July 31, 2004

BBC interviews Richard Dawkins

Evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins has just topped Prospect Magazine's poll for Britain's top 100 public intellectuals. The BBC talked to Dawkins about this and other things.

When asked why he thought more scientists did not feature at the top of the poll, Dawkins responded:
Are you sure it is right to say that the science dog didn't bark?

A scientist came top of the voting, and he obtained nearly twice as many votes as the next person. The mean number of votes per person in the entire list of 100 is 42.6.

Eleven scientists were eligible for votes, and the mean number of votes per scientist is 54.5, noticeably above the general average. If you count Jonathan Miller and George Monbiot as scientists (Miller trained as a doctor, Monbiot as a zoologist, and both of them use their science in what they do), the mean number of votes per scientist rises to 62.3.

I haven't done the sums for any other category of person such as journalists or philosophers, but you could, and if you did I think you'd conclude that science put up a respectable growl by comparison.
And when asked if he was tired of the science vs. religion debate, he answered:
We can't move on as long as more than 50% of American voters believe the entire universe began later than the Middle Stone Age, and Tony Blair encourages such teachings in English schools on grounds of "diversity in education".

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