Jemery Paxman, the revered and feared journalist who can make most politicians and other officials curl into the fetal position and beg for their mummy, interviewed prof. Richard Dawkins on his latest book The God Delusion in which Dawkins argues the case against the existence of God, or all deities for that matter. Compelling and exiting as the subject of the book is, and expecting Dawkins to be thoroughly questioned about how he has made his case, I tuned in to the video of the interview on the BBC website. But much to my disappointment Paxman asked prof. Dawkins a series of shamefully silly questions, alternated by Paxman listening to Dawkins’ answers with utter fear written all over his face revealing that Jeremy Paxman, praised by the inhabitants of democratic societies in his ability to unearth any bullshit ejected from the mouths of those that wish to conceal The Truth, lacks the neurons to comprehend this scientific topic.
This embarrassing televised display of incomprehension brought back feelings of disappointment when I once worked for the Dutch equivalent of Jeremy Paxman for a science television programme and I found out that this man, a journalistic hero of mine, told me, thankfully by his own admittance, that he had a fascination for science but didn’t understand any of it. Jeremy Paxman is well-advised to steer clear of scientific topics in the future, or let the interviews be handled by bearers of greater intelligence. And on behalf of science lovers worldwide, I would like to offer prof. Richard Dawkins my sincerest condolences on this interview and encourage the unreservedly interested to just read the book themselves.
Yet again, the proof has been presented that great journalists don’t necessarily make great science journalists.