Friday, March 09, 2007

Scientist versus comedian

  • The Guardian Unlimited reports on the dust-up between Richard Dawkins and Peter Kay.
A celebrity scandal that's kinda-sorta-halfway interesting for a change, if only for the reliably amusing sight of Dawkins turning into an atheist pitbull at the drop of a hat:
The comedian and the scientist are rivals in the Galaxy British Book Awards, in which Dawkins is a frontrunner for his bestselling atheist diatribe The God Delusion, and Kay is nominated for his popular memoirs The Sound of Laughter.

The controversy erupted after Dawkins read an excerpt from Kay's autobiography, in which he wrote: "I believe in a God of some kind, in some sort of higher being. Personally I find it very comforting."

The believer-baiting academic responded with contempt. "How can you take seriously someone who likes to believe something because he finds it 'comforting'?" he said.

"If evidence were found for a supreme being I would change my mind instantly -with pride and with great surprise. Would I find it comforting? What matters is what is true, and we discover truth by evidence, not what we would 'like'." Kay, at present appearing in "The Producers" at the Palace theatre in Manchester, was unavailable for comment last night and his publicist declined to respond on his behalf.

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