Channel 4 @ 20:00 on January 9th & 16th
Professor Richard Dawkins, Chair of the Public Understanding of Science at Oxford and world-renowned evolutionary biologist, is no stranger to controversy. His outspoken views on religion and his championing of evolutionary theory have earned him the nickname of "Darwin's Rottweiler", an epithet he wears with pride. In this controversial two-part series, Dawkins describes God as the most unpleasant fictional character of all and launches a wholehearted attack on religion as the cause for much of the pain and suffering in the world. In the light of overwhelming scientific evidence that shows a supreme being cannot exist, and in a world in which religious conflict and bigotry are increasingly centre stage, he believes that for the good of humanity, religion needs to be challenged and dismissed. In this first film, Professor Dawkins confronts the march of militant religious belief across the world. In the American "Bible Belt", he meets Ted Haggard, the President of the American National Association of Evangelicals, who believes that science will one day prove the Bible's Creation story right. In Jerusalem, where the terrible certainties of faith began and still rage, he challenges the Grand Mufti of Palestine and discusses with Yousef Al Khattab, a Jewish settler turned Muslim fundamentalist, the implacable hatreds that faith has thrown up in this blighted city. The 21st century, Dawkins argues, should be an age of reason but we are threatened by those who see unreason as a positive virtue. Faith is an indulgence of irrationality that is nourishing extremism, division and terror.