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Heard the one about the blood donor scheme for bats…? - April 2 - 11.44am - 2022

Richard Dawkins discusses his new book ‘Flights of Fancy’

There were many insults but the one I liked best was “I would have you burned alive but I’m a Christian…”.
Not that this was shouted out by an indignant member of the audience but rather read out loud by Dawkins himself after interviewer Matthew Stadlen presented him with some of the most abusive remarks made recently about him online.
Dawkins is of course one of the world’s leading experts on evolution, author of such bestselling books as The Selfish Gene, The Blind Watchmaker, and The God Delusion.
I liked him.
I only mention this because having listened many times before to him, I’d always found him a tad curt and acerbic. But today, while not exactly ‘cuddly’, he was likeable and engagingly warm.
Here to publicise his latest book ‘Flights of Fancy: Defying Gravity by Design and Evolution’, he was both fascinating and insightful.
For instance, his description of those scientists on the International Space Station who seem to ‘fly’ through their tasks was given a deliciously fresh perspective when he pointed out that they weren’t in fact weightless (due to still being close enough to Earth to be affected by its gravity) but rather “permanently in free fall around the Earth”. A gorgeous revelation to set the brain reeling.
And if that weren’t enough, while focusing on Vampire bats for a minute or two, we learned, reassuringly I assume, that “human altruism goes further than bat altruism.”
Fun and crowd pleasing, this was a great event with which to mark the final day of the festival.

Oxford Martin School Festival ideas partner Bodleian Libraries Festival cultural partner Symington Wines of the Douro Valley International Literary Properties Supporters of the festival green room The Dorchester Hotels Collection Festival London hotel partner European Union Delegation of the European Union to the United Kingdom Cultural Relations Platform Supporter of the festival's Voices of Europe programme Owen Mumford Supporter of programme of science and medicine and annual science and innovation award BBC World Service International radio partner University of Oxford FT Weekend Title partner Jewish Book Week Partner of Jewish programme Italian Embassy Supporter of Italian programme Blackwell’s Festival on-site and online bookseller The Randolph Hotel by Graduate Hotels Sponsor of the festival crime fiction programme Princeton University Press Prestige publishing partner Marlene Hauser Mary and Cecil Quillen Supporters of the programme of American literature and culture Jill Dunsmore David Isaac Carole and John Allen Lucian Hudson Pank Koria CEO of Project People Masumi and Jonathan Dobson Miles Young Emily Rose and James Marrow Supporters of the programme of American literature and culture George Warren Lady Hatch Patron donor for the programme of Irish literature and culture John Roberts Trinity College Trinity College St Cross College St Cross College Lincoln College Lincoln College Worcester College Worcester College New College Exeter College Exeter College: college home of the festival The Feathers Hotel Woodstock festival hotel Critchleys Accountants to the festival Project People Foodbuy Felicity Bryan Associates Conference Oxford Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies University of Oxford Alumni Office Alumni Office Paul Bloomfield Ltd Bear Ram Elk Festival Digital Strategy & Web Design BBC Radio Oxford Local radio partner The Oxford Times Regional media partner Oxford Brookes University Oxford University Images Oxford University Images The Sheldonian Theatre City Audio Visual Racalia Olive Oil Olive oil from Sicily Schoolreaders The Litmus Partnership K T Bruce Photography K T Bruce Photography OX magazine Royal Academy of Arts Siren Communications Siren Communications - corporate consultants Chêne Bleu Wines of Provence Compassion in World Farming The Wild Geese James Currey Society Hattus Books Hattus Books La Cave Musik Pusey House Cervantes Institute, London Confucius Institute Literature Ireland Pasture to Plate

FT Weekend Oxford Literary Festival sponsors, donors & partners

Oxford Martin School Festival ideas partner Bodleian Libraries Festival cultural partner Symington Wines of the Douro Valley International Literary Properties Supporters of the festival green room The Dorchester Hotels Collection Festival London hotel partner European Union Delegation of the European Union to the United Kingdom Cultural Relations Platform Supporter of the festival's Voices of Europe programme Owen Mumford Supporter of programme of science and medicine and annual science and innovation award BBC World Service International radio partner University of Oxford FT Weekend Title partner Jewish Book Week Partner of Jewish programme Italian Embassy Supporter of Italian programme Blackwell’s Festival on-site and online bookseller The Randolph Hotel by Graduate Hotels Sponsor of the festival crime fiction programme Princeton University Press Prestige publishing partner Marlene Hauser Mary and Cecil Quillen Supporters of the programme of American literature and culture Jill Dunsmore David Isaac Carole and John Allen Lucian Hudson Pank Koria CEO of Project People Masumi and Jonathan Dobson Miles Young Emily Rose and James Marrow Supporters of the programme of American literature and culture George Warren Lady Hatch Patron donor for the programme of Irish literature and culture John Roberts Trinity College Trinity College St Cross College St Cross College Lincoln College Lincoln College Worcester College Worcester College New College Exeter College Exeter College: college home of the festival The Feathers Hotel Woodstock festival hotel Critchleys Accountants to the festival Project People Foodbuy Felicity Bryan Associates Conference Oxford Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies University of Oxford Alumni Office Alumni Office Paul Bloomfield Ltd Bear Ram Elk Festival Digital Strategy & Web Design BBC Radio Oxford Local radio partner The Oxford Times Regional media partner Oxford Brookes University Oxford University Images Oxford University Images The Sheldonian Theatre City Audio Visual Racalia Olive Oil Olive oil from Sicily Schoolreaders The Litmus Partnership K T Bruce Photography K T Bruce Photography OX magazine Royal Academy of Arts Siren Communications Siren Communications - corporate consultants Chêne Bleu Wines of Provence Compassion in World Farming The Wild Geese James Currey Society Hattus Books Hattus Books La Cave Musik Pusey House Cervantes Institute, London Confucius Institute Literature Ireland Pasture to Plate