Dawkins says creationism largely a US problem

 

RICHARD DAWKINS was preaching to the converted in Dublin yesterday evening. That is apart from one disgruntled audience member who walked out after shouting at the author and calling him a self-parody.

The 68-year-old evolutionary biologist received a very warm welcome on his arrival at the RDS Concert Hall for a public address.

The majority of the 600-strong audience at last night’s event were men. However, they spanned the age gap, from student-looking types in their 20s to men in business suits to grey-haired men with canes.

At the front, devotees intensely studied copies of Dawkins’s new book, The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution, which he described last night as his missing link. All of his other books assumed that evolution was a fact and this plugged the gap, he said.

He was speaking as part of a talk organised by The Irish Times and Hughes and Hughes.

Dawkins said that while creationism was still largely an American problem, we needed to take stock of what was going on in the United States.

On this side of the Atlantic, Dawkins said that an influx of a very large Muslim population was difficult for scientists because Muslims believe that every single word of the Koran is true.

However, the protesting audience member accused Dawkins of trying to fight fundamentalism with his own form of fundamentalism.

Dawkins made an appeal to religious preachers who did not believe Adam and Eve were real but failed to explain this to their churchgoing audience during sermons.

He said the pope accepted evolution too, but disagreed at the juncture where the human soul was injected – a comment which was greeted with laughter from the crowd.

There were more supportive laughs as he read out extracts from his books.

Playing on his own nickname (Darwin’s Rottweiler), he told the audience that Rottweilers were very sweet and charming dogs.

On evolution’s future, he said that ordinary evolution was probably not going on in developed countries any more due to medical and lifestyle advances.

The future of evolution would not be based on survival of the fittest, but on reproduction of the fittest, he said.