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Posts Tagged ‘Richard Dawkins’

A Conversation With Eminent Scientists

February 19th, 2012 Comments off

I recently finished reading Lawrence Krauss’ A Universe from Nothing: Why There Is Something Rather than Nothing while on vacation. A quick and easy read for those with a decent level of scientific literacy, it was graced by an afterward from Richard Dawkins. It’s unfortunate that Christopher Hitchens’ planned forward for the book was derailed by his illness; nevertheless, a book featuring two of the four prominent American scientist-atheists (joining Neil de Grasse Tyson and Dan Denntt) still provided quite a bit of umph to it.

I still intend to get around to doing a review of the book, but in the meantime I thought I would share this outstanding talk between the two authors. It was hosted by the Origins Project headed by Krauss at Arizona State University and featured a fine discussion on science in general, atheism and a bit on American politics.

This is no debate, as these two scientists share a similar world view and the audience also trended toward the science-focused, areligious types. Perhaps as a result, Krauss tends to earn some cheap laughs at the expense of the Republican leadership. That doesn’t prevent the video being well worth the viewing time for an intelligent discussion on abiogenesis, evolution and the exciting quantum physics discussed in “A Universe From Nothing.”

TEDTuesday: Ideas Worth Spreading for the Week of 7/19

July 20th, 2010 1 comment

Any time you get a chance to see NdGT work, you're constantly drawn to make plans to visit the Rose Center.

While most of the time I’m going to embed videos from TED lectures, sometimes I’ll go with non-TED videos that drive home a similar concept of pressing forth knowledge while providing entertainment.  In the field of science and astrophysics, in particular, there’s simply no one better than Neil de Grasse Tyson.

Tyson is the revered host of PBS’s NOVA magazine show and is the director of the Rose Center and Hayden Planetarium at New York’s Museum of Natural History.  He’s also one of the most engaging folks when it comes to conveying enthusiasm for the sciences.  Oh yeah, there’s also the whole Pluto thing (The Pluto Files: The Rise and Fall of America’s Favorite Planet).

I’ve linked a few videos for a reason, appearing after the jump.

Read more…

Richard Dawkins’ “Growing Up in the Universe”

May 11th, 2010 Comments off

The Royal Institution Christmas Lectures for Children were founded by British natural philosopher Michael Faraday in 1825.  One hundred sixty-six years later, Oxford biologist and staunch atheist Richard Dawkins took the stage for five, one-hour lectures that touch generally on evolution in a manner best suited for children.  In a world where children are most often indoctrinated with theological explanations of man’s origin, a lecture series such as this was particularly intriguing.

Dawkins is, of course, the author of several books on evolution and atheism, most notably The God Delusion.  In this lecture, with the crowd on hand, Dawkins is not his normally abrasive self.  Quite to the contrary, he makes a concerted effort to be truly engaging.

Furthermore, while many of his demonstrations seem a bit comical due to the then-cutting-edge and now-primitive computer technology, he makes convincing and eloquent arguments to debunk the ID myths of irreducible complexity and inconceivability of chance.

As a note, I’m filing this under TED Tuesday, even though it’s not a TED lecture.

The Dawkins Foundation for Science and Reason has made all five one-hour lectures available on YouTube and I’ve embedded them after the jump.  Click through to view. Read more…

TED Tuesday: Ideas worth spreading for the week of 4/6

April 6th, 2010 Comments off

A new feature I’m going to hopefully get going on the site is linking a couple of lectures from TED that I find worthwhile watching.  First up is going to be a few pieces on Science, Free-thinking and Religion.

The subject was  sparked for me by tuning in to a TED talk by Sam Harris two weeks ago on morality and religion, or rather taking morality from our understanding of science, instead of religion.  Filmed at TED2010 in February 2010, Long Beach, CA.

I will admit that I’m not 100 percent on board with Harris’s talk.  I think that the idea of scientific forces driving moral behavior has some validity, but it’s far from a universal truth.  On the converse side, one can also equally argue that religion has been at the forefront of both acts of kindness and true villainy.  Where Harris does hit home, however, is in the idea that science can guide what is good — or rather the affirmative answer to the question posed by Harris: can a fact about how reality is provide an idea of how something should be.  Harris will lose some fans in that he is elitist and somewhat dismissive of the more religious of the red states.

In any respect, Richard Dawkins, Michael Shermer and Julia Sweeney, after the jump. Read more…

Symphony of Science – AutoTuning the Knowledge

January 27th, 2010 Comments off

If the Gregory Brothers can Auto-Tune the News, John Boswell over at Symphony of Science figured he could “bring scientific knowledge and philosophy to the masses, in a novel way, through the medium of music.”  IMO, he’s put together some really great stuff here.   While I don’t have the time to produce real content of my own, I figured I ought to provide some good entertainment that can still pique the mind.

Note that you can download the movies and the MP3s at Boswell’s site.

The Unbroken Thread, featuring Attenborough, Goodall and Sagan