Published January 27, 2012
A proposal to build a 151-foot tower to celebrate "new atheism" in London has pitted some of Britain's most recognized non-believers against each other, The Guardian reports.
Alain de Botton, a philosopher and writer wants the tower built as an antidote to what he describes as the "aggressive," and "destructive" approach to atheism of Richard Dawkins.
"Normally a temple is to Jesus, Mary or Buddha, but you can build a temple to anything that's positive and good," he told The Guardian. "That could mean a temple to love, friendship, calm or perspective."
Dawkins criticized Botton's proposal, saying it's a waste of money and a contradiction.
"Atheists don't need temples," Dawkins told the Guardian. "If you are going to spend money on atheism you could improve secular education and build non-religious schools which teach rational, skeptical critical thinking."
De Botton's plans for the tower would include each centimeter of the tower's interior to represent a million years, with a narrow band of gold to illustrate the amount of time humans have been on earth, The Guardian reveals. The exterior reportedly would be inscribed with a binary code representing the human genome sequence.
Some suggest it's not so strange to link something typically associated with religion to beliefs outside of religion.
"The things religious people get from religion -- awe, wonder, meaning and perspective -- non-religious people get from other places like art, nature, human relationships and the narratives we give our lives in other ways," Andrew Copson, chief executive of the British Humanist Society, told The Guardian.