No faith in the science

January 27, 2006

I looked forward to Channel 4's recent two-part presentation by Richard Dawkins, The Root of All Evil? After all, here was an Oxford University professor who holds the chair for the public understanding of science presenting a prime-time TV programme on science and faith.

But interest gave way to disappointment as I was left puzzling over why Dawkins had apparently abandoned the scientific approach that he claims to champion. I believe that a scientific approach involves an open mind, a spirit of genuine inquiry and a willingness to examine and weigh a wide range of available evidence - not simply those bits that fit your particular theory/world-view and that are limited in their representativeness.

Why was there no interview with one or more of the eminent physical or natural scientists of our day who regard science and faith as complementary rather than contradictory or in conflict?

Philip Corr (Letters, January 20) complains that "controversial" was an inappropriate term to use about Dawkins's views. Perhaps the term is better applied to Dawkins's approach. What a sad irony that he so often sounded as fundamentalist, intolerant and dismissive as those of whom he was so critical. Religious faith and scientific conviction have both been the source of much that is evil, but both also have the potential to achieve great good. Isn't it human arrogance and intolerance that constitute the real "root of all evil"? I wonder whether Dawkins's sortie into television has enhanced the public understanding of science or the reputation of the academic community?

Lynda Taylor Cambridge

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