Re: Dawkins' video

Brian D Harper (
Thu, 11 Jun 1998 15:48:13 -0400

At 07:56 PM 6/9/98 -0500, Glenn wrote:

>Concerning the Video, "From a Frog to a Prince"
>My comment on Gillian Brown's response:

Glenn, perhaps you can clarify something for me. As I understand
it, Dawkins denies having ever been asked this question in an
interview. Also, his response in the video does not seem to
answer the question. What I'm curious about is whether Dawkins
has indicated to you (or in one of his books) how he would
answer this question. The reason I ask is in view of Gillian's
statement in the letter you posted:

"It is our policy to represent the views of those on both sides of
the debate fairly and without manipulation." -- Gillian Brown

If Dawkins has indicated a view different from that suggested
on the tape then fair representation would demand a modification
of the tape or its withdrawal, IMHO.

I also noticed that Ms. Brown indicated an interest in following
the discussion. Are you forwarding responses to her? The reason
I ask is that I plan to make some further comments on her letter
which I would like for her to see.

Also, what issue of <Perspectives> does your review appear


> There are some things said in the snipped portion that relay information
>to me about what happened that does concern me, but I will honor Brown's
>request to keep them to my self as that was her instructions.

This is best of course. I would like to venture a guess about what
may have concerned you. One thing that caught my attention in Ms.
Browns description is the following:

> Gillian Brown:
>I asked him the question as it appears repeated by the presenter in
>the video. The question is word-for-word verbatim as it was asked him. His
>response to the question was the long pause, as seen on the video. He then
>asked me to switch off the camera. (That request is edited out of the
>video.) Then he gave the unedited response which follows in the video,
>that evolution happened a long time ago and we would not expect to see such
>changes today. A response which clearly does not answer the question.

What I would like to know is what else Dawkins said after asked that
the cameras be switched off, i.e. did he say that his answer (the
one given on the tape) was off the record? If not why did he ask
the cameras to be turned off? Also, why is this request not shown?
In my experience, a request by an interviewee to turn off the
cameras indicates something is going on.

Brian Harper
Associate Professor
Applied Mechanics
The Ohio State University

"It appears to me that this author is asking
much less than what you are refusing to answer"
-- Galileo (as Simplicio in _The Dialogue_)