Richard Dawkins is back on telly with his new program on Channel 4 (UK) Sex, Death And The Meaning Of Life. In the first of the series, he interviewed Rickie Gervais who recounted the remarks he had made at the Golden Globe film and television awards in Los Angeles last week.
“Thanks for everyone in the room for being good sports; to NBC and the Hollywood foreign press; thank you for watching at home; and thank you, God, for making me an atheist.”
Ricky went on to say that he didn’t really understand why his remark had caused so much offense because if there is a God, then he did make him (Gervais) an atheist. But, of course, he does fully understand why his comments caused offense. After all, he may sometimes act like one, but he is not an idiot.
Personally, I think that being offended, or not being offended, by somebody else’s remarks is simply a choice we make. Perhaps it does not feel like a choice, but really it is. The above comments are a stimulus and we all get the opportunity to respond in whatever way we wish including the option to be offended.
As Richard Dawkins continues his quest to enlighten the world by asking religious people apparently awkward questions, I think we ought to welcome the discussion. I think we are here to discuss the big questions, whether or not we have the right answers. And I also think that not having the kind of answers that might satisfy the scientific mind is no kind of evidence that an answer might not exist and might be eventually found.
Furthermore, I think it is time that religious people started asking Richard a few difficult questions of their own. It is not particularly clever in my opinion to be able to ask difficult questions. With all due respect to Ricky Gervais, any fool can do that.
How about this question, for starters: do you believe in extra-terrestrials? It would be an interesting question because, at least in my experience, many scientists actually do believe in aliens on the grounds of probability alone, despite the fact that there is absolutely no objective evidence that is scientifically acceptable.
On the matter of aliens, I have heard Dawkins speaking about the possibility of life on Earth somehow being seeded by life from another planet or another part of the universe. But I do not know his view i.e. what he actually believes about the matter. To his credit, it is quite clear that the man is open to the discussion and exploration of ideas.
What is so odd about his position therefore, is that he should be so dogmatic about his beliefs on just one subject. There is absolutely no room in his thinking even for the possibility of God. How very unscientific!