Posted in WTD |
…why are you thanking me in Icelandic?
RE: Prof Reiss, I think he should never have been given the job in the first place and that it was correct and appropriate for him to have been ousted.
To me he’s a clergyman and has no role to play in the advancement of humanity.
The problem with extremists is that if you don’t have equal and opposite extremists on the other side than the middle ground shifts. And the middle ground is where most people live and form their opinions.
The tactics used are open to criticism but he had to go, and he’s gone. It’s a good thing.
If you had one tips for aspiring writers out here in internet land, what would it be?
Apart from use a spellchecker and don’t misspell tip that is….
I’m making a stew, does anyone want some?
What’s in your favourite stew?
Graham, I am in agreement with you on Reiss’ sacking. I am a dyed in the wool “militant” arguably fundamentalist atheist and yet I don’t think what he said was particularly inflammatory and certainly not worthy of a shit-canning. The central theme of his statement is that teachers should be prepared and willing to discuss creationist arguments in class if they are raised by the children as long as teachers explain that those creationist beliefs are not consistent with modern scientific thinking. I have some objections to this argument as it could be characterised as naïve and the statements about considering different “world views” was bordering in bullshit postmodernist drivel. Despite my objections I still think his ideas are worth discussing and are not entirely inconsistent with the RAS’s own view on it. This is the oddest thing, he seems to have been fired because the media misinterpreted his comments rather than anything he actually said.
Even Dawkins (writing before the bloke resigned) said that it seemed like a witch hunt and that although he disagrees with what Reiss said he thinks that the statements were “not self-evidently inappropriate stance for the Royal Society to take”.
(I hope Dawks writes a letter of support to Reiss).
What do you think of Dawkins and co? I have always wondered. Also, are you getting any religious type storylines/gags into IT Crowd 3.0?
were you being sarcastic about the naomi klein comment graham? Somehow I can never tell with you.
It’s not nice to cut chunks out of other people’s comments and quote them back with a quizzically raised eyebrown, so’s to provoke some form of confrontation. I try not to do it normally…
“he’s a clergyman and has no role to play in the advancement of humanity.”
is, for me, quite a depressing statement to read.
And I have no strong faith to speak of. I just don’t mind if other people do.
Richard Dawkins’ arguments would be more impressive if he stopped bloody recruiting all the time, to my mind.
Ooh…I quite like ‘eyebrown’ as a word…
On the subject of fundamentalists…
A depressing statement it may be, but that has no bearing on it’s truthfulness.
If you read anything by Dawkins or any of his more philopsophical peers you’ll get some pretty convincing arguments as to why we SHOULD mind other people having faith. Moderate and “reasonable” Christians are the grounding for fundamentalists to be taken seriously. Individually they may be lovely people, and I know plenty who are, but without moderates there would be no extremists.
You can mind all you want, it won’t achieve anything.
John Gray: “Zealous atheism renews some of the worst features of Christianity and Islam. Just as much as these religions, it is a project of universal conversion. Evangelical atheists never doubt that human life can be transformed if everyone accepts their view of things, and they are certain that one way of living – their own, suitably embellished – is right for everybody…It is a funny sort of humanism that condemns an impulse that is peculiarly human. Yet that is what evangelical atheists do when they demonise religion.”
About the doofus that was robbed at the republican convention: Did you see the video?
It took the schadenfreude to near toxic levels for me.
Your man Dylan Moran played in my remote Scottish hometown t’other night. Couldn’t get a ticket though. Bollix.
And if you read anything by any fundamentalist they’ll provide arguments as to why they should mind people not believing what they believe. It seems a key aspect to fundamentalism is frustration about people not all agreeing with them. It’s not religion that causes trouble it’s the pride, infallibility and passion for ones beliefs which are usually religious.
If you go around telling people why they shouldn’t believe in God your no better than anyone who does the same pro God.
” Individually they may be lovely people, and I know plenty who are, but without moderates there would be no extremists. ”
What a ridiculously specious argument. Like saying violent drunks only exist because people enjoy the odd glass of sherry.
On the contrary. Atheism is based on evidence, theism is based on on superstition and believing whatever you decide is your ‘truth’.
sorry, Graham you seem to be under the impression that I’m looking for some sort of purge of religious people or something, like a kind of atheist final solution. On the contrary, I’m all for letting people get on with whatever they want to believe as long as they don’t harm anyone else. I’d never “go around telling people why they shouldn’t believe in god”. I’m no atheist zealot. However, it doesn’t change the fact that they’re utterly and hopelessly wrong.
It’s always a mistake to equate Atheism to being like another religion. It’s not another belief, it is itself a lack of belief in something which has no evidence.
“em dee” it’s nothing of the sort. What an insane analogy
” On the contrary. Atheism is based on evidence, theism is based on on superstition and believing whatever you decide is your ‘truth’.”
None of which actually addresses my point, which is that there is a distinction between having a faith and being an insane extremist. You seem to bracket them together as if a belief in God leads irrevocably to madness – ” but without moderates there would be no extremists.” My dad’s a catholic and never hurt a soul – does that mean he’s responsible for Gerry Adams ?
” On the contrary, I’m all for letting people get on with whatever they want to believe as long as they don’t harm anyone else ”
So, actually, we DO agree then.
” “em dee” it’s nothing of the sort. What an insane analogy ”
Perhaps ” Darren ” you’d like to explain why it’s any more ‘insane’ than ” but without moderates there would be no extremists.” ?
On the whole I’m pretty grateful to have Richard Dawkins in the public sphere. Indeed, I think he’s often unfairly maligned, regrettably often by atheists, who seem to develop squeemish tendancies so as not to offend religious sensibilities. The Peter Kay spat was unfortunate, but Dawkins was quick to apologise even though, as is apparent, he was the victim of a disengenuous journalist on the search for a quote. You’ve been the victim of this yourself Graham and although we may question Dawkins’ approach he isn’t infallible and has a legion of fundamentalists waiting to misinterpret his ever word. He’s in an inviduous, if not impossible, position.
Notacrook links to Dawkins’ statement above, in which he states quite clearly he does not wish to Reiss to resign and indeed he resiles from what he regards as a potential witch-hunt. He goes on to write that he has refused to comment to the press.
Dawkins is on the record as refusing to debate with the creationist lobby, and acknowledges that this is a politically risky strategy which leaves him and by definition atheists, open to accusations of cowardice. On the whole I happen to agree that there is nothing the fundamentalists would like more than to be granted the cloak of respectability being seen debating with scientists and it’s for that reason that I think Reiss needed to be censured for wilful naivety.
Squeamish, invidious, disingenuous…
Me fail English? That’s unpossible.
You all seem to be missing the point.
This is a matter of science, not theology. Reiss was suggesting that science teachers should ‘take the time’ to explain to children that creationism has no scientific basis. You might think this is reasonable. Replace the word creationism with ‘flat earth’ or ‘time cube’ or ‘talking snakes’ or ‘fairies’ and you should better understand the problem with his statement.
No time is needed to dismiss creationism in class, it is done like this: “It’s not true” Why is this all you need to say? Because the only reply is “It is true”. Once that exchange has finished, so has the argument
Science classes are for teaching science, not for discussing ‘world views.’ As Reiss was the Director of Education at the Royal Society it is quite right that he was moved from his position. His religious views are irrelevant, it’s his educational views that are problematic.
Dan, as you will read in the final paragraph in my comment above, I note that Reiss required censure and I’d go on to further state here that if this meant his position was untenable then he had to go. At the very least he was naive in the extreme and for the reasons I adumbrate above it is extrememly risky to allow the debate of creationism in the science class. In an ethics class, perhaps, but not as part of the science curriculum.
On a slightly different topic, Graham, I thought you may enjoy the list of 100 greatest sketches I put together on artlick recently (You will hopefully all enjoy it for that matter).
You will notice a strong Graham Linehan presence in there. Rightfully so. So many of your comedic creations have made me laugh heartily through the years. For that I thank you.
Although it says the list is not in any order, the Prince sketch does in fact rank as my favourite of all time.
And I am definitely aware that I may have missed many people’s favourites and sometimes that has to do with my own personal taste and other times it has to do with being unable to track down specific sketches online. Out of these 100 I am sure there are many we would agree on nonetheless. I would love to hear some of your own favourite sketches.
“Atheism is based on evidence”?
Really? I am fascinated in this evidence you claim to have for the non-existence of a god. Apart from the inherent logical flaw, I mean.
Ultimately, both atheism and theism are predicated on leaps of faith.
I cannot immagine that creationism should be taught in science classes, however it would be very reasonable to mention it when examining types of evidence used in science.
I see no point in demonising people because of their beliefs, far better to get them to give their evidence and debate the pros and cons. I hate anything which restricts freedom of thought and speach. There is an increasing amount of rules restricting our freedoms at the moment. I have no doubt that the truth of evolution is so obvious that it does not require restriction of other peoples freedoms.
ATTENTION FATHER TED FANS & EOIN MCLOVE FANS!PLEASE CAN PEOPLE CHECK OUT THIS VIDEO AND MAKE IT POPULAR OR SOMETHING BECAUSE ITS CRIMINAL THAT IT HASN’T HAD MORE HITS BY NOW.SORRY FOR THE capitals!
Just wanted to tell you that at work we have devised a new saying, inspired by the first episode of Black Books. Whenever one of us is deliberately looking for distraction (like going to make a cup of coffee, looking up some obscure document, or going to talk to someone) because we have something that needs doing but which we don’t want to, we say we are pairing socks. It immediately brings up the image of Bernard avoiding his tax. It has caught on remarkably quickly (mainly because we do a LOT of sock pairing at work).
My problem with people dismissing other people on the basis of what they choose to believe (which is what all the fundamentalist smugma boils down to, and I include atheist fundamentalism in this) is basically quite a naive one.
It goes something like this: I don’t really think I have all the answers as to, y’know, how and why we are here. This is why I like to listen to all the theories. I tend to think science is closest, but, just like a befuddled man, lost in a pub quiz, if it turns out I’m wrong, oh well, it was nice to have a go.
Also, I would hate to deny the spiritual side of humanity. Humans have a need to believe (or suspend disbelief, at any rate) in things which are not empirically real. A good example would be a television comedy about people who work in IT, thinking about it…
If you examine what Reiss actually said, it’s neither naive nor controversial: treat children with respect, and they will gradually come to realise that talking snakes, people living in the bellies of whales etc etc are probably not literal truths, but metaphors. Treat them and their beliefs with contempt, and they will retreat further inside the barricaded keeps of superstition and fundamentalism.
Dawkins seems to believe that withering contempt is all that is needed to return us to a pre-Bush era of enlightenment. Someone should tell him–it’s not working.
Hi Graham, love your work. Saw a bit of Black Books last night and found myself pointing at the screen, going, ‘Totally Linehan that, totally’ (The bit where Fran pulls out Bernard’s formally ‘dead’ girlfriend’s dental records and a picture of her holding that days newspaper)
Anyhoo, dunno if you’re a Neil Young fan but if you are, here’s an amazing hour long recent interview I much much enjoyed.
Totally Linehan that, totally’
You know I only did the first series, though, right?
I did know that but I wasn’t sure which series it was from. I just stumbled across it on sky. Ah, well.
Well, I haven’t seen it in a while. Maybe I did write it. Smileyfacewink.
Oh, Dawkins… Looking up Ken Campbell’s beautiful “Brainspotting” on youtube, mourning the great man a little, I saw RD interviewed ten years ago, as weirdly clergyish, waffly and unenlightening as he is today: “Some animals certainly have consciousness. But I won’t be bullied into saying which ones I think they are.” Um… okay… (Four minutes into this if you’re interested http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=gLbhzJUymxQ&feature=related) Is this man ACTUALLY a scientist? Can anybody tell me: has he actually discovered anything or ever performed any experiments? Seriously. Or does he just wibble on about memes? Seriously. I don’t know…
P.S. I went to a church school. When I was nine they started to teach “Greek Mythology”, and it was then for me that the penny dropped, so I think Reiss is spot on.
oh god, there was this one time where Naomi Klein was telling me all this stuff about logos being bad but even, like if called your book no logo, it would itself become like a logo and even though, like, capitalism is bad it would sell loads and corporations are bad even the one that sold her book, and she was trying to read a hard book like Chomsky or Raymond Williams or something but she didn’t bother…I did not know that
p.s. I see Hollywood had dramatised the story of Dougal badly drawing Len Brennan’s face on a wall
Apple trailers calls it “uplifting”
God lorc, that’s helped with my depression. Henry Poole looks like evil pro Christian c**p. Americans don’t seem to realise that in real life you are allowed to be down and depressed, you don’t have to be happy or find Jesus. The pursuit of happiness at all costs, but it has to be happiness with Jesus, like a packet of cereal that comes with a little plastic toy of ‘the rapture’. How outrageous, showing people with disabilities being cured by “Jesus’s miracles” sprinkled on a wall and in a feel-good comedy!! He gets the gal, he seems to cheer up and find the Lord, the camera pulls back and a jangly guitar ballad soundtracks the list of cretins responsible for getting it burnt onto celluloid. What a vile, hateful film this is. I’m surprised at Luke Wilson.
More on that charming Republican delegate who got rolled. Here’s a commercial he made for his law firm:
Lorc, how can you be stoned at seven am? Naomi Klein rules.
Your statement “somebody should tell him its not working” is either cleverly post-ironic or you haven’t read any Dawkins or Hitchens. Attempting to lay the blame for the rise of religious fundamentalism on a very recent decision to change their approach which was undertaken by Dawkins et al precisely to confront the rise in religious fundamentalism is a dog chasing its own tail round and then eating it, or possibly a very poor episode of The Time Tunnel. Not confronting religious believes plainly wasn’t working, hence their change in attitude.
I’m not an expert, but Dawkins appears to be saying that mildly misplaced beliefs that there are fairies at the bottom of your garden and that a fat bloke with a reindeer sneaks into your house every twelve months is one thing, but there’s a serious causal link between the failure to challenge patterns of belief and the possibility of placing a nutter in the White House who thinks Dinosaurs bones were put in the ground 4,000 years ago to test her faith. The general trend of this thread appears to be that people seem to disagree with him, which is a reasonable enough position, but I can’t follow the argument through to the conclusion reached that his approach somehow creates the nutter.
No, fair point, Eds, but I think, tedious as it is you either believe in reasoned argument or you don’t (and the argument for the world being older than 6000 years doesn’t really have to last longer than “Caves! Coal!”). And Dawkins’ arguments ARE on the whole reasonable and effective (see him politely baffle Bill O’Reilly) but there are so many scientist out there with an infectious enthusiasm for their specialty it’s a shame the media always favour pundits looking for a fight. Fights are inherently unreasonable, aren’t they? Maybe I should have watched his programme on Darwin but I was just so turned off by the first five minutes. You don’t get Simon Schama going “and THAT’S why I’m interested in History” every twenty minutes.
Oh and here’s some excellent punk acting:
Sorry, “punker” acting.
May I also share this cartoon that I made about loss of internet connection?
A couple of the lyrics are in fairly bad taste, but it might amuse some of you.
The Quincy theme tune made me giggle too much. I’m glad I’m not alone in making up words to theme tunes.
I suppose that listening to the man from the convention shows that the Dawkins approach may be necessary as the only way information can be made accessible to people such as this. However I went to a good evangelical christian Sunday school as a child. Their response to my genuine questions about Darwin’s theory and how it could fit with their view of Genesis, gave me a quick exit into atheism. I worry that by coming down to the lowest denominator in attitude actually may loose him credibility with those most likely to have a sufficiently open mind to go from Creationist to rational thought processes?
When will the new series of the IT Crowd be on the Telly?
Round Christmas, but you’re coming to a studio recording, aren’t you?
Eds, just so we’re clear… I do think it’s naive to expect humanity to perform a worldwide volte-face and renounce superstition forever. So Reiss’s suggestion struck me as an entirely reasonable, possibly effective, defense against the worst excesses of this superstition. Dawkins should have been in Reiss’s corner. Instead, he did just what the press hoped he would do, and provided another quotable hook to hang him from (his somewhat snide ‘apology’ notwithstanding). Anyway, I’m not going to be saying any more on this one because I’m starting to repeat myself.
We are hoping to come, but have had a bit of difficulty getting tickets. Have applied through the normal channels. Could be my e mail blocking things possibly.
I think I have been agreeing with you though in a somewhat obtuse manner about Dawkins and Reiss.
It would appear that I like coming onto here and commenting on how I’m glad about things, but here we go again: I’m glad I’m not the only person having SRO difficulties. I think the only filmings I could get to are the 26th Sept and 10th Oct, but I’ve not heard anything yet and I’m cutting it a bit fine for getting a Megabus and Travelodge cheap for the 26th. The prospect of going is very exciting though. The prospect of accosting Mr Linehan and going “GAAAH! You’re my hero!” in the flesh as opposed to on here is also! Consider ye warned, Graham! :D
Kirstenin, I haven’t heard either. Seeing as I work in an NHS hospital and therefore usually have to give at least a month’s notice for leave (we don’t have enough money to employ enough people) I doubt I’m going to be able to make it even if I do get tickets. However, I’ve applied for tickets for my mum and brother, too, so if they get to go, I shall at least be able to live through them vicariously.
Meanwhile, I think I almost injured myself laughing at the Quincy video. Thanks, Graham!
SRO is almost up (or down) there on my hate list, avec Ryanair. Who I happen to have flights booked with for this Friday’s filming. For which I have not heard back from SRO yet. And am seemingly now unable to form coherent sentences. Sadface.
Not related to any of the above exactly, but fascinating all the same..
Jonathan Haidt On The Moral Mind
My 5yr old got into trouble in a dublin school this week for saying there is no such thing as god. The teacher asked me to “have a word with him”.I dont know what she meant.
Anyway, I told him that he was in ‘no trouble’..but I get the feeling that at least one or even two of the kids parents has kept her boy away from ours. It didnt go down well.
In Ireland 90% of schools are catholic. We dont have much option to send him elsewhere. I dont have much time for multi-d schools either…far far too much time talking about religions, when they could be soaking up the arts, sport, science etc.
Im not well informed on the big debates rattling the cages of my fellow ‘non-believers’ but I do know that I cant lie to my kids to give them a socially acceptable school life in Ireland.
It also seems sometimes that you are in a worse position to have no beliefs than have a belief. Those with beliefs cannot be slagged off and if you are faithless you are fair game to be brainwashed or criticised.
Mozz, I think in some senses, the whole god thing with children is the same as how they believe in Santa or … the tooth fairy, or whatever. It’s one less thing for parents to explain, and perpetuates the myth that parents know everything. Helps them to “retain their innocence” and that. I don’t know if that makes any sense, I’m not the most articulate.
You are more articulate than I am Gracefulstalker. Thanks. I do let him think there’s Santa and toothfairy as thats probably a cruelty not to. They measure themselves against their peers and what they get. Im probably twofaced on that score.
But the religion thing is very tricky. I mean you could look at it like this; whats innocent about telling children about a man being nailed to a cross on a hill? That sort of story wouldnt get passed below an 18’s certificate or onto cbeebies. I hate him learning about that sort of violence as a means to making him think jesus was great.
Kids really make you look at things in a new way.
re: the Jesus thing, that’s very true. I suppose either way they’re going to have to see the other side of it some day. I was brought up in a pretty strict Catholic household, and never doubted any of it until one day I thought “hey, if Adam and Eve were the first people on earth, when were dinosaurs around?” and my whole belief system fell apart on that one thought. If a religion felt it had to lie in the very first “chapter” of the story, I can’t trust anything that’s said. This happened when I was around 12, and I ended up being a very lost little thing for about 4 years.
Having said that, I think if I was brought up as a strict atheist, then there would have been one point in my life when I thought “hey, what’s all this god/soul/afterlife thing that everyone’s harping on about?” and possibly felt deprived of that as well. It’s a double edged sword.
I find that, when I think about having children in the future, I will tell them all they want to know about my beliefs, but I’ll never teach them that my beliefs are right, because I don’t know that they are. That sounds ideal, but I’m sure that to some extent, children need to feel, for a certain amount of time, that their parents know everything, for comforting reasons more than anything else, and for me to admit that I don’t know the answer to such a fundamental question might leave them feeling very insecure about me, as the person who is looking after them and as the person in charge of their life.
Again, not sure if that makes any sense.
Gracefulstalker, I totally agree with your comments and my path has been pretty much the same as yours but its no harm to let children think that nobody is perfect, even myself as their parent. I dont think that makes them insecure, or at least I hope it doesn’t!
If you want a good eye-popping read I recommend “Crashed and Byrned – The Greatest Racing Driver You Never Saw” by your man Tommy Byrne with Mark Hughes. Suffice to say you Irish are nuts, though quick, in them there car.
It’s like winning a cosmic lottery. If I could have picked any guy in the world to get robbed by a hooker and globally humiliated, that Republican ‘more war’ guy would be the mark. But only cos Trump would never fall for it.
The incident is also definitive proof that there is a god.
Not all Americans are insane! No witch hunts for me, thanks!
My 8-year-old made a Father Dougal sim in the Sims 2 game. He moved him in with the entire cast of the original “Star Trek.” They live in one of the spaceships from “Battlestar Gallactica.” I’ll have to take a screencap at some point.
Love the blog. Also, I think it’s wonderful that you take time out to reply to everyone’s comments, excellent stuff. Look forward to series three of IT Crowd. A quick question before I go; Any chance of Mr. Morris reappearing in the IT Crowd at any point? (if it’s commissioned, which I wouldn’t doubt for a second). Matt is great, but Chris is standing in a different field of greatness. A field which is full of vital crops……I’d welcome a return!
Actually, a second quick question; Do you happen to know which day series three of the IT Crowd should air please? Series three forms part of what looks to be the pinnacle of Autumn comedy this year (for me, at least), with returning series of Not Going Out, Never Mind the Buzzcocks and Q.I, plus Peter Kay’s new 3 hour X-Factor spoof, which obviously has the potential to produce some good laughs. I’m sure there’s a couple of others too, but it’s gone 2am and my brain isn’t being kind. There’s probably some new comedy shows on ITV and BBC Three too, but they won’t be funny so I’ll give them all a miss I think.
BMW (yes, those are my real initials)
eh did anyone catch david simons talk in Dublin on Friday?
Naomi Klein..shes hot
Ben W are you Chris Morris in disguise? or his agent?
Just in case you miss Ireland Graham
[video src="http://s32.photobucket.com/albums/d21/meath/?action=view¤t=Wherewouldyouseethelikesofthat.flv" /]
Too soon for Halloween maybe. But it’s never too soon for a bit of healthy blasphemy.
Looks like no IT Crowd for me or Kirsten. SRO cocked up on all our friends tickets, and we has none. Now to decide whether to still fly to London in the offchance there’ll be returns on the day. If anyone has 2 tickets for this Friday, please get in contact. *enter some witty offer of a first born here* See? See how we all laughed? Give us tickets.
Just take a look at this.
It’s John McCain doing an Irish joke during his speech to the Irish-American Presidential Forum in Pennsylvania last night. Fast forward three minutes for the gag. Hilarious stuff.
Hello Mr Graham*,
I’m sorry to randomly post this here, i have just wasted half an hour trying to figure out how to leave a message for you and I’ve got to get some work done so I’ve settled for my message randomly placed here. HOpe you don’t mind.
I found something that was to me very strange online – check this out –
I hope you can get past how annoyed you feel at all your hard work up there on rapidshare.
Anyway…. who are these people with Richard?
I met Richard once in the street and was cheeky enough to tell him how much I like watching him on TV. He was really nice about it. I think Richard is great. And you. Not only are you a fantastic comedy writer but you know good comics too.
*Have i struck the right balance between formality and friendly here… doubt it.
How’d I miss this? I just found out that the IT Crowd is heading to US TVs starting next week on the IFC network. I’m spreading the news to all fans here.
Please could you give Ralph Nader some press on your site? The corporate parties need to be fought in any way possible, and this sums up the charade of this election in a very entertaining way.
J11AU9 comment1 ,
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