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Colbert v. Dawkins – Priceless

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25 Responses to Colbert v. Dawkins – Priceless

  1. The Greatest Show on Earth by Richard Dawkins, the greatest storyteller on Earth.

    Should I wait for Dawkins to demonstrate via a molecular model( or some such scientific method), the complexification of the neural networks in our brain and how these networks caused us to percieve beauty as a survival mechanism.

    Will I see if before I cross the bridge? Hard to tell.

  2. Oramus,

    There’s nothing on the other side of the bridge.

  3. Did you hear that odd cackle of a laugh from Dawkins? You know with the wild hair and the distinctive nose with just a wee bit of make-up and the right costume he could easily play one of the witches in macbeth.

    “Eye of newt, and toe of frog,
    Wool of bat, and tongue of dog,
    Adder’s fork, and blind-worm’s sting,
    Lizard’s leg, and howlet’s wing,–

    And thus macDawkins did the atheists charm, To spin evolution and their reason disarm.

  4. ??? You think this looks bad for Dawkins? I thought it was thoroughly embarrassing for Colbert. I thought an interviewer had to do more than shout at his interviewee and then declare himself ‘the winner’. Colbert obviously sees this ‘interview’ as shamelessly combative, a test of wits, nothing more. He clearly has neither read the book nor understoods what ToE actually is. A very poor ‘interview’, if it even deserves the term.

  5. Ritchie:

    He clearly has neither read the book nor understoods what ToE actually is.

    Do we really have to hear this again?
    Doesn’t believe = doesn’t understand, hasn’t read, is a religious nut, is an IDiot…?
    Any kid can understand ToS – Darwin’s “simple idea”.

    I read only a couple of chapters of Dawkins book, and that was more than enough to understand that it was so bad it doesn’t even qualify as ToE! He makes the most fantastical, preposterous and indeed, highly unscientific and even highly unprofessional claims, right from the start, that from now on you’d have to pay me good dosh just to open it!

    Do you understand it? Did you read it? That is the question.

  6. I cant understand why Dawkins would bother to appear before such a bufoon. Maybe it was just publicity for his book, but it surprised me, I thought he had more integrity than that.

  7. Natural selection is supposed to be this powerful “thing” yet what does the scientific data about it?

    Dawkins sez NS is no accident but what does he have to support his claim?

    An interesting article by David Berlinski:
    The Strength of Natural Selection in the Wild

  8. Graham,

    Colbert is a comedian, who plays the character of a pompous, self-absorbed, faux conservative nitwit of a talk show host.

    Dawkins was just having some fun on his book tour by appearing on the show.

  9. Borne [from 4]

    “Do we really have to hear this again?
    Doesn’t believe = doesn’t understand, hasn’t read, is a religious nut, is an IDiot…?
    Any kid can understand ToS – Darwin’s “simple idea”.

    I did not call him an idiot, or a religious nut. My accusation that he doesn’t understand ToE stems from the well-worn assertion that ToE states life just came about ‘by accident’. Even ID-ers here, I am often reminded, accept natural selection to some degree.

    “I read only a couple of chapters of Dawkins book, and that was more than enough to understand that it was so bad it doesn’t even qualify as ToE! He makes the most fantastical, preposterous and indeed, highly unscientific and even highly unprofessional claims, right from the start, that from now on you’d have to pay me good dosh just to open it!”

    Serious accusations to make against the former professor of the public understanding of science at England’s most prestigeous university, Oxford, world-renouned biologist and man who outlined at least two key concepts of modern biology – the gene-centred view of evolution and that phenotypic effects are not limited to the bodies of their hosts.

    Not that I’m advancing the argument from authority, of course. He’s as falible as any man and it may well be that you know more about biology than he. Far be it from me to make that fallacious assumption. So please tell me, what were these fantastical, preposterous and highly unscientific claims?

    “Do you understand it? Did you read it? That is the question.”

    I’m about two thirds of the way through at the moment. That is the answer.

  10. Umm.. People do understand that Colbert is a comedian playing a character, right?

    It’s not that serious folks.

  11. dodgingcars

    Oooh, no, I didn’t. That kinda makes more sense.

  12. Joseph:

    In that article by Berlinkski he says:

    “Thus if a change in the length of a beak’s finch by one standard deviation explains 16 percent of the change in the population’s fitness, 84 percent of the change is not explained by selection at all.”

    I’m curious . . . wouldn’t a change of two standard deviations (in one direction) explain 32 percent of the change in the population’s fitness?

    How do you read it? I’m not sure a median absolute value of .16 means that anyway but what do you think?

  13. It is also curious that you reference a four year old comment about an eight year old paper without considering that some of those issues may have been addressed and cleared up in the mean time. Did you check to see if any follow on research had been done?
    Was there any other criticism of the original research?

  14. Graham1 #6:

    “I cant understand why Dawkins would bother to appear before such a bufoon. Maybe it was just publicity for his book,…”

    One does wonder what the survival value of doing this type of interview twice is.

    “but it surprised me, I thought he had more integrity than that.”

    Integrity is a funny thing when you think of it. How does the notion that one ought to have integrity evolve?. Seems like an absolute, like honesty is a virtue or cowardice is a vice. Very curious truths indeed in a strictly physical world.

  15. Colbert is a Poe, and a very funny one at that. I am suprised that UD would post something that makes fun of ID supporters so effectively.
    A lack of self-awareness, I’m guessing.

  16. The view that we select mates from outer beauty is rather pathetic. Human beings are different than animals because they care about inner beauty.

  17. Yes, Colbert is playing a character but his genius is that he is hard to pin down. He gets away with things other people wouldn’t because he is supposedly just kidding even when the blows really do land.

    The argument that beauty being the result of sexual selection is interesting but what about the beauty in things that have no relation to reproduction? Like sunsets or a starry night for example.

  18. 18

    Yeah DNA_Jock, because the poster obviously didn’t know this was a comedy show.

  19. Richie,

    You are right. IDers accept natural selection to the degree that it allows limited, trivial change in an organism to adapt to its environment. NS is that humble maintenance junkie, scrambling to find the right mix of adjustments to keep the machine whirling.

    The modern synthesis attempted (apparently very successfully) to aggrandize adaption by tagging it with the name ‘micro evolution’, in order to resurrect the now defunct evolution, thereby puffing up Darwin’s insightful albeit hardly earth shattering intuition. But as they say, a rose by any other name…..

    As to the accident assertion, how is it not true? Dawkins is essentially saying that the initial events were random but after time, using the concept of emergence, where complexity takes on ‘a life of its own’, he attempts to convince us that randomness has ‘somehow’ now been transformed into non-randomness ; NS acting on RM+GV not being random yet still neither directional nor goal oriented.

    So how can a scientist justify using emergence concepts as supporting evidence. Emergence never answers concretely what is taking place. It is the same thing as saying “Emergence did it. You will just have to take my word for it cuz I’, a tenured professor and I know better”.

    I love it. He covers all the bases, doesn’t he? “Catch me if you can!” Who could ever listen to Dawkins and say with a straight face that he is credible? It’s insane.

    I did not call him an idiot, or a religious nut. My accusation that he doesn’t understand ToE stems from the well-worn assertion that ToE states life just came about ‘by accident’. Even ID-ers here, I am often reminded, accept natural selection to some degree.

  20. What a nonsense is Dawkins publicly claiming in this interview! Those giraffes with longer necks had more offsprings and survived better in his opinion. Oddly enough all other species in Africa do not have such long necks and survived as well. One would think that there is only food in 6 metres above the ground in Africa and those with shorter necks starve.

    Darwinisnt do not use any logic in order to maintain and propagate nonsense about “natural selection did it”.

    http://cadra.wordpress.com/

  21. Dawkin states “that in the beginning there was simplicity – and simplicity is easy to understand”.

    The big bang might be simple to imagine – but not so easy explain.

    Is there anything simple about the “atom”. It is directly involved in all four forces: gravity, magnetic, strong and weak nuclear forces, and all material. It is made up of many particle or wave components (possibly as many as 120 separate things). This complexity is hardly understood.

    Scientist do not understand fully the foundational elements and how there functions came into being. Or the complexity of protein machines in the living cells.

    Scientist do not understand the complexity of DNA and how it came into being.

    Science is extremely limited outside the controlled lab setting, especially in the understanding of how, why, what, where, and when questions especially in the discussion of the simplistic.

  22. Actually, it is unlikely that giraffes got their long necks to get more food in tough times because the female giraffe is so much shorter that they should have all died during these proposed droughts when the taller males survived.

  23. ellazimm,

    I haven’t read any recent papers that demonstrate natural selection has any relevance at all.

    Ya see that is the whole point- NS is like the wizard behind the curtain- don’t pull back the curtain for you will expose NS for what it really is.

  24. “The Greatest Show on Earth” – gosh what an unfortunate title for a book on supposedly scientific facts. Yep all soft lights and trick mirrors – slight of hand and lots of abracadabra.

  25. @avocationist

    Actually, it is unlikely that giraffes got their long necks to get more food in tough times because the female giraffe is so much shorter that they should have all died during these proposed droughts when the taller males survived.

    Um, no: “To test the theory, he led a team of researchers who studied 17 male and 21 female giraffes in Zimbabwe. They measured height, weight, and the length of necks and legs – but found little variation between the sexes.”

    http://www.cosmosmagazine.com/node/2814

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