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Richard Dawkins 'The Purpose Of Purpose'

From: Dave Haith <visions1.nul>
Date: Sat, 3 Sep 2011 16:37:46 +0100
Archived: Sun, 04 Sep 2011 19:20:19 -0400
Subject: Richard Dawkins 'The Purpose Of Purpose'

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The Purpose Of Purpose: Richard Dawkins (Lecture)

Prof. Dawkins titled his talk as The Purpose of Purpose and
began with an anecdote of Peter Atkins being asked by one of the
Royal Family, But what about the why questions?, and Atkins
replying, That is a silly question.

Dawkins noted that asking why for inanimate objects like air or
rocks is almost always considered inappropriate. But asking why
living organisms are seems to often have been done in the past.

He noted a number of amusing instances, such as claims that
domestic animals provide a means to keep their meat fresh until
we have need to eat them, lice were a strong incentive to
personal cleanliness, large predators allowed hunters to test
their courage, and horseflies encouraged industry and the use of
wits in combating them.

This mindset persists to this day, said Dawkins, popping up the
Ray Comfort banana video, which got an especially large dollop
of audience laughter with Comfortís assertion that the banana
has just the right shape to fit in the human mouth.

Dawkins noted that, unfortunately, the video was not simply a
joke. Comfort apparently has offered to give Dawkins $10,000 to
debate Comfort. Dawkins responded saying that he would take
Comfort up on that only if Comfort donated $100K to Dawkinsí new

Then Dawkins compared the modern, domesticated version of the
banana to the fruit of the wild banana, showing that many of the
properties that Comfort was ascribing to Godís design were
actually choices made in artificial selection by humans.

Watch the full documentary (lecture) now

My own comments about this 60 minute 2009 lecture:

I have to say I found it hard to believe that that banana
segment was not a spoof - with people like Comfort opposing
Dawkins he can't fail to have an easy ride.

I think Dawkins is best when he focuses on biology - his
insights into the 'archeo-purpose' of insects and flowers are

He argues that in evolutionary terms, we humans seem to have
lost our way and suggests things like adoption and contraception
are alien to the non-human world.

But surely nature's way of overproducing - sometimes millions -
of young which die, is a form of contraception?

Listen to 'Strange Days... Indeed' - The PodCast



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