On Tuesday, famed atheistic scientist Richard Dawkins clashed with Reverend Giles Fraser, a priest of the Church of England, during a BBC radio interview. While engaging in a debate about Christianity, Fraser challenged Dawkins to give the full name of Charles Darwin's "On the Origin of Species," an evolutionary book that Dawkins regularly heralds. After claiming that he could recite the title (which happens to be quite long), Dawkins became tongue-tied and failed to adequately do so.
The epic clash between the two men, which was carried live on BBC Radio 4 in England, was centered upon a recent poll that purportedly measured Christianity in Britain. The controversial study was commissioned by the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science, which is run by the well-known non-believer. Among the findings, the study alleges that Christianity has lost its standing in the European nation. The study apparently found that nearly two-thirds of individuals couldn't name the first book of the New Testament (Matthew).
Fraser, though, took issue with this indicator, claiming that it was improper for Dawkins to assume that a failure to name this book means that these individuals aren't Christians. It was at this point that the priest asked the atheist to name Darwin's well-known evolutionary book.
"Richard, if I said to you what is the full title of 'The Origin Of Species', I'm sure you could tell me that," Fraser said.
"Yes, I could," Dawkins responded, clearly indicating that he was ready for the challenge.
"Go on then," Fraser poked.
And this is where the situation turned awkward, as Dawkins simply couldn't make his way through the book's elongated title.
"'On The Origin Of Species' ... Uh. With, Oh God," Dawkins stumbled. "On The Origin Of Species.' There is a subtitle with respect to the preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life."
Fraser, of course, seized upon the opportunity to make his point that not being able to name a book doesn't necessarily have anything to do with one's deeply-held beliefs and convictions.
"You're the high pope of Darwinism," he said. "If you asked people who believed in evolution that question and you came back and said two percent got it right, it would be terribly easy for me to go 'they don't believe it after all.' It's just not fair to ask people these questions. They self-identify as Christians and I think you should respect that."
Listen to the awkward dialogue, below:
The full title of Darwin's book is "On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life." In fairness to Dawkins, this is certainly a lot to remember.
(H/T: Huffington Post)