He's the King of All the Atheists, and now Richard Dawkins is hammering home what he sees as his key argument against the existence of God. In his book, The Greatest Show on Earth, Dawkins aims to put the theory of evolution in a factually unassailable position.
Here, at Adelaide Writers' Week in 2010, he goes through his book chapter by chapter, and in doing so attempts to convince his audience of the absolute veracity of Darwin's theories.
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 TaleThe 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.
Richard Dawkins argues that humanity's historical predisposition towards religion and supernatural beliefs may have held an evolutionary utility. "The rule of thumb: 'Believe whatever your parents tell you,' quite clearly could have survival value," says Dawkins.
Evolution of modern human beings from extinct nonhuman and humanlike forms. Genetic evidence points to an evolutionary divergence between the lineages of humans and the great apes on the African continent 85 million years ago (mya). The earliest fossils considered to be remains of hominins (members of the human lineage) date to at least 4 mya in Africa; they include the genus Australopithecus and other forms. The next major evolutionary stage, Homo habilis, inhabited sub-Saharan Africa about 21.5 mya. Homo habilis appears to have been supplanted by a taller and more humanlike species, Homo erectus, which lived from c. 1,700,000 to 200,000 years ago, gradually migrating into Asia and parts of Europe. Between c. 600,000 and 200,000 years ago, Homo heidelbergensis, sometimes called archaic Homo sapiens, lived in Africa, Europe, and perhaps parts of Asia. Having features resembling those of both H. erectus and modern humans, H. heidelbergensis may have been an ancestor of modern humans and also of the Neanderthals (H. neanderthalensis), who inhabited Europe and western Asia from c. 200,000 to 28,000 years ago. Fully modern humans (H. sapiens) seem to have emerged in Africa only c. 150,000 years ago, perhaps having descended directly from H. erectus or from an intermediate species such as H. heidelbergensis.
Originally Posted by theknopfknows
Yes thankyou, Richard was good but not good enough. The crowd fell into a slumber with his funny one liners, yet a closer listen, boulders on the road to Damascus. I will keep myself, though difficult, to the last example in his last 5 minutes, reference to Darwin`s Origen of species, Here is what Darwin Robert really said "There is a grandeur in this view of life, with it`s several powers, having been originally breathed by the creator into a few forms or into one;" So Dear Richard as true English man blinds the minds of the Aussies with jokes, and Poor accuracy. Here is one for you all, "There is no greater lie than a half truth. Plato. As for Darwin`s family tree of science is on record His great great grandfather sat with Issac Newton because He found the first caveman skull and donated it to the Royal Society, Darwin`s family has a long history of science awards. Last gem! historical Gem! WHY WAS ROBERT DARWIN AND ABRAHAM LICOLN BORN ON THE SAME YEAR SAME DAY--- YES EVOLUTION in action the Human collective Conscious. Therefore Dear Richard becomes poor Richard.
LOL, thanks for that. This is the first comment and the best. You are a funny man.
Originally Posted by logik
you are a moron, stop spreading stupidity please. I wonder how can you plug in your computer?
and you are lacking of logic logik - u might know how to plugin your computer but you are not very skilled as a forums author - are you ?
Didn't you hear him? He admitted that but said it was usually people with a bad reaction to his unwavering clarity who felt that way.
PS: Wait a minute. Is that a seal I heard in the background? It's Australia and it could be anything.
Childhood's tribal dogmas and the brain's imprinted patterns to accept guidance may get some later transference onto an 'in loco parentis' sacred agent in the form of religion. I've suspected this for a long time. Thanks, Rich.
Amazingly... I say this all the time in defense of the good professor:
Richard Dawkins isn't threatening, egotistical, caustic, bullying, shrill and/or pedantic! He's just very clear and many people are alergic to clarity!
(He acknowledged the same thing in the Q&A. without any coaching or prompting from me.)
Originally Posted by theknopfknows
Darwin was a God man not an atheist.
That's just silly and demonstrates a profound ignorance of the man's life. Charles Darwin was never religious though he often wrote in the religious sounding metaphor prevelent in his day. Everybody did that, even the most profound atheists of the day, among whom Darwin counted himself. The greatest friction between Darwin and his second cousin wife was the disparity between his lack of faith and her fervent belief. The release of Origin of Species was delayed for many years because he knew its release would cause a religious backlash in society, perhaps ruin his scientific career, and especially the effect it would have on his wife and their relationship. For all the apparent inclination for you to give authroity to superstition notwithstanding, you would likely preserve any stipling of credibility were you to have even basic facts straight about the icon you wish to claim as your own. Even were Darwin a man of god, his theory is independant of religious superstition and depends on observed, empirical and objective fact rather than traditional hearsay, myth and superstition which is the difference between science and religion. As time has passed, further research has proven his theoretical preditions true, confirmed his original theoretical premes and strengthened the accuracy of his scientific theory overall. Mistakenly using faith that Dawin did not possess to somehow magically demonstrate the superiority of faith in a sky god over scientific principles as an explaination of how the universe works is application of a logical fallacy, known as either an appeal to authority or an appeal to popularity, and proves nothing. Merely smoke and mirrors, diversion, sleight of hand.