Tuesday, January 27, 2009

How can someone hate David Attenborough?

I’ve always associated my maternal grandfather with David Attenborough. Not because they look alike or even have anything in common, but because from the age of about six until I was fifteen or so, my “pap” and I spent every Saturday morning parked in front of the TV watching nature programming together on PBS.

Attenborough’s documentaries were always the best. It would definitely take a lot of “faith” to first imagine a loving and benevolent god and then to think that god has hatred for someone like Attenborough – bunch of whackaloons!

A few Attenborough quotes from the Guardian:

"They tell me to burn in hell and good riddance."

"It never really occurred to me to believe in God - and I had nothing to rebel against, my parents told me nothing whatsoever. But I do remember looking at my headmaster delivering a sermon, a classicist, extremely clever ... and thinking, he can't really believe all that, can he? How incredible!"

"They always mean beautiful things like hummingbirds. I always reply by saying that I think of a little child in east Africa with a worm burrowing through his eyeball. The worm cannot live in any other way, except by burrowing through eyeballs. I find that hard to reconcile with the notion of a divine and benevolent creator."

Similiar statements during television interview (YouTube)

"Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction."

-Blaise Paschal

This quote is often attributed, in error, to Sam J. Ervin, Jr. in "Protecting the Constitution." (1984).

5 comments:

  1. I hadn't seen that interview... thanks for posting it!

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  2. That might slightly give the wrong impression about our attitude to Sir David here in England - he's regarded pretty much as a saint over here, strictly non-religious, of course. Pretty much everything he broadcasts is superb, and there's so much of it. This weekend he'll do a documentary of Darwin "Charles Darwin and the Tree of Life" available on bbc iplayer from 1st Feb. Info here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/darwin/
    I'd also reccomend "What Darwin didn't know" especially if you like evo/devo.
    The BBC has provided a great season of programmes.
    And this coming Monday I'm going to see his house in Kent! Can't wait.

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  3. Although I was born in Liverpool, and went to college in Kent – I’ve never been to England. (Liverpool and Kent are also cities in Ohio, USA). Seeing his house would be a treat; I’m certain you’ll enjoy the trip.

    I’m a big fan of the BBC, their documentaries are great. They seem to do a good job with news broadcasting as well. We have a “BBC US” television channel here that I watch pretty regularly. The channel has plenty of documentaries about health, political and social issues but I’ve yet to catch any programs focused on nature or the natural sciences on the station. For those shows, I go to the web. As a side note – one of the programs I most enjoy on the BBC US station is called “The Dragon’s Den” and shows average citizens pitching inventions and business ideas to venture capitalists.

    I’m a little slow sometimes, are you saying that it gives the wrong impression because he receives the letters, or for another reason?

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  4. It's only that the number of people who cristicize him in any way is tiny - luckily the religious wackaloons in this country hold no sway at all. I'd be really interested to know what a scientist thinks of Armand Leroi's documentary - seems to me it me be scientfically controversial. As we know, biologists are a disputatious bunch, and I suspect that if it weren't for creationists attacking the whole idea of evolution, they'd be at each other all the time over the exact nature of Darwin's legacy, the role of natural selection etc but they need to provide a united front lest any argument be seen as an attack on the very idea of evolution (see the arguments over the current "New Statesman" cover).

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