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The beauty of creation: an interview with Richard Dawkins

Thanks to Quine for the link.

Heather Catchpole: We very much enjoyed both of your performances in the last couple of days…

Richard Dawkins: Good.

HC: I wanted to start with The Magic of Reality because it’s so very fresh in my mind. My daughter got a copy for Christmas from my scientific atheist father, who was very excited that I was talking to you today. What excited me most about the book was that you gave us, as parents, the resources to answer the questions which children ask – and yet it’s a very successful book for adults as well. How did you choose those questions?

RD: Well, they were a list of questions out of a larger possible list, and I didn’t try to cover all possible questions - I tried to cover questions that I thought might excite the curiosity of both the child and, as you say, an adult. I didn’t attempt the very esoteric questions that are tackled by cutting edge modern physicists like quantum theory and relativity, I confined myself to questions about more everyday phenomena - like rainbows, earthquakes, night and day, winter and summer – because those are the familiar things that might provoke questions.

HC: And yet some of those questions are very hard to answer. I always fail to find the seven word explanation for evolution that you can tell a five year old or a seven year old or a nine year old.

RD: Well that’s right, that is a more difficult one, and since it is my own special subject I did devote a couple of chapters to it. I do think that that is a worthwhile thing to do because who could not be curious about where they come from, why they exist, why animals and plants look so cunningly designed, why are they very often so beautiful. I think these are questions that will occur to people who open their eyes and look at the world.

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