Atheists split over monument plans

Richard Dawkins has dismissed plans to build a £1m atheist monument in London.

The monument would consist of a 150ft tower, with every ten centimetres representing a million years of life on earth.

The plans have been put forward by atheist Alain de Botton, who said: “You can build a temple to anything that’s positive and good.”

“That could mean: a temple to love, friendship, calm or perspective.”

De Botton is reportedly keen to present a different kind of atheism from the fiery, hypercritical strand epitomised by Dawkins.

“Because of Richard Dawkins, atheism has become known as a destructive force, but there are lots of people who don’t believe but aren’t aggressive towards religions,” he said.

Around £500,000 has already been raised towards the monument, which would be constructed in the City of London.

Dawkins dismissed the project as a waste of money.

“Atheists don’t need temples,” he said.

“There are better things to spend this kind of money on. You could improve secular education and build non-religious schools which teach rational, sceptical, critical thinking.”

News of the monument comes amid reports this week of plans by the Brazilian government to erect a replica of Christ the Redeemer on top of Primrose Hill in London.

They want to unveil the statue on the last day of the London 2012 Olympics to signify the passing of the Olympic torch to Brazil, which will host the next Games in 2016.

The plans have reportedly been kept hush hush because of their sensitivity but locals in the upmarket suburb have been informed.