Lead Singer of The Killers: Richard Dawkins Should ‘Do His Research’ on Mormonism

Thing I did not know: Brandon Flowers, the lead singer of The Killers, is Mormon.

Thing I did know: Richard Dawkins is not.

It takes a while to get going, but watch Dawkins deliver the smackdown to Flowers on the Norwegian-Swedish talk show “Skavlan,” around the 7:07 mark in the first video:

(Thanks to MegaZeus Thor for the link!)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • Brr

    A wonderful suggestion.  Researching the history of Mormonism is the most direct way to understand just how utterly absurd and childish the entire faith is.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/CKQEXWUDO4UDPBRXPYVVIUOLFI Matt P

    As a former mormon, now very happy atheist, I must say the early history of the church is filled to the brim with many examples of forgery and fraudulent behavior from Joseph Smith and other leaders. In the end, the early history of the church is what started my journey out of the faith.

    • Marco

      Good for you. I fail to see how any intelligent, inquiring person could investigate the early history of Mormonism and come away with anything other than disbelief and utter contempt for anyone defending it.

      The Joseph Smith story with the tablets is so preposterous as to be farcical. Add that to his profession and the actual court and newspaper records and the evidence is crushing.

      I think mormons try to claim the same level of mystery and antiquity as the bible, and strangely most people seem to go right along with that. To me is completely mind bending.

  • martymankins

    While I respect someone like Brandon Flowers to follow and believe in his religion, he himself has admitted to not following all of their teachings with his occasional drinking and smoking.

    He is a typical Mormon is many ways, where he uses terms and language that many use to say “do your research”  Obviously, he hasn’t a clue who Richard Dawkins is…  he’s more just blindly following what his religion “tells him” what to do, which is accept in faith and never question, but if you encounter someone who does say it’s a fake, then you use the standard answer like he did.

    And as a former Mormon who no longer believes (and is agnostic/atheist), I think there’s a level of truth that Dawkins holds that Mr. Flowers finds offensive.  If people want to believe, they will – regardless of how much others feel it’s not true.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Kevin_Of_Bangor

    Who is the good looking woman?

    • Tom Walters

      Ulrika Jonsson

  • http://flyingdingo.com/ Rick Roberts

    Brandon is a hottie. Shame he plays for the crazy team.

  • Vivian

    If you’re able to read expressions, Brandon Flowers looks so pissed. 

  • Hamster757

    I thought Richard Dawkins went easy on the poor, naieve little darling! Christopher Hitchens would’ve had him in tears!

  • http://elefacets.blogspot.com/ elefacets

    I remember what it was like to be in his shoes. I wasn’t a Mormon, but I had the same certainty in church-taught generalities that were satisfying to me until I was confronted about them. Being well confronted in a similar manner eventually led to me leaving the faith and I am grateful for that.

    He has the air of someone who is simply defending something he was taught from a very young age and something that many people he respects deeply believe. Holding onto that is understandable.

  • Rich Lane

    I was surprised that Dawkins got caught flatfooted on the dead rabbit hypothetical.  I would tell my young child that we all have a limited time on Earth, and that Bugs had a great life because he loved and was loved.  Not all creatures get that, and he was exceptionally fortunate that he had you to love him.   You made his time on Earth special, and he was a better bunny because of it.

  • http://www.bricewgilbert.blogspot.com Brice Gilbert

    Björn Ulvaeus of Abba was in that video too. He’s an atheist.

    • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

      Ya, but in Sweden, that’s a lot less surprising.

      • MariaO

        Björn Ulvaeus is a very vocal atheist and is one of the front figures of the Swedish humanists – and this activism is rather surprising as most people just don’t care very much about such unimportant things as religion – or lack thereof.

        The Prime minister (head of the “conservative” party) is an atheist too, but he refuses to discuss religion further than saying that.

  • http://gadlaw.com gadlaw

    I can’t imagine such intelligent conversations on any of our talk shows in the US. 

    • xavierxeon

      Just imagine an US talk show in a foreign language, aired for a genral audience.

      • http://www.facebook.com/gwydionfrost Daniel Parker

        They think it’s a sitcom.

      • http://www.facebook.com/d3st88 Morva Ádám

         I’m from Hungary, Europe, and it happens that your lovely show called the 700 Club airs on one of our channels in our language.

        I was FURIOUS when I found out.

  • Pen

    He takes offense at being told Joseph Smith was a charlatan?  Good for him.  He has the right to be offended.  So bloody what?  I have things that insult my sensibilities as well, but you won’t ever catch me playing that card.  Showing “respect” so as not to offend someone has never been a concept that I’ve been able to grasp.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000230016036 Jen Mercer

    How do you keep your Mormon buddy from drinking all your beer on a fishing trip?

    Invite another Mormon.

    • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/FDGYHBEWVNGUG763L5X4TON3JQ Nazani14

      That may not work, unless the other Mormon is an in-law.

  • Thin-ice

    If a person believed the sun revolved around the earth, or the earth was flat (as Christians ALL once believed), he would never get nominated as a presidential candidate.

    But you can believe that after you die you will get your own planet and be it’s first human inhabitant, and still get nominated as the Republican candidate for President. And wear magic underwear.

    What’s wrong with this picture???

    Further, why is it an unwritten rule that the media will NOT discuss a candidates religious beliefs???

    • JohnnieCanuck

      They might get black-listed and lose out on future interviews with some or many politicians?

      • John Hawkins

        This. The media is so scared of being accused of bias that they refuse to  actually challenge the people they interviewe/report on.

        Romney believing Joseph Smith was a prohet is downright sane compared to alot of the GOP’s other widely held beliefs.

    • Qwerty

      No that is a lie. The highly schooled scientists of the day believed the earth was flat. Many were atheists. The God fearing peasants working in the fields doing an honest days work knew by the path of the sun that the earth MUST be round.If you read intelligent books instead watching fools on television such as Dawkins or Gore you would know this.My atheist/socialist loved pointing out this irony in science class to point out having letters after your name foes not make you. Intelligent.Own goal by Dawkins and his merry band of village idiots.Many atheists write on their blogs how many of his theories are unscientific.

  • Marella

    I told my kids something like, “Everything dies and the molecules in the pet are going to be returned to the earth from which they came to be recycled into other creatures.” but I had already told them about these things before the demise of our animals so we didn’t need to have that conversation over Honey’s grave.

  • Hanna

    What? Richard Dawkins was on Skavland?? I can’t believe I didn’t watch this on tv…

  • DougI

    I can’t imagine Flowers did his research on Mormonism and remained a Mormon.  So he follows a con artist who claims to have spoken in a magic hat which revealed such things as:
    1) The Garden of Eden is in Jackson County Missouri.
    2) People with dark skinned are cursed but can lighten their skin by becoming a Mormon
    3) A papyrus with Egyptian hieroglyphics about some matter of inventory was translated with a seer stone and really revealed some divine knowledge.
    4) Unmarried women are barred from entry to heaven.
    5) The Native Americans, contrary to the knowledge of anthropologists, forged metal and were really evil Hebrews who committed an act of genocide against the good Hebrews.

    • Erp

       I suspect the out on the unmarried (both men and women)  is that just as you can be baptized after death; you can be married after death.    Also I understand the Mormons’ have different levels of heaven; you are only denied the highest if unmarried.

  • oambitiousone

    This was such a tease!

    I wanted to hear a comparison about how church leaders research is debunked by outside researchers — as scientific hypotheses are proved/disproved by repeatability.

    “Do your research.”

    Indeed–says the superstitious singer to the evolutionary *biologist*. 

    Flowers must have meant “be brainwashed like me” when he made that statement.

  • Aguz

    I can’t avoid remembering that South Park episode about the history of Mormonism. Mind you, I knew it way before that, but the song was so catchy: “dumb dumb dumb”.

  • ie

    Brandon Flowers was on the show to promote The Killers new song and album,not to be torn apart by RD about his religion.It is a well known fact that Brandon is a mormon,and he has never denied it,but to be publicly insutled about his beliefs was uncomfortable to watch.Religion and Sciecne will always clash no matter what peoples beliefs are but RD was very disrespectful and rude  and considering he is such a well educated man,he is clearly lacking respect of peoples opinions

    • amycas

       Pointing out the truth of the historicity of the Book of Mormon is not being disrespectful. If Brandon Flowers wants to go on TV and say he honestly believes in that crock then he should expect others to criticize it for what it is.

      p.s. huge fan of the killers, and this is the first I heard of Flowers being Mormon.

    • n00blet

      If anything you should blame the show for that. They deliberately put them together in the hope of generating some controversy (they have admitted this).

      Richard Dawkins obviously thought he was brought on to engage in an open and honest discussion with the guests as is usually the case on this show. He didn’t know Brandon was basically there as a puff piece of entertainment, promoting his album. It’s not like he randomly brought up Mormonism either, it was being discussed before he was introduced, and the presenter specifically asked about it.

      When he realises Brandon has to leave and won’t have a chance to defend his views, he even apologises profusely.

      Dawkins definitely lacks respect for his opinions though, I’ll agree with you there. Ridiculous opinions are not worthy of respect and they deserve to be challenged.

    • Mommiest

       On the other hand, any time an individual promotes a religion that teaches nonbelievers will be eternally tortured in hell, he (or she) is being a bit insulting to nonbelievers. Flowers could have declined to talk about his religion at all, but he didn’t. Expecting Dawkins to keep his opinions to himself would have been like asking him not to defend himself: “Oh, you believe in a morality that would set yourself above everyone who disagrees with you, including me? And I’m not worthy of a place in heaven because of my point of view? Well, I guess you have your reasons.”

      • V.Craven

        Dawkins by definition is a religious bigot.Check out the meaning in any of the dictionaries he has quote from in the past.

  • Jennifer

    I want to know if he wears his magic underwear on stage.

    • The Boat

      What a surprise.  Its not bigotry when its against groups liberals hate.  Go fuck yourself.

      • amycas

         I fail to see the bigotry in that statement. Mormons (usually) wear special Mormon underwear. In the past they have attributed magical powers to said underwear. How is it bigotry to point out the stupidity of this through the use of ridicule? We make fun of the beliefs of all other religions, why can’t we make fun of this silly belief?

  • The Disco Spider

    Turd boy defends bigotry, what a surprise.  In a fight I would destroy you.

    • amycas

       It looks like Hemant has a new fan. All the comments I see from this one are within the last few hours.

      Care to point out the bigotry in this clip? It was merely two people who have a different view of the Book of Mormon (of course, one view is obviously supported by reason and historical evidence).

      • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

        And one who can beat people up! Woo Woo!

  • amycas

    This is a bit disappointing. The Killers is one of my favorite bands. Oh well, the music is still great, and I’m reasonably sure Brandon Flowers isn’t trying to turn us all into Mormons through lyrical subtext.

  • http://twitter.com/TweetThatSheet Daniel Brown

    I love how the crowd gets upset and “Aww’s” when Dawkins explains how he’d get the kid to realize themselves that Santa didn’t exist. As if it were Dawkins’ fault for the Santa lie in the first place. How about getting upset at the parents for putting this lie into their minds in the first place?

  • http://www.facebook.com/gskowal Greg Kowal

    7:07 mark, meaning LOL mark?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=38405391 Jessica Causey

    That was generally cordial. 

  • Dennis

    Would a religiously devout candidate for President who lived on a modest stipend and gave away every other inheritance and business earnings to the poor as a matter of faith be more or less likely to win the Presidency if a Mormon ran against him who amassed a massive fortune, gave money to his alma mater already affluent, paid as little tax as possible and sheltered wealth away from scrutiny and taxation? The ‘eccentric’ former would be seen as putting the Federal Treasury at risk, impractical, and be seen as exercising poor judgement. The latter would be seen to be achieving the ‘American Dream.’

  • Shannon

    Reading all these comments, I can just see that most of you aren’t Killers’ fans! I love the Killers, I love Brandon Flowers, I admire him even more now after seeing how calm and polite he remained after being basically insulted. Brandon Flowers believes what he likes, it’s none of our business. I love his music, I love his personality, I love everything about him! 

  • Pat

     I can’t see how an evil fruit would bring such good people? There are many Mormons I know who are really nice people; one of them is Brandon Flowers! 

  • Rachid

    I disagree with anyone who criticizes other’s beliefs. Richard Dawkins claims that Islamic is false and dangerous, and that the bible is fake. And obviously to him Mormonism is fake, and so on…. Of course he’d say that, he’s an Atheist! 
    I’m a Muslim, and It doesn’t bother me if you’re a Catholic, Mormon, Church of England, or an Atheist as long as you’re happy and you respect others! 
    I don’t see why anyone is so negative about Brandon Flowers because he goes to church and has a decent family life? If we start blaming him for being a nice family guy, I can start a whole page on celebrities I think are far more dangerous than this guy! 

  • Sean B

    Thank you Brandon, great job. It’s pretty easy for us all to fall into the Monday morning quarterbacking fallacy, believing that if Dawkins or Flowers said this or that, it would’ve been better. I put myself in his shoes and marvel at how he handled the ambush. Typing on the internet is worlds apart from engaging in person on tv in front of an audience over a sensitive topic in a controversial set up. Very little have to do with faith or knowledge and more to do with personal courage, personality, and experience with situations like this.
    Aside from that, Dawkins is coming at the world from the belief/ philosophy that there is no God. Flowers comes at life from a faith perspective. …and I believe that Jesus a convicted charlatan in his day, was he not? But this did not destroy his appointment as the Christ, the Son of God. Our opinions and debate abilities do not alter facts, although it can create that illusion ,in persuading people’s minds. Joseph’s name will be held for good and ill the world over. Thank you for fulfilling the impossible prophecy of an obscure farm boy all of 17 years old, that his name would be revered and ridiculed the world over.

  • BrandonFlowersMoronism

    Mormons. One to may m’s i think. I don’t want to single out morons though. Not all idiots are religious. 

    The second coming is upon us….it says it right here on this golden cup of tea God just gave me……

  • Roy Lawrence

    Many Mormons, including Flowers, are very decent, loving people embedded in a solid family ethos and life. Who cares? I do know Brandon Flowers has given me more pleasure in life than Dawkins ever will. 

  • Roy Lawrence

    Many Mormons, including Flowers, are very decent, loving people embedded in a solid family ethos and life. Who cares? I do know Brandon Flowers has given me more pleasure in life than Dawkins ever will. 

  • love speaks

    To clarify-I love science. Mormons are more educated than
    most. Every day, you use things invented/created by Mormons. My brothers
    include an Anthropologist (taught at a major U, Curator etc) & head of
    Hospitals etc.

    I’m a mechanic, challenging Dawkins to apply the scientific
    method to the BofM. He can believe what he wants, but he spreads bigotry with
    his misinforming attacks on my people, & no one here dares to question him,
    that’s sad. The real evidence is overwhelmingly for Brandon’s BofM

    • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

      The scientific method has been applied to the BoM.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Archaeology_and_the_Book_of_Mormon

      • love speaks

        Ok, so If Dawkins won’t do it, maybe you will give me your best 3 evidences against the BofM?

      • love speaks

        RD’s website hasn’t yet responded to my kind requests, so clearly
        RD has reservations about discussing his claims with me, perhaps because he’s not the hardcore hater that Mormons are used to (maybe a little pompous & assuming like some other atheists) so Im thinking, if he had you on his side (you know all the latest plus the past 200 years etc) then maybe he’d be
        willing to discuss. So consolidate your best 3 then assure him that you’ll be there for him (call a friend, poll the audience, etc, you can even join in, pretend like you are him : ) ) and remind him that I’m not with FAIRlds, FARMS etc (read more antistuff lately than that) I’m not even a scholar, not “educated” like other Mormons (no
        degree, barely made High School in the hood)& then, with your help, maybe he’ll defend his thesis : )

  • love speaks

    I think Brandon did an awesome job, Dawkins repeatedly claims the BofM is an obvious fake, yet he produces no real evidence (only disproven anti-Mormon repeats). On his website I kindly asked him to apply the scientific method to the BofM. They claim glasnost there, but his editors quickly removed my comment before anyone could read it, and then they disabled my account. Sorta funny…I sent two letters, kindly asking him to discuss the BofM with me, on his website. He could present his best evidences against, i’ll give mine for. We can reason, one with another, like humans. Silence returned. Evidently the best evidence he has for his faith is the disproven evidence that he repeats to Brandon Flowers, Sad. It’s not that big of deal, but then, he has stirred some bigotry. He should at least do his “research” first.. : )


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