Richard Dawkins Answers Questions and Reads His Hatemail November 15, 2010

Richard Dawkins Answers Questions and Reads His Hatemail

Richard Dawkins agreed to answer the most popular questions for him at Reddit. They were asked and voted upon, and now Dawkins has responded with this video:

Hatemail sounds so much cooler when read with a British accent 🙂

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  • The email reading was one of the best bits of comedy I’ve heard in a long while.

  • Greg

    I’ve got a ‘British’ accent, and I will read hate mail for cookies!

    Having said that, what is a British accent? Presumably Scottish, Scouse, Geordie, and Queen’s English are all British accents…? 😛

  • Mel

    British accents are sexy! So is British humor. Yo go Richard 🙂

  • Geordie would, of course, be the best regional dialect.

  • Danny Wuvs Kittens


  • Richard (a different one)

    Brilliant. As always.

  • Does anyone know what he meant by claiming “Why do we have sex?” to be one of the top three unanswered biological questions. Was he being sarcastic or did that one just blow by me?

  • Even the word fucking sounds classy in an English accent. The one proving George Carlin’s bit was funny as hell. God loves you but look out for Jesus!

    Some of the stuff seemed so obvious. Morality relates to suffering. Evidence of evolution abounds.

    Greg, I love English accents but I confess to not being able to discern one local dialect from another. Well, maybe — just maybe, Cockney but that’s been well touted this side of the pond in movies and such.

    Sometimes, given how Americans love English accents, I wonder if there are people in England who love American accents. I admit if I heard there were, I’d be thinking yeah but which one: Boston twang, Southern, Western drawl, New York fast speaking…

  • Rev. Ryan, I could be wrong but I assumed he meant why did we evolve in such a way that sex is necessary to reproduce and also why we have it for pleasure with no intention of reproducing.

    Actually, it’s an interesting question. It adds to life certainly but it also can interfere with thinking straight and cause problems.

  • I loved the hate mail portion. It was like listening to C3PO curse at R2D2.

  • Billy Bilang

    the hate mail reading is hilarious! 🙂

  • ah, Gawd’s Gentle People(tm). always so loving and friendly. and smart! it was almost lost in the laugh track, but a couple of those letters had burning stupid in them in terms of the use of our language.

    i hope everybody realizes the rest of the civilized world looks down at this country. and laughs at our pretense. it’s so depressing. i have a lot of friends from/in foreign countries, and i hate having to explain why we’re sofa king dumb here.

  • BlueRidgeLady

    The hate mail was my favorite, too. Ah, loving Christians. They get a little too happy about the prospect of the eternal torture of others.

  • arallyn

    That was one of the most awesome hate mail reads I’ve ever heard…I needed a good laugh in the morning! I hope he does more sometime :3

    @Rev. Ryan- The study of why the earliest cells turned from purely asexual reproduction to swapping genes with other cells to the evolution of germ cells (the latter one in particular) is one of the most unknown fields in evolutionary bio right now, and one of the fastest growing. It’s easy to say “oh, genetic diversity leads to higher survival rates”, but an organism based on RNA (as many believe the earliest organisms were) would have a good deal of mutation-based genetic diversity without sexual reproduction…the subject is fascinating, so I try not to think about it too much, lest it wrest me away from my studies.

  • L. Foster

    “Three words: ‘You are a fool!'” I LMAO’ed.

  • The accent makes everything more credible.

  • Richard P.

    Seems the only thing christians love more than god is telling people their going to burn in hell.

    I think it is a desperate cry of, If I have to follow this bullshit, you should too.

  • JSug


    Oh, man. Is that the actual Queen’s English pronunciation, or was he reading it as spelled? Because that was freaking hilarious.

  • Stephen P

    @JSug: he was reading it as spelled.

  • I thought it was a good interview (really enjoyed the hate mail reading).

    The only thing I was a bit uncomfortable with was at the beginning where he mentioned that one has to consider the minimization of suffering as an important moral goal in considering the ideas in Sam Harrison’s new book. I couldn’t help but think of the novel “Brave new world” by Aldous Huxley were a futuristic society stays drugged up to avoid any kind of suffering… I was, though, impressed that he did bring this up and pointed out this caveat. He seemed to recognize that not everybody would agree to that definition of morality.

  • Eddie

    I, like Greg, have a British accent. It’s a bit West Country mine. But I will read out hate mail as well.

    Someone asked if Brits like American accents. I can’t say I’m particularly crazy about them, I prefer other European accents but I like the stereotypical New York accent. There are many Brits I think like the Americans accents, but I think a lot of put off by the politics of America these days.

    Richard Dawkins is a fab guy, I only hope the USA can produce an equally upstanding equivalent in the years.

  • NotYou007

    My favorite part was the hate mail reading too. The part I loved the most though is when he says…

    “and right now your destiny is all fucked up, you fucking atheist”

    That part had me in tears. I also loved it when the person hoped he would be hit by a church van and die slowly.

    Pure comedy gold.

  • @Arallyn and Muggle – Thanks! I had never made that connection before…will definitely look into it.

  • Rev. Ryan, muggle is correct: The question is how did sexual reproduction evolve, and why? It’s a biggie.

  • @Daniel, I guess for me, it just always made sense that the mixture of two sets of genes is better than asexual reproduction…

    But I see the point: How did it jump from asexual to sexual?

    But I don’t see a problem with there being pleasure even if we dont intend to reproduce; that makes sense. It’s the same reason Big Mac’s taste good even though we no longer have a reason to store fat.

    And as far as the effort needed to pursue a mate: I guess the pleasure is added incentive to reproduce. The species is better off if males pass their genes wherever they can, and females may feel pleasure because its incentive to go through the long, resource-draining process of bearing a child.

    But this is new to me…thanks for shedding light.

    Also, this is important in religious debates because the first to sexually reproduce provides an apt metaphorical set for adam and eve.

    And I just found this, which makes sense at first glance:

    “Let’s look at an example of how populations change without sex. Bacteria, as I mentioned before, reproduce asexually- one becomes two, becomes four, becomes, eight, becomes sixteen, etc. The only mechanism for genetic change in bacteria is simple mutation. Mutations occur randomly in a population, and only affect one bacterium at a time, which means that unless some overwhelming environmental pressure is present, that mutation might appear and disappear just as quickly when that bacterium dies. If, however, some change in the environment makes that mutation extremely advantageous, so much so that death is the alternative, then the entire population crashes down to a handful of bacterium which have that mutation. So the life of a bacterial culture is very chaotic- it can be fine an dandy one day, and then the next the entire population is reduced to one or two lucky cells, which just happen to have protective mutations. Now, obviously, this strategy has worked out reasonably well for bacteria- as I mentioned, they’re the most populous type of organism on the planet. But it’s only efficient for them because they’re so small, they don’t need large sources of energy to survive, and they reproduce very, very quickly. In the evolutionary past, organisms which began to expand larger than bacteria found that asexual reproduction wasn’t as efficient or effective anymore.”

  • One: THE ACCENT!
    Two: The CAT! He’s a cat-slave!
    Three: The hate mail was hilarious!

  • AnonymousSM

    First time posting on site and also have to admit to laughing out loud profusely at the hate mail.

    Also, having skimmed the site the past couple days and old posts, have to admit (though w/o my name for obvious reasons) that I am that ‘double whammy’ of being an atheist and bisexual in the military. I get away with bumper stickers from FFRF on my car (in Georgia no less), but can’t really mention the other for awhile. I bring it up since the post that mentioned it said they have yet to meet one so good to show that we exist. =)

  • Dan W

    The whole video was great, but I loved the part where Dawkins read the hatemail- that was hilarious! Especially loved him reading the typos as written, the “three words: you are a fool!” and the person who hoped he’d get hit by a church van and die slowly. Simply hilarious!

  • I have never understood the seemingly near-universal appeal of British accents in the USA.
    The irony is that many Brits hate other British accents – I happen to be a brummie (someone from the Midlands city of Birmingham) and our accent is supposedly the most hated in Britain. Again – no real idea as to why (although I have a hypothesis that because northerners hate southerners and vice versa, we get both since we are in the middle).

    Great vid – the hatemail was hilarious.

  • Now listen here, you American chaps… We have the language, you have the accent…

  • @Chris Hughes,

    Silly Brit. The book of 3 Nephi of the Book of Mormon clearly says that after His resurrection and ascension Jesus came down from heaven and visited America and established an enlightened peaceful society. Although it was not explicitly stated in the book, I think it can be assumed that Jesus taught these people English and then it is probable that some of these people eventually sailed over to the Islands currently known as Great Britain and likewise taught them English. Get your history right. It’s all in the tablets. What lies has your socialistic school system been teaching you?

  • Greg

    Muggle, I’m guessing that’s probably just because you don’t have the context to put it in – I’m the same with American accents, I know they’re different, but haven’t a clue which is which. I suspect that if you heard a Scouse accent, (and you were told that’s what they were), you wouldn’t mix it up with a west country one. Scouse is really recognisable – broad Scouse is almost a different language! =)

    As for the accents, I confess at least in my group of freinds, American accents aren’t particularly loved (not hated, just not particularly loved), maybe because of the saturation of American TV shows, films and music, etc. The most loved accent around my mates is the South African one. =)

  • gribblethemunchkin

    For the yankees out there having trouble telling the accents apart

    Michael Caine = Cockney

    Sean Connery = Scottish

    Spud from Trainspotting = Glaswegian (a sub-dialect of scottish)

    Samwise Gamgee from Lord of the Rings = West Country

    Jimmy Nail (or anyone from Auf Weidensen pet) = Geordie

    Almost everyone from 51st State (Samuel L Jackson Movie) = Scouse

    Accents you don’t tend to hear much = Brummies (people from Birmingham), Yorkshire and woolback (people from Lancashire), Geordies, Cornish, Norfolk, etc

    England has tremendous variety of dialects and accents given how tiny our nation is compared to the US.

    Personally I’m from Sussex on the south coast which means i speak pretty much the Queens English (i.e. I sound posh to everyone one else), My fiance is a scouser. Our battles over the correct pronounciation of words such as bath and castle are seemingly endless

  • awesomesauce

    I woke up the person in the bedroom next to mine. I couldn’t help it; that was the funniest hatemail reading EVAR!

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