Being a finalist is difficult. With no more tutorials and just under three months until until exams, I have understandably been spending every waking hour playing Xbox and procrastinating on the internet. As part of this carefully structured programme, yesterday I pencilled in the recorded debate between Richard Dawkins and the Archbishop of Canterbury, chaired by Sir Anthony Kenny, which promised to fill at least an hour and a half in between the demo forAsura’s Wrath and browsing Sexy MP.
I was so excited. Richard Dawkins is my spiritual guide and the head of my belief system: his book, which I read to reassure myself whenever my lack of faith wavers, is just inspired. Wikipedia says that Dawkins once ripped a vicar’s head clean off and began drinking from his severed neck, mumbling “…yesss, it will please Him…” And his opponent, Dr. Williams, isn’t a just a bishop: he’s an Arch- Bishop. Lord of the Bishops: at least, like, level 50.
It was going to be an epic battle, according to the internet. Sean Coughlin of BBC News wondered aloud, in an article that he was presumably paid to write, whether or not it would “be like one of those wizard stand-offs in the Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter”. Reuters promised it would be “High Noon in Oxford”. It was going to be like the last batman film, only Sir Anthony Kenny hopefully wouldn’t get his faced burnt off, go off the rails and thus extend the debate by an unnecessary 15 minutes at the end.
Alas. It was all hype. Maybe it was just performance anxiety: but Dr. Williams didn’t even get angry, let alone pull out a revolver and blast Dawkins’ skull into a thousand intelligently-designed gory pieces, screaming “EXPLAIN THIS, YOU GOD-HATING BASTARD!” Dawkins didn’t accuse Dr. Williams and everyone in the audience of being “sheeple”, before drawing a pentagram on the ground and releasing the armies of Hell into the Sheldonian, thus fulfilling his real purpose on Earth and greatly pleasing his Dark Master.
And Sean Coughlan, you let me down: there was no Wizard Battle. Ignorance wasn’t drawn from the Archbishop, like poison from a wound. Dawkins wasn’t imprisoned on the top of the Archbishop’s mighty fortress at Orthanc, Canterbury; and he didn’t have to rely on a sympathetic butterfly to evolve over a period of millions of years into an eagle which could them carry him to safety. If anything, it was just a pleasant conversation between two intellectuals with different viewpoints, much to my dismay, and to the tangible horror of the baying mob in the Sheldonian. The whole event was an utter disappointment.