Monday, December 18, 2006

A Google Treasure Trove

I have recently discovered a treasure trove of Documentaries on Google. No, not Documentary clips, but full length quality Docus. If I may bring your attention to two of my absolute favorites.

The first is The Elegant Universe,

product_image

A book i loved that makes astonishingly enough, an even better pair of documentaries, narrated by Brian Greene Himself.
Greene
Part 1. Einstein's Universe


Part 2. String's The Thing


Now, for the more intense of the two. image.asp

The shocking title does no justice to the incredible arguments that Richard Dawkins makes against religion and its assault on reason and science. Whether or not you agree with the content, this documentary must give you pause. Narrated by Dawkins, who is an incredible thinker and is very passionate about his arguments. The gem of these documentaries is an interview with Ted Haggard, who gets all uppity when he is challenged by Dawkins as someone who is "telling people what to think". Not to be missed.

rdawkins

Part 1. The God Delusion


Part2. The Virus of Faith

31 comments:

Nigel Smith said...

The root of all evil (not Dawkin's choice of title but channel 4s) is not a bad documentary but suffers a bit from Dawkin's style.

He tends to launch straw man attacks and when faced with an actually sane theist seems to fade away from engaging them. In particular he interviews Richard Harries, the Bishop of Oxford, at the end of the virus of faith and in that interview he effectively narrates his counter-argument over the top of Harries. What Harries has to say is far saner than the loonies he'd prevously tracked down.

I would add to this list, and perhaps recommend over the Root of All Evil, Jonathan Miler's excellent "A Brief History of Disbelief".

It can be found on google video here:

Part 1
Part 2

Mel said...

Alf, I wonder if you saw this documentary. Its called Monkeys, Rats and Me and it ran on the BBC a few weeks ago.

Its about a battle between animal rights campaigners and scientists thats been raging in Oxford this past year. Very British. But hugely interesting. And in the end pro-science.

The Guardian said it was an outstanding documentary.

And its just been put up on the Internet Archive.

Here

Or if that didn't work.
Here http://www.archive.org/details/MonkeysRatsandMe

I think you'll really, really like it.
best wishes Mel

Mel said...

Oh Alf, I meant to say, why don't you do a post on Monkeys, Rats and Me. Since I think its not widely known that its on the Internet Archive. best Mel

billy liberty said...

Another suggestion to add is the documentary by Peter Davis about the Vietnam War,'Hearts and Minds'. Search for Hearts_and_Minds.mp4 in Google Video and you'll find it. Absolutely worth viewing particularly in light of the last 3-4 years of U.S. foreign policy.

Bill said...

The phrase "hearts and minds" should be outlawed. It is, and always has been, about fear, greed and propaganda. These are the three pillars of third world society.

Scott said...

Lots of documentaries listed here

http://links2movies.50webs.org/#doc

Ben said...

While the science presented in "The God Delusion" is fine and good. The opening premise is a left-wing fantasy. There are NO JEWISH SUICIDE BOMBERS! and there have not been any Christian killers for the faith in hundreds of years!

The simple fact that the PC moral equivalent crowd does not want to face up to is that the only people killing for their "faith" are Muslim.

This is not in one or two limited areas with "politically oppressed" people. Muslims are responsible for almost all the ethnic and religious killing around the world. From Israel to Daufor to Indonesia!

So while "The God Delusion" is courageously on the right track as far as where the evil in the world is coming from, he needs to continue down the scientific road and pinpoint exactly what religion and what tenants of the faith course people to kill. It certainly is not "thou shall not kill", or "honor your father and your mother". To make a blanket statement that religion is bad, is scientifically ignoring the obvious human psychological NEED for religion and the positive influence it can, and has, made to human relations and psyche over thousands of years.

Brendon said...

"To make a blanket statement that religion is bad, is scientifically ignoring the obvious human psychological NEED for religion and the positive influence it can, and has, made to human relations and psyche over thousands of years."

I think you make a valid point, and many outspoken atheists would surely agree with most of your statement. However, I don't think it's wise to say that there is a psychological need specifically for religion, but rather, something like it. Or perhaps, that there are human needs which religion fills well. That doesn't mean it is religion which is explicity needed.

gtskhaki said...

My favorite part of the Dawkins videos, after much ponderous discussion of great import: "Up next on Channel Four, Celebrity Big Brother."

Brendon said...

BTW, in my previos comment, I think I posed to be asked "if not religion, then what?"

I don't have a satisfying answer. I do have some recommendations as to how we can start to tackle the issue.

In my formal education in the US, I was required to take courses on subjects of psychology, world history, western history, literature, mathematics, etc. I was not required to take a single course specifically targeting the subject of philosophy, or comparitive religions, or ethics. Perhaps it's time our educational system, and society, start weighing those requirements. If I could pick only one, perhaps it would be ethics.

lionel said...

Isn't there a third part of "The Elegant Universe"? It's called "Welcome to the 11th Dimension". No I haven't looked on GoogleVid yet.

Anonymous said...

here are NO JEWISH SUICIDE BOMBERS! and there have not been any Christian killers for the faith in hundreds of years!

There absolutely are. On the Christian side, you've got abortion clinic bombers, to start...

Terrorists currently happen to be smaller minorities among the Jewish and Christian faiths, but they're present.

There are examples of both Jewish and Christian terrorism in
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religious_terrorism

My problem with Dawkins argument is that he seems to claim that since religion is abused, it should be done away with entirely. However, I'd argue that religion is a tool, not unlike a gun, or medications -- they can be, and are abused, but in the right hands, they're powerful tools. Many people use religion to turn their lives around, and make themselves productive members of society -- people who might not otherwise have been able to do so.

Religion may be a crutch, but we've a world full of wounded people.

Additionally, to argue that we'd have less war in the absence of religion assumes that people wouldn't have come up with some other excuse to kill each other. Humanity on the whole is foolish and warlike. Taking away their gods won't change that.

Tony said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tony said...

Being a nihilist myself, I can say this Richard Dawkins is an arrogant jerk. A (in my view) better docu is this one:
The Doomsday Code

Stef said...

As well as being an arrogant jerk who prefers to deal with straw men rather than sane theists, Dawkins is plain wrong much of the time.

Take the nonsense he repeats about suicide bombers for example. Until the recent chaos in Iraq the most prolific suicide bombers were the Tamils - a secular resistance group.

Quoting 'Dying to Win' by Robert Pape (http://tinyurl.com/b8xlm) ...

'All suicide terrorist attacks have in common is a specific secular and strategic goal: to compel modern democracies to withdraw military forces from territory that the terrorists consider to be their homeland'

Suicide bombing is what desperate people do when faced with overwhelming conventional military force. Jews and Christians have the luxury of smart bombs. Muslims and Tamils (and the Japanese in WW2 come to think of it) don't.

The worrying thing about Dawkin's is just how many people take his claptrap on board without thinking things through for themselves.

Dawkins is selling a Messianic brand of secular humanism that suffers from many of the same pitfalls and flaws as organised religion... it's very nasty, very toxic, and best held at arms length

sky said...

It requires irrational faith to be a suicide bomber (or kamikaze fighter). That doesn't have to be religious faith...nationalism counts too. He is just targeting the faiths that most people are infected with.

Anonymous said...

Tamils largely do believe in life after death (of which reincarnation is one form), so this argument is a moot point. Also, I don't remember Dawkins claiming that Muslims or any other religious group were the most prolific suicide bombers of all time, so there's no reason to believe he is wrong. Now _that_ is a strawman attack. A 'strawman' is something that you just assert for the sake of your argument, but that is actually not real. The religious fundamentalists that Dawkins interviewed, on the other hand, are real people, therefore not strawmen.

Ben said...
"there have not been any Christian killers for the faith in hundreds of years!"
So when Dawkins interviews a personal friend of someone who, based on his Christian faith, committed murder ... this segment is just made up?

"There are NO JEWISH SUICIDE BOMBERS!"
Well that's correct, in a way. Not all Jews who drop bombs (e.g. in Iraq in the eighties (IIRC) and Hamas targets in the naughties) willingly kill themselves in the process. But those that did in fact blow themselves up are no more.

I'm not making the point that these soldiers were terrorists or that it was their Jewish faith that made them kill other humans. Rather, the point here is this: The claim that the Jewish faith prevents believers from executing suicide attacks has been disproved by actual events. It's clearly wrong.

Stef said...

@anon

I didn't say cite the suicide bombing argument as an example of Dawkins straw man argument. So I believe you've just pulled one off yourself

What Dawkins is doing with his talk of suicide bombers is hitching his God Delusion thesis onto the back of the Clash of Civilisations BS that's doing the rounds at the moment for a ride.

Religion may, though not always, be a comfort for people carrying out suicide attacks but it is not the reason why they undertake them.

There's a grim, far from irrational, logic to giving up your own life when faced by a superior foe. If you read accounts written by Japanese pilots enrolled in the Kamikaze program in WW2 their attitude went something along the lines of...

I'm going to die fighting the Americans anyway so why don't I do it in a way that makes my death count?

Alternatively, you could craft a Dawkins-esque rationalisation for suicide bombing using the behaviour of insects as a template. Or does a bee act irrationally when it gives up its life stinging an opponent?

Blowing off suicide bombing as being merely the result of fanatical belief is handy alternative to not asking deeper questions about why there are such desperate people out there prepared to give up their lives.

Anonymous said...

there are NO JEWISH SUICIDE BOMBERS! and there have not been any Christian killers for the faith in hundreds of years!

There is little need for suicide bombings if equipped with more advanced technology, like tanks, helicopters, and jets.

William said...

Good comments all around. I'm glad that people are cultivating a healthy amount of skepticism in response to the evolutionary biologists and their "this is the best way of thinking about things" approach. Truly arrogant and full of internal contradiction.

Tie said...

http://video.google.com/videosearch?q=NOVA&hl=en

Alf said...

Hi yo! And there it IS.

"I'm glad that people are cultivating a healthy amount of skepticism in response to the evolutionary biologists and their "this is the best way of thinking about things" approach. Truly arrogant and full of internal contradiction."

Listen to Dawkins while he's talking to Haggard its CALLED a theory, but its fact. Yeah, he's a bit of a dick, but I would be too if I was talking to an idiot like Haggard. And regardless of the amount of "Arrogance and contradiction" it pales in comparison to the Arrogance and contradiction one has to posess to deny the evidence of Evolutionary Biology, and be an evangelical "Christian" in the United States.

Anonymous said...

Haggard looks and sounds like the typical Meth tweaker...oh wait... he is.

Anonymous said...

Steph, Dawkins referenced the 9/11 bombers. These were educated men who were not desperate or facing military force. Yet, they became suicide bombers for their religion.

Paul Hill was not a stupid or desperate man as well. He knew he would be put to death for his action, he even requested all appeals be stopped so he could go to heaven.

If you have some specific straw men that Dawkins used, please cite them.

Anonymous said...

Dawkins is the same guy who wrote the "selfish gene" concept and that has been proven wrong by science. Even sperm cells co-operate to get the "chosen" sperm to the egg.

Alf said...

The difference between Dawkins and Creationists, is that he of course allows his theories to be reviewed by his peers, and he uses scientific FACTS to back them up.

Anonymous said...

Deer A.L.F.
You have a picture of a pig flying.... He makes me laugh and tells me to do things. I tried to give him an apple but it got all over my screen. I guess that means that I'm stuck with stupidity..... -Tom Cruise-

Chris O'Connor said...

I want to invite you and your readers to join us in reading and discussing Dawkins “The God Delusion” during Q1, 2007. I’m working on getting him in a live chat session for some time in March 2007, but nothing is set in stone. If this chat happens you are welcome to attend.

We had Richard Dawkins for a live chat back in 2003 where we discussed “Unweaving the Rainbow.”

http://www.booktalk.org/

Chris O’Connor

Dave Kirkwood said...

Blinking 'eck people. Just lie down and take it like a man. Dawkins is right, he nails it with this doc, religion is non-sensical and is truly the root of most wars in society. Every religion claims to be correct. You can't all be right. Be rational. Embrace natural selection. Be mature and admit that you are wrong!!

Gypsy James said...

Do a Wikipedia search on Spanish Inquisition..g'wan, you know you should...

The message of love, tolerance and all that life-affirming goodness has been, and is, simply twisted, all be it everso cleverly, by the religions of the world.

I'm not necessarily a hard-line atheist, in fact far from it, but boy, how many wars have ever been started in the name of atheism?

Anonymous said...

In regards to the following comment "The opening premise is a left-wing fantasy. There are NO JEWISH SUICIDE BOMBERS! and there have not been any Christian killers for the faith in hundreds of years!"... is a fantasy in itself.
Jewish suicide bombers have been around since they 'moved back' to Israel and are still around today. To claim that there have not been any for hundreds of years is laughable, misguided and misleading.

Bottom of Page