Dawkins looks a little bit silly

Sorry to indulge in Schadenfreude, but if it was ever justified, this is the moment:

Fraser: Richard, I'm sure you could name the full title of On the Origin of Species?

Dawkins: Yes, of course. 

Fraser: Go on, then.

Dawkins: On the Origin of species by, errr, selection, oh, um, (mumble, mumble), oh God, it's got quite a long subtitle [getting very cross], I, um...

Justin Webb: Pretty close!

What's so delicious about this is that Giles Fraser was accusing Professor Dawkins of creating a whole load of ridiculous and impossible conditions that people must fulfill before he will allow them to be "Christian". His point was that we could do the same thing for atheists and it would be equally ridiculous, because nobody would be allowed to be called an atheist unless, for example, they could name the full title of the Origin. A point which Dawkins then kindly demonstrated for him.


Steve Day (therevsteve) said…
Far be it from me to appear to defend Ricard Dawkins ... but fair's fair: he did manage to come out with "preservation of favoured races" which is not quite as bad as you have put it.
I think Giles Fraser was over-egging the "self identification" a bit as well - like Dawkins, I am troubled by someone who doesn't attend worship, read the Bible, or believe Jesus was the Son of God, but nevertheless ticks the "Christian" box. What does "Christian" actually mean in those circumstances?
Charlie said…
Yes, of course, I was being a little unfair to him, but it's all in the context :)

As to the question of what Christian means in these circumstances, that could be a very interesting one if it wasn't being used by Dawkins (or the people he is criticising) to try and score points.

An equally interesting question raised by Giles Fraser's points, is the one of who has the right to tell people whether they are Christian or not. You and I may have a clear idea in our head of what a "real" Christian looks like, but if someone who doesn't fit the description comes along and says they are one too, how do we deal with that, without sounding like Richard Dawkins?
Battersea Boy said…
I was particularly impressed by the way the Almighty came to Richard Dawkins' rescue, in that it was only after he had invoked an "arrow" prayer with his cry, "O God" that his memory was restored and he was able to recall almost the full title.

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