Archbishop hits back at Dawkins

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Dr Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, hit out at critics of religion yesterday when he told an audience at the Taliesin Arts Centre in Swansea that the debate over religion had been approached in the wrong way by people such as Richard Dawkins.

He said: "There are specific areas of mismatch between what Richard Dawkins may write about and what religious people think they are doing."

Dr Williams described Professor Dawkins as a "wonderfully lively and attractive writer", but said his arguments did not fully engage with religion. In a message to the critics, he said: "Don't distract us from the real arguments by assuming religion is an eccentric survival strategy or irrational form of explanation."

Dr Williams added that religious believers themselves were partly to blame by reducing God "to the kind of target Dawkins and others too easily fire at".