'Bullied and Brainwashed'

A strident anti-creationist's churlish rhetoric debases what could be fascinating conversation about what made us and why.

Don't take this personally, but if you are an American adult there is a one in two chance that Richard Dawkins, a renowned professor of science at Oxford, thinks you are "

ignorant, stupid or insane

," unless you are "wicked." These are the adjectives Dawkins chooses to describe the roughly 100 million Americans adults who, if public opinion polls are right, believe

Homo sapiens

was created directly by God, rather than gradually by evolution. Ignorant, stupid, insane or wicked. Not much to choose from there!

Dangerous Ignorance

Religion has tormented or brainwashed sincere people into believing lies. By Richard Dawkins



Plus: Explore PBS' extraordinary interactive website on the "Evolution" series

  • Ask experts your questions about science and religion
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    Finding God in Random Chance
    The author of "The Metaphysical Club" on Darwin's first readers

  • The extremity of Dawkins's statement represents yet another indication that the debate between natural and supernatural explanations for existence is carried out at the level of nasty caricature. Science figures denounce the doubters of evolution as ignorant rubes or Elmer Gantrys; evangelicals denounce biologists as sinister brainwashers whose secret agenda is the destruction of faith. What ought to be a fascinating discourse--What made us? How? Why?--instead too often becomes an occasion for childish name-calling on both sides. Isn't there some way we can discuss God versus Darwin in civil tones?
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    Gregg Easterbrook
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