Chip Rowe has a lengthy interview with Richard Dawkins in the latest issue of Playboy (link contains sidebar ads that are NSFW).
In other words, you’ll actually want to read this Playboy for the article.
In the interview, there are plenty of openings for religious people to criticize him… as well as the phrase “buggering the bald transvestite” (take a guess)… and the words “fronkey” and “octocow.” Good times.
Most of the questions are pretty basic, but Rowe still managed to ask some questions of substance.
A few excerpts:
PLAYBOY: You’ve described yourself as a “tooth fairy” agnostic. What is that?
DAWKINS: Rather than say he’s an atheist, a friend of mine says, “I’m a tooth fairy agnostic,” meaning he can’t disprove God but thinks God is about as likely as the tooth fairy.
PLAYBOY: So you don’t completely rule out the idea of a supreme being. Critics see that as leaving an opening.
DAWKINS: You can think so, if you think there’s an opening for the tooth fairy.
PLAYBOY: Do you have any deeply religious friends?
DAWKINS: No. It’s not that I shun them; it’s that the circles I move in tend to be educated, intelligent circles, and there aren’t any religious people among them that I know of. I’m friendly with some bishops and vicars who kind of believe in something and enjoy the music and the stained glass.
PLAYBOY:… without faith in an afterlife, in what do you take comfort in times of despair?
DAWKINS: Human love and companionship. But in more thoughtful, cerebral moments, I take — comfort is not quite the right word, but I draw strength from reflecting on what a privilege it is to be alive and what a privilege it is to have a brain that’s capable in its limited way of understanding why I exist and of reveling in the beauty of the world and the beauty of the products of evolution. The magnificence of the universe and the sense of smallness that gives us in space and in geologically deep time is humbling but in a strangely comforting way. It’s nice to feel you’re part of a hugely bigger picture.
PLAYBOY: Some scientists say that you should stop talking about atheism because it muddies the waters in the debate over evolution.
DAWKINS: If what you’re trying to do is win the tactical battle in U.S. schools, you’re better off lying and saying evolution is religion-friendly. I don’t wish to condemn people who lie for tactical reasons, but I don’t want to do that. For me, this is only a skirmish in the larger war against irrationality.
PLAYBOY: The pope apologized for the sexual abuse of children in the Catholic church. Isn’t that enough?
DAWKINS: Oh, big deal. He hasn’t handed over any records to the police. He apologized with great reluctance after enormous pressure was brought to bear.
The whole interview is online. Sadly, there’s no Dawkins centerfold. Boooooo.