Making the Case for Evolution

Monday, October 19, 2009

Richard Dawkins, biologist and Professor of the Public Understanding of Science at Oxford University, discusses his latest book, The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution.


Richard Dawkins

Comments [50]

Yursil from NJ

Why don't you invite William Dembski, who has published peer-reviewed ID article, to the IEEE (home of firewire), to speak about Intelligent Design and give all of these examples to him. I would like to hear what he has to say.

Oct. 23 2009 12:54 PM
hjs from 11211


is this the philosophical proofs in Thomas Aquinas :

Oct. 19 2009 05:23 PM
hjs from 11211

is that proof?
that the catholic church out lasted other "faiths." some say the pope is the anti-christ. what if they are correct?
hindus have been around a long time, what about the historical person buddha? which gods are real and which are fake?
snakes came from walking animals maybe that's where the hips were from?
I know it's hard accept after u die that's the end.
what about the christians who claim culture of life but don't want all americans to have healthcare (40,000 die each year because they have no health insurance)
where is god for those people where is the compassion that historic jesus talked about.

Oct. 19 2009 05:12 PM
Elaine from Baltimore MD

Nobody in their right mind would believe if I were to tell you that a book, let’s say “Great Expectations”, wrote itself. The reason nobody would believe it is because we have no experience of anything making itself. Knowledge is based on what is observable. There is no observable phenomena that makes itself. When we look at the physical world, with it’s incredibly intricacy, and in partial agreement with Dawkins, what we see is that all physical matter seems to come from simpler physical matter. No matter what you reduce it to, as long as you are not willing to state “this made itself”, you are always going to remain with one question… who made it? So it doesn’t matter in the end how you come to describe the process of Being, in terms of the steps between the simplist matter to the most sophisticated matter, no matter how it is described, there always remains the same question, “where did that come from.” In Judaism we answer this question that it came from the Being that is eternal. Not that it came from G-d, like it’s some person out there or some tooth fairy, but it came from a reality that the only words we have to describe that Reality is something that was there before, & is there now, & will be there later.

Oct. 19 2009 04:24 PM
hjs from 11211

i'm here everyday till 6

Oct. 19 2009 04:09 PM
Ed Helmrich from Larchmont, NY

Other than the philosophical proofs in Thomas Aquinas, there are three things that can not be explained by purely natural means:

1. The Jewish people and faith.
2. The historical Person Jesus Christ.
3. The continued existence of the Catholic Church.

We could ask Mr. Dawkins: has there ever been a snake that has evolved into a walking creature? National Geographic says no, that some have developed hips or shoulders but never got any farther. What would he say?

Oct. 19 2009 04:03 PM
the truth from bkny

i know you werent making fun...i was saying that we are both born after or in the AD and since the earth is billions of years old we should have evolved much more in this century!1 ur probably gone now..tell it to ya later.

Oct. 19 2009 03:23 PM
Barry Leiba from Cortlandt Manor, NY

#25 Jgarbuz: Fair enough -- I note that you do use the word "cling", though I suspect you aren't thinking of it negatively.

It seems to me that what you're saying is that you're willing to make up answers (or accept someone else's made-up answers) for things you don't know the answer to. I find that somewhat odd, though it's certainly your choice. And it does seem, from what you say, that you're willing to replace the made-up answers with real ones, when the real ones are found.

My preference, when I encounter something for which the answer is not known, is to say, "We don't know," and not to make something up. And then we keep looking.

Oct. 19 2009 03:10 PM
hjs from 11211

I wasn't making fun of your flying comment. just pointing out the physical limits of evolution. we could fly one day but we would have to say, give up our arms, but I like my arms even though it would be cool to fly.

by the way what did you mean "ok i am going to assume you were born between 1900 and 1960s, "
what does that have to do with the price of tea in china?

Oct. 19 2009 01:56 PM
hjs from 11211

ok then as long as we are open to new ideas, that's more than i can hope for. enjoy

u might want to know our body plan (weight etc) won't allow for flight. and although 70 years is more than enough time to live (reproduce and help with the grand kids) in the bible people use to live much much longer.

Oct. 19 2009 01:48 PM
the truth from bkny

i dont want us to evolve into anything this is all your belief, 200000 plus years we should at least have wings or a cure for cancer or the common cold for goodness sake..for the love of Peter we only have a lifespan of 60 or 70 years!! lol I certainly have cable and broadband too, I will be watching!

Oct. 19 2009 01:29 PM
hjs from 11211

not saying i understand everything;
but i thought i replied to 'WHY this is as far as we have evolved.'
if it's all random, trail and error, stops and starts, one tiny step at a time, I think we have come very far: sun formed 4.5 billion years ago 1 billion years later first life. for 65 million years the dinosaurs stopped the mammals from growing bigger. humans have only been around for 200,000 years

just wondering what did u want us to evolved into? like flying or peaceful or non-corporeal??

if you want to hear from a scientist tonight at 9 on the science channel (if u have cable) please watch : Discovering Ardi (The fossilized remains of Ardi, also known as Ardipithecus ramidus, an approximately 4.4 million-year-old hominid skeleton, are examined )

Oct. 19 2009 01:20 PM
the truth from bkny

HJS - I meant "nice" debating here with you.

Oct. 19 2009 12:53 PM
the truth from bkny

HJS - Palin who LOL? and you still didnt explain WHY this is as far as we have evolved!!

I want to meet you on the otherside but if not, it was not debating here with you.

Oct. 19 2009 12:53 PM
hjs from 11211

i know you are smarter than to really believe the 4000 year old myths of desert people if not are u going to vote for palin in 2012?
and i think we've come very far in all these years. you should give thanks to that asteroid that killed the dinosaurs other wise we won't be chatting right now! I wish more people would use that brain that 'god' gave them.

Oct. 19 2009 12:26 PM
Paul from Glen Cove

Bravo, Andrew [post 14]; but don't forget, It'll be called a divine pandemic and cure.

Oct. 19 2009 12:21 PM
blowhard smacker from

21 funny

Oct. 19 2009 12:20 PM
the truth from bkny

HJS - ok i am going to assume you were born between 1900 and 1960s, you mean to tell me as old as the world is, this is as far as we have EVOLVED? I know you are smart than that?

Oct. 19 2009 12:14 PM
hjs from 11211

"But the interaction of God with the development of Creation is a theological and metaphysical question, not a question for physical science." you're right because scientists deal with facts and proof NOT myth and psychology. that's why "creationism" should not be taught in the science classroom.

Oct. 19 2009 11:58 AM
gregb from NJ

Evolution may be a proven scientific law, but clearly the average person has given it very little thought, and is easily confused by simplistic (though attractive) counter arguments. But if you spend a few minutes discussing evolution, the areas of confusion are really quite small and come down to one tiny conundrum- the human inability to appreciate that a million years is a REALLY long time, long enough for the directed hand of natural selection to make changes at the level of species- see

Oct. 19 2009 11:56 AM
hjs from 11211

my existence is not proof. my existence, as a biologic unit, a collected of cells, elements and compounds results from millions of years of trail and error and is nothing more that luck. I have no soul and when my heart stops beating I'll be gone, finished, worm food so the cycle can go on.

Oct. 19 2009 11:52 AM
Ed Helmrich from Larchmont, NY

I disagree with Mr. Dawkins in that evolution is an elegant way of having creation develop, guided by God. He entertains only the extremes of no intervention by God at all, or creation in an instant. But the interaction of God with the development of Creation is a theological and metaphysical question, not a question for physical science.

Oct. 19 2009 11:49 AM
hjs from 11211

not proof. sorry

Oct. 19 2009 11:44 AM
the truth from bkny

HJS - your existence is your proof. Your soul is your truth.

Oct. 19 2009 11:42 AM
Shana from Clinton Hill/Fort Greene, Brooklyn

Mozo, I went to school in Texas from 9 to 18 and learned a lot about eolution in school. I knew many really religious people that believe in evolution. Whereas, several of my college classmates here in New York were more than happy to not believe in evolution despite a lack of religious beliefs.

#16 has it right. It is perfectly easy to believe in science and god.

Oct. 19 2009 11:37 AM
Jgarbuz from Queens, NY

I personally will continue to cling to my belief in a Supreme Being who exists beyond nature and the very existence of space-time, matter and energy itself, until EVERY single remaining question left in the multiverse is fully explained, and there are no more questions left. When science can explain EVERYTHING without any further questions, then the need for a supernatural or supranatural entity becomes utterly redundant.

Oct. 19 2009 11:36 AM
John from NYC

Denying evolution is just like denying the obvious. The argument for intelligent design is rather simplistic and displays spiritual shallowness.
However, Richard Dawkins argument against the possibility of a believer who agrees with evolution is similarly simplistic and superfluous. His point is that why would God sit back just watch his creation take a tortuous route? Is this is not just as simplistic?
As a scientist he should be curious but he seems to be as dogmatic as the creationists.

Oct. 19 2009 11:34 AM
hjs from 11211


Oct. 19 2009 11:31 AM
Amy from Manhattan

It's fine that Dawkins is making his case & answering the arguments of the creationists/intelligent-design believers. But he won't convince any of them as long as he includes putdowns along w/his arguments. Telling them they have a "pitiful poverty of imagination" & that the Designer they believe in is "dopey" for making the recurrent laryngeal nerve take the route it does is going to make him come off as smug in his belief in his own superiority to the very people he's trying to convince & will only undermine his efforts to persuade them.

Oct. 19 2009 11:31 AM
mozo from nyc

I believe that I have a migraine.

Oct. 19 2009 11:28 AM
the truth from bkny

I believe in the Holy Ghost;
the holy catholic church;
the communion of saints;
the forgiveness of sins;
the resurrection of the body;
and the life everlasting.


Oct. 19 2009 11:24 AM
the truth from bkny

I believe in God, the Father Almighty,
the Maker of heaven and earth,
and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord:

Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost,
born of the virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, dead, and buried;

He descended into hell. The third day He arose again from the dead;

He ascended into heaven,
and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty;
from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.

Oct. 19 2009 11:22 AM
Where is George Bush Now from

given that lots of evolution deniers don't take vaccines/go to doctors b/c it is science based, it's a wonder there are any left. or maybe...a miracle?

Oct. 19 2009 11:21 AM
hjs from 11211

Roger, given time they might

Oct. 19 2009 11:20 AM
Ed Helmrich from Larchmont, NY

The argument isn't evolution versus five-day creationism, the latter is not sensible. But evolution doesn't imply the non-existence of God at all.

Oct. 19 2009 11:18 AM
mozo from nyc

Mike --

I'm sorry to say that the case for evolution is FAR from settled in the rest of the country and is in fact losing ground. I'm in Central Florida and it is pathetic how ignorant some of the people are here. Lotta birthers here, too. I don't even mention religion or politics here(don't do it back home either as I think it's rude but when people hear I'm from NYC they always try to get me into a debate).

Read "The Age of American Unreason", by Susan Jacoby. And stay in the Tri-State area unless you want to be disappointed.

Oct. 19 2009 11:18 AM
andrew from white plains

Perhaps those who deny evolution should be offered only the original strain of flu vaccine and give the latest versions, designed to respond to an evolved virus, to the rest of us.
Just as there are no atheists in foxholes, I suspect there may be no creationists in a pandemic.

Oct. 19 2009 11:17 AM
adfs from NJ

doesn't really matter -- next may is the end of the world so this is all just the chatterings of the doomed..

this is what i am told every day by the pension draining grandparents of kids playing at the schoolyard...if their assumption is wrong, and most these righteous folks are unwilling to simply eat each other, and they're 44% of the population, then June 2010 best be the year of manna...

Oct. 19 2009 11:14 AM
Roger from Harrison, NY

What conditions would have to exist, reptiles, other mammals or even giant insects to be the dominant insects to possess intelligence and thereby not allow man to rise. It's sounds like science fiction, but I am curious, how come those other animals did not evolve intelligence. Is it simply because they possess physical superiority?

Oct. 19 2009 11:14 AM
Tony from San Jose, CA

If we allow physician not to perform procedures that go against their moral beliefs, do you think it'd be OK to refuse to prescribe newer antibiotics? Since it's impossible that drug-resistant bacteriae can have evolved.

Oct. 19 2009 11:14 AM
hjs from 11211

tony, what proof do u have. how do we know this?

Oct. 19 2009 11:12 AM
Arthur from Brooklyn

Could we ever get to the point where we could enhance the intelligence of animals like in that Samuel L. Jackson movie about the smart shark?

Or could we get to the point of the Island of Dr. Morneau?

Oct. 19 2009 11:11 AM

Yes, yes, the fox guy. I've listened to radiolab too, Richard.

Oct. 19 2009 11:11 AM
Tony from Bethpage

I think this should be a 1 page book with one line. "God did it" See.. it's as simple as that!

Oct. 19 2009 11:08 AM
Mike from The Bronx

Why do we need to make the case for evolution? I thought this was settled? Is this interview going to be about new science or are we arguing the scopes monkey trial again?

Oct. 19 2009 11:07 AM
Nick from UWS

Brian - Totally off the subject, but why don't you guys use part of the drive money to buy a dictionary and look up the word "match". You are not "matching" the donations, you are half-matching them, for want of a better description. This kind of shoddy use of the English language is below the purported standards of this station.

Oct. 19 2009 10:35 AM
hjs from 11211

why do americans ignore or fear science?

ed, what proof do u have for god?

Oct. 19 2009 10:34 AM
Ed Helmrich from Larchmont, NY

Well, you got me. But I do have to point out that the idea that metaphyics is fiction and a matter of opinion, and unknowable, is only one position, and a radical modern one. Another position is that metaphysics is most like mathematics, the most certain and the highest of sciences. What physical science discovers is interpreted (as it must be) by metaphysics. But I appreciate your point.

Oct. 19 2009 09:57 AM
peter from manhatten

from what i can tell, mr. helmrich is qualified to discuss religion, the realm of fiction, but not science, which is outside the realm of fiction.

Oct. 19 2009 08:44 AM
Ed Helmrich from Larchmont, NY

Evolution as a mechanism for small adaptations in species is no doubt good science. But the metaphysics of Darwinian evolution, which is an extreme form of evolution, is suspect. Marx, for example, admired Darwin because Darwin's system did not include God. Fellow evolutionist Wallace criticized Darwin's system because it couldn't explain human development. Darwin's father and grandfather were evolutionists and atheists, and his system is predictably extreme and marked by mmaterialism and atheism.
Mr. Dawkins keeps saying that we need not believe in God because science gives a better explanation of the existence of things. But he has dispensed with the other proofs of God's existence out of hand. More than that, he should know that we don't believe in God's existence because we can prove it, but because we have encountered God, or rather, He has confronted us.
From what I can tell, Mr. Dawkins is qualified to discuss evolutionary biology, the realm of science, but not metaphysics, which is outside the realm of science.

Oct. 19 2009 08:21 AM

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