Richard Dawkins joined Bill Maher on Real Time Friday night to discuss a wide range of things, including Dawkins’ new book, recent archaeological discovery, and whether or not famous figures like President Obama who claim a religion are secretly atheists.
The interview began with Maher pointing out that Dawkins is often perceived as a “militant” atheist, but that he prefers to think that the celebrity Oxford professor possesses “clarity,” which is more dangerous.
Dawkins agreed with Maher’s deduction, and talked a bit about how he used to be very religious. However, he added (paraphrasing 1 Corinthians 13:11), “When I became a man I put away childish things.
The two then segued into the beliefs of creationists versus those held by the secular scientific community. Maher brought up that creation science argues that the world is merely 5,000-6,000 years old. To that, Dawkins replied:
“If you believe that the world is only 6000 years old, as some of these people do, given that the true age of the earth is 4.6 billion years, it’s equivalent to believing the width of North America is eight yards.”
Maher also asked if Dawkins agrees with his long-held theory that Pope Francis is secretly an atheist. Dawkins doesn’t exactly hold that view, but said that there are a number of public figures who proclaim a religion that he believes are secretly atheists.
“I’m sure Obama is an atheist, I’m sure Kennedy was an atheist, but I doubt if Pope Frank is,” he said.
Still, Dawkins said that the fact the Pope Francis is “nice” still makes him “dangerous” since he is still an advocate for religion, even if his brand is more palatable. “We don’t want nice men in the Vatican,” he said.
Maher concluded, “Gay marriage, pot, religion’s the next one to fall.”
Watch Richard Dawkins and Bill Maher discuss these topics in the video above along with guests Michael Moore and Al Sharpton.