Atheist author Richard Dawkins has made it loud and clear that he believes faith has no place in science and that a public debate between him and a creationist – of any type – is out of the question.
“The objection to having debates with people like that (creationists) is that it gives them a kind of respectability,” Dawkins said during a recent appearance on the Michael Medved show.
“If a real scientist goes onto a debating platform with a creationist, it gives them a respectability, which I do not think your people have earned,” he told Discovery Institute President Bruce Chapman, whose organization is best known for its advocacy of Intelligent Design.
Following that same logic, Dawkins insisted in another media appearance that only “evidence” can lay the groundwork for science, not “superstition, authority, holy books or revelation.”
Therefore “alternatives” to science have no place in a public school classroom, not even to discuss, the British biologist suggested.
“You may think that God oversaw evolution, and that's a point of view that you could probably defend, but leave it out of the science class,” he told Bill O’Reilly on The O’Reilly Factor.
Dawkins is currently promoting his latest book, The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution, which was released last month.
In the book, Dawkins expounds the evidence for biological evolution, insisting that evolution theory is not a theory, but in actuality a fact, as much as it’s a fact that the earth is round.
“This book is my personal summary of the evidence that the 'theory' of evolution is actually a fact – as incontrovertible a fact as any in science,” Dawkins writes.
The release of The Greatest Show on Earth coincides with the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin's birth and the 150th anniversary of the landmark publication of the 19th century naturalist’s On the Origin of Species, which introduced the theory of evolution through natural selection and presented evidence suggesting that the diversity of life arose through a branching pattern of evolution and common descent.
The book’s release also comes as 44 percent of Americans say they believe God created man pretty much in his present form at one time within the last 10,000 years and half of Britons are either strongly opposed to the theory of evolution or confused about it.
Among those Americans who do believe in evolution, 36 percent say they believe God guided the process, and among Britons, 12 percent say the prefer the idea of intelligent design, which asserts that "certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection."
In his appearance on the Michael Medved show last week, Dawkins criticized Intelligent Design as just another version of creationism and an idea unworthy of discussion.
“I will have a discussion with somebody who has a genuinely different scientific point of view,” he said when asked why he won’t have a debate with Intelligent Design proponent Stephen Meyer.
“[But] I have never come across any kind of creationism, whether you call it intelligent design or not, which has a serious scientific case to put,” Dawkins added.
To date, the British biologist has written ten books, a number of which focus on evolution, including The Selfish Gene and The Extended Phenotype. Though it was The Selfish Gene that drew Dawkins into prominence in the late 1970s, he is best known for his 2006 bestseller, The God Delusion, in which he contends that a supernatural creator almost certainly does not exist and that such beliefs, based on faith rather than on evidence, qualify as a delusion.
Since the publication of The God Delusion, several books have been written in response. Such works include The Dawkins Delusion?, Darwin’s Angel, and most recently Atheist Delusions, published this past April.
Dawkins has referred to such responses as “fleas” – topical parasites that leech off of the fame and controversy of his book.