tv Dawkins on Religion Al Jazeera February 23, 2019 3:00pm-4:01pm +03
the involvement of the far right and the serious political. the cheska murderous case solved on al jazeera. and i'm down in jordan in doha with the top stories here on al-jazeera venezuela's opposition leader who is calling on his supporters to help trucks carrying u.s. aid to get into the country on saturday to gas has been fired on the streets of near the border with colombia is riot police face off with protesters president nicolas maduro has closed three crossings from colombia on the border with brazil to block the aid from getting into the on his way out while i was on the run petty's on the other side of the border in colombia he joins us from santa does
bring us up to date what's been happening there. hi there and it's a very tense morning here on the border between colombe and venezuela as of innisfail on government this. temporary shutdown of the three main bridges the three main legal crossings between the two countries as the opposition is gearing up to do this action to try and move the aid sent by the united states and venezuela there have been two incidents so far the first one on the bridge getting into game business with. a couple of kilometers north from here as roughly sixty seventy people who said that were workers that were trying to get into this well that were stopped by the national the venezuelan national guard and they were tear gassed and sent back into colombia and we don't know if indeed they were
workers or people that were trying to volunteer to participate in the action coordinated by the opposition just on the bridge behind me on the cmon believer bridge roughly ten fifteen minutes ago two tanks. military rushed onto the bridge to hit the barriers in the middle of the bridge possibly even entered into the colombian side to try and move away the people who were gathering there and were screaming freedom freedom for venice where are they since then moved back. into venezuela and the three members of the venezuelan national guard deserted and the came into on this side the into colombia together with the colombian police so it's a very tense morning we're hearing more noise behind me few people screaming in the middle of the bridge there are many policemen and army on this side and we know
that the other side on the venezuelan side is being militarized by the venezuelan government all right della saundra thank you. millions of people are voting in nigeria as delayed presidential election. there were chaotic scenes at one polling station in the capital of bluejay which opened late on those days of frustration after the electoral commission perspiring the vote last week blaming logistical problems for nothing journey home. there are concerns that turnout could be low there is the thinking that that may help the president president seeking his second term because his core vote in the northeast ought to be strong and reliable regardless nevertheless a tight race between mr bari and he's. the businessman promising to
bring big business investment to this country and what so many people here want jobs were just hours before voting began suspected boko haram fighters attacked a town in northeast nigeria several explosions were also heard in my degree the capital of borno state protesters in sudan's capital have denounced the president's state of emergency omar al bashir announced he was dissolving the government just hours later appointed sixteen ministers as part of a series of measures to counter weeks of nationwide rallies. the saudi crown prince says china has the right to fight against extremism to protect its own national security lama been some months remarks during a visit to beijing being interpreted as a reference to china's crackdown against the weekend was the minority rights groups say china has detained an estimated one million we go in what beijing says are reeducation camps. well those are the headlines that. head to head richard dawkins.
is religion. religion and science go. to the oldest university in the english speaking world place where i study as an undergrad. one of the jewels in the city's crown is the oxford union the debating chamber this witness such legendary orators as winston churchill benazir bhutto and of course the frog i've come back to the union today to sit down with the world's most famous atheist professor richard dawkins to put faith on trial and to ask his religion.
to protest against a truly filthy film demonising islam dozens of kill. kill. the christian pastor in florida. and ignites global condiment even. attacking the muslim minority voting is the best and. of course the conflicts plaguing the middle east are often blamed on a cheap trip to the children of. with this religious thing in spite of terrorism trials. it is a society without. communism. all religion as joseph stalin and mao zedong systematically slowed to millions of their own country. is science any better since galileo and darwin scientists have sought to
stamp out and unravel the mysteries of the universe but science has also poisoned the environment amidst killing on an industrial scale and now threatens our entire planet. my guest today however stands firmly on the side of science and has provoked controversy with his attacks on religion ladies and gentleman professor richard dawkins. one of the most prolific thinkers of his generation he shot to fame in the one nine hundred seventy s. with his research into genetics and his book the selfish gene transformed evolutionary biology his most famous work the delusion so millions of copies has been translated into more than eighty nine. richard thanks so much for joining us here on our jazeera before we go any further i just want to check something only you an atheist. for all practical purposes yes
nobody can actually say for certain that anything doesn't exist but i'm an atheist in the same way as i am an a leprechaun ist and an eight fairy este and an a pick unicorn ist so you're not one hundred percent sure god doesn't exist but you are sure enough to make it practically i'm as sure as you are sure that fairies and leprechauns don't exist and you see an equivalence between the idea of god and the idea of a fairy and the evidence for both is equally poor. you say in the god delusion one of my favorite sentences jumps out of the page that the god of the old testament is a petty unjust unforgiving control freak a vindictive bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser a message in a stick homophobic racist infanticide genocidal philosophical pestilential. masochistic capricious malevolent bully. as a piece of rhetoric supro. to do you really believe that congratulations on getting
megaman higher call right by the way most people most people fumble on that yes if you've actually read the old testament i think you would have to agree it is it's hideous is an anti the god of the old testament who is a monster but also the god of the koran the new testament the hindu scripture well the god of the qur'an i don't know so much about the god of the new testament as widely advertised as being a bit more gentle and certainly on the whole he is there are things about the new testament that i find in a way almost more objectionable than the old testament. but the sheer horror of the character i said he was the most unpleasant character in all fiction. because i regard it as fiction of course. and yes he is i mean he's jealous he's vindictive he's callous he's cruel and this is a god that is worshiped by loved by adored by. i
hope not i hope that the god that is adored by millions of people is a grown up kind of god who is no longer i hope that most people who the kind of people i would like to know who worship and admire him regard those stories as not literally true now there are some who do regard them as literally true. i suspect they either haven't read the old testament or they're not the kind of people i would wish to know because because you don't you do not want to worship a character like that by all means worship some kind of great spirit of the universe some kind of creative intelligence who created the universe but don't worship this vial vindictive monster. why throw around the sweeping statements about religion not the god of the old testament religion itself being evil i mean do you really religion is evil no you say plenty of times in this book the religion
is evil you said in a speech famously that i think a case can be made that faith is one of the world's great evils comparable to the smallpox virus virus but harder to eradicate i do think that yes. because what i'm talking about there is faith. where faith means belief in something without evidence because if you believe something without evidence then that justifies anything you're no longer vulnerable to somebody coming back at you and saying hang on a minute let me argue the case if you believe it without evidence which is what faith is then you don't argue the case you say no i'm not arguing that case this is my faith it's mine it's private i don't despair i don't dissent from it i don't retreat from it you're just going to have to accept it now that is evil and yet you spend so much of your time debating people of faith so clearly people of faith are interested in having discussions they're not just all blind believers insisting on their way of nobody said anything about all of them i mean the vast majority of religious people are perfectly good nice people. as you are there's no suggestion
i've ever made that all religious people are evil of course not there is a logical progression that goes from believing in faith having faith that your god tells you to do something and doing terrible deeds like suicide bombing like flying planes into into skyscrapers the vast majority of people of faith don't do such terrible things but those people who do terrible things do it believing that they are righteous and good and they think that they're doing the will of their god so they are they're not evil people that actually good people by their own lights they believe they're doing good things and that's why religion is evil because it can make you do evil things believing that they are good do you really believe that people who go out and carry out suicide bombings it is faith religion is to blame not geopolitics not the world not their lives not what's going on around us it's religion plain and simple. not always since not in the case of the tamil tigers for
example but i think in a great majority of cases it is and i think it certainly makes a hell of a lot easier the evidence is plain that in many islamic suicide bombers you talk to them those who fail to talk to them afterwards they've got paradise on the brain they they're desperate to go to a martyrs heaven and that's what they think about professor robert pape of the university of chicago studied every case of suicide terrorism we have three hundred fifteen cases and he came to the conclusion that there is quote little connection between suicide terrorism and islamic fundamentalism or any of the world's religions the root of suicide terrorism he says is nationalism it's about it's about power it's about politics it's not about faith faith is just a cover what do you know that he doesn't know well i've seen other other evidence there are different people say of say different things i've seen plenty of of testimonies of suicide bombers who have said precisely that they do it because they want a martyrs paradise through through the seven seven bombers in the. yes i believe so
if you watch the video i'm not sure that i have now you talk about afghanistan no talk about iraq talk about crusades they talk about war between the west and the muslim world they talk about invading armies and there's a lot of there's a lot of real world stuff in there i'm not saying of course not the faith doesn't doesn't play a role but i'm just interested in the idea that you think faith is is the issue you say you said in a very famous column you wrote four days after nine eleven that this came from religion there are enormously good reasons for people to take political action and this of this we see in northern ireland we see it in afghanistan we see it in in sri lanka with the tamil tigers operated so yes there are political reasons but. the promise of martyrs heaven which is we cannot deny that this is part of the islamic doctrine. of martyrs go straight to paradise yes they're not they would not
terrorists not murderers not criminals will they believe that because they're told it by their then what about the majority of the world's muslim clerics who came out and condemned nine eleven straight i'm delighted they did but they were pretty quiet about it what about the argument that says. human beings are prone to violence they're prone to carrying out crimes against their fellow man you can blame religion you can blame politics people of economics lots of factors lots of excuses why oh well i don't get why you only focus on religion for fairness why did you also isolate the other factors there are lots of other factors and i'm quite happy to say that yes there are lots of rain if you look at the wars of history some of them have been about religion plenty of them have not been about religion i never said religion is the the the sole cause of wars and violence you may not have that but you would accept that the new atheists people like sam harris christopher hitchens have blamed a lot of history's wars on god and religion and you make a similar suggested no god delusion here i would blame
a lot of history's wars but the most terrible wars in history the two major wars of the set of the twentieth century are nothing to do with religion. and the cold war and vietnam yes i would of course of course yes so when you have a situation where some of the world's worst crimes are carried out not by believers how then does that square with your idea that it's religion that causes good people to do bad things religion that's driving violence your original statement against religion at the start of a dogmatic belief in something like religion or something like marxism or something like naziism these are or patrick ism in my country right or wrong these are all pernicious beliefs which can drive people to do to do terrible things in the second world war. hitlerism was driven by by by racism by a sort of sub wagnerian pagan religion which revived.
stalin's atrocities were motivated by a dogmatic belief in marxism and a few. stalin happened to be an atheist but he was never motivated by space of union was not based on scientific rationalism on the elimination of religion and god. starlin persecuted the church start in persecuting just about everybody. are you saying that the soviet union and the leaders of the soviet union were not driven by a hatred of religion. and a belief that science and human progress and materialism was the way forward they believed that materialism and science human progress there was a kind of mark that there was a marxist slant on those on those words and they were hideously misused mouser dawn when he invaded tibet told the dalai lama that religion is poison the subtext to the late christopher hitchens book is religion poisons everything can you blame people of religion for saying hold on we've heard these ideas before that
religion poisons everything and it leads in one direction it's an incidental fact that marks it on and start didn't happen to be atheists they were suddenly it wasn't you want court to communism. i think it was not quarter communism though so when cole marx was talking about religion being the repeal of the masses i was just a throwaway line. but yeah i mean that was that was. an out of context statement i mean what on earth you think that's got to do with atheism i don't know let me put a statement in context to. one of the world's worst dictatorships tyrannies that we've seen in the last hundred years article thirty seven of billion years communist constitution declared quote the state recognizes the religion and supports atheistic propaganda in order to implant a scientific materialistic world outlook in people what do you think your saying i mean that's an appalling thing to say of course it is why is it an appalling thing to say what do you disagree with in that statement why would i want to support
atheistic propaganda i support science and truth but you don't support spreading atheism i support spreading science and truth if that happens to be atheism i swear i support it i'm not going to start bullying people into been to being atheist i'm not going to start. trying to compel people to be to be atheist that was what the albanians were doing it's nothing to do with what i would like to of course but you'd like to persuade them not to be believed as an example i'd like to raise consciousness in a gentle civilized way using argument rational argument from evidence in your book you cite lots of evidence for the bad things religion what i wonder is if you were being fair when you've also included some of the good things that religion has done my passion is for scientific truth i don't much care about what's good and evil actually i care about what's true i mean do you actually believe in your muslim faith do you believe that mohammed split the mood into do believe that mohammed flew to heaven on a winged horse for example i pay the compliment of assuming that you don't know i
do believe in merely believe that yes you believe that mohammed went to heaven on a wind horse i believe in god i believe in miracles i believe in revelation i mean the point here is that let's assume i'm wrong richard i'm less. i'm happy to concede that richard i'm happy to consider i'm wrong all religions are wrong god does not exist we're all mad the issue is we exist we've existed for a while i think even christopher hitchens said and you said in your writings we're not going anywhere so my question to you is why not acknowledge for example the good things that really do except that religion has done good things despite all of our beliefs and our miracles that individual religious people have done an enormous number of good things not driven by religion. well i mean who knows i mean spirit if you won't give any credit or to somebody like. martin luther king for example reverend martin luther king yes. obviously he was a he was a cleric. so. i imagine that that fed into the good things that he did
plenty of other things did he was a great admirer of gandhi. and he was a great admirer of nonviolence he was a brilliant and wonderful great man would you disconnect. nonviolence and gandhi's nonviolence from the very strongly held religious beliefs they didn't well. i think that. it's not a thing that i really care about actually i mean i think they will you care about it richard people carry out violence in the name of god and i cite through example of very famous people who've done good and nonviolence in the name of god and you say i'm not interested if god doesn't exist then doing something good in his name it's great that something good gets done but there's no evidence at all that believing in god makes you more likely to do good things i can't see any noble logical connection between being religious and doing good things let's concede that
god does not exist let's concede that religion is false my problem here is trying to understand why some of the new atheists are so anti religion when religious people clearly are doing lots of good things and they're doing it in the name of god i've never denied that religious people are doing good things or non-religious people are doing good things i care about what's true i'm an educator i'm a scientist and i want people to understand the truth about the universe in which they live that's what i care about and i regard religion as. a distraction and in some cases a pernicious distraction from true education which of which i love and value of the way you value love your god can you not do both well so long as they don't convert evolve into richard longer there's over each other but if you if you if you actually believe mohammed flew to heaven on a weekend horse that's an empty scientific belief and that could be wrong but not
evil is wrong but that doesn't change that doesn't change how do you know it's wrong come on you're a man of the twenty first century i'm just asking it comes back to my original question to the russian political head rush from evolution is the agnostic position why are there the russian over this i didn't say out there i didn't pick but why would a horse be that be the way to get to heaven it was not up there i asked i asked asked a question about your. about proof i'm all for saying i can't prove it but can you prove he didn't i mean this is the case i. have this is the only thing i'm just asking on your criteria i'm just asking and no i can't prove it and i can't prove it wasn't a golden uni but i'm fascinated that you would rather i'm fascinated you rather talk about what animals the profit may or may not of use for two hundred years ago rather than talk about what muslims or islam is doing in the world today good or bad well. seems to be the destruction if anyone is distracted seems to be you well that's your that's your view fascinated by how somebody
a respected sophisticated journalist in the twenty first century could believe that a profit flew to heaven on a weekend horse let me ask you this people who hold beliefs in god and in miracles in the supernatural do you regard them all is intellectually inferior to you. i regard those beliefs as intellectual nonsense i don't regard the individuals as intellectually inferior to me because many of them palpably are not if you go back in history then all bets are off because before before darwin for example it is not at all surprising that before darwin people believed in all kinds of things which they wouldn't believe in now there are many people many scientists today who say they're religious and if you actually ask them what they believe in many cases it turns out what they believe is in some sort of deistic god some sort of. intellectual spirit some sort of. creative intelligence that lay at the root of the universe perhaps invented the laws of physics something like that i don't agree
with this book but it's an excellent book very well argued very passionate clearly there's one section in the book where you talk about bringing up children oh yes and you talked about education you talk about a story when you were you tell a story about being in ireland and talking about the catholic child abuse scandal and there's one quote on page three hundred fifty six which i will read out to you horrible as sexual abuse no doubt was the damage was arguably less than the long term psychological damage inflicted by bringing the child up catholic in the first place you believe that being brought up as a catholic is worse than being abused by a priest. there are shades of being abused by a priest and i quoted the i quoted the example of a woman in america who wrote to me saying that when she was seven years old she was sexually abused by a priest in his car and at the same time a friend of hers. who was protestant all of protestant family i should say died
and she was told that because her friend was protestant she had gone to hell and would be roasting in hell forever and she told me that of those two abuses she got over the physical abuse it was the yucky when she got over it but the mental abuse of being told about hell she took years to get over and i respect richard you're an empiricist you're a rationalist one letter from one woman in america isn't really but a basis to extrapolate and makes of course we use of course true and i'm not basing it on that it seems to me that telling children such that they really really believe that people who sin are going to go to hell and roast forever. for ever your skin grows again when it when it peels off with with with the burning it seems to me to be intuitively entirely reasonable that that is a worse form of child abuse that will give more nightmares that will give more
genuine distress because they really believe if they don't believe it's not a problem of course you also let me just mean i i been put on the spot about this health thing. i have really been put on this in what sense have you been put on the spot well i i i sense that you think it's somehow obvious that that having a priest if you're a small girl having a priest was very very interested in asking your audience whether being told about heaven and hell as a child never mind the top was catholic is worse than worse than being abused by a priest ok let's have a show of outlets is it worse to be abused by a priest. if you believe it's worse for a priest to abuse a child than to bring up your child catholic raise your hands. are both as bad as each other. so we have a three way split in the audience. let's finish the section with one last related subject on this question a personal question for me you talk about how. to teach children that there is one
god or that god created the world in six days that is child abuse to even teach your children religion is child abuse so i have a daughter i teach her about islam and the horse. am i guilty of child abuse you teach or the world was created in six days because islam doesn't teach that and delighted to hear that i ask again am i guilty of child abuse for teaching my child stories from the koran or not they're good to know we are going to talk more about science and we're going to go back to the audience to ask some questions to professor dawkins in part two we'll be back after the break thank you. until now the coverage of latin america and most of the world was covering. us quakes and that was it but not the how couple feel how they think and that's what
we do we. live it. so it's a case of system that was introduced. that america has your hands have to fill the void that field. on counting the cost this week and cambodia it's the southeast asian economy that's most exposed to the u.k. e.u. divorce. nine months later lebanon finally has a government but its economy is screaming for attention. counting the cost on al-jazeera. do is being analyzed it's being. measured. and it's not just.
something that was asked i would rather take the risks of democracy the risks of digital dissidents on al-jazeera. in jordan and the top stories here on al-jazeera venezuela's opposition leader one guy bill is calling on his supporters to help trucks carrying u.s. aid to get into the country to gas has been fired in the streets of rania in the border with colombia police face off with protesters president nicolas maduro has closed three crossings from colombia on the border with brazil to block the aid from getting into venezuela. that he is in the colombian side of the border.
there's a very tense morning here on the border between venezuela as if government decided to temporary shut down the three main bridges the three main legal crossings between the two countries as the opposition is gearing up to do this action to try and move the aid sent by the united states and venezuela there have been two incidents so far the first one on the bridge getting into game business. a couple of kilometers north from here as roughly sixty seventy people who said there were workers there were trying to get into were stopped by the national the venezuelan national guard and they were tear gassed and sent back to. millions of voting in nigeria has delayed election. i thought it seems at one polling
station in the capital of bluejay which opened late but follows days of frustration at the election commission to spend the vote last week claiming that just a few problems were just hours before voting began suspected boko haram fighters attacked a town in northeast nigeria several explosions rules and in my degree the capital of borno state just as in sudan have denounced the president's state of emergency omar al bashir announced he was dissolving the government which was hours later appointed six ministers and part of a series of measures to counter weeks of nationwide rallies for the top catholic cardinal has admitted the church files on priests who sexually abuse children were destroyed or never even created a german cardinal rinehart model speaking at a meeting in vatican city it's looking at paedophilia and the clergy have been called for a new culture of accountability in the catholic church which led to pope francis to call for a conference. well those are the headlines the news continues here on al-jazeera after head to head station so much but enough.
t. welcome back we're talking about religion and its impact on the world of good evil we're joined here by our guest evolutionary biologist professor richard dawkins richard science is your great passion and you're a great believer in science you're an evangelist for science a promoter and defender of science but what would you say to those people who say there are some quite important questions genuine questions that science cannot answer why we here what's the meaning of life where does morality come from and that if religion wants to have a cracker answering knows what science is objection i'm not sure i'd accept that science can't answer those particular questions i think there are other questions science probably shouldn't try to answer like what is what is right and what is wrong those are the questions that are not of the immediate concern of science but
what's the meaning of life why is there is there anything how did it all start that there seem to me to be scientific questions or potentially scientific questions if there are some questions of that sort that science can never answer. then we should at least keep trying to answer them and if science can't answer them religion having a crack at our throwing them is there's no reason to think that religion has any any but any basis for an answer then why would religion have a crack why would you bother to listen to religion having a crack at answering them. i mean one thing i would say is that maybe questions that science can't answer like the origin of everything but if science can't answer them then religion certainly can't and nothing else can either why why is the science for nothing well yes because because science is is is the method of getting a what's true i mean if you take something like how do. the universe began which is
a very baffling deep question how did life begin another baffling deep question both those questions are unanswered the best methods we have of approaching those are the methods of science because these are the methods that that look at evidence that evaluate evidence in all sorts of sophisticated ways what is religion got to do with that other than just looking at the the writings of somebody who wrote a few centuries ago i mean why would you bother to. read those writings so the great philosophers and theologians in history grappled with these big questions and thought about spiritual issues moral issues the transcendent they're wasting their time yes they're wasting their time what about why does my life have meaning what's it's worth well you know as my dignity your your meaning and your dignity are up to you and mine are up to me and these are not questions that science will attempt to answer each person finds their own meaning in their in their own life and good luck
to them and what's what's wrong with religion religion offering moral certainties is as you say science can answer questions science can't offer moral certainty but i don't see that religion can either you don't think that the religious values we have today the moral codes we live by today were originally derived from judeo christian values islamic values in devalues not really no i mean there are things like the golden rule things like treat others as you would wish to be treated yourself these are ancient. values which are which crop up all over the world they've been adopted by many religions you can find justifications for them in moral philosophy you can find justification for them in evolutionary biology which is my own my own subject i don't seriously think you're going to base your morality on on religion because if you do then you've got to say able to do it do i base it on scripture i hope you don't base it on scripture because if you do then you're going to have some pretty horrible values unless you. deliberately cut out
those parts of scripture which are which which are unacceptable to modern morality if you believe science is that it can answer questions i've already said no i've already said it can't answer moral questions but questions about the real world questions about reality questions about the origins of things. why life is the way it is why the world is the way it is why the universe of the way it is science is that is the way to answer that some of your critics of argued that you are willing to hold religion up to a very put under the microscope to account scrutinize it criticize it you don't do the same to science or scientists or some of the bad things that have come out of science well bad things that come out of science. if by that you mean horrible weapons nuclear weapons. these are these are terrible things which are technology that arises out of science and it's certainly true that if you want
to do terrible things with technology or terrible weapons for example science is the best way to do it because science is the best way to do anything and even bad things even bad things i mean that's right if you want to develop a terrible weapon you're not going to do it in any other way than than by science the trick is not to want to develop a terrible weapon and. that's a political decision and you do not you do not see science and religion as occupying two different compartments they can live side by side they are in conflict with one of. in so far as religion attempts to. talk about reality and has an alternative vision of reality i think they are incompatible yes. despite the fact as we discussed earlier many of our leading scientists are believers. i think it's baffling i mean what they impact practice do is they leave their their religion at the door when they go into the lab and so they get on with their science so they don't well i know they do but ok isn't it
because religion. has all sorts of human needs and spiritual urges which science never count is not the real issue you can't get away from religion they are. human needs i mean for example if you're terrified of dying religion may answer the need for comfort and consolation or if you if you miss a loved one who's died and you hope to see them one day in heaven then religion answers the need it doesn't make it true and one last thing and i will go to the audience what do you say to those people who say. you talk a great deal about the power of science the truth of science you have people like sam harris who say morality can be determined by science you have quite charismatic forceful people going around the world proselytizing on behalf of science that science is actually the new religion that you guys are picturing i wouldn't say
it's a new religion i mean it certainly does some of the things that religion traditionally has tried to do like to answer the deep questions of existence and it does that and it does it successfully in a way that religion never has but it isn't a religion because it's not based upon any holy books it's not based upon faith it's not based upon revelation it's not based upon tradition it's based upon evidence and there is a huge difference in anything we do not have evidence for that's not scientifically testable you would dismiss well scientifically testable is is putting the bar rather highly but i do think that evidence is the only good reason to believe anything yes so love beyond me and i mean that there's obviously important questions and if you ask some question like how do you know that your wife loves you. it's from evidence i mean it's not it's not scientifically testable evidence but it's evidence it's little looks in the eye it's it'll catch is in the voice
it's. that is evidence that's not that's not just internal revelation ok let's open up to the audience we've been talking about god evolve war terrorism bringing up your children living a good life religion happiness science versus religion who would like to answer the first question yes you. don't want to got. suddenly. on the. part of you. what is your reaction are you going to believe or are you going to go against what it takes to believe in god not just me. through the cloud that's the thing i've worried about a lot. for me. to do wonders for the book the reason i worry about it is that. as a scientist i am committed to the view that i would change my mind if evidence came along and it's
a very important question what would that evidence look like and i talked about it with my colleagues a great deal. i used to think yes if there was a great paul robeson voice coming out of the clouds saying this. then yes obviously i would i would believe it but have you ever seen a really really good trick there are things that i've seen done that it seems to me to be god that's got to be a miracle and yet you know it's not and so there is a real problem there that we are easily fooled let's take another question from. gentlemen here very interesting i was extremely amused when you described faith. sort of no argument this university of course began with the study of theology most of the people here would have been studying theology at the beginning of the university and indeed the way in which it was taught was not professorial
you didn't have lectures mostly mostly you had discussions debates people didn't write monographs they collected discussions notes of discussions people disagreed about their face. absolutely everything everybody had to lift different opinion everybody expressed it and everybody was heard the idea that so the question is. do you really think that you all your view of facebook in no argument. to really any experience of of how people think about their faith you talked about the evidence that your wife loves you i think for most religious people the evidence that there is a god is rather like that well. obviously i would be mad to suggest that theologians don't argue they argue all the time and always have the fight wars over their arguments so clearly they argue i'd say when i say no argument i don't mean that they don't argue when you say that theologians. have have
disputed interesting discussions. i take it that from your gob you take a position one way or the other on whether the transubstantiation whether the bread and wine really is the body and blood of a first century jew or is merely symbolic but what. evidence you bring to bear on such an argument i cannot imagine it would not be a real argument to talk it would be a false argument would not be an argument which could be settled by by real evidence just deal with the point about the evidence level when you when you when you say that you are that your wife loves you and you do you're getting evidence from looks in the looks in the eye and catches in the voice was the phrase that i actually used. and the question of said that's the way religious people feel about god yes they feel that about god but there's no evidence that they're getting any
cues a tall i mean they're there god is an imaginary god inside themselves they feel that they're getting a little looks from the eyes of god and science from the voice of god but why should we believe them since we can't see or hear any evidence to that effect. gentlemen here in the secular with regards to religion you give an example where the islamic faith in the muslims basically they're up themselves often bombs because that's what they believe in the islamic faith but i disagree with you because there are more than a billion muslims living in the world today who actually believe in the scripture which you said it's obvious to everybody started believing in the scripture then that would be horrible but i disagree with you because more than a billion people billion muslims believe that if you kill one innocent person it's as if the entire humanity today humanity is about seven billion people so more than a billion muslims do not strap themselves up and actually go and you know. the problem with many scriptures that i think the koran is no exception is that you can
find a verse that says only find another verse that says the opposite and so you have to you have to pick and choose i mean is it not the case for example we choose the bad ones i mean i'm suggesting that you shouldn't be in the position of having to choose i mean you shouldn't base your your your life on a holy book which has contradictory verses where you can choose one verse when you want to make one point and another verse when. i want to make make another point i mean isn't it the case that the penalty for apostasy is death you can't take these things and just hold i could hold up an example of we mentioned earlier sam harris has said there are some views that are so irrational people should be put to death for them should i hold all atheist him course i won't hold him to let me put it doing it is the penalty for apostasy death no good i'm delighted to hear that what why didn't i say it is some islamic scholars do ok but that's debate and discussion is going on things take place over centuries ok let's make a point and during the debate lady was waving a hand actually in the qur'an many kind refers only to muslims and excludes
infidels which is all the rest of us so that's a small point but really my question to professor dawkins is how does he feel about the encroachments of all religions extremists eventually screw and a lot of muslims into politics and everyday life and how does he feel about religion in trying to influence politics and public you know how do you feel about religion influencing politics and public life people should be free to speak their minds i mean i'm a great believer in free speech and so members of parliament should speak their minds and if their minds are influenced by their religion then that's that's fine what i would object to i think is the view that somehow religion has a privileged. right to speak because it's religion and i think you probably agree with that as well if you stand up in parliament and make an excellent speech in
favor of something which religion has a view on like abortion say if you make your points well and win the vote by making your points well that's fine but what you shouldn't be allowed to get away with this thing because it's religion and therefore. this is what we should do. as a social scientists we sort of the model of the rational actor is somewhat. we don't look at all actors or all times as acting rationally in fact we assume they don't but that is the question my question was really would you accept that it's not so much religion that causes conflicts but since it can commitment to some belief that you think is morally important in that sense do we get rid of morality well i think i partly said that when i said that in the great wars of the of the twentieth century these were driven by non-religious motivations but they were driven by my country right or wrong kind of patriotism that's
a little bit different from morality we're talking about at least it's it's not religious i was interested in what you said in your preamble when you said that didn't i take it you're a social scientist and you're your no doubt right to suggest that since social scientists are studying the human animal you notice that people actually don't behave rationally well unfortunately that's true but that doesn't mean we shouldn't behave rationally just because people don't take a question from an atheist or agnostic gentleman in the black jacket there are three rows down in the middle. i think it will no rate. is excellent it became very apparent to me that. evolution has given the human species some very very powerful survival instincts we don't grass earth men want to spread their genes we want to gather as much resources together as we can to to help our genes continue and survive and as a result of that there's been a lot of very fairly dark episodes in our history of the roman empire which was
terribly oppressive headed mystic the vikings who stole raped pillaged the parish and so on so forth do you not think that it was actually that i do years of religion that human the human race the human species from beyond these big. survival instincts and started to give them a new paradigm for thinking which was not necessarily in the interests of their instinct for survival it is perfectly true that. sort of selfish gene view of. life which is what i've mostly mostly written about is a very unpleasant view of life and if you followed the the creed of the selfish gene literally and actually lived your life according to it it would be a very unpleasant world in which to live it would be
a sort of thatcher right. i mean i i often said that while i'm a passionate darwinian when it comes to explaining the way life is i'm a passionate anti darwinian when it comes to organizing. our lives the world be a better place if religion disappeared tomorrow yes. it's about all the good things we discussed the rest of the. still of the nazi holocaust of communism you would have the charities that's fun. you would have the charities but it's only your assumption but i want to finish the question actually challenge me by saying that it was religion that helped us to escape from the unpleasantness of the of the selfish gene i don't actually think that is true i think that we have escaped by
a long slow process of civilization in which religion no doubt played a part if you look historically over the very long time span of of history we're getting better we're getting nicer we're getting more charitable we're getting kinder getting less cruel i wouldn't give religion the credit for that i think i would give a much more complicated mixture of civilizing processes to the credit for it and religion is probably a part of that. one last question. gentlemen there in the blue jumper we have to make the last question professor dawkins as an atheist is it not the case that you either believe in the universe just popping into existence without a cause which is worse than hocus pocus or in this thing called the multiverse which has as much independent imperiled evidence as hades controlling the on the world right that the physiology you use is somewhat biased somewhat somewhat
slanted. popping into the universe popping into existence out of nothing the multiverse theory is used in this context to. explain the fact that some physicists believe that the physical constants are to finally adjusted it's as though it's a put up job it looks as though the physical constants are so finely adjusted that if you change any one of them. the universe would collapse and all them had to say that yes. the multiverse hypothesis is a kind of darwinian way of solving that problem it says there are billions and. billions of universes all of which have different settings of their fundamental constants a tiny minority of those billions and billions of universes have their constant set in such a way as to give rise to a universe which last long enough to give rise to galaxies stars planets chemistry
and hence the process of evolution do you understand doesn't make me chuckle that you mock me for believing in a prophet that flies into heaven but you believe in lots and lots of university you can't show me proof to me test them in a lab as a basis of getting out of believing in a god of the prophet. i'm astonished that you should compare the two i'm comparing the lack of evidence for the two well you cannot use your. intuitive common sense in order to dis physics i mean if you could do that we wouldn't need physicists i mean they they are very sophisticated people they do mathematics but their officers like paul davies who have dissed the multiverse theory as being nonsense well paul davis would rather take the view that there's something mysterious in the origin of the universe and that's a perfectly respectable physicists' view steven weinberg the nobel prize winning fifty respectable a physicist holds a view about mystery in the universe but not of any one else holds or if we're talking about the origin of the universe that is a problem in physics yes let's end with
a couple of quick questions if as christopher hitchens the late christopher hitchens wrote religion is a radical and as you put it harder to get rid of than smallpox doesn't this basically mean that whatever motivations you have no matter how passionately you are driven and love for the truth you war essentially wasting your time i would never admit to wasting my time trying to propagate the truth and i think i can claim a modicum of success with the people that i've written read my books the people who've attended my lectures it's a doctrine of despair to say that we're stuck with religion for all eternity the religions of ancient greece and ancient rome and the vikings of all. dead nobody believes in jupiter or thaw anymore and i have great hopes that the same is going to be true of that of the god of abraham. and one last thing about a new book out from one of this country's well known philosophers called religion for atheists which makes the case that no matter how false religion is no matter
how imaginary god may be there are some lessons there are some institutions there are some values that atheists could usefully borrow i've heard that argument put i've heard people say that we that humans do need some sort of. rituals and they need some sort of gathering places meeting places i can sort of see that is not a thing that interests me very much i don't feel that any great need for for for ritual i don't feel any great need to fill the alleged vacuum that will be left when religion goes i think there's plenty to fill it already. a fantastic discussion it's a pleasure to how do you hear on our. thank you all to the audience here in the oxford union chamber and thanks to you all at home for watching good bye and dare i say god bless each
. it does look more and more like bangladesh is becoming a one party state give me one good reason why the opposition should have been voted to do harm isn't the problem the human rights watch describes how opposition members have been arrested killed and even disappeared maybe house and goes head to head with a gal who is very vibrant you fuck you do you want to be a developer and they don't is disputing the economic revolution will recognize saying this is about it and development is not the same as democracy head to head on out is iran.
and iran for instance to argentina and i straight across the andes was from santiago but it's the site is falling in buenos aires owner of a plate it's his record one hundred millimeters in the last twelve hours significant and sundry right and it'll be there sarratt saturday that is a bit of a gap if you pick up the most of the heavy rain now as the sun goes noles further north in brazil and it's really reached as far north as suriname and also guyana where i think we shall be increasingly frequent for sunday this rain straight for the south has crossed the river and is now in southern brazil and bits of your are going north of the constant is generally farmed we've seen showers developing colombia over the last five days or so and this process continues a drift later in the day in towards panama that will continue otherwise it's looking pretty fine weather throughout the caribbean and the gulf of mexico increasing chance i think of showers in the yucatan and in mexico over the next
couple of days in the u.s. and canada it's still proper winter northern side of this ark is snow this is snow in the midwest as well but maybe more significance the amount of rain once again falling anywhere really from the east of texas up through kentuckian tennessee and beyond with flooding. who was a sponsor can tolerate this. glaring green bacteria in a bar a tree and super heated gas escaping from in iceland this is really the. innovation in the for what happened to experiments. and. how counter the impacts of climate change the science of capturing carbon using knives on the fly and on the back of my military and the i just have to contend.
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