Review: Dawkins’ Sydney gig

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Review: Dawkins’ Sydney gig

#1  Postby Simon_Gardner » Mar 07, 2010 4:56 pm

Sydney Morning Herald wrote:Dawkins celebrates the miracle of life – with or without God

March 8, 2010

Reviewed by Garry Maddox

THE scientist, author and outspoken atheist Richard Dawkins started his talk to a packed Opera House audience yesterday with a challenge – don’t dare take your life for granted.

The extraordinary odds of human evolution over time – leading to one particular sperm finding one particular egg – meant that every individual was special by just being alive.

Dawkins ranged through his latest book, The Greatest Show on Earth, citing the special place of Australia’s marsupials among the compelling evidence for evolution through natural selection over creationism.

His rationale for having to devote a new book to the subject more than 150 years after Darwin’s On the Origin of Species? A recent survey showed that more than 40 per cent of the US population, including even presidential candidates as well as religious leaders, accept the Bible is literally true. In other words, Darwin got it wrong.

Dawkins took on the creationist’s belief in Noah’s Ark.

“Think what the geographical distribution of animals should look like if they’d all dispersed from Noah’s Ark,” he said. “Shouldn’t there be some sort of law of decreasing species diversity as we move away from an epicentre – perhaps Mount Ararat? I don’t need to tell you that this is not what we see.”

Take Australia’s marsupials, for example.

“Why would all those marsupials, but no placentals at all, have migrated en masse from Mount Ararat to Australia? Which route did they take? And why did not a single member of their straggling caravan pause on the way and settle – in India perhaps or China or some haven along the Great Silk Road?”

Dawkins noted that, as evidence against intelligent design, giraffes, like humans, have a nerve connection from the brain to the larynx that loops through the body rather than taking a direct route.

“Any intelligent designer would have hived off the laryngeal nerve on its way down, replacing a journey of many metres by one of a few centimetres.”

Dawkins said the human body was full of similar legacies of evolutionary development. After a lively hour, with not a mutter of disagreement from the audience, it was case closed.
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Re: Review: Dawkins’ Sydney gig

#2  Postby Made of Stars » Mar 08, 2010 10:35 am

Yes, he was on fine form apparently (a work colleague went). Sounds like AC Grayling was better though... ;)
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