Friday, October 07, 2011

O’Reilly interviews Dawkins on God and origins

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You know what they say about entering a battle of wits for which one is sadly ill-equipped? Here’s Fox News’s Bill O’Reilly brilliantly encapsulating this whilst interviewing Richard Dawkins, noted author evolutionary biologist atheist, over his new book, The Magic of Reality. At least, it was meant to be about his book, though O’Reilly spared no time in diverting the discussion towards religion vs. atheism. So tiresome and predictable, though it’s always fun to marvel at Dawkins’s seemingly superhuman cool-headedness.

My transcript: (click the [+/-] to expand/collapse →) []

[Summarized for brevity]

Bill O’Reilly opens by introducing “atheist Richard Dawkins”, who’s “on a crusade to convince believers they’re idiots”. Dawkins has a new book partially aimed at children, The Magic of Reality.

O’Reilly tells Dawkins that he wants children and adolescents to “not only believe in science, but reject God and religion”. Dawkins affirms that the book is all about science and doesn’t talk about God; O’Reilly insists that it mocks God. O’Reilly says Dawkins writes (in the book) that everything can be explained by science; Dawkins clarifies that everything about the natural world can, but insists on O’Reilly explaining what part of the book mocks God. O’Reilly says that the book claims that “these things are myths; they’re not really true”.

Dawkins explains that every chapter begins with various myths; O’Reilly exclaims “AH-HA!”, as if Dawkins has conceded a point. Dawkins explains the myths include Aztec and Egyptian myths. O’Reilly insists the book is about saying to kids “you’re an idiot if you believe in God”. Dawkins again insists the book contains all kinds of myths, including (but not at all limited to) the “Judeo-Christian myth”.

O’Reilly claims “[t]he Judeo-Christian philosophy isn’t a myth; it’s reality” and that the U.S. “was based on it”. Dawkins scoffs and denies this.

O’Reilly then claims that “some of the worst regimes ever have been atheistic” [Myth A17]. Dawkins says this has nothing to do with atheism. O’Reilly explains his belief that religion is a constrain on society, teaching against bad behavior. Dawkins asks which of the Ten Commandment O’Reilly values; O’Reilly declares “all of them”. Dawkins asks about “Thou shalt not make a graven image” and “Thou shalt not violate the Sabbath”. O’Reilly dodges this and returns with “Thou shalt not kill” and “Thou shalt not bear false witness”; Dawkins says non-killing is a widespread belief all over the world. O’Reilly again rejoins by claiming “not by Pol Pot, or Mao Tse Tung, or Joseph Stalin” (whose portraits appear on-screen), who “all had one thing in common: They didn’t believe in God”. Dawkins again dismisses this.

O’Reilly asks if Dawkins doesn’t think religion is a constrain on society. Dawkins says “there is a logical connection between believing in God and sometimes doing evil things”; O’Reilly agrees in the case of jihad. But Dawkins insists “there is no logical connection between being atheist and doing evil things”, and that it was mere coincidence that Pol Pot, Mao and Stalin were atheists. Dawkins explains “what drove them was a political ideology that had nothing to do with atheism”.

O’Reilly says that during their last interview together two years previously, Dawkins was “honest enough to admit” he doesn’t know the origin and that “we’re working on it”. Dawkins asks if he’s talking about the origin of life; O’Reilly says he’s talking about the origin of “human”, “plant” and “animal” existence. Dawkins asks “[h]ow can it possibly help to postulate a divine intelligence to explain something complicated like that?”. O’Reilly explains that the teachings of Jesus lead people “to be peaceful and to love each other”. Dawkins asks what this has to do with the origin of the moon. O’Reilly says he doesn’t “believe a meteor crashed into the Earth and made everything happen” and instead credits Intelligent Design.

For his last word, Dawkins says that science does know quite a lot about various things, but not yet about how everything started, and that again, “they’re working on it’.

If you were playing some sort of atheist drinking game, you might wanna call an ambulance right about now.

(via On Knees for Jesus)