Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Dawkins stitched up by Ofcom?!

My wife just alerted me to this statement from Dawkins, buried away on his web site:


57. Comment #225904 by Richard Dawkins on August 7, 2008 at 1:44 pm

It is honest and direct for RD to state in his TV program that it was because of evolution that made him an atheist.

Thank you, but I have to admit that this, and other honest statements of atheism, were thrust upon me, against my will (especially right at the beginning of Episode 1), not by the Director or the television company, but by the LAWYER! That sounds weird. It isn't strictly a legal worry, but a worry about satisfying Ofcom, the regulatory body that controls British television. I don't fully understand it, but I THINK it has something to do with the need to 'respect' creationists. The lawyer thought that Ofcom would have preferred me to present 'both sides'. Because I obviously wasn't going to do that, he thought the next best thing was to be completely up front and announce, in advance, that the reason I took the line I did was that I was an atheist.

Of course, I don't like the sound of that at all. I'd prefer to say I'm an evolutionist because the evidence is so convincing. It is as though the lawyer has been infected by the 'all opinions are equally valid' viewpoint. So it's OK to promote evolution rather than creation, so long as I announce, IN ADVANCE that I am an atheist. 

Does anyone understand that? I'm far from sure that I do.


Ofcom is the independent regulator and competition authority for the communication industries in the United Kingdom, one of a series of such quangos. And so it seems that Dawkins is forced to be more in-yer-face about his atheism than he might otherwise be because of a defensive legal position. But I guess it is fruitless to try to complain to Ofcom on this issue, as it is a defensive lawyer who has set this in motion rather than Ofcom per se!

Here is an earlier piece from Dawkins about the absurd perceived need for fair treatment of all positions!

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