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Sci-Fi Science

Richard Dawkins to Appear on Doctor Who 692

Ravalox writes "In an interview with The Independent, current curator of the Doctor Who legacy Russell T. Davis announced that distinguished evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins would be making an appearance in the new season of Doctor Who. To quote Davies: 'People were falling at his feet ... We've had Kylie Minogue on that set, but it was Dawkins people were worshipping.' Dawkins is the author of many best-selling non-fiction books, from The Selfish Gene and The Blind Watchmaker to The God Delusion, and a renowned advocate of both Darwin's evolutionary theory and the merits of atheism."
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Richard Dawkins to Appear on Doctor Who

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  • by nebaz ( 453974 ) on Tuesday April 08, 2008 @01:22AM (#22996930)
    I just thought I'd mention that Richard Dawkins is married to Lalla Ward, who played the Time Lady Romana (second version) in the original series. She was also married to Tom Baker for a short time.
    • by Jeramy ( 123761 ) on Tuesday April 08, 2008 @02:04AM (#22997132) Homepage
      And Douglas Adams wrote for the old show. Douglas Adams and Dawkins were good friends.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Dachannien ( 617929 )
        Which explains how Dawkins met Lalla Ward. She discusses it briefly on the DVD commentary for Destiny of the Daleks.
        • by hey! ( 33014 ) on Tuesday April 08, 2008 @08:34AM (#22998918) Homepage Journal
          Actually, it doesn't.

          It's a much more plausible that Dawkins is an extraterrestrial named Oolon Colluphid who stole her from Tom Baker at a cast party by saying, "Hey, doll, is this guy boring you? Why don't you talk to me? I'm from another planet."

          I mean, it could have happened, and Douglas Adams could have been there to see it. They say that writers, after all, should write what they know, although I have to admit the exact opposite seems to work for Dan Brown. Still, by a kind of figure/ground reversal trick you can see the outlines of what Dan Brown knows in the text of The DaVinci Code, provided you have a magnifying glass handy.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by elrous0 ( 869638 ) *
        And my uncle Jim once met Richard Dawkins on a cruise.
  • And (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 08, 2008 @01:26AM (#22996952)
    He is going to be holding a toilet plunger and be shouting "Exterminate!! Exterminate the believer!!"
  • Dr Who: Richard, what are you doing with that fish, duct tape and four lizard legs?
    Dawkins: What, you think evolution *just happened*?
  • Put Simply (Score:5, Funny)

    by mcsporran ( 832624 ) on Tuesday April 08, 2008 @01:41AM (#22997030)
    There is no god, and Dawkins is his prophet.
  • by ecavalli ( 1216014 ) on Tuesday April 08, 2008 @01:45AM (#22997046) Homepage
    Mod me down if you think this is too far off topic, but does anyone else wonder how much Dawkins' popularity (as related by Davies) applies specifically to the Who audience and others like it?

    I can't imagine the average person would get excited over the guy if he appeared on an episode of Friends or Deal or No Deal.

    Luckily Mr. Dawkins seems to know his audience, and the Who fans' natural tendency towards the geekier, more analytical side of the human personality spectrum makes his appearance on the show a stroke of publicity genius.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by lisaparratt ( 752068 )
      Remember that the primary audience for Doctor Who isn't geeks - it's the British. Evolution is essentially defacto fact in the UK. People who believe in ID are viewed as quaintly deluded at best, and batshit mentals at worst.
    • by PinkyDead ( 862370 ) on Tuesday April 08, 2008 @05:40AM (#22998102) Journal
      I used to but I don't any more.

      His early books were great, they were all about science and how you didn't really need god or fairies or any of that nonsense - and you would say 'Oh yeah' I see where you are going with that, that's really cool.

      His latest book (the god delusion) seems to be just an invective against people who believe in god and I didn't like it.

      I find he is becoming more a self-appointed spokesman for atheists (a priest, if you will) - and is presenting just the one point of view (dogma), in exactly the same way the various churches do.

      In fact, as scientist, I find atheism in general to be more and more repulsive to scientific thinking - in that it rejects without proof any possibility of gods, fairies etc rather than just rejecting the theories as unproven - I suppose that makes me an agnostic now. Oh well.
      • by Niten ( 201835 ) on Tuesday April 08, 2008 @07:43AM (#22998664)

        Atheism is not "repulsive to scientific thinking".

        Agnosticism, in effect, says I have no evidence for the truth of [insert religion here], therefore I do not know whether [said religion] is true or untrue. Atheism simply takes that one step further: And, since I have no basis for believing [religion] is true, I shall therefore presume, pending further evidence, that it is probably false. It is not a dogmatic position; it merely acknowledges that what is proffered without evidence can be dismissed without evidence, unless we someday find evidence to support it.

        For example, suppose I tell you that there's a pink unicorn wandering the streets of your city. Except he's invisible, quite quiet, and deftly hops out of the way whenever someone approaches him, such that nobody ever sees, hears, or feels him. "Nonsense," you reply, "that's an absurd proposition about the nature of reality with no supporting evidence in favor, therefore I dismiss it." Should I, in return, deride your position as dogmatic unicorn-atheism?

        On the other hand, if we started seeing molted unicorn horns inexplicably littering the streets, and if clumsy baby unicorns began bumping into pedestrians left and right, then the hypothetical unicorn-atheist would reconsider his position based on this evidence. But until such a time, he would feel justified in dismissing the unicorn worldview as probably untrue.

  • by GodfatherofSoul ( 174979 ) on Tuesday April 08, 2008 @01:49AM (#22997064)

    We've had Kylie Minogue on that set, but it was Dawkins people were worshipping.

    Kylie Minogue [] was on the set and people were chasing Richard Dawkins??? Wow, that show really IS for geeks.

  • How profoundly sad (Score:5, Insightful)

    by glwtta ( 532858 ) on Tuesday April 08, 2008 @01:56AM (#22997096) Homepage
    That someone can be famous in the 21st century for being an "advocate of Darwin's evolutionary theory".
  • Atheists, Come Out! (Score:5, Informative)

    by gQuigs ( 913879 ) on Tuesday April 08, 2008 @02:01AM (#22997120) Homepage
    View his call to arms: []

    Have we ever done a poll on religious beliefs on Slashdot?

    • by Alsee ( 515537 ) on Tuesday April 08, 2008 @02:40AM (#22997326) Homepage
      Have we ever done a poll on religious beliefs on Slashdot?

      Cowboy Neil won.

    • I can picture that poll =]

      Celing Cat
      Basement Cat
      Flying Spaghetti Monster
      Cowboy Neal
    • by ringmaster_j ( 760218 ) on Tuesday April 08, 2008 @03:30AM (#22997564)
      Atheists come out? Hardly! Reading all the replies to this article, I think the ratio was about 100:1 atheist to theist. On Slash, atheists rule the roost. So, actually, I'm going to come out as a theist.

      Hi! I'm not scary, I swear! I don't think you're going to hell, as long as you're nice (i.e. I believe in the idea of the anonymous christian). I believe very strongly in evolution, and I think gays are perfect just the way God made them. However, I am very much a Christian. I have a calling in life, God has given me a task, and I need to follow it. Jesus died for my sins, and- I believe- yours too. He loves us, and when we sin it pisses him off. I don't feel smug, and I think of atheists as my brothers and sisters; we're all in this together. So please, please, please, you guys, don't talk about my religion like it's evil. Sure, when religion gets mixed up with politics it's a terrible mess (viz. Bush/Khameni) and it's caused a lot of problems in the past. Sure, there are a tonne of idiots in my church, and in others, who believe that you're all evil, and so are all the gays, and the Jews, and the Muslim. Sorry some of my people have tried to convert you. Sorry they don't look at science and realize the immense beauty of the way in which God has chosen to bring us into being. Sorry they've killed some of you for your beliefs.

      What more can I apologize for? What can I possibly say to make you accept that I know we've done wrong? All I can say is this: when you deride religion, when you say it's "the opiate of the masses" or "the cyanide" as someone else put it, when you mock me for my beliefs, and when you brand me as some fundamentalist nutjob, it really, really hurts. It's not fair to me. It stereotypes, and it shows the same kind of logic that fundamentalists use. If you said "all blacks are criminals, they should go back to Africa", or "homosexuals are girly, they should all just be straight like me" you'd have everyone on your back, berating you for your insensitivity. It's the same thing with theists. Respect us, please, we have the right to practice our faith in peace. And if the fundy brigade comes with their wacko wagon and starts telling you that you're going to hell, and trying to shove a bible down your throat, I'll be right next to you, fighting those assholes off.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by lisaparratt ( 752068 )
        <rik> i got "do you know why jesus died on the cross?" shouted in my face.
        <rik> i replied with "because he forgot his safe word?"
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Niten ( 201835 )

        I agree with you for the most part, and I think it is important for religious and non-religious folks to demonstrate more respect and understanding for one another than they often do. But don't confuse that with the notion of respecting your beliefs.

        I respect you as a person, but I don't respect your beliefs. I don't disrespect them, either: in open and rational discourse, beliefs are neither disrespected nor respected, but are dispassionately debated solely on their merits. What would be your response

      • by ErroneousBee ( 611028 ) <ku.oc.kcocnahlien:lien> on Tuesday April 08, 2008 @08:32AM (#22998902) Homepage

        I don't think you're going to hell, as long as you're nice

        Then you are not a Christian. See Matthew 25:41.

        I think gays are perfect just the way God made them

        Then you are not a Christian. See 1 Corinthians 6:9

        You may think you are a Christian, but you are clearly a heretic who preaches that some of your Bible's most clearly laid out laws can be ignored.

  • by atrocious cowpat ( 850512 ) on Tuesday April 08, 2008 @02:39AM (#22997312)
    Dr. Who: Where's Dr Watt? And I also need Dr. Hu right here real soon!
    Dr. Watt: I'm here, and I can see Dr. Hu coming over there.
    Dr. Hu: Whew, I really had to run fast! Hi, Dr. Watt, glad to see you. What's up, Dr. Who?
    Dr. Who: I'll tell you in a minute, but first let me say how glad I am that this did not disintintegrate into some sophomoric cavalcade of misuderstood names.
    Dr. Hu and Dr Watt: Say no more, we've all been there...
  • by seanellis ( 302682 ) on Tuesday April 08, 2008 @02:39AM (#22997318) Homepage Journal
    Doctor: I will defeat you Credulons!
    Credulon leader: I have faith we will prevail!
    Doctor: (smugly) Meet my secret weapon - the Professor.
    Dawkins: Hello.
    Credulons: No! The skepticism! I'm melting!
    Dawkins: That was simple. Now, how does this TARDIS thing work, exactly?
    Doctor: No! The skepticism! I'm melting!
    Dawkins: Oops. Time for a new title.

    Close Credits, including "Next Week on Professor Who..."
  • H2G2 (Score:5, Funny)

    by FrostedWheat ( 172733 ) on Tuesday April 08, 2008 @02:42AM (#22997342)

    Dawkins is the author of many best-selling non-fiction books, from The Selfish Gene and The Blind Watchmaker to The God Delusion,...

    ... and Who is this God Person Anyway?

  • Davies, not "Davis" (Score:3, Informative)

    by 1u3hr ( 530656 ) on Tuesday April 08, 2008 @02:52AM (#22997384)
    "... current curator of the Doctor Who legacy Russell T. Davis"

    1) His name is "Russell T. DaviEs"

    2) "Curator of the Doctor Who legacy"? Bollocks. RTD is offically "writer and executive producer". Similar to a US "showrunner".

  • by hcdejong ( 561314 ) <hobbes AT xmsnet DOT nl> on Tuesday April 08, 2008 @05:08AM (#22997966)
    I don't really care who he invites as guest stars, as long as he keeps his hands off the Dr Who legacy. When Torchwood was first announced, I had high hopes. An adult version of Dr Who? Bring it on! As it turned out, Torchwood was Dr Who without the humor, and plus an agenda. The end result was, IMO, rubbish.

    So, is Dawkins a decent actor? References to evolution had better be along these lines []. Dr Who is not the place for a lecture.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by TheRaven64 ( 641858 )

      Dr Who is not the place for a lecture
      Have you watched any of the early Doctor Who? It was created as an entertaining vehicle for delivering educational material.
  • Irony alert! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Comboman ( 895500 ) on Tuesday April 08, 2008 @07:26AM (#22998592)
    'People were falling at his feet ... it was Dawkins people were worshipping.'

    Dawkins is the author of ... The God Delusion

    And apparently also a victim of delusions of godhood.

"Well, it don't make the sun shine, but at least it don't deepen the shit." -- Straiter Empy, in _Riddley_Walker_ by Russell Hoban