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Dawkins describes 'magic' of science to Randolph College crowd

Evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins challenged an audience of nearly 800 to embrace “the magic of reality” over supernatural or religious explanations of the world during a sold-out lecture Wednesday night at Randolph College.

Drawing on the legacy of science, Dawkins — a controversial author and outspoken atheist — explained how humans evolved from single-cell creatures and later primordial fish.

“What I don’t want to do is give the impression that science thinks it knows everything …” Dawkins said. “There are things that not even the best scientists of today can explain. But that does not mean that we should block off all investigation by resorting to the phony explanations invoking magic or the supernatural or miracles, which don’t explain anything at all.”

A crowd of students, professors and community members packed into Smith Hall Theater to hear Dawkins speak about his newly released book, “The Magic of Reality: How We Know What’s Really True.”

Randolph College biology professor Doug Shedd, who organized the lecture, called Dawkins the “most prominent evolutionary biologist in the world today.” In 2007, Time magazine listed him as one of the world’s “100 Most Influential People.”

This was Dawkins’ second visit to Randolph College. Tickets were sold out long before the event, and the waiting list was longer than 300 people, according to college officials.

In 2006, Dawkins stopped at Randolph while on tour for his controversial book, “The God Delusion.” During the question and answer period, a number of students from Liberty University — where creationism is a required course — challenged Dawkins on his views of religion.

This year, more than a dozen students and community members lined up to question Dawkins, though most focused on science rather than religion.

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