StarTalk Live! Evolution with Richard Dawkins (Part 2)

The whole StarTalk Live! cast backstage at The Beacon Theatre in NYC (L to R): Bill Nye, Jim Gaffigan, Maeve Higgins, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Richard Dawkins, Eugene Mirman. Photo by David Andrako.

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About This Episode

Our evolutionary journey at the Beacon Theatre in NYC concludes with host Neil deGrasse Tyson, comic co-host Eugene Mirman, and guests Richard Dawkins, Bill Nye, Jim Gaffigan and Maeve Higgins. First up: human design flaws, or what Neil describes as putting “an entertainment system in the middle of a sewage complex.” Richard explains the evolutionary reason a giraffe’s recurrent laryngeal nerve improbably travels the length of its neck and back. Find out why negative traits like male pattern baldness persist – and why Eugene can’t be president. Explore how many generations it would take a mouse-sized species to evolve to the size of elephants and how to breed men who can lactate. You’ll also hear about stem cells and cloning, selective breeding vs. inducing mutation through genetic modification and manipulation, putting fish genes in tomatoes, the unintended consequences of GMO corn, the morality of breeding humans to be better musicians or resistant to Ebola, herd immunity and vaccines, and what we can learn by studying AIDS-resistant prostitutes in Nairobi.

NOTE: All-Access subscribers can listen to this entire episode commercial-free here: StarTalk Live! Evolution with Richard Dawkins (Part 2).

 

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  • Robandres

    Love All Of Them!!

  • This would have been the best day ever to see this live in NYC. I used to go to Arizona State, and went to many of the Origins events where Richard spoke with Lawrence Krauss. Then I saw that there was an event called The Story Telling of Science, where Richard, Lawrence, Neil, Bill and four more awesome scientists/science advocates were speaking. Basically a panel straight out of a dream. But I was young and dumb and didn’t buy my tickets ahead of time, assuming all would be fine! Sold out. </3 (times 10 to the power of 22 broken hearts). I hope one day that this panel assembles again and that I have the financial means at the time to go!!! Thanks for all of your beyond inspirational advocacy of helping our world be more logical and more peaceful! ~from a Noela, a neuroscience student at the home of the ducks

    • Abegão

      Thats the best video on the Internet m8

  • Thiago Faleiro Parente

    why europe evolved to science – like medicine and astronomy, while others continent hasnt?

    • Ard Gono

      +North America +Asia + Australia

      And somewhat South America.

      So yeah Europe isn’t especial among the others whatsoever, at least not these days, maybe 200 years ago but not in this century.

      • Vikingboy

        The Americas, Australia and large parts of Asia (Middle-East, India, SE Asia) were colonized by European countries. The native peoples living there were still living in cultures comparable to stone-age and early iron-age Europe.

        • Ard Gono

          Wow, your education in history must be from the stone age if you’re ignorant enough to believe that.
          There is no doubt that many parts of the world were colonized by Europeans, and that shaped their cultures, but that had no effect on whether or not they would have scientifically advanced later on, in fact, European colonization might have hindered it. Such is the case with most colonizations throughout history.

          If their colonizations was as positive as you believe, then Africa, much of it was colonized as Europeans, would be on par with North America. Too bad Africa is still way behind, your point is horribly wrong, and there’s nothing especial about Europe anymore.

        • Ard Gono

          Wow, your education in history must be from the stone age if you’re ignorant enough to believe that.
          There is no doubt that many parts of the world were colonized by Europeans, and that shaped their cultures, but that had no effect on whether or not they would have scientifically advanced later on, in fact, European colonization might have hindered it. Such is the case with most colonizations throughout history.

          If their colonizations was as positive as you believe, then Africa, much of it was colonized as Europeans, would be on par with North America. Too bad Africa is still way behind, your point is horribly wrong, and there’s nothing especial about Europe anymore.

        • Richard Bell

          You can’t colonize areas that are already populated. You’re confusing colonization with conquest.

        • Tipsy

          Vikingboy, the Arabs did god science, until they didn’t. You know who messed up the Arabian scientific enterprise? Religious Arabs. Their golden age ended in the 12th century, they were then fodder for Gengis Khan.

    • Simon Chui

      Every culture in every part of the world had science to the extent that their technology allowed. The Chinese, for example, have developed many medical techniques, some more reliable than others, and they also kept very good records of astronomical phenomena, in many cases better records than Europe. Almost every culture have herbalists or “medicine men”, again of varying effectiveness. The Aztec Pyramid of the Sun aligns with solar phenomena in a way that demonstrates remarkably accurate calendar keeping, while the Pacific peoples were known to have made star maps to navigate the vast oceans. The fact that Europe reached the Industrial Revolution first doesn’t mean that other parts of the world didn’t have science.

      • BFARIZY

        and all of that wouldn’t have been possible so quickly without the civilizations in the middle east and india inventing maths with the zero. quite advanced, they had a sewage network (where in europe it wasn’t even in the king’s castle until recently)

    • Patrick Giyan

      The first leader of the science and maths race was in modern day Iraq; however, Islam put an end to that pretty quickly, and things haven’t improved greatly since.

    • phydeaux

      my understanding why the eastern continents were more informed as to sciences, math, and virtually everything that moved us toward the modern society (europe, asia, india, china) and that the western hemisphere didn’t (also africa) is that the mountain ranges run basically from east to west. this allowed peoples to move resonably easy along side the mountain ranges and information was exchanged between cultures that did not easily occur in the americas where the mountains run north to south and created roadblocks to the exchange of information. also africa was virtually isolated from the rest of the eastern hemisphere.

    • Eric09

      None of that happened until the Moors invaded southern Spain and brought all of that with them.

      The arabs are the ones who evolved all of those things you mentioned and then literally brought it to Europe via conquest.

    • Daniel

      Watch Connections by James Burke, he explains it in it, but I can’t remember which episode.

  • Whether you believe in absolutely ‘nothing’ or a ‘something’ that’s perfectly fine, but there are people like Richard Dawkins, what I’d call the Evangelical Atheist that can get on my nerves. I support many Atheists, love every bit of science, evolution, and the Universe, but I feel that Dawkins and those type of Militant Atheists just love to crap all over the simple idea of God, no matter what ‘god’ is viewed as, is always labeled in negative connotations. I don’t enjoy his condescending manner, much like the manner of a Christian not being able to accept the idea of Atheism. I can accept and respect the idea of a God, gods, or no god, but I know what I believe in, and I don’t need to feel talked down to by Mr. Dawkins because I do believe in something called ‘God’. The rest of the panel is here is wonderful, as is Dawkins who I do not hate, but just can’t support someone who makes me feel belittled with certain one sided and close minded statements of his.

    • Christine

      Well the idea of god is kind of a silly concept, one that was developed to help people make sense of things they didn’t understand. It is truly surprising that religion is something that people still cling to in our supposedly enlightened age. Because of this I don’t see him as a “militant atheist.” I see him as a rational thinker who doesn’t have a lot of time for people who aren’t.

      • Taxil Necrobane

        Mrs. Christine, that is just you. Granted he isn’t as vile or hot headed as other militant atheist often are. But he is very active in pushing the atheist view point and he does have a track record of speaking down to those who do have faith (Christians seems to be targeted the most).

        I was expecting the worst with this pod cast but I was surprised it wasn’t as bad as it could have turned out. It was not a riveting episode as other pod casts have been.

        • Tipsy

          Your version of the worst is someone defending reason against amazing assertions?? What about the Catholic churches proven sustained child rape campaign? That justice is still not served for.

          What on earth are you doing with such a concept of ‘the worst’ in your mind?

          • Taxil Necrobane

            What on Earth are you posting about? Maybe you need to sober up.

            I was expecting a down ward spiral of Juvenile jokes and non professionalism, but it didn’t go there. Granted they didn’t talk about anything I haven’t heard before so it turned out to be average to me. I think NDT performs better in a studio than on a live stage.

      • He does not understand what I or Eye view as God. Obviously, someone as yourself does not understand seeing as you’re referring to it as silly, making a silly judgement before you have any understanding of how I perceive my Universe. You’re absolutely condescending in every way possible, and because of that there can’t be a full peace between us and an entire World population. I wouldn’t ever call you silly or an a-hole or anything because I’m cool with anyone as long as they are good respectful people who don’t put others down. So let’s end this here in peace, God is not silly, Atheism is not silly, we know what we know, we feel what we feel, and we are who we are in 7 billion different ways.
        P.S. Sorry Mr. Dawkins, but it would be nice if you could try and understand where some peaceful believers come from before saying anything negative.

        • Eric Davis

          What’s interesting about your comment here, is that Mr. Dawkins, in the entire 2 hours of this podcast (both parts), never once said a single word to attack people who believe in a god. He did not once make any statement antagonistic toward any religious view. However, you did attack Mr. Dawkins, and his views. So who’s the person here who’s really being disrespectful, and putting others down? It’s you.

          • My initial comment was referring to many other times in the past where I have felt put down by him through other documentaries and interviews to the point of not being able to support his work at all anymore in the future. I stated what I needed on this page many times already, and again there is no hatred or animosity toward Mr. Dawkins, it is just something I feel very strongly about.

    • Damien McBain

      Whatever you call Dawkins or think of him, he’s right and you’re wrong. If you don’t like it, you could take your own advice and ignore it rather that trying to defend the indefensible with ad hominem non-arguments. There may be a valid reason you feel a fool in the presence of compelling information and logic?!

      • Taxil Necrobane

        And that reaction with the other negative commenters to her just proves she is right in her statement. All of you need to learn some tolerance. Ever heard of the saying “If you can’t say something nice, It is better to say nothing at all.”?

        • Tipsy

          Taxil, if I say, did something heinous, and then when you spoke out about it I called you ‘Tipsyphobic’.
          How would you feel when some genius told you ‘If you can’t say something nice, it is better to say nothing at all’?

          That’s how the victims of religious bullying and violation feel when reading your incredibly childish comment.

          • Taxil Necrobane

            You think those of faith don’t get bullied or persecuted by atheist too? The abuse goes both ways and I will point it out when it does. Or would you prefer when the abuse and mocking only goes against those of faith? It’s common enough for Christians to be the punch line in modern media and blaming and bashing the Jewish people I have not seen since the 1930’s. How about growing a thicker skin? I will repeat it, ‘If you can’t say something nice, it is better to say nothing at all’?

    • TysonH

      Dude your missing the point I think and it sounds like your a little on the touchy side. Dawkins doesn’t know you. When he speaks he isn’t speaking to You. He responds to whatever questions someone decide to ask. Would you prefer him to contact you and see if his thoughts offend you? You mentioned being close minded and one sided. Except that is you.

    • javargasr

      It’s really surprising how can you support “many atheists” and, at the same paragraph, complain about one of them labeling in “negative connotations” some Gods. ; Perhaps you should take in consideration that he….is an atheist . I understand you don’t like the man, but I invite you to enjoy the possibility of learn something even from the one you have such a poor opinion.

    • TH

      Faith is the absence of open-mindedness, the same thing you’re criticizing Dawkins for, which is unsurprising since believers are amongst the most hypocritical people on the planet.

      How could anyone not be angry when their supposed leaders are influenced by petty belief systems that were created thousands of years ago to control masses of ignorant people? There is nothing noble about perpetuating this system of subjugation created by old men in slave-built shelters to maintain their supposed superiority over all. It is one of the most arrogant things humans have done to other humans.

      People should be angry. Kids don’t even stand a chance.

      There is nothing believers won’t attribute to their imaginary entity. Every discovery is “god’s” work. But the moment you bring up homosexuality, that can’t possibly be a part of “god’s” plan. That is the most despicable thing of all. The act of attributing the supposed ‘good’ things to your “god” or “gods” and ignoring everything else that could potentially break that illusion.

      You would believe in something totally different if you were born elsewhere. But no. You were born for a ‘reason’ and could not be anything else than what you were designed to be. How does that feel that your life is already laid out for you? That there is some master plan, where, kids are killed everyday, women are raped and multilated, and men are blown to indistinguishable bits over words? Words put together by long dead manipulative fools that had no sense of equality.

      Hey, I believe in something today. I don’t think you should be able to love who you want to love, because it’s wrong, to me. I don’t think you should be able to wear certain clothes, because that’s what I wrote down in my book. I also don’t think you should be doing math anymore, because it’s useless. I’ll let you have my book for a small fee. Repent your sins for a small token of appreciation. I’ll wash away all the bad things for you! I’ll handle the thinking from here.

      “Tolerance” is an unfunny joke. It is a word used by people that don’t want any trouble at all, despite the many conflicts that exist over our Quality of Life. I’m sure women should have tolerated not being able to vote or leave their homes or have careers or do anything besides the servitude of their male masters. Blacks should have tolerated being hung for looking different. You should tolerate ISIS and Hitler too. Let us tolerate everybody no matter the cost!

      It is all so pathetic. I feel sorry for you. That because of certain circumstances, you were brought into this system of control with good intentions, but all the while, you have been drawing more arbitrary lines in the sand than you realize. Please reconsider your way of thinking. While it is scary and challenging to think that all we have is each other, with some self-reflection, you may find some actual clarity.

      • Taxil Necrobane

        TH, you sound very angry with others and have issues with the world at large. I will pray for you that you may find peace one day. If you can find clarity and look at what you posted and what ac1d posted is completely different. Did you even read her post or what you wrote a knee jerk reaction?

      • I agree on so many points with you, except the ones that put myself and others down, and if all we have is each other, we shouldn’t be putting each other down, but trying to learn from each other with accepting and peaceful intentions. This is what I’m trying to get at here.

        • TH

          Learning is precisely my intention. While you may not agree with my style of rhetoric that is specifically attacking your way of thinking, I could have just as easily not replied to you at all and allowed you go about your business as usual. However, I chose to communicate with you in a way that conveys what I feel as truthfully as I can, in the hope that you may reconsider your beliefs. I could have buffered my reply, but then I would become part of the problem. I am not a politician or someone who has underlying motives to manipulate you.

          Having no strong feelings about any of this is the issue. While it is quite lovely to imagine that everybody can be accepting and have peaceful intentions, this is clearly not the case, and potentially will not be in either of our lifetimes. And why would you want it that way? Not only is it a fallacy and false hope, but humans seem to only learn when there is conflict. Whether it is a conflict of ideals or logic, our Pursuit of Knowledge thrives on it. This is not paradise and we are not angels arguing about who is going to water god’s plants. The Universe does not have the ability to care about the workings of some dumb organisms clinging to rituals that have intentionally caused more suffering than necessary.

          It is easy to simply hold a flag of peace. It is less easy to re-examine yourself and the causes that are diminishing our lives.

          Taxil Necrobane: How do you not have issues with the world? It must be nice being an imaginary angel in a supposed paradise where nothing bad happens. I wonder if your prayers went to the transgendered teen that killed herself due to her parents refusing to accept ‘him’ due to their beliefs. A lot of good that did. God is righteous and she died for a reason, I’m sure.

          • Taxil Necrobane

            I am at least pleased that you say you are truthful in your replies than being two faced about it. That is a credit to you.

            I do not expect the world to be perfect in my life time. I do expect to work toward the end to make the world a better place. It is not the goal but the road towards it that is most important. As to conflict, I have come to realize that humanity needs it to live as a society and as a whole of the human race. Conflict is an inescapable and needed part of what makes us human after all. I agree, the universe does not care for us. That is way I look beyond it toward the divine who I feel does have an interest in us all.

            Long ago I had already re-examined myself and this is the way I chose to be. What have you chosen to be? I will tell you this one truth. The only cause that is making us come closer to death is the very fact that we are alive now. I don’t carry a flag of peace. I am just trying to do what is right as best as I can do.

            There are issues in this world yes, but why dwell on those that you can not change. I say focus on the issues you can affect and work on those the best you can. I do not know of this transgendered teen you speak of. I am sure there are more than enough of those events that do happen. But if you say it did happen, I will feel pity and pray for that person for that is all I can do for her now. She is in the after life where as there is little I can do for her here and now.

            That teen’s parents had chosen to reject her. That teen had chosen to end her own life. The incredable power to be able to chose what we do and all that goes with it elevates us over all other life on this world. Aniamals can’t chose, they are what they are. We can chose. That same teen could have chosen to leave her family and live life on her own. I feel that the power to be able to chose how we live our life is one of the greatest gifts we as humans ever gotten from God. However, great power comes with a price and that price is to take the results of the choices we make. The reason that Teen died was due to her own actions. Not God, not her parents, just herself.

            I have spoken enough about this and this isn’t the forum to continue this at. Good day to you Mr. or Mrs. TH.

          • TH

            Not only do you separate and elevate yourself from animals (you are a mammal, by the way, which is still considered an animal at this current time), you also contradict yourself by stating that “animals” don’t have the ability to choose, but you, as a human, do for potentially some supernatural reason. Are you saying that animals can’t choose what to eat, where to sleep, how to bathe, who they mate with, where they make their home, or whether they lick or bite your hand? I think it’s quite clear that they can make the same kind of “choices” that you do.

            “The reason that Teen died was due to her own actions. Not God, not her parents, just herself.”

            How convenient.

            So you’re stating the teen’s decisions had NOTHING to do with her PAST LIFE EXPERIENCES OR BIOLOGY, in other words her parents and their teachings from ‘god’ and being born transgendered. There’s no learning to be done here. After all, your experiences could not possibly change who you are or inform your decisions.

            At this point, I could not care less about your prayers or whether or not you are impressed with my truthfulness, because it is quite clear that you’re just another cog in some machine created by people you will never meet and have “chosen” to completely shut off your brain, WHICH WAS INFLUENCED BY YOUR EXPERIENCES AND BIOLOGY. You must have been born an adult, because your parents had no hand in your growth or your decision-making, just like the teen’s.

            Just another example of a believer picking and choosing whatever they want to convey a fake and inflated sense of positivity and superiority. There is nothing to say to someone who doesn’t want to think and would rather pray than finding REAL solutions to problems like this.

          • Taxil Necrobane

            You speak of thought and of reasoning, but what you have posted shows nothing of that but pure emotions. From the way you post sounds to me that you have experienced a traumatic event in your life and your posting is a way to vent your various emotions. That is fine, I am a mature man and can take it. More so if in the end if this allows you to get your feelings and thoughts off your mind to produce a cathartic experience for you. I want you to feel better so go ahead and let it all out Mr. or Mrs. TH.

          • I have absolutely no desire to manipulate anyone either. I am not a democrat or republican, and I don’t trust most politicians. I am not affiliated with any religion or religious group. I don’t deny ANYONE their right to be who they are, whether straight, homosexual, transgender, etc… Ironically to the point you keep bringing up about homosexuality and transgenders, I do identify as a woman on the inside, born with a male body and all my life I knew something felt wrong with myself, but I found peace with myself, my inner and outer, and with ‘God’, no matter what choice I decide to make with my body. Only the sickest and most non-understanding people out there say you will be judged on account of the appropriate ‘gender role’ someone chooses for Themselves.

            Getting away from that now, yes we are not angels, and Earth is definitely not paradise in most mental or physical states. We have created ‘hell’ here because of our non-understanding of others, and I don’t mean hell in a literal sense of a fiery place where bad people go when they die. Earth can be a very mental and physical hell, but it can also be a very sublime and joyous celebration of being alive in ‘heaven’ (again, not in the literal definition).

            If you enjoy calling yourself a ‘dumb organism’ that is just clinging onto your everyday ‘ritual’ called ‘life in this Universe’, that isn’t going to bother me one bit. I don’t claim to know what happens when we die (if anything), where we go (if anywhere), or if I will ever even see what I refer to as ‘God’ in a physical form. But here on Earth as I’m living and clinging to the Universe my goal is to be as accepting and understanding as I possibly can, all the while accepting your free speech, not just in a constitutional manner, but in a humanistic Universal manner.
            Yes holding a flag of peace is easy, being very negative with myself in the past I had to find a balance within myself and within the Universe, and once I did my mind started truly flowing freely and happily. No, knowing ‘God’ has not taken all of my depression away nor has it made me the happiest person alive, but it has given me an understanding of myself, much like the idea of Atheism might give others a better truer understanding of themselves, and I would never try to take that away from anyone, especially if it prevented them from harming themselves and being a happier person.

            I’ll say it one more time, ‘God’ is not a bad thing and ‘Atheism’ is not a bad thing, we know what we know, we feel what we feel, and we are who we are in 7 billion different ways. Yes many corrupt Religious leaders, corrupt politicians, racists, and war mongers make everything seem pointless here, and even more of a reason to not believe in anything, but that tiny percentage doesn’t represent the entire World. Positivity and Negativity will always be within the balance of our human nature, but a better understanding ourselves could create a much better planet for us all to live on no matter what we believe, as long as we are good caring people.

          • TH

            By rituals, I was referring to faith, not “life in this Universe”. Please do not misquote me.

            http://www.cnn.com/2014/12/31/us/ohio-transgender-teen-suicide/

            “”We don’t support that, religiously,” Alcorn’s mother told CNN on
            Wednesday, her voice breaking. “But we told him that we loved him
            unconditionally. We loved him no matter what. I loved my son. People
            need to know that I loved him. He was a good kid, a good boy.””

            Her parents loved ‘him’ no matter what, as long as ‘he’ didn’t dress up or act like a ‘girl’. How convenient.

            Why did you feel negative about yourself in the past? Was it not environmental influences that caused you to feel negative? How much of that negativity was due to people with different views than you whom were attacking things about you that were completely superficial? How many of those people were or are religious? I guarantee that most of them were and no religious teachings would have taught them otherwise. Most believers hold the idea of compassion on their sleeves, only to take it away, when things begin to conflict with their regurgitations of scripture or what is usually the case, if it just makes them subjectively uncomfortable.

            Prejudice is a natural thing that will never go away. So when that prejudice is mixed with an inflated sense of worth through the original teachings of people who had no sense of equality, then we have people like yourself being shamed and destroyed.

            Do you think you could walk into any current major religious establishment and reveal yourself as feeling that you are female with a male’s body and be welcomed with open arms from every single person? What percentage of success do you think you would have?

            If you are going to affiliate with any type of faith, specifically the belief of any one god, you cannot simply ignore the gruesome history and its current influence on everything that we do as a global community. That ‘tiny percentage’ are and have been quite powerful at manipulating vast swaths of ignorant and desperate people in the name of their god, while ultimately leading to the downfall of “their” societies. How many children, whom have all the potential and capability to better themselves, have and are destroyed by this way of thinking?

            While your ‘god’ has given you a sense of understanding, have you not simply closed a door elsewhere? Can you imagine the idea that there is no ‘god’? If you cannot, then there is no point in further discussion, which is the end goal of any religion. Just abide by the rules and don’t talk about it. Everything is fine. Go about your business, just come to church every Sunday, leave your penance in the form of money, and then peace be with you in a world of turmoil. Smile through your teeth as the less fortunate clearly could not have been anything more than what they ‘chose’ to be, because, their biology and experiences lacked god or something.

            There is no proof that living in the absence of the teachings of a god makes you a “worse” person. Faith, on the other hand, has been proven to be both a positive and negative thing to our existence. That should be enough to be skeptical about it, at the very least.

    • Tipsy

      The important thing is that you’ve managed to find a way to feel superior to the religious people, and the atheist people.

      It’s also interesting to note that ‘strident’ atheism upsets you more than female genital mutilation, the world wide religious subordination of women, the repression of human sexuality, and the list goes on.
      That’s very big of you.

  • This is about as sane, amazing and uniting as you already know…;]

  • i have some Questions About Globular Clusters and what role they play in galactic evolution i am just a amateur astronomer in Canada we have had a cold winter during this time I have done some reading about them as they are an object i enjoy to image.
    as this is what triggered my curiosity. is it From my understanding They are clusters of some of the oldest stars in the galaxy they also orbit the galactic core as satellites around the halo of the galaxy. there are some suggestions that say globular clusters and dwarf spheroidal may not be clearly separate and distinct types of objects. but then i have read that their role in galactic evolution are still unclear? Could they be formed at the start of a galactic evolution and is there any examples? since they are some of the oldest stars in the galaxy so would that make sense? . They are closer to the core then open clusters. Could they be formed from stellar size black holes? do stellar size black hole appear more in the inner halo region or the outer region.? i am sorry for all the questions.i would be curious to here your reply on the subject

    Thank you kindly

  • Patrick R

    Eugene looks like Richard Dawkins’ son.

    • Taxil Necrobane

      He does not have a son, just a daughter. Or if he did have one, it will prove that he has a darker part of his life we have yet to know of, but would be blasted on the tabloids in a heart beat.

    • moose

      He looks like Andy Serkis.

  • wayne

    20 minutes into the show it is going fantastic really enjoying it. the comedy is laid back great

  • wayne

    what’s a show bravo bravo

  • Jim

    Yea, that’s what I’m saying, let’s go in space

  • Debbie De La Cruz

    I’ve read that recently Bill Nye has stated that GMO crops are not a problem. This seems contradictory to me. GMO crops affect the rest of the environment so I do see them as a problem.

    • Taxil Necrobane

      I have noticed that there has been an uptick in food allergies, ADHD, autistic and more that co-insides with the increase with GMOs in our food supply. I will make no claims but I just wish that scientist take a firm and serious look into this possible connection. A long, perhaps years long to get all the details report.

    • Alessandro

      No they don’t ‘affect the rest of the environment’. If you think they do, show the evidence, don’t just quote fear-mongering BS.
      Bill changed his mind as any good scientists should when dealing with good information (evidence).

      Humans have genetically modified food since humans existed, only by trail and error (bananas n cattle to name 2). Now, thanks to science, we can genetically modify EXACTLY what we want, EXACTLY where we want.
      Stop reading the nonsense given out to scare people and find out from science what GMO really is, an effective way to get more food out of less resources with less pesticides, the pesticides which are the real environment problem.

  • Alonzo Whitehall

    This was so good. This is probably one of the few science-related things I’ve shown to my wife that she’s able to tolerate and stay engaged with and it’s specifically BECAUSE of the comedy. She’s actually not a huge comedy buff, but that’s the thing about comedy – if it hits you the right way you can suddenly be on the floor. Jim Gaffigan’s comments send her into fits of giggles.

    Anyway, the end result is that because of a comedian, my wife is more appreciative of the science stuff!

    The show does what many don’t. I see a lot of science content out there with utterly painful attempts at comedy. This doesn’t fail. It delivers quality comedy. The discussions have room to breathe and explore, but are also kept in check by hilarious people with no respect for authority! It’s a great blend, a much needed mix, and I can totally understand (and disregard) those who don’t get it because they don’t yet see the beauty in this.

    I love the show. Can’t wait to see the video version as well, especially for these live shows.

  • Tipsy

    The commentators on religion here strike me as incredibly parochial. They basically say that ‘militant’ atheism as referring to Dawkins is really ‘bad’.

    Simultaneously they have said nothing about the Catholic rape campaign, their efforts to keep AIDS going strong in Africa by preeching the sinfulness of condom use, or how about overwhelmingly Islamic terrorism, mostly inflicted on other muslims in muslim countries, but affecting the west too?

    Or just the general surrender of the mind that a religious person makes when they think that a holy book is unimprovable, and the total incompatibility of every religious text with what we know about reality. I’ll stick to the Abrahamic monotheisms, e.g. Mohammed is said to have flown on a winged horse and split the moon in two.

    And besides that, and the real bad things that happen only because they are written in holy books which, for some, it’s socially acceptable to pretend are the unalterable word of the creator of he universe, people come here and say Dawkins’ brand of ‘militant’ atheism is obnoxious?

    That shows a startling lack of perspective and western egocentrism, as we are generally the people who suffer the least from religion, though we aren’t yet free from it.

    I would prefer to only talk about the science but seeing as others got this debate going in the wrong direction, I had to do my part to grab the rudder and steer us back to reality.

  • Tipsy

    Hey Startalk, maybe you could have someone with a iPad or something recording the questions that get unanswered because of comedic interruptions, then at the end of the show have them read out to the panel and ask if they want to say anything to those questions.

    That would solve the whole issue in my mind.

  • Derek

    These are my idols. My desire to study science is driven mostly by Neil and Richard, but my political and religious points of view as well as culture are driven by Richard and Bill.

  • Erik Edwards

    I guess Richie hasn’t read the anything in the last few years re:this – http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/619316.stm

    • startalkradio

      Thanks for sharing that interesting article, Erik. The possibility that to maintain their immunity to HIV might require constant exposure still seems to offer some measure of hope and a path for continued study.

  • Erik Edwards

    And Neil saying the appendix is vestigal (or any other organ for that matter) musn’t have read this http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2009/07/090730-spleen-vestigial-organs_2.html or anything else in the last 5-10 years.

  • Taxil Necrobane

    You think those of faith don’t get bullied or persecuted by atheist too? The abuse goes both ways and I will point it out when it does. Or would you prefer when the abuse and mocking only goes against those of faith? It’s common enough for Christians to be the punch line in modern media and blaming and bashing the Jewish people I have not seen since the 1930’s. How about growing a thicker skin? I will repeat it, ‘If you can’t say something nice, it is better to say nothing at all’?

  • Napoleonicus

    lol the nurdrage wasn’t appropriate. IT WAS Luke in the tauntaun, because he cut the belly with a lightsaber which no one other than jedis use

  • haydar

    Why do you think intelligence evolved on land instead of in water? Is life easy in water?

  • guitarmanmike

    Is there anywhere to get a full video version of this event?

    I find it hard to concentrate on the talks when someone has gone through the audio and cut out many of the ‘ums’, thought pauses, laughs or comedic interruptions just to squeeze in more advertisement time and keep the episodes under an hour. Please just leave the entire talk as original and make them an hour and ten minutes each instead. It feels gross when I heard audio cuts and then speech or questions take a left turn, it makes it feel too much like a show rather than a “radio” or “live” event which should not be edited or censored for the sake of advertisers or advertisement. For example at 49:15 they were talking about over-population but then it suddenly switched to Neil asking about the evolution of humans in the future, I feel like there was some discussions in-between those two topics which were cut out.

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  • Vahid

    The program is great. However, I had hard times listening to it. Bill Nye is usually informative and funny on most of the programs I’ve seen him in. However he appears less than satisfactory in this program, to put it in a prudent manner! If he is not a biologist which he isn’t, why does he keep interjecting and interrupting and doesn’t let Richard talk. And he even keeps insisting against Dawkins’s scientific correction when he comes up with something seemingly speculative such as dangers of in-species vs inter-species breeding (and embarrassingly speculative since he mislead the audience by mentioning it as a peer-reviewed fact). The man has more than enough contributions to promote science in the society, for someone like me, to tip my hat to. However this kind of attitude and interrupting the scientific expert on the topic, i.e. Dawkins, belongs to a village elder rather than a scholarly figure! Also two of the comedians seem to be more interested in interrupting with any (high or low quality) joke rather than letting the satire be complementary to the flow of a serious and informative talk.

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