Does Richard Dawkins back Astrology?

Richard Dawkins

Jonathan Leake, Science Editor of Sunday Times, in a recent article on the controversial book of Percy Seymour defending Astrology, made an extra ordinary claim. He wrote that the British scientist and rationalist Richard Dawkins backed the views of Seymour defending the pseudo-science Astrology.

He wrote: "Hawking, Lucasian professor of mathematics at Cambridge University, has said that astrology became impossible as soon as early scientists found that the Earth was not the centre of the universe, an idea on which astrology was founded.

"However, Seymour's theories won qualified support from an unexpected source. Richard Dawkins, professor for the public understanding of science at Oxford University, who once suggested that astrologers be prosecuted under the trades descriptions act, said that although he had not read the book Seymour's ideas sounded interesting. "

Richard Dawkins, Charles Simonyi Professor of the Public Understanding of Science at the Oxford University and author of the international best sellers The Selfish Gene, The Extended Phenotype, The Blind Watchmaker, River Out of Eden, Climbing Mount Improbable and Unweaving the Rainbow, is well knoown for his public rejection of irrationalism. He is an Honorary Associate of the Rationalist International.

Did Richard Dawkins actually support Seymour's theories? Responding to a letter from Sanal Edamaruku, the President of the Rationalist International, Richard Dawkins informs:

"No. I most emphatically did NOT give my support to Percy Seymour. I was telephoned by a journalist called Jonathan Leake from the Sunday Times who asked me for a comment on Seymour’s book. I said I hadn’t read it, and therefore could not comment. Leake then read me part of the jacket blurb, which said something about magnetic fields before birth having an influence. I said something sarcastic like, “Well, that’s very interesting, no doubt, but what the hell has it got to do with astrology?” The next thing I knew, the newspaper quoted me as ‘supporting’ Seymour by saying his work was ‘interesting’. I am furious about this gross misrepresentation, and you may publish my disclaimer, if you wish."

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