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[[[“…09:52 AM ET
Share this on: Facebook Twitter Digg del.icio.us reddit MySpace StumbleUpon Dawkins: Evolution is ‘not a controversial issue’
Atheist. Biologist. Writer. Thinker. Richard Dawkins has developed an international reputation of spreading the word that evolution happened and that there is no “intelligent design” or higher being, as you might gather from the title of his book “The God Delusion.”
But no matter what you think about his convictions, his ideas have gone viral – including the word “meme.”
CNN caught up with Dawkins while he was passing through Atlanta earlier this year. His next U.S. tour is in October.
Here is an edited transcript of part of the conversation. Watch the video above for a more focused look at Dawkins’ ideas about evolution vs. intelligent design.
Today, a lot of people think a “meme” is a LOLcat or a photo that’s gone viral. How do you feel about that?
In the last chapter of “The Selfish Gene,” I coined the word “meme” as a sort of analog of “gene.” My purpose of this was to say that although I’d just written a whole book about how the gene is the unit of natural selection, and that evolution is changes in gene frequencies, the Darwinian process is potentially wider than that.
You could go to other planets in the universe and find life, and if you do find life, then it will have evolved by some kind of evolutionary process, probably Darwinian. And therefore there must be something equivalent to a gene, although it may be very, very different from the DNA genes that we know.
I wanted to drive that point home. And rather than speculate about life on other planets, I thought maybe we could look at life on this planet and find an analog of the gene staring us in the face right here. And that was the meme. It’s a unit of cultural inheritance, the idea that an idea might propagate itself in a similar way to a gene propagating itself. It might be like catchy tune, or a clothes fashion. A verbal convention, a word that becomes fashionable, like “awesome,” which no longer means what it should mean.
That would be an example of something that spread like an epidemic. And the word “basically,” which is now used just to mean “uhh.” That’s another one that’s spread throughout the English speaking world.
These are potentially analogous to genes in the sense that they spread and are copied from brain to brain throughout the world, or throughout a particular subset of people. The interesting question would be whether there’s a Darwinian process, a kind of selection process whereby some memes are more likely to spread than others, because people like them, because they’re popular, because they’re catchy or whatever it might be.
My original purpose was to say: It’s not necessarily all about genes. But the word has taken off.
There are people who use meme theory as a serious contribution to the theory of human culture and I’m glad to say that the idea of things going viral has also gone viral.
How do you think evolution should be taught to children?
You can’t even begin to understand biology, you can’t understand life, unless you understand what it’s all there for, how it arose – and that means evolution. So I would teach evolution very early in childhood. I don’t think it’s all that difficult to do. It’s a very simple idea. One could do it with the aid of computer games and things like that.
I think it needs serious attention, that children should be taught where they come from, what life is all about, how it started, why it’s there, why there’s such diversity of it, why it looks designed. These are all things that can easily be explained to a pretty young child. I’d start at the age of about 7 or 8.
There’s only one game in town as far as serious science is concerned. It’s not that there are two different theories. No serious scientist doubts that we are cousins of gorillas, we are cousins of monkeys, we are cousins of snails, we are cousins of earthworms. We have shared ancestors with all animals and all plants. There is no serious scientist who doubts that evolution is a fact.
Why do people cling to these beliefs of creationism and intelligent design?
There are many very educated people who are religious but they’re not creationists. There’s a world of difference between a serious religious person and a creationist, and especially a Young Earth Creationist, who thinks the world is only 10,000 years old.
If we wonder why there are still serious people including some scientists who are religious, that’s a complicated psychological question. They certainly won’t believe that God created all species, or something like that. They might believe there is some sort of intelligent spirit that lies behind the universe as a whole and perhaps designed the laws of physics and everything else took off from there.
But there’s a huge difference between believing that and believing that this God created all species. And also, by the way, in believing that Jesus is your lord and savior who died for your sins. That you may believe, but that doesn’t follow from the scientific or perhaps pseudoscientific that there’s some kind of intelligence that underlies the laws of physics.
What you cannot really logically do is to say, well I believe that there’s some kind of intelligence, some kind of divine physicist who designed the laws of physics, therefore Jesus is my lord and savior who died for my sins. That’s an impermissible illogicality that unfortunately many people resort to.
Why do you enjoy speaking in the Bible Belt?
I’ve been lots of places, all of which claim to be the buckle of the Bible Belt. They can’t all be, I suppose. I enjoy doing that. I get very big audiences, very enthusiastic audiences. It’s not difficult to see why.
These people are beleaguered, they feel threatened, they feel surrounded by a sort of alien culture of the highly religious, and so when somebody like me comes to town…they turn out in very large numbers, and they give us a very enthusiastic welcome, and they thank us profusely and very movingly for coming and giving them a reason to turn out and see each other.
They stand up together and notice how numerous they actually are. I think it may be a bit of a myth that America is quite such a religious country as it’s portrayed as, and particularly that the Bible Belt isn’t quite so insanely religious as it’s portrayed as.
In situations such as the death of a loved one, people often turn to faith. What do you turn to?
Bereavement is terrible, of course. And when somebody you love dies, it’s a time for reflection, a time for memory, a time for regret. I absolutely don’t ever, under such circumstances, feel tempted to take up religion. Of course not. But I attend memorial services, I’ve organized memorial events or memorial services, I’ve spoken eulogies, I’ve taken a lot of trouble to put together a program of poetry, of music, of eulogies, of memories, to try to celebrate the life of the dead person.
What’s going to happen when you die?
What’s going to happen when I die? I may be buried, or I may be cremated, I may give my body to science. I haven’t decided yet.
It just ends?
Of course it just ends. What else could it do? My thoughts, my beliefs, my feelings are all in my brain. My brain is going to rot. So no, there’s no question about that.
If there were a God that met you after death, what would you say?
If I met God, in the unlikely event, after I died? The first thing I would say is, well, which one are you? Are you Zeus? Are you Thor? Are you Baal? Are you Mithras? Are you Yahweh? Which God are you, and why did you take such great pains to conceal yourself and to hide away from us?
Where did morality come from? Evolution?
We have very big and complicated brains, and all sorts of things come from those brains, which are loosely and indirectly associated with our biological past. And morality is among them, together with things like philosophy and music and mathematics. Morality, I think, does have roots in our evolutionary past. There are good reasons, Darwinian reasons, why we are good to, altruistic towards, cooperative with, moral in our behavior toward our fellow species members, and indeed toward other species as well, perhaps.
There are evolutionary roots to morality, but they’ve been refined and perfected through thousands of years of human culture. I certainly do not think that we ought to get our morals from religion because if we do that, then we either get them through Scripture – people who think you should get your morals from the Old Testament haven’t read the Old Testament – so we shouldn’t get our morals from there.
Nor should we get our morals from a kind of fear that if we don’t please God he’ll punish us, or a kind of desire to apple polish (to suck up to) a God. There are much more noble reasons for being moral than constantly looking over your shoulder to see whether God approves of what you do.
Where do we get our morals from? We get our morals from a very complicated process of discussion, of law-making, writing, moral philosophy, it’s a complicated cultural process which changes – not just over the centuries, but over the decades. Our moral attitudes today in 2012 are very different form what they would have been 50 or 100 years ago. And even more different from what they would have been 300 years ago or 500 years ago. We don’t believe in slavery now. We treat women as equal to men. All sorts of things have changed in our moral attitudes.
It’s to do with a very complicated more zeitgeist. Steven Pinker’s latest book “The Better Angels of Our Nature” traces this improvement over long centuries of history. He makes an extremely persuasive case for the fact that we are getting more moral, we are getting better as time goes on, and religion perhaps has a part to play in that, but it’s by no means an important part.
I don’t think there’s a simple source of morality to which we turn.
What might come after humans in evolution?
Nobody knows. It’s an unwise, a rash biologist who ever forecasts what’s going to happen next. Most species go extinct. The first question we should ask is: Is there any reason to think we will be exceptional?
I think there is a reason to think we possibly might be exceptional because we do have a uniquely develop technology which might enable us to not go extinct. So if ever there was a species that one might make a tentative forecast that it’s not going to go extinct, it might be ours.
Others have come to the opposite conclusion: That we might drive ourselves extinct by some horrible catastrophe involving human weapons. But assuming that doesn’t happen, maybe we will go for hundreds of thousands, even million years.
Will they evolve? Will they change? In order for that to happen, it’s necessary that a reproductive advantage should apply to certain genetic types rather than other genetic types. If you look back 3 million years, one of the most dramatic changes has been in the increase in brain size. Our probable ancestor 3 million years ago of the genus Australopithecus walked on its hind legs but had a brain about the size of a chimpanzee’s.
Will that trend continue? Only if the bigger brained individuals are the most likely to have children. Is there any tendency if you look around the world today to say that the brainiest individuals are the ones most likely to reproduce? I don’t think so. Is there any reason to think that might happen in the future? Not obviously. You can’t just look back 3 million years and extrapolate into the future. You have to ask the question: What kinds of genetically distinct individuals are most likely to reproduce during the next hundreds of thousands of years? It’s extremely difficult to forecast that.
What are you working on next?
I’m thinking of working on another book and it might be some sort of autobiography, but it’s very much in the planning stage.”…]]]
…i am a ardent follower of Dawkins ! Not because of his fame, but because of how, partial ideas and partial logic, which occupies most all Academia Science influenced by Evolution !
…lately he decided to be more general in his books of evolution! to make evolution more and more a kids fable with nice wonderful pictures “in color”[the greatest show on earth] that do not make sense correctly to most humans, even though these pictures are true !
…well i suppose the billions of dollars which is today’s Academia of Evolution and Bible theology, plus big religions, will dominate in their triumph of controlling minds under “dumb or inferior logic, or non-logic”…!
…THE WORLD PROGRESSED TO MY DAYS, AND ALREADY IN MY YEARS, THE REGRESSION IS GETTING TO BE MORE AND MORE VISIBLE, as to what humans minds are regressing to!
NEVER LOOSING FAITH WHICH IS A COMPONENT OF PURE LOGIC AND HUMAN MIND PSYCHOLOGY, i still have faith in better things, and in better ways of this progress in pure logic, to have a niche in my life time, in humanity and academia!
MEANWHILE I HOPE THINGS DO NOT GO AMISS WITH IRAN AND the atomic nuclear weaponry mere “source and existence” !
I HAVE TO CONFESS AS MOST HUMANS I HAVE BIG DREAMS, and non-achieved dreams, that come from plenty of reasons for these dreams to become mostly reality, could be vanquished! And that your rights be above mine!
But no fears, the fountain of this logic displayed in my Book of Pure Logic, is above previous occurrences in my life, as it was fully started to develop after year 2005!
And even though most humans have limits and red lines, mine demand a best existence as posible and as long as i and others can find this to be!
I doubt the logic of those that cross red lines and limits even in Canada, with complete back-up of Governments!
Again the logic is: “…when you enter into my rights, your rights are being left behind…! self expression does not enter into your rights, unless you let it affect you! of course all has limits in the realm of normalcy!” i will not sacrifice my rights because of yours! you can exert your rights in your realm of personal action as a person, as i should be able to like wise in mine!
So as to life, i have the right to self defense. As to being made fun of or humiliated from my rights, you can be so too in like manner!
How to Help Iran Build a Bomb
By WILLIAM J. BROAD
Published: September 28, 2012
ADVOCATES of airstrikes on Iran’s nuclear facilities have long held that the attacks would delay an atom bomb for years and perhaps even buy Israel enough time to topple the Iranian government. In public statements, the Israeli defense minister, Ehud Barak, has said that an attack would leave Iran’s nuclear program reeling, if not destroyed. The blow, he declared recently, would set back the Iranian effort “for a long time.”
Quite the opposite, say a surprising number of scholars and military and arms-control experts. In reports, talks, articles and interviews, they argue that a strike could actually lead to Iran’s speeding up its efforts, ensuring the realization of a bomb and hastening its arrival.
“An attack would increase the likelihood,” Scott D. Sagan, a political scientist at Stanford University’s Center for International Security and Cooperation, said of an Iranian weapon.
The George W. Bush administration, it turns out, reached an even stronger conclusion in secret and rejected bombing as counterproductive.
…some times they say, you can never misjudge a foe or enemy…!
…other times they say, no foe or enemy is too small to ignore…!
…it never has happened in our time, that the foe or enemy has completely won over the good…!
…and never doubt that to do nothing many times is as bad as doing something…! nor doing something can be worse than doing nothing…!
…generally you doubt in a modern military World, with the way things are in Iraq and Afghanistan, that there is never a complete victory…!
…but believe me, you can do anything to an English peasant, they have not done anything in 2,000 years…! and the negro slaves thought oppressed, at least they had occupation ! now a lot of Negroes are peasants rusting away with nothing much to do, but fill the drugsters and landlords coffers…!
…SO TO BELIEVE THAT IRAN CAN ARISE FROM THE DUST WORSE THAN EVER, IT SURE HAS TAKEN THEM A LONG TIME SINCE THE CRUSADES AND THE ARAB INVASION OF SOME AREAS OF EUROPE…!
…A SMALL ATTACK ON IRAN WOULD SURELY PERMIT THEM TO ARISE FROM THE “DUST”[LOCUSTS], OF THE SANDS OF TIME…!
…an advised attack would let them dig in deeper…!
…a delay to wait and see what they really can do, is not feasible in a nuclear arms treaty treason…!
…WHAT CAN THE WORLD REALLY DO ?
Again I did not know they were becoming such a formidable foe and enemy …! Nobody “feared” to attack Iraq two times, nor Afghanistan, nor Libya…! I wonder what it will take to find out what “punch” do the Iranians have ?
- Android™ 2.3 Operating System
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Music & Sound
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…i want one all of my own ! please donate 700$ now !
…this is sure making APPLE go on the run !
…1-is-to-100 . com ! “usury” is a form of “fraud” that causes “harm”…!
DEDICATED TO THE “English wood house – witch burners – piro-maniacs” that do not believe in the “dignity” of government funded property housing for peasants or the poor ! Rental housing is the negation of “a persona and self” amongst many other self rights negations ! IT IS ONLY A SMOKE SCREEN of the worst slavery principles since 2,000 or more years ago !
The saying 1-is-to-100, goes as follows:
1 is to 100 as whatever number is to 1 or to 100.
If we use as whatever number is to 100, then it is as to 100% percentage !
So the mathematics is:
If 1% percentage is 100% percentage, how much would 10% percentage be
as to proportion to 1% percentage ? :
10% x 100% / 1% = 1000%
THIS RESULT IS EXORBITANT AS TO BANK MORTGAGES OR LOANS !
Today Canada has mortgages rates at around average of 3.5% !
And anything bigger than 100% increase would be “USURY” !
So the Mathematics of 3.5 is to 100 would be:
If 3.5% is 100%, how much would 4.5% be ? :
4.5% x 100% / 3,5% = 128.57% which is over the 100% increase mark !
6.5% x 100% / 3.5% = 185.71% which is too close to 200% increase mark !
If you are paying a 800$ monthly mortgage, and interest rates go by “no real
sane reason” to 6.5%? You would have to pay around 1.8571 x 800$/month
more, if not more compounded ! This gives around 743$/month ! NORMALLY
YOU WOULD GO BROKE…!
THIS IS THE LOVING HUMANE CANADA OF THE LAST 30 YEARS !
AND WORSE IS THE U.S.A OR AUSTRALIA…!
I DO NOT THINK THE BANKS HAVE ANY NORMAL SENSE OF MATHS
Canada and the Bank of Canada have listed interests rates over their recent
history of and up to 10%. Which is “usury” ! And the latest President of the
Bank of Canada [ David Dodge ], was recently con-decorated as a top citizen
of Canada ! This guy and the government of Canada made a few more million
peasants and foreclosures and landlords in the last 20-30 years ! What an
If you want to go to Court on this ! I do not have to ! You do !
…the sum of all fears…!
…the strategic methodology of accidental nuclear warfare…!
Intercontinental ballistic missile
Submarine-launched ballistic missile
[[[…”Russia, the United States and China are the only countries currently known to possess land-based ICBMs.
The United States currently operates 450 ICBMs in three USAF bases. The only model deployed is LGM-30G Minuteman-III.
All previous USAF Minuteman II missiles have been destroyed in accordance with START, and their launch silos have been sealed or sold to the public. To comply with the START II most U.S. multiple independently targetable reentry vehicles, or MIRVs, have been eliminated and replaced with single warhead missiles. The powerful MIRV-capable Peacekeeper missiles were phased out in 2005. However, since the abandonment of the START II treaty, the U.S. is said to be considering retaining 800 warheads on an existing 450 missiles.
The Russian Strategic Rocket Forces have 369 ICBMs able to deliver 1,247 nuclear warheads, 58 silo-based R-36M2 (SS-18), 70 silo-based UR-100N (SS-19), 171 mobile RT-2PM “Topol” (SS-25), 52 silo-based RT-2UTTH “Topol M” (SS-27), 18 mobile RT-2UTTH “Topol M” (SS-27), 6 (15 in December 2011) mobile RS-24 “Yars” (SS-29) (Future replacement for R-36 & UR-100N missiles)
China has developed several long range ICBMs, like the DF-31. The Dongfeng 5 or DF-5 is a 3 stage liquid fuel ICBM and has an estimated range of 13,000 kilometers. The DF-5 had its first flight in 1971 and was in operational service 10 years later. One of the downsides of the missile was that it took between 30 and 60 minutes to fuel. The Dong Feng 31 (a.k.a. CSS-10) is a medium-range, three stage, solid propellant intercontinental ballistic missile, and is a land-based variant of the submarine launched JL-2. The DF-41 or CSS-X-10 can carry up to 10 nuclear warheads, which are maneuverable reentry vehicles and has a range of approximately 12,000–14,000 km.
Israel is believed to have deployed a road mobile nuclear ICBM, the Jericho III, which entered service in 2008. It is possible for the missile to be equipped with a single 750 kg nuclear warhead or up to three MIRV warheads. It is believed to be based on the Shavit space launch vehicle and is estimated to have a range of 4,800 to 11,500 km (2,982 to 7,180 miles). In November 2011 Israel tested an ICBM believed to be an upgraded version of the Jericho III.
India has a series of ballistic missiles called Agni, of which the latest is Agni-V. On 19 April 2012, India successfully test fired Agni-V, a three stage solid fueled missile, with a strike range of more than 8,000 km.”…]]]
…we all believe what we have been told or have seen in many movies enacting a nuclear war scenario…!
SO LETS DO THE PURE LOGIC OF IT FOR THIS DAY, day of rest of the Jewish God JHWV or Jehovah and of all “his” wonders and love on Earth:
[*] We all believe that U.S.A. might hit with a small nuclear weapon in any preemptive strike, and ever since the preemptive theory became practice in the two Gulf Wars, Afghanistan, and Libya, etc. !
[*] As to a Intercontinental nuclear atomic ballistic Missile attack on the U.S.A., regardless of it being accidental or not, we believe or have been made believe that U.S.A. would strike back regardless, and very soon after, the explosion on U.S.A. soil, unless they could stop it before hand !
[*] What we do not know is if they could determine soon enough from where the attack had come from ?
[*] Would you start a World conflagration over one atomic attack on the U.S.A. ! Or wait and take the damage, and then determine to hit back with only one equivalent atomic missile, those to blame !
[*] Can anybody believe that U.S.A. would wait for the explosion to happen in a time frame of more or less 30 minutes ! What if it caused problems for them to respond, or be able to defend themselves properly and take control ?
[*] This then highlights the idea, that can the U.S.A. be “tricked” into a major Nuclear Atomic War ? As they might not sit back and take the accidental blow !
[*] What if the military technique and attack be just this one: to hit accidentally with one from a submarine or mobile location, and then in the aftermath, hit with a second one, etc. ?
[*] Anyway we cannot believe that any accidental nuclear hit may occur ever ! All living humans are “sane” enough, even though they are not very good “environmentalists”, and they are slowly destroying the Planet, and they believe in human hunger, local wars, sicknesses, poverty, and capitalism !
[*] Much less could we believe that any major country would want to do a half a World destruction in a nuclear war !
So folks, the only guys menacing with destroying a country are the Iranians, and they are trying to develop an atomic bomb !
What is going to happen, is easy to determine ! Who is going to defend or involve themselves with Iran ?
And what will Iran be able to do in a conventional war response before there is not too much damage done !
THAT IS ALL FOR A PROPHETICO ON Nuclear Wars and Iran for now !
-. Simply that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had to go to the United Nations meeting September 2012, to show he is not showing fear or plans of anything real bad, even though his rhetoric is quite violent !
-. And we all know that Obama would not go to Iran as it being pointless and too dangerous to do so !
-. There are soon elections in Iran, and nobody thinks there might be any policy changes !
AND I FORGOT TO MENTION: Does anybody think 450 to 1000 active nuclear warheads is enough…?
Just in case ! They decide to flatten the whole World ! And what would it take for them to do such a thing !
I SUPPOSE THE U.S.A HAS A BREAKING POINT OR RED LINE TO BE CROSSED, AS WE MOST ALL DO !
09:28 AM ET
[[[…” My Take: I don’t know if Jesus was married (and I don’t care)
Editor’s Note: Stephen Prothero, a Boston University religion scholar and author of “The American Bible: How Our Words Unite, Divide, and Define a Nation,” is a regular CNN Belief Blog contributor.
By Stephen Prothero, Special to CNN
A few years ago I wrote a book about Jesus in the American imagination. What I learned along the way is that the American Jesus is a Gumby-like figure who can twist and turn in almost any direction.
Our Jesus has been black and white, gay and straight, a socialist and a capitalist, a pacifist and a warrior, a civil rights activist and a Ku Klux Klansman. Over the American centuries, he has stood not on some unchanging rock of ages but on the shifting sands of economic circumstances, political calculations and cultural trends.”…]]]
…no fear Batman and Robin is here…!
…the logic of Jesus’s chastity is wrong !
it is completely wrong that chastity makes you more a saint!
the logic of a man that knew sex and had a wife, would have made Jesus more real and complete and normal, as an example to us all !
hence Jesus as a single man because of a religious saintliness, makes the Bible story questionable as to its divine better logic origin, and is a mere orthodox religious “mans” book !
THERE IS A BETTER FABLE:
THE VIRGINITY of her Holiness Mother Mary ….! and her bodily ascension/resurrection to heaven recently…!