Never a man to let an opportunity slip to smash a walnut with a sledgehammer, Darwinist and renowned aetheist Richard Dawkins has lambasted chirpy comedian Peter Kay, for professing in his autobiography to believe in a 'comforting God'. Dawkins, who clearly was not doing much else at the time, fumed:
'How can you take seriously someone who likes to believe something because he finds it 'comforting'?
'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'.'
And there was I thinking that Peter Kay was just a comedian. It is not the first time that Dawkins has been unnecessarily arrogant and boorish on the issue of belief in God. He is one of the greatest biologists of the last fifty years and he has well earned his respect as both an eminent theorist of evolution and his public fame due to the success of his books. However, his use of this fame is both embarrassing and tiresome. You wonder if Dawkins has any social skills to speak of; even in the columns he has written for The Guardian, The Independent and others his evangelical arrogance has been an embarrassment to many of his admirers, and if anything, his belligerence has set the cause of secularism, not to mention, aetheism, back decades. Though I suppose it is a bit of a novel diversion from the old 'but religion has been the cause of so many wars' line. Even the most brilliant intellectuals can be damn silly at times.