In ‘Dawkins, Hitchens and Other Hidden Treasures of YouTube’ on 28th August, Dean Robertson presented an eclectic selection of entertaining and enlightening clips from the vast archive of atheist, rationalist, humanist and skeptical lectures and discussions available on YouTube.
Dean was only able to show relatively short clips, mostly taken from much longer lectures and debates, due to time constraints during the evening, so we’ll provide details in this post of the clips shown and you can check out the longer versions at your leisure.
Dean kicked off the evening with a quick look at a couple of whacky conspiracy theory videos:
(And just in case these clips do make you anxious, here’s one that debunks this particular conspiracy theory: ‘Debunked: ChemTrails and ChemClouds’ )
(An explanation for this particular mystery is offered here: ‘Hunt the Boeing!’ (This link’s a webpage only).
3. Next we were treated to a short clip from ‘The Great Debate: The Storytelling of Science’. This full length video (the second half is linked in the description below the video on YouTube) from which the clip was taken features a panel of esteemed scientists, public intellectuals, and award-winning writers including science educator Bill Nye, astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins, theoretical physicist Brian Greene, Science Friday's Ira Flatow, popular science fiction writer Neal Stephenson, executive director of the World Science Festival Tracy Day, and Origins Project director Lawrence Krauss as they discuss the stories behind cutting edge science from the origin of the universe to a discussion of exciting technologies that will change our future.
From a congenial discussion/debate on to a couple of adversarial ones:
4. Intelligence Squared Debate - The Catholic Church Is A Force For Good In The World This debate features two accomplished atheist rhetoricians: Christopher Hitchens and Stephen Fry challenging Archbishop Onaiyekan (of Abuja, Nigeria) and Ann Widdecombe.
5. William Lane Craig vs Christopher Hitchens - Does God Exist? Dean showed short clips of Craig and Hitchens in action during this debate, but in contrast with the debate above, Hitchens was outmanoeuvred this time, due to Craig’s highly accomplished debating technique. Atheists/agnostics who’ve been more successful in challenging Craig in debate include Arif Ahmed, Eddie Tabash, Stephen Law, Shelley Kagan, Bart Ehrman and Peter Millican.
6. Dean recommended the following link for locating around 600 more debates: http://worldviewnaturalism.com/debates/
7. A bit of humour next from comedian, Dave Allen in Dave Allen on first contact with God
8. Many top universities now offer free video lectures and courses online, with most of their videos duplicated on YouTube. Dean featured some short clips from Yale’s university courses (1,176 videos), with his examples taken from the following courses: ‘Death’, ‘Frontiers and controversies in astrophysics’, and ‘Introduction to the Old Testament (Hebrew Bible)’.
9. ‘The way Richard Feynman explained science was amazing’ is a classic piece of vintage Feynman. Do check out some other Feynman clips for entertaining easy-to-understand explanations of complicated physics.
10. Next we were shown a disturbing scene from the documentary ‘Jesus Camp’. The specific clip shown was entitled ‘Harry Potter is the Devil!’, but most or all of the documentary can be found in parts on YouTube.
11. We didn’t have time to show the intended clip from ‘Cosmos by Carl Sagan’ but the complete series is officially available on YouTube.
12. The Atheist Experience is a regular video podcast show in which the atheist presenters take calls from the general public (usually theists) and answer their questions. In this clip from ‘The Atheist Experience #693’, the presenters engage with a theist who believes in miracles.
13. Next, televangelists Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron explain how the banana is a perfect example of God’s creation (‘The Atheist’s Nightmare’, no less!). Both were apparently oblivious to the fact that the modern banana is the result of thousands of years of human selection/hybridisation, and that wild bananas are barely edible. Watch ‘Kirk Cameron and bananas’.
14. You’re in for a surprise if you’ve not come across the Mcgurk effect before, and it’s just one of many intriguing optical effects revealed in the BBC Horizon episode: “Is Seeing Believing?”
And now a couple of clips that show the lengths Creationists go to to deny evolution.
16. In Children's video about dinosaurs: Creation Science, Ken Ham explains how Noah took baby dinosaurs on the Ark!
17. In Molly Lewis Stephen Fry, Molly Lewis serenades Stephen Fry accompanied by her ukulele(?) and an amusing lyric.
18. If you’re overawed by the size of our universe, Neil de Grasse Tyson puts it all in perspective for us in Neil de Grasse Tyson your ego and the cosmic perspective
19. And finally, although we didn’t show it on the evening, Dean really recommends (if you don't mind swearing) Tim Minchin's Storm the animated movie