‘It’s not a small error’: Richard Dawkins blames rise of Islam for religious ‘horror stories’

‘It’s not a small error’: Richard Dawkins blames rise of Islam for religious ‘horror stories’

Richard Dawkins speaks out on 'horror stories'

Ben Chapman

By Ben Chapman

Published: 10/04/2024

- 19:24

The scientist was joined by Richard Holloway for a debate about religion

A resurfaced conversation between evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins and Priest Richard Holloway sees the former making a stinging criticism of Islam.

In a debate surrounding the legitimacy of religion, Dawkins took aim at what he perceives to be a surge in the belief of Creationism.

But speaking on The Poetry of Reality with Richard Dawkins, the scientist pointed out what he believes to be ‘not a small error’ with the theory.

Asked about whether there is a rise in religious fundamentalism, Hawkins admitted ‘I think it’s growing’.

Richard Dawkins

Richard Dawkins has spoken out on the rise of religious 'horror stories'

The Poetry of Reality with Richard Dawkins

“I think that there are importations from America and, oddly enough, from Australia”, he said.

“I’ve heard lots of horror stories from science teachers in Britain who tell me that increasing numbers of their pupils are young earth Creationists.


“That’s to say they believe the world is only 6,000 years old, which is just shocking.

“It’s truly shocking. It’s not a small error. It’s equivalent to believing that the width of North America from New York to San Francisco is 7.8 yards. 7.8 yards from one side of North America to the other.

“That’s the scale of the error. Yet significantly, large numbers of schoolchildren in this country believe that.

“Partly because of the rise of Islamic populations, I’m sorry to say. But it’s not only that.

Richard Holloway and Richard Dawkins

Richard Dawkins spoke to Richard Holloway

The Poetry of Reality with Richard Dawkins

“It’s also because of imports from America and Australia.”

Creationism is the religious belief that nature, and aspects such as the universe were created by divine intervention and no regard is given to evolution. Some even claim the planet has only existed for a few thousand years.

Dawkins is a religion sceptic and has long argued against the idea of Creationism, arguing scientific explanations are in place for many of the things that fundamentalists claim exist due to supernatural acts of divine creation.

Earlier in the conversation, the scientist admitted he is ‘technically’ agnostic.

“I made a seven point scale, where one is total confidence in God and seven is total confidence in no God”, he said.

“I’m maybe a 6.8 or something like that. There’s an infinite number of things we have to be agnostic about, such as fairies and Angeles.

“So I wouldn’t privilege any particular God over fairies or unicorns or anything like that, I think that pretty much makes me a de facto atheist.”

You may like