I’m sure a lot of you watched last nights Q&A Easter Special with a debate between Evolutionary Biologist, Author and Outspoken Atheist Prof Richard Dawkins and Catholic Archbishop of Sydney Cardinal George Pell. I am a big supporter of Richard Dawkins so when I saw he was going to be on Q&A, naturally I wanted to go. I was very lucky as the very kind Natasha Johnson from ABC who interviewed me for a story on 730 last year, managed to get me and my Sister a ticket for the show. I didn’t realise just how lucky we were until we got there and was told by Tony Jones that so many people registered to be in the audience that 300 people were turned down. He also said that they received the most number of web and video questions they’ve ever had!
It was very exciting when my sister and I went into the studio and got seated. It was interesting seeing how they prepare for the show and work out where the ‘Question Askers’ were sitting so the cameras could find them quickly. Then Tony Jones came in to welcome the 2 panelists. Richard Dawkins was welcomed in first and there was a moderate cheer. But then when Cardinal Pell walked in there was an almighty cheer. My heart sank when I realised how outnumbered we were. I looked across at Clare (my sister) and we both exchanged a look of ‘oh dear’ haha. It just happened to be that where we were sitting, we were surrounded by a group of quite obnoxious Catholics/Christians. I have no problem with Christians, Infact my best friends are Christians! But this group were just….ugh. Whenever Cardinal Pell said something they would all be like “Yeah! Woooo! Amen!” and when Dawkins would say something that they didn’t understand they would start laughing in a very rude manner and said “Idiot!”. Gosh they were obnoxious! We were so relieved when we realised the 3 peeps in front of us were on our side!
I think it was a great debate and both sides put forth a good argument. Although Pell seemed to keep changing what he believed according to the question, which I’ve noticed all Christians seem to do. Sigh. It was funny when Pell said we evolved from Neanderthals and Dawkins was like “Neaderthals?! They are our cousins, not ancestors!” I found that Pell kept going around in circles and never really answering the question. For example on the subject of hell, Pell said that he hoped Hitler was in hell, and then preceded to say that he hopes no one is in hell. And just to clarify, Hitler was NOT an atheist. He was in fact Roman Catholic. Unfortunately the topic of Embryonic Stem Cell research didn’t come up. I have read that Pell is against ESC’s and I would love to know how he can be passionate about saving the lives of an unborn baby, actually just a bunch of cells, and yet deny a person like me the chance at a longer/better quality of life?
Anyways after the show one of the producers said If I waited around I could get my book signed by Richard Dawkins! (I’d taken my book just incase) For security reasons, they had to clear out all the crazy Christians before Richard could come out for a meet and greet. Once the crowd had gone Richard Dawkins came out and he came over to me and said “Hello! Would you like me to sign your book?” I said yes please and he signed my copy of “The God Delusion”. He knelt down next to me and my Sister took a photo. He was very kind and he kept looking at me with a lovely smile. I think it was probably refreshing for him to have a little girl that is obviously sick, not automatically turn to the church but be a critical thinker and want to meet HIM instead. There are A LOT of people who hate Richard Dawkins but I happen to think he is a lovely man.
And to the Creationists who claim that there are NO ‘Beneficial Mutations’ and that they are only harmful or detrimental to the genome, well you are wrong because you could say that I have a beneficial mutation in that my genetic illness allows me to meet cool people like Richard Dawkins and The Cranberries! Checkmate!
You can view the Dawkins vs Pell debate online here