I caught Richard Dawkins on C-SPAN2's BookTV last night. This was a video of his talk at Randolph-Macon Woman's College in Lynchburg, Virginia on October 23, 2006. He read a few passages from his newest book, The God Delusion, and then proceeded to take questions from the audience. Dawkins was his usual erudite self, and as Lynchburg is also the home of Jerry Falwell's Liberty University, he tackled a number of questions from LU faculty and students. The result was both educational and entertaining. I don't think I can hear the phrase "I am a biology student at Liberty University" now without laughing. The talk will air again tonight, Sunday November 12, at 7:00 PM.
Last night in Lynchburg, Virginia, home of the infamous Jerry Falwell, was memorable. The large hall at Randolph Macon Woman's College was packed. I gave a fairly short program of readings from The God Delusion, and then the bulk of the evening was given over to much more than an hour of Q & A. The first questioner announced himself as coming from Liberty (Falwell's 'University'), and he began by saying he had never been so insulted, yet simultaneously so amused, by any lecture. Many of the questioners announced themselves as either students or faculty from Liberty, rather than from Randolph Macon which was my host institution. One by one they tried to trip me up, and one by one their failure to do so was applauded by the audience. Finally, I said that my advice to all Liberty students was to resign immediately and apply to a proper university instead. That received thunderous applause, so that I almost began to feel slightly sorry for the Liberty people. Only almost and only slightly, however.
This Washington signing was remarkable for the number who bought not just one copy of The God Delusion but up to half a dozen. "Christmas presents?" I inquired of one man. "Winter solstice", he instantly corrected me.