Richard Dawkins - The God-Given Talents of an Atheist

October 13, 2015 - Richard Dawkins 10/13/2015 Views: 19,184

Evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins talks about his memoir "Brief Candle in the Dark" and describes an unusual insect mating habit. (5:42)

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MY GUEST TONIGHT IS THEBEST-SELLING AUTHOR OF

"THE GOD DELUSION."

HIS NEW MEMOIR CALLED "BRIEFCANDLE IN THE DARK: MY LIFE

IN SCIENCE."

PLEASE WELCOME, RICHARD DAWKINS!

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)>> Trevor: OH!

MR. DAWKINS, QUITE AN HONOR.

>> AND FOR ME, TOO.

>> Trevor: I THINK YOU'RELYING, BUT I'LL TAKE IT.

(LAUGHTER)THIS IS SUCH A BEAUTIFUL BOOK.

I MEAN, WHEN I STARTED READINGIT, I THOUGHT, OKAY, "IT'S GOING

TO BE RICHARD DAWKINS. WE ARETALKING ABOUT SCIENCE, AND YET

IT WAS REALLY FUN, INTERESTINGSTORIES."

ONE THING THAT STRUCK MEIMMEDIATELY WAS THE FACT THAT

YOU SAID YOU NO LONGER WISHED TODEBATE WITH CREATIONISTS.

YOU DO NOT CHOOSE TO DEBATE WITHTHEM.

THEN I FOUND OUT THAT YOUACTUALLY DEBATED BEN CARSON IN

2006.

WAS THAT THE LAST STRAW?

>> THAT'S TRUE.

(LAUGHTER)NO, HE'S A VERY NICE MAN.

I GOT ON WITH HIM.

HE'S JUST IGNORANT.

(LAUGHTER)OF SCIENCE.

EVERYONE KNOWS YOU AS ANATHEIST.

>> YEAH I'M STRIDENT.

>> Trevor: EVERYONE KNOWS THATOF RICHARD DAWKINS, THE ATHEIST.

BUT YOU'RE ALSO A MAN OFSCIENCE, YOU KNOW.

AN EVOLUTIONARY BIOLOGIST, THEYCALL YOU.

WHEN DID YOU FIRST REALIZE YOUHAD THIS GOD-GIVEN TALENT?

(LAUGHTER)>> MY EVOLUTION TALENT, MY

EVOLUTION-GIVEN TALENT, SUCHAS IT IS.

NO, IT'S NOT VERY MUCH.

I FIRST OF ALL REALIZED THAT IWANTED TO BE A SCIENTIST, NOT

TILL I GOT TO OXFORD, ACTUALLY.

SO THE BOOK, YOU KNOW WHATREALLY INTRIGUED ME WAS

YOU WERE TALKING ABOUT THELECTURES YOU WERE GIVING AROUND

THE WORLD, ESPECIALLY THEJAPANESE LECTURES YOU WERE

GIVING TO CHILDREN. I COULDN'TQUITE UNDERSTAND HOW THAT CAME

TO YOU. WHY WAS RICHARD DAWKINSTALKING TO JAPANESE CHILDREN?

>> THERE IS A THING CALLED THEROYAL INSTITUTION CHRISTMAS

LECTURES IN LONDON. THEY'VEBEEN GOING SINCE THE 1820s.

IT'S QUITE AN HONOR TO BEINVITED TO GIVE THEM.

I GAVE THEM IN 1991 I THINK. ANDTHERE'S A TRADITION THAT THESE

CHRISTMAS LECTURES ARE GIVENTHE FOLLOWING YEAR IN JAPAN IN

JUNE.

STILL CALLED THE CHRISTMASLECTURES BUT THEY'RE IN JUNE.

I WENT TO JAPAN AND WE TOOK THEWHOLE CIRCUS--IT'S ALL DONE BY

DEMONSTRATIONS AND THECHILDREN ARE CALLED ONTO

THE STAGE.

WE DON'T USE SLIDES VERY MUCH.

I DID HAVE THIS ONE SLIDE INJAPAN WHICH WAS THE PRAYING

MANTIS. IT WASN'T A SLIDEACTUALLY. IT WAS A CAMERA

POINTING AT ATANK FULL OF PRAYING MANTISES.

AFTER I FINISHED WITH THEM, IJUST WENT ON TALKING.

THEN I BECAME AWARE THAT I HADLOST MY AUDIENCE AND I BECAME

AWARE THAT THEY WERE LOOKING UPAT THE SCREEN.

I LOOKED UP AT THE SCREEN.

I WAS TALKING ABOUT SOMETHINGCOMPLETELY ELSE.

AND THE FEMALE PRAYING MANTISWAS BUSY EATING THE HEAD OF THE

MALE, WHO WAS VALIANTLY GOING ONCOPULATING WITH HER.

(LAUGHTER)>> Trevor: SO THE JAPANESE

CHILDREN WERE WATCHING THEPRAYING MANTISES HAVING SEX

WITHOUT A HEAD. THAT SOUNDS LIKECHRISTMAS TO ME.

>> THAT'S RIGHT. IF YOU CUT THEHEAD OFF AN INSECT, IT PERFORMS

BETTER AT SEX. IT SOMEHOW LOSESITS INHIBITIONS I THINK.

>> Trevor: THAT SOUNDS A LOTLIKE CONGRESS.

THAT'S INTERESTING!

(LAUGHTER)IT'S A BEAUTIFUL BOOK WITH A LOT

OF STORIES ABOUT YOUR LIFE, YOUKNOW, TRAVELING IN AND AROUND

THE WORLD.

I WAS FASCINATED BY THE STORY OFYOUR DAUGHTER IN THE BOOK.

HOW MANY TIMES DID SHE COME WITHYOU ON THESE TRIPS?

>> SHE DIDN'T GO TO JAPAN.

SHE DID GO TO THE CHRISTMASLECTURES IN LONDON.

THERE WAS A LOVELY -- I THINKSHE ONLY WENT ONCE, ACTUALLY,

AND I WAS TALKING ABOUTSOMETHING WHERE I WAS PRETENDING

I NEEDED TO INJECT SOMEBODY'SEYEBALL WITH SOME ANESTHETIC OR

OTHER, SO I PRODUCED AN ENORMOUSSYRINGE BIG ENOUGH TO SEDATE A

RHINOCEROS, AND BEING CHRISTMASLECTURES, I THEN HAD TO CALL FOR

A VOLUNTEER.

SO I SAID ANY VOLUNTEERS?AND OF COURSE

NOBODY PUT THEIR HAND UP. BUT THEN ONE LITTLE GIRL

OF SEVEN SHYLY PUT HER HAND UP.

IT WAS MY DARLING DAUGHTERJULIET.

(AUDIENCE REACTS)AND SHE WAS, I WOULD SAY, TOUGH.

I ALMOST CHOKED UP AT HERLOYALTY AND COURAGE.

>> Trevor: BUT YOU STILL WENTTHROUGH WITH THE DEMONSTRATION.

YOU INJECTED HER.(LAUGHTER)

ONE FINAL QUESTION I HAD.

I WAS FASCINATED,IN THE BOOK YOU TALK ABOUT

MEETING THE QUEEN. AND I DON'TKNOW IF YOU CAN GET THIS ON

CAMERA. THIS IS FASCINATING.

YOU HAVE TIES THAT ARE ALLPAINTED BY YOUR WIFE.

>> YES, THESE ARE UNIQUEONE-OFF TIES.

YOU CAN'T BUY THEM.

SHE ALWAYS PAINTS ANIMALS ANDONE OF MY TIES HAD WARTHOGS ON

IT.

WARTHOGS ARE NOT EXACTLYBEAUTIFUL ANIMALS BUT KIND OF

CUTE AND KIND OF FUNNY.

I WORE MY WARTHOG TIE ON THE ONEAND ONLY OCCASION I WAS INVITED

TO LUNCH WITH THE QUEEN AND ANUMBER OF OTHER PEOPLE: THE

AUSTRALIAN RUGBY CAPTAIN, ABALLERINA, BRITAIN'S LEADING

MUSLIM, AND THE QUEEN TOOK ONELOOK AT MY TIE AND SAID, "WHY DO

YOU WEAR SUCH UGLY ANIMALS ONYOUR TIE?"

>> Trevor: AND YOU SAID?

"MA'AM, IF THE ANIMAL IS UGLY,HOW MUCH GREATER IS THE

ARTISTRY TO MAKE IT INTO SUCH ABEAUTIFUL TIE?"

>> Trevor: YOU ARE SO POISEDAND BEAUTIFUL!

(APPLAUSE)"BRIEF CANDLE" IS IN STORES

RIGHT NOW ON THE BOOKSHELVES.RICHARD DAWKINS, EVERYONE!

THANK YOU SO MUCH!

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)