Militant atheism | Richard Dawkins


That splendid music, the coming-in music, “The Elephant March” from “Aida,”
is the music I’ve chosen for my funeral. (Laughter) And you can see why. It’s triumphal. I won’t feel anything, but if I could, I would feel triumphal
at having lived at all, and at having lived
on this splendid planet, and having been given
the opportunity to understand something about why I was here
in the first place, before not being here. Can you understand
my quaint English accent? (Laughter) Like everybody else, I was entranced
yesterday by the animal session. Robert Full and Frans Lanting and others; the beauty of the things that they showed. The only slight jarring note was when
Jeffrey Katzenberg said of the mustang, “the most splendid creatures
that God put on this earth.” Now of course, we know
that he didn’t really mean that, but in this country at the moment,
you can’t be too careful. (Laughter) I’m a biologist, and the central theorem
of our subject: the theory of design, Darwin’s theory of evolution
by natural selection. In professional circles everywhere,
it’s of course universally accepted. In non-professional circles
outside America, it’s largely ignored. But in non-professional
circles within America, it arouses so much hostility — (Laughter) it’s fair to say that American biologists
are in a state of war. The war is so worrying at present, with court cases coming
up in one state after another, that I felt I had to say
something about it. If you want to know what I have
to say about Darwinism itself, I’m afraid you’re going
to have to look at my books, which you won’t find
in the bookstore outside. (Laughter) Contemporary court cases often concern an allegedly
new version of creationism, called “Intelligent Design,” or ID. Don’t be fooled.
There’s nothing new about ID. It’s just creationism under another name, rechristened —
I choose the word advisedly — (Laughter) for tactical, political reasons. The arguments of so-called ID theorists are the same old arguments
that had been refuted again and again, since Darwin down to the present day. There is an effective evolution lobby coordinating the fight
on behalf of science, and I try to do all I can to help them, but they get quite upset
when people like me dare to mention that we happen to be atheists
as well as evolutionists. They see us as rocking the boat,
and you can understand why. Creationists, lacking any coherent
scientific argument for their case, fall back on the popular
phobia against atheism: Teach your children
evolution in biology class, and they’ll soon move on to drugs,
grand larceny and sexual “pre-version.” (Laughter) In fact, of course, educated
theologians from the Pope down are firm in their support of evolution. This book, “Finding
Darwin’s God,” by Kenneth Miller, is one of the most effective attacks
on Intelligent Design that I know and it’s all the more effective because
it’s written by a devout Christian. People like Kenneth Miller could be called
a “godsend” to the evolution lobby, (Laughter) because they expose the lie
that evolutionism is, as a matter of fact, tantamount to atheism. People like me, on the other
hand, rock the boat. But here, I want to say something
nice about creationists. It’s not a thing I often do,
so listen carefully. (Laughter) I think they’re right about one thing. I think they’re right that evolution is fundamentally hostile to religion. I’ve already said that many individual
evolutionists, like the Pope, are also religious, but I think
they’re deluding themselves. I believe a true
understanding of Darwinism is deeply corrosive to religious faith. Now, it may sound as though
I’m about to preach atheism, and I want to reassure you
that that’s not what I’m going to do. In an audience
as sophisticated as this one, that would be preaching to the choir. No, what I want to urge upon you — (Laughter) Instead, what I want to urge
upon you is militant atheism. (Laughter) (Applause) But that’s putting it too negatively. If I was a person who were interested
in preserving religious faith, I would be very afraid of the positive
power of evolutionary science, and indeed science generally,
but evolution in particular, to inspire and enthrall,
precisely because it is atheistic. Now, the difficult problem
for any theory of biological design is to explain the massive statistical
improbability of living things. Statistical improbability
in the direction of good design — “complexity” is another word for this. The standard creationist argument — there is only one;
they’re all reduced to this one — takes off from
a statistical improbability. Living creatures are too complex
to have come about by chance; therefore, they must have had a designer. This argument of course,
shoots itself in the foot. Any designer capable of designing
something really complex has to be even more complex himself, and that’s before we even start
on the other things he’s expected to do, like forgive sins, bless
marriages, listen to prayers — favor our side in a war — (Laughter) disapprove of our sex lives, and so on. (Laughter) Complexity is the problem
that any theory of biology has to solve, and you can’t solve it by postulating
an agent that is even more complex, thereby simply compounding the problem. Darwinian natural selection
is so stunningly elegant because it solves the problem
of explaining complexity in terms of nothing but simplicity. Essentially, it does it
by providing a smooth ramp of gradual, step-by-step increment. But here, I only want to make the point that the elegance of Darwinism
is corrosive to religion, precisely because it is so elegant,
so parsimonious, so powerful, so economically powerful. It has the sinewy economy
of a beautiful suspension bridge. The God theory is not just a bad theory. It turns out to be — in principle — incapable of doing the job required of it. So, returning to tactics
and the evolution lobby, I want to argue that rocking the boat may be just the right thing to do. My approach to attacking creationism is — unlike the evolution lobby — my approach to attacking creationism
is to attack religion as a whole. And at this point I need
to acknowledge the remarkable taboo against speaking ill of religion, and I’m going to do so in the words
of the late Douglas Adams, a dear friend who,
if he never came to TED, certainly should have been invited. (Richard Saul Wurman: He was.) Richard Dawkins: He was. Good.
I thought he must have been. He begins this speech,
which was tape recorded in Cambridge shortly before he died — he begins by explaining how science
works through the testing of hypotheses that are framed to be vulnerable
to disproof, and then he goes on. I quote, “Religion doesn’t
seem to work like that. It has certain ideas at the heart of it,
which we call ‘sacred’ or ‘holy.’ What it means is:
here is an idea or a notion that you’re not allowed
to say anything bad about. You’re just not. Why not?
Because you’re not.” (Laughter) “Why should it be
that it’s perfectly legitimate to support the Republicans or Democrats, this model of economics versus that, Macintosh instead of Windows, but to have an opinion
about how the universe began, about who created the universe — no, that’s holy. So, we’re used to not
challenging religious ideas, and it’s very interesting how much
of a furor Richard creates when he does it.” — He meant me, not that one. “Everybody gets absolutely
frantic about it, because you’re not allowed
to say these things. Yet when you look at it rationally, there’s no reason why those ideas shouldn’t be as open
to debate as any other, except that we’ve agreed
somehow between us that they shouldn’t be.” And that’s the end
of the quote from Douglas. In my view, not only is science
corrosive to religion; religion is corrosive to science. It teaches people
to be satisfied with trivial, supernatural non-explanations, and blinds them to the wonderful,
real explanations that we have within our grasp. It teaches them to accept
authority, revelation and faith, instead of always insisting on evidence. There’s Douglas Adams, magnificent picture
from his book, “Last Chance to See.” Now, there’s a typical scientific journal, The Quarterly Review of Biology. And I’m going to put
together, as guest editor, a special issue on the question,
“Did an asteroid kill the dinosaurs?” And the first paper
is a standard scientific paper, presenting evidence, “Iridium layer at the K-T boundary, and potassium argon dated
crater in Yucatan, indicate that an asteroid
killed the dinosaurs.” Perfectly ordinary scientific paper. Now, the next one. “The President of the Royal Society has been vouchsafed
a strong inner conviction that an asteroid killed the dinosaurs.” (Laughter) “It has been privately
revealed to Professor Huxtane that an asteroid killed the dinosaurs.” (Laughter) “Professor Hordley was brought up to have total and unquestioning faith” — (Laughter) — “that an asteroid killed the dinosaurs.” “Professor Hawkins has
promulgated an official dogma binding on all loyal Hawkinsians that an asteroid killed the dinosaurs.” (Laughter) That’s inconceivable, of course. But suppose — [Supporters of the Asteroid Theory
cannot be patriotic citizens] (Laughter) (Applause) In 1987, a reporter asked George Bush, Sr. whether he recognized
the equal citizenship and patriotism of Americans who are atheists. Mr. Bush’s reply has become infamous. “No, I don’t know that atheists
should be considered citizens, nor should they be considered patriots. This is one nation under God.” Bush’s bigotry
was not an isolated mistake, blurted out in the heat
of the moment and later retracted. He stood by it in the face of repeated
calls for clarification or withdrawal. He really meant it. More to the point, he knew
it posed no threat to his election — quite the contrary. Democrats as well as Republicans
parade their religiousness if they want to get elected. Both parties invoke
“one nation under God.” What would Thomas Jefferson have said? [In every country and in every age,
the priest has been hostile to liberty] Incidentally, I’m not usually
very proud of being British, but you can’t help making the comparison. (Applause) In practice, what is an atheist? An atheist is just somebody
who feels about Yahweh the way any decent Christian feels
about Thor or Baal or the golden calf. As has been said before, we are
all atheists about most of the gods that humanity has ever believed in. Some of us just go one god further. (Laughter) (Applause) And however we define atheism,
it’s surely the kind of academic belief that a person is entitled
to hold without being vilified as an unpatriotic,
unelectable non-citizen. Nevertheless, it’s an undeniable fact
that to own up to being an atheist is tantamount to introducing yourself
as Mr. Hitler or Miss Beelzebub. And that all stems
from the perception of atheists as some kind of weird, way-out minority. Natalie Angier wrote a rather
sad piece in the New Yorker, saying how lonely she felt as an atheist. She clearly feels
in a beleaguered minority. But actually, how do American atheists
stack up numerically? The latest survey makes
surprisingly encouraging reading. Christianity, of course, takes a massive
lion’s share of the population, with nearly 160 million. But what would you think
was the second largest group, convincingly outnumbering Jews
with 2.8 million, Muslims at 1.1 million, Hindus, Buddhists and all other
religions put together? The second largest group,
with nearly 30 million, is the one described
as non-religious or secular. You can’t help wondering
why vote-seeking politicians are so proverbially overawed by the power
of, for example, the Jewish lobby — the state of Israel seems to owe its very
existence to the American Jewish vote — while at the same time, consigning the non-religious
to political oblivion. This secular non-religious vote,
if properly mobilized, is nine times as numerous
as the Jewish vote. Why does this far more
substantial minority not make a move to exercise
its political muscle? Well, so much for quantity.
How about quality? Is there any correlation,
positive or negative, between intelligence
and tendency to be religious? [Them folks misunderestimated me] (Laughter) The survey that I quoted,
which is the ARIS survey, didn’t break down its data
by socio-economic class or education, IQ or anything else. But a recent article by Paul G. Bell
in the Mensa magazine provides some straws in the wind. Mensa, as you know,
is an international organization for people with very high IQ. And from a meta-analysis
of the literature, Bell concludes that, I quote —
“Of 43 studies carried out since 1927 on the relationship
between religious belief, and one’s intelligence
or educational level, all but four found an inverse connection. That is, the higher one’s intelligence
or educational level, the less one is likely to be religious.” Well, I haven’t seen
the original 42 studies, and I can’t comment on that meta-analysis, but I would like to see more
studies done along those lines. And I know that there are —
if I could put a little plug here — there are people in this audience easily capable of financing a massive
research survey to settle the question, and I put the suggestion up,
for what it’s worth. But let me know show you some data that have been properly
published and analyzed, on one special group —
namely, top scientists. In 1998, Larson and Witham
polled the cream of American scientists, those who’d been honored by election
to the National Academy of Sciences, and among this select group, belief in a personal God dropped
to a shattering seven percent. About 20 percent are agnostic;
the rest could fairly be called atheists. Similar figures obtained
for belief in personal immortality. Among biological scientists,
the figure is even lower: 5.5 percent, only, believe in God. Physical scientists, it’s 7.5 percent. I’ve not seen corresponding
figures for elite scholars in other fields,
such as history or philosophy, but I’d be surprised
if they were different. So, we’ve reached a truly
remarkable situation, a grotesque mismatch
between the American intelligentsia and the American electorate. A philosophical opinion
about the nature of the universe, which is held by the vast majority
of top American scientists and probably the majority
of the intelligentsia generally, is so abhorrent to the American electorate that no candidate for popular election
dare affirm it in public. If I’m right, this means that high office in the greatest country in the world is barred to the very people
best qualified to hold it — the intelligentsia — unless they are prepared
to lie about their beliefs. To put it bluntly:
American political opportunities are heavily loaded against those who are simultaneously
intelligent and honest. (Laughter) (Applause) I’m not a citizen of this country,
so I hope it won’t be thought unbecoming if I suggest that something
needs to be done. (Laughter) And I’ve already hinted
what that something is. From what I’ve seen of TED, I think this
may be the ideal place to launch it. Again, I fear it will cost money. We need a consciousness-raising, coming-out campaign for American atheists. (Laughter) This could be similar to the campaign
organized by homosexuals a few years ago, although heaven forbid
that we should stoop to public outing of people against their will. In most cases, people who out themselves will help to destroy the myth that
there is something wrong with atheists. On the contrary, they’ll demonstrate that atheists
are often the kinds of people who could serve as decent
role models for your children, the kinds of people an advertising agent
could use to recommend a product, the kinds of people
who are sitting in this room. There should be a snowball effect,
a positive feedback, such that the more names
we have, the more we get. There could be non-linearities,
threshold effects. When a critical mass has been obtained, there’s an abrupt
acceleration in recruitment. And again, it will need money. I suspect that the word “atheist” itself contains or remains a stumbling block far out of proportion
to what it actually means, and a stumbling block to people who otherwise might be
happy to out themselves. So, what other words might
be used to smooth the path, oil the wheels, sugar the pill? Darwin himself preferred “agnostic” — and not only out of loyalty
to his friend Huxley, who coined the term. Darwin said, “I have never been an atheist in the same sense of denying
the existence of a God. I think that generally an ‘agnostic’ would be the most correct
description of my state of mind.” He even became uncharacteristically
tetchy with Edward Aveling. Aveling was a militant atheist who failed to persuade Darwin to accept the dedication
of his book on atheism — incidentally, giving rise
to a fascinating myth that Karl Marx tried to dedicate
“Das Kapital” to Darwin, which he didn’t, it was
actually Edward Aveling. What happened was that Aveling’s
mistress was Marx’s daughter, and when both Darwin and Marx were dead, Marx’s papers became muddled
up with Aveling’s papers, and a letter from Darwin saying,
“My dear sir, thank you very much but I don’t want you
to dedicate your book to me,” was mistakenly supposed
to be addressed to Marx, and that gave rise to this whole
myth, which you’ve probably heard. It’s a sort of urban myth, that Marx
tried to dedicate “Kapital” to Darwin. Anyway, it was Aveling, and when
they met, Darwin challenged Aveling. “Why do you call yourselves atheists?” “‘Agnostic, ‘” retorted Aveling, “was
simply ‘atheist’ writ respectable, and ‘atheist’ was simply
‘agnostic’ writ aggressive.” Darwin complained, “But why
should you be so aggressive?” Darwin thought that atheism might be
well and good for the intelligentsia, but that ordinary people were
not, quote, “ripe for it.” Which is, of course, our old friend,
the “don’t rock the boat” argument. It’s not recorded whether Aveling told
Darwin to come down off his high horse. (Laughter) But in any case,
that was more than 100 years ago. You’d think we might have
grown up since then. Now, a friend, an intelligent lapsed Jew, who, incidentally, observes the Sabbath
for reasons of cultural solidarity, describes himself
as a “tooth-fairy agnostic.” He won’t call himself an atheist because it’s, in principle,
impossible to prove a negative, but “agnostic” on its own might
suggest that God’s existence was therefore on equal terms
of likelihood as his non-existence. So, my friend is strictly
agnostic about the tooth fairy, but it isn’t very likely, is it? Like God. Hence the phrase, “tooth-fairy agnostic.” Bertrand Russell made the same point using a hypothetical teapot
in orbit about Mars. You would strictly have to be agnostic about whether there is a teapot
in orbit about Mars, but that doesn’t mean you treat
the likelihood of its existence as on all fours with its non-existence. The list of things which we strictly
have to be agnostic about doesn’t stop at tooth fairies
and teapots; it’s infinite. If you want to believe
one particular one of them — unicorns or tooth fairies
or teapots or Yahweh — the onus is on you to say why. The onus is not on the rest
of us to say why not. We, who are atheists, are also a-fairyists and a-teapotists. (Laughter) But we don’t bother to say so. And this is why my friend
uses “tooth-fairy agnostic” as a label for what most people
would call atheist. Nonetheless, if we want to attract
deep-down atheists to come out publicly, we’re going to have find
something better to stick on our banner than “tooth-fairy” or “teapot agnostic.” So, how about “humanist”? This has the advantage of a worldwide
network of well-organized associations and journals and things already in place. My problem with it is only
its apparent anthropocentrism. One of the things
we’ve learned from Darwin is that the human species is only one among millions of cousins,
some close, some distant. And there are other possibilities,
like “naturalist,” but that also has problems of confusion, because Darwin would have
thought naturalist — “Naturalist” means, of course,
as opposed to “supernaturalist” — and it is used sometimes — Darwin would have been confused
by the other sense of “naturalist,” which he was, of course, and I suppose there might be others
who would confuse it with “nudism”. (Laughter) Such people might be those
belonging to the British lynch mob, which last year attacked a pediatrician
in mistake for a pedophile. (Laughter) I think the best of the available
alternatives for “atheist” is simply “non-theist.” It lacks the strong connotation
that there’s definitely no God, and it could therefore easily be embraced
by teapot or tooth-fairy agnostics. It’s completely compatible
with the God of the physicists. When atheists like Stephen Hawking
and Albert Einstein use the word “God,” they use it of course
as a metaphorical shorthand for that deep, mysterious part of physics
which we don’t yet understand. “Non-theist” will do for all that,
yet unlike “atheist,” it doesn’t have the same
phobic, hysterical responses. But I think, actually, the alternative is to grasp the nettle
of the word “atheism” itself, precisely because it is a taboo word, carrying frissons of hysterical phobia. Critical mass may be harder
to achieve with the word “atheist” than with the word “non-theist,” or some other non-confrontational word. But if we did achieve it
with that dread word “atheist” itself, the political impact
would be even greater. Now, I said that if I were religious,
I’d be very afraid of evolution — I’d go further: I would fear science
in general, if properly understood. And this is because
the scientific worldview is so much more exciting, more poetic, more filled with sheer wonder than anything in the poverty-stricken
arsenals of the religious imagination. As Carl Sagan, another recently
dead hero, put it, “How is it that hardly any major
religion has looked at science and concluded, ‘This
is better than we thought! The universe is much bigger
than our prophet said, grander, more subtle, more elegant’? Instead they say, ‘No, no, no! My god is a little god,
and I want him to stay that way.’ A religion, old or new, that stressed the magnificence
of the universe as revealed by modern science, might be able to draw forth
reserves of reverence and awe hardly tapped by the conventional faiths.” Now, this is an elite audience, and I would therefore expect
about 10 percent of you to be religious. Many of you probably subscribe
to our polite cultural belief that we should respect religion. But I also suspect
that a fair number of those secretly despise religion as much as I do. (Laughter) If you’re one of them, and of course
many of you may not be, but if you are one of them, I’m asking you to stop being polite, come out, and say so. And if you happen to be rich, give some thought to ways
in which you might make a difference. The religious lobby in this country is massively financed by foundations —
to say nothing of all the tax benefits — by foundations, such as the Templeton
Foundation and the Discovery Institute. We need an anti-Templeton to step forward. If my books sold as well
as Stephen Hawking’s books, instead of only as well as
Richard Dawkins’ books, I’d do it myself. People are always going on about,
“How did September the 11th change you?” Well, here’s how it changed me. Let’s all stop being so damned respectful. Thank you very much. (Applause)

100 thoughts on “Militant atheism | Richard Dawkins

  • I wonder how many "Theists" are merely people completely ill equipped and unable to cope with their own mortality. So they cling to anything that helps them avoid dealing with it.

  • Became an atheist now!!! I was in search of god since my schooldays but i think there is no god because if he is present there wouldn't have been any beggar outside temple , mosque and chruchs…..so i m now an atheist

  • Since this was recorded they have now a fairly well supported and reviewed theories that religious experience is a brain defect. Either lesions or for those without TBI, a connection between the hemispheres that causes the feeling of the presence of a god. That would make religion a disease to be eradicated. A physical disease rather than a social one. This should be looked at a lot more thoroughly.

  • I don't hear many atheists complain that a rock falls to the ground when they release it due to gravity: "How DARE that rock fall to the ground due to natural forces!"

    I don't hear many atheists complain when an animal acts in a way that preserves its genetic code, perhaps by attacking another animal: "How DARE that tiger attack that caribou because it evolved to do so and because it gives them a competitive advantage over overs!"

    I don't hear many atheists complain when a human being eats food to nourish him or herself due having evolved the necessity to eat food to survive: "How DARE that person eat food because evolved to do so and gives them a competitive advantage over others!"

    I do however hear many atheists complain when a human being has faith in a God or Gods, a feat which was evidently selected for via evolution: "How DARE that person have faith in something unseen because they evolved to do so and gives them a competitive advantage over others!"

    If anything, atheists should be applauding how being a religious fanatic can cause a person to act in a way that eliminates competition, thus causing THEM to be more likely to pass their genes on to future generations instead of the genes of their foes. But… I don't see that because atheism is internally inconsistent, with atheists preferring a more idealized view rather than the hard truth at the logical conclusion of a purely mechanized, Godless universe. They may not believe in God, but they act as if they do to some degree.

  • Any conviction about God, including the one that there is no God, is a faith. Philosophers of our days do not understand such simple thing. In the antiquity people knew almost nothing, but could think philosophically. Nowadays, knowledge is overwhelming but the ability to think philosophically is at pitifully low level. Seems that all-powerful science is like an elephant in a china shop. It ruins faith, the very ability to believe, while itself remains obscure to the masses, who in the absence of convincing religion(s) turn to ideologies, those pseudo-religions that possess all bad features without whatever good there was.

  • LOL. SO-CALLED SCIENTISTS LOVE THEIR "HYPOTHESIS", BUT NON-SCIENTISTS ARE NOT QUALIFIED TO HAVE SPIRITUAL OR RELIGIOUS BELIEFS. RICHARD DAWKINS IS NO DIFFERENT THAN RELIGIOUS ABSOLUTISTS, AS HE KNOWS LITTLE MORE THAN THEY DO. TECHNICALLY, WE HAVE ONLY HAD "SCIENCE" FOR A LITTLE MORE THAN TWO HUNDRED YEARS. HERE'S A "HYPOTHESIS": THE HYPOTHESIS IS NOTHING MORE THAN A PRAYER OF THE SELF. SO TAKE IT EASY, HUMAN BEINGS WILL NEVER KNOW EVERYTHING, AND AT BEST, WE KNOW NOTHING AT ALL.

  • Burn all the religious books as well as every science book….. 500 years from now the science books will be written the same way.

  • The religious don't seem to know what the word atheist means, if they do then they are going out of their way to redefine the meaning to suit their own purpose. They refuse to believe that we don't believe or they try to make our non belief seem like a cult. To say the religious are in desperate fear of non believers would be an understatement of the highest order. Faith is coming apart at the seams with every new generation, the numbers of the faithful are in rapid decline with every new generation. Science is dismantling religion with knowledge and religion is finding it cannot stand on it's own merits. The religious just cannot handle the fact that the time for respectful silence is over. it is time to call religion out for what it is.

  • Evolution certainly contradicts "religion" but it is evolution as it is. Evolution may be your "God" in the future as a more correct one. It's a futile attempt to transfer thoughts to humans who are incapable of thinking beyond what they are. If humans survive there will be a new major religion. What humans believe is what's given to them. Religion is not just to offer purpose for humans. It is salvation against death. Anything that will give this salvation will be their god. Only a fool cannot know this.

  • What exactly are the beliefs that Dr. Dawkins wants to advocate? "Atheism, we believe in nothing". It's not exactly the height of philosophical thought.

  • Isn't the faith that god does exist the same faith needed to say he doesn't exist? I say this because of the lack of evidence for both positions.

  • It is so sad that a self proclaimed 'elite' intellectual has to resort to ridicule to prove that God does not exist. I suppose he thinks that chemicals and rocks, if given enough time will spring to life and gain self awareness. It didn't happen in 13.7 billion years and it could not happen in a trillion years. He implores his 'rich intellectual elite' audience to pool their money for his crusade to wipe out all religion and thoughts of a Creator, but even the worst mass murderers, dictators, and despots in the history of the world have not been able to do that. Good luck trying to wipe out what is innate in the human consciousness ever since God breathed a soul into man.

  • Dawk. The whole point of atheism is to HAVE NO BELIEF. Richard Dawkins is coming unstuck and he does not like it. What incursion into politics and education? FOOL DAWKINS – the only incursion into politics and education is Gender Dysphoria.

  • I am still stuck in your mythical primordial soup caldron, trying to figure out as to how, 4 billion years ago, a primitive microorganism could have made its first evolutionary move. I also have difficulties with the concept foster by atheist Dawkins that wonderful creatures would only be designoids with only an appearance of being intelligently designed, programmed and engineered.

  • If religion is corrosive to science, how is it possible that there are religious people who love science and even religious scientists? And those people include creationists too.

  • Love it how biologists insist on the theory of evolution (sorry, it's still a theory) and all of the fossil evidence that supports it, yet when it comes to identity politics they ignore their biological precepts in order to stand behind the cross dressing community.
    Makes me smile knowing they need faith in their "religion" as much as people who follow other religious beliefs.

  • For me it was age 4, at the "kindergarten" stage of the United Church of Canada, about as benign a group of "worshippers" as you'll ever find. An 'elder' was demonstrating the negative effects of alcohol to us, by murdering a gold fish by pouring a bottle of gin into it's bowl. It took a few minutes the struggle and die. I never missed a Sunday class for a dozen years, was confirmed into the church at age 15 or 16 as an adult. When they said, "we won't take your attendance anymore", I never set foot in the place again. It's like they were all addicted to some mind numbing drug.

  • I consider anyone who really thinks they believe in some 'god', to be either too dumb to use logic and rational thought or, haven't got to that part yet. They know the outcome of deeper thought and avoid it. There are exceptions. We all need 'spiritualism' or a meeting of our sentient emotions, for character. It's called developing relationships based on trust, respect etc.. Animals do it.
    The 'god' concept is just a weapon wise men have used against all the others since time immemorial to scare people.

  • The one issue that evolutionist cannot explain is is how nature somehow 'alters' chromosome numbers through natural selection.

  • “Under these conditions it is no wonder, that the movement of atheists, which declares religion to be just a deliberate illusion, invented by power-seeking priests, and which has for the pious belief in a higher Power nothing but words of mockery, eagerly makes use of progressive scientific knowledge and in a presumed unity with it, expands in an ever faster pace its disintegrating action on all nations of the earth and on all social levels. I do not need to explain in any more detail that after its victory not only all the most precious treasures of our culture would vanish, but – which is even worse – also any prospects at a better future.” Religion und Naturwissenschaft (1958)
    Today the words of Physicist Max Planck would be labeled by Dawkins as poisonous and dangerous thinking.
    Dawkins can't hold a candle to the impact that Max Planck made to modern physics!

  • I think it is not IQ that affects religion, but religion that affects our natural desire to question. The first question you asked as a child was 'why?' the response from your parents was to tell you because I said so. Then when you questioned 'how can Santa travel the world in one night?' they lied again. Religion commands you to suspend your disbelief and infantilises adults. This is why a secular education (even one that studies religion – though I think it should be alongside mythology) allows people to once again embrace their natural skepticism. This could be why the number of people with a religion is low in academics, they became atheist after study not before.

  • I'm just wondering how Mr Dawkins can assume that a 3 lb blob of oatmeal like substance in his skull had any capacity to even remotely acertain all there is in the immeasureably vast universe ..ie … God or no God?

  • I've never seen so many habitual liars and arrogant hypocrites in one place. The Bible commands Christians to NOT judge atheists but it's hard when your kind is so aggressive, so pretentious and arrogant, just plain mean. Half of you are literally describing a persecuted Christian, swapping out Christian for atheist, and then proceeding to play the victim.This morning I watched a video showcasing a mob of left wing atheists outside a conservative Christians house chanting "stab him in the heart, break his raggedy neck". Believers are the one's discriminated against, believers are the one's in danger of being shot for their views. We need more facts and less feelings in this world and I tell you, despite your disillusions, atheists are the ones dishing out feelings!

  • Unfortunately … for both atheists and creationists alike – Genesis 2 : 4 says: "These are the generations of the creation," which means the word day refers to a "long period of time," meaning this reality was created in six phases.

    Even though this confirms the possibility of gradual development – it still does not constitute as proof: since mutation is direct evidence for adaptation but only indirect evidence for transition.

    Furthermore … the phrase "self-correcting" is like admitting perpetual error – so please don't play that "science doesn't deal in proofs" nonsense.

    The scripture tells us we live by faith – so the "fact" we still have no "proof" either way – is compelling evidence something significant is going on.

    It's about time you people stopped arguing and woke up.

  • The INVISIBLE "God" is the leading character in Hebrew MYTHOLOGY which is why religions are nothing but money making scams.

  • It always struck me as a little strange that a man (scientist) that could believe in a universe that ‘…was not only stranger than we imagine but stranger than we could imagine…” could dismiss the idea of a God so unequivocally. That is to say that he doesn’t accept the idea that and omniscient, omnipotent entity could exist simply because he hasn’t met with any. However, he CAN accept that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe even though none have yet been detected and he certainly hasn’t met any. His argument for militant atheism relies on mans' illogical interpretation of the nature of God without accepting the premise that a God could manifest itself, somewhere in the universe, out of an 'evolutionary process'.

    Perhaps he just doesn’t accept a God as a 'creator' whereas I believe we stand on the threshold of creating our own omniscient, omnipotent entity of which the first component is already taking form in terms of the internet.  Perhaps he just doesn't accept that a greater intelligence than his exists, or could exist.  Good luck with that!

  • He keeps prattling on about Darwin’s 'Theory of Evolution’ but it wasn't even his. It was the selectively plagiarised work of Alfred Russel Wallace. So much for getting your facts right.

  • Statistics can and do slap one back in the face sometimes. Some scientists bathe in their numbers today, right? They believe their proof is enough. 99.99+% that there is no god is enough for them. I would tend to agree, but I still believe in god.

    Why could I believe in science and god under such circumstances? Well, back when we were all barnacles several million years ago, absolutely no one believed the one “moron” barnacle when she said, “One day i’ll have my Oskar and wear a gallant dress!” They all laughed back then. They laughed hard! Just like this guy, with his posh British accent!

    Does god like atheists? Sure he does. No doubt. The thing wrong with militant atheists is: They find it okay to ignore the one in a trillion possibility just like the barnacle horde did several million years ago. Today the moron barnacle is a woman receiving her Oskar and the others are still merely barnacles! That’s how that works.

  • Richard Dawkins is just another religious fanatic. And if one thinks that Atheism is not a religion I have only one thing to say. And it is, listen a little closer, and you'll hear him state that his way is the only way, and anyone who disagrees with him is delusional, or a fool. Just like any other religious zealot. Now I follow the Buddhist path, which states that there is no creator God. That being said, I try to respect the views of others, as long as they can also show respect for other peoples point of view. By the way, I have never seen one iota of scientific proof that there is no life after death, God, or whatever name one wants to put on that which illuminates the universe. And please do not point at evolution as proof, because even the Pope has accepted the validity of evolution. As I've stated Richard Dawkins is a religious zealot who is calling for a Jehad on all other religions but his own.

  • Dawkins and the "new atheists" appear like progenitors of logic and reason to the mind of an intelligent 13-year old, but after observing them a while one often finds that their arguments at best lack rigor and at worst are ad hominem or grossly misrepresent the side of Deism or ID. Dawkins' lifelong thesis–that belief in God is incompatible with science–is a worldview that puts him in the minority among scientists and philosophers. This does NOT mean that most scientists and academics believe in God, but just that they generally hold that our belief or disbelief in God is utterly independent from your ability to do science or to think rationally. And now, for an ad hominem jab, I find Dawkins, Bill Nye, and many other popular atheists to be some of the most unpleasant and obnoxiously arrogant public in our world today, so excuse me if I find their philosophy of life unappealing.

  • I'm so glad that religion has not played a major role in UK politics for a couple of hundred years. If a UK politician tried to win votes by espousing their religious beliefs he or she would be considered a weirdo and unworthy of office. This seems to be completely the opposite of the US these days.

  • Why people laugh at every sentence? Pure Idiocy. I do not believe in any deity or divinity and I do not need an “atheist” who pretend to own the truth himself, distracts my sanity. Atheists are another kind of fundamentalists.

  • The only difference between an atheist and a Christian is the "creator"!   The Christian believes that this world was created by an intelligent God who has existed 'eternally' and created this world for a specific 'purpose'.    While the atheist believes that this world was created by the inanimate "singularity" which has existed 'eternally' and created this world without a 'purpose' and without the power of thought!    But the atheists believe…   their 'belief'…   is "science"!!    But as we can all see,  it is just another man made "religion"!!

  • 3:40 DAWKINS the PROPHET!
    That has become more true just over the last 10 years since this talk! For such an educated person, he's a fool.

  • 25:45 DAWKINS GOOFED!
    Einstein's belief in God was not the same as Hawkins & was never meant metaphorically.

  • Here is a man, attacking Religion, by creating Religion, and ridiculing other faiths to push his own.
    I do not like Religiousness, whether they believe in a God or not.

  • Vegan Atheists are actually more "Christ" conscious than many people who claim to love animals and be Christian are. Many so called Christians support the pain, suffering and murder of animals. They use animals as commodities and think they have no feelings. They "think" animals are on earth for Mankind's use.

  • ' God Delusion ' Richard Dawkins

    " THEY ARE THE FOOLS "

    How can ye reject the faith in Allah ?! When ye were dead and
    He gave you life; Then He will give you death,then life again,and then unto Him ye will return۔ (Qur'an,2:28)

    And when it is said to them:
    " Believe as the others belive: "
    They say :

    " shall we believe as the fools believe? " —
    Nay, of a surety they are the fools,
    But they do not know."
    ( Qur'an, 2: 13)

    They rejected Almighty Allah.
    Allah Himself responded them that by rejecting Almighty Allah they showed that they themselves are fool.

    Almighty Allah has right to respond to those who rejected Him.

  • Guess who said, "We need militant atheists to take over this nation!" Vladimir Lenin, the communist leader of the Soviet Union, who then murdered 35 million people in the name of militant atheism. Has Dicky Dawkins failed to learn from history? Or is he planning another 35 million murders in the name of militant atheism in America? https://www.conservapedia.com/Atheism_and_communism

  • The Russians already went down this path to destruction after the Bolshevik revolution, when they let militant atheists take over their nation. The results were that 35 million Russians were murdered by the militant atheists who were followers of Vladimir Lenin and Josef Stalin. Learn from their fatal mistake and reject the homicidal atheists. They execute their own revolutionary followers first because they're afraid they will kill them for leadership positions! https://www.conservapedia.com/Atheism_and_communism

  • We should elect the most Intelligent person to the position not because of money religion, morality and or status

  • Divine evolution?
    Evolution is the master plan for never ending divine creation.
    It is the perfect of system that only God could devise.
    Darwin a religious man seeking the answer to how God created "everything" and discovered the theory of eternal never ending creation aka "The Theory of Evolution".

  • What are Richard Dawkins' actual accomplishments as a scientist? Please forgive me for saying this, but he's the Barack Hussein Obama of the world of science. Remember how after only a couple of weeks into his presidency Obama was selected for a Nobel Peace prize, without any basis in fact or reality? That's the same with Dawkins. Even atheists have shunned him because he's done so much harm to their cause.

  • I have always mostly used the label agnostic myself, but consider myself a secular humanist because to me secularism is just putting religion aside. You can be religious privately, that is your own business, but when you are in a group or working collectively with others, of what ever belief, we get on common ground which is secular.

    I don't believe in the Bible. I don't believe in Jesus et el. as depicted in the Bible or Mohammad as depicted in other religious texts. I don't believe in the Tooth Fairy or Easter Bunny. I highly doubt religious divinity as a whole. I don't really think there is any being we can call god or the creator or whatever. I just know there is stuff I don't understand, there is stuff I don't know. I take agnostic to mean more like, I don't know, and I'm alright with that. If knowing is available to me, I'd like to know, but to admit that I don't know is ok with me.
    I am going to hold any religious or metaphysical like explanation as having little weight and not accept it as explanation because I don't need "an answer". I am more likely to give more weight to a scientific explanation, but still hold a skeptical posture. Generally find that to be the main difference between people who refer to themselves as agnostic and those who adamantly demand they be called atheist and others embrace atheism. The latter, although only slightly different has more of an air of aggressive arrogance about it. I get kind of repulsed by that. If it were more "a"theist or the absence of theism, like it should be, rather than anti-religion. I think it is the authoritarian anti-religious people that have poisoned the the atheist label.

    I am confused though. Am I a tooth-fairy agnostic. Does a tooth fairy agnostic hold out on the possibility of a tooth fairy? Or do they take an atheist like position on the tooth fairy?
    I'll have to go back and listen because that part was confusing for me on a quick listen.

  • Evolution of some is a lie and it's fake no dog ever became a bird a cat never became a dog a species never changed into another species we have to prove everything 2 Dawkins but Dawkins has no proof he even mispronounced words to deceive people perversion he says free version which is where it all started from sexual perversion

  • Dawkins can say whatever he wants to say anyway wants to say it but nobody else can say it only Dawkins only Dawkins has the right to say what he wants to say nobody else yet Dawkins doesn't have any proof he says he does but it's not proof it's not proven

  • The problem for everyone who wants to apply logic and intelligence to the mystery of existence is that it presupposes that one of two things must be true: either something came from nothing or something always was. Neither proposition strikes most of us as particular logical, which may be why so many people posit the existence of a God or gods, of something mysterious beyond the realm of conventional logic.

  • Something I noticed is as much as people will criticize someone for believing in god, is if the person changes their mind, the same people will criticize that person even MORE. Leaving a religion will not just cause religious people to hate you for leaving, but atheists to hate you for having believed in the past, causing you to be an outcast to just about everyone. It would be nice if more atheists were welcoming to People who are NEW to atheism.

  • i think militant atheist does not represent the atheist movement at all. In fact activist atheist or debaters is more closer to a accurate description

  • https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2013/09/richard-dawkins-defends-mild-pedophilia-again-and-again/311230/

  • As much as I agree with him on militant atheism , creating a population of skeptics that question everything is politically dangerous . A dictatorship needs to be created to prevent the spread of religious cancer and to force humanity toward scientific and technological progress . Man must become God in his own image through science or we must go extinct . Death of humanity is preferable to its continuation with such ideas as religion . Death to God

  • Left to themselves humanity will never do the right thing and improve. Only a technological dictatorship using education, social engineering and discipline can save society . Left to themselves ppl will embrace such nonsense as vegetarianism and gun control .

  • Atheism and nihilism are the only reasonable options and all other spiritual and religious ideas must go. We must be militant and push and push

  • I'm an Atheist, but i'm not militant about it.

    In my country your religious beliefs or non religious beliefs are a private matter that should never spill over into the public space or government, etc.

  • On the other hand…
    Scientists searching for alternative, but still scientific explanations to why the dinosaurs went extinct, are being rigorously attacked, ridiculed and segregated by the proper scientific community for their audacity to speak up against the established scientific "dogmas".

    The idea behind science is exactly this; create theories and then try to prove them.
    But when an alternative idea is – instead of being investigated and, maybe in the end, proven wrong or whatever – just being discarded because it does not conform to current theories, we are back in the middle ages.
    Maybe that is why so many people go against the scholars who are sometimes seen as the arrogant high priests of modern religion.

    A good example could be the anti vaxers.

    I was brought up watching the mass vaccinations against – amongst others – the polio and I am not only convinced that vaccinations are probably the greatest gift to humanity. But when you question it you might hit this here scientific wall where any argument against MUST be annihilated ASAP.

    So idiotic anti vaxers gain terrain.

    Today we see Science with a capital "S" becoming the new religion and the scientists are our new high priests.
    This is probably the worst that could happen, simply because the average man on the street today can never get up to the level where he can actually debate and criticise. He hasn't got the time to really get into an issue and become able to make qualified, critical questionnaires to challenge what is being said.
    This way he will have to pick a side and depend on what he can find out there.

    Internet, fake news etc.

    Our man on the street who has to worry about down-to-earth problems in his day-to-day life turns on his internet or his TV and, depending on his choice, Fox/CNN, Peter or Christopher Hitchens… Well, he hasn't got the time to do a qualitative decision on what to believe in. He has to change the diapers on the baby and get to work.

    This, in my humble view, is the biggest problem in our time. Scientists have to get down to earth and start to speak a language the man on the street can easily and quickly adhere to.

    People like Mr Dawkins try, but the scholars in general don't.

  • Let's All Stop Being So Damn Respectful!

    Richard Dawkins is one of the guys we have now that Christopher Hitchens is no more.

    There are others of course!

    We need those people in powerful political positions of today in stead of people who don't believe in god but pretend to in order to get elected.

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