As you may know from Greg Mayer’s post five minutes before airtime, Richard Dawkins was on The Daily Show last night, being interviewed by Jon Stewart about Richard’s new autobiography, An Appetite for Wonder. You can find the full episode here, with Dawkins appearing at 13:33 until the end of the show at 36:00 (just move the video cursor to the second black mark).
The discussion is worth watching, as Richard acquits himself well (see his concise explanation of the limits of “selfish genes” at 22:00), but Stewart hadn’t really done his homework, and missed some chances to delve more deeply into things he brought up, like the incompatibility of science and religion (Stewart mentions it twice). Instead, Jon is all over the map about topics as diverse as morality, the origin of life, and so on. And, in trying to cover too many topics, Stewart doesn’t let Dawkins go into any detail about a single one, as in the discussion about whether religion really can provide net benefits to humanity. He permits Richard only to emit a series of sound bites. Nevertheless, a message got out, and that’s better than nothing.
Sadly, there’s no indication that Stewart even read Richard’s book! Finally, the host talks too much. A rule of interviewing, to which I’ll scrupulously adhere next Thursday, is to let the interviewee do at least 75% of the talking.
Finally, I don’t appreciate Stewart’s comment on cats at 34:15!