Tuesday, January 27, 2009

David Attenborough is, like, so cool

While taking a quick lunch break here at the Colindale Newspaper Library (by the way: there are, it seems, few things more essential to the British experience than eating sandwiches from triangular plastic containers), I ran across this short article at the Guardian that recounts some highlights of a recent interview with David Attenborough.

I think it caught my eye because a recent Daily Fail story had also commented on Sir David, emphasising his 'longing for the comforts of faith' in its subtitle.

I found that a bit odd, since if you actually read the article, you'll find that it's David's brother Richard who said he ('almost') wished he'd believed in God because of the spiritual comfort it might have provided after the sudden deaths of his daughter and granddaughter.

David, for his part, says that he's an agnostic and notes that he ('almost') wishes he could have had a religious background, but this is only because in that case he'd have been able to actively reject it.

But, this is the Naily Quail we're talking about here, which also managed to mis-caption two of the article's photos as 'Richard' when they were actually of 'David'.


Anyway, the Guardian article is briefer and not annoying at all, and it highlights Sir David's receipt of hostile mail from creationists (many of them, no doubt, avid Mail readers).

Telling the magazine that he was asked why he did not give "credit" to God, Attenborough added: "They always mean beautiful things like hummingbirds. I always reply by saying that I think of a little child in east Africa with a worm burrowing through his eyeball. The worm cannot live in any other way, except by burrowing through eyeballs. I find that hard to reconcile with the notion of a divine and benevolent creator."

He also states:

"It never really occurred to me to believe in God - and I had nothing to rebel against, my parents told me nothing whatsoever. But I do remember looking at my headmaster delivering a sermon, a classicist, extremely clever ... and thinking, he can't really believe all that, can he? How incredible!"


If we were in the business of naming patron saints for this humble blog (and, who knows, maybe someday we will be), David Attenborough would be well toward the front of the line to receive that honour.

1 comment:

Kris said...

Whenever someone points to something lovely and says "God, eh?!? Isn't he glorious?", I usually throw back "what about the existance of rape eh? Why'd God go and allow that. Omnipotent and all that, and he goes and allows that!"

They always try and weasel out with some such about the devil and free will. I reckon that the worm in the eyeball might stump them. I'll have to borrow that.

He's a good 'un, David Attenborough, that's sure enough.