richard dawkins on why he\’s against religion

richard dawkins on why he's against religion

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    45 Responses to richard dawkins on why he\’s against religion

    1. I guess atheism means existence is meaningless then.

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      • Is that even remotely related to the image you have commented on?

        The point Dawkins is making is a very good one: religion fills gaps in our knowledge with rubbish, while science urges us to recognise gaps and find the truth.

        Religion says “I don’t know… God did it!”

        Science says, “I don’t know, but I want to find out.”

        As for existence being meaningless; of course it is, at least in an objective sense. We are collections of cells, vast colonies working together to survive and propagate. In that sense, human existence is about avoiding death as long as possible and making as many copies of yourself as you can.

        Obviously, this is not terribly satisfying, so instead we can look at it subjectively.

        By many flukes of evolution, we have ended up with intelligence, emotion, and self-awareness. We can recognise where these things came from, accept that they evolved for a purpose, and work to increase our happiness and the happiness of others.

        It took a lot of hard work and deprogramming to accept that I will one day entirely cease to be. It’s a terrifying thought – no eternity, no reward or punishment, not even darkness… total oblivion… I want to fit in all the living I can before that moment of eternal nothingness arrives.

        Here’s a corollary to the ever-popular Pascal’s wager: Imagine that the end of your life will be the utter end of your existence. Are you willing to bet that, despite the total lack of proof that some other form of life will follow this one, you are not wasting your single chance to live the best life you can, before you one day cease to exist entirely?

        If your very existence is a roll of cosmic dice, and the particular set of circumstances that make you who you are will never occur in that precise pattern ever again, don’t you owe it to yourself to fill your life with the greatest amount of love, peace, happiness, and experience that you possibly can?

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        • I have a really big reply laid out for you but it is 6 am and my sleeping pills are in full force. But before i postmy reply later i am going to say one thing. Though i largely disagree with and am somewhat irritated by you, thank you for at least trying to talk to me like a regular human. I promise you will not be dissapointed.

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          • Dex, prepare for disappointment.

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          • First things first, you are talking to a former atheist here. The only reason i believe in a god is because of an inexplicable experience i had. I’ll spare you the story since i do not expect you to believe and because no matter what you may never believe it. But the questions you ask are shockingly respectful as well as being some of my favorite things to ponder. Please don’t view this as an attempt to convert you. If it is one thing i admire about atheism it is the constant asking of questions.

            Yes it is related because the image is a blanket statement so i made a blanket statement in return. I do not honestly think that atheism means a meaningless existence. In atheism as well as religion your life is what you make of it. Every decision you make defines your existence be it for the name of god or not. But to get to what you said..

            The point Dawkins is making is a very good one: religion fills gaps in our knowledge with rubbish, while science urges us to recognise gaps and find the truth.

            Religion says “I don’t know… God did it!”

            Science says, “I don’t know, but I want to find out.”

            Dawkins is right in the sense that people do use religion to remain ignorant, but beyond that it is nothing more than a blanket statement that is only backed up by a partial truth. But what dawkins isn’t telling you is that there are thousands of people, scientists and civilians alike who believe in god but also believe that god is not the only answer. Statements like the one Dawkins made rely on stereotypes in order to get their point across. Again it is nothing more than a tactic to get people polarized into one camp of thought. Religious factions do the same exact thing. ” if you do not believe in god then you are going to hell” “People who don’t believe in god lead meaningless or immoral lives” Yes there are atheists who do exactly that, but does that account for all atheists? No, it does not. There are plenty of atheists who are open to the concept of a god of some sort and there are plenty who lead lives that agree with christian morals and values. Those statements only account for a certain part of the atheist or theist populations as a whole. They are bullshit brainwashing tactics. I mean if you see a black person buying fried chicken do you automatically assume that all black people eat fried chicken? Do you assume that every nazi germany politician or citizen believe that the jews really were the source of the worlds problems and needed to be erradicated?

            Have you ever thought that being religious does not necessarily relegate you to one possibility? I’m willing to bet a lot of money that you have been told by atheists and theists alike that there can only be one answer. But if it is one thing science has taught us there is always the possibility of a second answer, we just may have not found it yet. Now that isn’t to say people don’t use religion as an excuse to remain ignorant be it in spirituality or science. I mean think of what that one atheist said ” i contend we are both atheists because you refute other religions” That statement fundamentally isn’t true because atheism is not supposed to be like a religion, but it is true because the religious person is denying the possibility of other deities. But why is that bad? Moral reasons? What are those morals that it violates? Arbitrary rules that eventually lead to us agreeing on things like “killing is bad”.Or is it the result of some grand comsic energy ( or god as a religious person would call it) manipulating us from beyond our observable realms? I do not think there is ever certainty. I believe that Even in a universe engineered by an all powerful being there is no certainty. I mean to me objectivity is only as real as we tell ourselves. Maybe god is only real for the same reasons? Who knows. Do you TRULY know? I am a religious person and i will openly admit i do not truly know.

            Where are you getting this notion that being religion means ignoring scientific explanations? If you actually understood religion beyond the whole “god did it” box you would realize that an educated religious person says ” god MAY HAVE done it and i want to find out how he did it and what allowed him to do it”

            When i turn on my computer i don’t say “GOD DID IT” it’s because a multitude of insurmountable factors did it, and god may be part of the equation. I do not know, the ultimate answer may be beyond our comprehension, so much so that the best we can do is articulate the idea that we may never understand it. Part of any religion is trying to understand why god does what he ( or it ) seemingly does. Does god operate because of physics and chemistry or is it the obverse? Is god a product of the universe or is the universe a product of god? We don’t know. The bible says that god created the universe but who created god? But lets say there really is no god, that there is a multitude of evidence that says NO. What does it matter? I am still just as fascinated by the concept of a graphene processor or the lattice work of a diamond.

            My favorite bible verse is this: “Ye Are Gods” John 10:34 –

            Think about that, think about that beyond it’s biblical meaning, think of it in a secular manner. What has science given us? We have the ability to manipulate our universe on the most basic of scales. Sure our most powerful super collider is no match for a Quasar or black hole but still, We are the gods of our world. At any moment we could unleash a nuclear holocaust upon the whole planet wiping out life. And theoretically we could build life from scratch, from random pieces of carbon and glucose. You don’t find that awfully convenient?

            “Imagine that the end of your life will be the utter end of your existence. Are you willing to bet that, despite the total lack of proof that some other form of life will follow this one, you are not wasting your single chance to live the best life you can, before you one day cease to exist entirely?”

            That argument makes no sense. What does it matter if there is a god or not then? I enjoy my life already, i enjoyed without religion and i enjoy it with religion. I mean why should i worry about the fact that i spent my life dedicated to what could be a non-existent god? I mean if we want to go with popular definitions of a secular morality then what does it matter? As long as i am not harming others and impeding things that may benefit society as a whole then what harm am i doing? I don’t advocate faith based initiatives because they do not represent the worlds population as a whole. I don’t admonish people for not believing in gods of any sort. I just really do not care if my life is a grand cosmic mishap or an intricate plan

            By many flukes of evolution, we have ended up with intelligence, emotion, and self-awareness. We can recognise where these things came from, accept that they evolved for a purpose, and work to increase our happiness and the happiness of others.

            What makes you so sure that it has a purpose? If our universe is made up of flukes then wouldn’t that mean there is no purpose? Couldn’t it be that The only reason it has purpose is because we think there is a purpose? I think you inadvertently just proved a case for a god. Why do our particular sets of atoms get to do this while others don’t? The raw materials are there for the taking. Random Abiogenesis has seemingly proved that all is needed for matter to act the way we act is by an input of some sort, be it purposeful or not. But why is it that way? Why out of all the other elements does our particular set allow this behavior? We can keep reducing everything as much as we want but we still come to that nasty little ” but why?” question.

            “It took a lot of hard work and deprogramming to accept that I will one day entirely cease to be. It’s a terrifying thought – no eternity, no reward or punishment, not even darkness… total oblivion… I want to fit in all the living I can before that moment of eternal nothingness arrives.”

            What makes you so sure you will cease to be? And even if there is no god you don’t truly dissappear, your atoms just get rearranged. Because eventually your body will return to its’ elemental state? If the universe is as you say it is then eventually at some point you will reassemble. The idea of eternal nothingness fascinates me because maybe i will reassemble one day and i will still be the same person that i am only in a different place and time. Or maybe my ethereal self will continue again only on a different plain of existence. One atheist guy i spoke to had a really cool idea, Because of how unique every humans atomical structure is then there may be no such thing as dying.The idea being that once our atoms rearrange it may seem like nothing ever happened. That aside There are a multitude of answers to that scenario, more than i may ever know in what we have determined is the time we “exist”.

            “If your very existence is a roll of cosmic dice, and the particular set of circumstances that make you who you are will never occur in that precise pattern ever again, don’t you owe it to yourself to fill your life with the greatest amount of love, peace, happiness, and experience that you possibly can?”

            What gives you the right to say i am not living my life the very best i can? Because i am religious? Because i do not adhere to your chosen beliefs? Seriously you are going to have to come up with something better than that if you have any hopes of polarizing my mind.
            I’m not going to lie. That statement kind of pissed me off, i mean who are you to say that i am not living my life to its fullest? I don’t assume because you are atheist or agnostic that you lead an unfullfilling or unhappy life. At any given moment i could stop believing in a god. I just see no reason not to. Science doesn’t explain everything, just like how the bible doesn’t always explain gods supposed reasoning. “Why did god create creatures that could actively defy him?” for example.

            Well that is what makes life beautiful isn’t it? God or not at the end of the day our very existence is beautifully unique in that we know not of any other collection of matter that acts in such a way. You don’t have to be a scientist or an atheist in order to see that.
            I mean look at this conversation we are having? Isn’t it beautiful that we are able to even have it?

            I’m sorry but It just sounds like you are trying to get me to say “there is no god” even though i have considered that as a possibility. Is that 100% your fault that you have acted in such a way? Maybe it is since you haven’t stopped to consider that there are religious people such as me who have a panoptimist view. But personally i would like to think that it isn’t your fault. You don’t know me personally, you are not me and you do not have the means to access my mind and see the world the way i see it just like how i may never truly understand your position. So howabout this: Instead of making blanket assumptions about each other till the point we argue in circles howabout we respectfully disagree and work together in order to better eachother? I am sure there are some things you could teach me and i am sure there are things i could teach you. But in order to do that you are going to have to consider more than one possibility. Is that something you are capable of? I’ll openly admit that at times i am not capable of it, but at least i am able to recognize that i am incapable so perhaps that counts for something. Are you convincing yourself that there is no god because you are afraid of being accountable to something other than yourself and other people? Are you afraid that life really does have no meaning and that you should try to give it meaning in accordance to your world views? Are you afraid that there may be something that has the power to say whether or not your particular set of matter gets to come into being again? I am, and i am big enough of a person to admit that.But maybe that is the only reason i believe right? So therefore my belief in a god is only because i am afraid of a god correct? Does that make me a weak or unintelligent person? Because i do not want to upset that which can willingly destroy me? As incomprehensibly huge and amazing our existence is do you honestly think that you are in any position of authority to say that it is one way or the other?

            I am in no position to tell you that a god does or does not exist. All i can do is tell you how i have come to understand god. If god does exist then i am in no position to tell you what he does and doesn’t do or what he thinks and doesn’t think. Who am i to speak for that which i do not have the ability to understand? Nobody can tell you the truth about god, because we do not know the ultimate truth about god. The only person who knows that is god himself and those who may have truly interacted with him. Until then we are all just bystanders to a grand cosmic circus.

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            • tl;dr

              what I think you’re saying is that you understand god?

              what I say, is that sure, hell there might be god out there. but there’s no evidence, he’s never spoken to anyone directly, and he’s never effected the outcome of anything directly.

              so sure, there may be a teapot floating around mars, and if there is, that’s amazing, but what does it mean to me? nothing at all.

              nothing.

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            • Well that is the whole point tiki. It is for YOU to decide if it means anything. If there is a god then chances are he can be understanding and forgiving for you not believing in him. That is what i believe. There are millions of people in the world who think i do not exist or do not know of me.

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            • I think he was saying the opposite. Lotus believes in god because he choose to, and it’s very individual god. We all believe what seems reasonable to us. I don’t think it’s possible to have thoroughly thought through every possible thought and question; so we believe certain things. Belief is a shortcut. Understanding the difference between what we think and what we believe is what’s important. Acting on belief is a dangerous thing.

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            • I personally think this post right here is the best logic I have ever read in a post on this subject.

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            • I wonder if god questions existence.

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            • Well, lotus, whatever helps you get through the night…

              “Or is it the result of some grand comsic energy ( or god as a religious person would call it) manipulating us from beyond our observable realms? I do not think there is ever certainty.”

              Wow. That is some serious woo there. Could you even begin to define energy? When you use a word with a scientific definition, you really need to be certain as to the meaning of the word.

              “If you actually understood religion beyond the whole “god did it” box you would realize that an educated religious person says ” god MAY HAVE done it and i want to find out how he did it and what allowed him to do it””

              Scientists that are religious separate their religious views from their work if they hope to accomplish anything valid. See Michael Behe for a perfect example of an educated religious person who follows your “How did god did it?” question. He is an embarrassment and has repeatedly shown himself to be behind the times.

              “When i turn on my computer i don’t say “GOD DID IT” it’s because a multitude of insurmountable factors did it, and god may be part of the equation.”

              You aren’t ignorant. You are crazy.

              “random pieces of carbon and glucose.”

              HAHAHAHAHA C6 H12 O6 HAHAHAHAHA

              “The only reason it has purpose is because we think there is a purpose? I think you inadvertently just proved a case for a god. ”

              Wat?

              “Random Abiogenesis has seemingly proved that all is needed for matter to act the way we act is by an input of some sort, be it purposeful or not.”

              Double Wat?

              “What makes you so sure you will cease to be?”

              When the brain quits working, thats it. No more electrical activity, no more you. Kaput. Nothing else. That is brain death. There isn’t a beam of energy transmitted from your body at that point. The energy doesn’t just float away. It goes from the kinetic electrical energy and potential of concentration gradients to just potential of fats, carbs and proteins.

              “One atheist guy i spoke to had a really cool idea…”

              Being an atheist doesn’t mean you are immune to silliness. The chances of restoring your physical body (or even just the brain) atom for atom are ridiculously far from reality.

              I’m not in a position to say that there is absolutely no god at all, but rather that it is so extremely unlikely as to not even warrant consideration.

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            • Are most scientists atheists? Anyone have a stat on that?

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            • You may find www.cornellevolutionproject.org/ to be helpful, it was put together by Greg Graffin of Bad Religion fame.

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            • Fracked could you please attempt to come up with something other than ad hominem and taking what i said out of context

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      • Didn’t we already do this, lotus? Sheesh. You fail hard and often.

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    2. I don’t like religion because it causes people to think they are better than other people and there should be a better way to just have morals and values than having religion.

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      • But doesn’t any school of thought inherently cause elitism? I mean some of what you say is true, it is very true but i think that isn’t so much religion as it is people using religion as an excuse to act the way they act. It would be like me saying i am morally superior to you because i listen to heavy metal music instead of rap. It’s not heavy metal that is making me smug and superior, it is the fact that you are of a different “persuasion” (for lack of a better term) than i am when it comes to music and i just so happen to not like your preference in music. I’ve said this many times, atheists are just as capable of being as moral and immoral as any christian or jew. I mean whenever i am with my fellow jews/christians and we start talking about atheism one of the first things i bring up is that their lack of faith has nothing to do with morals. If faith really made a person “moral” then we wouldn’t have priests raping children now would we?

        I mean by that logic then i don’t star trek is bad because it causes people to look down on present day society because we aren’t replicating the moral teachings and philosophies of the klingons or cardassians.

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      • I…I actually agree with something CM said.

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    3. That really cuts to the point, doesn’t it?

      “Where do we come from?” – “Religious answer.”
      “Why are we here?” – “Religious answer.”
      “Why are the dinosaurs gone?” – “Religious answer.”

      (The following only apply before the Renaissance… and are hilariously wrong…)

      “What is lightning?” – “Religious answer.”
      “What causes disease?” – “Religious answer”
      “Is the Earth flat?” – “Religious answer.”
      “Does the Earth revolve around the sun?” – “Religious answer.”

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      • Precisely! The people of Judah thought leprosy was caused by your father’s sins being punished by god, and that muscular tremors and seizures were caused by demonic possession.

        Scientific discovery occurs when someone refuses to accept “God did it” as an answer and sets out to discover the truth.

        If I went to a doctor with a case of leprosy, I’d be pretty dissatisfied if he said there was no treatment except praying to god for your father’s sins to be forgiven.

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      • I wish those only applied after the Renaissance. There are still religious groups that push disease as punishment and geocentrism in the US.

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    4. As an atheist myself, one of the most frequent arguments I have is with other atheists over religion. The main part being when they mix up faith and religion, or assume they are the same thing. You can believe in something and never go to church/temple/Mosque/Ikea, and vice versa.

      I think that belief is one of the best things a person can have, as long as they believe for there own reasons, rather than because it’s what their parents believe.

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    5. Dear God, all this “I’m an atheist, so I’m much smarter than you” stuff again.

      Dawkins is big douche, deal with it. And yes, American creationist also are, but PLEASE, don’t judge all religious people on them.

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    6. Have never read Dawkins, but it’s my impression that most people, everywhere, have questioned whether or not God exists, then made their decision. Some people keep going from one religion to another, trying to find a good fit; others make their decision and stick w/ it. I’ve met no one who hasn’t questioned their religious (or lack of) upbringing. I like a good argument, but have no taste for denigrating what another feels very strongly about. To what end? Even if I were t win the argument (which never happens), what then? How many people do you (plural) know that follow blindly? I’m willing to bet it’s precious few; w/ one exception…those who are brought up in extremely strict religious families The kind that doesn’t tell their kid that they themselves doubt now and then, or are cult-like.

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    7. Richard Dawkins = God (jesus father)

      It would be cool if it were true..

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    8. What’s the problem with it?

      The problem is when some idiot parents let a child die of diabetes because they’d rather pray over him than take him to a godless doctor.

      The problem is when people deny others basic human rights because they think god hates queers / blacks / muslims / women / anyone they don’t like.

      The problem is when irrational faith is regarded with higher esteem than rationality, logic, and scientific process, leading to idiots demanding that children be taught that “God made it” is real science.

      The problem is when intelligence is seen as a vice and ignorance is seen as a virtue, in a fucked up bizarro world where calling someone “simple” is a compliment and calling someone a “college boy” is an insult.

      The problem is when blind, unquestioning obedience to authority is regarded as the status quo, and asking questions and expressing disagreement is regarded as dangerous assent.

      The problem is that when fuzzy, illogical, magical thinking is held up as a good thing, then it makes the whole fucking world dumber.

      There’s the problem.

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      • So what you are saying more or less is that you are an anti-theist. I mean so far all you have done is demonstrated bigotry. I’ve already explained to you that not all christians think like that. Why do you keep ignoring that?

        “The problem is when people deny others basic human rights because they think god hates queers / blacks / muslims / women / anyone they don’t like.”

        I take it you have never heard of eugenics.

        “The problem is when some idiot parents let a child die of diabetes because they’d rather pray over him than take him to a godless doctor.”

        Again you are making a blanket assumption. That only accounts for a small group of christians. In my 20+ years of involvement with religions i have yet to actually meet a christian who does that.

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      • Your first point is well taken, however it seems to place your values above those of the people in question. I think the value of a persons life is up to their discretion, not ours.

        The medieval Japanese valued honor above life, and would commit suicide if dishonored. Some still do. I do not understand it, I think it is a waste of life, however I respect their values, and if they feel they cannot live on account of that, I do not feel that I have any right to judge them for it.

        People have denied others basic human rights for many reasons, not just religion. That is prejudice, and it occurs across the board.

        Irrational faith, is by definition, irrational. There are also highly rational people who are religious, and believe in a God or Gods. Conversely, irrationality is, again, not limited to religious nutcases, you can find irrational people in high percentages even among atheists.

        The world is messed up. The intelligent are a minority. This has nothing to do with religion whatsoever, just simple economics, education (or the lack thereof) etc.

        I could go on, but the point is, you have attributed many negative things to religion, that are just not true. The fact that symptom A occurs with a high level of coincidence with condition B does not mean that condition B caused symptom A.

        In addition, you have chosen to ignore any possible positive influence religion may have had on people, in order to further your argument. The problem, as i have argued on many occasions, is not inherent to religion itself, but rather the people using religion as an excuse to forward their own nefarious goals.

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    9. One last quick note…

      Why is it that when a religious person evangelises and tells non-believers (or different-believers) that they are wrong, hell-bound, sinful, and so on, then they are just expressing their faith, and the strength of their convictions is seen as a virtuous thing…

      …but when an atheist publicly expresses logical reasons for not believing in magic invisible sky people, they are called smug, arrogant elitists?

      Hypocritical much?

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    10. I do dislike most religion, but it’s generally the religions extremists which cause the most hatred and violence, the average christian/muslim wouldn’t blow themselves up to make a religious statement.

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    11. I had got a dream to start my own company, nevertheless I did not have enough of cash to do it. Thank goodness my close mate suggested to use the credit loans. Thus I took the college loan and made real my dream.

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