Pharyngula

By participating in popular entertainment. Richard Dawkins is going to appear on Dr Who!. I know one fan of both who’s going to be pleased.

I hope they also got a guest appearance by Lalla Ward…

Comments

  1. #1 Moggie
    April 7, 2008

    I don’t think it’ll make a lot of difference. Dr Who viewers are huge science nerds already, except those who are too young to have picked sides.

  2. #2 baley
    April 7, 2008

    Phil from Bad Astronomy should be happy!

  3. #3 H.H.
    April 7, 2008

    Moggie, exposure for vocal atheists in popular entertainment isn’t necessarily about winning converts right then and there. Coca-cola doesn’t spend millions in advertising so you will immediately stand up, run to the store, and buy their soft drink. They spend the money so that when you do decide to buy something to drink, Coca-cola is a familiar choice. It isn’t that weird green drink made with some exotic vegetation sitting on the bottom shelf that 99.99% of shoppers will never touch.

    Exposure for vocal atheists like Richard Dawkins in popular entertainment can be nothing but positive. It increases brand recognition, so that when people do decide their old religion is no longer cutting it, atheism seems a normal and mainstream option, not that weird green pulpy product they’ve never seen anyone actually drink.

  4. #4 Anhomoioi
    April 7, 2008

    How about casting the Expelled morons as the Daleks?

    Ben Stein sounds about like a Dalek. All of the followers are semi-robotic, etc.

    Ex – ter – min – ate! Ex – ter – min – ate!

  5. #5 Sigmund
    April 7, 2008

    Who’s playing Mr Garrison?

  6. #6 Abby Normal
    April 7, 2008

    Sounds par for the course. I remember in the second episode of the new series they arrive at a space station and hear a prerecorded message, “Use of weapons, personal teleportation devices and religion is strictly prohibited.” Come to think of it I kind of want that as a sign for my yard. Or I would if I had a yard.

  7. #7 B.B
    April 7, 2008

    My mistake. Lalla Ward played Romana since the late 1970s.

  8. #8 tomh
    April 7, 2008

    I don’t think it’ll make a lot of difference.

    Maybe he’s not doing it to make a lot of difference. Maybe he just thinks it will be fun.

  9. #9 Orac
    April 7, 2008

    Maybe he’s not doing it to make a lot of difference. Maybe he just thinks it will be fun.

    Hell, yes. In the incredibly unlikely event I was ever offered a guest spot on Doctor Who that’s exactly the reason I’d jump at the chance.

  10. #10 Jonathon
    April 7, 2008

    FYI, Lalla Ward was also married for a short time to co-star Tom Baker, the Fourth Doctor. I loved Lalla then, and I love her now. She was one of my favorite companions, especially so since she was on the show during Douglas Adams’ stint as script writer.

    You know, I always thought that Dawkins had a Gallifreyan air about him. He’ll make a great Time Lord!

    I’ll have to go home and watch some of Lalla’s and Tom’s work to celebrate!!

  11. #11 Vic
    April 7, 2008

    @#19 -nope. Closest I can think of to that would be Hawking’s brief guest bit on ST:TNG.

  12. #12 Don
    April 7, 2008

    Excellent news. Interestingly, Ecclestone is an atheist and Tennant openly loathes astrology and ‘woo’ ( I think I remember him describing himself as ‘culturally christian’)

    And didn’t Douglas Adams introduce RD to Lalla Ward while he was scriptwriting for Doctor Who?

  13. #13 Moggie
    April 7, 2008

    Maybe he’s not doing it to make a lot of difference. Maybe he just thinks it will be fun.

    I agree, of course. Who wouldn’t want to appear in Dr Who? Err, preferably in an episode not written by RTD. I was responding to the tongue-in-cheek “framing” comment.

    Now, if they work a reference to Douglas Adams into the same episode, I’ll be very happy.

  14. #14 Brownian, OM
    April 7, 2008

    Would be better if he turned out to be the 5th cylon on BSG, but this is good too.

    OMG! But would he be an atheist, given that the other Cylons are generally monotheistic?

  15. #15 Matthew
    April 7, 2008

    Sarcastro, it’s not necessarily true that the Doctor had a child, at least if you go by the loom idea or the Other.

  16. #16 dWhisper
    April 7, 2008

    Admit it PZ… you were cackling madly when you saw that you posted this before Phil did… another thing to hold over him, I suppose.

  17. #17 MH
    April 7, 2008

    This is great news, but the real question should be:

    PZ, which TV program would you like to appear in?

  18. #18 Tulse
    April 7, 2008

    But would he be an atheist, given that the other Cylons are generally monotheistic?

    Well, there’s the oddly atheist “priest” Brother Cavil, played by the always-excellent Dean Stockwell — I can see him having some delightful conversations with a Cylon Dawkins, playing the supreme leader Cylon.

    “You all must give up religion!”

    “By your command…”

  19. #19 scrabcake
    April 7, 2008

    Hells yeah!This is awesome!

  20. #20 Ann
    April 7, 2008

    I like that, Bartholomew. “This is evil, but not so bad that I’m not willing to make a few bucks passing it on to someone else.”

  21. #21 Nick Gotts
    April 7, 2008

    “He had a granddaughter from day one! 1963, first Doctor’s first companion. Susan Foreman as portrayed by Carole Ann Ford. Her parents were never shown, but logic tells us the Doctor already had at least one offspring no?”

    I’m not sure about that – remember that Zaphod Beeblebrox’s grandfather was Zaphod Beeblebrox III due to “an accident with a contraceptive and a time machine”.

    On another point, of course Richard Dawkins isn’t the “atheist Pope”. The man’s BRITISH, for nonexistence-of-God’s sake – he’s the Archatheist of Oxford!

  22. #22 ellazimm
    April 7, 2008

    Re: original topic – if you read the whole linked article you will get some idea of why I am glad to live in England now; Dawkins may have been booed on a particular program but in the UK there is a large tolerance for differing views and an appreciation for discourse and knowledge. And we don’t have Ben Stein who on an interview linked to by the latest Evolution News & Views blog from the Discovery Institute implies that academics are scared of disagreement.

  23. #23 Tulse
    April 7, 2008

    those North American fans that don’t get their Doctor Who elsewhere

    Wait..you mean Dr. Who is a television show?

  24. #24 Peter Mc
    April 7, 2008

    I used to hide behind the sofa when the Daleks came on and that was when they were in black and white and made out of cereal boxes operated by dwarves banged up on amphetamines.

    They scared the living pooh out of me.

  25. #25 alex
    April 7, 2008

    i suppose the obvious question to ask is “how long do we now have to wait for PZ’s Dr Who role as a squid-monster?”

  26. #26 Nicole the Wonder Nerd
    April 7, 2008

    Richard Dawkins in Doctor Who! Squeeeeeeee! :D *happy atheist Who-fan moment*

    Her parents were never shown, but logic tells us the Doctor already had at least one offspring no?

    Word. He’s also stated, explicitly, “I was a dad, once”.

    Now, if they work a reference to Douglas Adams into the same episode, I’ll be very happy.

    There’s already been one nod: in “The Christmas Invasion”, the Doctor talks about saving the world in his jim-jams. “Very Arthur Dent. Now there was a nice man…”

  27. #27 ancientTechie
    April 7, 2008

    Ophelia,

    OK. It’s not completely equivalent. Interestingly, though, Ann Druyan did receive a Richard Dawkins Award in 2004.

  28. #28 Troff
    April 7, 2008

    Sarcastro,

    Matthew beat me to it; but if you go back to the time between the end of the original series and that BBC/Fox co-production movie, there’s a series of novels published by Virgin (then the BBC) with a lot of backstory.

    In it, we discover that the Gallifreyans are sterile (due apparently, of all things, to a curse by the dying-last-of-the-Matriarchs who ruled Gallifrey in almost pre-history).

    As a result, the Gallifreyans developed a method of “growing” new Time Lords in devices called “Looms”.

    The Doctor’s Granddaughter Susan was, in fact, a child from the pre-sterility era.

    … there’s a lot, lot, lot more detail in all of that and I won’t go into it unless asked (I have to rush to a meeting very shortly).

    And besides, all the books might be invalidated anyway. The new series has Sarah Jane meeting the Doctor for the first time since her appearance in the old television series, even though the books have an earlier re-meeting. Not to mention, the books also destroyed Gallifrey in another war which didn’t involve the Daleks in any way. Russell Davies elected to NOT inherit any of that continuity in starting the new series.

  29. #29 Richard
    April 7, 2008

    Christopher Hitchens as The Master, Stephen Hawking as Davros, Rebecca Watson as The Companion… it could work…

  30. #30 Pyre
    April 8, 2008

    So now he’s Dick to the Doc on the BBC
    (They’re both smarter than you, they’ve got science degrees)

  31. #31 jimBOB
    April 8, 2008

    Fans of Lalla Ward can hear her reprise the Romana character in a number of Big Finish audioplays.

  32. #32 Lee Brimmicombe-Wood
    April 8, 2008

    logic tells us the Doctor already had at least one offspring no?

    He admitted as much to Martha last season.

    Fans of Lalla Ward can hear her reprise the Romana character in a number of Big Finish audioplays.

    My claim to fame: David Tennant played me in this one (no, really. Go check it!):

    http://www.bigfinish.com/2-Doctor-Who-Unbound-Sympathy-for-the-Devil

  33. #33 Gareth
    April 8, 2008

    “Christopher Hitchens as The Master, Stephen Hawking as Davros, Rebecca Watson as The Companion… it could work… ”

    With Christopher Hitchens as The Master, no-one else would get a word in edge-ways. He’d keep interrupting them all the time… ;o)

  34. #34 Lilly de Lure
    April 8, 2008

    Gareth said:

    With Christopher Hitchens as The Master, no-one else would get a word in edge-ways. He’d keep interrupting them all the time… ;o)

    Ah, but he’s got the stylish hedonism thing down pat!

    How about Matt Nisbett as the Cyberleader, trying to “upgrade” us all into copies of himself?

    ;-)

  35. #35 Nick Gotts
    April 8, 2008

    “Russell Davies elected to NOT inherit any of that continuity in starting the new series.”

    Continuity? When the whole thing’s based on time travel?

  36. #36 Devichan
    April 8, 2008

    If you also follow the novel continuity, his daughter was during Eight’s time. The novel in question is _Father Time_ by Lance Parkin. Rather interesting book. Davies isn’t following this, but then he’s also adapted novels and short stories a couple of times now with changes. I’ll be really curious to see where they go with this!

  37. #37 Zbu
    April 8, 2008

    Dawkins on Who? What’s next, the entire run of missing episodes suddenly turning up?

    *crosses fingers*

  38. #38 amiable atheist
    April 8, 2008

    Dr…….who?

  39. #39 Erin
    April 9, 2008

    There are, I think, no sufficient words for how happy this makes me.

  40. #40 Troff
    April 9, 2008

    Devichan,

    wasn’t that daughter an adopted daughter?

  41. #41 J
    April 9, 2008

    It’s a shame he can’t have a recurring role, he’d make a great Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart-type character.

  42. #42 RighteousFIlburn
    April 9, 2008

    He could be UNIT’s new ‘Scientific Advisor’…
    Maybe the Doctor will complement him on his contribution to the future of mankind- In a very nervous-fanboy way, as he always does.