Saturday, July 19, 2008

Richard Dawkins and Lawrence Krauss

YouTube Playlist

Richard Dawkins and Lawrence Krauss sat down for a public discussion at Stanford University on Sunday, March 9th 2008. The focus was on Science education, but the discussion also covered religion, physics, evolution and more. This video will be released on DVD soon at, along with other new unmoderated discussions with Richard Dawkins.

* I've added subtitles to the Q&A sections with the bad audio. - Josh

Quicktime: Discussion (52:22, 110 MB) | Q&A (Now with subtitled questions. 52:55, 114 MB)

YouTube: Full Playlist (1-12)

My summary of each part follows.
  • Discussion:
  • Part 1 | Science Education - the awe of science - the things that people are fascinated by are science - people need a hook to 'get science'
  • Part 2 | Darwin and Evolution - how science is done. Alfred Wallace. Einstein. Quantum Mechanics. Evolution can be difficult to 'get'; an electron goes in every possible direction all at the same time, Thomas Young & particle slit experiments
  • Part 3 | Quantum mechanics is ridiculous and difficult, evolution is just a 'theory'. Natural Selection. Fear of science - immoral because God is not part of discussions, teaching biology and physics, facts taught first not the explanation of evolution, evolution and definition of 'Theory' v fact . Drivers of evolution - natural selection and mutation.
  • Part 4 | evolution is a fact. Natural selection is not the dominant driving force of all evolution as measured at the molecular level but natural selection is the dominant driving force of adaptive evolution, Intelligent Design - teach the controversy, sex v stork theory of reproduction cf evolution v ID, 50% of USA dont realise that the earth goes around the sun, science education and why scientists don't promote science well, you don't have to be an atheist to believe in evolution.
  • Part 5 | Richard Dawkins says "if your aim is to kill religion, as mine is, then since evolution is manifestly true, then if there are people who really believe that to be an evolutionist you need to be an atheist, then all i've got to do is to persuade them of evolution, which is comparatively easy becuase the evidence is overwelmening, then I can turn everyone into an atheist". Reaching people who are receptive, use of seduction, open minds, world is remarkable and the way to understand the world is through science. Christopher Hitchens - does he go to far (no - except for the Iraq war) ? You dont have to be an atheist to believe in evolution - read Francis Collins or Kenneth Miller (rec. by RD for religious people). Incompatability of religion and evolution. Faith is emotional. Existence of God is a scientific question.
  • Part 6 | the world would be a better place if we could understand as it is (without fear, terror), my whole life has been in explaining science because it is wonderful, understanding the scientific method, science is not just a story - it makes predictions. As a scientist you want to prove your collegues wrong. Profound believes that are then found to be wrong, by science, is wonderful.
  • Q&A (now w/ subtitled questions):
  • Part 7 |Is their a purpose in the Universe? Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence (Carl Sagan - who stole it from someone else) ie the absence of evidence of purpose does not prove there is no purpose. The question about purpose is obviously linked to a theological belief. What is the purpose of a mountain or Space or Time or the Universe. These are meaningless and stupid questions. Science is Fun & Pleasurable & Enjoyable.
  • Part 8 | Wikipedia is counter intuitive - surely it cannot work, Evolution does not degrade humanity by us being related to apes, non religious in USA should form a lobby,
  • Part 9 | reason for religiosity of USA v UK - capitalism of religion more effective at selling religion than a state religon. Childrens book about Evolution. Teachers are being intimidated by parents not to teach Evolution. Use film or movies cf. Al Gore, to promote science not just books.
  • Part 10 | TV/Film series: Carl Sagan ' Cosmos', David Attenbourgh's work, Brownoski 'Ascent of Man'. Don't use 'belief' in a scientific context. Basic literacy in science. How can you govern if you don't know about science eg a flat earther - it is an indication of being thick and stupid.
  • Part 11 | Creationism, macro evolution is just micro evolution going on for a long time, when it comes to Bird Flu - science is the only thing thats going to save us.
  • Part 12 | science communication by scientists,

Google Video: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

Filmed by Josh Timonen and Wayne Marsala
Edited by Josh Timonen

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