Debate from Down Under: Richard Dawkins vs. Cardinal George Pell
A few days after denying Patrick Coffin an interview, Richard Dawkins did just what Patrick asked: he debated an intelligent, articulate churchman.
This morning in Australia Dawkins spent an hour answering questions alongside Cardinal George Pell, the most prominent Catholic figure Down Under.
By many accounts, Cardinal Pell was kind and sharp as usual. But for Dawkins, the debate was a bit rockier:
"Frustration and something bordering on barely concealed mutual disdain boiled over more than once during the ABC television show.
Charles Darwin was claimed as a theist by the cardinal, because Darwin ''couldn't believe that the immense cosmos and all the beautiful things in the world came about either by chance or out of necessity'' - a claim disputed by Professor Dawkins as ''just not true''.
Cardinal Pell won applause when he shot back: ''It's on page 92 of his autobiography. Go and have a look."
Read more about the debate here and watch the full thing below.
UPDATE: Turns out the cardinal was only half-right. He did quote almost verbatim from Page 92 of Darwin's biography, where Darwin notes his leaning toward theism, but in context it's clear that he soon drifted to Agnosticism. As Gbodunski points out in the comments:
"If you continue to read onto page 94, Darwin states "The mystery of the beginning of all things is insoluble by us; and I for one must be content to remain an Agnostic.""
Strike one against the Cardinal! Mea culpa.