A Conversation Between Richard Dawkins and Daniel Dennett

Last month, Richard Dawkins & Daniel Dennett — half of the “Four Horsemen” — had a discussion in Oxford (in front of an audience) about religion, evolution, and all sorts of other fun stuff:

Someone needs to take the clip of Dennett speaking at the 9:20 mark and turn it into a looped video…

As always, if there are parts you really enjoyed or want to discuss, leave the timestamp and summary in the comments,

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the chair of Foundation Beyond Belief and a high school math teacher in the suburbs of Chicago. He began writing the Friendly Atheist blog in 2006. His latest book is called The Young Atheist's Survival Guide.

  • http://preparedfortheworst.wordpress.com/ Christopher

    Speaking of the Four Horsemen, did anyone ever “officially” replace Hitch? (Not that his work is being bettered by anyone or anything like that.)

    • CoboWowbo

      I don’t know if anyone has “officially” taken Hitch’s spot, but Salman Rushdie would be a good choice.

      • Mike de Fleuriot

         I wonder what the India sub continent has to offer in this area.

    • Jessa_J

       Ayaan Hirsi Ali took the fourth spot at the Global Atheist Convention’s Four Horsemen conversation.

      • Anna

         She was invited to the original 4H discussion and couldn’t make it work. Hence, she was included in the 4H panel at the Global Atheist Convention.

    • Pseudonym

       The only other author who accepts the “new atheist” label is Victor Stenger.

      Personally, I would hope that most atheists are too cynical to buy into the “four horsemen” meme.

      • PP

        Did any of the original four actually ever accept the so-called “New Atheist ” label anyway?

    • jeffj900

      Hitchens is irreplaceable. There is no real need to identify a team of four or a gang of four by any name, either officially or unofficially, as a core group of advocates for atheism. My feeling is that the four horsemen are history now, passing away with Hitch. When Jim Morrison died, that was it for the Doors. When Kurt Cobain died, there was no more Nirvana. When John Lennon left the Beatles, there was no replacement.

      Nobody can fill Hitchens’ shoes, nobody can match his wit, his erudition, or his eloquence. I wouldn’t like to obscure the memory of Hitchens by covering for his absence with an unsuitable substitute. Let’s leave the idea of the four horsemen intact in its original form as part of our memorial of Hitch, who carries on every time we read or listen to his words.

  • RichardLAnderson
  • Marella

    Fascinating, I love both of these guys. 

  • Brian Pansky

    I liked 20:00 for a few minutes talking about religion having a past of easily maintained ignorance, but more recently we have tons of info thanks to information technology such as the internet.

    • Brian Pansky

       also continues at about 29:05 when there is speculation about the survival of religion in the future requiring adaptation.

  • qtip

    I’m a software engineer and have never heard the term “thinko”. It’s interesting listening to non-experts talk about your field. Dennett says: “If you use the wrong subroutine, it’s a thinko” which just sounds really funny to me..no software engineer I know says ‘thinko’ or ‘subroutine’. This isn’t really a criticism, it’s just humorous.

    • jeffj900

      I’ve programmed professionally for 30 years and I’ve never heard thinko. Sub routine was commonly used when I started out, but in the present world the term has been obsoleted. A sub routine is a predecessor of and bears a strong relationship to a method, an operation, or a member function. The terminology used depends often on the languages, frameworks, or methodologies being used.

      I agree that thinko sounded odd to me. Dennet must have heard this from some member of a programming subculture that uses it. Perhaps it is popular at some company.

  • http://www.theaunicornist.com Mike D

    I’m really fascinated by the conversation about non-believers in the clergy, the difficulty of living that way, and the harsh reaction of parishioners when they ‘come out’.  


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