

  104. #104 Shamelessly Atheist
    March 4, 2009

    Case in point…. From the paper you cited, Marshall…

    “We conclude that the 2.5-Ga Mount McRae section records an episode of increased nitrification and denitrification in response to slight surface-ocean oxygenation. Thus, an aerobic component to the N cycle was transiently active before the atmosphere became oxygen-rich after 2.45 Ga.”

    Nope. Little green men are unnecessary to the hypothesis.

  105. #105 Reginald Selkirk
    March 4, 2009

    Dawkins’ entire argument falls apart. He says there are absolutely no known fossils of flatworms:
    Primitive fossil flatworm from Alaska: New evidence bearing on ancestry of the Metazoa

  106. #106 Pontus Reed
    March 4, 2009

    @everyone-who-is-up-in-flames-over-the-fact-that-Dawkins-isn’t-certain:

    No one (including you fundamentalists…) can be certain that God does not exist. Educated yourselves in a bit of philosophy before you go about saying such things.

    No less insulting to genuinely open-minded non-believers is when you compare true deism to things like pink elephants orbiting Pluto. That is an absurd comparison. Richard Dawkins, long held to be as much a fundamentalist as the god-fearing–and, evidently, some of you–should be applauded at making this statement.

  107. #107 Sven DiMilo
    March 4, 2009

    Dawkins’ entire argument falls apart.

    Sorry; which entire argument, exactly, falls apart because there is one old report of a possible (but controversial) fossil flatworm?

  108. #108 Ian
    March 4, 2009

    Caller at ~24:30 sounds like Sarah Palin…

  109. #109 recovering catholic
    March 4, 2009

    Missed the MPR interview, but I did arrive in Minneapolis just a few minutes ago and will see Dr. Dawkins in person in just a couple of hours! And I think I’ll get to see PZ as well! I hope they won’t mind if I ask for their autographs. (I have my copy of The God Delusion with me.)

    Sorry if I sound silly, but I’m really excited about this…if any of you other Pharynguloids are there, I’ll be the tall woman with the denim jacket, jeans, and an iguana pin on my lapel…please come up and introduce yourself!

  110. #110 bobxxxx
    March 4, 2009

    No one (including you fundamentalists…) can be certain that God does not exist. Educated yourselves in a bit of philosophy before you go about saying such things.

    Translation: No one (including you REAL ATHEISTS…) can be certain that MAGIC FAIRIES do not exist. Educate yourselves in a bit of BULLSHIT before you go about saying such things.

    Pontus Reed, why should I be less certain about the non-existence of magic god fairies than I am about there being no magic tooth fairies? You’re part of the problem. If you’re not a Christian idiot, you’re as insane as they are.

  111. #111 Elwood Herring
    March 4, 2009

    Sven DiMilo #107: Isn’t it obvious? Dawkins states that no fossil flatworms have ever been found. One has (possibly) been found. Ergo, GOD EXISTS!

    Well I’m convinced. Better hand over my atheist badge straight away.

  112. #112 Dennis N
    March 4, 2009

    We get badges? I want! I want!

  113. #113 Dahan
    March 4, 2009

    I thought it was an OK interview. Yes, Terry Gross would almost certainly have done a better job, but it was fine.

  114. #114 Pontus Reed
    March 4, 2009

    @bobxxxx

    Translation: No one (including you REAL ATHEISTS…) can be certain that MAGIC FAIRIES do not exist. Educate yourselves in a bit of BULLSHIT before you go about saying such things.

    If this isn’t an equivocation fallacy, then I don’t know what is.

    Pontus Reed, why should I be less certain about the non-existence of magic god fairies than I am about there being no magic tooth fairies? You’re part of the problem. If you’re not a Christian idiot, you’re as insane as they are.

    You know, it pays to think before you speak. You seem to be unable to separate theism from deism. Theism (and tooth fairies) require a belief in the supernatural; deism does not. Theists believe in a supernatural God; deists do not. Theistic religions can be disproved by empirical evidence and reason; deism cannot.

    Calling me a “Christian idiot” further displays your inability to recognize the fact that a deist does not espouse those beliefs held by Christians and that they are therefore not the same thing. Personally, I do not believe in the existence of a god; I am neither a theist, nor a deist. I do, however, recognize my inability to say that I am certain a natural God does not exist–and so does Dawkins.

  115. #115 clinteas
    March 4, 2009

    The interviewer,Ms Miller,was clearly offended,it was sort of fun to listen to her,you could feel her piloerection through the loudspeaker LOL.

    And to this god/teapot/unicorn/easter bunny thing,well the fact is that you cannot disprove that they’re out there somewhere,so from the viewpoint of a scientist this is the correct position.

    I dont have a problem with it at all,its just that it will be quotemined by the forces of evil,so while true,it might not be strategically wise.

  116. #116 Voynix
    March 4, 2009

    @bobxxxx re: Pontus Reed

    Philosophy is not bullshit. While quite a lot of it is incomprehensible to the layperson, there is much value to be found in it. Look at the discussions of morality in Nieztche, for example.

  117. #117 aratina
    March 4, 2009

    The Dawkins scale is doing the same for belief that the Kinsey scale did for sexuality. It may seem strategically unsound, but atheists have little chance of getting fundamentalists to rethink their beliefs anyway. What the Dawkins scale (1 to 7, Dawkins being a 6.5-6.9) might do is allow many non-fundamentalist religious people presently at 1 to be more honest with themselves and slide upwards at a comfortable pace before making the jump to atheism.

  118. #118 Ichthyic
    March 4, 2009

    It may seem strategically unsound

    but it’s tactically brilliant. which is why it’s so worth pushing at the moment.

    IMO, I think you’ve pretty much nailed it on the head.

  119. #119 Alex Deam
    March 4, 2009

    And Bob “My finger got stuck to the keyboard” xxxx shows himself to be as ignorant as the “Christian idiots” he loves to criticize.

  120. #120 Africangenesis
    March 5, 2009

    Voynix#116,

    “While quite a lot of it is incomprehensible to the layperson, there is much value to be found in it. Look at the discussions of morality in Nieztche, for example.”

    Couldn’t you come up with a better example? Is what Nietzche wrote really coherent enough to be called “discussions” or rigorous enough to be called “philosophy”?

  121. #121 tokenadult
    March 5, 2009

    Hi, PZ, it was good to see you and Professor Dawkins at the lecture tonight. Stay safe during the drive back to Morris.

  122. #122 Amph
    March 5, 2009

    #116: Nieztche

    #121: Nietzche

    If you really have to write about Nietzsche, try at least to get the spelling right.

  123. #123 Scott Hatfield, OM
    March 5, 2009

    Gaaaaaah. Minnesapolis has Richard Dawkins this month. Here in Fresno, we’ve got Ben Stein.

  124. #124 clinteas
    March 5, 2009

    Just noticing your cross post Scott,that reminds me,am I the only one surprised that PZ is apparently going on Ed’s radio show?
    Should be fun tho….:-)

  125. #125 Kel
    March 5, 2009

    Just noticing your cross post Scott,that reminds me,am I the only one surprised that PZ is apparently going on Ed’s radio show?

    I was somewhat surprised, but it still should be interesting. I listened to the interview Ed did with Ken Miller yesterday, that was fantastic!

  126. #126 clinteas
    March 5, 2009

    Kel,

    Ed’s all right,im a blackjack player he’s a poker guy..:-)
    Got a link to the interview?

  127. #128 clinteas
    March 5, 2009

    Cheers !

  128. #129 Kel
    March 5, 2009

    I’m listening to the interview now. The interviewer is really annoying.

  129. #130 Dr Horrible
    March 5, 2009

    @124 & 131

    speaking of TimeCubes … !!!!

  130. #131 Discombobulated
    March 5, 2009

    @Kel:

    I was somewhat surprised, but it still should be interesting. I listened to the interview Ed did with Ken Miller yesterday, that was fantastic!

    Haha, I just listened to most of his podcasts, but he had that episode listed as having “Glen Miller” as a guest, so I skipped over it, thinking he had somehow resurrected the jazz musician…

  131. #132 Kel
    March 5, 2009

    Finished listening, the Q&A wasn’t as painful as I expected it to be. The host seemed a bit better towards the end, though her focus on that single paragraph in the preface of The God Delusion was annoying, as was her continual questions on his conviction in atheism. It was actually somewhat surprising how well Dawkins kept his poise.

  132. #133 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    March 5, 2009

    @124 & 131

    speaking of TimeCubes … !!!!

    Yes Mabus is a well known internet kook. He thinks he beat Randy’s challenge. You should see his “proof”.

  133. #134 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    March 5, 2009

    I’ve read Randi’s article on Mabus in Skeptical Inquirer. Mabus tried to cheat, and when that didn’t work (Randi expected him to try to cheat and took precautions), he claimed foul. Sore loser. Idiot loser. Just plain loser. As his continued post here show.

  134. #135 JohnnyAppSeed
    March 5, 2009

    bobxxxx hates religious fundamentalists mainly because two of a trade never agree.

  135. #136 windy
    March 5, 2009

    No less insulting to genuinely open-minded non-believers is when you compare true deism to things like pink elephants orbiting Pluto. That is an absurd comparison. Richard Dawkins, long held to be as much a fundamentalist as the god-fearing–and, evidently, some of you–should be applauded at making this statement.

    Sounds like someone’s not heard Dawkins use Russell’s teapot argument? Or teapots are fine but you draw the line at pink elephants??

    Why is it that an “open mind” should not consider some arguments to be ridiculous? Some ridiculous things may turn out to be true, but most won’t. And about “a natural God” – why call it God?

  136. #137 Africangenesis
    March 5, 2009

    When “a natural God” is discovered, and perhaps communication initiated, don’t be surprised to to find that it is the religious that deny its divinity. If there is a being that initiated the big bang, or a civilization which seeded the galactic neighborhood with terraforming life, they are quite likely to find their hypothesized relationship with Jesus, Mohammed or Brahma to be novel.

  137. #138 David Marjanovi?, OM
    March 5, 2009
    These data imply that nitrifying and denitrifying microbes had already evolved by the late Archean and were present before oxygen first began to accumulate in the atmosphere.

    The clear conclusion is that the programs for aerobic respiration were already present when oxygen became available and were simply activated by increasing oxygen levels. And rather than “evolving” de novo, were brought here by extra-terrestrial couriers.

    Well? no.

    2.5 Ga ago a lot of oxygen production had already gone on. Banded iron formations started to form 3 Ga ago, which means that dissolved iron(II) reacted with molecular oxygen in the seawater to form insoluble iron(III) oxides.

    There was a lot of iron(II) in the ocean, so I’m not surprised it took another five hundred million years for oxygen-requiring nitrogen metabolism to evolve?

    Also, all known life shows numerous very clear signs of common ancestry. Do you seriously propose that life came to Earth repeatedly from the same planet?

    Are you listening[,] Paul?

    Dawkins moves towards Cosmic Ancestry!

    Restrain your wishful thinking a bit, Charlie the Banned.

    What is a timecube?

    Also, the Tc scale is logarithmic: 0.7 Tc is ten times as insane as 0.6 Tc.

    It is theoretically open-ended, but whether insanity greater than that displayed in the TimeCube website actually occurs in this universe is another question.

    I was surprised that Dawkins didn’t jump on her when she said “…search for evidence that supports your theory”

    THATS NOT HOW IT WORKS!

    Collect evidence THEN form a theory. If you do it backwards, your doing science wrong.

    No, that’s not it either.

    Form a hypothesis. Then search for evidence that contradicts the hypothesis. If you succeed, throw the hypothesis away and make a new one. If you chronically fail, publish the hypothesis, so others can help you search.

    Science is a completely negative approach. It works by elimination.

    Dawkins’ entire argument falls apart. He says there are absolutely no known fossils of flatworms:
    Primitive fossil flatworm from Alaska: New evidence bearing on ancestry of the Metazoa

    1) This is from 1975, yet cannot be found in any recent primary or secondary literature. I’ve never heard of it at all.
    2) It talks about ancestry of flatworms among “medusoid cnidarians”. This is simply rubbish — but not unexpected for 1975.

    I conclude it was a misinterpretation that was refuted long ago and has simply been forgotten.

    Sort of how I had never heard of Nebraska Man before I found it in a reaction to a Jack Chick comic — unimportant anecdotes in the history of science tend to be quickly forgotten.

  138. #139 Pontus Reed
    March 5, 2009

    Sounds like someone’s not heard Dawkins use Russell’s teapot argument? Or teapots are fine but you draw the line at pink elephants??

    I’m quite familiar with the teapot analogy. Are you? A key point in the analogy is stating that the teapot cannot be seen by the “most powerful telescopes.” Am I to believe such the case with pink elephants? If so, then he should have clarified that as it is a key part to the argument.

    But this is laughable. I am not saying anything radical here. I’m saying you cannot be certain a God, free from the chains of foolish theistic doctrine, does not exist. Nor can you compare a belief in a natural God to belief in a supernatural tooth fairy.

    Why is it that an “open mind” should not consider some arguments to be ridiculous? Some ridiculous things may turn out to be true, but most won’t. And about “a natural God” – why call it God?

    I’m not saying you can’t consider the idea of a deistic god ridiculous; that is your prerogative. I am saying that it would be intellectually dishonest to claim you are certain one does not exist. You would be betraying the very claims you have to logic and reason.

    In response to your question, it is not my responsibility to defend a deist’s perspective as I am not of that camp. You can go research it if you like. The thing about a deist is this. They shouldn’t care much whether or not you believe, and they won’t damn you to Hell for it.

    How embarrassed Dawkins would be by some of you fundy’s remarks! You give the awful impression of being people who have converted to atheism, but are no more reasonable or free for having done so. If you are a fundamentalist, then shut up. Stop giving the rest of us a bad name.

  139. #140 Rrr
    March 5, 2009

    Hmmm. Lets see now. A teapot is approx. 30 cm. An elephant is approx. 300 cm.

    A key point in the analogy is stating that the teapot cannot be seen by the “most powerful telescopes.” Am I to believe such the case with pink elephants? If so, then he should have clarified that as it is a key part to the argument.

    So you mean that, in a philosophical thought experiment involving “most powerful telescopes”, there is a sharp dividing line of possible definition lying somewhere between those sizes? After all, it’s just one order of magnitude. Why not be magnanimous and split the difference?

    omg your dog is indeed petty to be so discriminating. How is your own name doing today? Or maybe your reeding is bit off…

    Or maybe this viral stupidity is contagious. Maybe YaHotWencH ought to increase teh heat from hell0?

  140. #141 Alex Deam
    March 5, 2009

    Hmmm. Lets see now. A teapot is approx. 30 cm. An elephant is approx. 300 cm.

    A key point in the analogy is stating that the teapot cannot be seen by the “most powerful telescopes.” Am I to believe such the case with pink elephants? If so, then he should have clarified that as it is a key part to the argument.

    So you mean that, in a philosophical thought experiment involving “most powerful telescopes”, there is a sharp dividing line of possible definition lying somewhere between those sizes? After all, it’s just one order of magnitude. Why not be magnanimous and split the difference?

    omg your dog is indeed petty to be so discriminating. How is your own name doing today? Or maybe your reeding is bit off…

    Or maybe this viral stupidity is contagious. Maybe YaHotWencH ought to increase teh heat from hell0?

    Elephants, pink or not, are far more than ten times the size of a teapot.

    How embarrassed Dawkins would be by some of you fundy’s remarks! You give the awful impression of being people who have converted to atheism, but are no more reasonable or free for having done so. If you are a fundamentalist, then shut up. Stop giving the rest of us a bad name.

    Damn straight. People in the media call Dawkins an “atheist fundamentalist”, but judging by his comments, and the viewpoint of the philosophically devoid on this comment section, I’d say he’s pretty moderate in comparison.

  141. #142 Jim Bob
    March 5, 2009

    “it sounds like the interviewer was offended. ”
    No it doesn’t.

  142. #143 Pontus Reed
    March 5, 2009

    So you mean that, in a philosophical thought experiment involving “most powerful telescopes”, there is a sharp dividing line of possible definition lying somewhere between those sizes? After all, it’s just one order of magnitude. Why not be magnanimous and split the difference?

    My point is that the person who originally made the comment, had he intended to employ the teacup argument, failed to disclose whether or not these pink elephants would evade our possible observation. Therefore, I would have responded that empirical evidence would be sufficient (either now or in the future) to disprove the notion that pink elephants orbit Pluto.

    But this is getting ridiculous, and you are only proving my point.

  143. #144 windy
    March 5, 2009

    I’m quite familiar with the teapot analogy. Are you? A key point in the analogy is stating that the teapot cannot be seen by the “most powerful telescopes.” Am I to believe such the case with pink elephants? If so, then he should have clarified that as it is a key part to the argument.

    Maybe it’s an invisible pink elephant!

    But this is laughable. I am not saying anything radical here. I’m saying you cannot be certain a God, free from the chains of foolish theistic doctrine, does not exist.

    I never said I could, fool. You are missing the point. You can’t even be certain that all foolish theistic doctrines are false. You could always be wrong. That’s no reason to suspend judgment on everything.

    Nor can you compare a belief in a natural God to belief in a supernatural tooth fairy.

    So are you certain that the supernatural doesn’t exist?

    How embarrassed Dawkins would be by some of you fundy’s remarks! You give the awful impression of being people who have converted to atheism, but are no more reasonable or free for having done so. If you are a fundamentalist, then shut up. Stop giving the rest of us a bad name.

    Waah, waah! You give the awful impression of being another Jon Howard in the making.

    For those who need the obvious spelled out, I agree that Dawkins was correct about certainty, and bobxxxx was wrong. But I disagree with you about putting a deist God into some sort of lofty category which we are never allowed to compare with theism or other hypotheses.

    Question: if you think Dawkins is so respectful of deism and wouldn’t lump it together with supernatural God arguments, what’s the “ultimate 747″ argument doing in TGD?

  144. #145 David Marjanovi?, OM
    March 5, 2009

    A key point in the analogy is stating that the teapot cannot be seen by the “most powerful telescopes.” Am I to believe such the case with pink elephants?

    At the distance of Pluto?

    Fuck yes!!!

    What illusions do you have about the resolution of today’s telescopes, Hubble included!?! Check out the most detailed existing photos of Pluto.

    Sorry for being much more angry than usual, but I really feel like I’m spelling out the painfully self-evident here.

  145. #146 Pontus Reed
    March 5, 2009

    @David Marjanovi?

    What illusions do you have about the resolution of today’s telescopes, Hubble included!?! Check out the most detailed existing photos of Pluto.

    That is why I stated “(either now or in the future)”:

    Therefore, I would have responded that empirical evidence would be sufficient (either now or in the future) to disprove the notion that pink elephants orbit Pluto.

  146. #147 Pontus Reed
    March 6, 2009

    Maybe it’s an invisible pink elephant!

    Okay, I’ll play. Let’s associate your pink elephant with the force behind the universal constants, for example. Let’s call him (or would you prefer her?) God. Given the parameters you have set I cannot prove you wrong, but I would argue your odds dropped significantly low. So low, in fact, that they are comparable with the odds of a tooth fairy actually existing.

    You see, the “saving grace” of deism is that they aren’t required to go around giving properties to this hypothetical God as you do with the pink elephant and as Christians do with Jesus. They simply credit “it” with the creation of the physical universe and leave it at that. The more one endows God with properties like benevolence, masculinity, conservatism… the more difficult one’s defense becomes.

    I never said I could, fool. You are missing the point. You can’t even be certain that all foolish theistic doctrines are false. You could always be wrong. That’s no reason to suspend judgment on everything.

    I don’t want to get too deep into how epistemology factors into all of this, but I am an empiricist as many here probably are. A posteriori evidence does discount many of theism’s religious claims. That is why Dawkins calls them infantile and that is why we can agree. He does, as evidenced by the interview, reserve the adjective for supernatural claims.

    As for suspending judgment, not once have I asked you to do so. Far from it, I have given my opinion on the matter multiple times: I do not believe that deism holds water. Still, it should not be equated with theism nor should it be dismissed as impossible–only improbable.

    So are you certain that the supernatural doesn’t exist?

    As an empiricist, I think that any observed “supernatural” event is only something that has yet to be either properly explained or discounted as not having really happened. But I do not claim to be able to definitively prove that the supernatural does not exist.

    But I disagree with you about putting a deist God into some sort of lofty category which we are never allowed to compare with theism or other hypotheses.

    You can compare theism and deism all you like; they do have their similarities after all! And I never said you couldn’t compare deism with other hypotheses, but please draw valid analogies. David Hume did so quite well in Dialogues concerning Natural Religion and has been largely credited with contributing to the decline of deism that began in the 18th century.

    Question: if you think Dawkins is so respectful of deism and wouldn’t lump it together with supernatural God arguments, what’s the “ultimate 747″ argument doing in TGD?

    I don’t really have to answer this question considering the fact he himself said he wouldn’t “lump” them together in this interview. But just because Dawkins can identify the differences between deism and theism clearly does not mean deism is off limits in a book arguing against God’s existence! You have misunderstood me if you think I am saying Dawkins waves a white flag when confronted with a deist’s interpretation of God. Indeed, if I were to argue with someone against deism, I would use the “ultimate 747″ argument too.

  147. #148 Pontus Reed
    March 6, 2009

    @windy

    My previous post in response to your own shows that this debate, should you choose to continue it, would be better carried on through an alternative means of communication. If you like, feel free to reach me at pontusDOTreedATgmailDOTcom.

  148. #149 Christine
    March 6, 2009

    aha. This is the thread I was looking for. I listen to midmorning all the time and am always interested when Kerri Miller pulls out the surly big guns… and am pretty sure she does so to please the methodist-lutheran-lite audience that funds her show. Or she may dislike him and his ideas as much as it sounded. She rarely interviews like that… and when she does i often think she does so to hide her own sympathies. But who knows.

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