More on ‘The Root of All Evil’

If you missed the Dawkins show the other night, a video clip of one of the most memorable moments can be found here.

Dawkins is interviewing Ted Haggard, one of the foremost US christian fundamentalists, and gets an earful of abuse when he deigns to suggest that Haggard may not be fully aware of the facts. Partial transcription:

Ted Haggard: Sometimes it’s hard for a human being to study the ear or study the eye and think that happened by accident.

Dawkins: I beg your pardon, did you say “by accident”?

Haggard: Yeah.

Dawkins: What do you mean “by accident”?

Haggard: That the eye just formed itself somehow.

Dawkins: Who says it did?

Haggard: Well, some evolutionists say it.

Dawkins: Not a single one that I’ve ever met.

Haggard: Really?

Dawkins: Really.

Haggard: Ohh.

Dawkins: You obviously know nothing about evolution.

Haggard: Or maybe you haven’t met the people I have.

Cue tirade. It really has to be seen to be believed.

There’s a massive amount of hypocrisy in there1, but in the end that’s irrelevant. There are so many offensive things about Haggard’s comments that it’s hard to know where to start. He accuses the entire scientific community of arrogance for drawing tentative conclusions from evidence, and that drives me up the wall…I won’t continue as it’ll just wind me up. Others have covered it in greater detail.

As somebody on the J-walk comments said:

Sometimes it’s hard to look at a christian fundamentalist and think he/she became that way by intelligent design.

Puts the mental into fundamentalist, too. I’d also like to specifically point out the reaction of Fay Weldon, a woman who seems to get crazier and crazier with passing sentence, yet still garners a weird amount of respect in the UK media. She was on Radio 4, discussing the program:

Tom Sutcliffe – he was the only sensible one there – pointed out, ‘His specific point in the first programme is that faith is the problem – the belief in things without as it were physical or substantial evidence is the central problem.’ Then Weldon, outraged, says, ‘Well it’s outrageous, what is he going to put in its place, science?’ ‘Yes!’ says Sutcliffe, slightly exasperated. Weldon is flummoxed. ‘He’s going to look at the stars and say – ‘ [laughs] ‘I mean how is he going to explain them away?’

Quote from here. But, you know, maybe Haggard’s got a point. We should really do something about all these saltationist scientists who think the eye just spontaneously evolved. They’re just everywhere.

  1. can’t resist pointing out that Haggard then had Dawkins thrown off his property for “calling the congregation animals” – preusumably referring to evolutionary theory. Given that we, cows and peas have a common ancestor, in a sense the entire congregation are like vegetables… []