Archive for September 3rd, 2007

Deakin’s ‘Wildwood’ pt. VIII

Monday, September 3, 2007

I wondered again how it is that trees are able to feel their way towards water, even when their roots have to travel some distance to reach it. By what process do they sense its nearness? Those little hairs on roots, which do all the work of absorbing water, may just be antennae of a kind.

- from the late Roger Deakin’s ‘Wildwood – A Journey through Trees’ (p.335).

Memo to Prof. Richard Dawkins: example of good-humoured tolerance

Monday, September 3, 2007

Surfing the www, as one does, I came across this interview between – believe it or not – Woody Allen and Billy Graham, presumably produced in the 1970s (studio decor, relative ages, hairstyles etc; late 70s?). Initially nervous about watching – concerned I was about to witness a verbal laceration one way, or a thunderous assault the other – I was very pleasantly surprised. The word charming easily sprang to mind. Here it is, in two parts.

I was then also pleasantly surprised – given the tenor of so many commentators on YouTube – by some of the comments left in response – with which I’m in full agreement:

You know it is refreshing to see two people with different views come together and speak without having to have an on-air spat.

and,

They BOTH came off great! Billy maintained a compelling, sincere dignity and zeal for his faith. Woody was humorous, intelligent and engaged. What a model for a friendly exchange between people who disagree!

or,

only one comment for me – i can’t imagine a discussion as intelligent like this being on any network programming today.

What struck me was the good humour and responsiveness of the two men. Each listened and was attentive to the other. But also they both seemed to have a mutual affection and respect for one another.

The thing that really grates for me about Richard Dawkins, the author of the Selfish Gene and the recent God Delusion, is his career-long seeming intolerance of people who do not share his perspective. I find him hard to digest because to my mind it’s inevitable you and I will have our own perspectives. I’m in my shoes, you’re in yours. I don’t know if I can ever truly know your experience. Or how you experience. Maybe Dawkins could learn something from – well, it’s not a case of either/or – both Allen and Graham?

I’m glad to have had the opportunity to blog about this, having side-stepped going into any depth on the issue (of fundamentalism in both science and religion) before. [Of course, the supposed indivisibility of each other’s experience begs the question as to the nature of language and communication, which I will sidestep here! Save to say that you may be interested in this blog’s ‘good communication?‘ page.] Thanks for reading.


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