World famous Richard Dawkins gives a lecture at Jorgensen theater
In the wake of the rampaging riots and post-game celebrations at UConn, a carefully measured ration of reason has been brought to our school. Last night, Professor Richard Dawkins delivered a lecture at the Jorgensen Center for Performing Arts as part of the president's Distinguished Lecture series.
The show began with an introduction by President Herbst, who outlined a brief history of Professor Dawkin's life and his more notable accomplishments. Dawkins is considered by many to be one of the world's foremost evolutionary biologists. He has written numerous books on the subject, including his most lauded work, "The Selfish Gene." He is also known for his heavy involvement in the atheism. He is currently the vice president of the British Humanist association and has written books on the topic, most notably "The God Delusion" in 2006.
Following President Herbst's introduction, Dawkins took the stage alongside the dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Jeremy Teitelbaum. The two men wasted no time beginning an informal interview and discussion. About half of the questions were related to topics of evolution and biology while the other half were on the subject of atheism. However, there is not necessarily a defining line between the subjects, and discussion of one would often lead to the other.
While it was clear that Dawkins was passionate about both topics, he was especially fervent when discussing atheism. He pulled no punches when it came to his detractors. When asked if he considered himself aggressive in this regard, he disagreed.
"I'm not aggressive...I'm passionate. Although, I am angry," Dawkins said jovially. When asked what exactly it was that angered him, he said it "is these children, being deprived of a proper educations in the beauty of the scientific world by their parents, or their schools, that bothers me."
The discussion did not last long, ending after only an hour. Upon conclusion, there was a brief question and answer session where Professor Dawkins spoke to topics ranging from his early experiences with atheism, to his opinions about how to handle a child whose beliefs differ from his parents', to his appearance on a 2006 episode of "South Park."
Dawkins took his time with each answer, and it seemed clear that many had shown up because of his status as an atheist - rather than as a biologist.
According to Adam Bristol, an usher at Jorgensen, Dawkins drew a crowd large enough to fill the venue.
"It's totally packed. We've had to turn away over 100 people so far," he said.
However, not everyone who came to see Professor Dawkins was a fan. Prior to the start of the discussion, some attendees were handing out pamphlets protesting Professor Dawkins' views on atheism, attempting to discredit his arguments. However, Dawkins laughed it off and addressed the arguments made in the pamphlets.
Following the session, Professor Dawkins took to the lobby, where he held a brief book signing.
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