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  1. #1
    Senior Member darlets's Avatar
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    Default "Root of All Evil?" doco by Richard Dawkins

    I saw this the other day.
    link

    This is a doco by Dawkins where he goes "intervews" religious folk.

    Has anyone else seen it?

    Thoughts/Opinions?
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  2. #2
    Member Alesia's Avatar
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    I like it. Thanks for introducing me to Atheist Nation.

    It's a well done film, but rather introductory for me. It's for the novelist at comparing science and religion.

    But is religion the root of all evil? No, of course not. Atheist Russia and China have their evils, too. "Evil" would exist and has existed in ancient empires, not because of religion, but simply man's territorial nature. The fight for resources. Wars have been raged millions and millions killed and tortured for land. Simply to expand the empire. Chimpazee's, our closest cousins are highly territorial and fight for territory. Much of our species on earth fight for resources and are hence territorial. It's survival of the fittest. That's what this "root of all evil" is.

  3. #3
    Senior Member darlets's Avatar
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    As far as the name goes
    "Dawkins has said that the title "The Root of All Evil?" was not his preferred choice, but that Channel 4 had insisted on it to create controversy.[1] His sole concession from the producers on the title was the addition of the question mark. Dawkins has stated that the notion of anything being the root of all evil is ridiculous."

    The naming of the doco was unfortunate and really had little to do with the subject matter. It's really a companion piece to "The God Delusions" where he goes on to expand on his ideas. I would like, as is true with docos which are interviewed based, to see the complete conversations. This one seemed to suffer less for this than most, but Dawkins still had the power of the final edit.

    I just found that A.N website today and will be having a look at some of their other videos in the future.
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  4. #4
    respect the brick C.J.Woolf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by darlets View Post
    As far as the name goes
    "Dawkins has said that the title "The Root of All Evil?" was not his preferred choice, but that Channel 4 had insisted on it to create controversy.[1] His sole concession from the producers on the title was the addition of the question mark. Dawkins has stated that the notion of anything being the root of all evil is ridiculous."
    It's like Channel 4 wanted to make Dawkins into another Michael Moore. Bastards.

  5. #5
    Senior Member hereandnow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by darlets View Post
    I saw this the other day.
    link

    This is a doco by Dawkins where he goes "intervews" religious folk.

    Has anyone else seen it?

    Thoughts/Opinions?
    It was splendid.
    INTP 5W6

  6. #6
    Senior Member Langrenus's Avatar
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    I am beginning to dislike Mr Dawkins, primarily on the basis of performances like this. His complete and utter inability to understand the rationale (well, lack thereof in his/my opinion) behind religion is fine; however, he does have a tendency to needlessly talk down to people. If they're evangelic nuts that's ultimately just an opinion, and there is no way you're going to have a rational argument with them. Trying just looks a little pathetic. There were also a few telling comments from the group of scientists he interviewed (e.g. the guy who says, as the mike is fading, that he effectively refuses to teach kids who are 'indoctrinated' into believing in creationism...surely scientists should be actively trying to engage these kids) that did not come across at all well.

    He also overlooks the fact that religion is ultimately a convenient excuse for conflict rather than the actual reason in many cases. Who's to say how the Israel/Palestine question might have been resolved without the pressures of religion, but I personally find it likely that military, economic, social and ethno-cultural imbalances would somehow continue to cause enormous problems. Of course, suicide bombings would probably not occur - but perhaps higher-level conflict (and let's remember that Israel is a nuclear power) would.

    Also incredibly disappointed at how much of this was lifted directly into The God Delusion.

    Most of all these programmes just make me feel depressed.
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  7. #7
    Senior Member hereandnow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Langrenus View Post
    I am beginning to dislike Mr Dawkins, primarily on the basis of performances like this. His complete and utter inability to understand the rationale (well, lack thereof in his/my opinion) behind religion is fine; however, he does have a tendency to needlessly talk down to people. If they're evangelic nuts that's ultimately just an opinion, and there is no way you're going to have a rational argument with them. Trying just looks a little pathetic. There were also a few telling comments from the group of scientists he interviewed (e.g. the guy who says, as the mike is fading, that he effectively refuses to teach kids who are 'indoctrinated' into believing in creationism...surely scientists should be actively trying to engage these kids) that did not come across at all well.

    He also overlooks the fact that religion is ultimately a convenient excuse for conflict rather than the actual reason in many cases. Who's to say how the Israel/Palestine question might have been resolved without the pressures of religion, but I personally find it likely that military, economic, social and ethno-cultural imbalances would somehow continue to cause enormous problems. Of course, suicide bombings would probably not occur - but perhaps higher-level conflict (and let's remember that Israel is a nuclear power) would.

    Also incredibly disappointed at how much of this was lifted directly into The God Delusion.

    Most of all these programmes just make me feel depressed.
    When he talks about biology and evolution his approach is fresh and consistent. Re: religion - he's much more "passionate" and feels as though he has to talk down. In many cases he's correct.
    INTP 5W6

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Langrenus View Post
    He also overlooks the fact that religion is ultimately a convenient excuse for conflict rather than the actual reason in many cases. Who's to say how the Israel/Palestine question might have been resolved without the pressures of religion, but I personally find it likely that military, economic, social and ethno-cultural imbalances would somehow continue to cause enormous problems. Of course, suicide bombings would probably not occur - but perhaps higher-level conflict (and let's remember that Israel is a nuclear power) would.
    Certainly there are cases where this is true, but not in all. Generalizing one way doesn't validate a generalization opposite.

    However, this is essentially irrelevent; whether or not religion is the cause or merely an excuse, it still enables social disasters to a disturbing degree. Were the 'excuse' of religion stripped away, a lot of bad behaviour - both as a direct result of it and indirectly through cultural concessions - would cease to have a justified/rational basis.

    It's speculation whether or not we'd be better off for it; I suspect we would, given the relative freedom enjoyed in secular countries. However, it's possible societies would find other ways to justify their shit, as we can see in our own.

  9. #9
    Senior Member HilbertSpace's Avatar
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    I don't think the intent of this documentary was to evangelize so much as to present a point of view, and even more to put out there a sort of flag in the sand. One does not have an interview with the likes of Ted Haggard with the aim of converting him, nor was in done in such a way as to cause people currently following him (or, who were following him at the time - Ted managed to bring himself down quite effectively, after all). If he were interested in bringing down fundamentalist preachers, he'd be taking the same approach as the Amazing Randi - who once took a radio scanner into a revival meeting and captured the preacher's wife prompting him so that he could seem to just know the names and afflictions of the various people.

    Dawkins has explicitly admitted that his more confrontational style is at odds with the more conciliatory views adopted by the late Stephen Gould (who advocated NOMA, or Non-Overlapping Magesteria, indicating that science and religion should not be considered competitive because they are talking about entirely different subjects). He would also dispute the theistic interpretation of evolution - that evolution is an acceptable theory, but that it is merely the way God chose to work. He fully acknowledges that such compromise positions are entirely appropriate if your main goal is to make sure that science, rather than Christianity, is taught in public schools. His goal, on the other hand, is to force into the public square the issue of religion itself, which he sees as a (not to use too loaded a term) clear and present danger to values that have defined Western civilization since the enlightenment. The less extreme you think the situation currently is, the more over the top you will find his behavior.
    JBS Haldane's Four Stages of Scientific Theories:

    1. This is worthless nonsense.
    2. This is an interesting, but perverse, point of view.
    3. This is true, but quite unimportant.
    4. I always said so.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Langrenus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sundowning
    Certainly there are cases where this is true, but not in all. Generalizing one way doesn't validate a generalization opposite.
    Fair point. However, I didn't at any point say "this is true in all cases". I said "many cases". I also remain unconvinced at just how much wicked behaviour would be stripped away without the convenient veil of religion to hide behind - but this is generally because I have a poor opinion of the human race, and I'm pretty convinced that people would find another set of excuses in one way or another

    Quote Originally Posted by HilbertSpace
    The less extreme you think the situation currently is, the more over the top you will find his behavior.
    Not so, not so at all. I'm a devout (excuse the phrase) atheist and have deep-seated objections to religion - I also see the current situation as ridiculously extreme, and nothing depresses me more than listening to some 'believer' attempt to justify their irrational hatred of another human being or explain why it's their job to strike the fear of god into a child. I'm just struggling to see how this documentary really helped to advance any cause - for people sitting on the fence I think that a lot of it would come across as preaching, and I don't personally see that as a healthy response to the growing influence of religious ideas. When people are caught between two sides shouting at each other they have a tendency to switch off (or, more worryingly, just side with the side shouting loudest).

    To be honest it's pretty irrelevant to me if Richard impresses atheists, since we're not the group he should be (or is, if you read the preface to The God Delusion) concerning himself with.
    January has April's showers
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