Richard Dawkins on "nothing is something"


#1

This is hysterical! What’s really funny is his shock when the audience and his fellow speakers begin laughing at him. Bishop Pell’s response is priceless!


#2

Alas, dial-up. That’s a video I wouldn’t mind seeing…


#3

What Dawkins is talking about, comes from quantum physics. The basic idea is: About %90 of the universe is unknown and unmeasurable to us with or current technology and models(dark matter). We have observed things happening at subatomic levels, that have no explanation with our current ability. We see activity and interactions sparked from things that we cannot even define, or guess what it is. This is the “nothing” he’s referring to. Something we cannot presently define or explain with our current technology and scientific models.

The source is this video at 8:37. Dawkins explains in full at 13:30


"Nothing" is simply the word a particular physicist uses, to describe as-yet unknown processes and matter.


#4

Dawkins (aka: Dookins) is a spaceball cadet. With a man with such brilliance (so I’m told) has difficulty explaining what “nothing” means, he sure didn’t manage to express that to his audience. And, the audience seemed to figure out his goofiness right away. And, since I’m not a physicist, I can’t really comment on what he may or may not have meant by “northing” but I sure do find it extremely amusing.


#5

You and Susanna would love it! It’s so funny! He really stumbles all over himself and even the students in the audience thought he was goofy.


#6

Dawkins isn’t a physicist either, so he doesn’t know what he’s talking about either. He’s an expert in biology and evolution, but he continues to debate about things outside his field for some reason.


#7

It’s not possible to simplify physics to a level that a person with average intelligence can understand. Where Dawkins errs, is that he repeatedly attempts to persuade people who cannot possibly grasp the concepts he’s speaking about. And he does a particularly bad job of simplifying things.

I don’t care about what average people think about physics. That’s like seriously worrying about a toddler who believes in Santa or the Easter Bunny. The manager of Denny’s doesn’t need to understand physics, and if he wants to think the Earth is 6,000 years and flat, how does that matter? He has nothing useful to contribute to the field.

Dawkins should be laughed at. He keeps wasting his time reaching out to people who lack the intelligence to process his message. And then compounds that issue by making bad simplifications. That’s just a lack of common sense. Neil Degrassi is much better, in that he shapes his statements for people with an IQ of 115+, which is pretty much the baseline to understand even simple principals of science. Most people below that line engages in magical thinking, because they literally lack the hardware required to process abstract concepts like untouchable, immeasurable, but logical and orderly phenomena.


#8

Yes it is possible. Unfortunately most “popular science” authors do not have the skill and understanding to do so and end up giving a faulty and distorted picture of what is going on. Richard Feynman once remarked that if tou can’t explain your theory to bright high school students you don’t really understand it. Dawkins obviously has neither the understanding or the skill.


#9

Hey Trekky!! Where’ve you been??? Good to see you again! Yeah, you’re right. He is a biologist and evolutionist. And, he does seem to think he knows everything. He is, what my generation used to call, a blowhard.


#10

And that is precisely why a degree (or many degrees) doesn’t equate to being a teacher. I’ve met many a professor in college who couldn’t teach a simple concept because they had no idea how to relay that information to students. I’ve met many “teachers” in grade schools and high schools with advanced degrees who were the worst teachers I’ve encountered. Great point, Old Dog!


#11

I think Dookins and de Grassi ought to tag team. I’m not sure how that would affect each of them, but it would be pretty funny.


#12

There are a few (rare exceptions). In my eighteen years of “education”, mostly misspent, there were exactly three good teachers. In fact, they are the only ones that I can recall their names; plus one somewhat severe Franciscan nun.


#13

Ah, yes! The nuns! I had plenty of them, too. I had Sisters of St. Joseph in grade school until I was forced to attend a public school. They were the nuns who ate nails for breakfast. I remember in my first grade class, there were 60 of us in one classroom with one nun. There was no nonsense that went on in that classroom. She was, actually, my favorite teacher while in Catholic school. I still remember her name: Sister Mary Lynn. She was very young, but she had complete control over her students. Public school teachers scream today about too many kids–in classrooms with 20 children. I have had classrooms with 35-40 kids and I taught junior and high school. My classrooms were perfectly ordered because I set the tone right away at the first days of school who was the boss. After setting boundaries, I enjoyed a great relationship with my students.


#14

It’s no wonder Dawkins is afraid to debate Ravi Zacharias.


#15

[quote=“old_dog, post:8, topic:48352”]
Yes it is possible. Unfortunately most “popular science” authors do not have the skill and understanding to do so and end up giving a faulty and distorted picture of what is going on. Richard Feynman once remarked that if tou can’t explain your theory to bright high school students you don’t really understand it. Dawkins obviously has neither the understanding or the skill.
[/quote]“Bright high school students” are above average in intelligence. This is pretty much what I was saying.

Dawkins does have the skill. You can take a look at it in cases such as him explaining biological evolution from bacteria to humans in under three minutes. But while he simplified, he didn’t dumb this down.

The problem for Dawkins enters when he tries to dumb things down a lot on-the-fly. He’s very bad at that. It just comes out as gibberish. But I’ve never seen anyone explain unobservable concepts in a way that someone with average-to-below average intelligence could grasp. Sagan was probably the closest, but part of that was because he didn’t get into the weeds like trying to define a theoretical makeup of unknown processes and matter.


#16

Sagan and Cosmos (the old one, not the weird new one) are both great. I’d also recommend A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson as a good popular science book even though he gets a couple things wrong. He’s a travel writer, not a scientist, but it’s more about engendering curiosity than explaining things with absolute accuracy.


#17

if you speak with an upper-crust British accent you can be deemed an erudite scholarly snob and certain classes of people hold to your every word, regardless of your actual educational level.


#18

Wish I could write with a British accent…


#19

I have nothing to say


#20

hold your pinky finger out as you type.