I've liked some of the intellectual videos about atheism (like Jonathan Miller's Atheism Tapes with Steve Weinberg and others) but it just happens that these profound enough intellectual debates began to be moved to places such as the Russian media in recent years.
Russia Today has just posted this video of its program "Worlds Apart" hosted by Oxana Bojko. I am confident that she is so advanced that she will be able to peacefully read my comment that there are hotter babes on Russia Today – both those from the post-Soviet realm as well as those imported from the U.S. But holy cow, she is intelligent, indeed. To say the least, she looked like a peer of Dawkins'.
So they discussed many of the usual questions and some novel questions about the evolution, biology, and psychology of religion and atheism. Are the people fighting for ISIS really psychopaths (1%-3% of the U.S. society), or can the "bulk" of the nations be transformed to such folks under certain conditions? Have they gotten desensitized by the wars in the Middle East? Why do they enjoy jumping over the stinking dead bodies if they can catch germs? What is the evolutionary advantage?
Just to be sure, I am absolutely confident that the percentage of the nations – including the Western nation – that would be able to turn into ISIS-like animal killers under "favorable" circumstances vastly exceeds 1% or 3%.
She would debate many other questions, e.g.: Can everyone in the world become an atheist or is it a form of luxury that is confined to the advanced enough world? Dawkins would controversially say that he believed that atheism could be exported everywhere because religion was one of the things that dragged the poor countries down. Bojko is clearly familiar with many of the details of Dawkins' books, among others, so the interview was really like a somewhat predictable exchange between two peers. One could say that their opinions about the validity and the role of religions were very close to each other.
But there came segments in which Bojko was clearly ahead of Dawkins. She wanted to discuss the apparent fact that some of the behavioral patterns – like the search for honor in the conflicts – seem to be almost entirely male patterns. She has quoted many sort of self-evident examples and Dawkins' answer must have been disappointing not only for her. His answer was pretty much that he has never thought about the question whether there are differences between men and women. I find such an answer from a 73-year-old man who is moreover considered to be among the world's most renowned biologists and intellectuals as a deeply disappointing one, indeed.
Bojko would also suggest that the conditions in the Muslim world are such that the "oppression of the women" isn't really something that the folks over there view as oppression – it is rather something that almost everyone considers to be necessary conditions for the society to function at all or to function well. Dawkins laughed said he was "skeptical" about it. But in my opinion, he would display the typical American naivite by this answer. Muslim believers make over 95 percent in many of these nations and this high percentage applies to women, too. Obviously, an overwhelming majority of the women over there must think that the basic organization of their society is right!
Now, from a more objective viewpoint, the societies could make some progress if they believed something else. But the causal relationship goes in both ways. The people's beliefs are influenced by the facts how the society works and how it could work. However, the question whether certain policies, laws, and behavioral patterns help the society do depend on the beliefs of the members of the society, too! The latter sentence is almost completely misunderstood, underestimated, or misunderestimated by the naive Americans – which is arguably the majority of Americans. But again, it's true that "what is helpful for the society" and "what people believe to be good for the society" are two different quantities that dynamically influence each other in both directions!
After 21:00, the host suggested that the intellectual diversity is healthy and a society composed of atheists only could suck for various reasons, much like the uniform Soviet society into which she was born. Well, it's not just a remote analogy but a special example, I would say; after all, the Soviet society was supposed to become completely atheistic. Dawkins has completely ignored all the logic and counterarguments and reiterated that he would prefer the society to be uniform. She posed a related question, whether a certain amount of rational thinking is too much. Dawkins said that there's never enough of it – but added that one shouldn't apply the critical thinking to "everything" such as all the human relationships.
Bojko would then ask whether religion is an example of creativity – both of them expressing the escape from the cruel and down-to-earth world. Dawkins would say that he supports arts, poetry and other forms of refuge but he draws the line when someone needs to promote false theories about the Universe in order to escape. Do I see tears in Dawkins eyes now (24:50)?
In another answer, Dawkins said he would support the Einsteinian religion but he finds it wrong for Einstein to have used the religious language although Einstein apparently didn't believe religious ideas in any tangible sense (I agree that he didn't but I don't mind that Einstein did use the religious language).
Finally, Bojko says once again that religions may bring emotional comfort to everyone, without prerequisites, while science can't. Dawkins agree but he says that psychologists etc. are enough instead of religion. Bojko mentions that psychologists cost something. Dawkins agree and finally reveals that he would prefer a socialist healthcare system where your psychologist is as free-of-charge as a priest. So quite naturally, she explicitly asked him something that she almost did many times earlier:
So aren't you sorry that you don't live in the Soviet Union?LOL. A good question that every leftist in the West should be asked. Dawkins answers that he believes that his socialism may be achieved without the dictatorial attributes of the Soviet system. Well, count me as a skeptic on this one. A significant distortion of the natural conditions e.g. the market conditions is always an intervention for which one needs an assertive, intrusive enough government that preserves the new unnatural conditions. You can't fully disentangle the "achievements" of socialism from its criminal and inhuman features.
While I would guess that most Russians don't have enough luxury to spend time with similar things – in this sense, the West is ahead – it also seems increasingly clear to me that there is actually much more freedom in Russia (and other countries) to think and talk about profound and general questions such as the relationships of evolution, atheism, religion, gender, and things like that. Sadly, the contemporary Western media seem to be much more controlled by some mediocrity, taboos, and superficiality.