1. says

    I’m waffling on whether or not to watch it. I don’t ever want to watch Fox News. Ever. I hate the thought of contributing even one iota to their ratings. Moreover, it will undoubtedly be placed online tonight, if not under an hour later so I can easily watch it then.

    Can’t wait to see the hell Dawkins gives the bigoted moron O’Reilly.

  2. says

    Dare I ask that someone, please, would be so insanely kind as to capture and repost said clip for those of us living in the wrong hemisphere?
    … and in spite of that geographical dislocation, would still love dearly to see O’Reilly have his own head handed to him by one of the finest academics and speakers?

  3. Peter Kemp says

    Whatever happens, Richard’s integrity will not be impugned on an intellectual/scientific level but I must qualify that by saying that if ever the phrase “pearls before swine” applied, it will be tonight.

    (O’Reilly, FFS, what a pompous jackass.)

    Richard Dawkins is both a phenomenon and an inspiration to us all.

  4. Peter Kemp says

    Second that Troff. In this instance, the Antipodes is sucking on the hind teat, honourable members of the New World.

  5. Caledonian says

    Why is Dawkins arranging for O’Reilly to get that much attention? He surely cannot be expecting to have an intelligent conversation, or even a plausible exchange – it’s just an excuse for O’Reilly to yell at people.

  6. Wes says

    I think this is a mistake on Dawkins’s part. I’ve never seen O’Reilly engage in constructive conversation. All he does is shout people down, then proclaim victory. Why would Dawkins volunteer to be one of his sacrificial lambs? I’m afraid that it won’t make any difference what Dawkins says–in the eyes of those who watch O’Reilly and think he’s right, the person who shouts his views the loudest wins. I doubt Dawkins has much hope of getting through to people with this move. There are better ways to reach the public.

    I might turn out to be wrong. I hope I do.

  7. Talen Lee says

    Not to presume I know Dawkins’ reasons, or indeed, to know better than he does, but I can’t imagine why any scientist, informed speaker, or even halfway decent human being would waste time giving credence to O’Reilly. You’re not going to reach his viewers, because his viewers are bullet-headed iconoclasts of the generation BEFORE Dawkins’ own, and not likely to change.

    That’s a harrowing thought, actually. Billo is spending his time talking to his parents and uncles, metaphorically speaking.

  8. forsen says

    I’m afraid this will end in an inferno of verbal feces-flinging. This is no more constructive than setting up Sam Harris in a debate vs. Ann Coulter.

  9. Lee Harrison says

    Unfortunately I suspect that O’Reilly was gentle with Sam Harris because Sam was feeding into O’Reilly’s personal hatred of Islam. I can’t see the interview with Dawkins going so well.

  10. Lee Harrison says

    Could I ‘third’ the request for some tech savvy individual to capture the clip and post it?

    (Never thought I’d even momentarily regret that Australia doesn’t get The O’Reilly Factor…”

  11. Ric says

    I agree, Dawkins should not go on O’Reilly. It is obviously set up to be a contest, but the deck is stacked against anyone who goes on with whom O’Reilly does not agree. Plus, the man is so unscrupulous that even if Dawkins does school him, he’ll edit the presentation to make it seem as if he didn’t. I’ll hope for the best.

  12. Rheinhard says

    Here are my entries for the drinking game: Take a drink (or if you prefer, eat a cookie) every time O’Reilly says:

    1. “Secular Progressive” or “SP”
    2. “You’re not answering my question” (or smirking/rolling eyes/condescension)
    3. “far left” or “radical left”
    4. “haters”
    5. “Shut up! Shut up!”
    6. “Cut his mic!”

  13. Ian H Spedding FCD says

    Richard Dawkins is not stupid. He must know what O’Reilly is like and, if he didn’t, PZ will have enlightened him.

    He should simply be himself, calm, reasonable, unshakeable and armed with a few pithy phrases to slip in between the bouts of hectoring.

  14. Carlie says

    Hmmm. I think too much O’Reilly exposure would make me throw up, but it might be worth it to see Dawkins give him one of those withering “you’re an idiot” looks he’s so good at.

  15. says

    Dawkins knows O’Reillys show format– hes a big boy– he can defend himself and atheism.

    Hell Id go on the O’Reilly Factor to talk about atheism. How else would some of you suggest we connect with ‘his kind’ of audience?

  16. Robert Maynard says

    I wish Dawkins luck, and for my fellow Australians I’m sure we can count on or someone to put a video up fairly soon afterward. It is the twenty-first century after all. :)

    I think it’s a good idea personally – certainly a brave one. If it goes well it could enjoy a place in popular legend, similar to Stephen Colbert’s speech at the White House Press Correspondents Dinner – awkward and lukewarm for those who received it firsthand, yet feverishly admired by a tertiary audience who would never have seen it if not for the web.

    That’s the best case scenario of course.. is it too dangeroulsy zealous to say I have faith in Dawkins? :P

  17. David Wilford says

    Dawkins will do just fine tonight, I have no doubt. It’s not like he just fell off the turnip truck when it comes to pointed debate about atheism as well as evolution, and there’s something about a British accent that seems to quell the baser instincts in boorish Americans. I normally don’t watch Fox News, so thanks for the heads up PZ!

  18. DrBadger says

    Viewers of FoxNews are probably over 90% bigoted idiots who think that atheists are the cause of all the problems in the world (the other 10% are reasonable people who are sacrificing their time and sanity to capture the offensive things they spew out on a daily basis and put it on youtube). This is a mistake on Dawkins part. Why give FoxNews any attention? What will the regular viewers of FoxNews get out of this? I’m sure that all they want to see is for their hero to do christ’s work and scream at an evil, british-accented atheist. It’s not only going to end in a shouting match, but it will start in one… I hope I’m wrong.

  19. rjb says

    Will have to watch this after it’s posted online. But I actually support Dawkins going on O’Reilly. I think that we just need more and more exposure of the reality of what atheists are–or at least, what one real atheist looks like. I think more and more of us need to be in the public eye so that people have a harder time creating the strawman atheist who eats babies and kicks old ladies because, well, there’s no god to punish us. I for one am taking a much more public stand… although I’m not yet using my full name in the comments here. Once I have tenure (which should hopefully be in a month) I’ll be much more public.

    Dawkins is unlikely to win any converts on O’Reilly’s show, but a few people who watch will probably come away thinking that Dawkins is a much different person than they imagined. And that’s the starting point. Knock down the assumptions.

  20. notthedroids says

    Dawkins would do well to study Harris’ appearances. (And I’ll be he is.)

    O’Reilly, even when he’s not raving like a lunatic at Geraldo, has this habit of throwing in nasty asides and putting words in his guest’s mouth, and Harris never gets ruffled nor takes the bait.

  21. says

    Hey. Wait a minute.

    Kemp, Harrison, Maynard, Petroff (well c’mon, I always thought the contraction was so much friendlier)…

    … how many Australians ARE there on this here Minnesotan hotbed of liberal ejaculations as stoked by the fiery nuclear embers of the insatiable towering demiurge of ignorance-destroying ferocity?

    (it’s 0006 here and I’m coming down off from a massive week of caffeine abuse. I just wanted to say something nice to PZ after all the nice things he’s done for us…)

  22. SF Chung says

    Another one here, cyber-wise that is.

    Technically i am Malaysian but i’ve been studying in Australia for 3 years now. Does that count?

    First time posting. Good stuff to be found here. I hope Dawkins will embarrass O’Really so badly that he can only resort to cutting the mic.

  23. J-Dog says

    I bet a single malt bottle of scotch, that O’Reilly blames atheism / Dawkins for the VA tech massacre tonight…

  24. Lee Harrison says

    J-Dog, I think I have only one article of faith – never, ever take risks with a bottle of single malt scotch.

    Anyway, I wouldn’t even bet 1 dollar against that proposition.

  25. says

    Dawkins will be appalled by O’reilly. I hope he knows what insanity he has let himself in for.

    The description which I think will be apt for the interview will be that “bullshit baffles brains”. Dawkins will be so flabbergasted by the strawman arguments presented and the rudeness or the presenter, that he will be made temporarily mute.

  26. Steve_C (Secular Elitist) FCD says

    Richard will be fine. We know he’s ininitely smarter than Bill-Oh.

    We’ve also seen him handle confrontation easily, even when confronted by a arrogant closeted fundamentalist bully.

    He doesn’t take the baiting and he answers quetions honestly. He can see through
    the lies and is will to say “No that’s wrong.”

    That throws alot of people off.

  27. says

    I hope that Prof. Dawkins comes prepared with a few pithy statements of his own, such as, “That’s a lie!”, “That’s a complete misrepresentation of —-“, “That is not what I said,” and so on. Assertiveness without vulgarity would give a good impression.

    I hope that someone posts it for later consumption. I’ll be on the road to Cambridge, Ontario, for a 3-day course in XML and sturctured documentation.

  28. Chuck says

    The problem with going on O’Reilly’s show – or any rightwinger’s debate show on television or radio – is that he has complete control over the pace of the debate, the questions asked, and, not insignificantly, the microphone. While Dawkins is good at making arguments and giving good reasons to support his position, O’Reilly is a master at populist propaganda and rhetoric. In a television interview, when the shouting starts, I don’t imagine Dawkins shouting back, and least of all shouting back and remaining effective. In the eyes of O’Reilly’s bigoted audience, it will be another emotional victory over a godless liberal from overseas. That’s the key word: emotional. Conservatives these days are motivated by a passionate hatred for the Enlightenment, and those who defend the enlightenment are masters of reason; they speak different languages, and this “debate” will achieve nothing for our side.

  29. Lago says

    “”The interview with Dawkins might be okay. Sam Harris had two okay conversations with O’Reilly. “”

    I gave the response below to someone who made a similar comment over on Dawkin’s Site:

    “This has nothing to do with it. Sam Harris was brought on Fox to back a position already found on Fox News, mainly that people treat the subject of islamic terrorism too hands off, as in everyone is too politically-correct to say what they are really thinking. Using Sam, they get the opinion discussed, but make claim they did not bring it up. In other words, they are looking to make Sam Harris work for them…

    Dawkins is TOTALLY DIFFERENT!!! Dawkins does not have anything to say to support Fox News, and he has written a book that is hated by most of their viewers, even though few have read it.

    Dawkin must get ready for anything, especially ESPECIALLY, misquotes of his argument, where Bill will add a piece of BS into a few facts, play a few semantics, and then go, “OK, now answer that, Yes or no?,” which will be near impossible to do. As Dawkins tries to explain where Bill is misquoting, or misunderstanding, Bill will start to get self-righteous and talk over him using up much of Dawkins time. In the end Bill will say, “OK. last word.” and he will interrupt there as well, and then say the true last words after Dawkins can no longer reply, again, where he will misstate what Dawkins said, demonizing him, or belittling him in some way..”

  30. says

    I think it is probably a good idea for Dawkins to go on the O’Reilly show. I am not a fan of the show but can biologists really keep talking only with people who agree with them? I think the FOX audience is a bit more diverse than has been indicated here (although I am not a big fan and do not believe their news to be balanced). Given O’Reilly’s ratings, imagine if Dawkins can get through to 0.1% of his audience. Or at least get them to wondering about it all. This will have a much more significant impact than all of us just talking to each other here.

    Incidentally, we have a great set of interviews about evolution at our website at

    (We tried to interview Atkins but he couldn’t make it.)

  31. eewolf says

    I think some good can come from this. To think that everyone watching fox news is foolish and cannot see through O’Reilly is cynical.

    And there are many young folks out there just starting to warm up their thinking skills who are watching with mom and/or dad. They may be thinking something completely different while their parents cheer on.

  32. AlanW says

    How else would some of you suggest we connect with ‘his kind’ of audience?


    Pepper spray?

  33. Bob O'H says

    Naughty J-dog! Naughty boy! Poor Lee Harrison doesn’t know that you’ll never pay up, and instead claim it’s all just street theater.

    You must want us to think you’re some sort of moron.


  34. Lago says

    “I think some good can come from this. To think that everyone watching fox news is foolish and cannot see through O’Reilly is cynical.”

    And such people already are open to new ideas, so they are not a problem in the first place. Dawkins isn’t going on the show to try get his point to them. Simply put, they’re done already…

  35. Sheldon says

    “I think the FOX audience is a bit more diverse than has been indicated here (although I am not a big fan and do not believe their news to be balanced).”

    I love to watch/listen to Bill OhReally, because I hate the bastard. Perplexed? So am I. If I had expanded cable I wouldn’t miss it, but I do listen to Bill on the radio on occasion. I bet you anything Bill will say. “Well, most people believe in God” to which Dawkins will reply, “so what”.

  36. says

    I’ve never seen O’Reilly engage in constructive conversation. All he does is shout people down, then proclaim victory.

    You said it. I must admit my heart is in my mouth.

    Summon all your British charm, Richard Dawkins; that’s the edge you have over O’Wily.

    Peer at him like an interesting little rodent with an evolutionarily unstable strategy. Smile that pitying smile.

    And maybe have a placard prepared to hold up if O’Snarly cuts your mic.

  37. nal says

    Remember: it’s rebroadcast at 11:00/10:00 pm if you can’t make the 8:00/7:00 pm show.

  38. Dustin says

    Errgh… this isn’t going to be any good. Dawkins is thoughtful and presents arguments. O’Reilly just shouts a lot so that you can never hear his opponent.

  39. Steve_C (Secular Elitist) FCD says

    Bill-Oh uses various tactics to try to take his guests down a notch.

    Sometimes he is relatively low key but really tries to “get” the victim to admit something
    or look stupid. He usually uses some mock disgust or acquiescence. He plays gotcha.

    He usually flys off the handle when he’s attacking someone for being PC or endorsing something he sees as injustice. It’s how he makes himself look like he’s watching out for the little guy.

    Dawkins doesn’t have an agenda he’s defending in the political arena.

    It’ll probably be one of those “aren’t atheists just being babies? shouldn’t they just suck it up and get over themselves already?” interviews.

  40. CalGeorge says

    I’m torn.


    More attention for atheism


    More credibility and attention for Fox

    We can only hope that Dawkins completely shreds O’Reilly. I hope he says things that will piss off millions of fundies and send Jerry Falwell running for his blood pressure medication.

    Oh, well, if it must happen: Pass the popcorn!

  41. says

    “Why is Dawkins arranging for O’Reilly to get that much attention?”

    In my corner of the world, people have not heard of Dawkins. I think it’s great pub for both.

    O’Reilly has one of the hottest daytime radio shows here in Washington DC.

    Odd Fact: O’Reilly agrees that Global Warming is caused by humans. It kind of confused me to actually hear words of reason coming from his yapper.

  42. TW says

    I suspect that Dawkins’ concept of “consciousness raising” is his main goal here. Giving people permission to doubt is the necessary first step toward defeating religion. It’s such an important first step that many religions, like Islam, will kill people for it in order to keep the other sheep in line through intimidation. If Dawkins can plant a seed of doubt in even one fundie, then it will be worth it.

  43. says

    Scholar: Bill O’Reilly used to say that it was preferable to have children be raised by a gay couple than languish in foster care. Oh, yes, I heard that from him several times before all this “defend marriage” crap, when he was positioning himself as the gadfly out to anger the traditionalists. Now, all of a sudden, he’s a “traditionalist” defending marriage.

    Bill O’Reilly doesn’t think anything; he doesn’t believe anything; he’s a hollow man who takes contradictory positions without admitting it (not that his fans notice), and he’s obviouslyly figured out that the global warming deniers are going down. All he believes in is his popularity.

  44. Mike Wood says

    I don’t think Harris was only listened to because his opinion matched Fox’s – he was also treated fairly civilly when he was on The O’Reilly Factor commenting on Terri Schiavo, and his position was contrary to Bill’s, so I’m pretty optimistic that Dawkins won’t just be completely shouted down. There’s always a chance though, and I’ll be the first to admit I haven’t watched very much of the show.

  45. yoshi says


    I fail a change with O’Reilly’s position here. He has come out for gay adoption and against certain evangelists (his interview with ‘ex-gay’ evangelist stephen bennett in which he destroyed him is classic). Ever want to see a good time? Watch when he has Ann Coulter on the show. Its very enjoyable. The fact that he isn’t for gay marriage shouldn’t be a shocker.

    But honestly – both FOXNews and CNN are completely unwatchable. If i hear Lou Dobbs rail against illegal immigration one more time I am going to scream…

  46. stsmith says

    PZ, For what it’s worth, please make sure that Richard is aware of this advice in Slate, How To Beat Bill O’Reilly. The most salient for the famous Oxford don appears to be “Be a Giant”:

    Not everybody can go onto The O’Reilly Factor as a Seymour Hersh, a Steven Brill, or a Judge Andrew Napolitano (Fox News Channel’s senior judicial analyst), but you can study their performances and adjust your strategy accordingly. All three of these guests come with egos that match their accomplishments. They all speak in coherent, full paragraphs and aren’t intimidated by O’Reilly’s antics. If anything, it’s O’Reilly who is daunted by them.
    It’s not easy to simulate the inner confidence of Hersh, Brill, or Napolitano while on national television, but it won’t hurt to try.

  47. says

    “Viewers of FoxNews are probably over 90% bigoted idiots who think that atheists are the cause of all the problems in the world…”

    Aren’t these exactly the people who most need to see what a real atheist looks like?

  48. stsmith says

    PZ, It may also be helpful to pass on these past O’Reilly exchanges with FFRF’s Annie Laurie Gaylor, which are pretty funny. In this one (December 2000), O’Reilly calls Gaylor “crazy” for correctly stating that no prayers were offered at the Constitutional Convention.

    And in this one (October 2001), after O’Reilly asserted that the Nazis were “atheistic”, Gaylor made one of the best comebacks ever to appear on the Factor:

    Hitler belonged to the same religion as I think you do. He was Catholic.

    I wish someone would post this stuff on YouTube.

  49. says

    Reports from the Edge of Evolution. Or Something.

    Renee Reeser Zelnick – April 23, 2007

    “All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.”
    -Arthur Schopenhauer

    I am amused and shocked @ what ire was raised, simply by stating I’m attending the SCIENCE & CONSCIOUSNESS conference in Sante Fe.

    While the critics and skeptics may say what they will, I had a educationally entertaining and mind opening time hearing the presentations of Intentblog’s own Dr. David Simon-
    Yes Janet, an MD!
    (see previous entry thread)
    and the exciting work of Dr. Gary Schwartz
    Yes people, a PhD!
    ( again, see previous thread)-

    Really I encourage anyone interesting in the debate of science vs. pseudo-science to check my previous post’s thread:

    DO we really create our own individual realities through our belief system?
    Ask Plato.

    I find it interesting how the materialist community is always so quick on the draw to criticize-
    However, I find the state of modern medicine can best be summed up by the following model

    A Brief History of Medicine:

    2000 B.C.
    “Here, eat this root!”
    1000 A.D.
    “That root is heathen. Here, say this prayer!”
    1500 A.D.
    “That prayer is superstition. Here, drink this potion!”
    1940 A.D.
    “That potion is snake oil. Here, swallow this pill!”
    1985 A.D.
    “This pill is ineffective, take this antibiotic!”
    2000 A.D.
    “That antibiotic doesn’t work anymore.
    Here, eat this root!”

  50. says

    To be fair, I actually saw a video where O’Reilly slapped down Malkin (it was a shocker: about immigration – old Billy came off like an actual human being for once).
    He also appeared on the Colbert report, & couldn’t get more than 5 words in edgewise.
    I say we let the dust settle, see what happens.

  51. Steve_C (Secular Elitist) FCD says

    Yeah. Give it a rest SS. Sell your woo elsewhere.

    We get enough of Deepak.

  52. Sastra says

    In some respects, atheists and Creationists are in similar positions, and I suspect Prof. Dawkins is deliberately exploiting this.

    If a respected academic institution agrees to put forth one of their best and brightest evolutionary biologists against a Creationist in a public debate, it doesn’t matter if the professor absolutely wipes the floor with the other guy. Just by being put up on the same stage as a real scientist, the anti-evolution crowd gets to claim that there is a genuine controversy. There are two legitimate viewpoints, and people should respectfully pay attention to both sides. Even if they lose, Creationism wins by getting the “frame” accepted (sorry to use that word…). Dawkins has stated repeatedly that this is why he won’t debate Creationists. It makes it look like Creationism is a live option, taken seriously.

    Now, given that the vast majority of people in the United States not only believe in God, but think that atheism is a lunatic fringe kind of belief, just having an atheist on a major media show giving “the other side” is a victory. It doesn’t necessarily matter if O’Reilly charges over his opponent bellowing and screaming. It doesn’t really matter if the audience thinks the atheist “lost.”

    The existence of God was not allowed to be assumed as self-evident to everyone. No. There is a genuine controversy, and two legitimate viewpoints were expressed. By going on O’Reilly’s show, Prof. Dawkins is doing to them what he won’t let them do to him: use the power and scope of their own platform to get them to treat atheism as a live option.

  53. says

    It all comes down to the angle that O’Reilly takes. O’Reilly tends to pigeonhole his guests and back them into a corner to make them talk about one subject and one subject only. This is the way that he ‘wins’ his debates.

    I don’t think he will have Dawkins on just to talk about Dawkin’s book. Instead the ‘conversation’ will be on some current politcal situation that – in O’Reilly’s mind – centers around the nature of believe or atheism or something of that nature.

    He may also have another guest that will be used as a counterpoint, which again will take the ‘conversation’ off topic and go to hot talking points that lead no where except maybe to good television – for instance if someone starts shouting.

  54. Dustin says

    DO we really create our own individual realities through our belief system?
    Ask Plato.

    Hey, I could ask Plato! Now whether Plato’s answer gives me the benefit of the last 2,400 years worth of philosophy is another question, isn’t it?

    While we’re in the business of contacting dead philosophers, Rudolph Carnap called — he wants you to go sit in a corner.

  55. Rich says

    O’Reilly / Dawkins interview drinking game
    (one swig for each)

    “let me finish”
    “no morality”
    “traditional values”
    “what do you have against christians?”
    “Public Opinion”
    “No scientific proof..”
    *any creationist myth / moth / embryo*
    *Some version of pascals wager*
    “Intellectual elites”
    “Ivory Tower”

  56. Dustin says

    Well, Rich, it’s been nice knowing you. I’ll send some flowers to your family.

  57. Rich says

    Thanks, a nice big dry wreath would be nice to BURN KRISTINE BECAUSE SHE’S A WITCH with would be nice

  58. Peter Kemp says

    “Technically i am Malaysian”

    I guess if Goblok O’Reilly was ensconced in Kuala Lumpur, some would say
    “Bill Oh, Ga Ga, Bodo, Sala”

    “how many Australians ARE there on this here Minnesotan hotbed…”

    (Troff, my hunch is that there are genes for rebelliousness!–an excess arguably from Ireland)

  59. says


    DO we really create our own individual realities through our belief system?
    Ask Plato.

    Or Teri Schiavo.
    To be a touch crude, she had all of her ‘individual realities’ stripped away, but she still existed.
    Or does your ‘quantum mysticism’ engage the aftermath?

  60. dzd says

    I don’t think he will have Dawkins on just to talk about Dawkin’s book. Instead the ‘conversation’ will be on some current politcal situation that – in O’Reilly’s mind – centers around the nature of believe or atheism or something of that nature.

    He may also have another guest that will be used as a counterpoint, which again will take the ‘conversation’ off topic and go to hot talking points that lead no where except maybe to good television – for instance if someone starts shouting.

    What’re you willing to bet he ties it into D’Souza’s ghoulish remarks regarding the VT massacre?

  61. Chad says

    That’s not even a fair fight! It’s the intellectual equivalent of Joe Louis going up against a guy in a wheel chair. In other words, it should be very entertaining.

  62. DrBadger says

    Good points Sastra, I hope that’s how the viewers take it. As Joshua said to my earlier comment that 90% of Fox’s audience think atheists are evil, it is necessary that the other side sees that we aren’t some insignificant minority. However, I don’t see the viewers of o’rielly (even 0.1% of them) to get anything meaningful about atheism out of this, except for “yay, we beat down an atheist.”

  63. David Livesay says

    I’m waffling on whether or not to watch it. I don’t ever want to watch Fox News. Ever. I hate the thought of contributing even one iota to their ratings.

    Unless you’re being surveyed by Nielsen, you won’t be. If you are, lie.

  64. says

    I think that Dawkins is doing a great job. Some people will definitely start to view this “regilion” thing from another perspective and use their brains.

  65. CalGeorge says

    Hopefully Dawkins will mention PZ and Pharyngula will be swamped by fundie nuts out for blood.

  66. says

    Okay, let’s get the play-by-play going.

    Right now O’Reilly is just in a mutual masturbation session with a couple of conservative hacks, pushing some bizarre conspiracism about George Soros. No Dawkins yet.

  67. ummm.... says

    OK, so I’ve tuned in to The Factor and have listened to 3 minutes of O’Reilly’s rant accusing George Soros of controlling John Edwards and describe a giant left wing conspiracy to destroy America. No mention of Dawkins, either now or in the rest of the program.

    Wait, now Phil Kent (who is that?) has described Soros as “Dr. Evil” and a person who “hates America” and who supports the “Islamic” terrorist group…La Raza???

    Jesus Christ.

    Sorry, this is too stupid for words and I’m out. Would someone please post the YouTube of Dawkins if he’s actually is on? Thanks.

  68. Christian Burnham says

    That evil ‘Media Matters’ site, which uses the exact transcript + video footage to smear and defame poor Bill O’Reilly. ‘They’ll go after you and your family.’

  69. abeja says

    Wait, now Phil Kent (who is that?) has described Soros as “Dr. Evil” and a person who “hates America” and who supports the “Islamic” terrorist group…La Raza???

    That Phil Kent is a real nutjob, to put it mildly. You can learn a bit about him here…

  70. Christian Burnham says

    I’ll save you the brain-damage:

    I don’t think Dawkins is going to be on tonight’s show.

  71. ummm... says

    OK, they mentioned Dawkins at the break. I’ll hang.

    Thanks for that abeja….I think.

  72. says

    I have been staying away from O’Reilly and only watching because Dawkins is on tonight. It really hasn’t started too well, as he takes this “Follow the money approach” to Soros to Media Matters for America to George Soros. Do you think that there is any self-interest in this “investigative report?” Media Matters has this bad habit of catching O’Reilly in his lies and attempts to backtrack.

  73. Christian Burnham says

    The old ‘ ‘it takes more faith to be an atheist’ from O’Reilly.

  74. Christian Burnham says

    It’s over.

    It was pretty short and fairly civil. O’Reilly made the usual cliched points about religion being a civilizing influence and how science can’t explain everything.

    Dawkins kept his cool throughout.

  75. Rich says

    O’reilly just blurted for 5 minutes.
    But he has his own personal truth, and has seen Zeus.

  76. says

    Seemed to have been a waste of time. Nothing new got said, and O’Reilly continued to hold fast to his faith that Schickelgruber was an atheist.

    I can get on with my life now.

  77. matthew says

    Well, no suprises during the interview… Dawkins did great as usual, but it’s crazy that he only got 5 minutes… Very typical. (though Bill-O acted as though he actually read the book: “it’s interesting”… bullshit, he didn’t read it)

  78. ummm... says

    Hitler was a practicing Roman Catholic…show anything that proves otherwise. Anything. Nope? O’Reilly is a Roman Catholic.

    Therefore, using O’Reilly logic O’Reilly is a mass murdering dictator and a fascist. Or Roman Catholics are pre-disposed to genocide and evil.

    That was easy.

  79. Caledonian says

    But he had Dawkins on his show. Clearly, having Dawkins on his show means he can’t be that bad.

    You’ve been had!

  80. August Pamplona says

    Disappointing. Short. I watch television for he first time in months for that?

  81. Ian H Spedding FCD says

    Hmmmph! Bit of a damp squip, wasn’t it? I’m thinking O’Reilly is a bit wary of Dawkins because he certainly went easy on him.

  82. says

    Actually, it was pretty good overall. Contrary to what many say, O’Reilly (an old and effective reporter) knows very well how to run a decent interview, even though on some issues he does not. Here he did, however short and talking-points oriented it was (had to be given the time).

    So you could complain about the time, the old God of the gaps brought up, the glib “atheists caused so much evil” refrain (there’s truth in that, however the histories of the cultures which bred genocide are crucial to the genocide, and to the default atheism of the alienated). Nevertheless, Dawkins made his points, there was mutual respect given to atheist and tired old religionist, and mainly Dawkins got some face time and compliments on his book (regardless of whether Bill has read it).

    Just holding his own, sounding smart, and getting treated more or less equally as an atheist was worth it to Dawkins’ side. More arguments wouldn’t affect most viewers, while having atheism treated more or less as a reasonable position will affect many (angering a number, I don’t doubt).

    It’s a public-relations (framing) success, if hardly an intellectual feat.

    Glen D

  83. David Wilford says

    Dawkins did just fine, as I expected. Atheism with a human face isn’t nearly as scary as the Dread Atheist Dawkins, and he moved that Overton Window just a bit towards his side of the issue tonight as a result.

  84. Paguroidea says

    I thought Dawkins did excellent in his short time period, and was appropriately assertive and calm. I would think that it would be tricky to strike that balance on O’Reilly’s show. Also I think that the statistics that Bill O’Reilly gave on the percentage of atheists probably surprised the conservative viewers.

  85. says

    Just watched it. I’m glad he got the very last point in, even if the rest of it was crap.

    O’Reilly said that he thought stalin and hitler had no moral base, and Dawkins said “well I don’t either” right as it ended.

  86. cyan says

    Hmmm: a clip of a verbal intercourse between a person who uses logical thought, then precise language to express those thoughts, versus a person who uses the continual interruption of the other person’s views in a loud voice to express his visceral emotions.

    My hunch and inclination are that an analysis of the transcript would show that Richard Dawkins is the more rational of the two. But O’Reilly is not after rationalism, because neither are most of his viewers.

    Richard Dawkins was taking a gamble in doing this interview that it might make a difference, for which I admire him greatly. Because of O’Reilly’s tactics, Dawkins probably did not raise any doubts in those who believe in the Abrahamic god. But he did show to those believers a disbeliever who is civil and rational.

    So, it was a reasonable gamble whose outcome could have been been positive sans O’Reilly tactics but in fact resulted in at least being non-negative to believers’ view of atheists.

  87. says

    I lover that O’Reilly says the founding father had to be secularists “because of the oppression in Europe.”

    Oppression from whom, Bill?

    (And he had just finished trying to make the case that all great evils came from atheists … after making allowances for the Crusades and Al Qaeda … and after declaring Hitler an atheist despite all evidence to the contrary.)

    Clearly doesn’t know his ass from a hole in the ground.

  88. Carlie says

    Lame, but could have been ever so much worse. I think that it’s a small victory that he came off as calm, that he kept BillO calm, that even though it was clear that all Bill wanted to do was throw out his talking points that it didn’t rattle Richard. He (Dawkins) is vilified so much, it had to help for him to seem so nice and rational. “Oh, so THAT’S the guy? Doesn’t look like Satan incarnate…”

  89. mac says

    You know, it is encouraging to think that as much as I hate Fox News, I have to believe Bill will give a lot more hell to Ken Ham, when he comes on this summer to talk about the grand opening of the Creation Museum.

    (Then I realize how sad it is that evolution and OEC are even in the same sphere of debate…)

  90. Dustin says

    Oh, I noticed that the Christmas lectures Dawkins gave back in 1991 are going to be on DvD soon (finally). You should all buy them for your kids. Heck, buy them for yourself.

  91. One Eyed Jack says

    Dr. Dawkins did quite well. As we all know, O’Reilly is small minded bully and Dawkins was able to get most of his points across.

    What I want to see are some hour long televised debates in the US. All these short news segments accomplish is to trot out the same tired arguments, give them a superficial dusting off, but not properly debate them.

    I don’t expect it to happen in the US because the major networks lack the stones to give religion the public spanking that would result in an honest and balanced debate. One can always dream.


  92. Art says

    Lemmee see if I got this right – Bill O’Reilly’s “truth” isn’t anyone else’s, and vice-versa. IOW, when it comes to theology, metaphysics, and reality, anything goes.

    Out of the other side of his sizeable mouth, O’Reilly would rant and rave about relativism. Most amusing.

  93. Dustin says

    Also I think that the statistics that Bill O’Reilly gave on the percentage of atheists probably surprised the conservative viewers.

    That was the first time that something came out of Bill O’Reilly’s mouth that made me happy. It was short lived, though…

    Man, the moon’s gravity blows my mind. Aren’t we all lucky to live on a planet where life is possible?

  94. notthedroids says

    I haven’t even watched the footage yet, but given the lukewarm reviews, I think it’s great that atheism is getting press, even on Fox.

    Simply having rational, polite, well-spoken people state that they don’t believe in God is, I think, a positive thing.

  95. says

    Peter Kemp: “(Troff, my hunch is that there are genes for rebelliousness!–an excess arguably from Ireland)”

    Pff. I should wish. I’ve got Russian, German and just the tiniest touch of Chinese in my ancestral makeup. British and Irish genes I was hoping for and never got.

    When I’m feeling suitably curmudgeonly, I like to think my rebelliousness is only because the people disagreeing with me are clearly such idiots. :-)

    I’m halfway through the video now (and MANY thanks to 1gm for the posting!).

    Any comments as to O’Reilly’s smartassy “I saw Apollo, he’s over there and not looking good” comment? A throwaway line certainly, but doesn’t it just make Bill look like more of – well, an idiot?

    Why did Bill have to spell the word “bane”?

    O’Reilly tars all atheists with the same brush, and then says that Stalin and Pol Pot had no moral foundation?

    I know Dawkins is so polite and that’s a part of his primarily typical charm, why did he have to respond so nicely at the end? Gaargh. Why did he let the “we can debate Hitler’s catholicism” go past so easily? Sigh.

  96. SteveM says

    O’Reilly said that he thought stalin and hitler had no moral base, and Dawkins said “well I don’t either” right as it ended.

    As I recall, Bill said “I don’t think [they] had a moral base”, I interpeted Dawkins “I don’t either” as meaning “I don’t think they had a moral base either”, not “I don’t have a moral base either”.

    I wish Dawkins had rebutted Bill’s statement “Jesus was a real guy”

  97. MartinC says

    Ironically it was O’Reilly who inadvertently made the best argument for the acceptance of atheist by mentioning that 85% of Sweden are non believers. The argument of personal incredulity was of course mentioned and could have been countered better (“I see the Sun rise up every day” – no, scientific progress has shown us that the Sun isn’t rising up every day, it is the Earth rotating that gives the illusion that this is happening – a piece of evidence that religious authorities tried to suppress. Finally the old Hitler and Stalin were atheists line. That, unfortunately, is still the Achilles heel of believer/atheist debates. I’m afraid, with an unenlightened audience, it will always be a very negative point so long as one sticks to a simplistic “atheist” definition. Most of us “atheists” are not simply non-believers in the described God concepts, we are people who want to live by a more rationalistic scientific philosophy, for instance secular humanism being a prime example. That is generally what we mean by ‘atheism’, not simply a non belief in Thor etc. Stalin and Pol Pot (maybe we can even stretch it to Hitler) might have been atheists in the sense that the general public thinks of atheism, but they were certainly not rational secular humanists. I think this aspect should be brought into the debate to counter the “you are an atheist like Hitler” argument – otherwise it degenerates into a childish “Hitler was a Catholic”, “No, Hitler was an atheist” slanging match.

  98. David Livesay says

    Well, I recorded it last night and just finished watching it. First of all, thank FSM for fast forward! Second, what a waste of time.

    I thought the point of interview shows was to have guests on and ask them questions to elicit answers and elucidate their point of view. If I wasn’t already aware of Dawkins’s point of view, I’d still be in the dark. O’Reilly seemed clearly more focused on getting his own uninteresting point of view across than exploring his guests. He repeatedly interrupted him and cut him off. Even worse, he showed absolutely no indication of having read Dawkins’s book, in which Dawkins had already refuted all of O’Reilly’s facile arguments. Rather than critiquing or rebutting Dawkins’s arguments, he simply ignored them.

    O’Reilly is a boor and a bore. Thanks for making me watch this drivel. There’s another five minutes I’ll never get back. :-)