Inventor of the World Wide Web Brings Atheist Response to BBC’s ‘Thought for the Day’ December 27, 2013

Inventor of the World Wide Web Brings Atheist Response to BBC’s ‘Thought for the Day’

Tim Berners-Lee

Apparently it’s not enough to have invented the World Wide Web, but Tim Berners-Lee also has to infect the airwaves of the United Kingdom with his godless propaganda.

For some time now, nonbelievers have been clamoring for representation on BBC radio’s “Thought for the Day” segment, which is always presented from a religious viewpoint. But in a stint as guest-editor for BBC 4’s Today, which hosts the segment, Berners-Lee was able to at least get an “alternative thought” for Boxing Day an hour earlier in the show, but notably, still wasn’t able to co-opt the “Thought for the Day” segment itself on behalf of atheism.

Said Berners-Lee, “It was worth trying to point out that somebody who doesn’t believe in God can still think.”

The alternative-thought was presented by Unitarian minister (and atheist) Andrew Pakula. According to The Guardian:

Pakula explained how he celebrated Christmas as an atheist minister of a Unitarian church in north London. “To me there is no inconsistency in being an atheist and celebrating Christmas,” he said.

“While I don’t literally believe the stories underlying Christmas, I do very much believe in its most important messages. Christmas reminds us that hope can come at the darkest times. It reminds us of the sacredness and innocence and possibility of children – that any child, however humble their circumstances, could change the world for the better.”

For a culture as secular as the UK’s, it’s interesting that institutionally, religion remains rather untouchable in so many circumstances. At least they got at much as they did.

Richard Dawkins managed a similar compromise on BBC radio in 2002, long before “New Atheism” was a thing. There, he said:

The adult response is to rejoice in the amazing privilege we enjoy. We have been born, and we are going to die. But before we die we have time to understand why we were ever born in the first place. Time to understand the universe into which we have been born. And with that understanding, we finally grow up and realise that there is no help for us outside our own efforts.

Humanity can leave the crybaby phase, and finally come of age.

Image source.

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  • Michael

    The best alternative thought for the day was still the one given by Ariane Sherine.


    I have to take a certain issue with his statement; “It was worth trying to point out that somebody who doesn’t believe in God can still think.” In my experience, non believers never stop thinking, and sometimes wish they could turn it off for awhile.

  • i took it to mean that believers think it is “illogical” not to believe and that those of us who don’t are “not thinking it through.” ymmv

  • Erp

    Ah but another aspect is the person who did give the official thought for the day was Jim Corrigall who is also a Unitarian minister. So two Unitarian ministers both presumably in equally good standing with their denomination both with congregations but only one was eligible as a presumed theist to give the Thought for the Day. BTW only one was apparently introduced as a minister, guess which.

  • Heather

    I think that was referring to the fact that the segment is called THOUGHT for the Day.

  • Odd, right? Oddly enough, they also “ran out of time” for the 5-6 minute interview scheduled to discuss BBC’s decision.

  • A3Kr0n

    Ooooo… This was linked by It’s the big time man!
    Now don’t link to his page, or the both of you will melt down in an uncontrolled feedback loop!

  • Hartic

    For the sake of argument….let us assume that there is a creator of the
    universe….if that is so, then what leads us to assume that the
    “creator” is not a deist type of entity as opposed to the theist type.
    Assuming that a creator exists….what evidence is there to support a
    deity who is all powerful, and loving? All indicators point in the
    opposite direction. If there is a creator….it would seem that this
    entity is, if not malevolent….is indifferent…at best… least
    when considering the scale of human and animal suffering throughout the
    biological evolutionary history of man and all of the other species. To
    simply say that the bible or any other scriptures are the revealed word
    of god is not an answer or anything approaching a satisfactory

  • Carpinions

    Every time I see that picture of TB-L, I think the subject is something Michael Shermer said. He’s a dead ringer for Shermer in that picture.

  • Birdie1986

    Thank you for thinking, Heather.

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