Richard Dawkins & AC Grayling discuss evidence for the supernatural at Oxford ThinkWeek

Richard Dawkins and AC Grayling discuss whether there can ever be evidence for the supernatural in an unmoderated, unrehearsed armchair discussion. The event was sponsored by the British Humanist Association, and organised as a part of Oxford Think Week by the Oxford Atheists, Secularists and Humanists (OxASH) in conjunction with Oxford Humanists, Oxford Skeptics in the Pub and Oxford Sea of Faith.

15 thoughts on “Richard Dawkins & AC Grayling discuss evidence for the supernatural at Oxford ThinkWeek

  1. Some of the most intelligent people in the world speaking, and someone forgot to turn off their mobile phone!!! LOL

    Seriously though, a very nice discussion. Am reading my copy of God Delusion on the train today, it’s great to have 2 doses of Dawkins on one day, keeps me sane!! Many thanks for posting this, I could follow most of it, but sometimes might need to pause & get a dictionary!

  2. The idea that there are an infinite number of universes with all possibilities realised is nonsense. I consider the Many-Worlds interpretation to be correct. However, there’s an evolutionary process at work to shrink down the possibilities (Wikipedia’s entry for Einselection is a good start). I wish Richard Dawkins would write a book about this application of “natural selection” :)

  3. Excellent discussion. Plus, a good illustration of the reason for everyone at a recording, especially speakers next to microphones, to turn OFF their phones rather than put them on silent.

  4. Love these armchair discussions. Much more civilised than talk, then rebut. Those have too many points raised to answer point by point. Lovely people too. How can the fundies hate them?

  5. The question at 47 minutes “Does an infinite number of universes mean that god is likely to exist in one of them?”

    The answer is simple. An infinite number of universes only means that everything that CAN happen will. If something has a probability of zero then it will not occur in any of them. So to answer “Yes” it must first be proven that god is possible, and then that there really are an infinite number of universes.

    The question which interests me is, is there a parallel universe in which Dawkins is a theist :)

  6. “There is a theory which states that if ever anybody discovers exactly what the Universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable. There is another theory which states that this has already happened.” This is the answer to pan dimensional problems. If it will happen it has already happened.

  7. Does this mean that Richard Dawkins has joined me and has moved from a 6.9 to a 7 on the Dawkins scale of belief in a supernatural deity?

  8. What *about* the Contact kind of proof? It seems like a clear message in a reasonably simple or well-motivated encoding in a fundamental mathematical constant would be strong evidence that there was some agency with predictive power approaching omniscience (if it is able to know at creation the form at least one of our languages will take) that put together the laws of mathematics in the first place. After personally verifying the calculations (including the probabilities involved), I think that would be enough to convince me.

  9. Thinking about the idea of a bitmapped picture in some of the digits of pi, this question occurred to me:

    Given that an irrational number, represented as a decimal, is a string of numbers which never repeats, is it the case that any arbitrary substring of numbers must occur sooner or later? That is, will it always be that somewhere the numbers will map on to a circle with a diagonal line through it, or any other symbol you care to choose?

    Someone must have worked this one out…

  10. @TheRationalizer

    A probability of 0 does not mean that the event cannot occur. Just imagine choosing a random number, the probability of choosing 65 is 0, but it does not mean it cannot happen.

  11. @Visitar

    A probability of 0 means precisely that something cannot occur, 1 means it always happens.

    If I choice a random number between 0 and 64 the probability of 65 is 0.
    However if the choice is between 0 and infinity the probability of choosing 65 is * infinitesimal* but not zero, thus it could happen

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