Snap: Dawkins speaks

news-dawkins-speaking After the room that held his physical self filled up an hour before the event, UVA officials had to open at least three extra rooms for electronic feeds of renowned evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins, who, on the night of Friday, October 16, regaled his audiences and later signed copies of his latest book.

A video snippet:

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Religion can be about right action, right thought, and right effort in one's life, leading to greater service in the world, as well as compassion, peace and wisdom. In my experience,'s the heart and mind of the beholder that makes the difference between good and evil, not the religion.

In my experience, it's the heart and mind of the beholder that makes the difference between good and evil, not the religion.

Given millions of years of religious history, a more realistic goal for Dawkins would seem to be joining the Dalai Lama and Thich Nhat Hanh in promoting peace, understanding, and acceptance of all religious faiths.

Dawkins spoke eloquently and convincingly without calling believers out on the carpet the way he did in "The God Delusion". It is one thing to insist that the earth is 4+ billion years old, not 10,000, and quite another to ridicule people for their faith. A synopsis of his new book, the talk went chapter by chapter giving representative and salient points. No doubt, the book is a good overview of Evolution and the mountain of evidence that gives this theory its "fact" status. While I thoroughly enjoyed the talk, it did not convince me that there are (m)any exciting, new and thought provoking ideas in the book so I didn't bother to stay for the book selling and signing portion of the event. My impression from all of his work is that Dawkins is on a two part mission and that he has completed the first - providing incontrovertible evidence for Evolution to the general public. The second part, exorcising the world of its religious beliefs, is going to take much more than disproving Creationism. Leaving aside the question of whether it is a worthy goal, ridding the world of religion is unlikely to result from attacks on peoples' belief systems. A deep understanding and honoring of how such systems benefit their adherents is a crucial step toward meaningful dialogue that could actually motivate believers to think more critically about their beliefs. Dawkins has his work cut out for him!

Religion by itself is nothing more than a book about porn, greed, and all things in between. Of course don't leave out the boogymans threat if your not good. A lot like Santa. Whats at question is the need we have to bring this nonsense into our lives and have faith that it is true. What are we lacking as an individual that we even consider this story any more valid than Scientology. If you believe that stuff there's a bridge I wanna sellya. I do have my own thoughts as to whats at play when people are sucked into some form of theism, unfortunately it has to do with our weakness as a species more than anything else. Dawkins got his work cut out for himself. To dispell religion by using logic and reason by themselves is not enough, one must also add a course in psychiatry so we can see ourselves and what we're lacking to help man kind get past these archaic beliefs.

Good sign that so many students and townspeople came to hear him. I've always thought the anti-evolution crowd was a minority yelling into a megaphone.