The Greatest Show on Earth: Richard Dawkins

Written By: - Date published: 1:44 pm, March 17th, 2010 - 4 comments
Categories: International - Tags:

Did you miss the talks by Richard Dawkins and want to hear what the fuss was about? You can read about it in the Press:

“It’s an astonishing stroke of luck that we are here.”

That was the evolutionary message of author, biologist and atheist Richard Dawkins to a packed auditorium at the Christchurch Town Hall last night. However, it seemed shared by most of the capacity 2500 audience, who ensured Dawkins lived up to his billing as the “rock star of neo-atheism” as they cheered him on to the stage and gave him a standing ovation.

Or even better you can listen to the podcast here. The recording is broken into approximate 20 minute chunks, with the entire length being 90 minutes.

4 comments on “The Greatest Show on Earth: Richard Dawkins”

  1. vto 1

    Did he actually say anything new? Or was it a re-wording of old and well known arguments ? …

    From the bits I read here and there he seemed to just trade on being someone fresh saying something stale.

    • Name 1.1

      What is there new to say?

      If the authenticity of a theory was established purely by its age and staleness Genesis would win hands down. Fortunately theory is authenticated by observation, experiment and coherent, consistent explanation and the evidence with this regard authenticating Evolution was well established many years ago.

      Yes, Dawkins has been hammering these points for a long time now but while there are still the stupid who will not see he has no choice but to keep on hammering. The evidence will not change, even for the myopic, and the ‘new’ is merely finer granularity in the understanding of an established process.

  2. Puddleglum 2

    I was interested that Dawkins seemed to get a detail or two wrong – unexpectedly. For example, he claimed that the enzymatically active structure of proteins was a direct result of the protein’s amino acid base sequence which, in turn, was a result of the base sequence on DNA (the ‘genes’).

    As I understand it, the structure that gives proteins their biochemical function (and ultimately their evolutionarily adaptive function) is actually underdetermined by base sequences in the DNA (e.g., the same protein can get folded into more than one shape, given the surrounding biochemical environment).

    It was this point that led Jacques Monod (an arch reductionist in biology, so it is significant that he conceded this point) to talk about the ‘implicit information’ in DNA as well as its explicit information. That is, the explicit information refers to the sequence of bases while the implicit information is information about the typical (often cellular) environment into which the protein will be produced (or end up in). It might sound like a small issue but it relates to the very hot debate between so-called neo-Darwinists/adaptationists like Dawkins (who tend to load the determinism into the DNA) and a number of developmental biologists who see the determinism as being more causally distributed around the developmental system. (BTW – this debate has implications for how we might understand the process of evolution, it does not put at risk or undermine the theory of evolution.)

  3. ropata 3

    Dawkins is pure genius when he sticks to science, and strangely irrational when he ventures into the realms of philosophy or religion. C’est la vie

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