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Protests no concern for outspoken atheist

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Author of The God Delusion appears despite sore throat.

An outspoken atheist said he was more worried about a sore throat than protests against his appearance in Inverness yesterday.

Professor Richard Dawkins was in the Highland capital to speak at Eden Court as part of a UHI lecture series focusing on science and theology.

The Oxford don is a scientist of international repute and has attracted controversy from several religious organisations for his views.

Known as 'Darwin's Rottweiler', he has written several books, including The God Delusion and The Selfish Gene, and specialises in gene-centred evolution.

Speaking before he took to the stage, Prof Dawkins said: 'I have just come from a tour of the US and received enthusiastic reception. It would be fun if the only opposition I get is from the Highlands.

'I find it odd that when someone is asked to give a talk that opposition comes from the church. What are they afraid of? Why can't they let someone give a speech and then preach their sermon from the pulpit the following Sunday?

'I have heard calls for equal time for the other side, but let's have equal time for atheists.'

Representatives of the Free Church of Scotland and other Christian organisations were outside Eden Court yesterday to mark their opposition to Prof Dawkins's views and handing out creationist literature. One man, who gave his name as Kenny the Christian, said he was taking a stand against atheism.

He said he had been given a ticket to attend the lecture and hoped to ask Prof Dawkins about his belief in evolution.

Derick Gillies, of the Free Church of Scotland, said there was an unbalanced debate between those believing in creationism and those believing in evolution.



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