Richard Dawkins and Herb Silverman in Charleston SC

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Published on Jun 16, 2013

An Evening with Richard Dawkins and Herb Silverman

Recorded at The College of Charleston, Charleston, South Carolina, March 9, 2013.
Director/Technical Director: Laurne Raycroft. Camera operators: Nick Corbett, Brooks Quinn and Joe Schmidt. Engineer in Charge/Audio: J.J. Corbett. Technical Assist: Shonn Dies. Editing: J. D. Mack.


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  1. Thanks for this. I really enjoyed all of it. I’m going to have to read Herb’s autobiography now. He seems very witty and personable. A good combination with Richard who is also very funny and of course strident and militant… :)

  2. I enjoyed this one ever so much. Herb is such a polite, thoughtful man. And humble. So I probably enjoyed it so much because BOTH speakers were polite, thoughtful and humble. Loved watching these two genius gentlemen gently gesticulate.

    • In reply to #3 by delogren:

      Missed an opportunity there… A “real-time” example of evolution is why we get a flu shot every year…. The virus evolved….

      Well, that’s “just” micro-evolution. It’s still a virus and not a squirrel or some such.

      • In reply to #8 by Gosh:

        In reply to #3 by delogren:

        Missed an opportunity there… A “real-time” example of evolution is why we get a flu shot every year…. The virus evolved….

        Well, that’s “just” micro-evolution. It’s still a virus and not a squirrel or some such. :)

  3. In his lecture, Dawkins says the most convincing argument for evolution comes from the study of DNA. Does anyone know of a paragraph I could quote than puts this in a nutshell?

    Similar question. Has anyone a quote on what evolution is not, to combat some of the various straw men mischaracterisations?

    • In reply to #5 by Roedy:

      I saw one request coming up repeatedly for a comic book to explain why creationism is false and evolution in true, aimed at the creationist.

      If you were to write such a book, what arguments do you think might be most convincing? Here are my reasons for rejecting the bible:

      1. There is absolutely no archaeological evidence of Moses or King David or the exodus. There should be. The Egyptian royal family carefully documented themselves in stone. We have records of other kings.

      2. There are thousands of discrepancies between the various gospels. This is what you would expect of people writing down an oral history decades after Jesus’s death. However Christians assert the bible is 100% consistent and inerrant and written by god. It isn’t.

      3. There was nowhere near enough room on Noah’s ark for two of each species, much less food for them.

      4. DNA bottleneck. When a species goes to near extinction, genetic diversity disappears. There is no sign of this happening in all species 6000 years ago when supposedly every species was reduced to two individuals to fit in Noah’s ark.

      5. All the graves opened, according to the bible. Surely this spectacular event would have made it into the secular record. It did not.

      6. There is absolutely no evidence of a flood 6000 years ago that topped Mount Everest. That huge weight of water and the extreme heat generated by its falling would have left obvious signs.

      7. There were all manner of healer magicians at the time. Jesus did nothing that modern magicians cannot do.

      8. The early documents about Jesus are simply “the sayings of Jesus”. The various stories about him were gradually added later.

      9. When “Jesus” arose from the tomb, even his friends did not recognise him. The most logical explanation is he was not Jesus.

      10. All methods of measuring the age of the earth put it at about 4 billion years. The Bible’s 6000 years are simply wrong. There is zero evidence for that age.

      11. every piece of science in the bible is wrong. Surely God, the creator of the universe, would get such details right.

      12. If you read the bible cover to cover, you will find most of it is appallingly written. It is calumny to claim the creator of the universe would write such crap. It is a forgery.

    • In reply to #5 by Roedy:

      I saw one request coming up repeatedly for a comic book to explain why creationism is false and evolution in true, aimed at the creationist.

      Here are my reasons why I think evolution is true;

      1. I have watched my HIV viruses evolve immunity to the pharmacopea of HIV drugs over the last 30 years. Each time they are DNA sequenced they have evolved modifications, the very ones known to provide immunity.

      2. I have need the result of artificial selection in plants and animals, in particular tropical fish. The distinction between a strange natural environment and a slightly manipulated artificial environment make no different to the fish. Artificial selection is just speeded up natural selection.

      3. scientists have monitored natural selection in streams.

      4. We have a fossil record, that shows the evolutionary order

      5. Ontology recapitulates phylogeny. Further DNA sequencing gives you the same tree.

      6. The way you get local specialised species on islands is what you would expect.

      7. animals reuse the same basic body parts, even in very awkward ways, rather than “retooling”. Animals are far too ham-fisted and inept to have been designed. For example, the human eye puts the nerves on the wrong side of the cornea.

  4. A very well spent hour and half. I especially found the comparison between simple chemistry evolving into complicated life forms and the beginning of the universe also being something simple that developed into the complicated world we see around us being particularly enlightening.

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