Tag Archive: Richard Dawkins

In 1939, I was a paperboy in rural Wisconsin and had a 17-mile route. One dark winter’s night, I was caught miles from home in a blizzard. The temperature was 20 degrees below zero, and my bicycle toppled over on an icy, snow-covered field. A fierce wind ripped out the newspapers that I carried in my handlebar basket, strewing them across the terrain. I broke into tears of frustration and exhaustion; my clothes were frozen still, and I was far from home.

To get out of the wind, I broke through the icy crust of a high snowbank and dug out a place to burrow into. The shivering stopped and was replaced by a delicious warmth . . . and then a state of peace beyond all description. This was accompanied by a suffusion of light and a Presence of infinite love, which had no beginning and no end, and which was indistinguishable from my own essence. I became oblivious of the physical body and surroundings as my awareness fused with this all-present illuminated state. The mind grew silent; all thought stopped. An infinite Presence was all that was or could be, and it was beyond time or description.

After what seemed like eons, I was drawn back to an awareness of someone shaking my knee—my father’s anxious face subsequently appeared. There was great reluctance to return to the body and all that it entailed . . . but I loved my father dearly, and because of his anguish, I chose to do so. In a detached way, I sympathized with his fear of my death, but at the same time, the concept of “death” seemed absurd.

This experience was never discussed with anyone. There was no context available with which to comprehend it: I had never heard of spiritual experiences (other than those reported in the lives of the saints). But after this experience, the accepted reality of the world began to seem only provisional; traditional religious teaching lost significance. Compared to the light of Divinity that I had felt bathing all existence, the god of traditional religion shone dully indeed. I had lost religion. . . but I discovered spirituality.

Sir David R. Hawkins, M.D., Ph.D., is an internationally renowned psychiatrist, consciousness researcher, spiritual lecturer, and mystic.
Source: Heal Your Life

Richard Dawkins 2016 – Richard Dawkins in conversation with Penn Jillette at Live Talks LA

Very lively debate with introduction in Spanish. Actual discussion between Deepak and Richard commences at 0.05:35 over an 1 and 15 minutes session.

Published on Nov 9, 2013

A discussion between Richard Dawkins and Deepak Chopra on 11-09-2013. Broadcast and hosted by CDI (http://www.ciudaddelasideas.com). I do not own the content in this video. Posted under U.S. Fair Use policy with intention of public commenting, review and discussion.

Richard Dawkins, bestselling author and the world’s most celebrated evolutionary biologist, has spent his career elucidating the many wonders of science. Here, he takes a broader approach and uses his unrivaled explanatory powers to illuminate the ways in which the world really works.

Filled with clever thought experiments and jaw-dropping facts, The Magic of Reality explains a stunningly wide range of natural phenomena: How old is the universe? Why do the continents look like disconnected pieces of a jigsaw puzzle? What causes tsunamis? Why are there so many kinds of plants and animals? Who was the first man, or woman? Starting with the magical, mythical explanations for the wonders of nature, Dawkins reveals the exhilarating scientific truths behind these occurrences.

This is a page-turning detective story that not only mines all the sciences for its clues but primes the reader to think like a scientist as well.

Richard Dawkins is a Fellow of the Royal Society and was the inaugural holder of the Charles Simonyi Chair of Public Understanding of Science at Oxford University. He is the acclaimed author of many books including The Selfish Gene, Climbing Mount Improbable, Unweaving the Rainbow, The Ancestor’s Tale, The God Delusion, and The Greatest Show on Earth. Visit him at RichardDawkins.net.

Dave McKean has illustrated and designed many award-winning comics and books as well as CD covers, a Broadway musical, and creatures for the Harry Potter films.

Click HERE to browse inside
The Magic of Reality: How We Know What’s Really True by Richard Dawkins

What are things made of? What is the sun? Why is there night and day, winter and summer? Why do bad things happen? Are we alone? Throughout history people all over the world have invented stories to answer profound questions such as these. Have you heard the tale of how the sun hatched out of an emu’s egg? Or what about the great catfish that carries the world on its back? Has anyone ever told you that earthquakes are caused by a sneezing giant? These fantastical myths are fun – but what is the real answer to such questions? “The Magic of Reality”, with its explanations of space, time, evolution and more, will inspire and amaze readers of all ages – young adults, adults, children, octogenarians.

Teaming up with the renowned illustrator Dave McKean, Richard Dawkins answers all these questions and many more. In stunning words and pictures this book presents the real story of the world around us, taking us on an enthralling journey through scientific reality, and showing that it has an awe-inspiring beauty and thrilling magic which far exceed those of the ancient myths. We encounter rainbows, our genetic ancestors, tsunamis, shooting stars, plants, animals, and an intriguing cast of characters in this extraordinary scientific voyage of discovery. Richard Dawkins and Dave McKean have created a dazzling celebration of our planet that will entertain and inform for years to come.

Beautiful Minds: Richard Dawkins

Professor Richard Dawkins reveals how he came to write his explosive first book The Selfish Gene, a work that was to divide the scientific community and make him the most influential evolutionary biologist of his generation. He also explores how this set him on the path to becoming an outspoken spokesman for atheism.

Oxford Museum of Natural History hosts this fascinating and controversial debate on the existence of God. Professor John Lennox explains how science points to an intelligent creator and Richard Dawkins offers a counterargument.

When Dawkins was asked if he ever considered God, he said, “”Yeah maybe I have, but if I have, so what? It doesn’t make it true. That’s what it matters.”

To this I’d like to ask him, how does he know if “it” is not true? Haven’t see any evidence? How does it matter to the very existence of God? Does God disappear just because someone thinks there’s no “evidence?” Someone is appealing to his own ignorance here if you ask me. 😉

Complete video at: http://fora.tv/2009/10/07/Richard_Daw…

Biologist Richard Dawkins identifies what he views is the single most compelling fact to refute Creationism — but states that the real problem lies in convincing Creationists to listen to the evidence. “What they do is simply stick their fingers in their ears and say ‘La la la,'” says Dawkins. “You cannot argue with a mind like that.”


Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion created a storm of controversy over the question of God’s existence. Now, in The Greatest Show on Earth, Dawkins presents a stunning counterattack against advocates of “Intelligent Design” that explains the evidence for evolution while keeping an eye trained on the absurdities of the creationist argument.

More than an argument of his own, it’s a thrilling tour into our distant past and into the interstices of life on earth. Taking us through the case for evolution step-by-step, Dawkins looks at DNA, selective breeding, anatomical similarities, molecular family trees, geography, time, fossils, vestiges and imperfections, human evolution, and the formula for a strong scientific theory.

Dawkins’ trademark wit and ferocity is joined by an infectious passion for the beauty and strangeness of the natural world, proving along the way that the mechanisms of the natural world are more miraculous — a “greater show” — than any creation story generated by any religion on earth. – Berkeley Arts and Letters

Richard Dawkins is a world-renowned evolutionary biologist and author. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society and, until recently, held the Charles Simonyi Chair of Public Understanding of Science at Oxford University. His first book, The Selfish Gene, was an instant international bestseller, and has become an established classic work of modern evolutionary biology.

He is also the author of The Blind Watchmaker, River Out of Eden, Climbing Mount Improbable, Unweaving the Rainbow, A Devil’s Chaplain, The Ancestor’s Tale The God Delusion, and most recently, The Greatsest Show on Earth.

Professor Dawkins’s awards have included the Silver Medal of the Zoological Society of London (1989), the Royal Society’s Michael Faraday Award (1990), the Nakayama Prize for Achievement in Human Science (1990), The International Cosmos Prize (1997) and the Kistler Prize (2001).

He has Honorary Doctorates in both literature and science, and is a Fellow of the Royal Society.

Sir David Attenborough, 84, is a naturalist and broadcaster. He studied geology and zoology at Cambridge before joining the BBC in 1952 and presenting landmark series including Life On Earth (1979), The Living Planet (1984) and, recently, Life.

Richard Dawkins, 69, was educated at Oxford, later lectured there and became its first professor of the public understanding of science. An evolutionary biologist, he is the author of 10 books, including The Selfish Gene (1976), The God Delusion (2006) and The Greatest Show On Earth (2009). He is now working on a children’s book, The Magic Of Reality.

What is the one bit of science from your field that you think everyone should know?

David Attenborough: The unity of life.

Richard Dawkins: The unity of life that comes about through evolution, since we’re all descended from a single common ancestor. It’s almost too good to be true, that on one planet this extraordinary complexity of life should have come about by what is pretty much an intelligible process. And we’re the only species capable of understanding it.

Where and when do you do your best thinking?

DA: I’ve no idea. All I know is if I’m stuck with something and go to bed, I wake up with the answer.

RD: That’s a fascinating phenomenon, isn’t it?

DA: That’s if I find the answer at all.

RD: Very few people say, “I think I’ll have an hour’s thinking now.”

DA: Mathematicians do. I had an uncle who was a mathematician, and one of his students said, “How long can you think for?” He said, “I sometimes manage two or three minutes.” And this young man said, “I’ve never managed more than 90 seconds.” Of course, that’s abstract thinking, and by and large I’m not an abstract thinker.

What distracts you?

RD: The internet.

DA: I used to work to music, but I can’t now. Music is too important not to give it my full attention.

What problem do you hope scientists will have solved by the end of the century?

DA: The production of energy without any deleterious effects. The problem is then we’d be so powerful, there’d be no restraint and we’d continue wrecking everything. Solar energy would be preferable to nuclear. If you could harness it to produce desalination, you could make the Sahara bloom.

RD: I was thinking more academically: the problem of human consciousness.

Can you remember the moment you decided to become a scientist?

RD: I only became fired up in my second year of a science degree. Unlike you, I was never a boy naturalist, to my regret. It was more the intellectual, philosophical questions that interested me.

DA: I am a naturalist rather than a scientist. Simply looking at a flower or a frog has always seemed to me to be just about the most interesting thing there is. Others say human beings are pretty interesting, which they are, but as a child you’re not interested in Auntie Flo’s psychology; you’re interested in how a dragonfly larva turns into a dragonfly.

RD: Yes, it’s carrying inside it two entirely separate blueprints, two different programmes.

DA: I couldn’t believe it! I remember asking an adult, “What goes on inside a cocoon?” and he said, “The caterpillar is totally broken down into a kind of soup. And then it starts again.” And I remember saying, “That can’t be right.” As a procedure, you can’t imagine how it evolved.

What is the most common misconception about your work?

RD: I know you’re working on a programme about Cambrian and pre-Cambrian fossils, David. A lot of people might think, “These are very old animals, at the beginning of evolution; they weren’t very good at what they did.” I suspect that isn’t the case?

DA: They were just as good, but as generalists, most were ousted from the competition.

RD: So it probably is true there’s a progressive element to evolution in the short term but not in the long term – that when a lineage branches out, it gets better for about five million years but not 500 million years. You wouldn’t see progressive improvement over that kind of time scale.

DA: No, things get more and more specialised. Not necessarily better.

RD: The “camera” eyes of any modern animal would be better than what had come before.

DA: Certainly… but they don’t elaborate beyond function. When I listen to a soprano sing a Handel aria with an astonishing coloratura from that particular larynx, I say to myself, there has to be a biological reason that was useful at some stage. The larynx of a human being did not evolve without having some function. And the only function I can see is sexual attraction.

RD: Sexual selection is important and probably underrated.

DA: What I like to think is that if I think the male bird of paradise is beautiful, my appreciation of it is precisely the same as a female bird of paradise.

Which living scientist do you most admire, and why?

RD: David Attenborough.

DA: I don’t know. People say Richard Feynman had one of these extraordinary minds that could grapple with ideas of which I have no concept. And you hear all the ancillary bits – like he was a good bongo player – that make him human. So I admire this man who could not only deal with string theory but also play the bongos. But he is beyond me. I have no idea what he was talking of.

RD: There does seem to be a sense in which physics has gone beyond what human intuition can understand. We shouldn’t be too surprised about that because we’re evolved to understand things that move at a medium pace at a medium scale. We can’t cope with the very tiny scale of quantum physics or the very large scale of relativity.

DA: A physicist will tell me that this armchair is made of vibrations and that it’s not really here at all. But when Samuel Johnson was asked to prove the material existence of reality, he just went up to a big stone and kicked it. I’m with him.

RD: It’s intriguing that the chair is mostly empty space and the thing that stops you going through it is vibrations or energy fields. But it’s also fascinating that, because we’re animals that evolved to survive, what solidity is to most of us is something you can’t walk through. Also, the science of the future may be vastly different from the science of today, and you have to have the humility to admit when you don’t know. But instead of filling that vacuum with goblins or spirits, I think you should say, “Science is working on it.”

DA: Yes, there was a letter in the paper [about Stephen Hawking’s comments on the nonexistence of God] saying, “It’s absolutely clear that the function of the world is to declare the glory of God.” I thought, what does that sentence mean?!

What keeps you awake at night?

DA: Worrying about things I worked at too late in the evening.

RD: I have the same problem.

What has been the most exciting moment of your career?

DA: One would be when I first dived on a coral reef and I was able to move among a world of unrevealed complexity.

RD: Something to do with a puzzle being solved – things fall into place and you see a different way of looking at things which suddenly makes sense.

DA: We are living in the most exciting intellectual time in history. In my lifetime we have discovered such profundities, such huge principles. When I was an undergraduate, I went to the professor of geology and said, “Would you talk to us about the way that continents are drifting?” And he said, “The moment we can demonstrate that continents are moving by a millimetre, I will consider it, but until then it’s sheer moonshine, dear boy.” And within five years of me leaving Cambridge, it was confirmed, and all the problems disappeared – why Australian animals were different – that one thing changed our understanding and made sense of everything. When I made Life On Earth, we had to start with really complex organisms because the ecology of the very first oceans was not known. But you’re doing a child’s book? Tell me about it.

RD: It’s about science more generally. Each chapter begins with the myths, so in the sun chapter, for instance, we have an Aztec myth, an ancient Egyptian myth, an Aboriginal myth. It is called The Magic Of Reality and one of the problems I’m facing is the distinction between the use of the word magic, as in a magic trick, and the magic of the universe, life on Earth, which one uses in a poetic way.

DA: No, I think there’s a distinction between magic and wonder. Magic, in my view, should be restricted to things that are actually not so. Rabbits don’t really live in hats. It’s magic.

RD: OK, but what if you took a top hat and all you can see inside is some little boring brown things, and then one splits and out emerges a butterfly?

DA: Yes, that’s wonderful. But it’s not magic.

RD: OK. Well, you’re rather dissing my title…

DA: The wonder of reality? But that’s rather corny.

RD: Yes, it’s a bit like “awesome”.

Who is your favourite fictional scientist?

RD: The one I can think of is Conan Doyle’s Professor Challenger, but he was a very irascible character and not a good role model.

DA: I don’t read fiction.

What is the most difficult ethical dilemma facing science today?

DA: How far do you go to preserve individual human life?

RD: That’s a good one, yes.

DA: I mean, what are we to do with the NHS? How can you put a value in pounds, shillings and pence on an individual’s life? There was a case with a bowel cancer drug – if you gave that drug, which costs several thousand pounds, it continued life for six weeks on. How can you make that decision?

This is the full speech by Richard Dawkins at the “Protest The Pope” rally, 18th September 2010. (unedited)

Richard Dawkins Protest The Pope Speech – Part 2

Meet the evolutionary biologist, best-selling author and staunch athiest.

Riz Khan, the host of One on One on Al Jazeera English, interviewed world-renowned biologist Richard Dawkins about his life and his work for his programme on 9 January 2010. The video of this programme can now be seen on YouTube.

When Richard Dawkins appears in the media, it is usually to talk about science, religion or his books on these subjects. This is a different interview as Riz Khan asks more questions about Richard Dawkins, his life and his experiences, than about science and religion per se, and as such, it is quite refreshing, because it shows a side of him which we don’t often get to see. A few highlights:

Riz Khan asks Richard Dawkins what he is trying to achieve when he is speaking out so publicly about the subject of atheism. Says Dawkins:

Truth, really, I feel passionately about what’s true, partly because it is so exciting. […] The truth of existence, of what the world is like, of what the universe is like, what life is like, how life comes into being, all that is so utterly intriguing that I really want to infect other people with my own enthusiasm for it.

They then go on about how Richard Dawkins sometimes describes himself as a cultural Christian and taking village cricket matches and pubs as an example, he says that he is fond of the sort of mild Church-of-England Christianity where nobody really believes it or takes it very seriously, a bit like many of his Jewish friends who call themselves cultural Jews but who are actually atheists.

When Riz Khan asks him if people with strong religious views bother him, Dawkins replies that they frustrate him when they interfere with scientific truth, when they try to miseducate people and try to persuade children that the world is less than ten thousand years old.

To the question if he is worried about offending people, Richard Dawkins replies that he doesn’t want to offend people but that he also thinks that people don’t have a right to be immune to being offended, just because they are religious.

Dawkins also talks about what he learned from Nikolaas Tinbergen, the Nobel prize winning biologist with whom he worked for a number of years. He quotes the phrase “machinery for survival,” a phrase which illustrates how Tinbergen thought of animals as machines, machines of which he wanted to know how they worked. The second thing he names is that Tinbergen understood that certain behavioural patterns can be selected by Darwinian selection in very much the same way that organs such as bones can be selected.

Richard Dawkins says that he is disturbed about the fact that children are sometimes prevented from learning about evolution, and he insists that he doesn’t want to indoctrinate them, but rather that he wants to encourage them to think for themselves, to look at the evidence and to evaluate it critically.
The conversation between Riz Khan and Richard Dawkins also touches subjects such as his childhood, his daughter Juliet, the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science, the website richarddawkins.net and more.

The Root of All Evil? – The God Delusion

The God Delusion is a 2006 bestselling non-fiction book by British biologist Richard Dawkins, professorial fellow of New College, Oxford, and inaugural holder of the Charles Simonyi Chair for the Public Understanding of Science at the University of Oxford.

In The God Delusion, Dawkins contends that a supernatural creator almost certainly does not exist and that belief in a personal god qualifies as a delusion, which he defines as a persistent false belief held in the face of strong contradictory evidence. He is sympathetic to Robert Pirsig’s observation in Lila that “when one person suffers from a delusion it is called insanity. When many people suffer from a delusion it is called religion.”

As of January 2010, the English version of The God Delusion had sold over 2 million copies. It was ranked #2 on the Amazon.com bestsellers’ list in November 2006. In early December 2006, it reached #4 in the New York Times Hardcover Nonfiction Best Seller list after nine weeks on the list. It remained on the list for 51 weeks until 30 September 2007. .The German version, entitled Der Gotteswahn, had sold over 260,000 copies as of January 28, 2010.

It has attracted widespread commentary, with many books written in response.

Source: Wikipedia

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