Tag Archives: Richard Dawkins

Episode 155 – 28th September 2012

We speak to Ben Goldacre about his new book, Bad Pharma, find out what we can do now anti-choice activists are protesting again, hear what Dawkins had to say at the NSS conference, and discover the vaccine for whooping cough.



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Ben Goldacre Interview (2:10) by Liz Lutgendorff (ft Ben Goldacre!)
40 Days For Life Are Back (21:30) by James O’Malley (ft Lucy Porter & Kerry J)
Dawkins at the NSS Conference (26:12) by James O’Malley (ft Richard Dawkins)
Nature Deficit Disorder (34:13) by Martin Saban-Smith
Whooping Cough Vaccine (42:26) by Peter English
Rbutr (53:08) by Kylie Sturgess (ft Shane Greenup)

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National Secular Society 2012 Conference Podcasts

Recorded on the 22nd September 2012, these were the speeches given at the 2012 National Secular Society conference in London. We’re still waiting for permission to broadcast from a couple of speakers but most are there!

Professor Richard Dawkins
Richard Dawkins is a world famous Atheist, having authored several books and popularising Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution. He studies ethology which is the study of animal behaviour and evolutionary biology. Dawkins was the Professor for Public Understanding of Science from 1995 till 2008 at Oxford University. After retiring from this position, he now travels internationally giving lectures and making documentaries to increase Atheism awareness.


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Nia Griffith MP
Nia Griffith is Member of Parliament for Llanelli, Shadow Minister for Wales and a campaigner for Lords reform. She is a firm believer in the need for the separation of church and state.


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Nick Cohen
Nick Cohen is a journalist, author, political commentator and eloquent supporter of secularism. He is a critic of the increasing role of religion in state education and of the Left’s tendency to pander to religious fundamentalists. His latest work,You Can’t Read This Book, is on freedom of expression.


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Pragna Patel
Pragna Patel is a secular campaigner, founding member of Southall Black Sisters and co-founder of Women Against Fundamentalism. In 2010 Pragna received the Irwin Prize for Secularist of the Year on behalf of Southall Black Sisters.


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Peter Tatchell
Peter Tatchell has been campaigning for human rights, democracy, LGBT freedom and global justice since 1967. Through the Peter Tatchell Foundation, he campaigns for human rights in Britain and internationally. In 2012 Peter was awarded the Irwin Prize for Secularist of the Year.


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Maryam Namazie
Maryam Namazie is a secular campaigner and commentator, spokesperson for the One Law for All Campaign against Sharia Law in Britain and the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain. In 2005 she was awarded the Irwin Prize for Secularist of the Year.


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Professor Ted Cantle CBE
Ted Cantle is Professor at the Institute of Community Cohesion. His report into the northern riots of 2001 drew attention to the “segregated” ethnic and religious communities living ‘parallel’ lives. His new book confronts the failures of multiculturalism head on and establishes a new concept — interculturalism — for managing community relations in a world defined by globalization and super-diversity.


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Episode 140 – 15th June 2012

We speak to a number big names this week: Dan Dennett gives us his take on Alan Turing, former government chief science advisor Sir David King teases us about what really went on behind the scenes of the Iraq war, and Ben Hammersley explains why technology makes politics difficult. We also tackle Gove’s proposed new curriculum, archiving film for the future and find out if evangelical christian women really want to go out with Jesus?



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Get A Free Audio Book From Audible
We’re trialling partnering with Audible – sign up and get a free trial and you’ll get a FREE AUDIOBOOK! And you’ll also be helping the Pod Delusion, which is nice. Available audiobooks include Sam Harris’s Moral Landscape and Ben Goldacre’s Bad Science. Sign up here.

Dan Dennett on Turing (2:10) by Deborah Hyde (ft DAN DANNETT!)
Evolution: The New Classics (12:54) by Richard Dawkins
Sir David King Interview (16:22) by Liz Lutgendorff
Ben Hammersley Interview (26:29) by James O’Malley
Gove’s Curriculum (36:41) by Rob Weeks
The Digital Dilemma (45:14) by Glen Travis
Jesus Is My Boyfriend (52:49) by Jonny Scaramanga (ft Kylie Sturgess)
The sketch at the end is by David Lovesy and Brian Two

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Episode 123 – 17th February 2012

This week is a bit of a secularism special – punch your fist in the air at the Rally to Defend Freedom of Expression, find out about the perils of censorship in Nick Cohen’s new book and get the accurate story on the Bideford council prayers ruling. Plus we talk about a new survey showing Christians aren’t terribly Christian, find out why Alan Turing deserves a pardon and solve the mystery of which Sherlock Holmes adaption is best.


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Rally to defend Freedom of Expression (2:40) by James O’Malley & Liz Lutgendorff
(ft Richard Dawkins, Nick Doody, Kate Smurthwaite, Rhys Morgan, Joan Smith and Anne-Marie Waters)
Nick Cohen Interview (18:10) by Liz Lutgendorff & James O’Malley
Census Christians (28:54) by James O’Malley (ft Paula Kirby)
Bideford Council (37:35) by Liz Lutgendorff (ft Tessa Kendall)
Turing Pardon (45:00) by Peter Rowlett
Sherlock and Copyright (54:56) by Tom Hodden
The sketch at the end is by David Lovesy & Brian Two

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Rally To Defend Free Expression – 11th February 2012

In a very chilly Westminster today a rally was held to defend freedom of expression. Organised by the One Law For All campaign, it brought together a number of groups and individuals including many university atheist societies, the BHA, NSS, Richard Dawkins, Nick Cohen, Joan Smith and AC Grayling.

You can hear further coverage of the recent free-speech cases that have provoked this rally on The Pod Delusion’s weekly programme…


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Speakers listing…

We’re trying to crowdsource the names of speakers and their timing in the podcast above – so let us know in the comments below the speaker and the timecode if you happen to notice this.


Created with Admarket’s flickrSLiDR.

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December Round Up

It hasn’t been an especially busy month for James and I but we did manage to catch a few interesting events around London.  Generally, if we don’t get interviews at an event we still feel like we need to tell you about it.

Holy Quarks at the Wellcome Trust

So first up was Holy Quarks, put on by the Wellcome Trust.  It was a Saturday conference with music on the Friday, however we only made the Saturday event.  It was an interesting attempt at bridging the growing divide between science and religion.  The arguments that some people advanced at the conference was that they two can work together.  It started with an interesting talk (with lovely pictures) Felicity Powell who  put together the exhibition on charms.  While saying she was a rather secular person herself, she nonethless enjoyed working with such interesting objects – some extraordinarily tiny.  The highlight for us though, was Alom Shaha‘s talk on Science vs Religion in the Classroom.  It seemed to be the most honest of the talks of the day, arguing against what many of the speakers were trying to convey.   He told about the conflict in his classroom and gave every day evidence that there is a a conflict, or at least a very stated tension between what he has to teach and what many of his students believe.

I got slightly annoyed with the talk titled Science, Faith and Doubt: Lessons from history byThomas Dixon as I didn’t agree with the examples he used.  It’s rather easy to say there isn’t a conflict between religion and science in the 17th century (even with Galileo) as *everyone* had to be religious.  Even in the 18th century this was largely true.  Where the interesting conflict arises in the 19th century with the professionalization of science.  As well, he quoted a later version of Darwin’s On the Origin of Species, rather than the first edition.  This could be pedantry but it was this quote:

“There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.”

instead he quoted the sixth edition:

There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed by the Creator into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.

Which could be an entire lecture in itself.

I do enjoy these types of conferences and it is interesting to see what arguments are being used to bring the two – religion and science – together.  It is a worthy endeavour to see where there isn’t conflict to ensure that we aren’t succumbing to a fallacy but I think I’m going to need some more evidence before I believe there isn’t a problem.

Ghosts of Christmas Lectures Past

The second big event that we went to was the same day at the Royal Institution for The Ghosts of Christmas Lectures Past, MC’d by the seemingly omnipresent Robin Ince.  I’m beginning to think he’s actually The Doctor for his ability to fly around the country and put on so many shows.

We’ve been to quite a few events this year, covering them and recording them for you, our voracious listener and I can say that this was one of the best events of the year.  Robin and the RI had assembled a wonderful group of passionate science fans to present to us some of the best stuff from Christmas Lectures past.  Now, I am new to the whole Christmas Lecture thing and so I don’t have a favourite or even a deep knowledge of them.  However, I now have a new desire to trawl the RI archives and learn everything about them after this event.

So the format was pretty straight forward – Robin Ince hosted and introduced guests and they each gave a short talk on who was their favourite Lecturer or in the case of Helen Arney, their favourite technician!  Topped off by the fact that we were in the Faraday Lecture Theatre just made it a lovely night.  Matt Parker (who will also get a mention in the next section) probably got the most ooos and ahhs with the wave machine used in the first maths Christmas Lecture by Professor Sir Christopher Zeeman in 1978.  The dialogue between Professor Zeeman and the BBC about the use of formulae on screen was hysterical.

Adam Rutherford touched on a issue that is becoming more important to me: the brain and gaming.  As I’ve become increasingly interested in the Xbox and the gaming joy it provides, I have also been annoyed by the scaremongering of Dr. Susan Greenfield.  I even did a bit of a historical rant about it on our Questival Special. Adam’s use of Fruit Ninja to demonstrate how our brains change was excellent.  It will be interesting to see as the gamer population ages and takes over that of those non-gamers in editorial positions if this sort of thing will just go away.   It is nice to see someone standing up for it now though!

Another person who will make an appearance later on was Professor Andrea Sella from UCL who did marvellous things with bubbles and also was responsible for the ether left out for so long!

The brilliant thing about the lectures was the unabashed love song to science.  Everything was marked by a profound sense of joy and awe towards science.   The night seemed to capture the idea of wonder in science and how it is conveyed to a popular audience through these lectures.  It was an absolutely captivating event and one that I personally would love repeated.

Infinite Monkey Cage

I also managed to go to two Infinite Monkey Cage recordings, which were hilarious.  The first was with Nick Lane, the above mentioned Adam Rutherford and Tim Minchin.  The second was this week with Roger Highfield, Richard Dawkins and Mark Gatiss.   I think the BBC should never let go of the Infinite Monkey Cage; in fact it should have more science based programs.  Maybe a skeptical one too.  With a news-magazine format…

Anyway, you will be able to listen to both of these if they tickle your fancy.  A particular highlight was Richard Dawkins telling everyone to have a Merry Christmas – possibly because I know how much it must annoy the Daily Mail.

9 Lessons and Carols

The latest event was,  of course, 9 Lessons and Carols for Godless people.   What is becoming an annual event, with its fourth sell out year, was excellent.   For me, it is only when 9 Lessons comes around that it really does feel like Christmas.  I hope Robin never stops organizing them, or at least when he tires of it, passes the mantle on to other such science enthused comedians so we can continue to have our own unabashedly science and holiday fuelled festive celebration.

The only possible problem for me at any of these kind of events is that we generally see a lot of them throughout the year and so could potentially get repetitive.  However, largely this was brand new material from most of the comedians but there were also a lot of new faces for me which was excellent.

The entire night was lovely, the right sort of tone and honest celebration of both the festive season but also what we all love, science and geekery.   It’s hard to say who the highlights were as it was all pretty much brilliant.  Helen Keen was on form as usual – I admire the amount of history of NASA she knows.  Basically, I appreciate any healthy interest in history (we might be recording something with Helen in the new year, so watch out for that, maybe!).  The other Helen of the night,  Helen Arney’s clever swap of Santa for Cerny in a rendition of Santa, Baby was inspired (if you are lucky, you might get it hear it on the Infinite Monkey Cage on the 26th but only if they manage to secure the rights for the tune).    Another wonderful musical number was Gavin Osborn singing about Carl Sagan and Voyager 1 and 2.  Perhaps, made more resonant with me after our interview with Ed Stone!

As I mentioned above, Matt Parker makes another appearance with his talk about the two mathematicians that predicted the future.  As I said on Twitter, the self-referential graph material was inspired.  There’s a phrase that probably doesn’t get used a lot, unless perhaps, you know Matt Parker.  Another RI Ghosts of Christmas Lectures past alumni Andrea Sella had a rather….illuminated talk?  Which involved lighting gases on fire, including in a 4-5 ft test tube that belched flame out the top!   The final act of the night was Mark Thomas, who is always pitch perfect.  I had not seen the People’s Manifesto tour which is what he mainly talked about so I was at least very entertained.

There are still some 9 Lessons and Carols gigs left, though they are all sold out.  However, just keep an eye on Twitter as usually there are a few people who can’t make it and you can snap up some of the tickets.  But if you can’t make (or really, even if you do) you can always see Festival of the Spoken Nerd in the new year!

So that was our December!  Some familiar faces, Helen Keen, Helen Arney, Matt Parker and of course, Robin Ince who we hope are not getting terribly sick of us.   But also some new people who look forward to seeing much more of like Andrea Sella and Alom Shaha.  It was a very science-y December but the celebration of wonder and curiosity is what I really remember.   I hope I can keep up with all this next year, even though I should be starting my PhD in the history of the secular movement.  Luckily, the who overlap quite a bit so just expect long diversions into 19th century science history ;)

Happy Christmas and have a fantastic New Year!

Episode 88 – 10th June 2011

This week we have an exclusive clip of Richard Dawkins talking about the New College of the Humanities, a brief chat with PZ Myers, and we find out why James Thomas hasn’t washed for about three weeks now. And more!


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Richard Dawkins on the New College of the Humanities (1:15) by James O’Malley (ft an EXCLUSIVE clip of Dawkins talking about it)
PZ Myers interview (7:53) by James O’Malley and Liz Lutgendorff
Death of the Operating System (15:15) by Pete Hague
What are we running out of? (20:57) By Drew Rae
Germany’s lack of nuclear ambition (27:21) by Sven Rudloff
Nicked: The Nick Clegg Musical (38:20) by James O’Malley and Liz Lutgendorff
SmellyTweet (44:39) by James Thomas
Bad PR Predictions (49:22) by Michael Marshall
The sketch after the credits is by David Lovesy at TLC Creative

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Sam Harris & Richard Dawkins talk about The Moral Landscape

A special podcast of last night’s discussion at the Sheldonian Theatre in Oxford between Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris on Harris’ new book The Moral Landscape. The event was co-organised between CFI UK, the BHA, the RDFSR, Project Reason and Oxford Atheists, Secularists And Humanists.

We have also interviewed Sam Harris on our regular weekly programme. You subscribe to our regular weekly podcast here or find out more and stream it here..


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Follow The Pod Delusion on Facebook and Twitter to find podcasts of more lectures, talks and debates on similar themes and more!

Previous appearances by Richard Dawkins on the Pod Delusion: Episode 71, Episode 21, Darwin Day 2011

Episode 73 – 25th February 2011


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Cameron’s Arms Dealer Holiday (1:28) by James O’Malley (ft Anne Marie O’Reilly)
Dissing Dawkins (7:39) by Drew Rae
1023 On (Medical) Trial (14:02) by Sven Rudloff
No Gays At The Inn 2: The Revenge (21:58) by Nick Boorer
Anti-Features (27:41) by Salim Fadhley (ft Benjamin Mako Hill)
Genographic Project (35:37) by Kash Farooq
Christchurch Earthquake Eyewitness (39:47) by James O’Malley & Liz Lutgendorff

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Episode 71 – 11th February 2011



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DFID and the Pope (2:18) by Jon Treadway (ft Naomi Phillips)
Darwin Day Lecture (6:24) by Jon Treadway (ft Richard Dawkins & Armand Leroi)
Geek Manifesto (9:48) by James O’Malley (ft Mark Henderson)
Pentecostal Boot Camp (21:08) by Salim Fadhley (ft Tyler Bowden)
Risk Management (30:54) by Drew Rae & David Couch

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