If I could have a word with a would-be suicide bomber or plane hijacker who thinks he's going to paradise, I would like to disabuse him. I wouldn't say to him, "Don't you see what you're doing is wrong?" I would say, "Don't imagine for one second you're going to paradise. You're not. You're going to rot in the ground."

How would you feel if your daughter became religious in the future?

Well, that would be her decision and obviously she's her own person, she's free to do whatever she likes. I think she's much too intelligent to do that, but that's her decision.

You talk about how your words have been twisted by religious people in the past. Which words of yours have been twisted?

Whenever I begin an argument by saying something that sounds as though it's creationist, something like "the Cambrian Explosion is a sudden explosion of fossils almost as though they had no history," I'm obviously saying that as a prelude to explaining why.

But these people quote selectively. It's a demonstration of their fundamental dishonesty. They're not actually interested in truth, they're interested in propaganda.

Are there one or two phrases you've heard repeatedly quoted out of context that you'd like to set the record straight about?

Well, that's one of them, about the Cambrian Explosion. Another one is Darwin's famous phrase, to suppose that "the eye, with all its inimitable contrivances"-he goes on about the complications of the eye-"could have been formed by natural selection, seems, I freely confess, absurd in the highest degree." He then goes on to explain it, and they never quote that. They just stop there. Dishonest.

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