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Ask Richard Dawkins About Evolution, Religion, and Science Education 1142

Richard Dawkins is an author and an evolutionary biologist. For 13 years, he held the Simonyi Professorship at the University of Oxford. His 1976 book The Selfish Gene helped popularize the gene-centric view of evolution and coined the word "meme." Several other of his books, including Climbing Mount Improbable, River Out of Eden, and The Greatest Show on Earth have helped to explain aspects of evolution in a way non-scientists can more easily understand. Dawkins is a frequent opponent of creationism and intelligent design, and he generated widespread controversy and debate in 2006 with The God Delusion, a book that subjected common religious beliefs to unyielding scientific scrutiny. He wrote, "One of the truly bad effects of religion is that it teaches us that it is a virtue to be satisfied with not understanding." Most recently, Dawkins wrote The Magic of Reality: How We Know What's Really True, a graphic book that aims to introduce kids to science. He's also recently begun a video series titled "Sex, Death, and the Meaning of Life" about how our world would look without religion. Mr. Dawkins has graciously agreed to answer some questions for us. Post your suggestions in the comments below, but please limit yourself to one question per post. We'll post his responses sometime next week.
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Ask Richard Dawkins About Evolution, Religion, and Science Education

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  • Answered already... (Score:2, Informative)

    by FatSean ( 18753 ) on Thursday October 18, 2012 @01:05PM (#41694699) Homepage Journal

    Summary: Craig is a an evil person and an AW and his argument points have already been debunked when used by other religionists. []

  • I once proposed here that not having sex is a pretty good way to stay clear of HIV and was immediately bashed as a religious zealot.

    Because you are proposing abstinence, a religious concept that goes against human nature and anecdotally seems to lead to priests becoming dangerous perverts.

    If I even suggest that it shouldn't be legal in a society to reach through that vagina with a knife and a hose to suck out his brain, again, I'm labelled a religious fanatic.


    a) You are proposing to force your beliefs on others through the law

    b) Your point of view appears to be based on your emotional reaction to your son and other unknown biases, rather than any kind of rational or scientific argument about the nature of the foetus.

    c) You are clearly quite emotional about this issue, judging by the language you use. Again, not a rational or considered argument.

  • by fredprado ( 2569351 ) on Thursday October 18, 2012 @01:39PM (#41695413)
    Pseudo-physics is not exactly a good basis for any argument, at least not among educated people. Although you would be probably successful in a convention of ignorant creationists, you will find little sympathy here.

    There is absolutely no relation between thermodynamics laws and the need of an external entity. There is no guarantee that the universe is eternal and not even that it had a beginning, but even if any of these concepts could be proved it wouldn't still imply in the existence of any external factor.

    Your limited understanding of physics makes you jump into conclusions that just aren't there. The Anthropic Principle, for example has absolutely no implication regarding the existence of a God.

    Oh, and citing Spitzer as a valuable reference is a joke. Spitzer has written nothing of value in his whole career. He is just a mediocre philosopher who naively tries to interpret complex physical theories of which he has absolutely no understanding with the predictable result of reaching absurd conclusions, much like you did here. It is no surprise you like him so much.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 18, 2012 @02:41PM (#41696565)
    Says more about the person than the religion, frankly.
  • Re:Good one (Score:4, Informative)

    by Rei ( 128717 ) on Thursday October 18, 2012 @04:27PM (#41698031) Homepage

    Indeed. For just our known solar system, these are known, believed or considered to have current liquid water oceans:
    * Earth (obviously)
    * Europa
    * Calysto
    * Rhea
    * Titania
    * Oberon
    * Triton
    * Pluto
    * Eris
    * Sedna
    * Orca
    * Enceladus
    * Titan
    * Uranus
    * Neptune

    And liquid water droplet clouds:
    * Venus
    * Jupiter
    * Saturn

    And believed to have past liquid water for a non-insignificant length of time:
    * Mars
    * Venus
    * Ceres
    * Wild-2 (and thus probably many other comets)

    Apart from Earth, how many have we done sufficient analysis on that water? If *any* analysis on? And that's even assuming that life inherently requires water.

    We know so damned little even about our own solar system. Heck, we're already finding extrasolars which are believed to have liquid water (in some cases, multiples in a given system), but *good luck* getting a probe out there...

God helps them that themselves. -- Benjamin Franklin, "Poor Richard's Almanac"