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Ask Richard Dawkins About Evolution, Religion, and Science Education 1142

Posted by Soulskill
from the and-how-to-be-politely-uncompromising dept.
Richard Dawkins is an author and an evolutionary biologist. For 13 years, he held the Simonyi Professorship at the University of Oxford. His 1976 book The Selfish Gene helped popularize the gene-centric view of evolution and coined the word "meme." Several other of his books, including Climbing Mount Improbable, River Out of Eden, and The Greatest Show on Earth have helped to explain aspects of evolution in a way non-scientists can more easily understand. Dawkins is a frequent opponent of creationism and intelligent design, and he generated widespread controversy and debate in 2006 with The God Delusion, a book that subjected common religious beliefs to unyielding scientific scrutiny. He wrote, "One of the truly bad effects of religion is that it teaches us that it is a virtue to be satisfied with not understanding." Most recently, Dawkins wrote The Magic of Reality: How We Know What's Really True, a graphic book that aims to introduce kids to science. He's also recently begun a video series titled "Sex, Death, and the Meaning of Life" about how our world would look without religion. Mr. Dawkins has graciously agreed to answer some questions for us. Post your suggestions in the comments below, but please limit yourself to one question per post. We'll post his responses sometime next week.
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Ask Richard Dawkins About Evolution, Religion, and Science Education

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  • I constantly see your work referenced both by opponents and proponents and feel like they don't always fully understand the concepts. My personal favorite is when I find a proponent of your work taking the personification of the gene to a new level past its role as a mere didactic device -- sometimes expounding at length about what genes want and desire. So what is your favorite misunderstanding that may have ended up as a headline, news story or that you've found on the internet?
  • Hitch (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dhermann (648219) on Thursday October 18, 2012 @11:16AM (#41693903)
    What is your fondest memory of Christopher Hitchens?
  • Re:Hitch (Score:5, Interesting)

    by santax (1541065) on Thursday October 18, 2012 @11:17AM (#41693927)
    And of course, what is your least fondest memory of Christopher Hitchens? :)
  • Widespread religion (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 18, 2012 @11:21AM (#41693973)

    The God Delusion helped me make explicit several inchoate ideas I had about why a belief in a god is not necessary to explain the world around us. Why do you think that so many people around the world still feel the need to rely on a personal god?

  • by mrkitty (584915) on Thursday October 18, 2012 @11:21AM (#41693979) Homepage
    Do you believe a democratic society can exist which has no form of religion in its laws, or within government?
  • by Quakeulf (2650167) on Thursday October 18, 2012 @11:22AM (#41693995)
    And how do you pronounce it yourself?

    Thank you very much in advance for taking your time to answer my questions. :3
  • DNA Methylation (Score:5, Interesting)

    by alphaamanitin (1798136) on Thursday October 18, 2012 @11:24AM (#41694023)
    DNA methylation seems an interesting property that has been shown to be heritable in some instances (cannot remember citation, study involving desert plants in Arizona or New Mexico, USA), changing the phenotype without the genotype. If this is inheritable, this seems to break your assertion that the gene is always the level of selection. In this case a gene producing X phenotype is methylated to produce Y phenotype, which could be selected for against (either direction) phenotype X, phenotype Y individuals net result in my hypothetical is a increased fitness and fecundity relative to individuals with phenotype X. Do you view this as escaping your assertion or a mere special case as it is still the gene being methylated. AlphaA
  • by tomhath (637240) on Thursday October 18, 2012 @11:25AM (#41694035)
    Do you think humans have a genetic predisposition to believe in things that have no basis in science?
  • by NixieBunny (859050) on Thursday October 18, 2012 @11:25AM (#41694043) Homepage
    Do you think that it will ever happen that a society exists without religion?
  • Gallup poll (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 18, 2012 @11:30AM (#41694105)

    In a recent Gallup poll it has been shown that there has been no change in 30 years of Americans accepting evolution as truth. What do you think are the major factors for this?

  • by Gotung (571984) on Thursday October 18, 2012 @11:31AM (#41694129)
    It seems that most creationists are successful in convincing their peers of the faults in the theory of evolution because they are the only source of information on what the theory actually is. They setup a completely outdated or just plain fabricated version of the theory and then argue against that. Which makes them look like they know what they are talking about and makes their arguments convincing to the ignorant. How do you convince people that what they have been taught is completely wrong without insinuating that they or their respected teacher/pastor etc is a complete idiot?
  • by mcmonkey (96054) on Thursday October 18, 2012 @11:36AM (#41694205) Homepage

    Do you believe a democratic society can exist which has no form of religion in its laws, or within government?

    I think a better question is, can a democratic society exist with any form of religion in its laws or government?

    (I say better as in more practical. I don't think we'll ever see a society without some aspect of religion enshrined into law (considering the cult of personality around a dictator or monarch as a form of religion).)

  • A lot of effort (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ciderbrew (1860166) on Thursday October 18, 2012 @11:37AM (#41694233)
    At any point, have you ever had a religious person say "I think you're right, it is all bollocks!" after they've had a chat with you?. It seems like so much hard work to destroy the fantasy.
  • Circumcision (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 18, 2012 @11:37AM (#41694235)

    Kind of an oddball question for you - What are your thoughts on circumcision? The reason I ask is because, according to the World Health Organization, about 30% of males on the planet are circumcised and 70% of those are Muslim. It appears that the decision to circumcise is heavily influenced by religious beliefs, but the WHO also states that circumcision helps reduce the risk of contracting and spreading sexually transmitted diseases. Christopher Hitchens, a man who I loved and respected, thought it was a barbaric practice. Being another person I love and respect, I would like to hear your thoughts on the subject.

  • Cognitive Dissonance (Score:4, Interesting)

    by BiophysicalLOVE (2650233) on Thursday October 18, 2012 @11:40AM (#41694257)
    Is it possible to fully comprehend the world scientifically, and foster a mechanistic perception of the universe, and still foster a faith at the same time? If this it isn't possible, and it is argued that faith will cloud our otherwise pristine judgement, how can we trust the observations or arguments produced by scientists of faith?
  • by tomhath (637240) on Thursday October 18, 2012 @11:40AM (#41694263)
    More specifically, given how widespread belief systems are in the world I assume there's a survival advantage for humans who hold onto a belief even when it contradicts observable facts.
  • by Hatta (162192) on Thursday October 18, 2012 @11:42AM (#41694293) Journal

    Given that religion is present in every society, and by far the norm in almost every society, it stands to reason that we are genetically disposed to be religious. That would imply that religion has some evolutionary benefits.

    Do you agree? If not, why not? If so, what are those benefits, and how can they be provided by a fully secular society?

  • Being a Symbol (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Antipater (2053064) on Thursday October 18, 2012 @11:43AM (#41694315)
    You've become an incredibly polarizing figure in a contentious debate. In certain groups, you're akin to the Anti-Christ, and in others you're quoted without question like a religious prophet. How do you handle that? Does it feel weird to have everything you say dissected (and possibly misinterpreted)? Is there pride? Exasperation? Amusement?
  • by martinux (1742570) on Thursday October 18, 2012 @11:43AM (#41694333)

    Hi Professor Dawkins and thanks for offering to answer some of our questions.

    In the past, some science educators (Dr. Tyson for example) have criticised what they perceived to be your overuse of the stick in promoting rationalism and fact-based decision making where they considered the carrot to be a better tool. There is some evidence that simply stating the facts may actually be counter-productive: http://www.dartmouth.edu/~nyhan/nyhan-reifler.pdf [dartmouth.edu]

    Would you mind talking about the efficacy of both approaches to the greater understanding of the value of fact-based decision making?

  • The Flock (Score:2, Interesting)

    by CanHasDIY (1672858) on Thursday October 18, 2012 @11:45AM (#41694365) Homepage Journal
    Assuming you're aware of the behavior, what are your thoughts regarding the fundamentalist-like fervor exhibited by many of your followers, as well as the irony of their penchant for elevating you to a god-like status?
  • by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Thursday October 18, 2012 @11:47AM (#41694391)
    When I received my religious education as I child, my rabbi taught me about the Documentary Hypothesis -- not to deny it, but to show me that the torah was not always what it is today. What are your thoughts on this sort of religious education i.e. religious education that is not based on denying or avoiding scientific or historical realities?
  • Question #616 (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 18, 2012 @11:48AM (#41694401)

    is religion a virus of the mind, like a meme that has got out of hand ? as it wishes to replicate and disables/disrupts parts of the mind concerning logic and reason ?
    or is it a mental illness of some description like schizophrenia ?

    regards
    Anon. UK

  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Thursday October 18, 2012 @11:49AM (#41694415) Journal
    Something that's always troubled me about memes is that I cannot understand what the core language or data is for a meme. I know that our genes can be pinned down to be DNA but with memes it's troubling for me to try to imagine a language that conveys what is happening in them. We can observe a meme's transmission, we can observe a meme's mutation, we can observe a meme's fitness and we can observe its extinction -- but what we can't do is break those things down to some finite chunk of information such that we can analyze them on a empirical level. For instance, mutations of memes appear to be limited to only the human imagination and physics. It feels as though I would have as much luck describing how art went from cave paintings to film CGI with only mathematics as the language. So what is the concrete language of memes or are they destined to be more of a curious observation than a falsifiable and reproducible analysis like genetics?
  • by rhartness (993048) on Thursday October 18, 2012 @11:59AM (#41694589)
    There is a small percentage of Christians, such as myself, who adamantly believe in both evolution and Christianity. We believe that scripture must be read and interpreted through a context that understands that scripture should be interpreted by first considering the culture of the original audience. As such, we believe that the "historical" aspect of the Biblical account of creation isn't as important as understanding the purpose and point of all of "creation", humankind and who we are in relation to our creator. My intent is not to lecture on the creation of mankind. Instead, I am interested in knowing if you've ever spoken or debated much with other Christians who have similar beliefs as myself. For many of us, evolution is unquestionable! However, the sheer existence of such truth does not exclude the fact that a creator couldn't have been a part in the process. Much of your Christian (or other religious) interactions that I've observed tend to involve arguing against the most commonly propagated beliefs of creationism. I am interested in your thoughts, on such a different perspective, as my own. Please comment. Thank you so much.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 18, 2012 @12:08PM (#41694747)

    Because of the laws of thermodynamics. The universe isn't a perpetual motion machine - it needs something outside itself to come into existence. Something outside of space and time - therefore something immaterial and eternal - and powerful. I'm speaking of space-time itself and even the laws of physics. Particles can't come from a void without physical laws.
    Also, if you need another reason - the anthropic principle. There are not enough sub atomic particles in the universe for there to be a life-possible planet statistically - the numbers will blow your mind if you look at them. Anyone with an open mind will see that God is really the only rational, logical explanation. If you disagree, I would encourage you to read some actual works on the topic - maybe something by Robert Spitzer. I'm amazed at the lack of education on this topic by most people - atheists seem to simply assume their position without any logical study.
    Dawkins was an amateur compared to Spitzer.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 18, 2012 @12:08PM (#41694751)

    I am a christian catholic. I do not go to the church very often, but I pray every single day.

    As an educated believer and a scientist, I know that evolution is a fact and intelligent design is such a stupidity that it doesn't even need to be debated. To be very clear, if I would know *for sure* that only one of the following sentence is true:
    (a) God exists
    (b) evolution exists
    then I would immediately abandon my religion. Still, I believe both exists, although for (a) I cannot have a proof.

    Is there a place for people like me, in your view of a "good" society?

  • " Atheists seem to be very, very angry at everything even remotely related to a religion "
    Tat's becasue you only know of the ones who are very angry. It's a bias, look it up.
    I have noticed that even in the most polite conversation atheist get tagged with 'Angry' by people who loose a debate.

    " only difference between a fetus and a baby is which end of the vagina you're looking at."
    and you would be wrong. Sorry. You probably should let you emotional based bias guide actual science or policy.

    " If I even suggest that it shouldn't be legal in a society to reach through that vagina with a knife and a hose to suck out his brain, again, I'm labelled a religious fanatic."
    no, the fact that you go to such ridiculous extremes and emotion verbiage to try and make a point is why you get labeled as fanatic.
    No that you ego centric bias an even for a moment let you consider that maybe it's you that's the issue.

  • reductio ad deum (Score:5, Interesting)

    by potpie (706881) on Thursday October 18, 2012 @12:11PM (#41694795) Journal
    I am (pleasantly) surprised by how many of my friends have "come out," as it were, as atheists over the last few years. I'm a young person, and I suspect that the amount of closet atheists among younger people (in America at least) is much greater than that among older people. In general, how optimistic are you about humanity getting past religion in the next few decades?
  • by Hatta (162192) on Thursday October 18, 2012 @12:14PM (#41694845) Journal

    Fictional doctor House M.D. is famously quoted as saying, "If you could reason with religious people, there would be no religious people." Is this your experience? If religious people are immune to rational arguments, how do we have a productive discussion with them? How do you impress on a religious person the importance of evidence and reason?

  • Good one (Score:5, Interesting)

    by warrax_666 (144623) on Thursday October 18, 2012 @12:22PM (#41695029)

    Because of the laws of thermodynamics. The universe isn't a perpetual motion machine - it needs something outside itself to come into existence. Something outside of space and time - therefore something immaterial and eternal - and powerful. I'm speaking of space-time itself and even the laws of physics. Particles can't come from a void without physical laws.

    So why does god get a free pass to come from nothing?

    Also, if you need another reason - the anthropic principle. There are not enough sub atomic particles in the universe for there to be a life-possible planet statistically - the numbers will blow your mind if you look at them.

    The anthropic principle does not mean what you think it means.

    And what, exactly, is your basis for postulating that life is rare?

    Anyone with an open mind will see that God is really the only rational, logical explanation.

    It's not an explanation. Even if you accept it as one, you still have to explain where god came from.

    I'd give your apologetics a 1 out 10. Try harder.

  • by ideonexus (1257332) on Thursday October 18, 2012 @12:24PM (#41695071) Homepage Journal

    My wife and I attended the Reason Rally [reasonrally.org] on the National Mall this year, which was billed as a positive expression of non-theistic secular thought. We met many wonderful people there and were truly inspired by Adam Savage's [youtube.com] incredibly positive and inspiring speech on the wonders of science, Nate Phelps [latimes.com] remarkably eloquent denunciation of his father's Westboro Baptist Church, and your own speech [youtube.com] highlighting the absurdity of having to hold such a rally at all; however, I we were also incredibly put off by vitriol on display by so many other speakers who were entirely focused on the evils of religion rather than the good science and rationality brings to civilized life. We ended up leaving the rally in the middle of PZ Meyer's speech because we found it so distressing in its Rush Limbaugh-esque tone.

    It bothers me that so many of us define ourselves by what we don't believe rather than what we do [ideonexus.com]. As Carolyn Porco elucidated so concisely at a talk you were involved in, I am not an atheist, I am a scientist [youtube.com]. Like Carl Sagan [goodreads.com], I get a profound sense of spirituality from science that I want to desperately for everyone in the world to open their own eyes and discover.

    My attempts to get people to read your book The God Delusion [wikipedia.org] were met with strong resistance, people were very turned off to its tone, but those same individuals loved your book The Magic of Reality [wikipedia.org]. As someone who has pursued both the strategy of being highly critical of religion in one work, while apparently softening that criticism in your latter work in exchange for focusing on the wonders of the natural world, could you speak to pros and cons of these different strategies of persuasion, not just in your own work but in the efforts of others like Adam Savage and PZ Meyers?

    Thank you so much for your taking the time to interact with us on /.! This really is an exciting development and an honor.

  • by gshegosh (1587463) on Thursday October 18, 2012 @12:34PM (#41695321)
    Do You sometimes regret becoming a kind of an "atheist" role model? Even looking through these Slashdot questions, most of them are about religion, not Your scientific fields...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 18, 2012 @12:38PM (#41695377)

    Perhaps you should read The Selfish Gene more carefully. Life doesn't "begin" like song on the radio. The idea that life is statistically unlikely is only true if you mean "life as we know it after billions of years of evolution." Which, I agree, would be absurdly unlikely to spring into existence by random combinations in primordial soup.

    What happened in the soup was about replicator protien chains. Not life. These chains were behaving no more magically than the letters that clump together in your alphabet soup. But somewhere, in a huge ocean with a density near 6.02 X 10^23 particles per 18 grams, there was a combination of alphabets that was stable, and that attracted "letters" to it, that would create another chain like it on the outside, and with a bit of wave action, split and repeat the process. Still, not life, but a replicator protien that (if you read the book) would one day become life through a gradual series small changes.

    If you read the book and understand the basics of organic chemistry, it not only seems plausible, but unavoidable.
    ____________________

    As for the beginning of the universe. Quantum mechanics seems to suggest that the fabric of the universe is inherently unstable, like a 54 inch pant, taped at the ends to a 52 inch ironing board. Every section of flat (void) will evenually be blanced out by a lump (matter). You can push it around, but you can never make it all flat. The universe shares this principal, and all the ironing does is spread out or clump-together the lumps.

    Though this may explain why God made sweatpants.

    I wasn't there. I'm not old enough to testify that this happened. Today, in the universe that matters, really people are being killed over these non-sense explanations derived from ancient tomes by kind but ignorant people. If you are a philosopher, and aware that these things are not worth murdering children for, then I wish you luck in your quest for the truth. Decent atheists would never want to interfere with your quest. They seem to oppose you only because they're tired of seeing news images of dead children killed by people who assume that it will prove their non-sense is the best non-sense.

  • by mcgrew (92797) * on Thursday October 18, 2012 @12:42PM (#41695471) Homepage Journal

    So what is your favorite misunderstanding that may have ended up as a headline, news story or that you've found on the internet?

    On that note: "One of the truly bad effects of religion is that it teaches us that it is a virtue to be satisfied with not understanding."

    My question is, which religion? My bible says "fools despise wisdom and instruction" (Proverbs 1:7). "Doth not wisdom cry? and understanding put forth her voice? She standeth in the top of high places, by the way in the places of the paths. She crieth at the gates, at the entry of the city, at the coming in at the doors. Unto you, O men, I call; and my voice is to the sons of man.
    O ye simple, understand wisdom: and, ye fools, be ye of an understanding heart."

    These passages are shared by Christians, Jews, and Muslims, so it's none of these religions. What religion values ignorance?

  • by Pooua (265915) on Thursday October 18, 2012 @12:56PM (#41695757) Homepage

    I thought of Proverbs 25:2,

    "It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings is to search out a matter."

  • by mcgrew (92797) * on Thursday October 18, 2012 @12:59PM (#41695807) Homepage Journal

    My father was indoctrinated as a child and despite being a software engineer and so demonstrably more than capable of logical thinking and understanding he could never abandon Islam. Are people like that beyond help, I wonder.

    No. I know a man who was raised as an athiest and who swears that God touched him; he's now a Christian. On the other hand, I know another man who was raised in a strict Christian family in Kentucky (Bible Belt) who is now a die-hard athiest. A woman I know was raised as a Catholic and still considers herself a Catholic, yet believes that God doesn't exist (now there's a logical disconnect if I ever saw one).

    I would bet that most athiests were raised in religious families. People tend to rebel against their parents and their beliefs at a point in their lives.

  • Atheist Preachers (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Prien715 (251944) <agnosticpopeNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday October 18, 2012 @01:01PM (#41695833) Journal

    Why do modern atheists feel the need to talk about God all the time? I don't remember Sagan, Darwin, or for that matter, Einstein feeling the need to dwell on the subject at any length.

  • by Your.Master (1088569) on Thursday October 18, 2012 @01:34PM (#41696411)

    Atheists today start with the dogma of no God, and then work backwards to find any possibility that such a being does not exist.

    No, they don't. Don't be such an asshole.

    You are left with either God, or a complete lack of causality

    First, you don't need a complete lack of causality, you need a specific lack of causality, which is a huge difference. I know you're using this as a rhetorical device but you really need to be precise here.

    That's not a dichotomy at all. Both options are a lack of causality. One has God as a specifically uncaused entity.

    You can't have it both ways.

    Choosing the uncaused God is having it both ways, so you're basically saying you can't believe in God.

    The two actual options are:

    1. Infinite regress
    2. Uncaused cause

    The two options are basically orthogonal to whether you believe in a creator. You could argue for an infinite regress of creators just like an infinite regress of time, and either way it's turtles all the way down. Uncaused cause is popular these days with Christians because it lines up with their religion, and many others because of entropy / arrow of time arguments. There are also some religious and nonreligious arguments for infinite regress.

    Neither of those options are particularly satisfying to anybody who thinks about them hard enough, but I've never seen one that I wouldn't classify as one of the above. You could even argue that the infinite regress needs an uncaused meta-cause, collapsing it down to one option.

  • by isorox (205688) on Thursday October 18, 2012 @01:46PM (#41696629) Homepage Journal

    My father was indoctrinated as a child and despite being a software engineer and so demonstrably more than capable of logical thinking and understanding he could never abandon Islam. Are people like that beyond help, I wonder.

    sounds like a healthy survival instinct. A large portion of western Muslims (30%) believe that apostasy should be punished by death.

    While Jehovah's witnesses may annoy you, Scientology and Islam are cults with dangerous followers. Safest not to piss them off.

  • Re:Gallup poll (Score:4, Interesting)

    by dargaud (518470) <slashdot2NO@SPAMgdargaud.net> on Thursday October 18, 2012 @02:07PM (#41696925) Homepage

    In a recent Gallup poll it has been shown that there has been no change in 30 years of Americans accepting evolution as truth. What do you think are the major factors for this?

    At the same time, it's now OK to be an atheist in the US [pewforum.org]. What does Dawkins think of it ?

  • by Riddler Sensei (979333) on Thursday October 18, 2012 @02:21PM (#41697109)

    There are not enough sub atomic particles in the universe for there to be a life-possible planet statistically - the numbers will blow your mind if you look at them.

    I tried searching for these numbers but couldn't find what you're referring to here. Perhaps I wasn't looking in the right corner of the internet.

    At any rate, the only way I can see interpreting this claim is if you meant that with a higher density universe there would be more chances for a life-supporting planet to form. With our universe as it is, however, these odds are astronomically (pun?) low.

    If this is what you're referring to then I HAVE seen this claim presented before. What's interesting is every time I've seen it presented it's actually been a, relatively, small number. Again, I wasn't able to find the numbers YOU are referring to, but in the past I've faced lines such as, "The chance of a planet being able to support life is literally TENS OF BILLIONS to one!". Well, considering that the Milky Way alone is estimated at 300-400 billion stars and that something such as the Hubble Deep Field can take a picture of a TINY arch of the night sky and find 3000 OTHER galaxies...eventually life is going to happen SOMEWHERE. Why not here?

    And by the way, filling in a knowledge void with a wild, off the top of your head, "stop looking now I have the answer" answer is NOT what anyone with an open mind would do. And to clarify it is really that third "stop looking now!" aspect that I really hold issue with. It is OK to say "I don't know"! Many people do it everyday. There are many more everyday who prefer to find a place holder for it. They recognize that there are things they don't, and probably never will, understand and thus find something to plug the wholes with so they can get on with their life. Done responsibly, this is fine. People have their lives to live and it can be complicated enough without staying up wondering what was before there was anything.

    However, there ARE others who are looking. They're looking, and solving puzzles, and unraveling mysteries. THESE are the open minded people. The people with no sacred cows. To walk up to these people and say, "Don't worry, you can stop looking. I have a gut feeling on this" is just irresponsible.

    If we come to the end of it, the real end of it, and we come up with very real and hard proven data that there is what we call a God* then I will genuflect, pray and then take a leaf from Tim Minchin's book and carve "FANCY THAT!" on the side of my cock.

    *I qualify God as such because if we turn out to just be in some sort of cosmic petri dish I don't think I'd call that being a God so much as "the asshole who dropped us in the bucket".

  • by drkim (1559875) on Thursday October 18, 2012 @02:43PM (#41697427)

    Dawkins was an amateur compared to Spitzer.

    Yes, Spitzer was the genius who proposed that, "...highly motivated gay and lesbian people could change their sexual orientation."

    I'm sure he knows more about evolutionary biology than Dawkins [wikipedia.org]

  • by CubicleZombie (2590497) on Thursday October 18, 2012 @02:56PM (#41697649)
    Out of all the replies to this and the referenced thread, you are the only one who actually read what I wrote.

    "Abstinence is a pretty good way to not get HIV"

    becomes...

    "Abstinence only is a pretty good way to not get HIV"

    ... for everybody else who read it because they're so angry and bitter at any concept even proposed by a religious organization.

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