An interview with renowned atheist Richard Dawkins on whether religion is a force for good or evil.

Fanaticism, fundamentalism, superstition and ignorance. Religion is getting a bad press these days. Much of the conflict in the world, from the Middle East to Nigeria and Myanmar, is often blamed on religion.

But how are things from a different perspective? Defenders of religion claim Adolf Hitler was an atheist. Communism under Joseph Stalin, Pol Pot or Mao Zedong banned religion, but also massacred millions. And science brought incredible and amazing advances, but also pollution and the atomic bomb.

A critic of religious dogmatism, Professor Richard Dawkins revolutionised genetics in 1976 with the publication of The Selfish Gene, which explained how evolution takes place at the genetic level. He has since written 12 more bestsellers, including The God Delusion which sold millions of copies, was translated into more than 30 languages, and catapulted him to the position of the world's foremost atheist.

Mehdi Hasan interviews evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins at the Oxford Union and asks: Is religion a force for good or evil? Can it co-exist with science? Is science the new religion? And why if god does not exist, is religion so persistent?

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Comment by Napoleon Bonaparte on June 6, 2013 at 12:42am

It seems Choudary is despised by nearly all. The latest tabliod news says he might loose £26,000 a year means tested social security payments for himself, his wife and four children on the basis of his anti-social behavior. I'm sure he has other sources of income anyway.

Comment by Gerard R.Johnson on June 5, 2013 at 9:12am

N. B., yesterday I listen to a past interview on CNN, with a self-styled Muslim caliph a Mr. Anjem Choudary of London, where he openly stated that the worldwide goal of Islam is to convert humankind to Islam and that jihad, war against nonbelievers, is perfectly acceptable to use in spreading their totalitarian religion. Choudary like Hasan believes everything in the Koran is the inerrant word of god and it is a religion of peace that is fully compatible with science.Yeah, right.

Comment by Napoleon Bonaparte on June 3, 2013 at 8:08pm

I agree Gerard, Hassan purports to believe that Mohammed ascended to heaven in a chariot with white, winged horses. He is a defender of Islam and therefore is not open minded. He fails to justify his position.

Comment by Gerard R.Johnson on June 3, 2013 at 10:11am

Mr. Hasan did not stray from the hectoring style of the the religious when faced with a challenge to their personal religious assumptions.Richard did quite well in spite of the interviewer not addressing his questions to the topic question.  

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