News Exercise #75
This week I am using a BBC interview with Richard Dawkins, an Oxford University professor of evolutionary biology.
He regularly speaks out about the problems with religion in secular society, and the interviewer is trying to understand his reasons for this.
The interview is long, so I suggest only focusing on the short parts listed in the questions below.
1) At 0:20, the reporter explains the goal of the Richard Dawkins Foundation For Reason And Science. What is it?
It is designed to try to remove the influence of religion from education and public life.
2) Between 1:08 and 1:36 Dawkins explains why he believes his efforts are important. What is his reasoning?
He says that you (everybody) should be allowed to believe anything you like, but that you (anybody) shouldn’t impose your beliefs on other people. If anybody does this, it is a serious violation of everything that democracy stands for.
3) Between 1:45 and 2:15 Dawkins gives an example of how society should be careful of religious restrictions. Does he believe burkas should be banned in the UK?
No, he thinks that though burkas offend him personally, it is irrelevant. Nobody should abide by what he feels, and that applies also to the other side. (He means people should not force religious rules on other people).
4) Between 3:33 and 3:57 Dawkins explains the difference between some people demanding a burka ban, and other (religious) people demanding that evolution not be taught in science lessons. What is the difference between the two cases?
The feelings about a burka being worn in the UK is a matter of feeling and opinion. The matter of evolution is a fact because the evidence supports is totally.
5) At 4:23 he explains the difference between him and religious fanatics. What is the difference?
“Religious fanatics are apt to take the law into their own hands on occasion, aren’t they, and actually threaten people, actually use physical violence.”