September 6th, 2012
09:52 AM ET

Dawkins: Evolution is 'not a controversial issue'

Atheist. Biologist. Writer. Thinker. Richard Dawkins has developed an international reputation of spreading the word that evolution happened and that there is no "intelligent design" or higher being, as you might gather from the title of his book "The God Delusion."

But no matter what you think about his convictions, his ideas have gone viral - including the word "meme."

CNN caught up with Dawkins while he was passing through Atlanta earlier this year. His next U.S. tour is in October.

Here is an edited transcript of part of the conversation. Watch the video above for a more focused look at Dawkins' ideas about evolution vs. intelligent design.

Today, a lot of people think a "meme" is a LOLcat or a photo that's gone viral. How do you feel about that?
In the last chapter of "The Selfish Gene," I coined the word "meme" as a sort of analog of "gene." My purpose of this was to say that although I'd just written a whole book about how the gene is the unit of natural selection, and that evolution is changes in gene frequencies, the Darwinian process is potentially wider than that.

You could go to other planets in the universe and find life, and if you do find life, then it will have evolved by some kind of evolutionary process, probably Darwinian. And therefore there must be something equivalent to a gene, although it may be very, very different from the DNA genes that we know.

I wanted to drive that point home. And rather than speculate about life on other planets, I thought maybe we could look at life on this planet and find an analog of the gene staring us in the face right here. And that was the meme. It's a unit of cultural inheritance, the idea that an idea might propagate itself in a similar way to a gene propagating itself. It might be like catchy tune, or a clothes fashion. A verbal convention, a word that becomes fashionable, like "awesome," which no longer means what it should mean.

That would be an example of something that spread like an epidemic. And the word "basically," which is now used just to mean "uhh." That's another one that's spread throughout the English speaking world.

These are potentially analogous to genes in the sense that they spread and are copied from brain to brain throughout the world, or throughout a particular subset of people. The interesting question would be whether there's a Darwinian process, a kind of selection process whereby some memes are more likely to spread than others, because people like them, because they're popular, because they're catchy or whatever it might be.

My original purpose was to say: It's not necessarily all about genes. But the word has taken off.

There are people who use meme theory as a serious contribution to the theory of human culture and I’m glad to say that the idea of things going viral has also gone viral.

How do you think evolution should be taught to children?
You can't even begin to understand biology, you can't understand life, unless you understand what it's all there for, how it arose - and that means evolution. So I would teach evolution very early in childhood. I don't think it's all that difficult to do. It's a very simple idea. One could do it with the aid of computer games and things like that.

I think it needs serious attention, that children should be taught where they come from, what life is all about, how it started, why it's there, why there's such diversity of it, why it looks designed. These are all things that can easily be explained to a pretty young child. I'd start at the age of about 7 or 8.

There’s only one game in town as far as serious science is concerned. It’s not that there are two different theories. No serious scientist doubts that we are cousins of gorillas, we are cousins of monkeys, we are cousins of snails, we are cousins of earthworms. We have shared ancestors with all animals and all plants. There is no serious scientist who doubts that evolution is a fact.

Why do people cling to these beliefs of creationism and intelligent design?
There are many very educated people who are religious but they’re not creationists. There’s a world of difference between a serious religious person and a creationist, and especially a Young Earth Creationist, who thinks the world is only 10,000 years old.

If we wonder why there are still serious people including some scientists who are religious, that’s a complicated psychological question. They certainly won’t believe that God created all species, or something like that. They might believe there is some sort of intelligent spirit that lies behind the universe as a whole and perhaps designed the laws of physics and everything else took off from there.

But there's a huge difference between believing that and believing that this God created all species. And also, by the way, in believing that Jesus is your lord and savior who died for your sins. That you may believe, but that doesn't follow from the scientific or perhaps pseudoscientific that there's some kind of intelligence that underlies the laws of physics.

What you cannot really logically do is to say, well I believe that there's some kind of intelligence, some kind of divine physicist who designed the laws of physics, therefore Jesus is my lord and savior who died for my sins. That's an impermissible illogicality that unfortunately many people resort to.

Why do you enjoy speaking in the Bible Belt?
I’ve been lots of places, all of which claim to be the buckle of the Bible Belt. They can’t all be, I suppose. I enjoy doing that. I get very big audiences, very enthusiastic audiences. It’s not difficult to see why.

These people are beleaguered, they feel threatened, they feel surrounded by a sort of alien culture of the highly religious, and so when somebody like me comes to town…they turn out in very large numbers, and they give us a very enthusiastic welcome, and they thank us profusely and very movingly for coming and giving them a reason to turn out and see each other.

They stand up together and notice how numerous they actually are. I think it may be a bit of a myth that America is quite such a religious country as it’s portrayed as, and particularly that the Bible Belt isn’t quite so insanely religious as it’s portrayed as.

In situations such as the death of a loved one, people often turn to faith. What do you turn to?
Bereavement is terrible, of course. And when somebody you love dies, it’s a time for reflection, a time for memory, a time for regret. I absolutely don’t ever, under such circumstances, feel tempted to take up religion. Of course not. But I attend memorial services, I’ve organized memorial events or memorial services, I’ve spoken eulogies, I’ve taken a lot of trouble to put together a program of poetry, of music, of eulogies, of memories, to try to celebrate the life of the dead person.

What’s going to happen when you die?
What’s going to happen when I die? I may be buried, or I may be cremated, I may give my body to science. I haven’t decided yet.

It just ends?
Of course it just ends. What else could it do? My thoughts, my beliefs, my feelings are all in my brain. My brain is going to rot. So no, there’s no question about that.

If there were a God that met you after death, what would you say?
If I met God, in the unlikely event, after I died? The first thing I would say is, well, which one are you? Are you Zeus? Are you Thor? Are you Baal? Are you Mithras? Are you Yahweh? Which God are you, and why did you take such great pains to conceal yourself and to hide away from us?

Where did morality come from? Evolution?
We have very big and complicated brains, and all sorts of things come from those brains, which are loosely and indirectly associated with our biological past. And morality is among them, together with things like philosophy and music and mathematics. Morality, I think, does have roots in our evolutionary past. There are good reasons, Darwinian reasons, why we are good to, altruistic towards, cooperative with, moral in our behavior toward our fellow species members, and indeed toward other species as well, perhaps.

There are evolutionary roots to morality, but they’ve been refined and perfected through thousands of years of human culture. I certainly do not think that we ought to get our morals from religion because if we do that, then we either get them through Scripture – people who think you should get your morals from the Old Testament haven’t read the Old Testament – so we shouldn’t get our morals from there.

Nor should we get our morals from a kind of fear that if we don’t please God he’ll punish us, or a kind of desire to apple polish (to suck up to) a God. There are much more noble reasons for being moral than constantly looking over your shoulder to see whether God approves of what you do.

Where do we get our morals from? We get our morals from a very complicated process of discussion, of law-making, writing, moral philosophy, it’s a complicated cultural process which changes – not just over the centuries, but over the decades. Our moral attitudes today in 2012 are very different form what they would have been 50 or 100 years ago. And even more different from what they would have been 300 years ago or 500 years ago. We don’t believe in slavery now. We treat women as equal to men. All sorts of things have changed in our moral attitudes.

It’s to do with a very complicated more zeitgeist. Steven Pinker’s latest book “The Better Angels of Our Nature” traces this improvement over long centuries of history. He makes an extremely persuasive case for the fact that we are getting more moral, we are getting better as time goes on, and religion perhaps has a part to play in that, but it’s by no means an important part.

I don’t think there’s a simple source of morality to which we turn.

What might come after humans in evolution?
Nobody knows. It’s an unwise, a rash biologist who ever forecasts what’s going to happen next. Most species go extinct. The first question we should ask is: Is there any reason to think we will be exceptional?

I think there is a reason to think we possibly might be exceptional because we do have a uniquely develop technology which might enable us to not go extinct. So if ever there was a species that one might make a tentative forecast that it’s not going to go extinct, it might be ours.

Others have come to the opposite conclusion: That we might drive ourselves extinct by some horrible catastrophe involving human weapons. But assuming that doesn’t happen, maybe we will go for hundreds of thousands, even million years.

Will they evolve? Will they change? In order for that to happen, it’s necessary that a reproductive advantage should apply to certain genetic types rather than other genetic types. If you look back 3 million years, one of the most dramatic changes has been in the increase in brain size. Our probable ancestor 3 million years ago of the genus Australopithecus walked on its hind legs but had a brain about the size of a chimpanzee’s.

Will that trend continue? Only if the bigger brained individuals are the most likely to have children. Is there any tendency if you look around the world today to say that the brainiest individuals are the ones most likely to reproduce? I don’t think so. Is there any reason to think that might happen in the future? Not obviously. You can’t just look back 3 million years and extrapolate into the future. You have to ask the question: What kinds of genetically distinct individuals are most likely to reproduce during the next hundreds of thousands of years? It’s extremely difficult to forecast that.

What are you working on next?
I’m thinking of working on another book and it might be some sort of autobiography, but it’s very much in the planning stage.

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  2. Science

    Evolution makes the grade

    Kansas, Kentucky and other states will also teach climate-change science.
    Lauren Morello

    03 July 2013

    http://www.nature.com/news/evolution-makes-the-grade-1.13318

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  4. Jacob Ezekiel

    Creations Order Accurately Stated in the Bible – over 3500 years ago...

    Mathematic­al probabilit­y offers striking proof that Genesis creation account must have come from source with knowledge of the events. The Genesis account lists 10 major stages in this order (NOTE:thes­e events are from a human perspectiv­e on the SURFACE OF THE EARTH-Mose­s 1500BCE)

    Genesis chapter 1
    1- beginning to the Universe
    2- primitive earth in darkness and enshrouded in heavy gases and water
    3- sunlight (light penetrates the thinning atmosphere and reaches earth's surface, previously the atmosphere was to thick to let sunlight penetrate)
    4- expanse or atmosphere develops
    5- large areas of dry land
    6- land plants
    7- sun, moon, stars discernible in the expanse (previously indiscernible from the surface of the earth due to the thickness of the atmosphere, seasons beginning
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    10- man

    Science agrees that these stages occurred in this general order.

    Chances of randomly picking this order? The same as if you picked at random numbers 1-10, drawing them in consecutive order. Chances of doing this on your first try- 1 in 3,628,800! So, to say the writer just happened to list the foregoing events in the right order without getting the facts from somewhere is not realistic.

    Scientist Jastrow:
    “Now we see how astronomical evidence leads to a biblical view of the origin of the world. The details differ, but the essential elements in the astronomical and biblical accounts of Genesis are the same: the chain of events leading to man commenced suddenly and sharply at a definite moment in time, in a flash of light and energy.”

    June 4, 2013 at 4:12 am |
    • Jacob Ezekiel

      NOTE:these events are from a human perspective on the SURFACE OF THE EARTH-Moses 1500BCE)

      Genesis was written about 1500 BCE (3500 years ago). It was written for and by a human (Moses) on the earth and all of the Bible writers claimed that they were inspired by God to write his thoughts for the benefit of mankind.

      So please note the perspective of these steps are from the surface of the earth.

      That is why the sun and stars were already created but the SURFACE of the earth was dark due to the heavy/thick atmosphere not allowing the light to penetrate tot he surface of the earth...
      2-primitive earth in darkness and enshrouded in heavy gases and water;

      3-light;
      ... and later the light from the sun (due to changing atmosphere penetrated to the SURFACE of the earth...)

      7-sun, moon, stars discernible in the expanse, seasons beginning;
      ... and later the sun and moon themselves – not just there light – were discernible from the SURFACE of the earth (again due to changing atmosphere...)

      Land Plants on Third “Day”

      The Bible account adds: “‘Let the earth cause grass to shoot forth, vegetation bearing seed, fruit trees yielding fruit according to their kinds, the seed of which is in it, upon the earth.’ And it came to be so.”—Genes­is 1:11.

      Thus by the close of this third creative period, three broad categories of land plants had been created. The diffused light would have become quite strong by then, ample for the process of photosynth­esis so vital to green plants. Incidental­ly, the account here does not mention every “kind” of plant that came on the scene. Microscopi­c organisms, water plants and others are not specifical­ly named, but likely were created on this “day.”

      – Life—How Did It Get Here? By Evolution or by Creation? chap. 3 pp. 31-32

      Fourth “Day” – luminaries, seasons

      NOTE: In the Bible the imperfect state of the Hebrew verbs used in Genesis chapter 1 indicates that creation involved ongoing activity by God. And the creative days of Genesis chapter 1 were not 24-hour days, but they extended over MANY thousands of years.

      [[Day four saw dramatic changes: “Then God continued, saying, ‘Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to divide between the day and the night, and they shall be for signs and for seasons and for days and years. Also they shall be for lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light upon the earth’; and gradually it came to be so. Accordingly God proceeded to make the two great lights, the greater light as a ruler of the day, and the lesser light as a ruler of the night, likewise the stars.”—Genesis 1:14-16, Watts.

      Now, for the first time, more concentrat­ed sunlight reached the surface of the earth. The sources of light—sun and moon and stars—coul­d be seen from the surface of the earth. In the account of the first creative day, the Hebrew word for light is ’ohr,
      light in a general sense; but on day four, it is ma?’ohr', meaning the source of the light.]]

      – Awake! 91 6/8 pp. 13-14 Did Each Creative Day Always Finish What It Started?

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  6. vincastar

    Father Robert Barron is really fantastic in his explanation.
    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ZkHv8iTJPo&w=560&h=315]

    October 20, 2012 at 9:53 pm |
  7. fimeilleur

    @vincastar, "to believe there is no God without proof and call people who believe in God hypocrites for believing without proof is hypocritical...and ironic : )"

    To believe there are no leprechauns without proof and call people who believe in leprechauns hypocrites fro believing without proof is hypocritical... and ironic : )... oh this is fun...

    "There is evidence in many ways that have already been discussed and you still have not responded to my previous posts that I directed you to accordingly."

    Personal interpretations of personal events are not proof... no matter how many times you say it... they are still personal, and interpretations...

    "Evolution is a theory."

    Jerry beat me to the punch... so is gravity...

    "My hand hurt for about an hour after the break but with prayer stopped hurting and thanks to God has not hurt since, except the occasional bonk. Thank you for your consideration. and I apologized that you have become so distraught over the last post and I pray that you humble your heart to God's abiding love."

    I'll bet you any money... without prayer, your hand would have stopped hurting and thanks to the way the human body is conditioned, except for the occasional bonk, it would not hurt since... it's called saturation of the nervous system...I can prove it with a simple test... take a bowl of ice water, place your hand in it... take a second bowl of hot water, as hot as you can stand it... and place your other hand in it... after about 5 minutes, remove both hands and place them under warm running water... the cold hand will feel the water as hot, and the hot hand will feel the water as cold... although we both know the water is the same temperature...why? because the neurones have been conditioned to feel one way... just like if you are bombarded with a smell for a long time, you will eventually stop smelling the item, even though it is still in the room. No miracle or divine intervention required.

    October 15, 2012 at 10:52 pm |
    • fimeilleur

      somehow this post got misplaced... do not reply, I've reposted for context.

      October 15, 2012 at 10:57 pm |
    • vincastar

      You are so wrong about saturation of nerves in a break so that if you brake two bones (a displaced fracture and a fracture) it stops hurting after an hour...that does not just happen. When I was agnostic I broke my pinky toe and it hurt for weeks...just wearing the medical shoe hurt. Another time I twisted my ankle and that was seriously pain full. I used a crutch but the force of the weight was so painful that I could not even walk on a crutch without pain for at least a week maybe two. I saw the hand specialist last Fri and he put a hard cast on me and was impressed that I could move any of my fingers much less all of them...without pain also : ) God's awesome.

      I think I commented to you other comments already.

      October 20, 2012 at 9:36 pm |
      • vincastar

        http://www.wordonfire.org/trackback/f3e1f064-a695-4a85-84ea-e770ba6dab2e/Fr–Barron-comments-on-Scientism-and-God-s-Existence.aspx

        October 20, 2012 at 9:44 pm |
      • vincastar

        In addition, if I accidentally knock into something with my hand, then it does hurt... which would indicate that my nerves are not saturated.

        October 21, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
      • vincastar

        I just told you I talked to a medical Dr and he was impressed so was the ER dr and nurses. Look up the definition of staturation...if the nerves are saturated then why do I feel pain if I knock into something? If intense pain saturates the nerves then why did my other broken bone not saturate and why did my twisted ankle not saturate (that bty was really painful) and why does labor hurt so much? You look for an answer to satisfy your belief to protect your pride instead of accepting the reality of the situation.

        October 21, 2012 at 3:16 pm |
      • fimeilleur

        So you told these doctors and nurses that you prayed for the pain to go away... and they were impressed? You need to go to a better hospital. See the word CONDESCENDING in the dictionary... or refer to the expression "humouring someone"...

        Or better yet, tell me... when the people of India encounter the same medical ailments you describe, and they pray to Vishnu and get the same results as you... does it matter to WHOM they pray to? or is it just the act of prayer to any random god that is effective? When the Blackfoot indians prayed to Naapi, and they got the same results... was it because your version of god decided to step in? You'd think such a narcissistic deity who'd banish a person to hell for all eternity for the simple act of disbelief would reject to help someone who clearly has "other gods before him" What about the Buddha? Does he count?

        I'm not about to spend a whole day explaining to you the human body. Their are many great biology text books available for your reading enjoyment. But in summation: the pain you feel as a result of the initial break is pain #1, the nerves eventually get used to pain #1 and you forget about it; the pain you feel as a result of the bump is pain #2, the nerves now react to this new sensation and tell your little walnut brain "hey that hurt me again" it eventually deadens and you forget about it until you hit the area again. Again, go read a book... other than your buy-bull and get some real information.

        October 21, 2012 at 3:33 pm |
      • vincastar

        Your explanation does not explain...
        1) why that never happened with my other broken bone
        2) why that never happened with my twisted ankle
        3) why that never happened during and after labor
        ...all before I began to pray

        Also, I said the Drs were impressed that I did not need or take the narcotics and the hand Dr specialist was impressed that I could move all of my fingers without pain.

        I don't know much about Buddah except that he was obviously gluttanus and never claimed to be God. He may have been a profit but I have no knowledge of that. Ghandi was possibly a profit. I believe that there is just one God and other religions may call him by a different name and I think it is possible that some religions think that the one God is really many but never considered the wisdom that it is actually just one God that does many things. I also think it is possible that some religions deify anything just because it has power or control over them (like addiction) but that could actually be sinful temptations of the devil like phallic worship by some ancient Romans and Indians would be an obvious example.

        October 21, 2012 at 5:14 pm |
      • vincastar

        Really, that is a good question concerning why people worship God differently. People around the world probably try to understand God as best they can. However, I find no greater love or wisdom than Jesus'. I am only a recent convert to Christianity so I would recommend talking to a priest about it or going to http://forum.catholic.org/viewforum.php?f=58&sid=84423e41d0aad06c4119359dbb16560a and posting your question.

        October 21, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
      • fimeilleur

        I already said I'm not going to teach you basic biology... read a science text book. It will explain all you ever wanted to know about the human body. I'm not going to do your homework for you. But here's what your "good book" tells you about child birth: 1 timothy 2:11-15 (now if you're a woman... your book commands you to STFU!)

        You can think all you want about other religions... I'm obviously not going to sway your delusions... but know that they truly ARE delusions. And the way that you shamelessly promote the Roman Catholic Church... I'm going to assume you converted to Catholicism... a church headed by a man who's job it was to shuffle ped ophile priests from one church to another to avoid prosecution... a man who excommunicated a nine year old girl, her uncle and her mother after the nine year old obtained an ab ortion to abort the fetus implanted in her by her incestuous and r apist father, and then FORGAVE the father for the r ape (never will the Catholic Church EVER condemn a ped ophile) because he went to confession... the same man who willingly served in the Hitler Youth in Nazi Germany. This is the same church who openly celebrated the feast of the Führer, well after Hitler's death, and STILL, TO THIS DAY, has NEVER excommunicated him, even though they excommunicated others after their deaths (seems like they are proud to have Hitler among their baptized flock)

        Now onto your moral code: the Buy-Bull.

        Many in the religious culture insist that the god of the wholly buy-bull provide the foundation for all morality.

        With that in mind, take a moment to browse some specific examples of God-endorsed atrocities. Then, ask yourself (honestly) how you would feel about these accounts of r ape, incest, sla very, torture and infanticide if the acts had been perpetrated by a human being: Hitler, Stalin, Hussein, Mao, Pol Pot, etc.

        Doesn’t your moral code require you to denounce these acts as horrific and monstrous? Do you hold your version of god to a different standard simply because "he is god, and he can do whatever he wants?"

        Think about it. Even if Yahweh existed, would he be truly worthy of our praise and allegiance? Or is the truly moral person obligated to shun and denounce this petty, jealous, cruel and murderous tyrant?

        Genesis 34:13
        Genesis 6 & 7
        Genesis 19:6
        Genesis 19:26
        Genesis 38:8-10
        Exodus 2:12
        Exodus 7:2-4
        Exodus 7:20-21
        Exodus 8:6-7
        Exodus 8:16
        Exodus 8:24
        Exodus 9:5
        Exodus 9:10
        Exodus 9:22-25
        Exodus 12:29
        Exodus 17:13
        Exodus 21:20-21
        Exodus 32:27

        AND BEFORE YOU START WITH "THAT WAS THE OLD TESTAMENT"...

        Mathew 5:17 "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them." Jesus endorses the mass murder, r ape, sla very, torture and incest written about in the Old Testament.

        Mark 7:10 Jesus taught that any child who cursed his parents should be killed according to Old Testament law.

        Luke 12:47 Jesus warned that a servant of God who does not heed his master will be "beaten with many blows."

        Romans 1:26-27 Paul said that hom ose xuals deserve death. (Jesus on the other hand... said nothing of the sorts. In fact, Luke 17:34 clearly states "I tell you, in that night there shall be two men in one bed; the one shall be taken, and the other shall be left." At the end of days, one of the two men who share one bed, WILL be brought up to heaven... doesn't look like hom ose xuality is that much of a sin in your saviour's eyes)

        So don't try to peddle your nonsense to me. I've read your book cover to cover. There is no context that can forgive the mass murder of children. There is no context that can forgive genocide. There is no context that can forgive the tyrant you know as Yahweh.

        If you have so much faith in your book, I ask you this: If you contracted leprosy, would you see a medical doctor (biology) or would you follow the teachings of Leviticus 14 (theology)?

        Now that I've given you much to read and think about... please, PLEASE, go to the beLIEf blog. You are done here.

        To quote a great man: "Arguments that explain everything... explain NOTHING" Christopher Hitchens. You've been Hitch slapped.

        October 21, 2012 at 9:52 pm |
  8. Daniel

    Simply show me the fossil records of the morphing species that have taken millions and billions of years to evolve..the half one, half another creatures..OR... just come out and file for tax exempt status like the rest of the religions do. It takes as much faith to believe in evolution as does any other religion. Why don't they ?...Then it couldn't be taught in schools as fact..the most baseless fact that I have ever encountered. I cannot prove my faith to you nor would I try to..but please don't look down your nose at me as being of inferior intellect. Because Darwin or Dawkins said it, its true?..Show me the money and if you cannot...why not?

    October 15, 2012 at 11:07 am |
    • Jerry

      ".the half one, half another creatures"
      Clearly you do not understand evolution. Evolution is a fact. Some of the supporting evidence is fossils, dna, chromosone2, and a host of other evidence.

      October 15, 2012 at 12:05 pm |
      • vincastar

        Jerry, Everyone knows that evolution is only a theory it cannot be proven.

        October 15, 2012 at 12:20 pm |
      • Daniel

        'Some of the supporting evidence is fossils'

        Please show me..(since I do not understand) the sum of the some, or at least "some" of the sum...or even some of the some ?...please ?

        October 15, 2012 at 12:52 pm |
      • Daniel

        In my inept understanding of evolution, I was led to believe that everything came from nothing, or for the sake of an evolutionist platform..I will give you a primordial sludge. I had always thought and was taught (in school) that everything evolved from said sludge. If we have a voluminous fossil record with a good cross section of species why are we so lacking in the link department. I said half this, half that to simplify what must have obviously occurred, unless I misunderstand. Are you of the opinion that a fish one day birthed a frog ? (please excuse me..I am someone with a high school education and don't have my evolutionary family tree beside me..for the sake or argument..grant me my example. Is that where I am confused ?

        October 15, 2012 at 1:00 pm |
  9. Bea

    What kinds of genetically distinct individuals are most likely to reproduce during the next hundreds of thousands of years? It’s extremely difficult to forecast that.

    I would disagree.....I think the movie 'Idiocracy' did a pretty good job of just that. lol

    October 10, 2012 at 2:18 pm |
  10. Arokel

    Dawkins is not exactly an unbiased person. Nor is he ,imo, the best person to represent the evolution side of things.

    The guy is nuts.

    October 8, 2012 at 1:41 pm |
    • Jerry

      @Arokel

      Dawkins is a tenured professor at Oxford. There aren't more qualified people to speak about evolution.

      October 9, 2012 at 8:26 am |
    • lolCAT2000

      imho, Dawkins is absolutely qualified as a biologist, but the problem is that the apparent discord between the evidence he sees in evolution and religious accounts have apparently launched him into an anti-religionistic world view,
      and that he is now not so much known for his research work in biology, but as one of the strongest supporters of the "us vs. them" mentality of "science vs. religion" that he in some way has created in his own analysis, along with other contemporary "atheist scientists" such as Pinker and a group of Philosophers/Thinkers such as Hitchens, Daniel C. Dennet and others.
      There may also be business considerations involved in the sensationalism of his publications.

      I don't think there is anything specifically "wrong" with Dawkins ideas per-se, they are definitely a valid position one can agree or disagree with.
      The problem is more the demonization of religion as a whole and the polarization his way of presenting them results form them.
      I definitely think that he as a university professor practices a certain kind of "eroticism of teaching" and that the gestures he makes and the effect he evokes through his language often originate more in the student/professor relationship in which the professor is the wise guy while the student "has his mind blown".
      I think if you look at PT Anderson's "The Master" you might be able to get a glimpse of how something like this works as well.
      I do admire science, I think it's our best shot at many many things.
      But the way Dawkins behaves, his polarizing rhetorics and propagandistic publications, places him in the vicinity of cult leaders.

      October 10, 2012 at 6:23 am |
    • lolCAT2000

      imho, Dawkins is absolutely qualified as a biologist, but the problem is that the apparent discord between the evidence he sees in evolution and religious accounts have apparently launched him into an anti religionistic world view,
      and that he is now not so much known for his research work in biology, but as one of the strongest supporters of the "us vs. them" mentality of "science vs. religion" that he in some way has created in his own analysis, along with other contemporary "atheist scientists" such as Pinker and a group of Philosophers/Thinkers such as Hitchens, Daniel C. Dennet and others.
      There may also be business considerations involved in the sensationalism of his publications.

      I don't think there is anything specifically "wrong" with Dawkin's ideas per-se, they are definitely a valid position one can agree or disagree with.
      The problem is more the demonization of religion as a whole and the polarization his way of presenting them results form them.
      I definitely think that he as a university professor practices a certain kind of "eroticism of teaching" and that the gestures he makes and the effect he evokes through his language often originate more in the student/professor relationship in which the professor is the wise guy while the student "has his mind blown".
      I think if you look at PT Anderson's "The Master" you might be able to get a glimpse of how something like this works as well.
      I do admire science, I think it's our best shot at many many things.
      But the way Dawkins behaves, his polarizing rhetorics and propagandistic simplifications, places him in the vicinity of cult leaders.

      October 10, 2012 at 6:29 am |
  11. Doug

    There are 3 possibilities based on mathematics. Evolution of humans on earth is not one of them.

    October 5, 2012 at 11:25 pm |
    • lolCAT2000

      fyi, there is a weird censor algorithm that prevents some posts from showing up.
      most of the time, it happens because the world t-it (evidently without the -) is hidden somewhere in the text, for example in "att-itude".

      October 6, 2012 at 2:54 am |
    • lolCAT2000

      Evolution of humans is not a "probabilty problem" anymore, since it is evidently a pretty convincing theory about how things came about to the present state.
      But it doesn't really explain why you and me are here right now.
      It only has a convincing structural description of how "humans" came about.
      You and me just find ourselves right in the middle of it, our presence quite evidently not necessary within all this structural emergence of matter alone.
      There is really no reason why we would have to be strapped into this silly life of ours.

      Since my presence here is so unnecessary, illogical and unreal, yet I am evidently there, I think that there is a lot we still do not understand, despite the fact that so many things "look understood" now.

      October 6, 2012 at 3:01 am |
  12. Doug

    where is the post

    October 5, 2012 at 11:01 pm |
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