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Williams, Kenny, and Dawkins to debate

18 January 2012

by Madeleine Davies

THE Archbishop of Canterbury is to debate with Professor Richard Dawkins at the University of Oxford. The debate, organised by the theology faculty, will be held on 23 February in the Sheldonian Theatre. It has already sold out.

Dr Williams and Professor Dawkins will discuss “the nature of human beings and the question of their ultimate origin” with the philosopher Sir Anthony Kenny, a former Roman Catholic priest who now describes himself as ag­nostic.

Dr Williams has previously criticised Professor Dawkins for failing to understand Christian beliefs. In a lecture at Swansea University in 2007, he described “areas of mismatch between what Richard Dawkins may write about and what religious people think they are doing. . . Our culture is one that deeply praises science; so we assume, because someone is a good scientist, they must be a good philosopher,” he said.

Professor Dawkins interviewed Dr Williams in 2008 for a Channel 4 series about Charles Darwin.

Earlier this year, Professor Daw­kins refused to debate with the American theologian William Lane Craig at the Sheldonian Theatre, describing him as a “deplorable apologist for genocide” (News, 21 October). He has said that he is looking forward to a “doubtless civilised encounter” with Dr Williams.

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