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Sunday, October 22, 2006

A really fun debate!

"Devout Catholic" Stephen Colbert vs "Devout Atheist" Richard Dawkins, on The Colbert Report:
Colbert: My guest tonight is a scientist who argues that there is no God. Well you know what ... he'll have an eternity in hell to prove it! Please welcome . . . Richard Dawkins! Thank you for coming on . . . I'm so excited to have you . . . I have to admit, I thought I was getting Daryl Dawkins.
Dawkins: [Laughs, puzzled].
Colbert: Chocolate Thunder . . . I'm not sure if you're familiar with . . . ah, no, okay..
Dawkins: Usually they say they were expecting a man in wheelchair who can't talk.
Colbert: Oh.
Dawkins: They confuse me with Stephen Hawkins.
Colbert: Stephen Hawkins. Oh, Stephen Hawkins. Okay. Is he going to hell, too?
Dawkins: I reckon so.
Colbert: Yeah, maybe so, maybe so . . . God doesn't like black holes. Alright. Um. Your book started off great, okay? It's got a shiny silver cover, and I can see my face in it. But after that, I got pretty upset, okay? You say that God is . . . it's called "The God Delusion." Alright, and you say that there is no God. That God is a myth, and that religion is corrosive.
Dawkins: Well, I say that God is very, very improbable. You can't actually disprove God . . .
Colbert: RIGHT!! 'Cause He exists! No matter how much you fight, there's still a little bit of Him left.
Dawkins: You can't disprove anything. You can't disprove the Flying Spaghetti Monster, you can't disprove Thor with his hammer, you can't disprove Zeus, or Poseidon . . .
Colbert: Oh, those are Pagan Gods. They don't exist.
Dawkins: Yeah, that's right.
Colbert: They don't exist.
Dawkins: You're an atheist about all those Gods . . . everybody here's an atheist about all those Gods. Some of us just go one God further.
Colbert: Wow. Bold. Alright, so let's hear it. There is no God . . . our belief in Him is a delusion . . . the world and the universe was created by a series of random acts . . .
Dawkins: Oh, no no no.
Colbert: . . . we're all just monkeys and we should fornicate and throw our feces.
Dawkins: Well, you're right. That's up to you.
Colbert: Those are your greatest hits, right? I've encapsulated the book basically right there, right?
Dawkins: It's up to you. But you mustn't say that it's all due to random chance. That's the one thing it isn't. Because Darwinian natural selection is the exact opposite of random chance. It's a highly non-random process. The big thing that everybody misunderstands about Darwinism is that they think it's chance, they think it's an accident. It's not an accident.
Colbert: It's too complex for us to perceive . . . you know, it's like, I know a Pachinko machine isn't an accident either, there's a reason why it bounces from nail to nail, but it looks random to me, right?
Dawkins: Nothing in nature looks random. Nothing in nature looks random.
Colbert: I want you to address my Pachinko analogy.
Dawkins: I've never even heard of it. What is that?
Colbert: Never heard of Pachinko? Oh, it's like Japanese pinball.
Dawkins: Okay.
Colbert: They're great. They make pornographic versions of it over there.
Dawkins: We call it bagatelle.
Colbert: Bagatelle?
Dawkins: Yeah.
Colbert: Who, biologists or English people?
Dawkins: English people.
Colbert: Okay. Alright. Um, obviously I've already played my hand here. I believe in God. And you don't believe in God. So I've got that on you. So this is kind of unfair, because God's on my side in this argument. But 95% of Americans believe that there is a God, okay? So doesn't that disprove your argument, or else you don't believe in democracy.
Dawkins: Well . . .
Colbert: Really . . . the people have spoken.
Dawkins: Democracy is fine for policy, but democracy is no good for science. You'd never . . .
Colbert: Oh, I'd disagree. I'd say the President would disagree also.
Dawkins: Well, you've got a point there. I have to give you that. You're right there.
Colbert: Now you're not a big fan of intelligent design either, I'm imagining.
Dawkins: I'm a very big fan of intelligent design for for man-made things, but I'm not a big fan of intelligent design for natural things.
Colbert: What do you mean? What's the difference between those things? Aren't we natural? We're part of that natural order of things.
Dawkins: Yeah, that's right. There's no intelligent design in the natural order of things. There's plenty of intelligent design in computers, and cars, and telephones, they're all intelligently designed. And we are so stupid that we think that just because telephones and computers and cars are intelligently designed, that means we are too. Well, they're not. And . . .
Colbert: Well, I'm more complex that my computer.
Dawkins: You certainly are.
Colbert: Right, so how could I be here . . . I mean . . . it's either . . .
Dawkins: Well I'll tell you . . .
Colbert: I'm lost. I'm lost. I'm lost. It hurts when I think. See, if I just think that God just (clapping hands) did it, that I can understand.
Dawkins: And who just did God, then?
Colbert: God is outside of time.
Dawkins: Ahhh . . . that's so easy. You get away with that . . .
Colbert: No, it's hard, it makes my brain sore.
Dawkins: . . . you can get away with that, and then you can explain anything.
Colbert: I can't explain anything.
Dawkins: I can explain it. I can explain it by saying you get to complex things like you, by slow, gradual degrees. And that's the only, ultimate explanation that will work. You can't just suddenly magic complex things like God, into existence.
Colbert: But, if this is intelligent design, like say your book is intelligently designed . . .
Dawkins: It is, by the way.
Colbert: . . . but the universe is not intelligently designed, then you're saying the universe just naturally came into existence, continues existence, through natural laws of nature, through physics, thermodynamics, the laws of gravity and energy, produced you, eventually, and then through you produced this book that proves that it has no natural intelligent design.
Dawkins: Okay, let's take that step by step.
Colbert: Oh, I don't think we have time for step by step. You can either surrender or we can go.
Dawkins: You were right as far as when you got on to life. Life's a very special thing. Life starts naturally, and then it increases in complex by slow, gradual degrees, that's Darwinian natural selection.
Colbert: That's because God breathed into it.
Dawkins: Oh no. That's at best a superfluous hypothesis, and at worse, a highly unparsimonious one.
Colbert: Do both of those mean that you surrender? We've got to go, I'm sorry. Richard Dawkins, thank you so much for being my guest .. The book is The God Delusion.
Did anybody win, you think?



Blogger Ali Kazim Gardezi said...

Ha ha ha... that was indeed funny, ZAK. Thx for posting it.

Mr. Dawkins was more logical as always and the host was very irritating as with most of the believers.

23 October, 2006 15:57

Blogger the olive ream said...

Thanx for this ZAK! It was hilarious. I wonder if we can find a clip of this on google video?...would love to post it. Most of the really funny clips from Colbert's show are hosted somewhere or the other on the net.

Colbert was absolutely hilarious as usual and at his satirical best.

You asked at the end of your post,"did anybody win..?"

I think Dawkins gets points, for logical scientific thinking...but Colbert wins because of his astounding ability to play a character who is so unrelentingly biased and his retorts are hilarious, plus he IS the host of the show.

Seriously though, can science disprove the the existance of something that cannot be proved scientifically? And, if our existing scientific knowledge cannot qualify the existance of God, does it necessarily mean He does not exist? Is science the ONLY qualifying tool to prove or disprove the existance of God? Are the theories of random or natural selection the only logical explanations for our existance? Can belief be successfully debated by science? Am I sincere or just being pretentious in asking these questions?... Don't answer that!

24 October, 2006 02:21

Anonymous Vickram said...

@the olive ream: Mr Dawkins has moved away from intelligent questioning to posturing atheism over the years, but misses one major point in my opinion.

I fail to see why God (any god) or religion has to be dragged into this debate.

If indeed life is an attribute of spacetime and is not just some artefact of DNA, it does not presuppose or disprove the existence of any "active, loving, manipulative" or even "indifferent" being, outside of this "reality".

If life is an attribute of spacetime, then it can quite possibly exist outside of any and all distinct assemblages of molecules in the Universe, or any universe.

This kind of thinking is normally called philosophy or metaphysics, and has only peripheral links to religion. To be sure, without verifiable scientific evidence, anyone who professes to believe so today, must by definition possess faith.

Not in God, though.

Nor even in any Seth of your choice, @rayhan.

24 October, 2006 08:32

Blogger bluecheese said...

I have split my sides laughing. I'm sending you the medical bill.

26 October, 2006 03:59

Blogger Zakintosh said...

peripheral, vic? religion is a social philosophy and organized religion merely represents the political implementation of some of the interpretations of such a philosophy, at best, or - more often - the political manipulation of people in a power-struggle.

as for faith, when someone says "this is my faith", it is rarely if ever a faith in god that is being referred to - except superficially. What the speaker is saying is that i am endorsing the faith of my fathers and ancestors and my community for the simple (unstated) reason that i am too ignnorant or lazy or scared to think for myself. had i been born in another place/time i would have had another set of beliefs and would have equally stupidly referred to it as "my faith".

27 October, 2006 16:05

Blogger Noumaan said...

I think people must stop using science to prove their faith. Many Muslims and Christians do that, and Dawkins though an atheist is doing exactly the same thing. But the book The God Delusion is a must read, his biased passion makes his arguments more appealing than they really are. And most of the times he simply ignores science. For example when he comes to the discussion of Islam and Terrorism. There is no gurantee that world would be a much more peaceful place to live without religion. But here we have an scholar totally denying his own teachings.

I like his writing style and I strongly recommend his books The selfish gene, the blinwatch maker and now The God Delusion.

27 October, 2006 19:00


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