BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific North Midlands/East West/South-West London/South North Midlands/East West/South-West London/South
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: UK: England  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
England
N Ireland
Scotland
Wales
Politics
Education
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
EDITIONS
Wednesday, 14 August, 2002, 14:27 GMT 15:27 UK
Atheist gives Thought for the Day
Professor Richard Dawkins
Professor Dawkins delivered an unofficial "Thought"
A scientist has become the first atheist to deliver a Thought for the Day on the BBC's Radio 4 Today programme.

In his two-and-a-half minute slot, Professor Richard Dawkins from Oxford University, argued science gave a better explanation of life than religion.

Radio 4's policy of not including non-religious contributors has been heavily criticised - leading to more than 100 public figures demanding the "ban" be lifted.

However, Prof Dawkins's broadcast did not replace the regular daily slot but ran an hour afterwards as an unofficial "Thought".


Humanity can now leave the cry-baby phase and finally come of age - that is a thought for more than one day

Professor Richard Dawkins

Christine Morgan, who produces the series, said the official "Thought" would remain closed to non-religious voices.

She told the Today programme: "This short strand is unique, offering a faith perspective within a news programme.

"If we include secular voices, we undermine the slot's very distinctiveness."

In his talk, Prof Dawkins argued that science had managed to explain many of the mysteries of life and that believing that God could protect us was an "infantile regression".

'End the ban'

He said: "We have been born and we are going to die, but before we die we have time to understand why we were born.

"Humanity can now leave the cry-baby phase and finally come of age - that is a thought for more than one day."

Prof Dawkins was one of 102 people who put their name to the letter to the BBC governors, drawn up by the British Humanist Association, the National Secular Society and the Rationalist Press Association.

The letter read: "By resolutely retaining the ban, the BBC is discriminating against the non-religious, and thus giving the impression of promoting religion as the one source of ethics."


Click here to go to Oxford
See also:

14 Aug 02 | Entertainment
31 Jan 02 | Entertainment
02 Aug 01 | Entertainment
14 Jun 02 | Entertainment
12 Oct 01 | Newsmakers
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more England stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more England stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes