Playboy Interview: Richard Dawkins


Chip Rowe in Playboy:

PLAYBOY: Your call for militant atheism is one reason you were featured as a character on an episode of South Park. The show’s creators, Trey Parker and Matt Stone, had been accused of being atheists, so they thought of the most militant atheist they could skewer.

DAWKINS: It’s the only South Park episode I’ve seen. There was an attempt at something approaching satire in the idea of an imagined future in which different sects of atheists are fighting each other. But most of that episode was ridiculous in the sense that what they had the cartoon figure of me doing, like buggering the bald transvestite——

PLAYBOY: Transsexual, actually.

DAWKINS: Transsexual, okay. That isn’t satire because it has nothing to do with what I stand for. And the scatological part, where they had somebody throwing shit, which stuck to my forehead—that’s not even funny. I don’t understand why they couldn’t go straight to the atheists fighting each other, which has a certain amount of truth in it. It reminded me of the bit from Monty Python’s Life of Brian with the Judean People’s Front and the People’s Front of Judea.

PLAYBOY: President Obama acknowledged “nonbelievers” in his inaugural address, which caused a fuss. But when you consider religious belief, one of the largest groups in the U.S. is atheists and agnostics. Why do they get overlooked in political discussions?

DAWKINS: It’s a good point. Of course, it depends how you slice it. Christians are by far the largest group. If you divide Christians into denominations, agnostics and atheists come in third, behind Catholics and Baptists. That’s interesting when you contrast it with the lack of influence of nonbelievers. And if you count up the number of Jews, certainly observant Jews, it’s much smaller than the number of nonbelievers. Yet Jews have tremendous influence. I’m not criticizing that—bully for them. But we could do the same.

More here.