Ep3: Climbing Mount Improbable – Growing Up in the Universe – Richard Dawkins

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100 Replies to “Ep3: Climbing Mount Improbable – Growing Up in the Universe – Richard Dawkins”

  1. I found that funny but a little annoying because of the rape implications (there are lots of stupid religious or liberal atheists out there that fling effortless and potentially destructive rape or rape support accusations at Dawkins).

  2. You should watch the second episode. The computer simulation of trial-and-error spider web design is guided by natural selection, not intelligence, yet it eventually produces an efficient result.

  3. Religious people dismiss, slander, ridicule, and attempt to discredit his life's work. All while having no idea what any of the facts or theories really are.He's pretty fucking nice to them I'd say…

  4. Climbing Mount Improbable – Growing Up in the Universe

    Oxford professor Richard Dawkins presents a series of lectures on life, the universe, and our place in it.

    Ep3: Climbing Mount Improbable – Growing Up in the Universe – Richard Dawkins

  5. Seriously though, I remember when these lectures were one of the TV highlights of Christmas every year – among the best things the Beeb ever put out. I remember watching these when they were first on – lovely stuff

  6. Stating that predators driving evolution through natural selection does NOT explain HOW camouflage is a result of evolution!!  
    I cannot find ANY intelligent explanation of how evolution is to credit for this amazing phenomenom of camouflage in nature.
    Seriously, to say that "Well, predators kept chasing and eating this particular butterfly, so one day it started making changes in its genes that one day would complete the transformation that made it appear as a dangerous foe to its predator.  And each generation that started looking different caused natural selection to make it less likely to be eaten."
    SO, HOW DID THE BUTTERFLY KNOW TO BEGIN THE TRANSFORMATION THAT WOULD TAKE A MILLION YEARS????
    HOW DID NATURAL SELECTION CAUSE ANY DIFFERENCE IN PREDATION WHILE THE DESIGN WAS STILL FORMATIVE???
    AND HOW DID IT KNOW HOW TO CHANGE ITS GENES TO CAUSE THE EXACT DESIGN THAT WOULD FOOL ITS PREDATORS????

    It doesn't make any freakin' sense!!

  7. Amazing! at 11:40 Dawkins' "Darwin Monkey Computer" program selects phrases acording to whether or not they resemble the "Target Phrase!" Therefore, the computer program selects with an end in mind!  Natural selection though, does NOT select with an end in mind!  Dawkins in this demonstration is proving that complexity REQUIRES a DESIGNER, in this case, the computer program designer. 

  8. If any of you are swallowing everything Dawkins says without critically questioning any of it, you are simply no better than that which you accuse theists of.
    Can you think of ANYthing you disagree with?

  9. I was held spellbound by these XMas Lectures back in 1991 and they started off my interest in evolution and origin of life.  

  10. I have the onerous task of pressing buttons all day because of scientists – I am a computer programmer. 🙂 – Great lecture series btw.

  11. Steve Shives brought me here :-). I'm sure I watched this live when it was first broadcast in the early 1990's. Good to see it again. Dawkins has the ability to explain complex things to a young audience with great ease.

  12. The computer program can easily be used against Dawkins, however, by using the example to trick little kids, Dawkins looks like a magician who is interested into nothing but to hide the truth. Even though the monkey/Shakespeare model is able to show the difference between single-step selection and cumulative selection, it is misleading in important ways. One of these is that, in each generation of selective 'breeding', the computer program's move toward the target is explicitly judged according to the criterion of resemblance to a distant ideal target, the phrase "More giddy in my desires than a monkey". In other words, the computer model is able to move toward the target NOT because of it is ability to move, BUT because of the movement (can change), the guidance (programmed to move purposely), and the goal/purpose (the destination/address) that tells the computer when to stop-. The program shows also that not knowing the purpose is not an argument of its non-existence. For instance, in our example here no one of the "phrase-generation/selective breeding" knows the goal, but the computer programmer, who is the creator in our case, knows very well the goal and he is able to force its creature to reach it. One can deny that his eye or her eye didn't move towards a purpose, but s/he will not take it out, and that because s/he is well aware of its purpose regardless his or her denial of it. Human also creates things following the same procedure: ability to put different things together and make them move under the effect of the creative idea, toward a purpose. Cars. cell phones, airplanes, for instance, are all made from different elements, but derive their greatness and value by embracing their purposes under the effect of a creative idea, and they all become pieces of junk when they loose their purpose. What passes from one generation to the other is the creative idea not the generation itself that dies in a very short of time. Also the ability to create is a high value totally independent of science as another high value, i.e. not because you are a scientist, therefore, you are a creator/inventor. Therefore, science in this case follows the creation and does not precede it, and remains, in the nest scenario. nothing but the attempt to understand the creation and decipher its purpose.

  13. I'm excited for my son to grow old enough to start comprehending his lectures! It's going to be tradition for our family to watch one or two of these a week during the holiday season. Thank you, Professor Dawkins and crew for these great videos people can still appreciate 2 decades later!

  14. I have no problem with natural selection. Its proven and i understand it. The issue I have is the amount of creative power we assign it. I can see how NS can go about giving variety and slight improvement to an existing eye..what I find hard to swallow is that eye magically transforming into an altogether different eye. I'm having trouble reconciling clever designs eg the eye with evolution. Evolution isn't intelligent but what it produces seems to be..how can that be?

  15. labelling everything "mother" and "daughter" is very annoying and sounds inappropriate, but otherwise this was an enjoyable and informative lecture.

  16. Wierd that Bernie would be on Colbert just a day after Elizabeth Warren. It's as if they're traveling together… Maybe she'll finally endorse him?

  17. Stephen: How bout Bernie, right?
    Warren: I prefer to dodge.
    Stephen: Will you endorse anyone?
    Warren: I'm just gonna dodge that one too.

    Answer the questions Elizabeth. We got you elected, we deserve to know why you're backtracking on your promise to endorse someone.

  18. I don't agree with Mitt Romney on policy, but at least he was respectable to some extent. Something like a John Kasich or a McCain. Trump is just a dispicable person.

  19. been adoring you for years . Just found this 80 program for students that i wll show my grandchildren . Because its so beautifuly done and it is good for them to hear English spoken correctely. A rarity today

  20. Probability of the program randomly getting the phrase in a short amount of time is almost nothing, but what if it had done it?
    Do you think Dawkins would have really done all those things he said?
    The chance, though next to none, was there.

  21. At 12:03– "The computer then "LOOKS"…"AND THEN CHOOSES""…See, now to me that sounds a bit like intelligent design. To make a choice you need thoughts. I'm not a creationist but I see the flaws in natural selection. There is something out there that thought us up somehow…

  22. Awww, he's such a wonderful weirdo in this lecture. ^-^ Not phased in the least by the stick insect on his head: he just keeps right on going with the lecture. x'D

  23. 4:46 "6 times 6 times 6 probabilities" Illuminati confirmed XD But on a rather serious note: Great lecture! I wish I had a teacher like him..

  24. I hope these children got a lot out of this. I'm so envious. My parents taught me to fear and hate science, and told my sister and me to disrupt class and tell the class my 8th grade teacher was lying whenever he mentioned "evolution"… I didn't do it. But my younger sister apparently did at first, until she was ordered to stop. I am so embarrassed. Now I'm in my 20s and am hungry for this knowledge. It's so beautiful to learn

  25. that awesome but it doesn't contradict that there is a creator. all creatures devolop and evolve depending on the condition they live in, but still god created human being and animals and everything and they are still evolving 🙂

  26. I've added these lectures to my list of science videos to educate my students about the beauty of science.

  27. I like this Dawkins much better than Dawkins the atheism apologist. It's better to say positive things.

  28. 21:41 cue the religious music – RD crescendo, old-time preacher-like… cringe, simultaneously smile with appreciation. Yeah, DNA is awesome.

  29. 15:20… RD makes a mistake. Sitting at the bottom of Mt. Improbable as a rudimentary ancestor, one has already acquired perfectly adequate fitness to one's own (very permissive) environment. Being blind, boneless, and altogether very clumsy, this ancestor has not yet acquired fitness for our modern (post-Cambrian) environment.

  30. 22:00 "DNA cums like an everflowing river down the generation." Lol this statement could be taken literally and work just as well.

    Edit: cums.

  31. Anyone think it was really adorable how Dawkins laughed at his own joke at 10:59?!
    (PS – as someone formally education themselves on evolution after years of religious brainwashing in a private school system, I think you for allowing me to open my mind and embrace my existence fully)

  32. so it seems that lens has do develop together with an eye so some transparent material has to cover half eye before you get to pin hole right? i think that thing wasn't told so clear or else naughtylus could get perfect eye too and not be stuck

  33. "The stick insect fits its environment like a lock"…..This statement sound like it would be more appropriate under Intelligent design than evolution?

  34. Who sets the target phrase and check which is right or wrong in real evoultionary steps?
    This analogy is complete nonsense according to dawkins' own explanation of how evolution works.
    So called "unguided random process"

  35. These lectures were way ahead of their time, love Richard Dawkins. The voice of a British Lord is always the best way to explain science.

  36. There is no such thing called a gradual lock!!! There is either one lock with 3 digits or 3 locks with 1 digit each. What a cheap way he uses to mind wash youth.

  37. Seeing how good he was with the children, without the least bit of condescension, raises his stock even further in my opinion.

  38. I would almost be compelled to move to the UK just so my children are raised speaking English and they can watch these lectures as they grow up.

  39. I have always thought that evolution is some wild random coincidences. But Richard clearly pointed out that there is another way nature had done it. Thank you so much !!!

  40. I am probably the smartest person in the world…. especially compared to Dawkins, Hitchens, Harris…. you can even ask them, well except for Hitchens, but they'll tell you that I'm the smartest… well maybe they would, but I'm not sure I've let them in on this yet… but if I had, they would probably act like they've never heard of me at all to protect my genius… seriously I'm just like, whoa, so smart…. its pretty crazy… but I cant tell let anybody really see how smart I am or they would try and kill me like a Frankenstein monster, so just take my word for it… seriously, I'm like uber smart.. and stuff… I have the best words too

  41. I like to try and fathom how folding that piece of paper in lesson 1. 50 times would create a thickness that would reach the orbit of mars and that bacteria dividing for a week have created more bacteria than the number of atoms in the known universe. It’s facts as such that I can’t conceptually grasp that help me entertain the time involved to make complex evolution possible.

  42. Take a stadium that holds 70,000 people. How long would the line to get in be in single file if each person occupied a two foot space. You’ll say “no way”! Stuff like this I find interesting.

  43. Incredible presentation! Thank you Professor Dawkins. Lucky kids. I hope Professor that you can be gratified now in your older age that you have contributed to humanity more than any religious leader (in my humble opinion). You are courageous to continue to teach the people who are willing to listen to reason, evidence and truth (science vs. religion).

  44. After light sensitive cells grew into pairs of functional eyeballs, and found their way in sockets in optimum location in the forehead, some optic nerves started to appear, longing after connecting themselves to the brain, in the same way that weeping willows roots are going in search of water. It is not certain though if it's not the brain that would have looked for the eyes. Just like the egg and the chicken and the order in which they came. Atheist Dawkins has achieved a lot given that he is assuming that his atheist brain could only be an unintelligently designed designoid object. Atheist Darwinist evangelist Dawkins is preaching comic book mythology.

  45. After sitting through the awe inspiring eye and wing explanations/demonstrations I know there are some people who would still just watch this with their fingers in their ears and their eyes/minds closed tightly

  46. awesome. but on earphones it seems like the audio goes from right to left back and forth.. might just be me. lol. O_O;

  47. Dawkins is a classic example of somebody who is very good in their own field but seems to fail to realise that a 'field' is just that – one element of truth in a whole muddled patchwork – even most physicists would be unlikely to claim that there is no higher mind out there somewhere – please stop this lazy forcing of one's way into other disciplines and fascistic moulding of those things we do know into a philosophical 'gesamtkunstwerk'

  48. Am I the only one who found all that clapping awkward at the end? Is that just a British thing? I can imagine the producers saying "Okay everyone, we're going to end with a minute-long clip of everyone clapping so just keep it up until I say stop. Ready? Go!"

  49. Every demonstration was massively over simplified ignored all accompanying design detail but a single characteristic and it was all intelligently designed. Saying "evolution of the eye is so quick and easy" and "eyes can evolve at the drop of a hat".. are so stupidly ignorant understatements of the real problem they are akin to claiming you could add a whole topic to the Encyclopedia Britanica by random mutations to the whole 24 volumes..! He obviously has not the slightest idea about the design of the feather and we never see anything half way between a scale and a feather. We now know from Fred Hoyle's "The Mathematics of Evolution" as an atheist Hoyle establishes mathematically errors accumulate in the genome and cannot be eliminated by an evolutionary process. This has been demonstrated to be correct by observation which at the present means the human genome accumulates on average 100 non-lethal but still bad mutations per generation and we are as a species like many other large genome species not evolving but going extinct. Information does not even get a mention.. He fails to mention his (Atheist) belief Mass + Energy = Information in clear violation of Shannon's Law. I don't think he knows anything about it.. and apparently neither does anyone commenting here.. This is one huge exercise in ignorance, magical imagination and blind faith.

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