Revelation TV Interview Richard Dawkins

Posted by on March 18, 2011 in Thoughts | 14 comments

This is a great interview with Richard Dawkins by Christian Literalist Howard Conder (not Doug Harris as I had written previously) on his program Revelation TV. It’s worthwhile watching the whole thing. Richard is so very calm and measured. It’s not often that we see an interview such as this where both people stay calm.

What is most interesting is that the blindness of the faithful is so very plain here. No matter what evidence is presented, the interviewer will not change his mode. The interviewers words are so full of cognitive dissonance, if her weren’t speaking of religion, people would see his words as those of a madman, albeit a very calm madman.

It really shows what kind of a wall rationality and reason is up against when dealing with the religious.

More after the jump…

This is precisely why my opinion is that we cannot hope to change the minds of the faithful. In fact, the futility of this act is holding the progress of humanity back. Since we can’t change the minds of the blindly faithful, I thing we need to develop a dialogue with the religious folks that encourages recognition of the importance of secularity in politics, education and public life. This dialogue needs to allow for the freedom of religion, and must be presented in such a way that the religious folks know that they will be allowed to continue their worship privately, but that society must move forward without the special interests of religion being pandered to just to appease them.

I’d be interested in your thoughts on this.

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14 Comments

  1. The Bible says it, they believe it, and that’s good enough for them. The futility of debating with creationists lays in the fact that they have completely made themselves immune to reason. We can allow them to hold a belief in any nonsense that they want; that is, not take away their right to be ignorant, but they don’t get a free pass on spreading their delusions unchecked. It is necessary to confront these people with intellectual and scientific arguments, if not to get them to change their minds, then for the anonymous witness who is actually open to reason.

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  2. The interview is with co founder of Revelation TV Howard Conder not with Doug Harris

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    • Quite right, my mistake. Will fix.

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  3. pfffff, this is painfull to watch….. blind ignorance

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  4. AJBird sums it up pretty good.
    As long as these delusional people keep their delusion to themselves they are free to do so. But they are not allowed to shovel their BS down my throat (make silly laws), with out having a fight. I have met some wonderfully nice xtians that believe the delusion but at the same time they would never vote their belief into law. As there is no real need IF YOU REALLY BELIEVE!! If abortion, carefree sex, what ever is a mortal sin a law against it is not necessary as I will soon be in hell. The problem is that most religious do not really believe and they NEED to force others to their side to reinforce their delusion.

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  5. My goodness. This is breathtaking. That nice old gentleman simply doesn’t get it, and can’t get it. He’s so convinced about the Bible he can’t hear anything else. He’s just not going to hear the science. Perhaps a different way to talk with someone like him would be to talk about the Bible. I’m having fun right now reading “Jesus, Interrupted”, by Bart Ehrman. Here’s a theologian who started off as a Bible-believing fundamentalist and has morphed into a very knowledgeable agnostic. I’m realizing that lots of Christians and Bible-believers don’t have a clue what the Bible is actually saying and how it’s saying it – “it” being a welter of contradictory things by people who had their own points of view and axes to grind. I noticed some spots where Richard could have challenged him if he’d had the knowledge of the Bible. But because Richard (gotta love Richard Dawkins) does not have the detailed knowledge of the Bible that Bart Ehrman has, he was unable to meet the nice old man on his own turf and respond to his fallacies. It seemed to me that Richard and the old gentleman were talking past each other and not really communicating. Oh, I do think Richard understood the old man far more than the old man understood Richard. But they were talking past each other.

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  6. They are certainly talking at cross purposes. It’s good to see them having a fairly open and polite conversation even though they have almost painfully different presuppositions. The host certainly was demonstrating plenty of “double-think”, but its nothing I have also seen in others.

    I quite enjoyed watching this interview. I’m very familiar with Dawkins’ work but I had never heard of the host before.

    I think I agree with you generally, that the extreme edges of “the faithful” cannot be reasoned with, but I also feel that many in the middle can have fruitful dialogue.

    There are many ways a person can change their minds about their believe over their lifetime. I think it pays to remember that we’re all human, whether believers or atheists, and we can’t be sure in what ways the little things that we say does in fact have an impact on the thoughts of the other people we interact with.

    Isn’t that the great metaphor of the Christian evangelist? i.e. planting a seed. Nobody changes their mind in an instant, it may take years of conversation, gradual shifting of intuitions, and plenty of time for private reflection and rumination. I wouldn’t be surprised if somebody just like this host DID in fact change their mind about their extremely literalistic beliefs over enough time, shifting to less extreme, maybe moderate, then maybe “progressive”, liberal… and maybe even atheist! You just can’t predict what process somebody is going to undertake in their thought-life.

    I don’t think its helpful to “give up” on people that seem unchangeable. For one thing, it can lead to potentially negative pigeon-holing. But also, sometimes such conversations are not actually for the benefit of the other person but for others who may be listening. What Richard says in the above video may do nothing for the host but it may provide plenty of food for thought to the viewers!

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  7. “I would be happy to receive an invitation.” What a wonderful response to an inappropriately-timed question.

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  8. It is refreshing to see a Young Earth Creationist have a civil discourse with Dr. Dawkins. I agree with a previous comment though that they were both essentially talking past one another, or at the very least everything said by Dr. Dawkins clearly passed the interviewer with nary any effect. Dr. Dawkins has heard each of the creationists arguments time and time again and responded as he usually does, with tact and reason.

    I tend to agree that there is almost no point in trying to convince this type of person of reality, and lets be clear we are talking about reality, we arent talking about differing interpretations of evidence but rather we are talking about blind gainsaying of evidence and science in furtherance of myth and superstition. If it werent so sad to watch it would make a good Monty Python skit, though one could say that the Argument clinic is essentially the same discussion.

    M: An argument is a connected series of statements intended to establish a proposition.

    O: No it isn’t!

    M: Yes it is! ’tisn’t just contradiction.

    O: Yes it is!

    M: No it ISN’T! Argument is an intellectual process. Contradiction is just the automatic gainsaying of anything the other person says.

    O: It is NOT!

    M: It is!

    O: Not at all!

    M: It is!

    I cannot help but see the similarities in that silly sketch with each and every discussion, civil or heated, between a scientist and a creationist. It is for that reason that such discussions are too often wasteful. Too often the creationist drags down the Scientist into the same sort of call and response in that skit. Creationists will not, or perhaps more sadly cannot, see the cognitive dissonance that they suffer from, and there is no amount of evidence that will sway the vast majority of them I fear.

    Religion is like a blind man in a pitch black room, searching for a black cat that isnt there, and finding it.

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  9. It is revealing that almost all religious fundamentalists refuse to allow comments on their YouTube videos.

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  10. As a theist, I have to say that Howard Conder gave a pretty poor showing here. Trying to knock down Dawkins’ argument by talking to the immediate experience of God through the Holy Spirit is definitely not the way to go. The immediate experience is not a rebuttal to any argument. It’s a position that supports all of the other arguments that hold logical merit.

    This is the most civil I’ve ever seen Dawkins, to be quite honest. I really wish he would stop dodging William Lane Craig though, so we can see how he debates against someone with a similar pedigree. Hitchens tried, and as humorous as he was, he got worked. I’d love to see Dawkins actually take this task, because at this point he still comes across a little bit like the boy who will only play basketball on his own court with his own ball and his own rules.

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  11. The interviewer is happy to accept ‘evidence’ from the Bible but not the observable evidence that is all around for anyone to assess. What an idiot. When Dawkins realises he is dealing with someone with a closed mind he did all that he could and attacked him on his own turf, showing that the Bible is stupid rubbish, but even this couldn’t bring the fool to his senses.

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  12. Putting Howard Conder against Richard Dawkins is inequitable as you can get.

    Relevation TV should have pitched someone such as Dr Grady Mcmurtry against him instead. In this clip a younger Conder interviews McMurtry. He used to be a Paleontologist so he should know a thing or two about evidence in support of evolution, or not…
    http://bit.ly/sMmPqF

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  13. McMurty was never a Palaeontologist. He was a an environmental scientist and his masters degree is in forestry. His doctorate is in theology, not in science.

    See this article:

    Dr Grady Mcmurtry

    The oddest thing about the creation/evolution debate is the agreement by both sides that the age of the earth would either prove or disprove the existence of God. It can’t do that. To suggest that it could is illogical and sets up the Christians with a weak starting position. Oddly, the young earth idea came from the seventh day adventists not from mainstream evangelicalism.

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