Break the Science Barrier

1996 ,    »  -   56 Comments
Ratings: 9.05/10 from 57 users.

Science is useful but that is not all it is. Science can be uplifting, thrilling, life-enhancing.

Originally broadcast on Britain's Channel 4 in 1996, Break the Science Barrier follows the Oxford Biologist Richard Dawkins as he meets with people who have experienced the wonders of science first-hand.

We meet the astronomer who first discovered pulsars, the geneticist who invented DNA fingerprinting, a scientist who discovered a protein that causes cancer, and others.

Dawkins interviews famous admirers of science such as Douglas Adams and David Attenborough, and asks them why science means so much to them. We also see how dangerous ignorance of science can be in classrooms, courts, and beyond.

With so many expressing paranormal beliefs and ignorance of science, Dawkins encourages viewers to contrast these ancient superstitions with the power and beauty of our scientific achievements and understanding.

Directed by: Simon Raikes

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56 Comments / User Reviews

  1. mj

    Evolution is a fact??? but they are still looking for missing links and many a time fake links...
    they just find an incomplete skeleton and say let believe that this is a human ancestor?
    the logic of evolution is two fold ... species evolved and then ultimately there is no God
    belief in the evolution of species, is probable within the species and there is no conflict with any beliefs...
    but the wishful extrapolation of a specie evolved from an amoeba is guesswork... is a possibility not absolutely proven truth...
    the amount of time it would take for such evolutionary changes to take place would amount to a time period that is way longer than the earth lifespan...
    there could be evolution but not as some evolutionist wants us to swallow
    Actually evolution is a theory that has bullied its place in the scientific arena, saying it is science when it is not...

    lol guys just wanted to share my point of view... anyone is free to disagree...

  2. Hesus
  3. Hesus

    I disagree mj. I can see where you are having troubles. Earth is more than just 6000 years old. It is actually 4.6 to 5 billion years old. Fosilized microbes were found that were 3.5 billion years old. So nature had quite some time to accompish this variety of species you see today. Mind you only a fraction of species are alive today. About 98% are gone.

    quote from wiki

    Since life began on Earth, several major mass extinctions have significantly exceeded the background extinction rate. The most recent, the Cretaceous–Tertiary extinction event, occurred 65 million years ago, and has attracted more attention than all others as it marks the extinction of nearly all dinosaur species, which were the dominant animal class of the period. In the past 540 million years there have been five major events when over 50% of animal species died.

    did not supply the link as I do not want to bother Vlatko with approving this comment. Do humanity a favor and educate yourself.

  4. zzz
  5. zzz

    The only thing you need to know and understand are the methods used to formulate and come to a theory in the scientific world, the amount of time and evidence [ which everyone can check for themselves ] it takes for it to become established.
    Its manipulative and dishonest and ,of course, in a lot of cases mislead to belittle the theory of evolution by emphasizing that its just a theory.To allude that a well established theory from the scientific world is little more than a guess, and with that behavior to try and bring it down to the level of religious beliefs and "religious theories" and scriptures.

  6. zzz
  7. zzz

    Religious leaders and followers alike are not in the same playing field as scientist and critical\analytical thinkers. They don`t follow the same rules.They`re the cocky kids hiding behind parents , big brothers ,etc.

  8. mj
  9. mj

    Thank you Hesus,
    however i was not referring to 6000 years as the christians try to make the layman swallow but well 3.5 billion years or whatever millions they are going to re-evaluate later on...

    Many a time the carbon dating of the earth rock have already been reconsidered... because there is no positive test to know if the carbon dating is accurate and reliable over eons... if one says that it is known that an object is 1 million years old and then the carbon dating results also indicate 1 million years then one can agree that there was a positive result. in the short-run because we have a clear history we can accept to some degree the carbon dating as it is done currently in archeology. However to affirmatively say that in the long run that the Carbon dating is as accurate is doubtful. Nevertheless other decaying elements can be used to perhaps cross check long run estimations but it is not as a positive identification.

    it is one thing to find the skeleton of an old ape looking like a human, as many apes nowadays still do, and say it was living so many millions of years back and it is another thing to guess that humans descend from it. This is a still descent assumption but to say that these apes descend from this particular reptile and this reptile from this that fish... this is guess work and evolution as formulated from some radical Darwinist fits squarely the title of theory, if not hypothesis in the scientific field.
    i'm not christian but my point was that i don't rule out the possibility of God
    Also i'm still considering that is not life of extraterrestrial origin as the age of the earth is too short to have sustain so many trial and errors for having todays sophisticated species...
    lol everyone feel free

  10. Aristotle
  11. Aristotle

    Richard Dawkins is a religious zealot. His god is the Science. His practice is the Scientific Method. His Patron Saint is Charles Darwin although he honors others. Some of those others were persecuted and even martyred for their beliefs. In these matters he has total Faith.

    The faith he has enables him to accept predictions beyond scientifically validated proofs as fact. His faith is strong and holds up against the problems inherent in the Uncertainty Principle.

    He is a Materialist and believes in Reductionism. He believes in Spontaneous Generation of life. This theory beckons back to medieval times where it was believed that spoiled meat produced maggots or cloth and grain left in a beaker on a window shelf produced mice. The theory has been dressed up a bit to appeal to the modern mind. Now the beaker is the primitive earth and material is the primordial soup or possibly just a comet seeding the earth.

    As an Apologist he uses some of the same methods as the medieval church, one being ridicule. Be thankful he does not hold the same powers of persecution or life and death. This ridicule places those who oppose his views in the realm of idiots and subhuman in species. These are the tools of the politician and that he is as was the church he distains.

    Science has yet to create from scratch the simple “Little Engine that could”, the cell capable of metabolism let alone the DNA that enables its reproduction. The ability to imbue the DNA with properties for epigenetic adaptation being both the Holy Grail and the bane of current theories is beyond current science. We can grow cells and modify them but not create them.

    For just a moment consider a fertilized cell, plant or animal, contained within that cell is the map and engine to produce the full organism and all its necessary parts. Carry this Reductionism farther still. All the parts are composed of organized atoms, composed of neutrons, protons and electrons in their proper configurations. Farther and farther reduced one theory ends the reduction process at “branes”, vibrating in the void of eleven dimensions. Somewhere here it begins to sound like mysticism.

    The difference between the Monks that copied books that included the science saved by the Arabians, copied from the Greeks and borrowed from the Egyptians that gave us the seeds of the “Enlightenment” and the Physicist today is becoming blurred.

    What is rampant here is arrogance. What is lacking is simple humility. Where is the error in simply stating that we don’t know but we are still looking? We have Hope that we will find solutions and have Faith in our method. The only thing missing is Charity obviously absent in Mr. Dawkins religion.

  12. Epicurus
  13. Epicurus

    @MJ, you are completely wrong with the dating methods used for dating the age of the earth. never would a scientist use Carbon-13 or 14 to date the age of the earth. they would use Radiometric dating and potassium-argon dating. both those are accurate.

    the inaccuracies you refer to are when samples have been tainted with outside sources of carbon such as in a fire.

    you are merely parroting creationist arguments that have been blown out of the water already.

    not only is the dating accurate but the dates of the radiometric and potassium-argon both give us the exact same numbers. IF, one of the methods results in numbers that are completely off the other methods then we know a sample has been tainted. but when dating coincides with the strata it was found in, the rocks and fossils around it, and all other dating methods yield the same results we can safely say they are accurate.

    and scientists dont just find apes that LOOK like humans. no they find fossils of creatures that share actual bone structure and anatomy with both humans and other apes, that we presently dont share. they also show a gradual change in skeletal structure which coincides with evolution.

    you dont have to dismiss god to acknowledge science. and even if life was seeed here from alien species the evidence all CLEARLY shows that it would have evolved just as we say it did. and those aliens would also had to have evolved at one point.

    this isnt guess work. this is all established science. the only people that dont accept it as such are those with ignorant biases towards reality.

  14. Hardy
  15. Hardy

    @Epi: Thank you, I just love how many creationists talk about the inaccuracy of carbon dating. Few of them know it isn't actually used for objects older than ~70,000 years.

    And by the way - WE DIDN'T DESCEND FROM APES. Please, please, please learn about evolution before you talk about it. There is a difference between descending and having a common ancestor.

  16. SexMoneyMonkey
  17. SexMoneyMonkey


    There is nothing wrong with being ignorant of a subject, I'm very ignorant of many subjects. But to form opinions which can be construed in any way as "Strong" about those subjects which you are ignorant of isn't intelligent.

    It's one thing to be ignorant and agree with all the experts, it's a rather different thing to be ignorant and disagree with them.

  18. Tyler
  19. Tyler

    I have to jump in here too in rebuttle to mj. The fact is that this "guesswork" is built on hundreds of years of accumulated evidence. Creationists like to say that we're "still looking for missing links," but really we've already found PLENTY of them, and not just for humans but for virtually every other animal you care to think of.

    Also, you have to realize that if we only find a handful of incomplete skeletons that in itself is an accomplishment, because the likelihood of an organism being fossilized is vanishingly small as it requires ideal conditions. The chances of your bones surviving for millions of years in pristine condition is about a million to one (and probably more).

    Furthermore, as far as radiocarbon dating goes... like Hardy already said, carbon dating is only useful for organic compounds less than 70,000 yrs old or so. And yes, it is somewhat inaccurate, however the technique has been calibrated quite precisely by dating bristlecone pine trees and then counting their rings. (the oldest bristecones are 4-5,000 years old or so). Isotope dating techniques have their flaws but theyre about as sophisticated as it gets right now.

  20. SexMoneyMonkey
  21. SexMoneyMonkey


    Your post is hilarious.

    Religion has to do with the supernatural whereas science has to do only with the natural. By definition they are opposites. And there is no "Faith" when believing in the scientific method as the proofs for scientific method are all around us. Your computer for instance. Almost everything we use on a daily basis has some part of it that only came about by scientific method.

    I like the point where you go "Pffft, science hasn't even made life yet, fail!" to paraphrase.

    Science is right. Religion is wrong. People who fail to see that are willfully ignorant or lack intelligence.

    Richard Dawkins is arrogant, pushy and all of these things. He's also right.

  22. i am become death
  23. i am become death

    it took darwin over 20 'painstaking' years of empirical study to establish his theory. geology,archeology,paleontology and all the other branches of science have in there own individual analysis of the natural world come to the same conclusion. we have over 40 radiometric clocks which all show the same results. we now have the human genome, which proves obvious comarisons between species.go to a zoo look at a chimp their ears,hands,fingernails their laughter.there is no anthropomorphic deity-if one finds pleasure in the thought that a being is responsible for the perpetual suffering of this world,'98% of all species are extinct'-empathy is a good start in humaninty.god is a prehistoric attempt at giving people solice from this but in essence is a bigots medium for self justification. your assertions that science can be wrong is the essence of the noble humility of the discipline. theism says you must uphold my moral convictions 'exactly' or die. inform a person of the flaws in their religion and wait for the lies and hateful contempt which spews forth.

  24. HaTe_MaChInE
  25. HaTe_MaChInE

    @mj - Not trying to overload you here. But would also like to point out some simple processes that are used to explain evolution.

    One process is using geology to help create a line of life.

    When you find a fossil it will be in a "layer of rock" certain fossils are NEVER found in certain layers of rocks.

    There are no fossils of flowers found until layers of rock laid down well after most of the dinosaurs became extinct. Same for birds. There are no fossils of dinosaurs found in layers where there are primates. There are no dinosaur finds in layers where there are trilobites.

    If you plot the kind of fossils you find on a line, you will see an "evolution of life". This can bee done with out... and I stress with out... any type of dating.

    So to argue against evolution is also to say that all the geologists are also wrong.

    The most modern concept is DNA. If you look at the DNA (have a computer do it cause it would take you a life time) some "traits" will only be found in some animals. Most of modern animals have eggs. But only one "fork" of animals have the "trait" to produce milk. All animals have skin. One "fork" will have hair. Most animals have legs. One "fork" has lost legs to become snakes. One fork has feathers. One fork has a shell. Etc Etc. If you look at the traits of these animals in DNA you can see patters where some appear and some disappear. If you plot all of these traits that appear and disappear the diagram will be very tree like. If you notice on the tree that humans did appear until animals with hair milk legs arms and stood upright appeared. Then if you test all modern animals that look like us you will see that they share +95% of there dna with us. It just becomes irrational to believe that we are the only animals that "just appeared" while sharing 95% of the DNA of something that has a DNA record confirming its place on the diagram.

    I hope this is clear. If a had about 50 pages to fill with examples Im sure any question you might have would be overshadowed with evidence that we do have.

    For every argument you can come up with against evolution, science has 10 more that support it. This is why it is accepted.

  26. i am become death
  27. i am become death

    i once heard an argument between a religous person and an atheist.
    R-science cant even cure cancer!
    A-your got created cancer.
    they are all delusional manipulators, who cant admitt to ther own fallibility so they invoke a paradox.
    my god is never wrong, this is where the intelligent discussion ceases and their brains shut down.

  28. HaTe_MaChInE
  29. HaTe_MaChInE

    @i am become death - What the hell are you talking about man?

    I once heard an argument that said science and religion is like a paint factory and a art critic.

    The art critic says that the color purple is great and grand mystical and can only be the creation of god. The paint factoy just keeps on mixing red and blue.

  30. SexMoneyMonkey
  31. SexMoneyMonkey


    First, that's hilarious :P

    And i am become death meant that the conversation went like:
    Religious Person: Science can't even cure cancer!
    Atheist: Your theory has god creating cancer..

    I believe, anyways.

  32. i am become death
  33. i am become death

    there was, until the end of the eighteenth century, a theory that insanity is due to the possession of devils. it was inferred that any pain suffered by the patient is also suffered by the devils, so that the best cure is to make the patient suffer so much that the devils will abandon him. the insane in accordance with this theory, were savagely beaten. 'bertrand russell' unpopular essays.
    one cant say science isn't flawed, but at least it can be proven wrong. the pope will never stand accountable for his wrong doings, and still recieve peters pence, even from the third world.
    all the best, adieu.

  34. HaTe_MaChInE
  35. HaTe_MaChInE

    @ i am become death - Ah... Well... Everything is a theory in the lay use of the word. I think my mother has a theory that unless she calls every few days ill forget to eat and die. Since I have yet to starve to death her theory is sound. Doesnt make it a good theory. Especially since I found out I can last at least 4 days on nothing but lime juice and Modelo especial.

    In the vernacular it is called a theory. In science it is a hypothesis. Beating people frees them of demons. Now unless alot of people can reproduce the results and in many different ways the hypothesis will remain just a hypothesis.

    Kinda like when someone asked why the moon didnt fall to the earth like apples. One person had the hypothesis that God made it that way. Another hypothesis was a special force that everything squirts out and nothing can stop it even if somthing is in the way. But sense we were only able to collect evidence on the latter... it is science.

  36. Linda McGuigan
  37. Linda McGuigan

    I allway's enjoy Richard Dawkins, I think it must be his smooth soothing voice, I am kind of stuck and dont know what to believe. I am a nurse and during my working life have seen medical advancement's 10 fold from what they where when I was a student, I choose not to be religious through personal choise, I dont begrudge anyone else thier faith as I think it give's great comfort to those who have it, I was just never brought up that way. I am going to watch some documentary's about Darwin and see what he has to say as believe it or not I have never read any of his work's. I dont want to commment to much untill I am sure in my self that I have chose the right form of thinking that will become my faith.

    Love and Peace,
    Linda, ;-*

  38. Thomas
  39. Thomas

    It would be hugely illogical for an intelligent being ("God") to "create" such an idiot. I just ask one favour, please understand the theory before you try to "disprove" it. Evolution by means of natural selection has nothing to do with "random guesswork" or anything "random" for that matter. It's just that the copying process of a complete DNA have errors sometimes, and those errors can influence the evolutionary process.

    Evolution itself is proven by countless scientific experiments and observations. Can we directly prove that homo sapiens had an ape-like ancestor? Yes. Can we observe the process? No. Therefore we call it a theory. And you're pointing towards the fossile record, which is quite stupid. Animals very very rarely fossilize, it's about one tenth of one percent.

    And we do have a bunch of beautiful fossils, some in a transitional stage. But evolution by means of natural selection would still be a scientific fact without _any_ fossils. Fossils is just a bonus. Look for "The Greatest Show on Earth" by Richard Dawkins next time you go to a book store. You may as well buy all his books.

  40. Kai
  41. Kai

    Fact is many things ind the bible and other religious texts Have been dis proven, such as that the earth is NOT the center of the universe. That everything on our planet was NOT created in 7 days and the list goes on and on.

    Another fact is the religious movement is dying thats why now days even the various christian sects cant even agree on which one is the true faith. You are a dying breed and will suffer the same consequences as all other faith's before you (many of which you killed off).

    Im tired of hearing all your religious dogmas and doctrines that were obviously created to control the masses (sheep)
    If jesus really did exist the last thing he would want to see is a D**n cross and he would probably beat you all to death with it just as he supposedly brought that temple down because it was full of money changers and false prophets.
    You obviously didnt learn from that just look at the vatican.

    If you could open your closed minds for just one day and read other religious texts you would soon realize that what is written in the bible is nothing but borrowed stories from the pagan religions you HATE so much. If you were born in afghanistan you would be a muslim right now and blowing yourself up if you happened to grow up in an extremist family. Enough said youre "end of days" has come and then there Will be heaven on earth...

    "Unthinking respect for Authority is the greatest enemy of truth!" Albert Einstein

    Now run along little sheep!

  42. mj
  43. mj

    wow!! THANKS guys
    i was gone for sometime but i'm happy to see the responses...this site is great... i don't like to take strong positions but one have to start somewhere. However i surely and strongly disagree about the age of the earth to be only 6000 years old
    However i did point out that there are other ways than carbon dating to date the earth and that it could be possible to agree that the earth is older than 6000 y. My point was only to say that one should not be too adamant in precising that the age of the earth is 4.6 -5 billion years these numbers have been reviewed down from other astronomical figures...but it was only by the way

    thanks a lot to HaTe_MaChInE and Epicurus for taking the time to shed more light on the dating process...

    i maintain the point, saying that matching bones to guess that such animal were descending or common ancestor of such existing animal IS not precise and not definite yet and as such, evolution is still a theory. i personally rally to the theory of evolution "in principle" but not to the way radical evolutionists expound it...species may evolve to some degree but not from an amoeba to a sophisticated liver, brain.

    i need to add some precisions though, before a theory can become a scientific law, a lot of refinements are necessary, to the point that some non-facts aspects of the theory are discarded. As someone pointed out that we don't descend from apes but a common ancestor... So sometimes in the beginning there is lot of subjectivity and radicalism in a theory and that is what some evolutionists have sometimes trespassed into...equating evolution of species to no God as if it was a mutually exclusive relationship.

    As we say the "Facts" should be distinguished from the "deductions from the facts"-

    If there is a God, which i don't totally rule out, He could be very smart indeed to have build in every species the ability to evolve. indeed some might say that too much credence is given to an entity that is not sure to exist but if it does exist it is a force to reckon with...

    i please don't want to be equated with those "6000y old creationists", but i don't agree that going against the (what i called) radical evolutionists (there could have been a problem of terminology before) makes a person go against science as a whole... it is just unfortunate that evolution and God have had a conflicting head-start because of the social and ideological environment prevalent in the late 1800's

    Anyway, sorry if i sometimes appeared "strong" in my opinion, (only for argument sake) though the expert may agree with the non expert later on...

    Cheers for those wonderful posts

  44. Hesus
  45. Hesus

    ... did not space my link correctly... comment awaiting moderation :/

  46. Linda McGuigan
  47. Linda McGuigan

    In one of the part's of this docu a Christian preacher say's " In noah's day people lived to be 1,000 year's old you dont live till that age now you die because you are a sinner" try telling that to the parent's of a new born baby who just did not make it or a 3yr old dieing of cancer. I now know why I am not religious.

    Linda ;-*

  48. zed
  49. zed

    dawkins is not a true scientist, he mixes quasi science with his own personal beliefs and then confuses those with fact. DNA finger printing is a dangerous and misunderstood concept, they would have you believe that your DNA is unique but it is not. anyone can be falsley imprisoned using DNA as evidence, which is why they use it to take away our rights bit by bit. also the only reason you can get funding to study the causes of 'cancer' is so that 'they' can use your findings as a weapon to kill people and then say oh, its' his fault for wary of people from 'oxbidge' who claim to be top level forward thinking scientists, these people have risen to the top through their private clubs and schools not through their intellect. often these people have very different views in private to what they claim in public, and are often members of religious sects or royal orders etc. the debates on this page are probably more scientific than the ones that went on behind the scenes whilst making this 'documentary'. do not be fooled by dawkins or hawkins etc, do your own research and don't believe everything from any one source, david ike is as close to truth as these guys and at least he is honest enough to say what he thinks even if it is not popular or makes him appear foolish. think for yourselves and not through others. peace love and wisdom.

  50. Epicurus
  51. Epicurus

    zed is the reason there needs to be more funding in schools.

    lol @ not a true scientist. please go look up the mans credentials.

    and the rest of your rant indicates a strong need for anti-psychotic medication.

  52. SexMoneyMonkey
  53. SexMoneyMonkey


    I fear all my comments from now on may just end up being "I couldn't have said it better myself, Epicurus", but maybe I'll manage to reply to somebody before you do at some point :P

    With that said:
    I couldn't have said it better myself, Epicurus

  54. Frosting Emerson
  55. Frosting Emerson

    The more Doc's I watch and the more comments I read, the more this quote comes to mind.

    "The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts."

    Bertrand Russell (1872 - 1970)
    Author, mathematician, & philosopher

  56. John Seals
  57. John Seals

    Science never claims to be certain, if you watch this documentary you know that. Science is simply the most logical way to come to the truth, that we have at our disposal. You guys are focusing on the theories and conclusions when science is really about the method used to come to those theories and conclusions. Science is all about doubting the current explanation and looking for proof that it is something else, scientific proof that can be tested by anyone that knows the scientific method. As far as what Zed had to say, well.. How the heck do you argue with that rubish.It would be like trying to explain electricity to someone that has never seen a light bulb.

  58. Aristotle
  59. Aristotle

    “From the last to “Et Al”,

    Comments, comments, comments, this is enjoyable. Next to the Sciences Philosophy is one of my mistresses and I love her dearly.

    None of these debates are new. Descartes, “cognito ergo sum”, and his fundamental set of principles that one can know as true without any doubt, (Which ones are they?) to Hobbs, the Materialist, Locke, the Liberal and many others all presented their thoughts with conviction, debate and fervor.

    If you believe in a God believe in one but remember there are many more ways than one to read your sacred texts and most interpreters have an agenda.

    If you follow another path follow it. Do either with fervor, conviction and above all an open mind. There is always another solution. In either case there is always an agenda. Be wary of it.

    In the 60’s through the 70’s man (and CO2) were pushing us toward a new human caused Ice Age. The agenda was control and the hypothesis was wrong. The current man CO2 topic is human caused Global Warming. The agenda is the same control, the hypothesis in debate. The human being has been a disaster to every environment that we have civilized. Do we reduce the population, go back to nature or start all over? None of these are acceptable to those being affected.

    There are two things that are sure in both topics. Climate change will happen. It’s been occurring since the earth formed a crust that could sustain a climate. The other, control, is sought by some for the illusion of assurance and by others to control those that seek assurance. This has been going on since Homo-Sapiens attained awareness. The best advice is to choose not to be controlled and follow your path where ever it leads. Then again there is always the possibility of a Comet or Meteor collision and all bets are off.

    If you disagree with your Professor, you can present a valid argument or fold for the grade. If your and Archeologist and the evidence points to a conclusion that no one will fund, you have a choice follow the evidence or follow the money. The Physicist has the same choice as do Climatologists.

    Quite some time ago I made the choice between Physics and Engineering. The top Physicists at that time were paid a paltry sum. Engineers were much better rewarded. Guess.

    If all the answers were certain the only endeavors would be the application of existing knowledge. Although this is laudable the unknown is much more exciting. The one who knows cannot be taught. The one who questions discovers.

    Although I disagree with much of what Darwin’s theory has evolved (sorry) into, i.e., the explanation of everything apparent, animal, vegetable and mineral, I would have gladly carried his note book and set up his camp.

    The discovery process itself would have been worth it. What hero of Science didn’t doubt wasn’t doubted and yes ridiculed. To their credit the even doubted themselves.

    If we are nothing but globs of organized replicating matter with the illusion of consciousness or engineered environmental suite housing a consciousness in a Galaxy far, far away for Glactic exploration we are still explorers. So explore!!!

  60. mr savage
  61. mr savage

    its easy to sit there and run up your mouth because you think we can't tell that you're just some mouthy kid, but as older peole who have an education all know, the people on the documentaries are not always the people who have all the facts.
    i agree with some of the things dawkins has been involved in, but i don't hail him as some kind of god!
    and seeing as dawkins basicaly just repeats things that other people have said, it is not unreasonable to agree with some but not all of what he says over his entire career.
    in the scientific comunity we don't worship gods or people, and we try to keep an open mind!

  62. Tom
  63. Tom

    I have to say that for a Richard Dawkins documentary, it was quite reasonable. The costs of misunderstanding science coupled with the benefits of understanding it. He also acknowledged his love for science. That is the reason why he went into it. He also doesn't forget to allow for others to want to go beyond science in their own minds. The last point could be brought into question with the documentaries he came out with after the World Trade Centre attacks.

    My personal view is that science is indeed a wonderful thing. At the same time, I know that science is predominantly done by scientists. Scientists are humans and humans are imperfect. I sometimes think that the scientific community is more conservative in some fields than what it is in others. It is hard to argue though with the call to generate a more widespread understanding of the principles of science. Conducting experiments to test falsifiable hypotheses and the like. I think Dawkins is right on this one. If you are going to use science in government and in court, people should have an appreciation and an understanding of what science is about. It useful. Whether it is the be-all and end-all though, I personally do not believe so. Just like with the discovery of pulsars, the answer to the next question may revolutionise all understanding in a particular field.

  64. bg
  65. bg

    there is no missing link, no one fossil that is half human half ape. you don't get a photo of the link between a baby and an adult. no one photo that is half baby half adult.

  66. Richie
  67. Richie

    you creationists are not smart, your parents have a lot to answer for for home-schooling you and brainwashing you with biblical literacy.

    if you don't like science then get the hell off the computer because you only have one thing to thank for that.

  68. gto
  69. gto

    you guys should give the creationist a break. religion is nearing its end..

    the moment science unlock the secret of life that open up a technology that will prolong are life religion will end. that would be the knockout punch for religion whos been battling againts science for thousand of years(if you involve the muslim age)..

    religion really exist because most people are just scared of are mortality (well and a tool to gain/sustain power too).. all of religion has one primary commonality and that is immortality the ultimate prize..

    but sorry to tell you religious fre@ks its not only the ultimate prize of religion but science too. science is already nearing that goal.. im 23 maybe when my grandchild reach grandpa age science my have reach that goal..

  70. Tom (
  71. Tom (


    I wish to ask you a question: why do you see religion as being in competition with science?

    Let me follow it up with another question: how many questions remain to be asked? Whether you are a scientist, a priest, an imam, a rabbi, a guru, a monk, a pagan etc. None of us have the time nor ability to answer all questions.

    I, for one, see the purpose of religion as being greater than extending life or controlling populations. Sure, it may do both those things but from what I have seen, it also does much more. The same goes for science. Science does, from what I have been able to see, a great deal more than extending life. Both have been used to shorten life as well.

    As for fearing death. That comes down to the individual - and I am not really referring to people who do extreme sports here. There are some people who are prepared to die ten minutes from now or ten decades from now. They have come to accept that life is unpredictable. Some of those practise religion. Some practise science. As for whether we have immortal life, I don't know. What I do know is that you can fear immortality just as much as you can fear mortality.

    Let me follow that up with two more questions: what happened in Lima, Peru last week? What happened in the Andromeda galaxy last week?

    As I see it, pitting science against religion only does one thing: create more conflict. It is an option open to anyone. To anyone living according to what a religion teaches or to anyone working according to long established scientific principles. Creating more conflict is also open to anyone who sees religion and science as independent of who they are and do not practise either. Any individual alive is able to create conflict. My question is: haven't we had enough of that?

  72. Ryan
  73. Ryan

    Curious - I would like to see how evolution is not a 'theory'. It can never be more than a theory, but the bible can never even be a theory because it does not demonstrate credible evidence that seems 'outside of its time'. If the bible said "On this date shit will go down", and then so-and-so happened it would earn credibility. If the bible invented computers and genetic cloning it would earn credibility.

    So to say there is a God, and evolution is false is irrational.

    To say evolution is false can have some merits. I disagree; I hardly have much knowledge in biology, but neither will anyone else here. I think trusting the ones who go to university for 5 years seems better than trusting internet judgment.

    Anyone know of any non-Christian evolution critic?

    From what I've seen, through the study of evolution we have placed links in genes, seen how primitive areas like "light-sensors" in lower fish develop in to the full blown human eye, and found explanation for the seemingly unexplainable such as the toucan beak. The experiment where non-lactose eating cells gained the ability to eat lactose is also interesting. Then there's the fact we go through evolution ourselves in nine months.

    The major misconception with evolution is that we are actually de-evolving. From the theory, we derive that the "cell that created life" evolved in different paths, and "specializes" in different areas not by creating new genes, but removing old genes. Everything on earth is specialized for a purpose and constantly losing abilities to divulge down a different evolutionary path. It doesn't mean we will be less equipped for survival, but it does mean we could be less adaptive in crisis.

    The other problem with evolution is that it hasn't found the "cell that created life" and how it was created. This is why I'm not an atheist, I'm a deist.

    But generally speaking, the principles of the theory are sound. The Christian arguments are unsound.

  74. Andy
  75. Andy

    This girl texted me last night saying that she thought she was "turning into me and becoming an atheist."

    I didn't want to respond until today because I was drunk last night, and didn't want to respond until i knew exactly what i wanted to say - which was precisely that a) im not an atheist i'm by definition an agnostic, or someone who is not sure. science is my religion, and until conclusive findings can be made i'm not going to put any stake into either side of the debate, however i do think it's more possible than not that an all-powerful being does not exist.

    She responded that she wasn't trying to prove anything, she just wanted to believe again, futher elaborating that her "Problem of God" course has undermined her belief in Him.

    I told her that i've never been a believer, and that im very okay with that notion, not that my psychological state of being with regard to an issue such as this has any relavance to whether or not i accept something as true or not.

    She responded that she could never become a non-believer because it sounds too depressing and it would radically change her idea of reality for the worse.

    As much as i disagreed with her, im glad i responded in the first place because i think she's provided me with some valuable insight as to why religion still has a presence within society, (among other things she provides :P).

  76. KalaKillsTime
  77. KalaKillsTime

    I am tired of watching and listening to all this creationist bashing. I got it!! They are wrong! Rather there is no evidence to support they are right. I got it. I got it the first time. I got it the millionth time I heard it.

    Can we for God's sake (alt: science's sake) move on people!!

    This argument between religion and science is getting very very repetitive and very very boring.

  78. BetsMcGee
  79. BetsMcGee

    pointless restating what amounts to little more then sound bites compared to the completely overwhelming mountains of evidence they are pulled from, to people who have obviously gone out of their way to ignore them seems kinda of fruitless. I suggest simply inviting them to brunch on your balcony, make them coffee and tea and pancakes, maybe some cold cut meats and some buttered rolls, smile politely and listen to everything they have to say on the subject of evolution. once the food is gone and the coffee has been drunk stand up, hold your arm out towards the edge of the balcony as to politely suggest this way, if they should look to you horrified reassuringly tell them it's okay guys gravity is just a theory.

  80. Gareth Hayes
  81. Gareth Hayes

    No, we cannot move on, move on to what? Moving on means giving up on science. When the creationists stop trying to take science out of schools, THEN we can move on.

  82. Anthony Pirtle
  83. Anthony Pirtle

    You are directing your query in the wrong direction.

  84. jonathan jackward
  85. jonathan jackward

    materialism is not the only scientific worldview.there is no more proof for it than of monistic idealism.

  86. Clayton Taylor
  87. Clayton Taylor

    This is great!

  88. avny82
  89. avny82

    People love to watch "Maury" and get justice through evidence of genetic material but then deny that genetics prove evolution is a FACT! Read Dawkins' books.

  90. Jacek Walker
  91. Jacek Walker

    Excellent comment.
    Humility in such a great scientist like him? His ego wouldn't bear it for a single moment. ;)

    The day science will explain the basic questions of life, especially the questions with WHY at the beginning and not HOW, that day I will call science whole and holy. I may even call it my religion.
    For a while I have none, so I can watch and listen to and read pretty everything with a pinch of salt.

  92. SJ
  93. SJ

    I dont agree that evolution is a fact but the most likely possibility as Dawkins says science is not 100% accurate always. What amazes me is the time frame earth has remained idle without life for most of the time and all the dazzling life formed in a fraction of time- relatively. If u believe in evolution why believe in quick evolution. This raises possibility of life from somewhere else in the universe, which until we find the answer, belief in supernatural/god is acceptable

  94. Eric Lawson
  95. Eric Lawson

    Even though this Documentary is a # of years old. It should be watched by all university students. Again Well done Mr Dawkins!!

  96. Eric Lawson
  97. Eric Lawson

    You Raise an interesting point !!

  98. Samuel Morrissey
  99. Samuel Morrissey

    Evolution is a Theory, not a fact. Theories do not get upgraded to facts. A Theory is better than a fact. It explains the whys and hows of a great number of facts.

    Facts = Evidence.
    Theories = Explanation.

    Belief in something without evidence is wishful thinking. To break it down, take the supernatural (including gods, ghosts, fairies, unicorns etc. etc.)

    Evidence (facts) for anything supernatural = 0

    Without a single fact there can be no Theory to explain it, therefore no explanation, thus no knowledge. It is roughly equivalent to saying I don't know except it is worse because it dishonestly pretends to knowledge it can't have. It is an empty box no matter how prettily wrapped it may be.

    If there was any evidence for something supernatural (which there would be if it was in any way existent in reality) it would simply be natural.

  100. hellosnackbar
  101. hellosnackbar

    Dawkins the science diamond ,is a natural promoter of the value of science and satirises the fantasy of sky fairies!

  102. hellosnackbar
  103. hellosnackbar

    Evolution is a scientific theory which has massive supporting evidence; which means that it is plain fact!
    Theory in science is NOT a hypothesis!

  104. Samuel Morrissey
  105. Samuel Morrissey

    If you read carefully you would realise that that was exactly the point I was making.

    A scientific Theory is not a fact, nor a hypothesis. A scientific Theory does not get 'upgraded' to a fact. A scientific Theory takes all the available facts on a subject and links them all together in an 'explanation' In this sense it has value and meaning beyond a simple 'fact'.

    You can say Evolution is proven beyond reasonable doubt to be true - but it is not and never will be a fact.

    Fact = evidence
    Theory = explanation

  106. Juan Diego Riquezes
  107. Juan Diego Riquezes

    Don't do this, science is not right and true science never claims to be. The foundation of science lies upon claiming no absolute truths. I only ask that if you are going to defend science please be scientific about it. :) I do believe though that the reason science doesn't get rid of religion right away is because it can't claim to be right, I think this is a good thing and religion will slowly fade into a cultural trend of the past... if we don't end up using the fruits of science to kill ourselves haha

  108. mr magoo
  109. mr magoo

    If people wish to cling to the theory of evolution from 1856 - be my guest. Modern science, however, is bulldozing it to the ground.

  110. Kaska
  111. Kaska

    And here comes a fine example of utter ignorance when it comes to science.
    Yes, evolution is a fact.
    1) Even if we did not have one single fosile, genetics provide overwhelming and undeniable proof. We don't even need one single piece of those skeletons you mention.
    2) Evolution has already been witnessed real time in flies and some fish, both in laboratory and natural conditions.
    3) You don't even know what "theory" means in science. "Theory" in science is a framework that can explain natural facts and predict things with accuracy. "Theory" is the maximum grade an hypothesis can have. It's not like when you say "My theory is that the Lakers will win this year". When Newton published his works they were "theories". And you don't jump from a skyscrapper just because Newton's gravitational laws come from his "theories", do you.

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