On his Wednesday show, Fox News Channel personality Bill O'Reilly showed a recently recorded clip of a conversation he had with atheist Richard Dawkins, which seemed to be equal parts interview and debate.
Dawkins, a biologist and one of the most recognized atheistic figures in the world today, went on “The O'Reilly Factor” in order to promote his new book, The Magic of Reality.
During the interview, O'Reilly, who openly affirmed his belief in creationism, applauded the atheist for using his book to encourage children and adolescents to believe in science, but also accused the author of “mocking God” and trying to get children to reject Him through it.
“This is a book about science, it doesn't talk about God,” Dawkins retorted. He added that his book does mention a number of myths, however, and lumps Judeo-Christian beliefs together with myths from ancient Aztec, Egyptian and Greek cultures.
O'Reilly interjected, saying that the Judeo-Christian philosophy is not a myth, it's a reality, and the United States was founded upon its principles. Dawkins chuckled and disagreed.
“Throughout history some of the worst regimes ever have been atheistic,” O'Reilly said, pointing to leaders like Joseph Stalin, Mao Tse Tung and Pol Pot. Religious principles, he said, help put much-needed constraints on society.
Though they were both relatively calm during the interview, Dawkins said he didn't want to “get into a shouting match about who's more evil than who.” He also said that the infamous leaders O'Reilly mentioned ran their regimes based on their political ideologies, and the fact they were atheists was only incidental.
“What I do think is there is a logical connection between believing in God and ... sometimes doing evil things,” he said. “But there's no logical connection between being atheist and doing evil things.”
The two also reopened a conversation about the origin of life, which began in a previous interview that took place almost two years ago. O'Reilly seemed to jeer at Dawkins because scientists still can't provide a complete explanation for the beginning of the universe.
“Science does know quite a lot about things, like how the moon came into existence and why the sun is there, why the galaxy is there,” Dawkins said in his final statement. “Science doesn't yet know how everything started, and as I said last time, they're working on it.”