Home » Intelligent Design » Richard Dawkins’s famous long moment of silence …

Richard Dawkins’s famous long moment of silence …

I remember reading years ago violently conflicting opinions on Richard Dawkins’s famous/infamous/faked silence when a filmmaker asked him about the origin of genetic information.

Eventually the tape made its way to Barry Williams, the editor of an Australian journal called The Skeptic, who consulted with Dawkins and then published a blistering article with the title “Creationist Deception Exposed.” Williams at first seemed to be accusing the filmmakers of altering the tape by substituting a question Dawkins was never asked, but that accusation was never made explicitly and in any case was dropped after the creationists produced the raw tapes. (Phillip Johnson, The Wedge of Truth, pg. 40 (InterVarsity Press, 1999).)

Anyway, here’s a video and here’s his response. You da judge.

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15 Responses to Richard Dawkins’s famous long moment of silence …

  1. In a story I read somewhere else about this, Dawkins claimed that he did not realize the creationist nature of the interviewer and was pondering whether to answer the question or throw the interviewer out. This does not adress the completly irrelavent rambling about fish ancestors though.

  2. As a former atheist, I deplore this kind of action by the ones involved in this imbroglio.

  3. “As a former atheist, I deplore this kind of action by the ones involved in this imbroglio.”

    I suppose it’s to be expected that those who refuse to believe in the concept of absolute truth will have no problems with seeding lies in the promotion of their own agendas.

    As in all politics, those who respect and honor truthful expression of ideas and actions suffer a sort of disadvantage, in that they are unwilling or unlikely to muddy the waters of discourse with distortions of the facts. However those who refuse to acknowledge the concept of absolute truth will have no problems using distortions, half-truths, and outright lies to further their own positions. It’s a rigged game, so-to-speak, but the truth will eventually win out. The world is designed that way.

  4. Two things stand out in Dawkins’ video response.

    1. If the model animals came from past life forms, were they not the models for their time? (trilobites, coelocanthus, etc.)

    2. If evolution is supposedly happening even now and an ongoing process, then how will the model life forms, like us, evolve into something else?

    It is interesting to note that Dawkins’ rebuttal uses computer analogies, but the irony is that computers require intelligent designers!

  5. “As a former atheist, I deplore this kind of action by the ones involved in this imbroglio.”

    Actually, I’m not quite sure of the subjects here. Whose actions? Which ones? I can see reasonable interpretations both ways. Either way, can you expand on your reaction? I’m interested in the motivations involved.

  6. I think this may be as much of the whole story as you’ll find:
    http://scienceblogs.com/dispat.....dent_1.php

    As a former atheist, I deplore this kind of action by the ones involved in this imbroglio.

    Well… it seems to be Dawkins at fault in this case.

  7. A good summary: “The simple fact is this…Dawkins got flustered because he realized they were creationists. He let it upset him, but he consented to go on with the interview, and they used the horrible answer that he gave. Yes, it makes him look bad, but that’s his fault, not theirs. There is nothing dishonest about it other than the way he handled it. Rather than just admitting that he had a bad day and blew the answer, he protected his ego at the expense of his integrity.” –Ed Brayton

  8. >It is interesting to note that Dawkins’ rebuttal uses computer analogies, but the irony is that computers require intelligent designers!

  9. I thought Dawkins was observing a moment of silence for the impending de^ath of Darwinism, at the hands of a empirically driven stake of information evidence right through the middle of its deceptive heart thus ending its corruptive influence on science and culture. May we all observe a moment of silence for the millions of those who were deemed unfit that were euthenized in Na^zi Germamy by the “more evolved” master race, then go out and celebrate its demise.

  10. If Dawkins was actually contemplating throwing the interviewer out, that hardly helps his case… If there was a legitimate Darwinian explanation to offer, this was his chance to offer it. That he considered throwing them out for asking the question demonstrates that no such explanation exists.

    Either way, his goose is cooked.

    Answering questions when you’re armed with the truth is very easy. But when everything you believe is based on a lie, any answer you might give will get you into hot water.

  11. I read only some of his written response, but it seems that his answer was basically that information is just another form of complexity, which is just the same old watchmaker argument that has been refuted (according to him).

  12. I think he had Arby’s on the brain.

    But in all seriousness, why is that considered a creationist question, not just a scientific one?

  13. …why is that considered a creationist question, not just a scientific one?

    Because those who believe they define what science is adhere to an atheistic view of the world in one way or another.

    E.g. negative theology of this sort: “God wouldn’t have designed the panda’s thumb this way, so that’s more overwhelming evidence that natural selection created an illusion of design again.” mixed with what they believe to be methodological naturalism which necessarily builds an atheistic worldview along these lines: “It seems to me that naturalism is useful, therefore we can only seek naturalistic explanations no matter what the truth may be because what is useful is more important than what is true. Hmmmm, I’m overwhelmed with naturalistic explanations for everything now, which means it must be true!” Based on this sort of reasoning Theism and Deism fall outside what they believe is useful, right, good/scientific and “true” in the end.

    Any questions which lead them to a quest/pursuit of truth outside of the philosophical naturalism that they methodically build up based on methodological naturalism justified by such arguments combined with arguments based on the professional identity of scientists must be based on “creationism,” a word that has evolved into a stigma word about which no further thought is necessary. The reason that stigma words are used and the question upsets them is because when they cannot explain information by simply merging information and the formation of things together they are unhappy, if there is some distinction or if information seems to govern the formation of things then they will be unhappy thanks to psychological dynamics that act as a sort of cosmic Oedipus complex in which any notion of Father God must be killed. It seems that thanks to the urge to merge their reaction to anything which implies a union or link between the metaphysical and the physical is visceral. That’s my guess because it seems to show up in sweaty palms, shaking hands, a long pause, a little lecture about creationists bringing about the end of the world and so on. It doesn’t matter if the little fellow is a priest or a scientist the pattern is the same because it’s not an issue of “religion vs. science.” (Ironically, in America the theologians who supported Darwin were those who wrote the Fundamentals by which the American term “fundamentalist” came to be, so historically fundamentalists were Darwinists.)

  14. [...] views are based on thermodynamics (here’s a vid), a topic on which Richard Dawkins also barked his shins a while [...]

  15. [...] views are based on thermodynamics (here’s a vid), a topic on which Richard Dawkins also barked his shins a while [...]

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