What are three disagreements and what are they about between Richard Dawkins and Rowan Williams in their famous debate at Oxford University?

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Jessica Pope eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Oxford University professor and biologist Richard Dawkins debated the former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams at Oxford University in January 2013. The two disagreed about the role of religion in society, the scientific evidence of a Creator, and the nature of scientific and theological discourse. Dr. Williams asserted that religion is a force of good, an inclusive social institution that helps bring people together and one that cultivates empathy. Dr. Dawkins asserted that religion is a divisive force, one that is exclusionary and that cultivates violence and alienation.

Dr. Williams argued that the elegance, uniformity and simplicity of natural law tend to suggest a Creator. Dr. Dawkins argued that the laws of the universe and nature were messy, unpredictable, and fundamentally haphazard, suggesting not a Creator but self-generated natural processes.

Dr. Williams argued that scientific and theological discourse are concerned with mainly the same thing: the nature of the universe and the nature of man. Dr. Dawkins argued that science is concern with natural law and religion is concerned with the creation of myth.