The God Delusion – the podcast

For only a few more days the podcast of Richard Dawkins reading from his book is up at the ABC website. I listened to this when it was first broadcast, and while it didn’t change my mind about Dawkins and his enterprise regarding religion and though he didn’t really discus the issues in a way that I found very enlightening, I did enjoy it. Those who are raving atheists can enjoy it and if you’re a believer – well you’ll have to suspend belief and then you might enjoy it too.

I think believing Jews would enjoy it most of all – what with their litany of issues they want to raise with their implacable and irascible God. As Woody Allen said, it’s not so much that God doesn’t exist, it’s that he’s a major underachiever!

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23 Responses to The God Delusion – the podcast

  1. Phil says:

    There are some long doco’s of Dawkins on Google Video from UK TV. They can be found under the titles of The God Delusion and Virus of Faith. He is right, and the book is very good.

  2. JC says:

    As Woody Allen said, it’s not so much that God doesn’t exist, it’s that he’s a major underachiever!

    That’s very funny.

  3. Bring Back CL's blog says:

    JC brings in an argument which atheists tie themselves up in knots about.

    How can one believe in God when people can see patently evil things happening in the world suggesting God should do something. However this in essence is making human beings puppets.

    Lord Paddy of Balmain got apoplectic about this one time attempting this argument.

    On the one hand they want an interventionist God but on the other they want free will

  4. Jason Soon says:

    On the one hand they want an interventionist God but on the other they want free will

    Huh? This is a bizarre comment even coming from you, Homer. Why would atheists want an interventionist God?

  5. Bring Back CL's blog says:

    It is an argument frequently put up for why God doesn’t exist.

    They want a puppeteer but also free will at the same time. Can’t happen

  6. Jason Soon says:

    No no Homer, you’re making the same mistake you made over at the Catallaxy thread on drugs. We don’t ‘want’ any of that. We’re simply taking your idea to logical conclusions and suggesting that it leads to discomfiting implications for you.

  7. Homer tell me why cystic fibrosis exists? I call it an underachievement!

  8. Bring Back CL's blog says:

    yes Jase you can say illicit drugs can lead to higher productivity or lower productivity but of course that is completely logical!

    Nick I don’t understnd your point.

  9. Ken Parish says:


    Nicholas’s point is perfectly clear, I would have thought. If God exists and is omnipotent, and occasionally willing to intervene in the world to change a particular outcome of His creation, why does he not intervene to eliminate nasty diseases like cystic fibrosis, muscular dystrophy, fatal leukemia affecting children etc etc? It’s difficult to see how you could argue that these diseases are a consequence of “free will”, human evil or whatever, so why does God allow innocent children to suffer and die when he could intervene and stop it? Is it just that He moves in mysterious ways beyond the ken of us mere mortals?

  10. Bring Back CL's blog says:

    another person who wants a puppeteer!

    Why does he allow death?
    go back to Genesis and the fall. that is the result

  11. Geoff Honnor says:

    Sorry to intervene halfway between puppetry and Armageddon, but Ken, could you email me please? I thought I might post over the next couple of weeks but I’ll need access..

  12. Ken Parish says:

    Email sent using Jen’s account because CDU email is down and doesn’t look like getting repaired for some time (they’ve closed the entire joint down until after New Year).

  13. Ken, sorry to be a pain in the btm, but what’s happening with BBP06? Mark and I both sent emails to your CDU email address, but now I’ve read that comment, I realise that we may not have gotten through.


  14. Ken Parish says:

    Helen (and Mark)

    CDU email is cactus. I haven’t been able to access my email (or send) for about the last 36 hours. You can email me via Jen’s email which is bigpond DOT net DOT au jmc58819 (only stick the last bit first).

    In summary, I’ve basically finished the list except that I can’t access the emails from Don Arthur and Fred Argy containing their nominations to add to it. I’m waiting for Nicholas to get back to me once he’s been able to speak with Graham Young from OLO (Nicholas is on holidays in Canberra and left his address book at home in Melbourne so he can’t phone Graham only email him). At this stage it’s fairly obviously too late to get BBP2006 published before Xmas. Thus I’m working on the basis that we’ll publish it in 4 separate instalments of (say) 9 posts each, on 4 consecutive fridays starting 5 January. That fits in any event with Mark B’s observation that audience size is greatly reduced at the moment because of Xmas.

    There are currently 33 posts in BBP2006, and I expect to add 1 or 2 from Don Arthur and 1 from Fred Argy. I also thought I’d add John Quiggin’s post of today about Iraq and the “Green Lantern Theroy”. That will make a total of around 36 posts.

    If you and Mark email to the above address I’ll send you the draft list as it presently stands. We still need to split it appropriately into 4 instalments, each with its own short introductory spiel. I’ll do the splitting tonight or tomorrow, and Nicholas is going to have a go at the introductory spiel (and perhaps some slightly amplified text to go with each selected post) over the next couple of days and we’ll collaborate over any refinements. We have also discussed asking David Tiley to assist with choosing a striking image to illustrate each of the 4 instalments. Once all that’s done we’ll circulate the instalments to you and Mark so you can post them simultaneously at Catallaxy and LP (I’m not sure yet whether OLO would want to publish it first or whether we can simply coincide approximately with their publication date/time). I’ll be out now for an hour or so, but if you email me I’ll forward the draft BBP2006 to you and Mark as soon as I get back.

  15. Chris Lloyd says:

    “If God exists and is omnipotent, and occasionally willing to intervene in the world to change a particular outcome of His creation, why does he not intervene to eliminate nasty diseases like cystic fibrosis etc etc?”

  16. Ken Parish says:

    But we don’t usually knowingly worship “mere” storytellers, or believe that they provide one’s raison d’etre despite knowing he’s only playing games with the plot to keep us entertained (at least those us not currently dying painfully in the interest of maintaining dramatic tension).

  17. ken I can send you a gmail invite if you want. gmail is very handy as a stand by – it also has loads of storage so you can leave mail on server and access it anywhere.

  18. Ingolf says:

    Nicholas, I also listened to that lecture and was pleasantly surprised. More than that, I quite enjoyed it. I found his sense of humour and willingness to leave the door ajar just a smidgeon quite endearing.

    Still wonder if aggressive proselytising for atheism may not do more harm than good but I no longer feel anything like the sense of annoyance with Dawkins I expressed in your earlier thread on this topic.

  19. Yes, my feeling was that Dawkins was a tad mellowed. And the one liners were just funny, and humour goes a long way (with me anyway). Even so, the talk did nothing to change my initial view that a lot of the Eagleton review was on target.

  20. teajay says:

    There’s a guys blog I enjoy reading and he mentions a documentary series in the same vein as “The Root of All Evil” except that it ‘examines’ atheism. James (the blogs author) seems to have a similar view on Dawkins as Nicolas has.

    The links here:

  21. Just Me says:

    Still wonder if aggressive proselytising for atheism may not do more harm than good…


    Dawkins is just subjecting religious beliefs and practices to the same rigorous critical scrutiny that all scientific ideas must undergo. Why should religion not be subject to such scrutiny? Why does it get a free pass on epistemological accountability?

    Religious belief and practice might be wrong, seriously wrong, and it should have to make its case the same as any non-religious belief and practice does. And its authority should only extend as far as it can make its case.

    The real problem for religion is its contingent nature: It is not necessary to have religious belief (or practice) for an individual to live a meaningful and ethical life.

    For the record I am a lifelong atheist, despite being raised a Catholic.

  22. Ingolf says:

    No argument with your last paragraph, Just Me. Nor really with your earlier points although they perhaps tend to beg the question of what means are appropriate in scrutinizing religion. Or more accurately from my point of view at least, given that most religions are fairly easy to skewer, whether the broader questions of faith and spiritual beliefs can be sensibly examined through the prism of science or even reason as commonly understood. Anyway, as I demonstrated all too clearly in the earlier thread (!), I have no answers and therefore don’t really want to launch into another discussion on the substance.

    In the last couple of days, however, I did run across two further articles which have inclined me back towards the initial view I had of Dawkins as an unnecessarily aggressive and surprisingly shallow proselytiser. (One of these days I really must read the actual book rather than dealing with it second hand).

    Anyway, the first was a brief “interview” in the Weekend Australian from which I thought he emerged rather poorly. Far more interesting was an extended review of The God Delusion in the latest NY Review of Books. In it H. Allen Orr does in my view a much better job than Eagleton of subjecting Dawkins to a calm and reasoned critique.

    If you haven’t already read it, Nicholas, I think you’ll find it’s definitely worth a look:

  23. Ingolf,

    That review is bloody marvellous – thanks for pointing me to it. I should do a post on it if nothing else just extracting some of its most telling passages. It’s also much more measured than the Eagleton piece. I reacted the way I did to the Eagleton piece because I agreed with it, but of course it’s stridency made a very poor impression – as stridency tends to – on those who began reading disagreeing with it’s premise.

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