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article imageRenowned biologist Richard Dawkins receives honorary doctorate

By Bart B. Van Bockstaele     May 5, 2009 in Science
World-renowned evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins received an honorary doctorate from the University of Antwerp. VRT, the Dutch-language state-owned television station, interviewed him for the occasion. This interview can now be seen online.
This honorary doctorate is more important than most people in the English speaking world realize. Christianity is a state religion in Belgium and the separation between Church and State is not quite as strict as in the United States. As in Britain, Christianity is funded by the taxpayer, who has no say in the matter.
Furthermore, the Belgian royal family is fiercely Catholic. They are said to be members of both the Charismatic Movement in the Catholic Church and the more sinister Opus Dei. Although the Roman Catholic Church has officially accepted Darwin's evolution theory, it has not done so wholeheartedly. Since Richard Dawkins is also convinced that there is no God, he has not generally been accepted by the country's leaders.
As a consequence, this honorary doctorate and the interview are important news. The interview is rather short, and Richard Dawkins talks about the issues that have been dear to him for the past half century.
The interview itself is in English, but some things are said in Dutch. I have translated them here, in order to give you an idea of what the Flemish viewer is being told. The pop-up player has no time indicator, so I have numbered the sequences.
[1]He is sometimes called Darwin’s rottweiler, the most tenacious defender of the theory of evolution, but chiefly an iconoclastic atheist. You have already understood that I am not talking about Bart De Wever, but about Richard Dawkins, a British biologist who explains in his most recent book in great detail why he thinks God is an illusion. The university of Antwerp honoured him today with an honorary doctorate. A report by Annelies Beck and Katrien Keune.
[2]Richard Dawkins does not mince words. Some people glorify him while other people see him as the devil incarnate. He is a man on a mission.
[3]Faith makes it difficult to coexist and not believing is a matter of knowledge and insight. It is simple: an intelligent person cannot be a believer.
It is interesting to note that the title is "Interview met Darwins Rottweiler". As a result, if you look for Richard Dawkins on the VRT website, you will not find it. You will find the interview when you look for Rottweiler.
More about Richard Dawkins, Honorary doctorate, University antwerp
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