Randolph College Gives Richard Dawkins Warm Welcome

Reporter: Mark Kelly l Videographer: Parker Slaybaugh

Lynchburg, VA - Richard Dawkins has written a new book and Wednesday he spoke about it to a packed house at Randolph College.

His job titles are evolutionary theorist and popular science writer, but many know Dawkins as an avowed atheist, famous for writing books with controversial titles like The God Delusion.

Of course, it's nearly impossible to think everyone in an 800-seat theatre at RC agreed with Dawkins, but some students did like what Dawkins's foundation stands for in terms of evolution, religion, and the Christian school on the other side of town.

Before Dawkins took the stage, a representative from his foundation got political. He aimed the arrow straight at the Christian Liberty University, criticizing it for its bible-teaching ways. The secular Dawkins Foundation says LU opposes academic liberty.

"It did feel like an LU bashing for a good amount of it, but I guess it's his opinion," said Esayas Mehretab, a Randolph freshman.

Randolph sophomore Caitlin Glennen says whether learning at LU or Randolph, the students, not the institution, should form their own opinions.

"Everything has to be taken with a grain of salt, including what you learn here at Randolph," said Glennen.

A warm reception greeted Richard Dawkins. And that's when the talk turned from political rally to lecture on evolution. In his new book The Magic of Reality: How We Know What's Really True, Dawkins makes evolution and other science topics digestible for kids and young adults.

"I wanted to write a factual book for children that tells them what's really true about the world and about the universe," said Dawkins.

In 12 chapters, Dawkins says he puts science instead of myth in kids' hands. Glennen says that can open kids' minds to something new.

"So many kids are only influenced by what their parents show them and by introducing them to new literature, they can formulate their own opinions," said Glennen.

Dawkins will spend a little more time in the U.S. while on his book tour. In Virginia, he spoke at UVA and Randolph.