1. Sweden and Norway, actually.

    I felt sorry for Mr. Rockstar, while watching this. A very uncomfortable moment there. I guess it’s occasional episodes like this that gives the professor his reputation for being strident? One thing is going head to head with clergy and other professional faith heads, but this was a bit of a blunder on Professor Dawkins’ behalf because it probably shifted the audiences sympathy towards an ambushed simpleton (relatively speaking) who didn’t possess the oratory skills to defend himself.

    Other than that I guess Professor Dawkins must be getting really tired of answering the same questions over and over again.

    Other than that it was a good thing that earlier on in the show, the ABBA guy got to blame 9/11 on religion without the tv-station having prepared the presence of a left wing intellectual who could rush to the defense of those terrorists giving politically correct Marxist explanations of the atrocity. For a Scandinavian show, I think that was actually quite impressive.

  2. Sadly, like most members of cults, they refer you to their own ‘experts’ , when in fact they have no experts.

  3. The most fun part was that Richard accidentally destroyed this guy called Brandson lolRichard thought he will stay there and debate haha !After that short discussion this guy Brandson looked so insecure about himself .. just priceless what happened there .. Brandson should stick with singing not thinking .. no match against Richard..I loved it and I’d like to see a lot more debates with Richard!  

  4. I applaud Professor Dawkins for calling a spade a shovel. This was probably the first time Flowers had heard anyone who had read the Book of Mormon state that it is a fraud. And it is! Sorry if the truth is painful, but all the historical, archaeological, and now biological DNA evidence has proven this.

    It might not seem so on the surface, but Professor Dawkins has actually done this young man a great favor, believe me. He has planted a seed that visibly disturbed Flowers’ endocrinated concept of reality.

    I still remember to this very day when a Jewish man told me the Book of Mormon was a fraud, while I was a Mormon missionary in Argentina. It was the first time in my life I had ever run across anyone who had actually read the book (I quizzed him: he had read it!) and voiced that opinion. Everyone else I knew who had read it (Mormons, of course!) bore fervent “testimony” that they “knew” it was true. This opened my eyes at least a small crack, and motivated me to gingerly step “outside the box” and examine the cult’s claims. It took me many more years –decades– but I finally escaped, and am now grateful to that Jewish man who had the integrity to call a spade a shovel, even if it was “disrespectful” to my beliefs.

  5.  The YouTube comments state that the modus operandi of the show is to put together guests with opposing points of view and spark a debate. It was further pointed out that it was the job of Mr Rockstar’s PR team to scout the terrain. If he was embarrassed his first point of complaint should be his own publicity team, then the producers of the show.

    I’m not sure if RD knew the M.O. of the show, but then it was less important to him. He obviously didn’t know that Mr Rockstar was leaving to set up the band, and might have played it differently if he had.

    As usual, RD had to tread the tricky path between straight talk and politeness. He usually succeeds admirably, but is still called shrill and strident. But I do titter terribly when he gets it wrong and lets slip a particularly cutting remark, like when he said that xtian BA cabin crew woman looked stupid. How wicked of me.

  6. I think the expression you are looking for is “call a spade a spade”.

  7. Nope. I often use my own twist on that cliché. I like the image, especially when discussing Mormonism, because they really do shovel it thick and deep.

  8. Maybe the PR team did prep him and told him that in case the chips went down he should simply state that he was offended?

    Has RD said someone “looked stupid”? Ouch. Link?

  9. It is necessary to have Richard out in front to publicly present them with the facts, no matter how politically incorrect that may seem. It is always best to treat people with respect, and that includes having the respect to be honest about disagreement so as not to reduce adults to the level of children who need simple answers about a dead bunny. The example that yanquetino presented below is just one of many ripples that radiate from an honest statement of what is true. Feathers may get ruffled, but truth stands long after the kerfuffle of politics dies away.

  10. This is fantastic! The rockstar looks like he’s been dawkslapped! Not quite as good as the Hitch… but I’ll take it! Well done Prof. Dawkins!!!!! You may be as strident as you wish when it comes to telling the truth about charlatans! His reaction is proof that no one has ever told him how ridiculously deluded his ‘beliefs’ are. He has simply been brainwashed… Keep up the dawkslapping!

  11. What frightens me most about this Brandon guy is his statement (at 10min50) that: “if you (Richard Dawkins) call this man a charlatan, I take offence to it.” Like any young person growing up in a free society with competing opinions, he should have said: Mr. Dawkins, I do not agree with you! But no, this greenhorn, who doesn’t know his ass from a hole in the ground, takes the cowardly path of least resistance by saying that he is offended (by the obvious truth). In other words, what I believe is sacred and is beyond criticism, and the discussion is hereby closed. What we have here is the uninspired and dogmatic mindset of a young man who dares to call himself an artist. 

  12. So he shouldn’t think because his understanding of Richard’s fields of special expertise is less than Richard’s? Perhaps he’s never had occasion to seriously question his beliefs before. Not everyone has the same interests, and maybe this was his first real exposure to a new area of thought. Better to look at every believer/non-sceptic as a potential future ally than as an inferior.

  13. My, my how things have changed. A rock musician so easily offended and a biologist being so cool. I was thinking, perhaps the next Mormon encounter should have this give and take:

    Missionary: Prof. Dawkins, have you read the Book of Mormon?
    Dawkins: Yes. Have you read mine?


  14. I thought Richard was great, as usual, but the boy did seem unprepared for such. It was a little sad, but certainly in this case…that stupid Joseph Smith story…why on earth won’t these people listen to the truth? This one clearly has verification of its ridiculousness. That boy had no idea how to answer RD at all. And that’s the thing, isn’t it? They don’t even know WHY they believe, only that they always have, and so they are completely unable to explain their reasons to anyone else. Poor thing. Perhaps he will look into it now. ((Yeah, right. He’ll just hate RD, that’s all. He’s just the ‘MEAN OL’ ATHEIST BIOLOGIST.))

    Anyway, I liked it! Oh…and this segment starts with Brandon, so I never saw who the other 2 people were. Thanks to someone’s comment, I see that the guy is the guy from ABBA. Cool! I’ll have to look for the rest of this episode. I’d like to hear him speak. I did catch where the host called him an atheist as well. No idea who that lady is either. 

    And for the commentor who seems to have coined the term “Dawkslapped”, I thank you sir. You have brought me much entertainment this evening! And a new word, which I expect to use far more than is needed in the future.  ;o)

    Love me some Richard Dawkins!!!!! 

  15. Every time I watch RIchard Dawkins in action, I am struck by his impeccable manners and sense of fairness.  He upholds a standard of argument that represents truth over truthiness.  He is always gracious.  He is more patient and skilled than most of us.  He is committed to honest discussions based on evidence and reason.

    They say the most terrible things about him.  That he’s militant and strident and arrogant.  And other nasty things. 

    He just isn’t. 

  16.  I hope that the Jewish man in turn didn’t try to proselytize you with Judaism. The irony is that much of the Jewish Bible, too, is faked or manufactured. No biblical historian has been able to find any evidence to support claims made in the Testaments, although there are some facts established that explains their existence. This is to be said for all the monotheisms. Its no coincidence that we are all commenting here because we are conducting enquiry in perpetuity.

  17.  Its a typical response from a believer. People do feel insulted when you challenge their beliefs. Hopefully, it will give him something to think about and he will have sufficient temerity to set up his own enquiry into Mormonism. However, it was an expected response. Want to see real confrontation –  challenge a Muslim.

  18. “Dick to the Dawk to the Ph.D. He’s smarter than you, he has a Science degree!”  – from “Beware the Believers” by “randomslice” on YouTube, one of the most entertaining pieces of failed anti-science propaganda ever published.

    Poor ambushed rockerboy’s look of shock as he gets a taste of that “smarter than you” wit is priceless. Richard may never fill that Hitch shaped hole in our community, but sometimes he can come damn close.

    (edited for spelling)

  19. I think, that the particular criicism of the book of mormon that Dr. Dawkins chose, was not very convincing. Yes, it it a book written by an 18th century man, trying to sound like 16th century english. But that does not address whether it is a fabrication or a genuine translation. It only shows how Joseph Smith thougt a holy book skould sound. If a modern bible translator chose to translate the bible into 16th century english for some reason, that would still not make the work a fabrication. Yes, the book of Mormon seems somewhat peculiar, if you are not a member of the religion. And there are lots of indications that it is fabrication, rather than genuine translation. But Joseph Smiths particular otion of what a holy text should sound like, is not an indicator in either direction.

  20. The ABBA guy is Bjorn Ulvaeus, a well known atheist, in Sweden at least. He wrote this for the Guardian a few years back: http://www.guardian.co.uk/comm

    The woman is Ulrika Jonson, former weather girl, Eurovision host and team captain on Vic and Bob’s Shooting Stars.

  21. I think you make a valid observation however isn’t the point of placing Joseph Smith’s choice of language on display meant to plant the seed of healthy skepticism rather than necessarily to convince?

    Offering the skeptical view on Smith’s choice of language worked as a perfect segue for the second fact that he was indeed a convicted criminal. Now, had Flowers been able to stay to hear more facts, he may very well have become convinced!


  22. Does this Mormon boy really belong to a group called the Killers?  I don’t know what his singing is like, and it’s irrelevant anyway.  He just seemed so clumsy in answering his Swedish hosts’ questions, and then fell apart completely when Richard had his say.  Insulted indeed.  Give me a break.  If he had demonstrated that Richard were wrong regarding his ideas, I’m pretty sure Richard would not feel “insulted”.  And to suggest that Rich should do his research!  LOL

  23. I’m just wondering where Joseph Smith actually explained why he had written it in 16th century English.  Does it say anywhere what he was trying to achieve in so doing?

  24. What I find truly irritating is that even today, in the 21st century, the news media continues to use a deferential, hands-off “respect” when supposedly “examining” religious belief. Such was the case with MSNBC’s recent report about this young man’s Mormonism, probably to “inform” viewers about MittWit Romney’s religion. I thus composed this critique of the program which I think Flowers would do well to read:


  25. It still amazes me that, in the 21st century, talk shows and news broadcasts still approach religious beliefs with deference, out of fear of “offending” someone. Such was likewise the case with the recent MSNBC program about Mormonism: a superficial report that could hardly be labeled “investigative.” Irked by such a sanitized perspective, I consequently posted this critique: http://bit.ly/OggEoG 

    In the name of honest inquiry, it should most certainly be fair game to openly discuss these particulars with believers like Flowers, Romney, and all other Mormons.

  26. That was painful to watch. Can we have a do-over with Mitt Romney instead of Brandon Flowers? I think I would really enjoy that.

  27. When I went to Salt Lake City in the USA, the policemen looked like movie stars.  In the rest of the country, they are shaped like vinegar bottles. The one thing the Mormons do correctly is diet/exercise.

  28. Brandon Flowers reminded me of Tiny (15 and half yars old) in the old Lil Abner comics. He was in no position to defend Mormonism, but he indicates how shallow the understanding most people have of their faith.  He also had a naive faith in American militarism.

    Calling his band “The killers”. Good grief!

    I once read that Hitler did some eugenics experiments. The result was beautiful, blond, blue-eyed boobs.

  29. Net in reply to your question Brandon Flowers is indeed part of The Killers, who are very  good. So I’m a little bit disappointed to find out they harbour religious idiots and wondering whether to remove them from my ipod or just try to separate the idiot from the music.. 

  30. I understand your point but telling an Oxford Professor as a musician that he will give him “real History books” and that prof. Dawkins should do “better research” is just plain disrespectful.. 

    There is no shame to possess less expertise in a special field, especially if it’s not your milieu .it’s quite a different issue though if you start overshadowing your blinkered view of history and religion by sheer disrespectful behaviour which he did in my view. 

    Furthermore he was just embarrassing himself at that point.
    When one starts to evade the issue by casting doubt on a well known and acknowledged experts research in his field instead of criticising his main arguments, it is a sign of lacking discussion skills. You do nothing good for your sides cause and in fact your manner is only hurting it. 

    Moreover I never really “meant” he should stop thinking .. I meant he is bad at doing so.. I guess I just didn’t give it much of thought when I was typing that line .. so I’m sorry for that. English is my 4th language I try to master right now so I have to ask for some indulgence at this point.

     “Better to look at every believer/non-sceptic as a potential future ally than as an inferior.” 

    I agree with that but I think for Brandon it was important to understand how not to behave in a debate and I think Richard did a great job in doing so. 🙂

    Ps: you are the first guy who replied to my comments .. I didn’t recognise that for some days now what this red sign was for, now I know thx x)

  31. Nice story I heard about Santa Claus some time ago:
    Just after receiving his Santa Claus presents a boy says to his father:  “I’ve heard who is Santa. It’s you.”
    “All right, “, says dad, “next year no more Santa presents.”
    Boy adds quickly, “But surely I will have forgotten that next year.”

  32. Poor Mormon boy couldn’t handle the truth, so he went wah-wah-wah. How infantile.

  33. Mr Rockstar had the opportunity to discuss why we should believe what the Book of Mormon has to say. He was on the right track when he said that “experts” have pored over the book, but it looks like he doesn’t understand what the “experts” found out and how they studied it, and just believes them because they’re “experts.” I hope this encounter would at least make Mr Rockstar think and not hold on even tighter to his beliefs.

  34. Thanks…after I posted, I did search out and find some other interviews with him, but the whole show here that RD was on was only in Norwegian. I found him speaking in a few other places tho. I wasn’t aware before. I know of Abba, of course, but didn’t know one thing about any of the people. I enjoyed the interviews I saw of him. 

    I also would like to post my agreement with those who commented on how polite Mr. Dawkins is in these things, and people are constantly speaking hatefully against him. I just got in a fight with some people on YouTube for attacking him personally. I mean they were even talking about what he was wearing! Of course they are going to bad-mouth him, because he is RIGHT! 

    GO, RD!

  35. I don’t suppose I’ll never know who she is! Ha! But that’s ok. I was interested in Bjorn tho. I always liked Abba, but didn’t know anything about any of the people at all. It was very interesting to find out he’s an outspoken atheist. I did look for some other interviews with him that were in English (or at least subtitled in English) and I found him very interesting. I will keep an eye out for more of him. 

    Thanks! I’ve shared that article in a few places. Making people mad at me on Facebook again. Guess I’ll have to show them where the Unfriend button is. ((sigh))

  36. Ha! You’re the one! I don’t know if you made it up, but I remembered reading “dawkslapped” somewhere and I took it and ran with it! Came back to this thread today & found it in your post. Thanks for that.  ;o)

  37. I was thinking it was meant to be a comedy. “Hmm,” I feel the Swedish smiles “we’re having a Mormon artist on…where could we get someone who faithfully repeats their anti-Mormon mythology, and might pontificate on subjects like poetry and the Book of Mormon, without knowing much about either?” “Like a Biologist?” “Yeah! That would be so funny!” “Hey, Dawkins has ‘ALMOST’ read the book!!!! He’s perfectly Sophomoric, get him!”

    Of course they probably never imagined that the Dawkins’ faithful would ACTUALLY believe Dawkins repetitive bogus arguments. It’s all the more fun when I see that none has applied the scientific method or even questioned any of Dawkins disproven statements. Evidently, atheism is among the blindest of faiths.

  38. I have no ill will towards Dawkins, Maher, and their followers, but I do find it interesting that none of them apply the scientific method while misinforming about Brandon’s BofM. I’m only a mechanic, but it seems a simple thing to me, yet none do it. Even if we pretend that the premises are proven (and they certainly aren’t: court records indicate the “convicted con-man” claim is a 19th Cent anti-Mormon fabrication, and antagonistic witnesses testified that Joseph had a gift; and other evidence indicates that 19th Cent. people did say “verily verily” etc.) still, if they were true, they certainly don’t prove the BofM is fake. 19th Cent. and other scientists had better arguments than those: “there was no steel in Nephis’ day,” “no river into the Red Sea,” etc. but perhaps Mr. Dawkins avoids all that science because it has all been proven wrong. The emotional plea may be all that is left on the BofM antagonist…. : ) hmmm, so it’s not so much disdain, as it is desperation…. I’d cling to that too, if I was afraid to believe in our loving God.

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