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Comment count is 26
godot - 2009-09-27

Technically, Dawkins simply admits that life on this planet may have been seeded as primitive microbes 3.8+ billion years ago. As with a creator/first mover, there's no way of disproving the panspermia hypothesis, and hence it really isn't a scientific question.

As for exerpting 6 minutes from what was assuredly a hour+ interview, I'd expect no better from Stein. How are those S&P500 index funds working out for you over the last decade, Ben?

Charles - 2009-09-27

Yes, Stein is really making a big thing here about pretty much nothing. It's not like panspermia is any new idea.

StanleyPain - 2009-09-27

I believe this is one of the interviews where Dawkins (as well as others who were interviewed) were informed this was a "science documentary" and were intentionally misled what the film was really about (to where they even created a fake name for the movie). Their interviews were then manipulated and edited in ways to skew them, obviously. Dawkins protested, but didn't threaten a lawsuit or anything on that level, he just wanted to see the movie. When he went to a premiere showing of it, security had been told ahead of time not to let him in, so he wasn't allowed in, but his guest was. I forget who the guest was exactly, but it turned out to be a science writer who then wrote a long evisceration of the film for a magazine or blog or something.

phalsebob - 2009-09-28

"Dawkins" "admits that life on this planet" "creat" "e" "d" says godot.

Charles - 2009-09-27

What is it about Dawkins that incites me to extreme dislike and exasperation with both him and everyone who ever interviews him?

Keefu - 2009-09-27

maybe i am just a militant fundamentalist atheist but there was only one person here with whom i felt an extreme dislike and exasperation towards and it was the one who deliberately distorted what the other had to say and wrote speeches for nixon

Charles - 2009-09-27

Don't get me wrong, I'm not of the god-fearing sort myself. I don't ID as an athiest either, though. I'm the sort who likes to actually listen to what the other side is saying, holding my own dogmatic impulses at bay as best I can, and Dawkins is often lacking that quality in many of his interviews, though not this one so much, since he's slightly overshadowed by Ben's own arrogance.

Johnny Madhouse - 2009-09-27

Yay, this debate again.

I really don't see Dawkins as arrogant. I see him as secure in his beliefs, just as I see many religious folks as being secure in their beliefs. The difference is that you actually have to seek out Dawkin's position to read his books, while I get the Christian position every time I check into a hotel room.

Outrage over what Dawkins has to say requires looking for something to be outraged about in the first place. It's not like he, say, advertises self-help seminars in football stadiums and turns them into pro-athiest rallies.

Sputum - 2009-09-27

I sympathize with Dawkins being a little unpleasant because he's heard all of the nonsense his opponents have had to say over and over again.

Conversely he is actually offering up good arguments and information that most of the people debating him just gloss over, ignore, or distort. That has to be frustrating.

bias - 2009-09-27

i just have to say that i feel completely the opposite about dawkins. He seems to me to be exceedingly polite, and is refreshing to listen to exactly because he is willing to engage in civil logical debate with just about anyone. I cant think of an instance in which he acted unpleasantly in a debate.

I kind of wonder if the impression people get of him being a dick comes entirely from his accent and overall tweeness.

Keefu - 2009-09-27

I didn't post that under the assumption you were god-fearing or anything. I did, however, post it under the assumption that you were playing centrist. I don't think Dawkins is necessarily faultless or shouldn't be criticized but I think the South Park-styled sentiment that both sides are equivalently lame and that no stance should be taken is a load. Dawkins may often use a barbed lack of respect in his criticisms of religion (I think this is overstated personally), or can come across as overbearing, or may have some ineffectual scientific theories or beliefs about the development/need/purpose of religion which is fine. He may even be a prick.

The thing here is that I find these flaws to be acceptable and minor in comparison to the side he opposes (which isn't necessarily religious people in general, but definitely has been the religious right). I find him endlessly preferable to the side which has a history of holding strong political power, being anti-science, encouraging fear/hatemongering, and being suppressive of human rights.

Keefu - 2009-09-27


azazel - 2009-09-27

Troll central. and the video is sufficiently evil.

nubilus - 2009-09-27

both super douches.

yep, that's all i got.

Spit Spingola - 2009-09-27

God Ben Stein is a douche. I haven't seen this movie, does he do Michael Moore-type stunts too?

pastorofmuppets - 2009-09-27

A comment on a previous video painted forgiving sin a bad idea, a superstition that a secular society would have no use for. What about filing bankruptcy? Yeah, it'd be great if everyone paid all their debs. But in the long run we all benefit from giving people a second chance at being a productive member of society. Likewise, sometimes forgiveness isn't available (even from yourself), so we let god do it.

That's just one example of religion filling a need. Dawkins' position is that such needs can be met by secular institutions, ones with skepticism and the scientific method baked in. It's not a new idea. I wonder about how it would affect this though:

Can't blame him, though. His stance used to annoy me but I think it's a useful one. Guys like Stein want to sidestep peer review and get their superstitions published in science books, like making a soap-box car and selling as a Ferrari. We have decent ways of establishing (naturalistic) truth now, and they're a lot better than the old ways. Do you not LIKE the truth? Tough shit. LEAVE IT TO THE PROS.

Sputum - 2009-09-28

I like how you rationalized forgiveness in a completely secular way and followed it up by "and that is one way religion fills a need".

We don't need religion, we need you.

pastorofmuppets - 2009-09-28

That wasn't my point, I was trying to ask a question about the usefulness of sanctity. Some things can be replaced, we need to figure out if everything can be replaced. Does making things sacred benefit us psychologically? If so, can we replace it with something else? I don't have an answer, I just thought it was a neat question.

As far as Dawkins goes, people need to realize that nobody sits around applauding Cardinal Bellarmine because "Galileo was a dick to the Pope."

It's great that Stein thinks he knows how the universe came about. Those of us who hold our beliefs up to stronger forms of scrutiny can't make the same claim, and we appreciate not having our education system fucked with.

pastorofmuppets - 2009-09-28

Ps. I know the sacred/profane thing isn't really hip anymore but when studying religion at school I ate it up. Like "Bicameral Mind," it may not be correct but it transcends that by being awesome.

Rum Revenge - 2009-09-28

"What would you say to God if you met him?"

"I made a rather good living acting on the conclusion that you didn't exist, so thanks for everything!"

Hooker - 2009-09-28

This is a textbook example of why you shouldn't have narration in the documentary. It gives you the last word - which you usually use to reframe what the audience was just shown - and basically lowers whatever you've made to propaganda.

pastorofmuppets - 2009-09-28

So, for future documentary-makers hoping to learn from Ben Stein's "mistakes," that would be:
- don't use dramatic music cues to tell people what to think
- don't cut out the parts where the guy isn't stuttering
- don't include your staircase wit as narration

memedumpster - 2009-09-28

A Zionist and a Super Nerd have no social skills and people are surprised.

Nithing - 2009-09-28

You tell that nerd, 'meme'.

Old_Zircon - 2010-09-22


Goofy Gorilla - 2009-09-28


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