Dara Ó Briain on science, quackery, and creationism

I’m sure I’ve posted this video at some time in the past, but it must have been long ago, and it’s worth seeing again.( Besides, I just watched it.)

Here Irish comedian Dara Ó Briain defends science against various species of quackery. He reminds me a bit of George Carlin, and I love the “get in the fooking sack” bit, which should become part of every skeptic’s vocabulary.

. . .and here he is on creationism. Note the accurate characterization of evolution by natural selection: “The whole point of evolution is that random things just happened, and the useful ones hung around.”


  1. rickflick
    Posted November 13, 2017 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

    I wonder if humor isn’t the best approach to getting creationists straightened out. If they listen to this stuff, they’ve just got to come out with some serious doubts. It’s got to be hard to deceive yourself when you chuckling.

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted November 13, 2017 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

      But Rick the hardcore ones don’t have a sense of humour & they don’t have good taste in anything [music, books, hair, clothes] – they’re unreachable & rather weird people

      PCC did a TV program with a bunch of creationists & one of them was particularly hardcore – Northern Irish. Nasty piece of work & mind closed to all the pleasures & new experiences of our World.

      • rickflick
        Posted November 13, 2017 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

        I’m sure you’re right. Maybe there are a few not so hard core that can still manage a smile. 😎

        • Michael Fisher
          Posted November 13, 2017 at 9:08 pm | Permalink

          Dan Barker come to mind – Dan is a funny guy & thus he must be able to consider contrary thoughts & viewpoints. The humourless can’t put on someone else’s shoes.

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted November 13, 2017 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

      Blocked in the UK by Warner Bros., but maybe you can view it in the USA – see video in here: https://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2012/10/10/conspiracy-road-trip-with-creationists-noahs-ark-and-other-lolz/

      • rickflick
        Posted November 13, 2017 at 8:58 pm | Permalink

        That I remember.

      • Liz
        Posted November 14, 2017 at 10:42 am | Permalink

        I just watched this and loved it. Tim White was really good with them. It’s been a while since I’ve talked with a creationist. I was put on the creationist side in a debate in 8th grade when reading Inherit the Wind. I was the smart one and the leader of our team. There came a point in the debate when it was our turn to answer back and I was just like James Carville in the movie Old School to Will Ferrell. “We have no response. That was perfect.” Three years later I was teaching CCD to Kindergarten kids and one second grade down syndrome boy. While reading Noah’s Ark it suddenly dawned on me that I should clarify to the children that it was just a story and didn’t actually happen. I’m not so sure the other teachers made that point. Then there was a creationist group I came across in college right around the time I had taken a vertebrate history class. It was also the time I was asking questions to everyone and debating about religion (3 years after the CCD class and having taken Myth, Legend, and Bible in high school). This video made me feel inspired to go and debate someone.

        • Michael Fisher
          Posted November 14, 2017 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

          Hi Liz

          What is CCD?

          I lack the patience to ‘debate’ creationists & all other ideologues not just the god botherers – most of their questions are rhetorical devices & no reply is actually expected or wanted. Without embarrassment, they will happily switch horses, move goalposts, play the offence card [tone troll] & redefine words [faith, theory, knowledge etc.], but sometimes I’ve almost got value from the experience – such as when a foundational question is asked & I have to frame a basic, but sufficient response. Then I remember it’s a rhetoric thing on the other side of the divide – it only LOOKED like a question.

          • Liz
            Posted November 16, 2017 at 9:09 am | Permalink

            Confraternity of Christian Doctrine or catechism. It’s usually taken K – 9 and I believe for Catholics. I enjoy doing that with religious people sometimes but I agree that it can be frustrating.

  2. Merilee
    Posted November 13, 2017 at 7:08 pm | Permalink


  3. Michael Fisher
    Posted November 13, 2017 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

    Good stuff!

    1st video: I don’t think Noddy & Toyland hit American shores so this Wiki explains why Dara’s missus took the Micky re how he looked in a two-seater car [see pic top right of the Wiki]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noddy_(character)

    Why do comedians get stage comedy suits made? Are normal suits too hot under the lights? That’s a particularly horrible, big shouldered, no breast pocket, shiny blue monstrocity! And paired with black shoes…

    2nd video: The full “Live at the Theatre Royal [2006]” is here – a well spent 107 mins: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lPCinKhnAQc

    • Mark Joseph
      Posted November 13, 2017 at 10:47 pm | Permalink

      Thank you. I was about to ask what “Noddy” was.

      His point about not all opinions being of equal value was famously made by Isaac Asimov as well:

      There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there always has been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that “my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.”

  4. Craw
    Posted November 13, 2017 at 8:37 pm | Permalink

    That’s hilarious. I need to watch out for him.

  5. Posted November 13, 2017 at 11:05 pm | Permalink

    I love Dara: in my view, by a wide margin the comic I’d most love to have a few pints with. Sharp, but never mean.

    I also love that quip: “‘Well, science doesn’t know everything.’ Science KNOWS it doesn’t know everything, otherwise it’d stop.” Quick, short, simple, but I feel unusually incisive in addressing what science is actually about, rather than just pop sci or technology. Is it a coincidence that Dara, before going into stand-up comedy (and television political commentary/comedy), got a degree in theoretical physics? I suspect not.

  6. ploubere
    Posted November 13, 2017 at 11:50 pm | Permalink


  7. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted November 14, 2017 at 3:43 am | Permalink

    “This is the guy who created mountaintops and sunsets. What kind of off day, exactly, was he having when he threw you together?”



  8. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted November 14, 2017 at 9:44 am | Permalink

    Yeah, pretty sure PCC(E) posted this before

    Watched him anyway – love him!

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