Yet another debate on religion with some of the usual suspects

Ruth Gledhill at the Times of London:

Ev0138p2Richard Dawkins was among the speakers at the debate sponsored by The Times and organised by Intelligence Squared at Westminster Central Hall in London last night. More details on The Times Faith Page, and you can also listen to the podcast. There is also an entertaining blog just up, summarising this post and some of the comments…

By the time the debate actually got going, I have to confess I was feeling pretty cross. I was looking forward to getting more fuel for my crossness from Richard Dawkins and going home in a right old temper to take it out on this blog.

But to my sorrow, Dawkins thwarted this intent.

The motion was: ‘We’d be better off without religion.’ On his side were Professor AC Grayling and Christopher Hitchens. Against were Baroness Julia Neuberger, Professor Roger Scruton and Nigel Spivey. The incomparable Joan Bakewell was in the chair. At these debates, styled along the lines of Oxford and Cambridge debates but disappointingly less hecklesome, a vote is taken at the start and another at the end.

The first vote was 826 votes for the motion, 681 against and 364 don’t knows. By the end, the voting was 1,205 for the motion, 778 against and 100 don’t knows. And would you know, so thrown into confusion was I by being almost convinced of the case by Dawkins that I actually voted for the motion at the end. Is God – I have no doubt that such a being exists at least – trying to tell me something I wonder?

More here.