Richard Dawkins discusses the Greatest Show on Earth

August 8, 2010 | By | 5 Replies More

In this Fora.TV video of a talk he gave at U.C. Berkeley, Richard Dawkins discusses his most recent book, The Greatest Show on Earth.  In the early minutes of the talk, he explains why fossils are “icing on the cake” and he illustrates the “problem” with gaps by use of a humorous story.

At minute 43:00, Dawkins explore the anthropic principle. At minute 49:00, Dawkins comments on the use of the word “why,” as part of his comment on the question “Why are we here?” He explains: It’s no more deserving of an answer than the question: “Why are unicorns hollow?” Dawkins also comments on the mechanism the creates conscious pain at minute 52:00, before declaring his own attempt to explain it to be incoherent. On the likelihood of a random mutation improving an organism, Dawkins points out that it is highly unlikely: “There are many more ways of being dead than alive.”

This video offers lots more engaging back and forth in the comments portion, following the main presentation.


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Category: Evolution, Religion, Science

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Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

Comments (5)

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  1. Niklaus Pfirsig says:

    I have that book on my Sony E-reader. I need to find time to read it.

  2. Alison says:

    I'm about a third of the way through the book. I love the way Dawkins explains science – it makes so much more sense coming from him than it ever did in biology classes!

  3. Rob says:

    I think Dawkins and others like him might want to try to spend time on some of the why and how. Maybe they have, but the podcasts I've been listened to haven't seemed to do so. I think this the problem is that these are tantamount questions for theists. Science has few answers to their questions.

    Personally, I'm comfortable with "I don't know" for a lot of these. We don't know yet in many cases. We may never know. I think dismissing the question is problematic.

    I suspect the reason it gets dodged somewhat is because if you say, "I don't know," the theists will say, "Ah hah! Therefore everything I believe must be true!"

  4. Erich Vieth says:

    Allison: I heard another Dawkins interview where he wanted to get all of the most important evidence in one place to explain natural selection as well as possible, so that anyone who was the least bit curious could understand it.

    It is my common experience that people who criticize natural selection don't understand it. They think its a theory that claims that people suddenly emerged from monkeys.

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