Thursday October 15, 2009 | Richard Dawkins

October 13, 2009 at 10:59 am | Posted in Coming Up | 26 Comments

Richard Dawkins is no stranger to controversy. His international bestseller, The God Delusion, sold more than a million copies in English and sparked heated debate about the nature of man and religion. Mr. Dawkin’s follow-up novel, The Greatest Show on Earth, is in defense of science and evolution. On the eve of the 150th anniversary of Charles Darwin’s classic, The Origin of Species, Richard Dawkins is coming to Charlotte to talk about his book, but first he sits down with Mike Collins to talk about evolution, religion and public discourse on God.
Richard Dawkins
– Author, The Greatest Show on Earth

Click here to add and read comments

Listen to Show


RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

  1. […] Thursday October 15, 2009 | Richard Dawkins « Charlotte Blogs – view page – cached Richard Dawkins is no stranger to controversy. His international bestseller, The God Delusion, sold more than a million copies in English and sparked heated debate about the nature of man and… (Read more)Richard Dawkins is no stranger to controversy. His international bestseller, The God Delusion, sold more than a million copies in English and sparked heated debate about the nature of man and religion. Mr. Dawkin’s follow-up novel, The Greatest Show on Earth, is in defense of science and evolution. On the eve of the 150th anniversary of Charles Darwin’s classic, The Origin of Species, Richard Dawkins is coming to Charlotte to talk about his book, but first he sits down with Mike Collins to talk about evolution, religion and public discourse on God. (Read less) — From the page […]

  2. I would like the interview to include a question to Dawkins about his theories for the initial “spark” of life – which has never been recreated in a laboratory despite efforts to do so. I saw in inteview where he suggested that life could have been implanted on earth by intelligence beyond earth…such as other civilizations that exist elsewhere. Isn’t that a form of intelligent design in and of itself, and why is that easier to believe than that the spark was the work of an intelligent designer such God?

  3. Please let your listeners know the Julia Sweeney piece is available as a podcast at This American Life.

  4. Mike,

    Dr. Dawkins is not the only one who’s frustrated by this conversation. So are many of the faithful who do understand that evolution is not “just a theory”. As a Baptist minister in Charlotte, I affirm evolution unreservedly. I just don’t believe this discredits the possibility of God. That Dr. Dawkins so seldom addresses this possibility seems to me an indication that he is arguing against a God that neither of us believes in.

    In his dialogue with Francis Collins, publised by Time Magazine, Dr. Dawkins ends that dialogue with what I view as an amazing statement of faith: “If there is a God, it’s going to be a whole lot bigger and a whole lot more incomprehensible than anything that any theologian of any religion has ever proposed.”


    This is exactly the God in whom I do believe — and who many theologians, of many religions, are trying to teach. (That they fail to teach this truth should be no surprise to Dr. Dawkins, who is experiencing exactly the same frustration in teaching the truth of evolution!)

    Russ Dean

    • On a 1-10 scale in regards to belief that there is no God, Dawkins only considers himself a 9. There are definitely reasons for people to believe there may have been a higher power (whether in a diety form or another being with higher technology). What is incompatible with these reasons is the book you use for your religion. To feel like you can honestly agree with both the Bible and evolution, your personal belief must be that the Bible is just a general book of good teachings and its stories are for inspiration. Knowing many baptists and being originally from a dogmatic christian background I know this is generally not the case with your religion. Many of the Old Testament stories are considered an accurate historical biography of people who lived in that time period. Many feel that all the animals in the world were contained within a large boat during a worldwide flood. Many feel that their spirit, soul, and heart are occupied by the ghost of their God. Dawkins does not talk about a concurrent belief in both because to many people this is just a lie that they tell themselves in order to make their religion (especially christianity) fit in to current science findings. I am sure if you told your group of followers this next sunday that you believe the stories in the bible are for inspiration only and none are literal, you would lose a portion of the people there. In fact, please let me know what happens if you do this. In this occasion I would like to be proved wrong. I would love to have further debate with you, and if your church is as open as you mention I might have some friends who would want to go there! My email is below (no spaces, use @ sign).

      brandino 20 AT gmail dot com

  5. Dawkins has helped changed my life. I was taught in christian school and church growing up that the earth is about 6000-10000 years old. I was taught evolution was a lie. I read Dawkins books and Jerry Coynes book along with several religious books. I decided I had to know what I believed and why. My entire belief system has changed. I say for the better though I was touched by what Dawkins was saying about changing your belief system is like getting a divorce from your family. I compare it to a homosexual coming out of the closet to there fundamentalist family. Its been quite controversial but I have told my parents because I saw them indoctrinating my 2 year old son just as they had done to me growing up. Sorry if this email doesn’t make much sense I really wanted to contact you but I am at work. Have a great day. Thanks for having Dawkins on your program.

  6. Why is this question important to “true believers?” For those whom I have met who insist on the literal truth of the Bible, it might be pivotal. However these same people find it quite easy to ignore Bible teachings that would be inconvenient to their lives. For example, teachings such as “love your neighbor”, “what you do into the least of these (mankind), divorce is a form of adultry, and give no thought for the morrow, to list a few. Think of the issues in today’s public discourse. Who is taking positions consistent with the specific teachings of the New Testiment.

    I suggest that the question is important to literalists exactly because it makes no difference to the “true believers” daily lives. It is like a pennant to be waved at a football game in support of your team to evoke and emotional response.

    Ask Bishop Spong his view of my comment.

    Ron Coffman

    • “True believers” haha love it! Itsn’t it funny how our exact belief of religion is the “true” one. When they are all based on faith anyways.

      Also you are assuming that those literal bible believers don’t follow loving there neighbor or the rules of divorce. I know many people who believe in the Bible literally and have lived out both of those teachings quite well.

  7. Isn’t the mention of dogs a poor choice to illustrate evolution? I was taught that dog genes are “plastic” allowing for these large differences in height, weight, shape, etc. But there is no genetic makeup difference between a chihuahua and a great dane, as would be the case with what we normally call evolution.

  8. thank you so much for having mr. dawkins on the show. he is a refreshing change from the willful ignorance that seems to rule the nation lately.we have slipped, in our place in the world, from this insane attachment to outdated ideas. we have come to a point where myths are regaled and science is suspect. we need more people like richard dawkins.

  9. Hairpin turn vs punctuated equilibrium

    What do you think about Stephen Gould’s concept of punctuated equilibrium?

  10. This concersation is gtreat. I plan to send it to lots of friends who don’t have the advantage of Charlotte Talks. I am reminded something I heard last night about a preacher who is going to burn all Bibles except the King James version. Another example of the ignorance of so many so-called “Christians.” Don’t they realize that the King James version was commissioned by a king who strongly believed in witchcraft, and perhaps Shakespeare worked on the “committe” to translate it? It wasn’t WRITTEN then. I’ve about decided that the ones who are in the anti-evolution camp will never be changed.

  11. I would love to have an effective, succinct answer to give to people who question my beliefs (which are right in line with Professor Dawkins).
    Is there a statement that can, at the very least, help make them more open to critical thinking?

    Thank you

  12. Professor Dawkins is wrong about digital cameras. For as long as digital camera technology has been in existence(see the recent Nobel in Physics), the photo-site cells of the CCD have been wired from the front (called front illuminated). It has been only in the last 8 to 10 years that back illuminated technology has come into use in camera devices. Someone is eventually going to call you on this example you used, so now is the time to correct this miss-conception.

  13. Spencer –

    How can 8 to 10 years of back illuminated technology in camera device show that Professor Dawkins is wrong? It shows his comment is accurate! Modern technology that we all admire and use finds and changes to a better ‘visual’ system than the one that we have in our own eyes!
    My favourite example of poor ‘design’ (as in no design at all) is the recurrent laryngeal nerve – especially in the giraffe. You should read the book to find out what I mean – you’ll be amazed.

    • I have been working with CCD devices since 1996 and have built several cameras for astronomy applications (I am into AMATEUR astronomy but I got the digital bug early). ALL of the CCD devices used commercially in early TV cameras were front illuminated devices. This trend continued through to very recent devices. A back illuminated CCD is essentially a front illuminated CCD that has been mounted upside down and then ground so thin that the light that falls on the photo site can push electrons loose and make them available to be collected. They are very delicate. The only back illuminated devices until recent history have been prohibitively expensive to manufacture. They have been available to very expensive astronomical cameras… on the order of $5,000 to $10,000 per camera. On the other hand, every digital camera that you have used has been a front illuminated CCD… Including all Canon, Nikon, Pentax, etc. (Just in the last two years has CMOS technology become available commercially… but that is another story)

    • Sally,
      Mother nature actually did a good job designing the laryngeal nerve. The vagus in conjuntion with the phrenic and other nerves work to control breathing. The larynx needs to know where the breath cycle is at all times, because it needs to stop breathing and close the glotus (with the epiglottis to swallow) but also needs to control the vocals folds to work only while exhaling (for speech). So, having the laryngeal nerve go into the thorax and come back to the neck is actually pretty efficiant.

    • Remember, he said that digital cameras have the ‘wires’ on the back of the light sensitive device while the retina of the human eye has the ‘wires’ on the front.

      • I still think you are missing the point. It was not to discuss how wonderful modern cameras are; it was that no ‘designer’ (especially a divine one to whom presumably no difficulty would be insuperable) would have made the human / mammalian eye the way it is today.

      • It was a bad analogy, for goodness sake! The human eye is front illuminated, i.e. ‘front wired’ just as a digital camera is front illuminated, i.e. ‘front wired’. Dawkins said they were the opposite.
        A scientist CANNOT use a faulty analogy to explain a concept.

  14. My eyes have worked just fine, thank you, for over 6 decades. Not a bad plan ! But, my ears are working even better and I heard a defensive, combative, perhaps even bitter, unhappy and angry voice this morning. “If the Christians would just shut up and let children decide…” and I high light the “shut up”…” are not words I want my children or grandchildren to hear from anyone who claims to have the right answers for them to discover through science. Perhaps this man reflects the state of his heart ( another pretty God, oops, good plan.) If the peace I feel in my heart is the peace of the Lord, and I believe that it is, then give me Jesus over the angry heart of Mr. Dawkins.

    • Agreed. He indeed sounded angry and was not respectful of people who believe that God had a role to play in the existence of life. By all means present your case for evolution, but don’t get all disrespectful and frustrated with people who disagree. I disagree with the Young Earth Creationist, but would not call them stupid. Mr. Dawkins saying that these people should shut up and are stupid does not help. I disagree with atheist but would never call them stupid or tell them to shut up. Afterall, God’s loves them too (even if they don’t know it)! And who is he to tell me what I can or can’t teach my kids? Unbelievable! Mr. Dawkins needs to have a glass wine and relax.

      • It is simply not the case that all points of view are worthy of respect. That they are is a myth and a dangerous by-product of “diversity” (note the quotes). Lay off the “angry” bit too; it’s not amusing. And yes, sometimes stupidity needs to be called out, especially by those charged with teaching and educating children.

  15. Thank you so much for having Mr Dawkins on your show! Mike Collins, you’re the best! Very well done.

    I plan to see him in person this weekend at church… once I figure out which church he’ll be at.

    Some of his thoughts remind me of this onlin movie…

    Thanks so much,


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at
Entries and comments feeds.

%d bloggers like this: