October 18, 2006 | 50 Comments
“Devout Catholic” Stephen Colbert vs Richard Dawkins, on the Colbert Report last night:
Colbert: My guest tonight is a scientist who argues that there is no God. Well you know what *he’ll have an eternity in hell to prove it!
Please welcome . . . Richard Dawkins!
Thank you for coming on . . . I’m so excited to have you . . . I have to admit, I thought I was getting Daryl Dawkins.
Dawkins: [Laughs, puzzled].
Colbert:Chocolate Thunder . . . I’m not sure if you’re familiar with . . . ah, no,
Dawkins: Usually they say they were expecting a man in wheelchair who can’t talk.
Dawkins: They confuse me with Stephen Hawkins.
Colbert: Stephen Hawkins. Oh, Stephen Hawkins. Okay. Is he going to hell, too?
Dawkins: I reckon so.
Colbert: Yeah, maybe so, maybe so . . . God doesn’t like black holes. Alright. Um. Your book started off great, okay? It’s got a shiny silver cover, and I can see my face in it.
But after that, I got pretty upset, okay? You say that God is . . . it’s called “The God Delusion.” Alright, and you say that there is no God. That God is a myth, and that religion is corrosive.
Dawkins: Well, I say that God is very, very improbable. You can’t actually disprove God . . .
Colbert: RIGHT!! ‘Cause He exists! No matter how much you fight, there’s still a little bit of Him left.
Dawkins: You can’t disprove anything. You can’t disprove the Flying Spaghetti Monster, you can’t disprove Thor with his hammer, you can’t disprove Zeus, or Poseidon . . .
Colbert: Oh, those are Pagan Gods. They don’t exist.
Dawkins: Yeah, that’s right.
Colbert: They don’t exist.
Dawkins: You’re an atheist about all those Gods . . . everybody here’s an atheist about all those Gods. Some of us just go one God further.
Colbert: Wow. Bold.
Alright, so let’s hear it. There is no God . . . our belief in Him is a delusion . . . the world and the universe was created by a series of random acts . . .
Dawkins: Oh, no no no.
Colbert: . . . we’re all just monkeys and we should fornicate and throw our feces.
Dawkins: Well, you’re right. That’s up to you.
Colbert: Those are your greatest hits, right? I’ve encapsulated the book basically right there, right?
Dawkins: It’s up to you. But you mustn’t say that it’s all due to random chance. That’s the one thing it isn’t. Because Darwinian natural selection is the exact opposite of random chance. It’s a highly non-random process. The big thing that everybody misunderstands about Darwinism is that they think it’s chance, they think it’s an accident. It’s not an accident.
Colbert: It’s too complex for us to perceive . . . you know, it’s like, I know a Pachinko machine isn’t an accident either, there’s a reason why it bounces from nail to nail, but it looks random to me, right?
Dawkins: Nothing in nature looks random. Nothing in nature looks random.
Colbert: I want you to address my Pachinko analogy.
Dawkins: I’ve never even heard of it. What is that?
Colbert: Never heard of Pachinko? Oh, it’s like Japanese pinball.
Colbert: They’re great. They make pornographic versions of it over there.
Dawkins: We call it bagatelle.
Colbert: Who, biologists or English people?
Dawkins: English people.
Colbert: Okay. Alright.
Um, obviously I’ve already played my hand here. I believe in God. And you don’t believe in God. So I’ve got that on you. So this is kind of unfair, because God’s on my side in this argument. But 95% of Americans believe that there is a God, okay? So doesn’t that disprove your argument, or else you don’t believe in democracy.
Dawkins: Well . . .
Colbert: Really . . . the people have spoken.
Dawkins: Democracy is fine for policy, but democracy is no good for science. You’d never . . .
Colbert: Oh, I’d disagree. I’d say the President would disagree also.
Dawkins: Well, you’ve got a point there. I have to give you that. You’re right
Colbert: Now you’re not a big fan of intelligent design either, I’m imagining.
Dawkins: I’m a very big fan of intelligent design for for man-made things, but I’m not a big fan of intelligent design for natural things.
Colbert: What do you mean? What’s the difference between those things? Aren’t we natural? We’re part of that natural order of things.
Dawkins: Yeah, that’s right. There’s no intelligent design in the natural order of things. There’s plenty of intelligent design in computers, and cars, and telephones, they’re all intelligently designed. And we are so stupid that we think that just because telephones and computers and cars are intelligently designed, that means we are too. Well, they’re not. And . . .
Colbert: Well, I’m more complex that my computer.
Dawkins: You certainly are.
Colbert: Right, so how could I be here . . . I mean . . . it’s either . . .
Dawkins: Well I’ll tell you . . .
Colbert: I’m lost. I’m lost. I’m lost. It hurts when I think. See, if I just think that God just (clapping hands) did it, that I can understand.
Dawkins: And who just did God, then?
Colbert: God is outside of time.
Dawkins: Ahhh . . . that’s so easy. You get away with that . . .
Colbert: No, it’s hard, it makes my brain sore.
Dawkins: . . . you can get away with that, and then you can explain anything.
Colbert: I can’t explain anything.
Dawkins: I can explain it. I can explain it by saying you get to complex things like you, by slow, gradual degrees. And that’s the only, ultimate explanation that will work. You can’t just suddenly magic complex things like God, into existence.
Colbert: But, if this is intelligent design, like say your book is intelligently
designed . . .
Dawkins: It is, by the way.
Colbert: . . . but the universe is not intelligently designed, then you’re saying the universe just naturally came into existence, continues existence, through natural laws of nature, through physics, thermodynamics, the laws of gravity and energy, produced you, eventually, and then through you produced this book that proves that it has no natural intelligent design.
Dawkins: Okay, let’s take that step by step.
Colbert: Oh, I don’t think we have time for step by step. You can either surrender or we can go.
Dawkins: You were right as far as when you got on to life. Life’s a very special thing. Life starts naturally, and then it increases in complex by slow, gradual degrees, that’s Darwinian natural selection.
Colbert: That’s because God breathed into it.
Dawkins: Oh no. That’s at best a superfluous hypothesis, and at worse, a highly unparsimonious one.
Colbert: Do both of those mean that you surrender? We’ve got to go, I’m sorry.
Richard Dawkins, thank you so much for being my guest .. The book is The God Delusion.