Dawkins on Channel 4
Professor Richard Dawkins stirred up further controversy with his brace of TV series on Channel 4, broadcast this July to September (www.channel4.com). The scientist-turned-evolutionary apologist presented viewers with programmes clearly designed to promote evolution and denigrate religion, especially Christianity.
The first series was entitled Inside nature’s giants. It was a nature documentary looking at the designs of the elephant, whale and giraffe and giving an evolutionary exposition of them.
The second series sprang out of Dawkins’ top-selling, religion-bashing book The God delusion. The first programme in this was badged, ‘Richard Dawkins asks why, despite science having exposed old religious myths, militant faith is back on the march.’
He did not allow that this ‘militancy’ might, after all, be due to there being a God; nor did he seem aware that his strident campaigning, helped by adverts from the British Humanist Association, has stirred up the public’s interest no end to find out for themselves.
The third and most controversial series was on The age of reason, where Dawkins outlined his ‘vision’ for a humanist society. One programme was called ‘Faith schools menace?’ The concluding, two-part programme was ‘The enemies of reason’.
‘Faith schools menace’ features Dawkins decrying government funding for the approximately 7000 faith schools (mostly Church of England and Catholic) in the UK. It created a storm among religious think-tanks and organisations.
Janina Ainsworth, chief education officer for the Church of England, wrote on her ‘Church mouse’ blog that Dawkins was ‘scaremongering’. She said, ‘In a liberal democracy, taxpayers of all faiths and none should be able to see their taxes being used to provide high quality education in a context that reflects their own religious, moral or philosophical commitments’.
With what feels like a touch of Marxism, Prof. Dawkins hankers for schools where children think for themselves (along humanist lines, of course) and are taught the ‘truths’ of evolution. But Dawkins’ single-minded and agenda-driven posturing can fail amusingly.
When he read out his letter to his daughter in school assembly – the aim: to show how engaged primary school children can be in ‘finding out things for themselves’ – a little ginger-haired boy found out for himself where the camera was to wave at it, oblivious of the evolutionist.
But finding out for yourself is actually quite a good idea. So let’s all start by reading the Bible from cover to cover! Let’s also understand clearly the flawed arguments that new atheists are putting up.