Richard Dawkins talks with kids about science, the universe and evolution

Here’s something nice to watch with your kids this morning, as you’re eating your cereal, sipping your coffee and filling your flasks.

And, for what it’s worth, it might also be useful for those adult readers of this site, who seem to have some difficulty understanding what exactly evolution is.

[Via TED, which describes it as follows: “At the Royal Institution in 1991, Richard Dawkins asks us to look at our universe with new eyes. Packed with big questions and illuminating visuals, this memorable journey through the history of life magnifies the splendor of evolution and our place in it.”]

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9 Comments

  1. Mike Shecket
    Posted January 25, 2010 at 10:04 am | Permalink

    I substantially agree with his general viewpoint, but good heavens is Dawkins a douchebag. I got to ask him what I thought was a friendly question once at a lecture (I don’t remember what it was exactly) and he got all defensive, assuming that I was one of THEM and out to get him.

    His “selfish gene” theory is fascinating, and his idea of “memes” has spread like…well, a very successful meme (if not quite in the form in which he conceived it), but to think that he’s going to convince people not to believe in god by just TELLING them that they’re wrong is the height of arrogance. People don’t believe stuff because it’s true–he of all people should know that. If he’d been born and raised in Saudi Arabia, for example, he might have managed to be relatively liberal or questioning or clear-thinking, but I highly doubt he would have managed to be an atheist.

  2. Kim
    Posted January 25, 2010 at 10:16 am | Permalink

    I’m not a huge Dawkins fan. He’s a bit too confrontational for me. It’s like he relishes tearing into religious people and making them look foolish. I prefer my evolutionists to be more understanding. Still, though, he’s right.

  3. Peter Larson
    Posted January 25, 2010 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

    While he may be an ass, it is refreshing to me to see scientists push back.

    It’s not like every one of us hasn’t had religion and pseudoscience shoved down our throats over the course of our lives in just about the same manner.

  4. Andy C
    Posted January 25, 2010 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

    “to think that he’s going to convince people not to believe in god by just TELLING them that they’re wrong is the height of arrogance”

    He does way more that just TELL, he states his case. As for making people look foolish, it’s hard not to make fools look foolish.

    Great video.

  5. Teddy
    Posted January 25, 2010 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

    I wish, as a kid that I was exposed to stuff like this.

  6. Teddy
    Posted January 25, 2010 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

    And, by “like this” I don’t mean Mark Maynard Dotcom. I mean Dawkins.

  7. Stacie
    Posted February 3, 2010 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

    I wouldn’t want my kids taught anything by Dawkins–he gives off too much of that creepy old guy feeling.

  8. Posted February 4, 2010 at 10:10 pm | Permalink

    EOS, I found an evolution study buddy for you.

  9. Louise
    Posted February 27, 2010 at 1:56 am | Permalink

    Dawkins shouldn’t be tying evolution/science/atheism together the way he does. All it achieves is to confirm the fears of fundamentalist Christians (I’m thinking of the American, creationist variety) that the theory of evolution IS a denial of God. They’re hardly going to listen to anyone pushing that idea. Accepting the evidence for evolution does NOT automatically make one an atheist. Dawkins’s trouble, as I see it, is that he seems to be starting from a, what’s it called, presuppositional materialist standpoint. He takes it as given that the material universe is all there is, and speaks as if the creator of that universe could be studied, measured, examined, the same way as the material. It seems to be entirely, and willfully, missing the point, that a God/Creator/Source is not going to be OF the material world, nor subject to such tests.

    On top of this is of course his confrontational attitude. People can say all they like “I’ve met him, he’s a lovely fellow” and yes, he may be if you agree with him – but there are too many instances (like Mike Shecket’s experience) where he goes defensive or belligerent. Bullying schoolkids who ask him questions doesn’t make him look like any sort of intellectual giant.

    He also has the bad habit of treating everyone who disagrees with him as an idiot; describing scientists (I’m not talking people supporting Intelligent Design, either) who don’t happen to be atheists as dishonest, deluded or venal is a disgraceful thing to do. It isn’t going to win any arguments for him, or convince anyone of the rightness of his claims.

    I was atheist, or close to it, once. I’m not now – and no, I am not a convert to any religion and I don’t care for any of them. But the more I look at the brand of atheism, or rather, anti-theism, promoted by the bullyboy brigade like Dawkins, Myers and so on, the more I come to the conclusion that it’s more to do with their fixed belief in a material world, and rejection of a spiritual one, than any actual evidence or lack of it. It seems a very closed-minded view, and arrogant with it, when they do the “we’re smart and the billions of people who believe there is more than the material world are sick or stupid” line – which they do ad nauseam.

    I read a line in a blog yesterday that encapsulated my feelings about Dawkins and his “religion = evil” attitude. Can’t remember the author, I’m afraid, but it said, “At this juncture in history I’d rather have Archbishop Tutu on my side than Archdickwad Dawkins.” Have to say I’d agree.

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