FFRF interviews Dawkins

September 12, 2021 • 9:15 am

The first thing I have to say is that Richard Dawkins has stolen my signature garment: Hawaiian shirts. Why couldn’t he stick with the hand-painted biology ties he used to wear?

That aside, Richard has just been interviewed by Annie Laurie Gaylor and Dan Barker, co-presidents of the Freedom from Religion Foundation (FFRF). It will be on some television stations today. The details are on their website, telling you which stations will be broadcasting it, and when, but since it’s already been posted on YouTube, you needn’t bother; just watch it here. It’s 28 minutes long.

Here are some of the questions they ask Richard (dressed in a Hawaiian shirt):

Why should we be proud to be atheists? Why is science superior to religion?

Why are terms “A Catholic child” and “Muslim child” (and so on) offensive?

Why is Richard somewhat offended by the ubiquity of the term “meme,” which he coined.

Why is science denialism so strong in the U.S.?

There are two ads for the FFRF at 13:27: a new version of Ron Reagan’s “not afraid of burning in hell” ad as well as a statement from a young woman, Gabrielle Hanahara.

Finally, they discuss Richard’s newest issue: Books Do Furnish a Life: Reading and Writing Science, a collection of his “Incidental writing” and a continuation of his previous book, Science in the Soul.

Unlike the last one, this one has “everything to do with books”. Pieces include his forewords to books, book reviews, essays about books, and with people like Pinker, Neil deGrasse Tyson, and Christopher Hitchens. (The audiobook version has the whole interview with Hitchens, recorded with an iPHone at dinner.

At the end, Richard, wearing a Hawaiian shirt, discusses his newest book that will come out in October, Flights of Fancy, about flying in animals and humans. They wind up with a discussion of The Clergy Project, a refuge and community of support for pastors who have lost their faith, and a project set up by the Richard Dawkins foundation.

Click below to listen.

14 thoughts on “FFRF interviews Dawkins

  1. “The first thing I have to say is that Richard Dawkins has stolen my signature garment: Hawaiian shirts” – well, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery as they say.

  2. Dear PCC(C) – First, thank you for this website, which I read every day. HOWEVER, you don’t own the “Hawaiian shirt” any more than the Proud Boys (or whichever insurrectionists has been wearing it) do. I’m from Hawaii. We call them Aloha Shirts and they became approved business attire on Aloha Fridays back in the 70’s. [Women were allowed to wear muumuu to the office on those days (no heels, no stockings).] This was before the term “casual Fridays”.
    Anyway, please call your wardrobe choice “Aloha attire” and quit whining about “Hawaiian shirts”. That term annoys me and I’d rather it be used to identify people who already annoy me. Your consideration will be appreciated (by me, if no one else).

    1. This is an example of a comment that will get someone banned, and for many reasons (have you read the Roolz?) It’s rude, it analogizes me with the racist Proud Boys, and it tells me what to say. For your information, I know they’re called aloha shirts and I’ve used the term many times (see posts here). I also know about Aloha Fridays.

      And you know, I don’t give a rat’s patootie whether the term annoys you or not. As people might guess who have more savvy (and civility) than you, my crack at Richard was a joke: I’m pleased he’s wearing “aloha shirts”.

      Well, you may read this website every day, but you’ll never post here again. In fact, I’d prefer that you just stay away. We like civil people here, not specimens of Equus africanus asinus like you.

      Readers take note: this is a classic example of how not to comment on this website.

  3. In my observation, the reason that children inherit their parents’ religion, or are assumed to, is that religions take the position that they are responsible for all factors of our lives as guides. This includes the raising up of children in their faith. I’ve always found it ridiculous to claim that people should consider choosing a religion as some sort of life decision that an adult makes. For the large part, people choose the religion of their parents because they are taught from birth that other religions are manifestations of satanic subterfuge. If we look at the “outsider test for faith,” we see how ridiculous a religion is for those who are not raised in it, but the tenets of a religion are self-evident to believers. We are culturally conditioned to believe as we were brought up to believe, and it takes strength of mind to break that conditioning. That’s why we refer to “Catholic,” “Protestant,” “Jewish,” “Wiccan” and “Muslim” children without thinking twice. I even referred to my atheist children as they were growing up.

    Regarding “meme,” I think that the reason he may be peeved is that the meaning of the word has changed from when he coined it. Now it refers to a picture with a pithy saying, or a joke, captioned directly onto it. Some may eventually become a form of meme in the Dawkins sense of the word, but in the breathless manner of the internet most are discarded shortly after they are made.

    1. But “atheist child” would not be wrong necessarily. If I remember correctly Dawkin’s main reason to designations like “muslim child” or “catholic child”; or comunist child, is that children are unable to understand that they are supossed to believe and be. Children are born without believing in god, so as long as they remain like that, they are atheist children. They don’t need to understand atheism, in the same sense they don’t need to understand anything they don’t know or believe; they just dont know something or don’t believe somenting.

      1. Matt Dillahunty makes a good point that Atheism requires a conscious entity, taking an informed stance. Uninformed (and mentally/socially unformed) children are no more Atheists, than rocks are. 😀

  4. Interesting that the audio version of Dawkins’ new book has the whole of the last ever interview with Christopher Hitchens. (Dan Barker’s somewhat tasteless “The Last Supper” quip fell a bit flat, I think?)

    1. (Dan Barker’s somewhat tasteless “The Last Supper” quip fell a bit flat, I think?)

      I think the comment was Ms. Gaylor’s.

      Lord knows (so to speak) that spontaneous witticisms sometimes fall flat. Wishing to take them back is the inverse of l’esprit d’escalier.

  5. I’m a good deal older than PCC and the owner of several Hawaiian shirts but I feel duty bound to report that, in certain segments of our society, these garments are referred to a “dad shirts.”

  6. Seems to me Dawkins is back in pre-stroke form.

    Now, dude, do us, your fans, a favor: Will you please stay off Twitter, please? (Apologies to Raymond Carver.)

  7. “There is no more evidence for God or a God…than there is to believe in fairies or unicorns.”

    It is worth pointing out that children do actually have (in their eyes) credible physical evidence for the existence of the Tooth Fairy and for Santa Claus: the tooth beneath the pillow does indeed turn into a coin and Santa does deliver gifts while they sleep. In time they learn that there is a better explanation for these things (i.e. parents creeping into the bedroom after they have gone to sleep). They are never faced with any evidence at all for the existence of God beyond the say so of authority figures such as parents, teachers and priests yet belief in the Tooth Fairy is considered childish and something to be grown out of whilst whole-life enduring belief in God is seen as normal and virtuous.

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