Richard Dawkins—TV series _The Root of All Evil?_
Posted: 23 May 2006 07:59 AM   [ Ignore ]
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Just saw [i:1de5a52b0f]The Root of All Evil?[/i:1de5a52b0f], a two-part BBC series from Richard Dawkins. He looks at the irrationalisms of the three modern-day religions of the Book (Judaism, Christianity and Islam). Although it will appear superficially as though he has cherry-picked his "believers" as extremists, in fact if you pay careful attention, these are not extremists at all, with one arguable exception. They aren’t precisely "moderates" either (again, with one exception), but are pretty mainstream orthodox believers of all stripes.

I must say that Dawkins comes across as a very courageous man, almost foolhardy, in that he was willing to confront very strong believers on their own home turf (even in Jerusalem) with some quite pointed questions about their religious beliefs and practices. This works well to show that these beliefs are unfounded, irrational, and often dangerous.

On the one hand, Dawkins is probably not the most sympathetic host for a general audience. He is clearly quite angry about the nonsense of religion. He has clear opinions and beliefs about what science tells us of the world, and this clarity does come across (admittedly, to scientific illiterates) as arrogant. Likely it would come across to a normal primetime TV audience as arrogant as well, given that the normal primetime TV audience knows as little about science as the people Dawkins was interviewing.

On the other hand, Dawkins’s very firm belief in science and his quasi-moralistic support of it is, I think, particularly galling to the mainstream and fundamentalist religious believers he confronts. I expect they would be more expecting scientists and science supporters as generally more indirect or milquetoasty in their questioning of religion. Usually it is the religious who preserve for themselves the intense moralism. Dawkins, on the other hand, is pretty relentlessly direct.

And throughout the interviews the responses of his detractors comes back to: "As an atheist you must have no morality." This seems to be the only response they have to him. But this hasn’t been a good argument for over 2,500 years: Plato demolished it in his dialogue the Euthyphro. More generally, as Dawkins puts it, it is not particularly moral to act just so as to ‘kiss up to God’.

By the end, Dawkins has made a very clear and persuasive case that schools should be universally nonsectarian, and that faith-based religious world views are on the rise worldwide. But he leaves little in the way of suggestions for what to do about it. So it is a pretty depressing piece!

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Posted: 23 May 2006 07:59 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Richard Dawkins—TV series _The Root of All Evil?_

Just saw The Root of All Evil? , a two-part BBC series from Richard Dawkins. He looks at the irrationalisms of the three modern-day religions of the Book (Judaism, Christianity and Islam). Although it will appear superficially as though he has cherry-picked his “believers” as extremists, in fact if you pay careful attention, these are not extremists at all, with one arguable exception. They aren’t precisely “moderates” either (again, with one exception), but are pretty mainstream orthodox believers of all stripes.

I must say that Dawkins comes across as a very courageous man, almost foolhardy, in that he was willing to confront very strong believers on their own home turf (even in Jerusalem) with some quite pointed questions about their religious beliefs and practices. This works well to show that these beliefs are unfounded, irrational, and often dangerous.

On the one hand, Dawkins is probably not the most sympathetic host for a general audience. He is clearly quite angry about the nonsense of religion. He has clear opinions and beliefs about what science tells us of the world, and this clarity does come across (admittedly, to scientific illiterates) as arrogant. Likely it would come across to a normal primetime TV audience as arrogant as well, given that the normal primetime TV audience knows as little about science as the people Dawkins was interviewing.

On the other hand, Dawkins’s very firm belief in science and his quasi-moralistic support of it is, I think, particularly galling to the mainstream and fundamentalist religious believers he confronts. I expect they would be more expecting scientists and science supporters as generally more indirect or milquetoasty in their questioning of religion. Usually it is the religious who preserve for themselves the intense moralism. Dawkins, on the other hand, is pretty relentlessly direct.

And throughout the interviews the responses of his detractors comes back to: “As an atheist you must have no morality.” This seems to be the only response they have to him. But this hasn’t been a good argument for over 2,500 years: Plato demolished it in his dialogue the Euthyphro . More generally, as Dawkins puts it, it is not particularly moral to act just so as to ‘kiss up to God’.

By the end, Dawkins has made a very clear and persuasive case that schools should be universally nonsectarian, and that faith-based religious world views are on the rise worldwide. But he leaves little in the way of suggestions for what to do about it. So it is a pretty depressing piece!

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Posted: 24 May 2006 12:44 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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I saw The Root of All Evil? a few months ago, and had mixed feelings.
I think Dawkins is great, and I think he has some great things to say about religion. However, the format and time-constraints of the documentary limited the content and I felt it was a bit watered down for my taste.  Anyway, I suppose my concerns about it are probably unfair. It’s just the nature of a documentary. You can’t fit it all in.

I am at the same time convinced that this would never have aired on a network in the U.S.  Watered down or not, there would be riots in the streets.

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Posted: 24 May 2006 01:00 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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[quote author=“tom_g”]Anyway, I suppose my concerns about it are probably unfair. It’s just the nature of a documentary. You can’t fit it all in.

I am at the same time convinced that this would never have aired on a network in the U.S.  Watered down or not, there would be riots in the streets.

Well, it’s amazing they could even get two hours on TV in England ... Certainly, given the topic, it could have been much longer, but I like to thank god even for small miracles ...

LOL

Totally agree that this could never get aired on US TV, certainly not on any broadcast network. I wonder about something like the Science Channel ... probably not. But OTOH there are entire networks devoted to the Christian religion, why not an atheist show now and then?

:?

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Posted: 24 May 2006 07:54 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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We’re going to show it in Miami on the 6th of June. I’ll let you know how it works out. The details are on our meetup at

 

I hope if this one works to show it again later this summer with better marketing - this showing is a kind of test event.

Jim

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Posted: 24 May 2006 08:01 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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[quote author=“nancy2001”]I wish I could have seen the program. Unfortunately I live in Alabama, and while there are three televangelist channels, there isn’t a single program devoted to atheism or secular humanism. It’s a shame.

I downloaded it via bittorrent. It’s readily available and there are usually many seeders.

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Posted: 24 September 2006 01:13 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Has anyone else read his new book The God Delusion? What I like about him is his anti-theism. He has no truck with theistic evolutiom like me. Let Ruse and Scott accomodate theistic evos ,but they should not contemn our forthright denial of natural selection and teleology. They are spineles in wantiing to not care off creationist to become theistic evos.  :?:

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Fr. Griggs rests in his Socratic ignorance and humble naturalism.He might be wrong!His cognitive defects might impact his posting. Logic is the bane of theists.‘Religion is mythinformation.“Reason saves, not that fanatic Galilean!
  ’ Life is its own validation and reward and ultimate purpose.”

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Posted: 24 September 2006 03:49 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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I am now almost 1/2 way through Richard Dawkin’s new book “The God Delusion” and I must say it is fantastic.  Dr. Dawkin’s is relentless with his logical arguments that negate the need for a creator and completely tears apart that rational of a theistic belief. He also goes after the middle ground of agnostisism.

Great book!  A must read.

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Jean-Marie G Vaneskahian
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Posted: 06 October 2006 01:43 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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[quote author=“tom_g”][quote author=“nancy2001”]I wish I could have seen the program. Unfortunately I live in Alabama, and while there are three televangelist channels, there isn’t a single program devoted to atheism or secular humanism. It’s a shame.

I downloaded it via bittorrent. It’s readily available and there are usually many seeders.

Part One: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-4659873880136113631&q=richard+dawkins&hl=en

Part Two: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=6370534978087426825&q=richard+dawkins&hl=en

Enjoy.

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