Talk about Newsnight

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The God Delusion

  • Newsnight
  • 22 Sep 06, 07:36 PM

thegoddelusion.jpgJeremy Paxman talks to Richard Dawkins in Friday's programme. Read extracts from Dawkins' book The God Delusion by clicking here, then post your responses below.

Comments  Post your comment

  • 1.
  • At 11:00 PM on 22 Sep 2006,
  • keith wrote:

I hope his book does well and more people wake up and smell the real world.

  • 2.
  • At 11:01 PM on 22 Sep 2006,
  • Matt wrote:

Why spend time interviewing Dawkins?

It seemed so quaint discussing God.

Poor Paxman having to act the theist.

  • 3.
  • At 11:01 PM on 22 Sep 2006,
  • Colin wrote:

Richard Dawkins is one of those few voices that I am glad to hear in a world of ever increasing faith and delusion. He brings the light of reason to the table.

  • 4.
  • At 11:02 PM on 22 Sep 2006,
  • Jonathan Smyth wrote:

Currently listening to the Dawkins interview. My initial thoughts (and I need to look further into the book) are that it would help greatly if Newsnight were to have Professor Dawkins interviewed by someone from within the Christian church who understands what it means to have a living relationship with God. I really felt Jeremy Paxman was presenting God as some sort of warm comfortable feeling that people get when they stand up on a mountain and look at the landscape. Let's get real. God is real in so many ways - just start understanding what His Holy Spirit does every day in believers' lives. Then we can have a real discussion with Prof Dawkins.

  • 5.
  • At 11:02 PM on 22 Sep 2006,
  • John wrote:

Richard Hawkins is a God (amongst thinking men at least)

  • 6.
  • At 11:03 PM on 22 Sep 2006,
  • A. Howlett wrote:

What a cold, Godless man, who never misses an opportunity to take a pop at believers. I think I'll write a book called 'The Dawkins Delusion'.

  • 7.
  • At 11:03 PM on 22 Sep 2006,
  • Brian Reid wrote:

Dawkins last comment was "I don't believe we are put here to be comfortable".

If he does not believe in God, then who are we "put here" by?

Immensely impressed.

If he wants to stand for next PM, count me in.

Truth will out.........

  • 9.
  • At 11:03 PM on 22 Sep 2006,
  • Mark wrote:

Professor Dawkins speaks a lot of sense. We don't need the Judaio-Christian-Islamic god any more than we need a flying spaghetti monster, Thor or Zeus.

  • 10.
  • At 11:04 PM on 22 Sep 2006,
  • Dave wrote:

A voice of reason when religious beliefs are causing people to act and force their unwelcome views, opinions and laws on others.

Religion is the path to intolerance.


  • 11.
  • At 11:04 PM on 22 Sep 2006,
  • Graeme wrote:

This common sense thinking is welcome and a long time overdue... about 2000 years overdue.

  • 12.
  • At 11:04 PM on 22 Sep 2006,
  • John Turner wrote:

Hawkins is a legend. This should be required reading at school for all kids. It's time to open our minds and actually think about our place in the universe rather than simply deferring to a bunch of ludicrous and irrelevent fairy tales...

  • 13.
  • At 11:05 PM on 22 Sep 2006,
  • Mike wrote:

Professor Dawkins is right, but for obvious reasons doesn't go far enough. All organised religion should be outlawed. Not personal belief and faiths, take note. But organised religion is inherently evil. It has no place in a modern society. People of religious faith should ask one question and examine it carefully; If death was finally defeated by a techonological society, would they still believe in their God?
Think carefully.

  • 14.
  • At 11:05 PM on 22 Sep 2006,
  • Scott Hunter wrote:

Mr. Dawkins - the only deluded one, sadly, is you. Hopefully, the God you are unable to believe in will introduce himself to you before it's too late. Rgds. SH.

  • 15.
  • At 11:05 PM on 22 Sep 2006,
  • maria guzman wrote:

this poor stressed scientist need some peace and I am sure in a few years he will be writting his book about his own conversion to Christianity.
At the moment he seemes so confused and unrest . There is no way I will like to have his conviction if one ends up without peace. He should re-read CS Lewis and understand how he is being used... best of luck Mr Richard! Don't forget the teaching or our Lord, Love and forgiveness, he will always be ready to welcome you, try to search harder for the truth and you may end up like a new St Paul or a new CS Lewis himself!

  • 16.
  • At 11:05 PM on 22 Sep 2006,
  • Mark Molesworth wrote:

Thank God! Someone who seeks truth over faith. We make our own purpose in life, and should live to our own values - not interpret others as our own.

  • 17.
  • At 11:06 PM on 22 Sep 2006,
  • Claire Blades wrote:

Richard Dawkins' final comment to Jeremy Paxman was: "I don't believe we were put here to be comfortable." Who does he think put him here?

  • 18.
  • At 11:06 PM on 22 Sep 2006,
  • Han wrote:

I was really saddened to hear the interview with Richard Dawkins. I am a Christian, and cannot see how people can look at the mountains, rivers and even at the human body and not see God at work in things so complex. I challange anyone to read the Bible and then deny God and his son Jesus.

  • 19.
  • At 11:07 PM on 22 Sep 2006,
  • barbara rigg wrote:

Having just watched Richard Dawkins feeble attempt to disprove God, he was passionate enough to set himself up as the'font of all knowledge'. His opinions, and thats all they are, feed his own ego. He needs an encounter with Jesus to know about Truth and love. I encountered god over 30 years ago and it wasn't for comfort. To walk in the ways of Christ is very difficult in a world that prefers to hate rather than love.I cannot go with his comments on the New Testament especially since god healed me of epilepsy,angina, child abuse, gall bladder and also delivered me from smoking. I serve a mighty God who loves the whole world even Richard for all his foolishness. You don't need an Oxford degree to know that God does exist..just faith.

  • 20.
  • At 11:07 PM on 22 Sep 2006,
  • Judy wrote:

Thank goodness someone has written about all the things which worry me about religion.. Fundamentalists whereever they are are extremely worrying and yet most people don't seem to see past their concerns for muslim fundamentalists. Religion to me seems to be the root cause of most of the conflicts of the world and it would be pleasing if people woke up to the fact that they are fighting in the name of something which doesn't exist

  • 21.
  • At 11:07 PM on 22 Sep 2006,
  • Oliver Dungey wrote:

At The end of the interview Prof. Dawkins said " I don't believe we were put here to be comfortable." put here by what? for some purpose or not for some other purpose? sounds very religious to me.

  • 22.
  • At 11:07 PM on 22 Sep 2006,
  • steve fairhrust wrote:

Thank Goodness (not God) that someone is speaking out on behalf of us millions of atheists - something you never hear from any public figures whatsoever.
Let's put this mediaeval phase behind us, shoulder our own responsibilities and work to create a modern world.

  • 23.
  • At 11:08 PM on 22 Sep 2006,
  • Dipesh wrote:

Finally, a man with the conviction of pursuing the truth and is not afraid to communicate his findings in an articulate / structured way this to the masses!!

I think this man will strike a cord in many reasonable human beings who let's face it, already have doubts in themselves that a higher being exists.

Professor you have my full support and suspect many others to come.

An Economist.

  • 24.
  • At 11:08 PM on 22 Sep 2006,
  • Ben wrote:

I agree with the title, although I would not criticise people that do believe in a god. I just wish people would keep their beliefs to themselves. It is fair enough to share good morales that may be enforced throughout a religion.

But it is not fair to force beliefs upon people. It is evil to use religion as an excuse for war. I think many people may conclude that many wars and years of fighting could have been avoided if there were no religions.

It seems to me that rather than pick up on the good points of a particular religion, some followers turn their attention to fighting with other religious groups because they feel they are right and the others are wrong.

Is there a God?

I don't know. I suppose that is where faith should come in.

  • 25.
  • At 11:10 PM on 22 Sep 2006,
  • SJR wrote:

It'd be trivial enough to say there's no God in the physical universe if so many people didn't actually believe it.

But exactly like these people, I think Professor Dawkins seems to have misread what all religion is really about... that God, if one exists, resides in the psychological universe... which is the one we're all ultimately left with.

  • 26.
  • At 11:11 PM on 22 Sep 2006,
  • mark melluish wrote:

a very interesting interview, but didn't Richard Dawkins rather undo all he has said and written about with his final comment of the evening. "I don't think we were put here for comfort" Who does he think put him here. If he is here for a purpose might there not be some higher being that 'put him here then'? No he didn't win me over at all. A great interview though. Thank you.

Mark Melluish

  • 27.
  • At 11:11 PM on 22 Sep 2006,
  • Andrew Morton wrote:

I've read several of Dawkin's books on Biology - "The Selfish Gene", "The Blind Watchmaker" etc. The man is a brilliant biologist. Unfortunately he has almost no real understanding of religious belief.

Tonight's interview with Paxman was interesting. Paxman is a skilled interviewer and asked insightful questions, but found my self thinking, wouldn't it have been good if Dawkins had debated with a proper theologian? Then I realised that I've never seen him do that except where he has control over the editing.

So by all means read the book. But when you have finished, could I recommend Alistair McGrath's "Dawkins' God", which is a well balanced commentary on Dawkins' views by a real theologian whose background is in biology - the sort of person who "baffles" Dawkins.

I'd pay good money to hear Dawkins speak on Biology. But when it comes to religion a taxi driver is as good

  • 28.
  • At 11:11 PM on 22 Sep 2006,
  • Andrew Boff wrote:

Thank God for Richard Dawkins.
I'm always shocked at intelligent people professing their belief in God.
If this book encourages more people to come out as atheists, rather than being wishy washy agnostics, the better.

  • 29.
  • At 11:11 PM on 22 Sep 2006,
  • Alan Briscoe wrote:

In these mad times how refreshing to hear the Paxman interview with Richard Dawkins! Dawkins is so clear thinking. Compare him to that mad Islamist who was 'interviewed' on Breakfast this morning and the well spoken but equally misguided Rabbi.

  • 30.
  • At 11:11 PM on 22 Sep 2006,
  • Philip Snow wrote:

Hehee - the God Delusion! What about the far more irrational "scientific" evolutionary delusion: that we are just the accidental side effect of a random explosion in nothingness, chance chemical soup & trillions of normally overwhelmingly destructive genetic mistakes!?
But of course Dawkins goes even further than that - & actually believes that life, morals & consciousness etc is just the result of random bio-electrical firings in our brains - itself the accidental side effect of our "Selfish Genes" mindless quest to duplicate themselves!
Comedian, heal thyself....
Philip Snow
"The Design & Origin of Birds" DayOne Books

  • 31.
  • At 11:13 PM on 22 Sep 2006,
  • Alex Riley wrote:

Richard Dawkins was superb and very self-assured tonight. He answered questions straight from the hip of Jeremy Paxman, never faltered and was always on the ball. It was a brilliant performance. Bravo!

  • 32.
  • At 11:13 PM on 22 Sep 2006,
  • Dermot Egan wrote:

Any chance of posting the full book on the web?
£20 Is a bit steep for me.
After all, if Kahlil Gibran can do so, why can't you Richard?
I'm sure you can cover your living costs with your University salary.
Then more of us could get to read the book and get closer to the truth.
I await your response with anticipation.
Dermot Egan

  • 33.
  • At 11:13 PM on 22 Sep 2006,
  • Laurie North wrote:

We desperately need people such as Dawkins to counteract the fearsome power of religion. Anyone as intelligent as him who can expose the nonsense that passes for religion should be heeded. Tell me of a war that has not involved religion and I might believe that it has a value for the world.
The misery of this world should be sufficient to dispel any belief in a diety, let alone a benevolent one.

  • 34.
  • At 11:14 PM on 22 Sep 2006,
  • Elaine Fleming wrote:

Professor Dawkins deserves a vote of thanks for his contribution to the debate on religion. When will humanity realise that it is time to move on; that we can only progress as a species by abandoning our last, and most trenchant, superstition?

  • 35.
  • At 11:14 PM on 22 Sep 2006,
  • paul gilfillan wrote:

Does anyone else out there quietly rage and fume about the utter waste of human resources in the futile pursuit of worthless and pointless religions?

My biggest angst is that I live in a time when the vast majority of the human race still believes in 2000 year old myths and superstitions written in a time of ignorance and stupidity.

Wake up people and realise that we only have one life and it should be lived in the pursuit of human kindness love and respect for other human beings and not an imaginary god and ever stranger hair splitting interpretations of ancient texts. These bizarre beliefs only lead to further reasons for segregation of people along religious lines rather than a coming together through shared human experiences

Thank Human kind for Richard Dawkins

  • 36.
  • At 11:16 PM on 22 Sep 2006,
  • M Walker wrote:

Religion is by far the worst concept ever devised by man, having caused more bloodshed and misery than anything else by a vast margin and continues to do so.
Religious fervour is basically an ego trip, believers holding the opinion that they as an individual (and as a member of humanity) are so special and important that they must be destined for better things.
As far as I'm aware, life exists purely for the purpose of propagating more life but those gripped by an irrational belief in some all powerful deity give themselves a self serving device to give meaning to an otherwise pointless and meaningless existance.

  • 37.
  • At 11:16 PM on 22 Sep 2006,
  • jim brant wrote:

Professor Dawkins seems to be stating no more than the obvious, though as ever he does so in a most engaging and lucid fashion. I would only complain about his need to introduce his opposition to the action in Iraq into the argument; he obviously feels very strongly about that, but he should realise that people like David Kelly didn't support the action because of any religious motivation, or because they were 'dragged' into it by Bush or Blair. However, I take one of his central points to be that belief in some supernatural afterlife allows people to behave in what would normally be seen as an 'evil' fashion, and that is certainly the case.

  • 38.
  • At 11:16 PM on 22 Sep 2006,
  • Ashley wrote:

I’d just like to say, I’m in fully support of what this book is trying too and after watching the news night interview with the author I can say that I agreed with him completely.

I think it is about time atheists around the world started to make more of an effort like this to help try and inform the billions of severely unenlightened people in this world of the truth. It’s getting to the stage now where politics influenced by religion is becoming highly dangerous. You only have to look at bush and the Middle East fighting their holy wars now to get an idea of what to come if these world wide absurd delusions are allowed to carry on spreading through the minds of the gullible.

  • 39.
  • At 11:18 PM on 22 Sep 2006,
  • robert swindells wrote:

the last words of prof. dawkins in the interview were "... we weren't put here to be comfortable." So who put us here prof?

  • 40.
  • At 11:19 PM on 22 Sep 2006,
  • clyde wrote:

I have always admired and respected Richrd Dawkins for his sensible, logical and scientific stance against the complete and utter nonsense that is religion. I hope that this book continues this brave struggle.

  • 41.
  • At 11:19 PM on 22 Sep 2006,
  • Louise Jefferson wrote:

I was so relieved to hear Richard Dawkins on Newsnight tonight. All my life I've thought religion just doesn't make sense, for all the reasons I heard from Richard. I've always been amazed that intelligent people all around me can believe what just isn't believable, and wondered if I was missing something, but didn't really think so. I'll buy and read his book, with great pleasur, and relief. Maybe there is hope for the world to be sensible, but I think it will take a long time

  • 42.
  • At 11:20 PM on 22 Sep 2006,
  • J P wrote:

Coming from a christian upbringing, Richard Dawkins has removed my stigmatism of being an athiest.

I find all his publications to be a great insight into darwinism and how we continue to exist!

  • 43.
  • At 11:20 PM on 22 Sep 2006,
  • DAVID JEFFERY wrote:


  • 44.
  • At 11:20 PM on 22 Sep 2006,
  • Kevin Morgan wrote:

It could have been a much longer interview.

Dawkins is right on all fronts of course. Why do we not hear more views like this more often...

  • 45.
  • At 11:21 PM on 22 Sep 2006,
  • scottymol wrote:

A brave man indeed, but a man who speaks the truth. Dawkings has always voiced his beliefs, but unfortunatley he is seldom heard, lets hope this book is the first step into changing some peoples minds about the absurdity of religion and the troubles that comes with it, because without it we would have a whole lot less to fight about.

  • 46.
  • At 11:22 PM on 22 Sep 2006,
  • Peter Mills wrote:

It's about time someone told these truths. Religion has deluded and traumatised the world for millennia. The need for religion is well past its sell-by date and belongs in the dustbin of history. Religion may provide a crutch for the weak-minded - but surely, if someone has a weakness, it is vastly better to cure them than merely provide them with a broken crutch!

  • 47.
  • At 11:22 PM on 22 Sep 2006,
  • Dave Gilbert (Dr.) wrote:

When you think about it at length, except as an idea (albeit a very useful one), a kilogramme does not actually exist. If one published a book to that effect, would they make you a professor at Oxford?
I feel for Prof. Dawkins. The Lord loves an honest atheist, He is certainly not religious Himself, but in Prof Dawkins He has a problem. For should He decide to reward the good, truthful, tolerant to bigots, professor by allowing him into Heaven, Prof Dawkins would surely be very pissed-off to be somewhere he is sure does not exist.

  • 48.
  • At 11:22 PM on 22 Sep 2006,
  • Gareth Morris wrote:

To prove the existence of God is very easy.
Right now I'm sitting in my house - a building. I instinctively know there was a builder. I can't see him, smell him, touch him nor hear him but it stands to reason there was a builder. Similarly looking at a painting. I can't see the painter; I can't smell him, touch him etc. but I reason there was a painter. We can use the same reasoning for creation. Can't see him, smell him, touch him, hear him but from the beauty and order of creation there must be a creator. The Bible says a fool in his heart has said there is no God.

  • 49.
  • At 11:23 PM on 22 Sep 2006,
  • Coen wrote:

Good stuff! Richard Dawkins FTW

  • 50.
  • At 11:23 PM on 22 Sep 2006,
  • John Donaldson wrote:

Dawkins makes some salient points, but he also leaves himself open to counter-argument too easily. For example, he says "ONLY religious faith is a strong enough force to motivate such utter madness in otherwise sane and decent people." (My Emphasis) This just doesn't seem obviously true, political ideals (e.g. Fascism) have been strong enough to motivate utter madness in otherwise sane and decent people. So, it might be argued, are we then to bury politics along with religion - because of the well documented consequences? I think that the analogy may not stand up to scrutiny, but in making such strongly generalised assertions as I have quoted, Dawkins makes it too easy for his detractors to undermine what is an essentially well reasoned argument.

  • 51.
  • At 11:24 PM on 22 Sep 2006,
  • keith bennett wrote:

professor Dawkins is entierly right he has not gone far enough to be politicaly correct but where is the evidence of god in tsamis in war .the fact his alledged favourites are still very much dead. they have gone to a better place why do none of these people help us why take children who have no sin. i think the sin is ours in our belief that we have external powers to blame to not question. we should question everything it is the only way we have survived. god does nothing men do everything in his name...

  • 52.
  • At 11:24 PM on 22 Sep 2006,
  • Alan Ralston wrote:

Thank God for Richard Dawkins! Never have I heard such solid common sense, articulating so well all the thoughts I, and doubtless many others, have had for years.All power to his elbow, but I don't hold out much hope against the indoctrinated massed ranks of the forces of religious ignorance.

  • 53.
  • At 11:24 PM on 22 Sep 2006,
  • Peter wrote:

I've read the first chapter or so of the book and I've found it to be a refreshingly honest and frequently hilarious critique of religiosity and all of its vices.

  • 54.
  • At 11:27 PM on 22 Sep 2006,
  • Mark Black wrote:

I applaud Richard Dawkins.

Religious leaders are always given plenty of media time, and vast respect.

Many people in the UK DO NOT believe in religion and yet in the media we are given no voice.

  • 55.
  • At 11:27 PM on 22 Sep 2006,
  • Rob wrote:

When did Richard Dawkins become a
biblical scholar, he seems to be on
a mission to teach people what to believe. how the hell can he say that
God dosen't exist no one can say that
he's got a damn cheek just because
he's an Atheist he thinks everyone
else should be.

  • 56.
  • At 11:27 PM on 22 Sep 2006,
  • David wrote:

Little wonder that the BBC is constantly lambasted for it's bias against Christianity. On 'Newsnight', Jeremy only asked Professor Dawkins for his opinion on stories from the Old and New Testaments. Why did he not ask Dawkins about the sacred writings of other world religions and how they were delivered to the faithful? Why does the BBC defer more to other religions than it does Christianity?

  • 57.
  • At 11:28 PM on 22 Sep 2006,
  • Claire wrote:

Why do many people believe than being religious makes you happy? Accepting the view point that people aren't superior to any other species in this universe and that when you die you don't go to a different spiritual world doesn't make you unhappy. In fact, I think this view point makes a person really appreciate the beauty and complexity of this world. I am not religios at all but believe that everything is connected by energy and that when you die you really do die but every part of your body becomes part of something else. Why is that so scary to believe? Religious people seem to live in a lot of fear.

One thing that I find very difficult to understand is how people think that it is moral to follow a religion that is supposedly 'good' but has a entire history of killing thousands of people. Religion seems to be an excuse for everything, it is a source of power and a way of abusing people and having control over a society.

I think most people who are religious haven't really done any research into the religion that they follow. Being a 'good' and 'moral' doesn't have to be achieved by following a set of rules established many years ago. There are many non-religious people who are 'good' and 'moral'. The myth that being religious makes you a 'good' person needs to be dimissed. This myth runs strong in society. On the news if someone is a church-goer this is always mentioned as if to make the point that this person was a good person. Do they ever pop into the report that someone is an atheist when it has no relevance to the news report at all? I think not.

  • 58.
  • At 11:29 PM on 22 Sep 2006,
  • Iain Cunningham wrote:

What a man of faith Richard Dawkins is! He has an unshakeable (and passionately evangelical) faith in the absolute power of human reason. (Or at least his own.) It's just a pity for him that the history of science is full of people who thought they had the last word on all sorts of things only for later generations of scientist to prove they were talking nonsense, or at best had only a quite limited understanding of that which they had been observing. Professor Dawkins claims to be interested in truth - well, perhaps the truth for Richard Dawkins might be twofold (1) there is a God and (2) you are not him.

  • 59.
  • At 11:29 PM on 22 Sep 2006,
  • david wrote:

Richard Dawkins
This guy is in danger of becoming god himself,he just talks so much sense.
If people really just took a moment to question their so called beliefs i think they would come to the same conclusion that there is no such thing as some guy watching everything and questioning your every move.That's not allah or god or yaweh that's New Labour

  • 60.
  • At 11:29 PM on 22 Sep 2006,
  • Fred wrote:

I absolutely agree with the author, unfortunately the relgious people are comfortable in their religion, they are gullible, but not, it seems, to the obvious, why does anyone need more than the universe.

  • 61.
  • At 11:30 PM on 22 Sep 2006,
  • Colin Barnes wrote:

I agree with Richard Dawkins that there are many dangerous beliefs (held by both religious and non-religious people). But his repeated claim that all religion is bad because some misuse it for their own ends is not well thought through. You could just as equally argue that all science is bad because some scientists use their knowledge for their own evil gains, or that all accountancy is to be shunned because some accountants use their skills to embezzle.

"The notion that their exists an invisible alien, that knows everything, is everywhere at once, and can do anything, defies even irrational belief"

"What is mostly observed, is what replicates the most" - End of story.

  • 63.
  • At 11:31 PM on 22 Sep 2006,
  • Anon wrote:

At last someone with some courage to tell it like it is.

Total respect for Professor Dawkins. I couldn't agree more with his statements.

  • 64.
  • At 11:33 PM on 22 Sep 2006,

Re Dawkins,
Given no God how do you keep people good? What is then the basic of our moral code?
I get the impression that most people no longer believe in god, but want some very good reason for sticking to their (Christian ) moral code. They need to be told "you are right to be good and respect Christian values because they are a good way to behave because......"
By saying there is no god you take away a crutch without putting anything for people to hang on to.
It is a serious problem. People did not make up god for no reason; they made him up to give strength to the moral code they invented and believed in.
So give us a lead, don’t just knock the simple man's answer if you cannot replace it with something as good.

  • 65.
  • At 11:34 PM on 22 Sep 2006,
  • M Walker wrote:

Beauty & order??? Much of "creation" is ugly and chaotic.

  • 66.
  • At 11:36 PM on 22 Sep 2006,
  • David wrote:

Richard Dawkins said at the end of the interview that he "loves" his wife, family and science etc.

But if life is ulimately meaningless, that is, when you die, you cease to exist and thus it would be as if you had never existed (Been) in the first place. Then, what is "Love"?

I'd be interested to find out what he means by "Love"?

{What significance he attaches to it.}

  • 67.
  • At 11:38 PM on 22 Sep 2006,
  • Tim Jones wrote:

How refreshing to hear the rational professor Dawkins on Newsnight.

Hopefully, everyone will buy his book and give it the time, thought & judgement it deserves.

  • 68.
  • At 11:38 PM on 22 Sep 2006,
  • Chris wrote:

Needs to be said. Keep alive and avoid a Fatwah and the thunderbolt.

Despite (or is it in spite of) my first name I am not of the faith, or any faith. What you say needs to be said, and said repeatedly. I've seen fervent religion up close (4 years in Saudi) and it is not pleasant, not pleasant at all. Your remarks re female punishment (they were still being stoned to death for adultery when I lived there) are all too correct. Can you speak more loudly? Can you promote your 'reason' more widely - please.
I really just have one question for you - how in the UK does state funding of religious schools (from Islam to CofE) make for a more civilised and tolerant society?
Dare I also say - we enjoyed the recent TV programmes too.
Many thanks, and please persevere.

  • 69.
  • At 11:38 PM on 22 Sep 2006,
  • richard wrote:

In response to gareth morris.
a)you seem to misunderstand evolution.
b)taking a step back,you are making many logical flaws in your analogy. go here

c)just because the bible says something doesnt make it true like any other book ever written. any response ive heard to that is equivalent to 'the bible is true because it says its true'

  • 70.
  • At 11:38 PM on 22 Sep 2006,
  • Colin Barnes wrote:

Richard Dawkins states that "The other is by example: God, or some other biblical character, might serve as ... a role model. ... if followed through ... encourage a system of morals which any civilized modern person... would find ... obnoxious."
In doing so he must infer that following the example of Jesus, living as he did, wold be obnoxious. I find this strange as I cannot think of a better example of a human being? I wish he would explain in what way Jesus' life was obnoxious.

  • 71.
  • At 11:38 PM on 22 Sep 2006,
  • M Walker wrote:

Beauty & order??? Much of "creation" is ugly and chaotic and using the criteria that G Morris advocates for proof, anything can be shown to be true.

  • 72.
  • At 11:39 PM on 22 Sep 2006,
  • Adrian wrote:

Given that the existence or non-existence of God is not objectively proveable, I see nothing wrong in belief or disbelief accoording to personal life experiences that lead a person to their stance. Science, though, would indicate that if there is a god then he/she is a rational being. What is completely irrational though, is to believe that an omnipotent god could not see his/her plan through to completion without the aid of George Bush, Tony Blair or Osama Bin Laden.

  • 73.
  • At 11:39 PM on 22 Sep 2006,
  • Julie Carter wrote:

I would like to share a little story with Professor Dawkins whom like myself,desires the Truth. I invited an Independent Councillor Keith Watkin to a private viewing of my art exhibition. It was dedicated to the Oneness of God & the majesty of Mother Earth. When he arrived he stated that he didn't believe in God. I explained that i couldn't not believe in God as i had experienced just too many minor miraculous events. Of all the mant many events that i could have chosen to share with him i chose this... One evening i found myself having an out of body experience. I was outside the main Post Office and witnessing a robbery in action. I then followed the get away car to the place where the robbers abandoned it. On the news the next morning it reported the robbery and the location of the get away car. Poor Mr.Watkin looked shocked and then said that he was present at that robbery as he was standing on the corner.He eventually asked me never to contact him again as he didn't want to read in the news that i had been found dead in my hallway.!!

Dear Professor i was a total atheist like your self until i had what is commonly reffered to as 'A Near Death Experience.'As a child my father nicknamed me bloody fingers due to my constant probing into things. Belief is of no use to me. I have to experience things. There is a Light and when i was in it, the love that i felt was undescribable. I was then taken to a garden and sat at the foot of a tree. I was told to Give all my love to the tree & that the tree would give me everything that i needed. I belong to no religion and all religions as the tree taught me that we are in Truth all one. Thank you.

  • 74.
  • At 11:41 PM on 22 Sep 2006,
  • hwscott wrote:

Professor Dawkins claims to be interested in truth. His statement that the New Testament is simply one of a number of similar mythical compositions is simply not true. Although there are a number of such collections, the differences between their teachings and claims and those of the New Testament are far greater than their similarities. The New Testament is absolutely unique. I challenge Dawkins to set side by side the teachings of Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, the religions of Papua New Guinea, etc., and prove that they are all equally implausible.

  • 75.
  • At 11:43 PM on 22 Sep 2006,
  • Adrian wrote:

Sorry Gareth, but that does not constitute a proof.

  • 76.
  • At 11:43 PM on 22 Sep 2006,
  • jim wrote:

well being a scientist he must know that going by recent studies, the chances of the universe landing the way it is just now is trillions upon trillions upon trillions to one, scientists say there are two possibilities for this, multi parrallel dementional space or some sort of creator, i guess if the top physics men of today are including god or something like a god as one of two possibilities then i think this author is well off is his suggestion that god simply does not exist

  • 77.
  • At 11:44 PM on 22 Sep 2006,
  • David wrote:

Listening to Richard Dawkins I was amazed that he thought the easiest way for us to find Utopia was to sit around taking drugs. This is wishful thinking not the truth and he will not find that until he has feelings for his fellow man and stop his world being dominated by facts. I have never seen a formula for feelings, relationships, consideration or love. It has to be learnt and more people try the better this world will be. What ever your opinion may be, a damp good reference book to read is the Bible.

  • 78.
  • At 11:44 PM on 22 Sep 2006,
  • emma wrote:

Inferring a designer from looking at an object such as a house is a different matter to inferring a designer by looking at the universe. One still has to explain the designer. How did that being come into existence?
Where is the proof?

It's easy to find evidence of builders, just go to your local DIY shop.
The complexity of everything in this world from flowers to people does not provide any evidence for the existence of a God.

  • 79.
  • At 11:44 PM on 22 Sep 2006,
  • gordon bell wrote:

many people believe in miracles walking on water and virgin births.
vast sums of money are generated by
many who propogate these myths.

? - Who Needs Absurd ‘Beliefs’ - ?

Reflections of an Octogenarian.

Religiosity? – Throughout life, I’ve never regarded this subject as deserving of any serious thought - - -
However, with quietus in the offing, the excessive religious coverage in the media inevitably agitates the neurons.
Of late, these irritations have provoked a deep re-appraisal - - - & has utterly confirmed my basic intuition!

Logical conclusions after a lifetime of listening inadvertently to broadcasters of religious ‘Faiths’.

A simple story. No need for the meandrine moonshine of ‘erudite’ intelligentsia.
Just take yourself back in time & examine unvarnished facts.

Please acknowledge that the primitive mind was bound to generate, quite naturally, mythological imagery of an Elysian nature.
Also, one must accept that the relative ignorance of early Humanity, coupled with understandable fears of the unknown, provided those individuals seeking power over their fellows (a natural human trait), with the conditions to set up as
Medicine-Men - Witch-Doctors - Sorcerers - Soothsayers - et al,
all claiming to have insights & contact with a ‘power’ - of sorts.
So began the blight of Shamanism - leading on to airy-fairy religions.

As time unveiled the past, these facts have not been fully appreciated.
Result - The ensuing rash of religiosity has not been branded for what it really is - - -

An early conceive - of ignorance & apprehension - Perpetuated through millennia by IMPOSTORS - Preying on credulous naivety.

The natural process of evolution, via many devious pious paths, has now landed us with the present crop of
Archbishops - Ayatollahs - - - Rabbis - Popes - Imams - JWs - & a host of other hypocritical sect leaders, incessantly brainwashing the largely unthinking masses with their ridiculous & childish ‘Holy Beliefs’. The Billy Grahams of the world, gifted with gab & showmanship, use their ‘bewitching powers’ to prey on the gullibility of the artless.
Yes indeed, in modern form, the Witch-Doctors are still at it!
Mountebanks All!

With it’s initiation as above, religiosity can’t be recognised by any sane person to have the gravitas necessary for any authentic ‘Belief’. Seeking reality is anathema to the pious ones. They critically comment on facts of life that are painstakenly unearthed by the practical hard-working talents of seekers of truth. Knowledge of physics & biology would never have advanced if left to ‘Holy’ men.
Sun would still be orbiting Earth. The dim past is their’s, with mystical rites that are still prevalent, albeit with modern trappings.
They are an absurdity! Their endeavours to exalt religiosity by the erection of ever more imposing ‘Places of Worship’
merely highlights – Monumentally – the benighted phases of Man’s past. Hell’s Bells! - What a shambles!

Weighing up the World-wide situation, a substantial proportion of Humanity are unable to let go of their forebears’ primitive ‘belief’ in a Creator that demands a daily dose of supplication.
A person’s specific ‘belief’ is dictated by that part of the globe from where they originated;
a simple inheritance of the parents’ unreal ancestral teachings, largely unquestioned!
No need to be a ‘Religious Scholar’ (what a fatuous preoccupation) to comprehend why all of this utter humbug survives.

Persistent indoctrination over millennia leave the susceptible with feelings of unease
when they attempt to ditch the ingrained silly ‘beliefs’ inherited from similarly misinformed forebears.
Many take an apathetic route & run with the various childish theosophical myths passed down through the generations
via pious, shallow-thinking naivety - preferring illusion to reality - fantasy to truth.

It has always been decreed that acting on evidential communal common-sense,
ie, utilizing everyday experience & research is the only way forward.

The need to consult Biblical, Qur’anic, or any other ancient crap-laden fairy tales
in order to pursue a decent & considerate existence beggars belief!

The facts listed above are beyond dispute – Deism? / Divinity? – Absolute Man-made hokum!

Any thinking person realises that the Universe is truly an awesome Quantum / Astronomical creation.
As part of that creation, our attempts at it’s full understanding seem futile.
Probing the atom or ‘heavenly’ space & we’re contemplating infinities.
Fouling up our minds with a rag-bag of archaic religiose twaddle
does nothing to help enlighten our ignorance!

Anyone taking this farcical subject seriously has to be absolutely pickled in traditional folklore
and/or in a sad mental state. Using it’s bogus validity for an easy living and/or monetary gain
it’s impostrous practitioners must have no damn conscience at all.

Far too much importance is given to the abstract of religiosity, producing vast volumes of impotent rhetorical bombast from people who should know better, submersing themselves & others in trivial ‘spiritual’ analyses
that are really totally undeserving of any serious contemplation.

What is the point of life?

After 85 years of it, I’m still in the dark. There would seem to be no purpose in view, other than to reproduce. One can conjecture but that’s no more than chimerical thought. We are a life-form that has evolved to suit a particular Earthly environment. Nature is red in tooth & claw & is pitilessly indifferent to an individual’s quality of life.
Genetic functioning ensures that the most suitable life-forms thrive in any specific environment; Survival of the fittest!
Individual quality of life is a lottery. We have arrived & must make the best of it!
Self-deceivers pray for Ethereal help; none is discernable - - - Quite definitely a DIY job!

We live, utilising facts that the experience of life plus research, provides!

The paralogism of religious charlatans can’t match the knowledge we now possess, scant though it be.
Mystical Theosophy is drivel of the first order.

>>> Certainly, life's purpose cannot be identified by any ancient decrepit 'belief'

>>>>> Time unveils the Past! <<<<<
We must Profit from it! - Not Perpetuate it! - - - - A M E N
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Bill Davison / UK - - - - - -
In verse format - - - -

  • 81.
  • At 11:46 PM on 22 Sep 2006,
  • Steve (Lincoln) wrote:

Richard Dawkins increasingly puts me in mind of that Edward Woodward character in the 70's film classic The Whicker Man. Blundering around in a world he doesnt understand, making rash judgements based crudely on the 'crass' diet of 'fast religion', he knows prescious little about the pre-history of the human mind, of the human inter-reality which was and still can be spiritual, profoundly intuitive in the extreme and uncannily related to the life, the Earth and the Universe creating a charge of being so sadly missing from todays card board cut-out identities. The great holy men (and women) of the past - so few remain - were perhaps somewhat reflected of late in the great Sioux elder Fools Crow. Now, if Richard Dawkins could have met and seriously dismissed that man's world then I might listen to his arguments with greater curiosity. If he could have met the Cogi of Columbia pre-corruption and not been somewhat stunned by their slightly disturbing 'ability' and 'presence of mind', then his continued denial might place in question his own pre-conceived sanity. The crimes committed both by a politicised Christianity and a self-intoxicatedly athiest humanism are to destroy the very evidence that undermines the simplicity of the athiest position itself, as well as that of the more dogmatic religious orders.

Berne’s “Transactional Analysis” illuminates clearly the “religion phenomenon”.
Almost all of us have three “ego states” Parent, Adult, and Child, but they can function in varying degrees of ignorance of one another.
Crudely speaking: Parent holds religious dogma and Child mediates worship.
Adult is the rational department but is inclined to be swept aside by the power of early
programming of Parent and Child.
The above explains the “compartmentalism” of the religious scientist, so puzzling to Dawkins.
It is probable that the Parent and Child content is responsible for poor development of the Adult ego-state in humankind – our failure to mature to competent, aberration-free individuals.

  • 83.
  • At 11:48 PM on 22 Sep 2006,
  • Peter Culbert wrote:

I agree with Prof Dawkins' view that truth is objective, so I was surprised to hear him say in the interview such things as Christianity was invented by St Paul! No intelligent historian believes this as to do so would be to ignore the objective historical truth, backed by historical evidence, that Christianity is founded on the person and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth. It appears the Prof simply chooses to disregard objective truth that gets in the way of his personal beliefs, which is precisely what he dislikes about religious people!

Dawkins seems to be selling out a little in admitting some remote theoretical possibility of the existence of a god.

He might remember Epicurus:

Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is impotent.
Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent.
Is he both able and willing? Whence then is evil?
Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?

Some years ago I thought some one should write a book and begin a T.V. series, 'Hawkins, Dawkins and Penrose' to bring together these three great minds. But when the Proffesor said that he hoped his book might help people who had not considerd that belief, to become Aethiests. this after saying that a sientist should never deny that which he could not disproof. i.e. it is just as useless to deny Gods existance as it is to believe in it. Surely he should have wanted to encourage people to be Agnostics.
Michael. Aberganenny. S.E. Wales

  • 86.
  • At 11:49 PM on 22 Sep 2006,
  • aj beirens wrote:

I was mesmerized by the Dawkins interview on Newsnight. How clearly he explained the things that I have felt to be true since I cast off religion when I was a teenager, well over 40 years ago. I am afraid however that religion which set out to save mankind will in the end prove to be its undoing. Some religions have become finely tuned machines that brainwash each new generation at a very early age. So they cannot be easily ‘corrupted’ by the real world. Remember the Jesuit maxim used to be “give me a child until he is seven and he is mine for life”. The maxim holds true for all religions (given half a chance), even in the modern age. That is why it will prove to be necessary to strictly control and secularise all education in every school in every country on the planet. Since the opposition against such a move would be so enormous, I am afraid the world as we know it has no future. That’s a very sad thing. Not for me, but for our children’s children.

  • 87.
  • At 11:50 PM on 22 Sep 2006,
  • Martin Kostyrka wrote:

Mr Dawkins is once again on his personal crusade against religion & God. I think if you are going to discuss a subject such as 'God' you should define what it is you are discussing. Ok, I haven't read the book, but it seems Dawkins is refering to a personal, man with a beard type god.He also ridicules the Bible. Ok fine. I and many believe there is an intelligence behind the universe, call it nature if you want, that permeates and runs through and is the source of all 'life'. Conciousness is the buiding block of the universe- not matter. Mr Dawkins would have you believe that somehow the mind is a product of the brain.
How this could be has not yet been shown by any scientist.
Mr Dawkins writes many books, but can you trust that what he says is not heavily coloured by his own set of predujices?
As for the 9/11 incident being the fault of religion- well that's patent nonsence. 9/11 was as a direct consequence of all the western perpetrated injustice in the world.
The USA's indiscriminate support for Israel and the staggering crimes perpetrated on the Palestinian people.

  • 88.
  • At 11:52 PM on 22 Sep 2006,
  • ben wrote:

Professor Dawkins provides a convincing, well presented argument and it is refreshing to hear a discussion about religion that is calm and rational. In fact, it is refreshing to hear a discussion about the merits of religion on TV at all.

Post 9/11 the media has focussed on the war on terror(which we seem to be both paying for and victims of). It seems to me that it would be far more productive to declare a war on religion, albeit a non-violent one. You only have to pick up a paper to see that religion is the cause of hundreds of deaths every single day.

I don't think that we should tell people what they should believe but it is clear to me that the world would be a far better place without religion. Love your family and respect other people, regardless of their beliefs. You don't need to believe in god to do this and it has the benefits of religion without the mass murder and hatred.

If a religious person explains their belief to you just subsitute the word 'god' for any improbable thing ....aliens, fairies at the bottom of the garden etc. It is clear that if the person went around saying aliens built the world in 7 days they would soon be locked in a room with no sharp edges. If they believe god did it they become president of the united states.

I hope Prof Dawkins get his desired effect and at least gets people to think rationally about it. If they do, there can only be one conclusion and that will be better for us all.

We are made of terra firma and god is made of us. God was a tool we developed to help manage the ever increasing complexity of society. The more we understand about our true place in the universe the less we need god.

I live without god. I live without the devil. I live with the truth.

  • 90.
  • At 11:54 PM on 22 Sep 2006,
  • John Donaldson wrote:

Gareth Morris' proof of the existence of God (aka the argument from design) is no such thing, for the following, well known reasons:
1 - even if we accept the analogy, it implies more than one creator, if all the created things we humans make and use (buildings, paintings etc.) have a different creator, then analogously, so does the universe.
2 - A builder, a painter and so on, all have creators, i.e. parents. Therefore, if we accept the analogy, who is God's creator, and the creator of God's creator? If it is asserted that God is an un-caused cause, then what is to stop us saying the same thing about the universe itself, as Occam would have us do?
3 - A builder builds using materials. God is supposed to have created everything from nothing. So the analogy is clearly false on that front.
4 - finally, the whole analogy seems false because it assumes that if two things share one propery then they share all their properties. Like so:
A: A building is complex
B: A building has a builder
C: The universe is also complex
D: Therefore the universe has a 'builder'

But that is like arguing:
A Plants are living organisms
B Plants grow in the earth
C Human beings are also living organisms
D Therefore humans grow in earth

Which is clearly false. So, even if we accept the analogy, it runs into problems 1 and 2, but to accept it would be to accept an analogy which is fundamentally flawed.

  • 91.
  • At 11:55 PM on 22 Sep 2006,
  • Andrew Sheldon wrote:

The scrolls and writings upon which all religions seem to be based are undeniably physical objects. It therefore follows that they were created by a physical, actual, hand. The only assurance which we have that they are indeed the words of the various dieties which they claim to represent are the assurances of the long dead people who created them, presumably from the voices in their heads..and the thousands of intermediaries who have sought to interpret their "meaning" for us, most often very profitably for themselves, their Churches, and their various political masters. I ask you, do you really believe that people in "the olden days" were really so trustworthy?

Chanting & singing in a collective is a wonderful experience and having ornate spaces (beautiful in themselves) in which to meditate and reflect is surely benefical too. A sense of common purpose, something bigger than yourself, something that gets you out of bed in the morning, something that gives self discipline & routine are all great.

But gods are clearly nonsense.

What we need is to bring science to spirituality - to remove all the daft rules, deviciveness, dogma & and optimize the benefits mentioned above. While people do get the benefits with secular alternatives, (sport, choirs etc...) they are fragmented so perhaps don't build the community spirit they could, were they all 'all under the same roof' as with religions.

I think we should spend our time building a real alternative Humanism that can provide everything mentioned above, as that is what people really want (they don't care whether god exists or not). An alternative that is ethically pure - like GNU/Linux but for religion. And like GNU, build it, and they will come.

  • 93.
  • At 11:56 PM on 22 Sep 2006,
  • jim wrote:

i find it funny how people like to believe religion is a precursor for the evils of the world, considering two of the most evil men is history stalan and hitler were not religious, would humans not just find another excuses to commit murder and war against each other anyway, i think we would and i think youll find that the dark side of homo sapien behaviour is probably the main reason we are the number species on this planet instead of our extinct neanderthal cousins

  • 94.
  • At 11:56 PM on 22 Sep 2006,
  • Dr. Edmond Wright wrote:

Richard Dawkins, in his admirable attacks on superstitions of various kinds, forgets that religion has other aspects. It is possible to be, as I am, a materialist and an atheist, but one who sees God -- or gods -- as an illusion rather than a delusion, one generated by human beings' faith in each other. What is significant is that a true faith is one that is prepared to find that the 'truth' and 'sincerity' of one's beliefs, convictions, promises, vows, rules, values are open to deep subversion. Tragic differences with others may demand sacrifices beyond what was 'taken for' granted when promises were made. Nevertheless, the holding to an imaginary ideal KNOWN TO BE IMAGINARY is what we cannot escape when we enter into the 'rules' of language, the very thing that makes us human. This opens another route between Dawkins's 'truth' and the 'lies' of the superstitious: in his replies to Jeremy Paxman it is plain he has only seen these two opposing possibilities. See my book published six months before his -- 'Narrative, Perception, Language and Faith' (Palgrave Macmillan 2005).

  • 95.
  • At 12:01 AM on 23 Sep 2006,
  • Stewart Ware wrote:

At 11:22 PM on 22 Sep 2006, Gareth Morris wrote:

"To prove the existence of God is very easy.

"Right now I'm sitting in my house - a building. I instinctively know there was a builder. I can't see him, smell him, touch him nor hear him but it stands to reason there was a builder. Similarly looking at a painting. I can't see the painter; I can't smell him, touch him etc. but I reason there was a painter. We can use the same reasoning for creation. Can't see him, smell him, touch him, hear him but from the beauty and order of creation there must be a creator. The Bible says a fool in his heart has said there is no God."

Fine; you have "proved" the existence of God. Now it stands to reason that such a God must have had a creator. Now it stands to reason that that creator must itself have had a creator…

You can see that this argument gets you nowhere.

This is just the old "argument from design": it looks complicated, therefore it must have been designed. It's now nearly a century and a half since it was shown this line of thinking is faulty.

Just because creation seems to our eyes orderly, there must have been an intelligence behind it. In reality, the order is created from a few simple laws of nature.

  • 96.
  • At 12:02 AM on 23 Sep 2006,
  • J Burgess wrote:

I'm glad people with influence are not bowing to the religious zealots that are taking over the world. I for one don't feel guilty or wrong being an atheist. I am also proud that I don't band together with like-minded individuals to persecute non-believers or should that be believers.

  • 97.
  • At 12:05 AM on 23 Sep 2006,
  • Norman Littler wrote:

I’m touched by the fine hearty omniscience of Richard Dawkins and his fellow atheists who have written in his support. Most especially by their frequent use of the word “truth” as if those who believe in God are uninterested in things like facts and evidence. It must be consoling to believe one can reach into other people’s souls to ascertain whether or not they are seekers after truth. I would wager serious money that few, if any of them, has spent so much as ten minutes careful, impartial examination of the rock-solid reasons why the world’s greatest thinkers have been theists.

It is easy to ridicule religion - or any other group of people - by recording their individual absurdities whilst studiously avoiding the equally or more extreme vagaries of others. Arbitrarily selecting facts in this manner serves only to provide ammunition for prejudice rather than present a balanced and objective verdict.

  • 98.
  • At 12:06 AM on 23 Sep 2006,
  • P. Barker wrote:

Yes, Dawkins did say 'only religion', when there are ideologies that inspire similar behaviour. Your correspondent cites Fascism and asks rhetorically if we should abandon politics. Not politics, no, but certainly some murderous ideologies, like Fascism, which are outlawed already in our current, essentially liberal humanist, ideology. But, basically Dawkins in on the right lines - you can't ignore the Enlightenment. He's also right in nailing the word that describes what irks about religious fundamentalists: righteousness. Bin Laden, Al Zawahiri, perhaps Pat Robertson too - always waving the index finger, chastizing me and my liberal ways. It does get tiresome.

  • 99.
  • At 12:07 AM on 23 Sep 2006,
  • James wrote:

'The fool hath said in his heart - no God.' Psalm 14 vs 1.

So Professor Dawkins is concerned for the Truth is he? Well so am I, which is why I'm a Christian and young earth creationist. In our post-postmodern age, truth is a slippery subject. A worldview can be defined as a fundamental commitment of the heart which can be expressed in a number of presuppositions. Only the Christian position is fully consistent with the reality of the world as we experience it. There is no other answer. It's as simple as that. Christianity is 'Total Truth'.
Despite what Dawkins might heretically claim, the cosmos was created by the Holy Triune God, in and through His only beloved Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. We can read the history of this event in Genesis chapter one, which is totally unique amongst ancient literature of the time. Dawkins is right that we are not here to feel comfortable. This world is broken and destroyed by human rebellion. As by one man sin entered the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned - so by one man, Jesus Christ, the gift of grace and eternal life is freely offered to those who repent and believe in His propitiatory death on the cross. Dawkins is in great need of salvation just as we all are as sinners. He needs to be shown the divine glory of Christ. Yet today he has only spoken so that the Scripture might be fulfilled: 'there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, and saying, where is the promise of his coming?' II Peter 3 vs 3. I would ask all viewers of Newsnight this one question: are you ready for the Day of the Lord's Vengeance? Dawkins clearly isn't.

  • 100.
  • At 12:08 AM on 23 Sep 2006,
  • alan o carroll wrote:

I listened to professor with great interest tonight but surely there is some onus of proof on his part as well.If he thinks that the darwinian theory is correct he will have to give an explanation as to why humans have a conscience whereas animals do not. Also he uses one example where religion can be used for evil purposes, Bush invading Iraq. Why not mention someone like mother teresa of calcutta where acting on religious beliefs can actually do some good.

  • 101.
  • At 12:08 AM on 23 Sep 2006,
  • Martin Ward wrote:

Yes, Richard Dawkins is at it again. Together with his covern of aggressive and belicose atheists at Oxford University, who believe science created the universe and life within it. He suggested that other scientists who believe there might be a supernatural explanation to the universe (or at least another explanation apart from random mutation of genetic material and natural selection) had compartmentalised minds, presumably one compartment devoted to scientific and natural explanation and the other steeped in fantasy. At least their minds have two compartments where Dawkins only has one. His mental compartment has a God too, science. Is it not possible that science will eventually lead to a supernatural explanation? Why doesn't the BBC throw Richard Dawkins amongst Scientists such as David Swift, William Dembski et al who will argue persuasively that Darwinists have no explanation whatsoever as to how biological macro-molecules arose 'naturally' and how it is mathematically impossible for DNA to arisen 'by accident'.

  • 102.
  • At 12:10 AM on 23 Sep 2006,
  • Jonathan Hutchinson wrote:

Sirs, I have listened to Professor Dawkins on tonight's Newsnight and also read the exracts from his book below and I am excited that this thought process is reaching the public arena. There are two points I would like to make:

Firstly I agree that in the beginning man created god and that for many years the majority were influenced by the minority who had the opportunity to fine tune a legacy of indoctrination to propagate control by fear of an etherial being mysterious enough to be sculptured /interpretted to suit the prevailing political, economic and social climates. The general populus is too intelligent now to allow this to happen.

Secondly: Whereas it may have been comforting to an eight year old in the 17th century to believe his mother had gone to heaven rather then died of the clap, we are not there now. The eight year old today would be equipt with the diagnosis that his mother should not have shared needles. My point being that current society does not turn to god in the same way as it did in the past, society turns to the courts, to benefits, to crime, to schools, to charity, to the welfare state all before turning to the church.

Thirdly: the knowledgable general populus are able to interpret the actions and opinions of religeous leaders and have the mindset and intelligence to question them. The antics of extreemist factions of certain religeons are eroding the etherial status of their gods and bringing religeon down to a human level at which point it loses the status of a religeon and is downgraded to that of a political party. I am thinking now of how close the pope's misguided spat is to the screams of "too litle to late" or "in real terms the seasonally adjusted figures were much more favourable with a previous administation"

In conclusion I would like to thank professor Dawkins. Rationalising and humanising religeon is a major step in diffusing the effect it has on society and the more society comes to accept that:
1. religeon is only a belief and
2. its ok for that [person to hold that belief
the better

  • 103.
  • At 12:10 AM on 23 Sep 2006,
  • bruce wrote:

For Dawkins to say that " much of the Bible is not systematically evil but just plain weird " just shows how ignorant he is when it comes to his understanding of Christian belief. He may be an effective scientific communicator but his understanding of the Christianity is full of polemical statements but no real substance. I don't know what Bible he is reading but the one that I read makes a lot of sense.
He is quite happy to quote the Old Testament as if that is the current thinking for Christians.
Christian thinking is based on the whole Bible, but in particular the New Testament . His attack of Christianity when he quotes the Old Testament is a bit like suggesting that scientists should ignore Einstein understanding of gravity and just stick to Newton's. No doubt that Newton's theory is applicable in most cases but scientists have move on to use Einstein theory ,in particular when it comes to the understanding of the universe. God gave the world a new revelation in His Son Jesus.
Dawkins idea world doesn't want us to be deluded with a theistic mindset but deluded with an atheistic mindset
We have got such great modern examples of atheists when one thinks of the "blood-spattered trail of atheism in the twentieth century. "
I am reminded of another comment that Alister McGrath said.

"Communism was a `tragedy of planetary dimensions' with a grand total of victims variously estimated by contributors to the volume at between 85 million and 100 million."

Do we want a world full of that sort of mindset ?

  • 104.
  • At 12:12 AM on 23 Sep 2006,
  • David Lloyd Baker wrote:

We need a lot more of this straight thinking.
More debate/discourse/learning about
Dawkins, Thos Paine, John Lennon("Imagine") et al.
I sometimes worry about becoming fanatic about being anti-fanatic.

  • 105.
  • At 12:12 AM on 23 Sep 2006,
  • Mike wrote:

Richard Dawkins is Professor of the Public Understanding of Science at the University of Oxford. Has anyone at 'Newsnight' noticed the significance of his title? He is NOT the Professor of the Public Understanding of Religion, however much he tries to redefine 'science' so as to make it include religion. Prof. Dawkins may be a brilliant scientist; he may not. He has at least studied and researched zoology and biology for a Master's degree and at doctoral level. But it is certain that he has had no training in theology or philosophy. When he discusses the existence of God, Prof. Dawkins is almost embarrassingly out of his field and out of his depth. Jeremy Paxman might as well interview me, since I have an MA and PhD in theology, about my understanding of genetics. This was a thinly disguised book-plug; a lame interview.

  • 106.
  • At 12:13 AM on 23 Sep 2006,
  • Andrew Witham wrote:

I looked forward to the interview of Professor Dawkins on Newsnight tonight in order to see what all the fuss was about.

I was staggered to hear so many misconceptions attributed to religion being put up to then be demolished. Surely any book worth looking at in this way by Newsnight would be written by someone who knew his subject? But Dawkins appears to know practically nothing. What was the point of having him on?

In his interview Professor Dawkins conceded that there are Christians who are also good scientist but that he (Dawkins) didn’t understand this.

Confirmation perhaps that he doesn’t understand the subject of religion (I’m assuming that he understands science).

If you want to know about science ask a scientist. If you are curious about faith ask someone who has one. If you want to know how the two live together ask someone who understands both.

  • 107.
  • At 12:13 AM on 23 Sep 2006,
  • Gary Thomas wrote:

I'm gratified that 90 per cent of the respondents here support Dawkins's stance and admire his articulacy, advocacy and guts. It's interesting that the small number of anti-Dawkins, pro-God comments look decidedly washed-out, having to resort to empty exhortations about 'love' and 'belief'. How dare they say that I, as an atheist, cannot have satisfactory explanations about love. This book should be on the National Curriculum, alongside Bertrand Russell's 'Why I am not a Christian' The scandal is not that this book should get publicity, as some will imply, but rather that our public broadcasting organisation gives daily propaganda to religion in, for example, 'Thought for the Day'.

  • 108.
  • At 12:14 AM on 23 Sep 2006,
  • AJY wrote:

Listening to Prof.Dawkind, I find myself in agreement of 90% of what he says (I haven't had time to read the extracts from the book yet).
However, I have one very serious criticizm of his whole approach.
He - quite rightly in my opinion - dismisses the version of "God" as portrayed in the Great Religions, and of those religions as being mainly concerned with dispensing "comfort" rather than truth. I entirely agree with this, and have written on the subject myself. But then he assunes that,
because that version of "God" is ridiculous, there cannot be ANY "God" at all !! A total non sequiter !
Does he really think that the Universe, like Topsy, "just growed" ? When, for the "Big Bang" theory to be correct, the Laws of Physics - Gravity, Thermodynamics etc. - must have been in existance BEFORE that event. The evidence for an "External Intelligence" is quite overwhelming, and, far from being "supernatural" such an Intelligence is entirely natural !
But with none of the Man-emulating characteristics of the Judeo/Christian/Islamic "God"
It amazes me how effective the "brainwashing" of the Great Religions has been in convincing believers and unbelievers alike that there is only ONE version of "God" - theirs !!

  • 109.
  • At 12:14 AM on 23 Sep 2006,
  • Ronald Rainer wrote:

Richard Dawkins spoke of many things that he "loved". Paxman failed to ask him what love is? The Bible says that God is love and that those who worship God must worship him in spirit and in truth. Jesus said, "I am the way the truth and the life." Dawkins will never have any inkling of what "truth" is if he fails to understand the simple truth that "truth" is much more than cold scientific fact.Why is Dawkins so driven and so obsessed by his anti-God crusade I wonder? I would have thought that someone with his Knowledge of the wonders of creation would recognise the hand of a creator. "Those who have eyes to see, let them see."

  • 110.
  • At 12:17 AM on 23 Sep 2006,
  • mic lewis wrote:

Wonderful interview with Paxman - Lets hope this book sells in vast quantities - the timing is perfect -Halleluja , Halleluja !!

  • 111.
  • At 12:18 AM on 23 Sep 2006,
  • Cathy wrote:

I am delighted someone has the guts to challenge these passively held ideas.It's as if we are afraid to actually look at reality.This argument and discussions surrounding it are needed now more than ever!!!!

  • 112.
  • At 12:20 AM on 23 Sep 2006,
  • leigh fowler wrote:

how refreshing to hear some sane comment on religion in this day and age. Think of a world with no religion, no-one would have any reason to hate each other. There would be no reason to think whether my god is better than your god, no fatwas, zealots, 911's, 7/7's, inquisitions.

As to the bloke on radio 4 this morning? No thanks, i have no interest in your religion, i don't believe you're right. And if you think i'll give up my democratic rights for your religion, then you have another think coming. I don't believe christianity is right either. How many people have suffered and died at the hands of christians? Even modern ones.

The arrogance of human kind is to think that the beauty of nature couldn't have happened without some kind of human based god.

Without humans you have no gods. Are we really saying a god created all of nature then after trillions of years toyed with the idea of creating us? Then put us on a small ball of rock in the middle of nowhere? Then just left us to get on with it? Did he get bored of the whole dinasaur thing? Has it all gone wrong? Or is it all going to plan? In this day and age, is it working out for him? I wonder?

We knock the shiite out of each other and in the process destroy this beautiful planet, our only home. If everyone got on with the business of living instead of harping on about what happens when we die perhaps we'd all get on a hell of a lot better.

  • 113.
  • At 12:21 AM on 23 Sep 2006,
  • Peter Blake wrote:

Mr Dawkings yet again makes much sense. Sadly, too few people as yet see this as evinced by the comments of several religeous types already. Open your minds people. And to answer a question put here several times already, he was put here by his parents! Duh!

  • 114.
  • At 12:26 AM on 23 Sep 2006,
  • Michael wrote:

A bloke walks out of the desert and says "God spoke to me" and millions of weak-minded, gullible people, afraid of death, believe him. Go figure. You can't make this stuff up. Or perhaps you can ...

  • 115.
  • At 12:26 AM on 23 Sep 2006,
  • Sayeed Yusuf wrote:

A wonderful disquisition by Professor Dawkins. Insightful as always. I'm a Muslim turned atheist- and was quite a devout and religious one too. I come from a very religious family and was indoctrinated in the Islamic faith from the moment I could walk. When I attained puberty I adopted the Salafi sect of the Sunni branch of Islam (the preponderant sect in Saudi Arabia) and began taking my inherited faith seriously and became more observant than any other of my family members (which in my junior days I held to be immensely religious).

That was all before I was introduced to the great thinker and philosopher Bertrand Russell. My conversion to atheism and free thought came a few months back at college when whilst scanning the Philosophy department of my college library, I happened on an excellent and thought provoking book- not by Russell- but by Peter Vardy entitled The Puzzle Of God. That somewhat shook the pillars of my faith, in that it challenged my absolutist frame of mind and paved the way for Bertrand Russell to demolish my superstitious religious beliefs.

Many thanks to Professor Dawkins. Religious persons (even an extreme Salafi like I once was) can be changed. One doesn't read Bertrand Russell's Why I Am A Rationalist and decide instantly to drop their long held beliefs then and there, it's a process, but as happened with me, it is possible to sow the seeds of doubt with compelling argument and sound rationale, thereby altering, or at the very least challenging the irrational notions people have been brought up to believe.

I shall order my copy of The Delusion Of God right away. Kudos to Dawkins!

From a Salafi Muslim turned free thinker.

  • 116.
  • At 12:31 AM on 23 Sep 2006,
  • Martin Ward wrote:

Why is it that Richard Dawkins is never challenged by intellectual equals with different points of view. He earns fortunes on the lecture circuit where he pontificates to his adoring fans and he always appears with a TV presenter who cannot counter his arguments in a scientific way. His only opponents seem to be those who offer emotional and subjective counter arguments.

  • 117.
  • At 12:33 AM on 23 Sep 2006,
  • Noel Kelly wrote:

I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord:

Who was conceived of the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into hell.

On the third day He arose again from the dead. He ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty, Thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting.


I believe this with my whole being!
Glory be to God!

I hope that Richard is converted by the grace of God before it's too late. Otherwise he's going to get a serious shock when he dies! His pride is his downfall...

  • 118.
  • At 12:34 AM on 23 Sep 2006,
  • allan wrote:

For those theists confused by Dawkins' last comment, "I don't believe we are put here to be comfortable", the question is not 'Who put us here?' but rather, 'What put us here?'. The evolutionary process put us here. Now - that wasn't so difficult was it?

Well done prof!

  • 119.
  • At 12:35 AM on 23 Sep 2006,
  • Dean Morrison wrote:

to all those that asked this question:

"the last words of prof. dawkins in the interview were "... we weren't put here to be comfortable." So who put us here prof?"

-it was the Flying Spaghetti Monster of course - very arrogant of you Christians to suggest that the alternative to Atheism is Christianity.

- incidentally your Christian God didn't intend for us to be comfortable, otherwise he wouldn't have invented evil and created parasites that devour childrens' eyeballs.

Thank you Prof Dawkins standing up to the mumbo-jumbo crowd.

  • 120.
  • At 12:37 AM on 23 Sep 2006,
  • alex wrote:

Finally someone have the courage to admit what we all knew but afraid to tell , we've been submitted for centurys by a catholic society , which in the name of god , massacred and terrorized all the native americans and slayed all the black africans. If God really existed , he would'not be anything similar to what we expected

  • 121.
  • At 12:37 AM on 23 Sep 2006,
  • thomas martin wrote:

Watched interview with professor Dawkins on newsnight tonight. He repeatedly put himself forward as a source of truth? The question that comes to mind is whose truth? Professor Dawkins I suggest, at best it may only be described as his version of it.
It seemed to me he had no convincing response to the question put to him by Jeremy Paxman on, 'how do you get through the night?' Love of music, love of art, love of science, etc,was his response,some of the greatest despots of human history could have said the same.
He apparently lives in denial of the possibility of anyone having a religious experience and imagines that those who have had such experiences are self deluded. He conceded that one might have a spiritual experience, of the Einsteinian kind although how one separates the spiritual from the religious is not clear.
God does not exist for Professor Dawkins therefore God does not exist? What stupendous arrogance! What a leap of faith that is? He denies the divinity of Jesus Christ who said 'I am the Way the TRUTH and the life' and who said of those who would believe in Him, 'You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.'
It is patently obvious that Professor Dawkins advocates not the TRUTH but his own version of it. I seriously doubt however if it will ever trully set men and women free.
Finally I don't think I would want to live in the world that he advocates, a world destitute of the Spirit of Gods grace and love without divine constraint upon the baser instincts of human kind. A world where men and women are driven by their own wharped sense of what is good or right. I believe the Bible has another name to describe such a place, its called Hell.
The bbc has presented the professor with an opportunity to advertise his book but I doubt whether it will have anything like the impact or appeal of Christs sermon on the mount or Pauls majestic teaching on love or Johns account of creation.
Just a thought.

  • 122.
  • At 12:45 AM on 23 Sep 2006,
  • Ronald Rainer wrote:

Richard Dawkins spoke of many things that he "loved". Paxman failed to ask him what love is? The Bible says that God is love and that those who worship God must worship him in spirit and in truth. Jesus said, "I am the way the truth and the life." Dawkins will never have any inkling of what "truth" is if he fails to understand the simple truth that "truth" is much more than cold scientific fact.Why is Dawkins so driven and so obsessed by his anti-God crusade I wonder? I would have thought that someone with his Knowledge of the wonders of creation would recognise the hand of a creator. "Those who have eyes to see, let them see."

  • 123.
  • At 12:49 AM on 23 Sep 2006,
  • Damien Webb wrote:

It is't just religious believers who are deluded, we all are, every human being on the planet unless you clinically depressed. Many Psychological studies have shown this and explains why something like religion has been practically universal throughout history and around the world.

  • 124.
  • At 12:52 AM on 23 Sep 2006,
  • Steve Catchpole wrote:

oh dear. prof d's upset some people with an invisible friend. years ago my two year old daughter had one called 'deedow'. he was run over and never thought of again. p'raps good advice for all those of you with god on your side/in your heads. take the advice of a two year old.

  • 125.
  • At 12:55 AM on 23 Sep 2006,
  • Pankaj wrote:

I enjoyed the conversation between Paxman & Dawkins immensely.

Dawkins' theses regarding God & Religion remind me of a quote by Yann Martel in his Booker Prize winning book, 'Life of Pi':

"We all walk as far as the legs of our reason carry us and then we leap."

It seems that Dawkins' legs can carry him a lot further than most !

  • 126.
  • At 12:57 AM on 23 Sep 2006,
  • Gareth Morris wrote:

Napolean once said that you can get anyone to believe anything so long as it's not from the Bible! What about evolution? It is still a theory, yet to be proved. The fossil evidence is extremely unconvincing. If it were convincing we could call evolution a fact and not a theory. Like the sun exists - a fact. Shouldn't science be a study of what we can observe and identify. Monkeys have similar features to humans so that is enough to say as a fact that we evolve from them? What about comparing a small cessna plane to a 747. They have similar features. Did the cessna physically evolve into a jumbo? Of course it didn't. It had a common designer who used a similar blueprint.
Let's assume that you have an incredible 1% of all the knowledge that exists in the universe. Is it possible, that in the knowledge you haven't yet come across, there is ample evidence to prove that God does indeed exist? Or have you an ulterior motive not to believe? Could it be that the "atheist" can't find God, for the same reason a thief can't find a policeman?

  • 127.
  • At 12:57 AM on 23 Sep 2006,
  • Andrew Sheldon wrote:

Mr Norman Littler writes "It is easy to ridicule Religion" That, Mr Littler is because it is by definition ridiculous.

The God Delusion should be replaced with the Politician Delusion.

  • 129.
  • At 01:02 AM on 23 Sep 2006,
  • David Whitmore wrote:

It is high time the UK officially became a secular state, as France and Turkey, for example, did many years ago. We could also do with more balance in religious discussion programmes etc. to give the atheist view more prominence. The pope's recent comment to the effect that religion is rational, and does not support violence, is the opposite to what we see in reality.

  • 130.
  • At 01:03 AM on 23 Sep 2006,
  • David Marshall wrote:

Arrogance is his downfall. He denies his creator. "Religion" has caused much conflict in this world but there is a big difference between man-made "religion" and God-made Religion! Think RCC...

For those of us who have faith in God, it's not just a matter of blind faith but instead it is the movement of God's grace in one's soul that give a sure knowledge of His existence. Faith is a gift which is given to those who are humble before their God.

  • 131.
  • At 01:05 AM on 23 Sep 2006,
  • Mark Spence wrote:

I do not feel that religion in itself is wrong although I do beleive it is an 'untruth' and have felt that way for as long as I have been capable of independant reasoning.

If people gain comfort from believing in an afterlife, and that ultimately is the root cause of all religion, in that it is about coming to terms with death and the unknown, it is about rationalising the inevitable and forces we cannot control. Then who am
I to challenge that belief. unlike many fundamentalists I believe in peoples right to self determination.

The problem as I see it is one of human nature, opportunists using religion to their own ends to push their own agendas to gain and hold onto influence and power over peoples.

In my experience it is the gulable, insecure and indocternated often from birth/socialy who allow themselves to live under a defacto theocracy.

The only reason Europe is largly secular is because Europe historically and like no other region on Earth has suffered at the hands of religious zealots and despots who have used religion as an excuse for their actions. We are secular because most people have learnt from the mistakes of our collective past.

I look forward to reading the book.

P.S It amuses me to see postings by christians who are dismayed etc. They appear to have completely overlooked the entire rasion d'etre for this debate, that of rationality.

  • 132.
  • At 01:07 AM on 23 Sep 2006,
  • John Bargh wrote:

Professor Dawkins is one of the few leading public intellectuals who recognises the inherent uselessness of attempting to seperate religion from its excesses. Instead of simply condemning violence springing from religion, he recognises that the mindset at the heart of faith - namely, the fervent belief in something for which there is greater evidence against - is what is at heart responsible for all of the other problems we associate with religion. Even when someone is liberal and peaceful in their religious beliefs, it is still important to be said that it is nonetheless nonsensical and irrational. While the fundamentalists and their appeasers would be happy to cast Professor Dawkins as equally dogmatic as themselves, they do so only because what he has to say is unanswerable.

  • 133.
  • At 01:09 AM on 23 Sep 2006,
  • jim wrote:

i am a great beliver in evolution and this is how i see it

15 billion years ago the universe came into existance through the big bang...there are a few unprovable theories like "m" theory but no-one really knows how this happened yet the author is sure it was not god

around 4 billion years ago the earth formed and over millions of years life started on this planet... there are a few theories but again no-one actually knows how this happened but yet the author is sure it was not god

the thing that i can't understand is that the author seems very sure about about the non existance of god when the the 2 fundemental questions of existace have yet to be fully answered me it is he who is practicing bad science

  • 134.
  • At 01:09 AM on 23 Sep 2006,
  • Tim Jones wrote:

Hooray for Dawkins!!!!

Religion was undoubtedly invented by mankind to keep the masses in order.

Today church attendances in the UK are falling. Is this because life is far more hectic or could it be that people are not so afraid to stay away.

Hopefully more people will start to question their beliefs, I feel the majority who say that they believe in god actually travel through life without really questioning what they believe in. It's just what was drilled into them when they were young.

  • 135.
  • At 01:17 AM on 23 Sep 2006,
  • Danny wrote:

Advertising works like this. First you scare the hell out of them, then you sell them the product. Get the idea?

  • 136.
  • At 01:18 AM on 23 Sep 2006,
  • Michael H. wrote:

I've only read the extracts here (not the entire book), but it seems to be of the typical "Cor blimey gov, I aint never seen no God, so how stupid can you be believing there might be one" school of atheistic apologetics, which has characterized Dawkin's later books. These extracts read like the bar-room rant of an after-hours pub-philosopher. Perhaps Paxman interviewed him on BBC2 because people in his Local won't listen anymore. Dawkins typically rejects the possibility that one can be a committed and critical Christian, who doesn't necessarily have to accept the literalness and inerrancy of the entire Bible to believe that it contains matters of immense and universal God-given value (however that material was sourced).
As a lapsed 'Dialetical Materialist' (a.k.a. an atheistic Marxist in recovery!), I know that it is possible to share Dawkins resentment against the arrogance and naivity of fundamentalist Evangelicals (not just in the USA) and still have a firm belief in the existence AND providential interaction of God in the world. In the Paxman interview on Newsnight (21.09.06), Dawkins seemed bemused that some people can have an authentic Christian faith, and still have a commitment to the integrity of scientific method (ie. they are succesful practising scientists).
He arrogantly dismisses them as suffering 'compartmentalized thinking', or that they really only hold to some nebulous 'Einsteinian' pantheism. Has Dawkins ever sat down, in a spirit of genuine open-minded intellectual curiosity, and had an honest conversation with any of his colleagues in science, many of whom have a far from nebulous Christian faith in Jesus? There are no shortage of them, and I'm sure he knows who they are. I'm not equipped to judge the experience of people of other faiths, but some Christians believe they do have an empirical basis for their faith; from their own diverse life experiences. It seems Dawkins hasn't (yet) had such experiences. To dismiss other people as simply delusional or suffering a self-deception is to trivialise the prolonged rational engagement many people have with these experiences and with their faith. Dawkins would probably dismiss them all as being the victims of a religion 'meme'. That is just sticking a label on something he doesn't understand, nor, it seems, tried to understand. At its best, 'atheism' is a rational and honest response to an individual's own experience and understanding of the world. Dawkins position is unscientific. He seems to have resorted to highly emotional ridicule to dismiss data (other people's lived experience) which he obviously doesn't have available to verify (or falsify). 'Atheism' deserves a better champion than this.

  • 137.
  • At 01:19 AM on 23 Sep 2006,
  • richard wrote:

in response to ronald rainer.

You argument is totally ridiculous.

You say 'The Bible says that God is love and that those who worship God must worship him in spirit and in truth. Jesus said, "I am the way the truth and the life." Dawkins will never have any inkling of what "truth" is if he fails to understand the simple truth that "truth" is much more than cold scientific fact.'

You simply have no reason to think that other than the fact the bible claims it to be so.

Whats this 'truth is more than scientific fact..' Its just incoherant rubbish. It doesnt even mean anything.

Ill say it once, clearly. You cannot use the bible to prove 'truths' about god and infer his existance. The bible assumes that god exists as it is a book primarily about him in the same way that the star wars script assumes darth vader exists, because it is about him. Any proof from that (even though it rambles incoherantly 'i am the way the truth and the light' - absolutely meaningless, just sounds nice)assumes the answer of 'god exists' as thats what the bible is about to prove that he does. You assume the answer to prove the answer. Its like error 1 from basic logic 101. People keep doing it over and over again though.. Stop quoting the bible to try and influence us! You have to use self withstanding logic and evidence!

  • 138.
  • At 01:19 AM on 23 Sep 2006,
  • Tim Hely wrote:

All things bright and beautiful,

All creatures great and small.

Evolved from self-replicating entities,

the lord god (extinct) made none of them at all.

  • 139.
  • At 01:20 AM on 23 Sep 2006,
  • Tim Jones wrote:

I was fortunate enough to here professor Dawkins on Newsnight this evening at first hand and very credible views he put forward.

Unfortunately I won't have the pleasure of listening to it in 2ooo years as I am sure it would be a most fantastic and incredible story by then.

Have religeous people ever played chinese whispers.

  • 140.
  • At 01:24 AM on 23 Sep 2006,
  • Andrew Sheldon wrote:

Let us imagine for a moment ourselves as God the Creator. We make a World and populate it with a vast array of Flora and Fauna. We then decide that it would be nice to have some recognition for all our hard work and so we create a sentient being..Mankind. We then decided to give this particular creation "free will" presumably to observe the choices which it independently made. It, decided to do things which we then decided for reasons which are unclear were "sinful" and so to teach it a lesson we decided to create another human being which we decided to call our son and named it "Jesus". This one we had publicly tortured to death in order to cleanse our other little creatures of the sins which we had invented in the first place. Does this not seem a little sadistic? Do we really want such a God as this? If this is an expression of Love then His movements are no more mysterious than those of Pol Pot.

  • 141.
  • At 01:25 AM on 23 Sep 2006,
  • B Greene wrote:

Dawkins is typical of this age in that he believes his intellect can circumscribe the world and everything in it.
The intellect itself tells us there is much more to this world than can be comprehended or understood by the human mind alone.

A little humility wouldn't go amiss.

PS He's in for a big surprise.

  • 142.
  • At 01:27 AM on 23 Sep 2006,
  • Chris wrote:

The people here (see comments 8, 18, 22, and 33) who have a problem with Dawkins’ last comment in the interview (“I don’t believe we’re put here to be comfortable”) seem to be forgetting that we were all put here by our parents, regardless of whether or not we believe in a deity. Many people choose to bring children into the world in order for them to do something meaningful and/or significant with their lives, and i assume that Dawkins' own parents were two of these people.

Also, would David (comment 56) care to elaborate on his musings on love? When we die, the world is not left unaffected by our life by any means. We all have some sort of impact on the course of history, and loving one's family, for example, and treating them with care and respect will likely be remembered and carried on into future generations, therefore being very important for the development of humankind (in my opinion). I believe it is probably true that when we die we do cease to exist in any conscious or spiritual state, but why would this lessen the meaning of the love we might have felt for others during our life? I think that the familial love that Dawkins was speaking of is completely different from the spiritual love that David feels for God (assuming he is a religious man).

  • 143.
  • At 01:35 AM on 23 Sep 2006,
  • Slavko Mykosowski wrote:

It sounds like Mr. Dawkins book about delusion is more of a critique in mans religious failure. We could hypothesise that religion (mans attempt) and God are two separate things all together. Mans failure doesn't necessarily mean that God doesn't exist, surely? Homo sapiens have serious limitations physically, mentally and we don’t know what truly exists out there in the infinite universe. It’s a very mysterious place and we are very limited in what we truly know because we're primarily stuck here on planet earth. I would like to ask Mr. Dawkins what does he make of people who have seen ghosts? I'm 99% certain I've seen one and it was quite an unusual experience. Nobody has to believe me but I honestly saw one. How do we explain that? Am I mad, am I a liar, was it delusion?... Who's to say God isn't speaking through Mr. Dawkin in a very uncanny way? Let's not kill the messenger just yet he maybe onto something... (lol)

In a way it makes me sad (and annoyed) that Richard Dawkins is a man who, I would presume, knows a lot but unfortunately understands so little. He seems to be so blinkered to the point that he sees religion as THE cause of problems in the world.

Religion (and god) are the creations of Man. Why? Because that is a characteristic of our human nature. Most people need the comforting notion of god. We created god because we wanted the notion of a god and all that it entails.

HUMANS ARE NOT RATIONAL (it is impossible for humans to be rational) - the belief in god merely reaffirms that. The idea that a 'logical' arguement could change any person's tribally accepted religious beliefs is demonstrating a clear lack of any understanding of the species he belongs to.

I could quote from the extract - the simple truth is within even those few paragraphs but Mr Dawkins cannot see the wood from the trees (in effect he is as blind as those 'believers') - but this is meant to be just a short comment, so I won't. Religion is not the cause of anything - Man's irrationality is.

Of course there's no god. That is self evident. But it is also self evident that humans will go on believing - in something or other - or as the young people say - WHATEVER! - until the end of our days.

Perhaps Mr dawkins should read the pages on my site - He may begin to understand. But I am wise enough to understand that he is just as biased, and set in HIS beliefs as any other of his species. To most people Truth is a stranger - and unwelcome. So be it.

  • 145.
  • At 01:38 AM on 23 Sep 2006,
  • richard wrote:

in response to gareth morris.
i dont know if i can cope with this...

'Napolean once said that you can get anyone to believe anything so long as it's not from the Bible! What about evolution? It is still a theory, yet to be proved. The fossil evidence is extremely unconvincing. If it were convincing we could call evolution a fact and not a theory. Like the sun exists - a fact. Shouldn't science be a study of what we can observe and identify. Monkeys have similar features to humans so that is enough to say as a fact that we evolve from them? What about comparing a small cessna plane to a 747. They have similar features. Did the cessna physically evolve into a jumbo? Of course it didn't. It had a common designer who used a similar blueprint.
Let's assume that you have an incredible 1% of all the knowledge that exists in the universe. Is it possible, that in the knowledge you haven't yet come across, there is ample evidence to prove that God does indeed exist? Or have you an ulterior motive not to believe? Could it be that the "atheist" can't find God, for the same reason a thief can't find a policeman?'

You evidently have no knowledge of the scientific method whatsoever and i mean that literally. Technically, everything in science is 'just a theory' as we cannot know 100% as we are not responsible for the rules that govern it, unlike for example, mathematics. See hume's fork. Scientific laws are only called such as they have a mathematical element ie a formula which are usually derived in a way that makes it a certainty (provided all our knowledge about the system is correct-back to humes fork). If evolution was mathematical it would be a law. A mathematical relationship that absolutly governed the way evolution worked would be a law. Both however, would be equally correct.

With regards to the fossil record... are you joking? To pick just one example, and lets be topical. The 3.3 million year old 3 year old found in africa which posessed both human and ape like qualities. Its been in the news lots. How can you explain that..? and 'the devil put it there to trick us' will not suffice.

Your design argument is very very weak. Also have you noticed how a 747 is actually quite alot better at flying than a bird? And that cameras we have designed are better than our eyes? (spectral range, even resolution, lack of common myopia, lack of blind spot etc.) It seems we are better at designing stuff than god is... strange that.

And your last comment about 1% of the information. You could believe absolutely anything that way. I could say that the remaining 99% showed that there are winged mystical creatures everywhere except where im looking and that all the toys in the world come to life when im not looking. Listen to yourself, you are saying, 'i believe in god because of what i DONT know.' what a joke!

  • 146.
  • At 01:45 AM on 23 Sep 2006,
  • Dave Taylor wrote:

Professor Dawkins' remarks on Newsnight showed once again - indeed he admitted - that he doesn't understand the many who are able to reconcile Christianity and science. That is partly because he does not understand Christianity and partly because he does not understand how people (including scientists) can think differently. He judges them by his own standards, which involve a sense-based, rule-following, "truth as pattern-matching" methodology to the exclusion of an intuitive, error-eliminating, relevance-seeking methodology delivering truth (whatever the subject) as reliability in use, i.e. probable freedom from significant and irredeemable side-effects if wrong.

On the science side the professor should try taking his cue from Bacon and Shannon rather than Hume. On the religious side, he needs to understand that word 'religion' etymologically means "retying", as implied in the doctrine that we have been freed by Christ, and that it is right and fitting to commit ourselves to the one who freed us.

If the majority of Christians, like Professor Dawkins seems to, passionately want to believe what they have been told is right, intuitives - just as they would studying science - more often try to make sense of what primary sources actually say. St Paul says, "If Christ be not risen from the dead then our faith is in vain", and the accompanying testimony to his having so risen is subject to the interpretive criteria of historical rather than sensory evidence.

Our decision whether or not to accept that evidence (or otherwise believe) may be partly prudential: if there is a God and I deny it then I miss the point of life, whereas if I assume there is and there isn't, the Christian excuse for celebrating life is as good as any. But that suggests second and third reasons for being prepared to believe: temperamentally, and having looked at both, we would rather listen to Christ's advice than trust in politicians, while the few scientists who bother to study methodology are well aware that science just as much as religion is interpretive and comparative: we move forward by having faith in the best available hypothesis.

On the question of the existence of God, Professor Dawkins had not even understood the Christian hypothesis when he argued you cannot find him in the universe. We Christians believe God is both outside and inside the universe: much as a mother is outside and ultimately separate from her child, and yet shares the genes within her child. Seeing genes one would never guess their influence, but intuition can find no fault in recognising some likenesses between mothers and their children, and now we believe the sense-making and fruitful hypothesis that many of these likenesses are generated by shared genetic programming. Again, Professor Dawkins never mentioned the evidence for a Big Bang before which there are are problems with the logically necessary scientific axiom of the conservation of energy. Of the rival hypotheses consistent with that, there can be no evidence from the energy flows in the present Universe pointing to its continually expanding and contracting, and Fred Hoyle's assumption that it does apparently didn't work out theoretically. There is no way either than we could see a pre-existing God, but in this case an alternative exists, that a God without our limitations could communicate with us. But that is exactly what Christianity claims happened, and the point of the Resurrection is that it is evidence making plausible the reality claimed. Of course, if Professor Dawkins refuses to believe the evidence, he will have no grounds for believing the claim, whether or not it is "true" in his sense.

Dawkins may well have grounds for (unkindly) slighting naive creationists and arguments from "design", but here the best available hypothesis has moved on. Unless for the fun of it, an intelligent God would not bother to design all the details of the universe, he would program it to "design" and construct itself, much as the evolutionary hypothesis suggests and informed Christians accept it does. What he might well have found necessary (as humans do with systems they build) was to tweak or assist it a little at crucial moments, thus giving some substance to the Creation story. Darwin rightly claimed only the origin of species, not the generation of genuses, which would have taken him beyond the evidence.

  • 147.
  • At 01:56 AM on 23 Sep 2006,
  • Robert McIntyre wrote:

I thought it was good that atheists got a bit of airtime as their views and consideration to them is often lost as it always seems to be religious fundamentalists who make the most noise. One thing I would pull him up about from the interview though is the glib use of soundbites, e.g. "Christianity was a creation of St. Paul", well even a quick visit to Wikipedia would tell him that the origins of it are not as simple as that and that there is considerable debate and research. If I'd gone on TV and said something as equally glib about his work I'm sure he'd be up in arms about my lack of insight.

  • 148.
  • At 02:08 AM on 23 Sep 2006,
  • bonnie molnar wrote:

If only, if only, Dawkins book - the clean, simple, humble logic of it - could ever begin to affect those who choose to believe in the historic rubbish of organised religion. Unfortunately, fairies and elves and gods are still required to decorate the ignorance of the masses. Bless.

  • 149.
  • At 02:30 AM on 23 Sep 2006,
  • jnp wrote:

To Gareth,Jim(77) and I'm sure many others who believe it is all too beautiful/complex not to have an 'Intelligent Design': Read "The Blind Watchmaker".
Sitting in your house, looking at your paintings, you know they cannot happen by accident. Something/one with a (grand) design must have made it. So, who made him? and him and him. Eventually, you have to start from nothing, perhaps a big bang to get things going, but perhaps not. If it requires trillions of universes starting with a big bang to eventually lead to us, why not? I find it easy to believe that if there is one universe, why not trillions - either by accident or from some intelligent designer. After all, at one time it was thought that there was only one sun and as our ability to detect these things improved we have discovered there are trillions of trillions of suns - maybe with people going 'round many of them. I think my point is if you don't know what to believe then a god is probably the easy way out.

Another good read is Sam Harris' "The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason". Note that both Sam H & Richard D are equally zealous about their own beliefs in non-belief.

  • 150.
  • At 02:45 AM on 23 Sep 2006,
  • Neil wrote:

2,000 years ago religion had a purpose. It explained the inexplicable: droughts, floods, earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, solar eclipses and the most intriguing question of all - how did we get here? Over the past 200 years or so, all those questions have been answered by science. There are still plenty of things we don’t know, but one thing we should surely have learned by now is that the answer does NOT lie in religion.

Bravo Richard Dawkins.

And by the way, those who equate Professor Dawkins’ allegiance to science with their own allegiance to religion are missing an important point. Dawkins believes in what can be proven, while they believe what someone has written in a book.

  • 151.
  • At 02:49 AM on 23 Sep 2006,
  • Pankaj wrote:

To Gareth Morris:

"Monkeys have similar features to humans so that is enough to say as a fact that we evolve from them?"

That's why they say, little knowledge is a very dangerous thing. Only the lack of understanding of the Darwinian theory of evolution can lead one to think that humans 'evolve from' monkeys. Hit the books !

  • 152.
  • At 02:53 AM on 23 Sep 2006,
  • Craig wrote:

The concept of a single true god that directly challenge another individuals true belief does nothing for peace and the future of humankind.
The earliest single-god belief system that I know about is the Egyptian Sun-God Aten and this appears to be the origin of many of the myths and legends within most of the modern monotheistic religions.
When cultures met before the one single truth, gods were simply incorporated into the varied pantheons. The Romans came to Britain and Pagan deities were accepted as just Roman and Pagan gods by another name, but since that time religious tolerance has taken several steps backwards.
Fundamentalist of any faith are created by this one ultimate truth and this by its very nature creates intolerance.
Humankind struggles against racism, sexism and fascism etc… all of which were once considered truths, isn’t time humankind grew past these divisive truths and sort to further our own development by asking questions rather than learning the answers from whichever book we are indoctrinated into. Cult or Religion, one ultimate truth is flawed and one man’s cult, appears to be another man’s religion.
Unfortunately, until all of us decide to question these religious beliefs, whether fundamental or liberal whenever we encounter them, we will always be faced with an intolerant world. His book however good, is not the one truth either and will not change the world for us!
And what I interpreted Dawkins to mean by “…we weren’t put here to be comfortable.” was that humankind evolves through adversity to further our understanding of ourselves and the universe around us. The ‘put’ was a reference to the original spark of life, and I’m guessing a scientific explanation, not a creation theory with a bloke with a beard. I’ve also stopped worshipping the Sun-God, but I'm not planning on worshipping Dawkins either, I'll question him as well!

  • 153.
  • At 03:49 AM on 23 Sep 2006,
  • Rory Quinn wrote:

149 comments and still not one rational defence of the existance of God. It seems from their comments that those who believe in God are not terribly bright, or at least seriously lacking in critical thinking skills.
Consciousness of are own mortality is a profound and deeply terrifying conundrum. One that each of us must come to terms with on our own terms. It would be nice if more of us could do this without involving the supernatural.

  • 154.
  • At 04:20 AM on 23 Sep 2006,
  • stephen springette wrote:

I respect Richard Dawkins' power of reason and his willingness to stand up and say what he believes. However...

Richard Dawkins' biology rests primarily on the presumption that it's "all in the genes". This is the heart and soul of "genetic determinism". But this sweeping presumption has not been adequately accounted for.

I have three crucial questions:
1) How much "information" (data) does it take to put together a genetic "blueprint" to account for a developed, healthy human body, with all its hairs, veins, nooks and cranies, eyes, teeth, secretions, etc?
2) Is it conceivable that this enormous amount of "information", or data, can be encoded into a spherical volume (the nucleus of a human egg) that is a mere 0.02 of a mm in diameter? Hold up your hand, and see if you can estimate that diameter between your thumb and forefinger, holding them steady as you do so. I am open to being persuaded by a compelling argument;
3) Where is the computer that processes this information? Does it lie within the nucleus that must already contain the enormous amount of data required for the human genetic blueprint? Or, embedded within the genetic code itself, does it "bootstrap" itself into existence from the genetic code?

Without a satisfactory account for this "information" problem, the basis of Mr Dawkins' reasoning is without foundation and the entire edifice comes crashing down.

Can someone, somewhere, please provide an estimate as to how much "data" is required for the human genetic blueprint, so that I can make my own estimates as to the validity or otherwise of the genetic determinism that Mr Dawkins thesis depends on so completely? THEN we might be better placed to discuss the merits or otherwise of different religions.

  • 155.
  • At 04:20 AM on 23 Sep 2006,
  • stephen springette wrote:

I respect Richard Dawkins' power of reason and his willingness to stand up and say what he believes. However...

Richard Dawkins' biology rests primarily on the presumption that it's "all in the genes". This is the heart and soul of "genetic determinism". But this sweeping presumption has not been adequately accounted for.

I have three crucial questions:
1) How much "information" (data) does it take to put together a genetic "blueprint" to account for a developed, healthy human body, with all its hairs, veins, nooks and cranies, eyes, teeth, secretions, etc?
2) Is it conceivable that this enormous amount of "information", or data, can be encoded into a spherical volume (the nucleus of a human egg) that is a mere 0.02 of a mm in diameter? Hold up your hand, and see if you can estimate that diameter between your thumb and forefinger, holding them steady as you do so. I am open to being persuaded by a compelling argument;
3) Where is the computer that processes this information? Does it lie within the nucleus that must already contain the enormous amount of data required for the human genetic blueprint? Or, embedded within the genetic code itself, does it "bootstrap" itself into existence from the genetic code?

Without a satisfactory account for this "information" problem, the basis of Mr Dawkins' reasoning is without foundation and the entire edifice comes crashing down.

Can someone, somewhere, please provide an estimate as to how much "data" is required for the human genetic blueprint, so that I can make my own estimates as to the validity or otherwise of the genetic determinism that Mr Dawkins thesis depends on so completely? THEN we might be better placed to discuss the merits or otherwise of different religions.

  • 156.
  • At 04:52 AM on 23 Sep 2006,
  • Colin wrote:

I have to say I found Richard’s view of the world a little confusing and linear in perception. His final comment to Jeremy, when he said: "I don't believe we were put here to be comfortable" does, as some have already pointed out, show a flaw in his ideology. Who did put us here? And who are we in relation to who put us here? I’m not religious in the orthodox sense by any means. I don’t go to church and don’t plan on reading the bible at bedtime any time soon. But I do consider myself a person who acknowledges a higher being “who put me here”. I may not understand it, but to deny its existence would mean denying my very purpose on this planet. I would suggest looking at the things I do the way I do as being “spiritual” and being spiritual does not mean I am religious in any way.

The dictionary defines “spiritual” as “of or pertaining to the spirit or soul, as distinguished from the physical nature: a spiritual approach to life.”

Spirituality is a sense of knowing, a sense of awareness of a higher self. When we develop this sense, our urge is naturally to grow. I’m not talking about growing in feet and inches, I’m talking about a growth in consciousness.

Sadly, I’m afraid that if I were to ask Richard about concepts such as ‘spirituality’ and ‘consciousness’ I think he would have very little to contribute. He seems too wrapped up with evangelical Christians and their deluded beliefs, and his answer is to write God off altogether as in his mind its misguided belief of God that’s causing all the trouble.

But in order to write off God, one first has to have a deep understanding of what “God” is. And I’m not sure that Richard has either the spiritual dimension – or conscious awareness – to contribute here either.

Thank God for Richard Dawkins? Well I accept Richard’s presence on this planet, with his views, has some purpose. :-)

  • 157.
  • At 05:12 AM on 23 Sep 2006,
  • John wrote:

Thank goodness for Dawkins.

Life on our planet Earth hangs by a thread. It could end at any time due to volcanic activity, runaway climate change or collision with a meteorite.

Long before the Sun runs out of fuel, the Earth will start to die.

Instead of wasting vast amounts of resources on religion, we should apply those resources to look beyond our planet and solar system, and seek new worlds to secure our future in.

Religion could end up costing humankind and all the other species on Earth their very existence.

What a waste that would be!!

  • 158.
  • At 06:11 AM on 23 Sep 2006,
  • w. eggen wrote:

Dawkins'body language and style are those of a self-sure religious man who like old prophet fights false ideas of God. How do his selfish genes get to that? Seeking truth? Why? And why spread it? He argues that only rational thought about the empirical data is admissible. Yet, he accepts that the brains do many strange things. Serenpendicity is one of them. Like art, most science is born from connections the brains make unconscienciously, often during our sleep. Religion is about keeping the brains well-focused even in that inconscious action.

  • 159.
  • At 06:18 AM on 23 Sep 2006,
  • Gareth Morris wrote:

In response to Richard (146):

Everything in science may start out as a theory and you need enough of the observable stuff to turn it into a law, gravity for instance. What I'm saying is that I'm not convinced with the evidence presented for evolution. The fossil record is extremely weak. If there was a mass of evidence then logic says it would be worth taking seriously, but that is simply not the case. Why would I automatically accept the speculation of a scientist on the news or what they taught me in school as being concrete and complete? People make mistakes; the guy who invented the pencil knew what he was doing when he put an eraser on the top! It is illogical and narrow-minded to accept something speculative as truth when there are other possibilites to consider.

Sir Fred Hoyle calculated the likelihood of the formation of life from inanimate matter as one out of ten to the power 40000. What caused the big bang? When the first fish walked out of the sea how did it breathe? Had it evolved lungs already? If so, why did it feel the need to evolve lungs in the sea? How did it procreate? It takes faith to believe in evolution.

You misunderstand me about your other point. I'm not asking you to believe in God because of what you don't know. Only to consider the possibility of God existing with the knowledge you don't have. Again,it makes good science.

Belief in the theory of evolution of course does have one appealing aspect. It takes God out of the equation and gives us a clear conscience to do the things that God would rather we didn't do!

You've already taken a leap of faith to believe in the theory of evolution. What's stopping you from doing the same thing with God? You can know God, not by blind faith or by other people's say so - but through your own desire to seek Him and find Him.

God reveals Himself to us both objectively, through the Bible, and subjectively, through His Spirit. An intellectual understanding of the Bible is important but not enough. God's Word appears puzzling and sterile without His Spirit. Knowing about God is not knowing God Himself. If you treat anyone as only an object, you will never come to really know that person. You merely know how they look or act. Subjectively, we must come to God, knowing Him and being known.

God bless.

  • 160.
  • At 06:20 AM on 23 Sep 2006,
  • Gareth Morris wrote:

In response to Richard (146):

Everything in science may start out as a theory and you need enough of the observable stuff to turn it into a law, gravity for instance. What I'm saying is that I'm not convinced with the evidence presented for evolution. The fossil record is extremely weak. If there was a mass of evidence then logic says it would be worth taking seriously, but that is simply not the case. Why would I automatically accept the speculation of a scientist on the news or what they taught me in school as being concrete and complete? People make mistakes; the guy who invented the pencil knew what he was doing when he put an eraser on the top! It is illogical and narrow-minded to accept something speculative as truth when there are other possibilites to consider.

Sir Fred Hoyle calculated the likelihood of the formation of life from inanimate matter as one out of ten to the power 40000. What caused the big bang? When the first fish walked out of the sea how did it breathe? Had it evolved lungs already? If so, why did it feel the need to evolve lungs in the sea? How did it procreate? It takes faith to believe in evolution.

You misunderstand me about your other point. I'm not asking you to believe in God because of what you don't know. Only to consider the possibility of God existing with the knowledge you don't have. Again,it makes good science.

Belief in the theory of evolution of course does have one appealing aspect. It takes God out of the equation and gives us a clear conscience to do the things that God would rather we didn't do!

You've already taken a leap of faith to believe in the theory of evolution. What's stopping you from doing the same thing with God? You can know God, not by blind faith or by other people's say so - but through your own desire to seek Him and find Him.

God reveals Himself to us both objectively, through the Bible, and subjectively, through His Spirit. An intellectual understanding of the Bible is important but not enough. God's Word appears puzzling and sterile without His Spirit. Knowing about God is not knowing God Himself. If you treat anyone as only an object, you will never come to really know that person. You merely know how they look or act. Subjectively, we must come to God, knowing Him and being known.

God bless.

  • 161.
  • At 06:27 AM on 23 Sep 2006,
  • david barber wrote:

Could we have some books with the conviction of "The God Delusion" that can be read to and read by children please? Like many parents I find myself fighting a rearguard action against religious indoctrination in our schools, which appear to have a dispropotionate ratio of religious head teachers.

  • 162.
  • At 07:57 AM on 23 Sep 2006,
  • sam nico wrote:

It is embarrassing listening to a scientist quoting from the Bible in his book, expounding on the story of Noah and Lot's wife, giving it the very literalist interpretation that is so beloved of fundamentalists, as though his scientific training qualified him to 'understand' everything. His ignorance of spiritual matters is quite astounding, and yet he has no shame in pronouncing literalism as though he 'knew' what these stories really meant. And this is what passes for modern wisdom.

  • 163.
  • At 08:23 AM on 23 Sep 2006,
  • amazed wrote:

I used to be proud of our news programmes. As a result I am disappointed that they seem scared of reflecting what must surely be a widespread opinion: that some religions seem exempt from critisism and that religious protestors are often over-reacting. How sad it is that some members of certain religions can not handle ridicule! I am convinced that religion causes more problems that it solves. I hardly know anyone who is religious, yet it often features in politics.

  • 164.
  • At 08:28 AM on 23 Sep 2006,
  • Ray Skinner wrote:

Religion a source of evil in the world? So is sex. Let's stop doing that as humans, and pfff, problem of evil solved - in one generation!

  • 165.
  • At 08:30 AM on 23 Sep 2006,
  • sam nico wrote:

The allegory of Lot's wife, as not understood by Dawkins yet quoted by him. The Doctrine of Sodom (self-love) perceives the approach of something divine, and wishes to show how everything, including the divine, can be known in a self-love manner. In that attempt, their ability to see it is, of course, too blinkered, and incapable of seeing it. As a result, the divine protects itself and leaves only the literal view to sight, and of course, this is all that Dawkins can see. And yet this blinkered approach to reality is extolled as a virtue, and paraded as truth. The kind of understanding presented by Dawkins is of that perverted type, assuming for itself a total inclusivity when it is actually quite primitive. Nothing personal about Dawkins, but it is amazing that we have these kinds of ideas thrust upon us in the name of science which is very worrying if this represents the modern wisdom. It is a kind of reconstruction of Sodom in the allegorical sense.

  • 166.
  • At 08:31 AM on 23 Sep 2006,
  • dogooder dave wrote:

I was disappointed to hear that the spaghetti monster is not real but delighted to see my old pal Dicky in a suit rather than jeans that are too small for him - do love him though

  • 167.
  • At 08:48 AM on 23 Sep 2006,
  • Robert wrote:

The proposition that there is no God relies, entirely, on the counter proposition that there is a God. QED the bet that there is as as good as the bet there isn't. The main religions agree that the human mind is simply not equipped to comprehend the nature of God which is constantly being reinterpreted (read Karen Armstrong's History of God). Professor Dawkins is trying to climb Mount Impossible...again.

  • 168.
  • At 09:31 AM on 23 Sep 2006,
  • Brian Hibbert wrote:

Professor Dawkins like the rest of us has every right to express his views but like us all they are clouded by the limit of his vision. Let me explain. I am totally Deaf, it would therefore be unacceptable and inappropriate for me to write a book or to propose an argument regarding a musical composition or the improbability of bird of identification by their sounds. I know of a man who is totally blind who would not presume to render an article describing the non existence of pattern and colour in nature – for example, or to deny that green leaves of summer change to the glorious reds and golds of autumn. Ridiculous!
Unfortunately Professor Dawkins is a blind guide, unable to see or hear the things of God he seeks to take others down the sorry road of ignorance. I wonder why he tries so hard to convince others? Perhaps he is afraid that he is wrong and needs to have the reassurance of other ‘believers’ around him.
As John wrote early in the first Century “That which was from the first, which has come to our ears, and which we have seen with our eyes, looking on it and touching it with our hands, about the Word of life. ……….We give you word of all we have seen and everything which has come to our ears,”

  • 169.
  • At 09:40 AM on 23 Sep 2006,
  • Ian wrote:

Thank God for Dawkins! I have read a number of his books and through his engaging writng style, backed up by scientific discovery, he has provided me with answers to many issues that used to trouble me.

Without satisfactory explanation of how complex designs come into existence and why, it is easy to fall back on religious "faith" as the cop-out solution and rely on the answers provided in religious doctrine, all written many years ago when the scientific evidence we have today was not available.

We are all free to choose what we want to believe in, and why - at least we should be; but of course indoctrination of children can have a life-lasting effect that, by its very nature, removes that liberty.

For me, the explanations and writings of Dawkins provide a far more satisfactory answer to the big issues of existence, evolution and civilisation that any scripture or religious doctrine does.

If that makes me an atheist, then I am content with that. Far more content that calling myself a non-practising Christian, simply because that's how I was brought up and then not really bothering to resolve all the religious paradoxes that fill the headlines of media every day.

To change a religiuos label requires one to select an alternative. Most of us spent our youger years at school, where we inherited, or were "given", a religion. After leaving school you either continue to actively practice your chosen religion or just let it slide because you find that your religion, or religion in general, raises problems for which you have no satifactory answers.

In the case of the former, religious activists are, on the whole, unlikely to change their beliefs as continued worship and practice simply reinforces their beliefs. However, in the case of the latter, the common practice is probably to simply do nothing about it - we are not short of things to do instead of worship on our days off! Unless we are confronted by an alternative, that can be understood, the easy thing to do is just carry on with your life, not bothering to resolve the unanswered questions. You may call yourself a non-practicing Christian, Catholic, Muslim or whatever, or you may just debunk it all and not care, because you do not know any other alternative.

In his books, Dawkins does now provide an understandable alternative; one that is supported by today's scientific and archaelogical evidence.

  • 170.
  • At 09:49 AM on 23 Sep 2006,
  • Martin Kostyrka wrote:

Dawkins accuses other scientists with 'religious'leanings to have compartmentalised thinking. That's rich!
'Scientists' have, like most other folks, predujices and blind spots. All scientists work in 'compartments'. This means that research is often time wasted or futile when facts and findings from other disciplines and researchers are not realised or taken into account.
Most 'scientists' and researchers are still living in a 'Newtonian type paradigm' universe.There is a 'new'(its not really new atall) and soon to be more widely accepted paradigm, that of the primacy of conciousness.
Although Dawkins is really talking utter nonsence he does, sadly, represent a very large proportion of current thought in todays deperately 'lost' and rudderless society.

All things said reflect the quality of the speaker.
God exists within and without this world.
The ongoing discussion just shows the level of ignorance or willful manipulation of others.

  • 172.
  • At 10:01 AM on 23 Sep 2006,
  • Terry 'Cool Hand' Murphy wrote:

He's right isn't he...

  • 173.
  • At 10:03 AM on 23 Sep 2006,
  • MICK FENNER. wrote:

More of such programes please let people hear against a belief of god there are lots of programmes about and for religion, I believe there are more Atheists in this world than we think. Bring on other peoples truth.
Wonderfull 10mins,with no hate or trying to belittle others, did not want to conker the world with imaginary friends.

  • 174.
  • At 10:08 AM on 23 Sep 2006,
  • Edward Rivers wrote:

While Dawkins makes some valid points about the nature of religious belief and the immoralities religious communities, his comments fail to make any effect on the existence of God. Many thinkers have put forward theories for rejection of God's existence. Sigmund Freud put forward religious belief as a psychological neurosis, Emile Durkheim as a necessary element of society and Karl Marx as a way of controlling the masses. These arguments all come from materialist influences as does Dakins view. However all such arguements fail as they commit what is known as a genetic fallacy, in that even if the points they make about religious belief are true they make on existential points. It is possible to concieve of a God existing independent of all religious belief. More importantly independent of the scientific realm of space and time. Prof Dakwins can show the world as much evidence of the immoralities and delusion of religious belief as he wants, however he will never make any effect on God's existence. I suggest that he sticks to science, rather than breaching off into realms of philosophical reasoning and Theological knowledge in which his field caries no weight.

  • 175.
  • At 10:15 AM on 23 Sep 2006,
  • Virginia Hyam wrote:

Human beings thrive on loving kindness that brings healings, miracles and peace. I didn't see this originating anywhere except from the heart of God.

  • 176.
  • At 10:17 AM on 23 Sep 2006,
  • barry z wrote:

One day, many centuries from now, in a peaceful world free of hatred, bigotry and oppression, a future archaeologist will uncover a dusty old book which pointed the way to this paradise on earth. But this book will not be the Bible, not the Koran, not any work of false prophesy ascribed to a supernatural power. It will be a book by Richard Dawkins.

It was only a few decades ago in America that from many Southern Baptist pulpits pastors found Bible chapter and verse to support marriage only within one’s race and to decry the end of family and society if marriage across races were to be allowed. Today they now intend on having discrimination of homosexuals written into our constitutions. Such is the love of these religions.

  • 178.
  • At 10:33 AM on 23 Sep 2006,
  • Diana Foulkes wrote:

It was such a relief to hear Proffesor Dawkins.As a child I loved and feared God.I prayed & talked to him and thanked him for my life.In my thirties I began to question religion but was to busy to think about it & ceased going to church.Gradually I have now developed my own sense of beliefs which in my seventies I cling on to but until now have been reluctant to talk about. GOD IS LOVE,not a far off being in the universe.In a close family,of which I am part,there is an abundance of love.As we get older we feel it more deeply i.e we become closer to "God or Love?" When we are young we are too busy to think about it until something happens to make us question what life is all about.Even in a close family love can be stretched, but then life is not always easy or as Proffessor Dawkins said "We were not put on this earth to be comfortable" I also believe we have our parents genes and consequently they live through us.My mother still seems as near to me as when she was alive .Although I hope and believe I can live through my children I know this supposition has a flaw as not every one has children,but surely those who create love have a better chance to have a peaceful afterlife.That, of course, is not as easy as it sounds,although it is more logical to me than the religion in I was brought up to believe.

  • 179.
  • At 10:43 AM on 23 Sep 2006,
  • Kevin Hollingsworth wrote:

The UK isn't really religious in the way the US is. And every nation seems to have it's own take on religion. This matter of mass irrational belief may be responsible for a coming dark age of unimaginable horror & extent. But it may also be a insoluble conundrum that even the most enbrightened cannot overcome even as a collective. Say you got the fire of superstition under control in one region for a decade...wouldn't it flare up again elsewhere? our biology means charismatic madmen are inevitable....surely this is the greatest lesson of history Dawkins?

  • 180.
  • At 10:53 AM on 23 Sep 2006,
  • MH wrote:

I've got a lot of time for Richard Dawkins and have often considered joining the British Humanist Association, though I can't help but think it's another little "tag" to identify someone by in the same way as "Christian" or "Moslem".

However, regarding Dawkins comments on the "strangeness", "weirdness" and "pick & choose" mentality of the Bible and it's interpretations, I've posted the article below to a few of my more evangelical Christian friends over the last few years.

The only response has been the "Well, your not meant to take that literally" which begs the question, "Which parts do you take literally?"

Anyway...the free thinkers amongst you enjoy, and the rest of you feel free to shift uncomfortably in you seats...


"Dr. Laura Schlessinger is a US radio personality who dispenses advice to people who call in to her radio show. She has said that homosexuality is an abomination according to Leviticus 18:22, and cannot be condoned under any circumstances. The following is an open letter to Dr. Laura penned by a US resident, which was posted on the Internet. It's funny, as well as informative.

“Dear Dr. Laura,

Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God's Law. I have learned a great deal from your show, and try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can.

When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination. End of debate.

I do need some help from you, however, regarding some of the other specific laws
and how to follow them.

1. When I burn a bull on the alter as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord - Lev. 1:9. The problem is my neighbors. They claim that the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?

2. I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as is sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?

3. I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of menstrual uncleanliness - Lev. 15:19-24. The problem is, how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offense.

4. Lev. 25:44 states that I may indeed possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can't I own Canadians?

5. I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself?

6. A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination - Lev. 11:10-it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don't agree. Can you settle this?

7. Lev. 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle room here?

8. Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev. 19:27. How should they die?

9. I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?

10. My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev. 19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them (Lev. 24:10-16). Couldn't we just burn them to death at a private family affair like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws (Lev. 20:14)?

I know that you have studied these things extensively, so I am confident that you can help. Thank you again for reminding us that God's word is eternal and unchanging.

Your devoted disciple and adoring fan...”"

  • 181.
  • At 10:55 AM on 23 Sep 2006,
  • Mike Stickler wrote:

I see the so called “enlightened and tolerant” do not practice what they preach. They in fact are not interested in honest and open minded discussion. Instead spread fear and intolerance of others beliefs! Is it not tolerance that we allow others to think and believe as they grow in the knowledge of the truth? Apparently, the millions of people of faith (Christian or otherwise) around the world are ignorant, brainwashed or suffer from a Jedi mind trick. If Mr. Dawkins and apparently his readers, are so afraid of these millions of faithful soul's worldview and how that worldview will effect humankind. Then, why not be part of the solution instead of part of the problem.
Engage, in an honest and open-minded dialogue with those of faith in their community. They are not hard to find, they are located nearby in local houses of worship. Invite the local pastor or church leader to a cup of tea. Be open to listening and understanding. You won’t find some mindless, uneducated, brainwashed fool. Instead what you will find is a caring, educated, thoughtful person who would love to discuss your world view and theirs. They are not afraid what they know is Truth will be compromised. Are you?

  • 182.
  • At 11:07 AM on 23 Sep 2006,
  • Haile wrote:

Could I ask Richard to please write the same about the millions of non-religious murderers, abusers of children, thiefs etc that are in our prisons of the secular west. Is this the secular moral? Yes, religion kills thousands as can be heard on the news, but what about the 2nd world war when Hitler on the basis of the survival of the fittest race philosophy sought to rule the world. Richard please write a book attacking the other side in your very imaginative writing. It could be a great money earner as well.

  • 183.
  • At 11:08 AM on 23 Sep 2006,

Well, here we go again. Richard Dawkins publishes a book believing that over 2 billion of the present global population are all deluded. Well, would he die for his scientific belief; would his scientific convictions all him to give up his life? Has he tried to create anything out of nothing? Has he created anything in the laboratory? I expect not. But still the sun rises each day; trees grow, human beings and animals are created daily, food is grown for life. But did a single human being create any of this? No. It all happens without a single human being being able to create a simple blood cell or one leaf rom a tree. How amazing that Dawkins forgets that bees and insects and nature flourishes without human intervention. It all just happens. But if this were so, it would be like affirming that the present-day city of New York with its skyscrapers, just happened to be there one day, without the aid or direction of architects, construction workers, planners or materials.
Richard Dawkins thesis is flawed from the start. His views are hollow, lack substance or reason. The only rational explanation for this planet and for the whole universe is a superior being,who has a plan, has created it all and destined those who believe this, to one day share the ultimate eternal reward. Dawkins' heresy is that he does not see that billions ARE believers, not because of religion, but in spite of that, and because it is within the hearts of all - if you care to take the time and see.The arrogance of his thesis is that he believes he is right and that billions of 'the believers' are wring. I stand with the majority as any good democracy would do.

Anthony (Griffith)

  • 184.
  • At 11:09 AM on 23 Sep 2006,
  • Rob wrote:

It never ceases to amuse me that religious believers accuse Dawkins of arrogance and pride because of the conviction he displays in his atheism.

It is precisely those characteristics which support all believers in their own conviction that there is a god.

The stench of hypocrisy hangs heavy...

  • 185.
  • At 11:18 AM on 23 Sep 2006,
  • Peter Filicietti wrote:

Prof. Dawkins has been a hero since I found him in the early-eighties. He just keeps getting better and better.
We need more devout atheists to proudly stand up and proclaim not only the intellectual but, most urgently, the moral need for a rational foundation to our beliefs.

  • 186.
  • At 11:19 AM on 23 Sep 2006,
  • Ann Jones wrote:

For the first time in years I felt that I was not alone in my conviction that humanity needs to rid itself of the God delusion.Richard Dawkins gave me hope that people may eventually come to realise the truth - we as humans and we alone are responsible for how we live our lives and how we treat our fellow human beings. Bravo Richard Dawkins!

  • 187.
  • At 11:21 AM on 23 Sep 2006,
  • Stephen Harvie wrote:

Thank Evolution for Professor Dawkins the Patron saint of Common Sense

  • 188.
  • At 11:23 AM on 23 Sep 2006,
  • Marc wrote:

The problem with Dawkins' thesis is that if a scientist can never be sure then a scientist has to be agnostic. So in the interests of truth lets use the terms correctly. Atheists are deluded.
Only faith brings certainty, so it would appear that Dawkins' is a man of faith.

By the way I have a PhD in zoology and I am a Christian

  • 189.
  • At 11:25 AM on 23 Sep 2006,
  • Sibu Varghese wrote:

Great, back to square one again. To me reading the various comments here are like watching a new episode of planet of the apes. The monkey people (Darwin supporters) trying to take over earth. People, the concept of a few monkey offshoots to your forefather concept are pretty "monkish". Intelligent design still makes more sense. It is a long pass to call the evolution a science yet, as it does not conclude on the evolutionary theory.

  • 190.
  • At 11:28 AM on 23 Sep 2006,
  • Andy Teignmouth wrote:

I think Professor Richard Dawkins, is banging his head against a brick wall. He'll never shake the faith of those religious people, They quote the scriptures and seem to be utterly convinced, its fascinating to see the total blinkerdness of these folk brainwashed by superstitious nonesence
much of it perhaps dreamt up by some poor old monk sitting in a cell hundreds of years ago trying to make sence of his world around him. It is refreshing to read and hear his thoughts and using logic to make sence of all the evidence staring at us from the ground and rocks.

  • 191.
  • At 11:29 AM on 23 Sep 2006,
  • Jay Dawson wrote:

Hi Dawkins, When did you get so old man? I guess God's got it in for you - how else could you get so wrinkly so quick?

  • 192.
  • At 11:35 AM on 23 Sep 2006,
  • David Anderson wrote:

It is unbelievable how a man with great intelligence (some how suggested by the "professor" title) can be so foolish! But then, the Bible says this - "For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God's sight"

If the bible wasnt true how could over 1000 prophesies be fulfilled in the New testament?? Wake up

I feel sorry for Dawkins. Eternity is a long time.

  • 193.
  • At 11:38 AM on 23 Sep 2006,
  • Anne Thompson wrote:

Evolution, intelligent design, God, all are perhaps interchangable metaphors for our quest to gain some understanding of a mystery that is beyond the limitations imposed by our five senses.

  • 194.
  • At 11:42 AM on 23 Sep 2006,
  • Gareth Edwards wrote:

The world needs more people like Richard Dawkins. Every "faith school" in the country should be made to have a copy of his book in their library. The regligious fanatics are all for showing "both sides" of the "evolution debate" with the totally unscientific concept of inteligent design. How about seeing both sides of the religion debate. I imagine they wouldn't be too keen on that.

  • 195.
  • At 11:58 AM on 23 Sep 2006,
  • D Petrie wrote:

For someone who keeps saying that he believes in truth, Dawkins certainly is economical with it, to the point of misrepresenting Einstein's view on God. Einstein did, in fact, say that God exists and died believing in Him.

I think that Dawkin's fierce attack on faith is to convince himself that God does not exist as he said many times that he cannot prove that He doesn't exist.

If he doesn't want to accept the account of the Gospels regarding Christ, he can easily find that there are other reports of His life and ressurection from eminent scholars of the time which were not His followers. He is like a man clatching at straws in his attempt to misrepresent all the historical evidence of Christ's miracles. Roman and Greek scholars wrote about what they have seen and now Dawkins wants us to believe him, 2000 years after the event, and not the eyewitnesses. Is this what he regards as dealing with truth?

A person cannot see what they don't want to see. Dawkins has shut himself in his own delusion that he is unable to grasp what so many other eminent scientists have - namely the existance of God. Why are they all wrong and he is the only "logical" one, the only one who sees the "truth"? I think this should tell us a lot about his mental state.

He once said that without God we can live life as we please. This is his subconsciece reason for his attack on God. He wants to live life without the confinds of his own conscience.

Leading scientists have written and talked about God but Dawkins never deals with those issues but simply puts his own views forward. Is this scientific? He admitted to Jeremy about his own intellectual shortcomings by saying that he cannot understand how scientists have a belief in God. Indeed! Finally the real truth from him. He does not have the capacity to understand so he attacks blindly.

If science only deals with truth, why do so many scientist argue and disagree about "scientific facts"?

God only appears to those who are open to Him and stays away from those who do not want Him. This is respecting free will.

  • 196.
  • At 12:00 PM on 23 Sep 2006,
  • Tom wrote:

I watched Paxman interviewing Dawkins last evening.I tend to agree with Dawkins.
I may have picked this up wrongly but I felt that Dawkins stated that humans,as a species, have no purpose.
It is possible that the question about why the universe exists will never be answered (maybe there is no answer) but I remember reading a quote (sound bite?) from an American scientist,George Wald,who said that he believed that humans,as a species, were the attempt,or more likely one attempt,of the universe to understand itself.
Thinking about the universe,and I am not a scientist,is mind blowing and it is only living,conscious, intelligent creatures who have the ability to answer major questions.
That seems an important purpose to me.

  • 197.
  • At 12:09 PM on 23 Sep 2006,
  • jim wrote:

alot of things confuse me about the scientific community, they say god does not exist yet they cannot explain how the universe came into existance, they say that the absence of god proves he does exist yet in the quantum world they create theories around what they cannot see or measure on a regular basis i.e dark matter and dark energy, they say evolution proves the non existance of god yet evolution gave us this inherent need to believe in something greater than ourselves, they say that we are the sum of our biology yet no one yet can fully explain consciousness, scientists like to say "because it can't be explained does not mean it is god" but i believe until the major questions are solved then i feel nothing should be dismissed out of hand including god, either in the biblical sense or as i believe the great scientist in the sky

  • 198.
  • At 12:28 PM on 23 Sep 2006,
  • Brian Hibbert wrote:

In reply to comment 181. At 10:53 AM on 23 Sep 2006, by MH.

Sad! sad! sad!

And to others who have only just found their saviour in Dawkins.

Where have you been hiding all your life?

There is only one truth whether you can see it or not. Look around you the evidence is real and tangible.

  • 199.
  • At 12:30 PM on 23 Sep 2006,
  • John Andrews wrote:

Since reading several of the above comments I must confess my viewpoint has not changed at all. I agree completely with Professor Richard Dawkins. Where is the evidence, let alone proof, to back up the existence of God? I have heard many Christians use the excuse that God only helps those who are open to him and stays away from those who don't to respect free will. Yet this free will gift is not all it's cracked up to be. Free will does not explain why suffering is permitted following a natural disaster. Free will did not help the Jews in Auschwitz - exerting all of their free will would not have made any difference to their fate. If God did create the universe then he is responsible for all the suffering that has taken place. I would prefer a God to show himself and help those suffering or in need rather than discriminate. This does not sound like a benevolent God to me, nor does one that lets a child die of poverty every 3 seconds in Africa. The recent violence in Iraq is based on religion. I just don't see why God, if he does exist, he doesn't just show himself to clear up the debate once and for all. As someone said earlier, if we were immortal, would we still believe in God? Several religious people have confessed to me that they believe in God because of fear of death. Finally, I don't understand all this fuss over Dawkins' finals comment "I don't believe we are put here to be comfortable". I assumed he was simply saying there was no reason for us being here, whether it's comfort or not. We should just try and help each other get along as best we can. The atheists I know love life because they don't see it as some sort of transitory period to a better place.

  • 200.
  • At 12:36 PM on 23 Sep 2006,
  • Lesley Boatwright wrote:

I am much struck by the high quality of many of the contributions to this debate, in marked contrast to those posted in some previous debates. Valid points have been made on both sides, generating more light than heat.
I think that most current major organized religions suffer because they have ejected the female principle from divinity: a Goddess might be Good for You.

  • 201.
  • At 12:39 PM on 23 Sep 2006,
  • GlobalCooling wrote:

Is it available in Arabic? If not, why?

  • 202.
  • At 12:48 PM on 23 Sep 2006,
  • Lesley Boatwright wrote:

Sorry, folks - I take back what I said in 201 about previous debates being of poor quality - I didn't realize this was the book debate section.
As an illustration of what I meant - go to the section commenting on the whole programme and read the ranting.

  • 203.
  • At 12:48 PM on 23 Sep 2006,
  • Colin wrote:

For those that keep saying there are extra-biblical accounts of Jesus I would like to point out that none of them are contemporary. Pliny talks about it, almost 100 years after the event. But even he states that he has no idea what a Christian is, but only learns it from a Christian he interrogates. Justice Tiberius wrote a history of Galilee in the first 30 years of the Christian era. He did not mention anything to do with Christianity at all. Not once! When you consider that the Romans wrote about their own slaves, you find it totally absurd that the Justice Tiberius wrote a history of the area that Jesus was living in, at the time Jesus was alive, never mentioned Him once. Then when you consider that Jesus is the "Son of God" it becomes even more strange. Why does the most "important" event in human history have such a sloppy historical record for it? We are talking about a devine being afterall...

  • 204.
  • At 12:53 PM on 23 Sep 2006,
  • lynda wheater wrote:

This voice of sanity is sheer delight.But if over 50% of the population of a country as well educated as the USA believe in creationism what hope is there for change? The brainwashing has gone on for centuries.

  • 205.
  • At 01:29 PM on 23 Sep 2006,
  • tom wrote:

There were not many mentions of Allah were there?
From Paxman's thoughtful examinations you'd have thought Dawkins was only denying the existence of a Christian God?
Why was that do you think - fear of a belief they themselves do not believe in?

  • 206.
  • At 02:04 PM on 23 Sep 2006,
  • Mike N wrote:

Richard, you are a bright shining light in the darkness. A beacon of common sense in a vast ocean of stupidity.

For the lucky ones of us who weren't brain washed by religion at an early age, it's plain to see the delusion that so many suffer. But I think it's just too late for them. They have closed their ears and are happy with what they "know" to be true.

We should be concentrating on future generations. Getting legislation through to ban faith schools. And concentrate on teaching a moral code of conduct to children, free of religion.

Altruism is possible without recourse to god.

  • 207.
  • At 02:28 PM on 23 Sep 2006,
  • Keith wrote:

In response to Anthony (Griffith) who wrote:

"Well, here we go again. Richard Dawkins publishes a book believing that over 2 billion of the present global population are all deluded...

...The arrogance of his thesis is that he believes he is right and that billions of 'the believers' are wring. I stand with the majority as any good democracy would do."

Surely in a world populated by over 6 billion people, the 2 billion 'believers' represent a minority? (6-2=4) And being a good democrat you should thus be an athiest? An excellent way to choose your faith by the way, just follow the masses. I think that's what's got us into this mess in the first place.

I think the earlier comment "thank God for Richard Dawkins" perfectly sums up the comical nature of this debate. This is no longer worth discussing, the scientists (or at least the educated) won a long time ago.

Having said that, what harm do Buddhism, Sikhism or Hinduism cause anyone? Although I generally agree with Dawkins, I wouldn't dream of imposing atheism upon these people who probably enjoy life whilst the Muslims and Christians kill each other.

Although historically religion has a lot of blood on its hands, with regard to our current problems I think the buck stops with irresponsible governments who insist on playing with fire.

Dawkins' arguments, however, certainly remain valid and should be given more widespread discussion, not only be intellectuals but even by kids in school, rather than just forcing them to swallow the traditional doctrines - a practice which probably contributes greatly to their continued acceptance. The great story above from the muslim-turned-athiest is a good example of what could happen a lot more if people were encouraged to think for themselves.

The world would become unrecognisable if kids were exposed to Dawkins as a counter-balance on the curriculum.

  • 208.
  • At 02:28 PM on 23 Sep 2006,
  • Neil wrote:

To Gareth (161) who said:
"Sir Fred Hoyle calculated the likelihood of the formation of life from inanimate matter as one out of ten to the power 40000."

This pointless calculation was shot down in flames during the "Intelligent design" debate. Take a pack of playing cards and 52 people. Shuffle the deck and give each person a card. The chances of each person getting the card they got is less than one in ten to the power 68. Virtually impossible isn't it? And yet it happened.

  • 209.
  • At 02:31 PM on 23 Sep 2006,
  • Pete wrote:

We need more of this. If it wasn't so ironic, I'd say that Richard Dawkins is a prophet in his own land. Well done that man for speaking the truth. Only one thing ...In the blurb it talks about Europe becoming secularised - this isn't the case in the UK where New Labour seems to be fixated with faith-based social policy - it will all end in tears.

  • 210.
  • At 02:35 PM on 23 Sep 2006,
  • Dr.nallappan wrote:

well done Prof Dawkins.
Having faith is one thing.But imposing your faith on others through an unproven scriptures,Holy texts is another thing.

  • 211.
  • At 02:43 PM on 23 Sep 2006,
  • Edward Neale wrote:

Without question Professor Richard Dawkins is an intelligent man, unfortunately in this instance, he forgot to follow the basic fundamental laws of scientific research; for example he only had one model of experimentation. The inability to compare in any scientific investigation invalidates the findings of that research.
What Professor Dawkins presents to us is his own personal opinion and it contains no scientific validity.
In this instance the ‘Dawkins belief,’ becomes just another belief, another idea prompted by another man. Now his own belief merges with all of those before him and he simply adds to the religious confusion of the world.
But his biggest mistake was that he forgot compensate for the interference and the contamination of belief by man.
If you stand anywhere in the world; if you forget man and all of his beliefs; if you forget all the differences that exist between us, then you will find the truth.

  • 212.
  • At 03:09 PM on 23 Sep 2006,
  • Clive Bates wrote:

'GOD' is a principle. In order to prove it you need to accept that subjectivity will always be a part of the scientific equation. Absolute truth can only be determined by perception beyond conceptualisation, of what just 'IS' beyond intelectual labels. Labeling thereafter becomes a mere attempt at describing the experience of absolute reality.

  • 213.
  • At 03:25 PM on 23 Sep 2006,
  • Shelley Cochran wrote:

Religion is the scurge of humanity and rather like Javallan Neru I long for the day when human beings will give up all these imaginary beings. Religious zealots have closed minds and do not take a hostorical perspective of religion. Do they not realise that there have been many many religions before the ones we have today and they have all become obsolite. The ancients believed whatever it was they believed with as much fervour as religious people today believe whatever it is they believe, but all these religions have fallen by the wayside and humanity has gone on without all the mahem and retrabution that was promised if such a thing occured.

  • 214.
  • At 03:35 PM on 23 Sep 2006,
  • Michael Thompson wrote:

What a marvellous, though far too short, interview with this superb logician.

Religion is a human invented crutch that we needed during the stone and iron ages to rationalise the world. We have better ways to do that now. It's time for religion to fade into history and for humanity to grow up and take its place in the Universe.

I welcome the fact that Dawkins has decided to go on the offensive and raise consciousness about the problems religion causes. His new foundation is a welcome development and I'll be supporting it financially. I'll also be more active in opposing religion and its harmful influence on the world.

  • 216.
  • At 04:04 PM on 23 Sep 2006,
  • mike soutar wrote:

Dawkins's is certainly right about faith schools; they send children out into the world with skewed and perverted ideas of the world around them.

  • 217.
  • At 04:12 PM on 23 Sep 2006,
  • Gareth Morris wrote:

In response to Neil (209)

I don't see how this reasoning works. Ok so we exist and have broken odds of 1 in 10 to the power of 40000, if indeed Sir Fred Hoyle is correct. But we are not simply a combination of cards that are indistinct to any other set of cards. What is life compared to nothingness? Its a bit different from any other combination of cards. Can a combination of cards assemble a national court system to issue judgement on bad behaviour? Of course it can't. We are moral beings - we have a conscience. There are many other issues to consider as well this interesting calculation. But may I also ask you, what gives people more dignity... Evolution or Christianity?
Well evolution says we came from some sort of swamp, whereas Christianity says that we are made in the image and glory of God.

What went wrong? Man decided to disobey God's instructions so we became an enemy of God - your conscience can testify to this. But there is reconciliation to God through His Son Jesus - that is how you can find God, through Jesus.

  • 218.
  • At 04:21 PM on 23 Sep 2006,
  • Andrew wrote:

In the intrest of fair and balanced broadcasting, the BBC should give Professor Dawkins or some other like-minded person either, a job on the heaven and earth programme or even their own show just after.

I for one will be buying his book.

Carry on the GOOD WORK Professor Richard Dawkins

  • 219.
  • At 04:43 PM on 23 Sep 2006,
  • Gareth Morris wrote:

In response to Neil (209)

I don't see how this reasoning works. Ok so we exist and have broken odds of 1 in 10 to the power of 40000, if indeed Sir Fred Hoyle is correct. But we are not simply a combination of cards that are indistinct to any other set of cards. What is life compared to nothingness? Its a bit different from any other combination of cards. Can a combination of cards assemble a national court system to issue judgement on bad behaviour? Of course it can't. We are moral beings - we have a conscience. There are many other issues to consider as well this interesting calculation. But may I also ask you, what gives people more dignity... Evolution or Christianity?
Well evolution says we came from some sort of swamp, whereas Christianity says that we are made in the image and glory of God.

What went wrong? Man decided to disobey God's instructions so we became an enemy of God - your conscience can testify to this. But there is reconciliation to God through His Son Jesus - that is how you can find God, through Jesus.

  • 220.
  • At 05:20 PM on 23 Sep 2006,
  • Lindy Standing wrote:

As a devout atheist since the age of 10, I found it most refreshing to hear such coherent arguments from Richard Dawkins.

And Man made god in His own image...

  • 221.
  • At 05:55 PM on 23 Sep 2006,
  • Tharindu wrote:

This is an opportunity for people to look at religons which are not created around GOD. I am a buddhist and I certainly do not believe that I am here to be comfortable as Sir Richard said. My aim as a buddhist is to reach NIRVANA and stop this cycle of reincarnation. what he says in the book was told 2500 years back by Buddha (an ordinary human being).I recommend Buddhism as the path to freedom.

  • 222.
  • At 05:56 PM on 23 Sep 2006,
  • Felix I D Konotey-Ahulu wrote:

Listening to Richard Dawkin's responses to Jeremy Paxman's incisive questions (Newsnight Friday 22 November 2006), I was confirmed in my opinion that Dawkin belongs to that group of researchers whom I once described in the British Medical Journal as "whistling in the dark to keep their scientific courage up" [Konotey-Ahulu FID. The suprascientific in clinical medicine: a challenge to Professor Know-All. BMJ 2001, Volume 323, pages 1452-1453 (] Professor Dawkin dismissed the historicity of The Lord Jesus Christ as myth. When he dates a cheque "22nd September 2006" does it worry him that the myth must really be very strong to have lasted this long to compel him to write 22.09.2006? Some myth, eh? I was once (as I said in the British Medical Journal peer-reviewed article) a staunch Darwinian Evolutionist until at London University's University College Medical School in Gower Street, I sat at the feet of arguably the greatest Darwinian Evolutionist in the world. He was an Hebrew genius called Professor JZ Young FRS, and my Professor of Anatomy in Medical School. At University College London (UCL), we were the only pre-Clinical Institution in the entire Commonwealth (if not the whole world) that had to sit a 3-hour paper in "Evolution and Metaphysics" in addition to the usual Anatomy papers, before going on to Clinical Medicine. There were no textbooks on the subject, and although JZ Young was the best selling author in the world of three classic books: 'The Invertebrates', 'The Vertebrates', and 'The Human Brain', if a student missed but one of his 15 weekly lectures on Evolution one would be hard put answering the 3-hour paper in the final pre-Clinical exam. As his lectures progressed, my faith in Darwinian Evolution mounted in leaps and bounds. Then came Lecture 8 or 9, when "J Z" was describing the difference between the brain of an adult chimpanzee, and that of a newborn human baby. Suddenly, and dramatically, "J Z" was out of his depth, and he communicated this feeling to me (and at least to the girl sitting next to me, called Shirley Knight, now a retired Surgeon). Evolution was no proven fact at all, then? He continued to mention "The Theory of Evolution" I don't know how many times. That was 1954 to 1956 when I did my Second MB at UCL. Since then, nothing has happened that lifted Evolution from Theory to Reality. In fact, the very opposite has happened. Discovery of DNA (which is information) is the nail in the coffin of Darwin's Theory of Evolution. You can give 'chance' as many billions of years as you like, useful information will never emerge. But the greatest difficulty Richard Dawkin has is to prove (first) that his brain is sharper than mine, and (secondly) that those of us who were taught by the best brains in the world and who have now revised our evaluation of Darwinian Evolution to concur with that of Cambridge University Professor Fred Hoyle FRS have suddenly gone round the bend. Writing in his chapter "The Gospel According To Darwin", you remember, Fred Hoyle made this remarkable diagnostic statement: "How has the Darwinian theory of evolution by natural selection managed, for upwards of a century, to fasten itself like a superstition on so-called enlightened opinion? Why is the theory still defended so vigorously?" Hoyle goes on, and I agree totally: "Personally, I have little doubt that scientific historians of the future will find it mysterious that a theory which could be seen to be unworkable came to be so widely believed". For sheer diagnostic acumen, I give Hoyle 'FULL MARKS!' But there will be shouts of "See what Hoyle puts in place of Evolution - Rubbish!" My answer to that, as a British trained Clinician, is this: One can be spot on regarding diagnosis, but be way out on treatment. Because the prescription for a particular condition is wrong, is not the reason to dismiss a perfectly sound diagnosis. I must pay at least one compliment to British undergraduate and postgraduate education in my days. You were taught how to think, NOT what to think. Dawkin is trying to tell us what to think. The great JZ Young FRS (Oh bless his memory!)and the host of my fantastic British teachers (London, Cambridge, Liverpool, Glasgow) did not teach me what to think. They all taught me HOW to think, and that was how I came to lose my Evolution Faith. Diagnostically, I prefer Fred Hoyle's cerebral approach to Richard Dawkin's. Incidentally, Francis Crick himself said that his theory of the origin of the genetic code "seems plausible, but as a theory it suffers from a major defect - it is too accommodating. In a loose sort of way it can explain anything" [Crick FHC. The origin of the genetic code. Journal of Molecular Biology 1968, Volume 38, pages 367-379]. So even the great Crick guesses at the origin of the genetic code that he discovered. But I must not end without alluding to what I am considered a world authority on: "The Sickle Cell Disease Patient". Indeed, I was chosen to give the Keynote Address in Philadelphia on 31st May 1972 when Linus Pauling (Double Nobel Prize Winner), Max Perutz (Nobel Prize Winner), AC Allison FRS, Hermann Lehmann FRS were honoured together with me and others for our work in Sickle Cell Disease research. Why I was chosen to give the Keynote Address at the Martin Luther King Jr Foundation Award Ceremony for outstanding contributions in Sickle Cell Disease, with Nobel Laureates sitting behind me, was perhaps because I traced the sickle gene in my forebears generation by generation, with names of sufferers from the disease in my tribe right back to 1670 AD on both mother and father side, thanks to the tribal names of the disease in Africa with phenotypic distinctions known centuries before Linus Pauling defined the molecular defect across the Atlantic in the USA. [] So when I say that the fashion of using Sickle Cells in Biology and Medical Textbooks to "prove" that Darwinian Evolution took place by natural selection is a defect in clear thinking, I know what I am talking about. The fact that the Sickle Cell Trait [Norm/Ache as I have called it in Genetic Counselling (AS)] like my mother, does not die from Falciparum Cerebral Malaria in childhood, as the Norm/Norm (AA) and Ache/Ache (SS) do, to balance the polymorphism, should never be cited as proof that Natural Selection has propelled one-celled organisms in proto-antiquity to progress to the multi-organ multi-cellular reader of this message on the BBC website. Not surprising that Professor Hoyle described such thought processes as nothing short of superstition.

  • 223.
  • At 06:26 PM on 23 Sep 2006,
  • chilliman wrote:

Dawkins heralds the beginning of the end for religion as a force to corrupt the minds of men. In these troubled times more mental effort is wasted by more people on religion than on solving our very pressing real problems. Viva Hawkins! Viva la revolucion! Hasta la victoria!

  • 224.
  • At 06:28 PM on 23 Sep 2006,
  • Neil wrote:

In reply to Gareth’s question (220):

“But may I also ask you, what gives people more dignity... Evolution or Christianity?
Well evolution says we came from some sort of swamp, whereas Christianity says that we are made in the image and glory of God.”

And therein lies the problem. Are we looking for the truth or something that makes us feel better about ourselves? Sorry, but I agree with Professor Dawkins that the truth is more important than being comfortable.

PS: In my original comment about Hoyle’s “pointless calculation” I only meant pointless in the context of this debate.

  • 225.
  • At 06:32 PM on 23 Sep 2006,
  • d f hart-thomas wrote:

THANK GOD FOR PROF DAWKING! I thought I was alone in my thoughts on religion until I read your article in PROSPECT on 'GERINOIL' - now I know it's the rest of the world that's barking mad! Will Have to wait for my library to buy your book - I'm a pensioner!

  • 226.
  • At 06:34 PM on 23 Sep 2006,
  • chilliman wrote:

Dawkins heralds the beginning of the end for religion as a force to corrupt the minds of men. In these troubled times more mental effort is wasted by more people on religion than on solving our very pressing real problems. Viva Dawkins! Viva la revolucion! Hasta la victoria!

  • 227.
  • At 06:36 PM on 23 Sep 2006,
  • charles??? wrote:

David Hawkins Doen't No wot he is on about, so shut ya mouth.... WHO IS HE!! WHO IS HE>> WERE DID YOU FIND HIM!

  • 228.
  • At 06:53 PM on 23 Sep 2006,
  • Pete wrote:

What seems to be evident in several of the comments criticising Dawkins and those of us who agree with his views, is that they think he is somehow setting himself in place of 'God' and that secularists and atheists like myself see him as our 'Saviour'. They seem to be trapped in a way of thinking that there has to be a supreme being and that, us as humans, must worship that supreme being. I think Dawkins is a perfectly normal human being with flaws and faults like all of us - he is not my spiritual leader or saviour. As far as I can see, Dawkins is simply making a sober assessment that, of the various claims that have been made throughout history, by different groups of people trying to explain the world and provide meaning to our existence etc, those which rely on there being a supernatural creator cannot be proved - their 'truth' depends on placing faith in religious 'teachings' - many of which actually contradict each other on who the supreme being is and what 'his' intentions were. It's not enough to say 'look at the wonders of the world - surely there must be a divine creator behind them'. Besides, given the natural occurence of viruses and diseases such as Parkinsons, MS, Alzheimers etc. not to mention earthquakes, volcanoes, hurricanes and so on, anyone taking the view that there is a supreme creator, surely would have to agree that 'He' wasn't particularly benign towards mankind anyway - more on the side of viruses I would say if you're going to use that form of argument.

  • 229.
  • At 07:12 PM on 23 Sep 2006,
  • David Bird wrote:

Once again Dawkins offers up a dose of intellectually lacklustre polemic that is unworthy of the scientific rigour he espouses in other areas. He claims to be an advocate of ‘truth’ but uses his public profile (justifiably deserved in his own field of expertise) to argue unqualified certainty where none exists.
For example, the ‘truth’ is that humanity’s sense of morality simply cannot be explained as a product of our genetic struggle for evolutionary advantage. Regrettably, but consistently, Dawkins fails to apply to religion - the compulsive object of his frequent scornful assault – the same academic rigour he has applied to evolution. If the portions quoted from the text of his latest diatribe are characteristic of the whole, then it seems, once again, he endeavours to bolster an argument by a cunning (yet hardly credible) choice of easy targets.
Of course it is entirely proper that religion, and those things men and women may sometimes practice or propound in its name, should be subject to an energetic critique, but then so should science! But, speaking as a person of ‘faith’, it would be just as unworthy of me to write off all knowledge gained through that discipline simply because I could point to the wickedness (or lunacy) perpetrated by some who practice it. Straw men will always fall over – whatever their name! Of course, it is right that religious convictions (however long their pedigree) should give ground to science when it gives a credible explanation of natural processes; equally, science has to admit (if it is genuinely interested in ‘truth’) that despite its huge advances it still cannot answer many questions about the nature of the universe. Science does very well when it comes to queries about “How” – but can never even attempt to explain “Why”. It is a question forever beyond its remit. And that’s the truth! So my personal plea is simple:
Dear Dr. Dawkins, don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater!
Your fellow seeker after 'truth',

  • 230.
  • At 07:33 PM on 23 Sep 2006,
  • Michael Thompson wrote:

(Not the same Michael Thompson as the earlier one!) This was an unsatisfactory interview. Why is Dawkins so obsessed with a Being who according to him does not exist? I hope that the interview is followed soon by one in which an opponent of Dawkins is allowed to criticise his work. May I suggest Alister McGrath, whose book 'Dawkins' God' rebuts many of Dawkins' arguments.

  • 231.
  • At 07:45 PM on 23 Sep 2006,
  • Dave wrote:

At the end of the interview with Jeremy Paxman Richard Dawkin in reply to a question posed to him replied "we were not put here to be comfortable." As he has no belief in God or creation who is he saying put us here?

  • 232.
  • At 08:13 PM on 23 Sep 2006,
  • tom hart wrote:

Wonderful to read in Richard Dawkins eloquent text the seemingly obvious that many of us are unable to find the words to express. But how can he (and the rest of we like minded people) find the means find the means to persuade a large proportion of the world's population from killing itself in the name of its chosen "God?"

  • 233.
  • At 08:45 PM on 23 Sep 2006,
  • Margaret Cooper wrote:

In view of the many comments above I didn't think there would be any value in adding my own. However, as an ordinary Christian with, I think, reasonable intelligence and understanding, I have decided to do so. Much of what is writtn above and in particular the excerpts from Professor Dawkin's book, has little if any bearing on my belief in God. I am English, not American, and little of what Professor Dawkin wrote about the situation in the States has any bearing on the way I or any of my Christian friends and aquaintances live and work. I wonder whether his research involved contact with what I have termed,'ordinary Christian people'. I obviously don't know the answer to that, and make no assumptions. I would just say this. My faith in God, rather than being a crutch, has been a strength in the tough situations I have faced. It is no myth, no hallucination, but something which has stood me in good stead through at least 70 year of my life. The way gets harder as one gets older, but God is my ever present help in trouble, and therefore, I do not fear, but have peace of heart and mind. I believe severe persecution might yet face Christians in our country, and I hope and pray that my faith will stand firm should that happen.

  • 234.
  • At 08:53 PM on 23 Sep 2006,
  • Sandra Price wrote:

Human beings since the dawn of time have asked the question Why? I am no expert but even the earliest cave dwellers appear to have needed the reassurance of a higher order being to appeal to, to be in awe of and to appease with sacrifices.

What Richard Dawkins cannot do (unfortunately) is to replace the hope that people of religious faith have (in an afterlife, in ultimate justice), with atheism which can offer nothing except perhaps a more reasoned, rational understanding of the world we live in.

It is perhaps unfortunate, though understandable, that most human beings cannot live without this hope. It is a minority of religious zealots who follow religious faith to its extremes. There are millions of people who quietly live their lives in the pursuit of their particular religous belief. Perhaps we should not be too ready to rob people of their convictions. Having hope is what keeps many people going!

Try as I might I cannot hope. The well argued position Richard Dawkins takes chimes a chord with me. Pity those of us incapable of exercising the faith necessary to believe. It would be lovely to have hope (however, deluded that might make us)!

  • 235.
  • At 09:16 PM on 23 Sep 2006,
  • Judy wrote:

How sad to hear Professor Dawkins decrying the Godhead in such a way. I believe in God, Jesus and the Bible and feel that, in his search for truth, Prof Dawkins has not looked at the considerable body of archeological data that supports the Bible. What about the fact also that the prophecies have been amazingly fulfilled, eg Psalm 22 in which David portrays crucifixion which, of course, was unknown to the Jewish mind.
I cannot live without God and feel sad for the Professor, particularly as the Bible states, 'The fool has said in his heart there is no God'!
i look forward to the book he writes entitled, 'I was wrong'.
I do hope space will be given on Newsnight for the alternative viewpoint.

  • 236.
  • At 10:08 PM on 23 Sep 2006,
  • Jane Hamill wrote:

"I do hope space will be given on Newsnight for the alternative viewpoint"?

Exactly how many people have you seen on the television recently who have been as brave as Prof. Dawkins and stood up to put forward the viewpoint that God doesn't exist?

How many religious programmes are broadcast (on either television or radio) every week?

Now try to tell me that the balance of the media weighs in favour of secular points of view. I think not.

Thanks, Professor Dawkins - easily the most educated and well balanced argument for the non-existance of God I've heard on a serious programme - if not the only one I've ever heard!

  • 237.
  • At 10:42 PM on 23 Sep 2006,
  • Frank O'Shea wrote:

Richard Dawkins appears to be an “educated man.”
Perhaps received a huge amount of academic training at university.
It must have cost thousands of pounds to train him.
But if he presented this book as an end of term exam paper to his university tutor for marking, his tutor would have torn him apart for this piece of writing, and FAILED him accordingly.

For example he refers to those he castigates:
Pat Robertson et al as:
Religious zealots,
Ignorant of all except biblical learning,
Christian murderers of abortion doctors
He makes no mention of the the abortion doctors murdering the babes in the womb.

Of those he likes:
He quotes Bishop John Shelby Spong, in The Sins of Scripture, who RIGHTLY observed. Those who wish to base their morality literally on the Bible have either not read it or not understood it.
And with Richard Holloway, recently retired as Bishop of Edinburgh, who describes himself as a 'recovering Christian'.
one of the most stimulating and interesting encounters I have had.

And finally the RESPECTED journalist Muriel Gray he quotes:
“The cause of all this misery, mayhem, violence,terror and ignorance is of course religion itself.”
If Muriel Gray says it, it must be so. Is Muriel an authority on Religion?

Richard can’t have it both ways.
He portrays all those he castigates as "NUTTERS."
Ignorant of all except biblical learning.
Then as having either not read the Bible or not understood it.
It appears that Richard has either not read what HE has written or not understood it either.

People who have not read the Bible, cannot be acting because of Religion.
Also people who have misunderstood it, cannot be acting according to Religion.
And they cannot at the same time be ignorant of all, except biblical learning.
Therefore, all these NUTTERS cannot be acting because of religion.
What comes through here is they are just NUTTERS. Religion has nothing to do with their actions.
I’m afraid Richard has defeated his own agument here.
What an extremely poor academic effort. What a waste of money educating this man.

  • 238.
  • At 12:32 AM on 24 Sep 2006,
  • Cyrus wrote:

I have been following Hawkins for some time and indeed he is a rare voice of reason amongst politicians scared of disrespecting the religious, and sheepish journalists.

As an answer to "If he does not believe in God, then who are we put here by?", This person for one reason or another has ignored the most likely possibility that our existence is pure chance and devoid of a superior purpose. You couldn't have proven Hawkin's point much better; some people just NEED comfort and purpose and cannot fathom a world without it. This is why religion exists and must be kept from power.

  • 239.
  • At 12:40 AM on 24 Sep 2006,
  • Gareth Morris wrote:

The theory of evolution of the Coca Cola can.

Billions of years ago, a big bang produced a large rock. As the rock cooled, sweet brown liquid formed on its surface. As time passed, aluminum formed itself into a can, a lid, and a tab. Millions of years later, red and white paint fell from the sky, and formed itself into the words "Coca Cola 12 fluid ounces."

Of course, my theory is an insult to your intellect, because you know that if the Coca Cola can is made, there must be a maker. If it is designed, there must be a designer. The alternative, that it happened by chance or accident, is to move into an intellectual free zone.

The banana -- the atheist's nightmare.

Note that the banana:

1. Is shaped for human hand
2. Has non-slip surface
3. Has outward indicators of inward content:
Green-too early,
Yellow-just right,
Black-too late.
4. Has a tab for removal of wrapper
5. Is perforated on wrapper
6. Bio-degradable wrapper
7. Is shaped for human mouth
8. Has a point at top for ease of entry
9. Is pleasing to taste buds
10.Is curved towards the face to make eating process easy

To say that the banana happened by accident is even more unintelligent than to say that no one designed the Coca Cola can.

  • 240.
  • At 12:45 AM on 24 Sep 2006,
  • Gareth Morris wrote:

In response to Neal (225):

"And therein lies the problem. Are we looking for the truth or something that makes us feel better about ourselves? Sorry, but I agree with Professor Dawkins that the truth is more important than being comfortable."

I agree with you totally on this one Neal. Pursue the truth by all means.

  • 241.
  • At 02:58 AM on 24 Sep 2006,
  • saad wrote:

in my view professor is right on many accounts but unfortunately I happen to know some parts of the world where all they have is religion and religion is the only hope and reason to live as they do not have luxury to afford this truth.they hope there would be some place at last where they can really live.

  • 242.
  • At 03:10 AM on 24 Sep 2006,
  • Patricia wrote:

Looks like we are still blaming God for the "evil" that Men do.

  • 243.
  • At 06:36 AM on 24 Sep 2006,
  • Timcol wrote:

To Gareth Morris,

Your banana "atheist nightmare" has long been debunked. Here are the counter-arguments (courtesy

1. The bananas that we eat today were specifically bred by humans to be a size that we like. Natural bananas are much smaller. This is a bit like Douglas Adams' analogy of a puddle thinking that the hole it's in was perfectly designed to contain the puddle.
2. The fact that a banana fits perfectly in our hand says a lot more about the evolution of hands than it does about bananas. The human hand is very versatile, able to change shape enough to hold a tiny pebble or a large basketball. Lots of the things we don't eat also fit in our hands.
3. More animals eat bananas (especially naturally occurring bananas) than just humans. Perhaps God created bananas for monkeys and humans just knew a good thing when they saw it.
4. We eat all kinds of food. The coconut is also enjoyed by humans as food yet, apart from having a non-slip surface (like almost all objects) and being pleasant to eat (like most food), it holds none of the other properties of the banana. A cow, which some might say is far more delicious than a banana, is fairly difficult to hold in the hand when in its natural form. Like many other foods, cows also require some very particular preparation before eating otherwise some nasty diseases can result. The diseases come from bacteria that theists would also say were created by God.
5. Speaking of bacteria, the number of objects in the universe that are inedible and even dangerous to humans far outweighs the number of objects that are tasty.
6. Far from being proof that the entire world is custom made for our pleasure, this seems to be a case of cherry picking certain features to find one good example.
7. Pineapple.

The fire that seems to burn in Professor Dawkins' belly is a quest for the truth. Why does he show so much zeal when surely the ultimate truth is that we haven't a clue? But we who are interested in these things see a process and the process stems from a fundamental question about us as manefestations of DNA that can strut the world, pontificate, wonder, fight each other and ask the question "Why?" Why in the whirling chaos of the cosmos are we sentient beings able to know our demise?
Existentially we can just accept it and make another cup of tea or stop asking the question.
For me some of the truth comes from accepting where I came from and not fighting that. Some of the wisest Christian theologians, and I include Benedict and Ignatius Loyala stress the adherance to a rule and from that experience will come an understanding that cannot be acheived through sitting on one's butt.
Are these glorious displacement activities designed to avoid asking the cosmic question?
The two writers I find helpful are Richard Holloway and Karen Armstrong.
Karen Armstrong is tireless in her quest for the truth about all the great religions. What is so interesting is that the fundamental questions about God seemed to be paralleled by all the great faiths. We who believe seem to be on railway tracks heading in the same direction and only occasionally touching. What she blows apart is the notion that Christianity discovered altruism and love.
Some practical questions remain and one of them is: "Does religion do good or harm?" We can all find answers to that but I work as a GP and one of the ways I think I can do harm is in removing Hope. And when asked what I beleive inwardly I say to myself that I beleive in respect and respect is about seeing and listening and on the whole not coming up with answers that do no justice to the question.

The Third Revolution – A Study of Psychiatry and Religion by Karl Stern (pub 1961) contains a very important idea - it is simply impossible for man to run on "scientific ball-brearings." And this is why:

All attempts at social engineering are utopian, therefore have a metaphysical/spiritual/non scientific element to them. It is this that leads to authoritarianism, and is why they fail. it is a disastrous fallacy to grade the 2 different workings of the human mind, and believing scientific truths are truer than poetic ones. Some insights are gained in the one way and some the other.

Freud (like Dawkins) didn’t stop at the scientific but ventured into philosophy and expounded his ideas on religion. Freud’s method was reductive – i.e. reducing everything in the supernatural to the natural – God is nothing but a father figure. This nothing but philosophy is common to all materialistic trends of the 19th century.

“This theory of nothing but appears the more devastating the more it advances towards things of a psychic nature..." says Stern.

It is the most remarkable reductive statement – Religion is nothing but an obsessive-compulsive neurosis. Freud transposed this into mass psychology, and said religion is this...a ritual is the re-enactment of a traumatic experience to ward off punishment and so deal with guilt...etc, etc...

“If someone decides, merely on the basis of psychological observation what God is...then there is not boundary to psychology. This would mean psychology can answer all problems, and that things have no true essence.”

O that academics would understand this:

Many modern thinkers took this destructive line – Husserl warned of the danger of this – he called it psychologism. Only later would the disastrous social implications become evident.

All materialist philosophies contain inner contradictions – idealist elements in disguise. .

Stern called this: The Inverted Renaissance = Better-Knowing i.e. Not only do we know things we are also enlightened about them.

Marx supplied his own philosophical superstructure for the theory of economic determinism. He also began with a nothing but theory.

“.. when something of the natural order was elevated to a position of primacy over the spirit...the result has been a most fiendish form of dehumanization, something like a prenatural spectacle in which the human form can no longer be discerned...the unspeakable things which happened when the biological was allotted a position of primacy in Germany, and when the economic was allotted a position of primacy in Russia should give us fair warning. ”

“For many intellectuals in pre-Hitler Germany it was a smart thing to believe in the primacy of the biological. For the charming people who populate Chekhov’s stage it was the smart thing to be nihilistic. They never to think this thought through. So that they might be able to behold the end...they were not able to imagine their own persons in a world in which this thought was part of the fabric of a lived reality.”

“If Marx, instead of saying, “Religion is nothing but the opiate of the people,” had told some of the members of the ruling class...”Woe unto you who use religion as an opiate for the people,” he would have had a strong point....If Freud had told some of his patients, “What you call your religion is actually your neurosis,” instead of claiming that religion is neurosis, he would have stated a frequently observed truth. “

Dawkins has consigned the vast majority of the the world's population as suffering from delusion, and in doing so has made exactly the same intellectual and philosophical error as Marx and Freud did before him. O that we would learn the lessons of history and move on...

  • 246.
  • At 10:12 AM on 24 Sep 2006,
  • Nigel Hoath wrote:

I'm an undecided but open minded guy and thus look forward to a full read. Sadly, despite thinking and wanting there to be more to life I can find no religion that makes any sense to me.

If anyone can offer a god who is not communication retarded, geographically challenged and whose followers preach hate and intolerance I would certainly be interested in listening.

  • 247.
  • At 10:59 AM on 24 Sep 2006,
  • John Wood wrote:

Since the death of Bertrand Russell, who dotted the ‘i’ s and crossed the ‘t’ s for me regarding religion, I have been leaderless. Dawkins is my new god.

With all political parties now attempting to embrace green issues the first prospective PM to reject god will have my vote.

When asked by pollsters what is the greatest danger now facing the world I have recently responded with global warming or over population. But now having been made aware of the “End Timers” power in the states for me religion is vying as the greatest danger.

Dawkins book will probably not convert many believers but lets hope it will tip some agnostics over to full blown atheism.

  • 248.
  • At 12:05 PM on 24 Sep 2006,
  • Ahmed wrote:

It was indeed a pleasure to watch Professor Dawkins and Jeremy Paxton on Friday.

I would like to thank Professor Dawkins on behalf of thousands of free thinking individuals trying to find a voice in these days of fundamentalists.

It is clear that this book is as important as Professor Hawkins book on History of Time. We need a “Messiah” of common sense and logic in these days where every action is now dictated by either the “End Timers “in USA or Fundamentalists in Middle east.

I was fortunate enough to have studied and lived amongst a number of different religions and have come to same conclusions as Professor Dawkins. The current religions have access to vast amount of funds and recourses and will not release their hold on their followers and as a result will take every opportunity to fight common sense and scientific view.

Based on the history of evaluation so far it is clear that human race will develop in two directions, one with highly developed brains and the other with highly developed physical features. The sole purpose of the human race is to gather experience and have the ability to store and pass this on to future generation. A recent case of a woman in California has shown that she can recall events of every day in her live. It will be possible to repeat this by use of drugs. Next step will be transfer this to a central bank and then on to new bodies and machines! Time travel and Space will thus be possible.

I feel that Professor Dawkins should start a “Society of Free Thinkers” (SFT) which will become a force very quickly. Once again thank you BBC and Thank you Professor Dawkins it is only possible in UK.

  • 249.
  • At 12:21 PM on 24 Sep 2006,
  • bik toor wrote:

I do not agree with the title as in fact it is a "paradigm Delusion". Any strongly held dogmatic belief is elligible for Delusion.

In Dawkins own previous book the Selfish Gene the acts of the suicide bombers are already explained i.e. these men had more genetically in common with oppressed Palestinians and Iraqis than the Invading US and UK forces. However this genetic imperitive can be subserved by extreme belief systems ergo black soldiers in the US forces and perhaps the occasional white muslim.

Does Dr Dawkins ever consider the possibility that he may be the one who is deluded? He is so critical of religious people who are sure of their beliefs, yet he himself is so arrogantly sure of his atheism. As a Christian for over 50 years - and never more convinced or committed than I am now - I readily admit that many bad things have been done in the name of religion, including Christianity. But this does not, in itself, prove it to be untrue. Some people who claim to be Christians have simply not lived up to what they claim to be. However, I challenge Dr Dawkins to deny that if everyone lived according to the teachings of Jesus Christ the world would be a much, much better place. I also ask him to imagine a world without all the good things done by people who were motivated by their faith - a world without William Wilberforce, Lord Shaftesbury, Eliabeth Fry, Martin Luther King, etc.. Dr Dawkins always picks the bad examples and conveniently ignores the good ones.
And has Dr Dawkins ever tried to prove that Jesus did not rise from the dead? Since he makes so much of the need to consider, evidence, let him examine the evidence for the event which has formed the foundation of Christianity for 2000 years.

  • 251.
  • At 01:17 PM on 24 Sep 2006,
  • Amal Basu wrote:

Newsnight 23/09/2006

In spite of all its trendy aberrations BBC still has some intellectual passion that showed in this interview.
I am like Prof. Dawkins subscribe to the atheism, yet I believe in personal god and I do not find these two are contradictory. Jeremy Paxman posed a question citing an example of climbing to a mountaintop and overwhelmed by the beauty of the surroundings and marvelling the creator of such beauty. I will have no qualm about it until someone explains to me the rationale of the perceived beauty of the surroundings. Our idea of such a creator of such beauty should always be progressive and changing. God should have element of change – with the advancement of our knowledge, our element of unknown should change. The existence of essence i.e. beauty itself could not be explained away. Plato’s idea is that intellect could take us so far, after that we have to rely on our personal experience. Some cave dwellers could have the experience of seeing the sunlight – no body could explain how the ultimate Bhodi could be achieved to attain the Nirvana (seeing the sunlight). But there it is - one could see the sunlight but what personal exercise is needed is not clear yet. So appreciation of beauty itself is not a problem, but by what means its essence could be achieved is not clear to us. Contemplation is not enough. There lies the dichotomy. Until this is resolved Atheism’s rationality will have to live with this deficiency so far the god is concerned.

Amal Basu

  • 252.
  • At 02:05 PM on 24 Sep 2006,
  • Jay Dawson wrote:

Hi Dawkins, You sound like a man fussed with his God - How else could you get so mad about something that doesn't exist?

  • 253.
  • At 03:17 PM on 24 Sep 2006,
  • Andy Marshall wrote:

It's easy to criticise religious belief if you only look at the negative aspects. Many western leaders throughout history have been church going people and have brought about fairness and freedom in our society. Many charities are religous ones and feed and help people worldwide who otherwise would not have been helped. What about Mother Theresa and others like her who have given themselves selflessly to help others. People of faith in God have had a positive effect on our society throughout history, producing much of our western values and prosperity we now take for granted.

  • 254.
  • At 03:32 PM on 24 Sep 2006,
  • Matthew Shute wrote:

Looking over the comments, I see the same old story. Angry at having their delusions challenged, the faithful resort to their usual tactics, all of their arguments stemming from a lack of intellectual integrity. They cite various versions of the Argument from Design or the Argument from First Cause, both of which have been demolished countless times by countless philosophers over the decades. They are willing to do all kinds of mental gymnastics, twisting and turning to justify their weird Bronze-age beliefs.

The difference between people like that and somebody is more fundamental than their belief or disbelief in God. The person who has faith as the centre of his/her worldview is primarily concerned with how "nice" or "righteous" his/her beliefs are. Once they have settled on the belief, their job is then to shore it up and justify it as a fact, no matter what. Dawkins, on the other hand, is only concerned about whether his beliefs reflect the TRUTH or not. He understands that the truth is independant of what anyone chooses to believe. Trying to impose our own "truths" on reality is meaningless.

Worse - the faithful, because of their pig-headed refusal to simply think rationally and objectively (rather than resorting to the absurdity of "faith" in arbitrary beliefs) are plunging the world into a very real hell.

A long time ago, Nietzsche said... "a casual stroll through the asylum shows us that faith proves nothing".

For anyone who enjoys the God Delusion, also please give Daniel Harbour's book on thesim-atheism a try. Google "Daniel Harbour".

Matt S.

  • 255.
  • At 03:52 PM on 24 Sep 2006,
  • Gareth Morris wrote:

Did Professor Dawkins consider the many scientific facts in the Bible during his investigation, all of which were written thousands of years before man discovered them. It must have been a test for those folk who believed the Bible when it said the earth was round (Isaiah 40:22) and freely floated in space (Job 26:7), when science at that time and common logic adamantly maintained otherwise.

  • 256.
  • At 04:07 PM on 24 Sep 2006,

It would be unthinkable for the BBC to interview a member of a political party in such a loose way as Paxman's interview of Dawkins, without interviewing an individual from another party with similar credentials. Alister Mcgrath, theologian, scientist and Oxford Professor has thoroughly dealt with Dawkins' ideas in his book "Dawkins' God". Possibly he should be interviewed next. Dawkins'woolly thinking was revealed in his statement that Paul invented Christianity. A look at the writings of John and the other disciples shows this to be nonsense. Those who wish to lay any violence at Christ's door should read what he promoted as the second most important commandment to "love your neighbour as yourself" and take the trouble to read the parable of the good samaritan, Luke 10, v 30-37"

  • 257.
  • At 04:10 PM on 24 Sep 2006,
  • dj houghton wrote:

All children are taught some form of religious belief. Our desire to seek out a reason for existence ripens us for this indoctrination. Casting off the shackles of religious belief is arduous and leads initially to an overwhelming sense of loneliness. It is a path that only a minority are willing or able to make. With time the loneliness is replaced by an appreciation of the wonder of living and an acceptance that this is enough.

  • 258.
  • At 04:14 PM on 24 Sep 2006,
  • Gareth Morris wrote:

In response to Matthew Shute (255):

That won't hold water on Judgment Day.

  • 259.
  • At 05:57 PM on 24 Sep 2006,
  • Francis Fry wrote:

Catholicism would agree with the Author, in so far it too does not believe there is God in the universe or in nature, more commonly known as pantheism.

It is not certain however on what intellectual grounds the author basis his main argument. Is it as a scientist? Well science does not claim to make such audicious comments about the existence of God, it is not within its remit. Is it as a philosopher; well the author does not claim to be one and certainly does not appear to have any philosophical argument for disproving the existence of God. So, is it as a historian or politician? Claiming God does not exist, because modernity has to rule out medieval antiquated thinking and his support for gay rights, hardly qualifies as proof that God does not exist. It's mere opinion based on some populist sentiment.

Catholicism teaches that natural reason can find proof for the existence of God but is very careful about the boundaries it sets in regard the fields of knowledge applied. The author's question about the existence of God, it would claim belonged to the philosophical and to metaphysical realm of knowledge.

As for "narrow" moral outlook of modern day religion insofar it excludes gay rights, etc..., Catholocism, is very methodical in the way it first establishes the groundwork for the existence of God, it then discusses what sort of Being, God is, again speaking philosophically and only after establishing various "truths" based on human reason alone, does it begin to discuss what God has revealed about Himself. To dismiss Christianity out of hand because there is no God, is simply to beg the question!

The author claims he is a believer in the truth, but it appears he has not been honest with himself and with his audience about how precisely he establishes, or on what intellectual basis, he starts his argument. If he is talking about science alone, not only is he operating outside the remit of science but is infact agreeing with traditional Catholic view that God is wholly outside nature. The God of science truly does not exist, no one ever claimed He did.

If then the author wants to argue that we cannot know anything outside the field of science, well why right the book and make such an ascertion, since his ascertion is obviously outside the field of science?

Of course, for Catholics and many other faiths and great thinkers, it is not true that we cannot know anything. This is why philosophy, metaphysics have sought intellectually and painstakingly to ponder on these great questions about God and the nature of Being.

It seems to me, the author is full of hot air, out to make a quick buck! One of the characteristics of an atheist is his/her narcissism. The belief that he/she alone loves the truth and that he/she alone believes in the truth. The egocentricism is sad to say the least all the more so if the author is genuinely serious about the intellectual basis of his ideas.

  • 260.
  • At 06:03 PM on 24 Sep 2006,
  • zeno wrote:


Isaiah 40:22 says (KJV): It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in.

Two points: a circle is NOT a sphere and the heavens are NOT like a curtain.

Also, Daniel 4:11 The tree grew, and was strong, and the height thereof reached unto heaven, and the sight thereof to the end of all the earth.

Not possible if the earth was a sphere.

As for the other scientific bible 'fact' you try to convince us of:

Job 26:7 says: He stretcheth out the north over the empty place, and hangeth the earth upon nothing.

However, earlier in Job 9:6 Which shaketh the earth out of her place, and the pillars thereof tremble.
1 Samuel 2:8 The pillars of the earth are the LORD's, and he hath set the world upon them.

So, was the earth on pillars or was it floating?

A useful resource is

  • 261.
  • At 08:57 PM on 24 Sep 2006,
  • david barber wrote:

Since I wrote 162 there have been several other emails mentioning e.g. faith schools and indoctrination of children.

Would it be possible to persuade Richard Dawkins to get to the root of this problem by becoming the new "Jamie Oliver" and championing the eradication of religious practice in our schools?

I am a big fan of Prof Dawkins' dry and sober style of argument, as well as what he has to say on this issue. But I quote from the extract from his book published on this site:

[Terrorists] perceive their acts to be good, not because of some warped personal idiosyncrasy, and not because they have been possessed by Satan, but because they have been brought up, from the cradle, to have total and unquestioning faith.

Does Dawkins really believe this ? Satan it's most certainly not. But one shocking - if not necessarily surprising - fact is that they were not brought up to believe in murdering people, but have turned to extremism as (mostly young) adults. Look at Bin Laden's youth ! With all respect Professor Dawkins, you are allowing yourself a rather lazy way out of thinking about the cause of a problem. As so often has been the case throughout history, religion here is not the cause but the justification.

  • 263.
  • At 09:39 PM on 24 Sep 2006,
  • Dee wrote:

Atheism is as a much an act of faith or ‘meme’ as Theism. A hundred years ago scientists measured people’s skulls and claimed they could spot criminals or anarchists by the shape and size of their head or ear lobes. The same pseudo-science saw a liberal democracy like Sweden sterilise the mentally ill and those deemed ‘unsuitable’ for having children. Sixty years ago scientists in Auschwitz tortured people to death to establish empirical data, subsequently used by ‘proper’ British, American and Russian scientists. So, why is it Christians have to defend or excuse every absurbsity of their history and faith, whereas Dawkin side steps the crass and the deeply immoral science that scientists have peddled in the past as ‘truth’?

Dawkin’s talks about the ‘truth’, but what ‘truth’ is he talking about? In some cases a belief in God can increase the chances of the survival of your DNA, for example, by say refusing to commit suicide, or as it was noted at Auschwitz refusing to give up. At Auschwitz a strong faith, not necessarily religious, was shown to increase your survival chances. If faith gives you an empirically demonstrated advantage in survival and therefore the ability to pass on your DNA, how can Dawkin’s dismiss faith as less than a rational response to human experience of life?

Further, Dawkins admits he cannot falsify any of his claims; therefore, his claims cannot by Karl Popper’s definition be scientific. Moreover, Dawkins does not prove anyone believes in Thor or the Spaghetti monster in the way people of faith believe in God, so how can the examples cited compare with a religious belief?

Perhaps, a nice fat book contract with an American publisher is a possibly better empirical reason for Dawkin's position. After all "Well God may or may not exist……. I cannot prove it either way" is not a book title that is going to sell.

  • 264.
  • At 10:19 PM on 24 Sep 2006,
  • Alex Spak wrote:

Amazing book! The more Professor Dawkins speaks, the more he shows that God does exist!

With a GOD there would be no atheists.

  • 266.
  • At 01:04 AM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Gareth Morris wrote:


"Also, Daniel 4:11 The tree grew, and was strong, and the height thereof reached unto heaven, and the sight thereof to the end of all the earth.... Not possible if the earth was a sphere."

Read the context - it was a dream.

"circle is NOT a sphere "

The word translated "circle" here is the Hebrew word chuwg, which is also translated "circuit" or "compass" (depending on the context). That is, it indicates something spherical, rounded, or arched, not something that is flat or square.

"Job 26:7 says: He stretcheth out the north over the empty place, and hangeth the earth upon nothing.

However, earlier in Job 9:6 Which shaketh the earth out of her place, and the pillars thereof tremble."

Is it that simple to infer from Job 9:6 that the earth is sat on literal pillars when it does indeed say a few chapters later that He hangs the earth upon nothing? Why not try reading the book of Job for yourself, and then ask yourself could its author make such a mistake?

Also check Job 38:12,14 which describes the earth as being turned as clay to a seal - an accurate analogy of the earth's rotation.

Job 28:25 tells us that there is a weight for the wind.

Job 38:16 talks about the springs of the sea.
Check out Google: "Ray Comfort" for more.

Before I was a Christian I believed in God because of nature and the beauty of mathematics. I didn't read the whole Bible before getting converted. I only read the Gospels of John and Mark. I was transformed by the power of God, and not one awakened hour goes by in which I am not conscious of God being with me. For the 24 years before my conversion I didn't give God much serious thought. Whenever I would pick up a Bible it did not make much sense to me. Read 1 Corinthians 2:14.

Can you honestly say you are innocent of lying, stealing or lusting? Those are just 3 of the 10 Commandments. Have you ever murdered? God considers hatred as murder. We are all guilty of breaking the Commandments. Listen to the voice of your conscience, and let it remind you of some of the sins of the past. God has seen every sin we have ever committed.

If you are serious about rejecting the Bible and its plan of salvation then you'll have to face God on Judgment Day for failing His 10 Commandments. God does not want you to go to hell and not believing in Him is not what's going to send you there. What will send you there is the fact that you have broken His Law. If you accept Jesus as your saviour He is able to present you perfect to God Almighty, since His blood which He shed on the cross cleanses you of your sin. God then see's you as He saw Jesus when He was baptised (Mark 1:11). You become a child of God. It's not something you can earn, it is a gift of God given to anyone willing to believe.

God bless

  • 267.
  • At 07:44 AM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Chris wrote:

It was a fascinating interview but I couldn't hep being left with a slightly anger at the displayed arrogance. He openly states that he wants peple to face the truth.(His version of the truth I assume) but why is it so important that people face this version of the truth? I understand why sceintists struggle with the premise of religous belief. It is all based on faith and a belief in something that can not be proven and I understand why they wish to disprove its factual basis. What I fail to understand is why they can not let those that do believe, just believe. Either those believe are right ( and this would make the scientists look silly) or they are not but need it as a emmotional crutch. If it is the latter, the only harm is if it turns to extremism and this equates to a very small minority who would be extremist in something else (politics?) if not religion. How can anyone believe that they alone know the truth? If only life was so simple.

  • 268.
  • At 09:33 AM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Gareth wrote:

Religion worries me. We are currently caught up in a religious war. The so-called "war on terror" is just that. We are heading towards oblivion simply because two sets of people don't agree with how to support and worship god. It's utter stupidity. Yeah, they might dress it up as a "war against the evil terrorists", but are the terrorists necessarily evil? No. They just have a wildly different view to what we in the West are used to. Richard Dawkins is absolutely correct to be trying to open people's eyes as to how dangerous religion can be, and I support him 100% in his quest.

  • 269.
  • At 10:59 AM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Davlan wrote:

If chapter 1 is anything to go by, this book is going to be absolutely brilliant!


  • 270.
  • At 11:38 AM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Ollie wrote:

The attitude towards the myth that Pat Robertson apparently blaming Hurricane Katrina devastating New Orleans on a lesbian living there struck me as being along the lines of "yes, may be made up and bunk...but it proves my point"
Which rather undermines his whole argument that religion and supposed supernatural deities are made up and bunk.

Dawkins seems so utterly (and, somewhat ironically, fanatically) obsessed with proving his point, that he misses it entirely. Religion is not about proof. It is about faith.

  • 271.
  • At 11:57 AM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Chris wrote:

I am confused by Dawkins. On the one hand he draws the conclusion from science that the world is cruel, harsh, and indifferent, with no underlying morality. As he says, 'This is one of the hardest lessons for humans to learn. We cannot admit that things might be neither good nor evil, neither cruel nor kind, but simply callous - indifferent to all suffering, lacking all purpose.' On the other hand, he says that religion is evil and to be opposed. If the world is amoral, how can he make such a moral judgement?

  • 272.
  • At 12:10 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Paul, 23 wrote:

Religion, either directly or not, has led to the main cause of death and destruction over centuries and even today. Over what? Can we prove that prophet was buried here? No, but we'll fight for it anyway.

I was brought up as a Christian, and while I believe it has helped me become a law abiding and well educated member of the public, I am now educated sufficiently to know that I am not going to believe any story which has been told, re-written, deciphered and translated many times over hundreds of years.

Hawkins is right. Wake up you lot and realise if you don't pray what difference will it make. And why is it that the people 'God' does speak to are always mental. Why doesn't God ask us to do good rather than blow something up? I wonder why.....

  • 273.
  • At 12:14 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • David wrote:

If were we all just a fraction as rational and civilized as Richard Dawkins the world would be a much safer place.

  • 274.
  • At 12:16 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Mo wrote:

There's been many other books like this, but somehow this is getting some people frothing - and it's just to sell well at a popular time (obviously).

Don't believe in God? Fine, no argument. Think that Religion is the root of all evil?..Er, Atheist Stalin killed people for just being priests. Without Religion people would kill for other reasons, and have (territory, skin colour etc.)
People do wrong, and it's widely understood that mainstream religions do not endorse intolerance. If you counted extremists amidst Islam then you'd find it to be very small. And then there's the debate whether these pockets are just religious hijackers. Anyone can say they're of a religion and then kill someone.

It's dangerous to think that being without religion is somehow a cure-all, some people require the disciple of religion whether there is a God or not.
Believing or not is one thing, but thinking atheism is the best way is no different to religious fascism. And this is what turns me off about this book, it sounds stupid.

  • 275.
  • At 12:25 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Chris wrote:

Some wrote "I think I'll write a book called 'The Dawkins Delusion'".
Well just make sure you've read and UNDERSTOOD his arguments first!

This is the book I have been waiting for all my life. Can't wait to get hold of a copy. If I could afford it, I would buy thousands, and hand them out on the streets.

  • 276.
  • At 12:52 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Ian Scott wrote:

Very interesting interview with Richard Dawkins well handled by Jeremy. Hope you can have future Newsnight Bookclub interviews on a Friday or before eleven so we can see them in Scotland

  • 277.
  • At 12:57 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Chrissie wrote:

Oh joy, yet another academic displaying the fine art of picking the bits that further his argument (and ignoring the rest) in order to denigrate a fine old book.

The Bible has survived two millenia of translation and interpretation and hostility.
Will Professor Dawkin's book still raise interest and discussion in 4006? Somehow I doubt it.

  • 278.
  • At 12:57 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • swebb wrote:

There seems to be a fair few responses from people hoping Dawkins finds God before it's too late ! What do they mean by this ? It implies that if you don't find God then God will in some way punish you. If that is the case you have to ask if this is the kind of God that millions of people seem to waiste there whole life praying to.

As Frank Zappa said in 'Dumb All Over -

Hey, we can't really be dumb
If we're just following *God's Orders*
Hey, let's get serious...
God knows what he's doin'
He wrote this book here
An' the book says:
*He made us all to be just like Him,"
If we're dumb...
Then God is dumb...
*(An' maybe even a little ugly on the side)*

  • 279.
  • At 12:58 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Dave Purnell wrote:

Who are all these bizarre people who think Dawkins' 'put here' comment proves he is contradicting himself?

  • 280.
  • At 01:02 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Atom57 wrote:

Shunning a religious belief in favour of accepting post-theist thinking is likely to have a limited appeal .
When I discuss this with people they are either indifferent or not willing to go the whole hog . Preffering to label themselves as agnostic .

Mankind won't progress until we eradicate the racial and sexual prejudices that stem from religious teachings or educate young and impressionable minds to value their lives ,instead of throwing them away in the name of a mythical being .

It's unfortunate that in the 21st Century we are still having to give religion so much attention .
I welcome the day when a religious belief is an eccentricity .

  • 281.
  • At 01:02 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Martin Leverton wrote:

I am a firm, and informed, supporter of the theory of evolution by natural selection and do not think that it's necessary to invoke god to explain natural phenomena. That said, it would be better if Prof. Dawkins would admit that he is simply stating his own beliefs. They may be right, probable, or well founded. But, as someone employed to foster the understanding of science he must, presumably, be only too aware that a hypothesis that god does not exist, cannot be framed in such a way that it is capable of disproof, and as such, is not science. The only scientific attitude to god would have to be a very robust agnosticism. Whether or not you think there has been a lot of hatred and irrationality peddled in the name of religion, is not an argument about the central premise. Establishing that people can be irrational, that many belief systems are flawed, and that horrors have been committed in the name of religion is the easy bit, but not really the point. I'm pretty sure that theism and atheism are both just different belief systems, and not really open to a conclusive scientific debate. I feel he should be more honest, and simply state that he's made the best informed hunch that he is able to, on the evidence available. That would be a perfectly respectable position, providing he would be willing to buy into the whole package. The "whole package", be it right or wrong, is one in which subjects like beauty and morality are very difficult concepts to grapple with, though he does, when interviewed, seem to have no problem taking them on-board, in as naive and wide-eyed fashion as others take on religious beliefs.

  • 282.
  • At 01:03 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • mattcitizen wrote:

It's so refreshing to see the BBC devoting some time and attention to atheism and humanism as worldviews. Enough of our license fee goes to funding Songs of Praise, Choral Evensong, Thought of the Day and other such guff already, thank you very much.

Religious thinking is, to my mind, the ultimate form of backwardness and human stupidity. And yet I can hardly get on the tube these days without some zealot shouting about this nonsense in an atempt to proselytise. Thank goodness for Doctor Dawkins! And thank you BBC for providing some airtime to a voice of reason amongst the insane din of those who beleive in fairy tales.

  • 283.
  • At 01:03 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Patrick Nicholson wrote:

What about all the good things people do motivated by faith? For example, faith-based organisation provide 70 percent of care to HIV patients in Africa. They don't do it for money, but for reasons of faith. Not like Dawkins of course, who has been dinning out on his anti-religious obsessions for years.

  • 284.
  • At 01:10 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Hanbury Hampden-Turner wrote:

Judging from the excerpts, this is yet another Dawkin book, in the now familiar mold. That is to say entertaining, clearly written, but with no actual substance.

Dawkins consistently shys away from something very obvious. That his contentions should be supported by his examples. Instead he makes a statement, starts to explain it, and then drifts off into another diatribe against religion. It's easy for the reader to forget that he never substantiated his original point.

Try this: Read chapter 7. Now, apart from the amusing stories about scripture and religious fanatics, what was his actual point? He refers to a few serious-sounding points, but these have little or nothing to do with the examples he uses. He never tries to connect them.

He _seems_ to be arguing that you can't get morality from the bible, because there is too much that is immoral in there. It's not a statement he makes, or an arguement he pursues.

It's entertaining stuff, and I'm sure there is raw material for a serious discussion there, but you won't get a coherent arguement about religion from Dawkins. It's just a rant masquerading as an arguement. Very disappointing.

  • 285.
  • At 01:10 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • towcestarian wrote:

Whilst I agree with almost every word the great Prof Dawkins says, he has missed one fundamental point. The majority of the world's population are just too plain stupid to be able to live without a god. Take God away from them and these dimwits will just turn to all sorts of new-age claptrap. Crystal worship anyone?

  • 286.
  • At 01:14 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Tony wrote:

It sounds wonderful, I can't wait to buy a copy. I have been an atheist all my adult life and have always found fervant religious belief both fascinating & appalling. Having tried many times myself, I can't see Richard's book getting through to the people that need it most, but now that even the pope has had to publically admit his fallibilty, maybe miracles can happen after all!

  • 287.
  • At 01:15 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Joseph Black wrote:

The problem here is that people are confusing the issues. You cannot compare science (reason and rationality) with religion (the home of the confused, the nebulous and the medieval).

So much is done in the name of religion, but the idea that science produces the same evils is utterly without perspective - science has moved on more in the last 50 years than in the last 500, due to the fact that it can be proven or unproven - religion has by and large remained unchanged for hundreds of years.

What should be the focus here is that religion is utterly un-provable. The very fact that the American extremist Anne Coulter rages against the "agents of reason" proves my point; reason is by its very nature a good thing - to say it is godless is true as there is no empirical reason to believe in a god - but to present this as evil is simply irrational.

There is no need to eradicate religion from society, as it gives support and help to so many, but to replace science with the teachings of a confused and jumbled book that could have been written any time in the last 2000 years is selfish and shortsighted in the extreme.

We should be going through a Golden Age - a global economy, higher levels of wealth and living standards in the west, and technological and scientific progress unthought of 20 years ago - but the actions of these agents of stupidity are dragging us back to the Dark Ages.

  • 288.
  • At 01:16 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Richard wrote:

This a time when the mixture of religion and politics have become such a negative infouence upon human affairs . Dawkins insights not to mention his courage are a beacon of sanity .

  • 289.
  • At 01:17 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Jill Jago wrote:

I can't wait to read the whole book. I admire and totally agree with Richard Dawkins. God and all religion in the world, past and present are repressive, manmade, devisive and bloodthirsty. The current fusion of religion and politics in the United Sfgates and in theis country is shameful and destructive in the extreme.

Prseident G W Bush is not the first US president informed by god to undertake an invasion of a foreign country. Remember William McKinley and the Philippines? As someone recently quoted, those who speak to God are essentially beggars and those to whom God 'speaks' are insane.

In passing - if Bush and Blair are such committed Christians what will happen to them on Judgment Day when they face St Peter at the pearly gates? Ho hum...

  • 290.
  • At 01:17 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Andrew wrote:

If Mr Dawkins is convinced that the old testament is a random conglomeration of superstitions because it consists of many different documents, what does he say about the Messaianic prophecies? I'm a classicist and hence am familiar with the notoriously ambiguous nature of prophecy in the ancient world, and I have to say when I read the biblical prophecies I was ASTOUNDED at their precision and accuracy!

I didn't understand what he said about Christianity being invented by Paul; Paul was a zealous pharisee, firecely devoted to his Jewish faith, and nothing short of a miracle would have made him join the people he persecuted, give up his life to preach their message and reform his character as we can see from his letters. I mean, he went to his DEATH for his beliefs, as did most of the disciples. These were the closest people to Jesus, and if they HADN'T seen his miracles, his prophecies, his healing and seen him after his death, and understood that he was the Son of God why did they willingly go to their deaths fo the sake of a message they knew to be false? We need to seriously reconsider the context in which the gospels were written.

Mr Dawkins needs the God he is attacking, and for his own sake I hope he meets him soon.

  • 291.
  • At 01:17 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Amy wrote:

Richard Dawkins - I'm praying for you x

  • 292.
  • At 01:19 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Dan Carpenter wrote:

Acrid Shark Wind

  • 293.
  • At 01:19 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Graham Cole wrote:

I have been an atheist all my adult life, that human knowledge is limited is an idea I find obvious and undeniable.

I find my self in agreement with pretty much everything Dawkins has ever said. And yet, he does leave me feeling uncomforable that his view of humanity is somehow incomplete. Most of this is probably just an ingrained habit of politness that restains me from critisising peoples deeply held personal beliefs, but I have also come to realise that we cannot understand people without appreciating that we have an inate desire to belive. We must understand this all too human frailty - rather than simply railing against it.

Being an atheist is not easy and even after many years I still hear the siren call of comforting certainty. The world needs people like Dawkins to remind us of our limits and to accept them.

  • 294.
  • At 01:24 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Craig wrote:

To paraphrase the author in question.

"There are two ways in which scripture might be a source of morals or rules for living. One is by direct instruction, for example through the media (TV, radio, books, internet and the like). The other is by example: God, or some other identifiable character, might serve as - to use the contemporary jargon - a role model or icon. Both routes, if followed through religiously (the adverb is used in its metaphoric sense but with an eye to its origin), encourage a system of morals which any civilized modern person, whether religious or not, would find - I can put it no more gently - obnoxious."

Which leads me neatly to the question what kind of fundamentalism Professor Dawkins is espousing himself? My personal faith in scientific principles of observation and open-minded interpretation have been soundly shattered. Perhaps before those of different world views and cultural upbringing launch the next war of extermination they consider that like other religions science is a broad-church and our more zealous extremes do not really demonstrate the core prinicples by which we operate.

  • 295.
  • At 01:28 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Julian Corner wrote:

How nice to hear someone saying what I've been saying for years.

The trouble was that when I was saying it Paxman never asked to interview me.

I could have told him all that years and years ago.

  • 296.
  • At 01:29 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Ivan wrote:

Ref: Comment 277

Don't forget that God Loves You Too :o)

  • 297.
  • At 01:30 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Nicky wilson wrote:

Well, beleiving in a god or gods is so illogical one has to remember that the only way it survives is because we have to brainwash children in order to perpetuate it.

One can realise how sensible or irrational each of these gods are by asking why is it if god was such all knowing, why then did he not produce a video of himself and some of his powers thousands of yrs ago rather than send us one guy in a beard in Israel, another from Nazareth and or one guy who lived in the desert near Mecca?

Moreover you can tell god is not all embracing by realising that each god' is strangely focused on a particulat area of the planet, and if he was all powerful he would surely have told us which version of god was his or her or it's 'genuine authentic article' one by NOW, surley?

Sadly one might as well claim one believes in fairies at the bottom of your garden, such is the paucity of evidence for each of these religion's gods.

We are getting to the point now where those of us who believe in humanity in preference to these falsehood beliefs know we will be attacked and or in many instances killed for refusing to beleive in their version of fairies at the bottom of the garden.

Religious idolatry is as dangerous as political fanaticism of the Far Left and Far Right (and many shades in between) which are not backed up by science and quality education

Having read only the extracts from his book, I've learnt the following:

It's very difficult to even understand what you're reading if you approach a book only with an eye to what you can disagree with. To read a Dawkin's book I have to make the effort to understand what he's trying to say, to fill in what are (to me) the gaps in his argument, and to a certain extent try to sympathise with him. If I don't make that effort then I only see the errors, learn nothing, understand little and just think he's an idiot. But this is the way he appears to read the bible. As a result, his opinions on it are half baked and miss the obvious.

Very sad. You'd expect an intelligent man to be able to come up with something thoughtful, not just spout stuff that shows plenty of opinion but little thought.

If you think Dawkins is _reasonable_ then I think you have yet to learn to distinguish rhetoric from careful argument, or a populist tract from a reasoned debate.

  • 299.
  • At 01:31 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Kevin Johnson wrote:

There is nothing wrong with believing in God, nor in any religion, yet I do not know of any religion that asks for people to be killed in it's name, apart from Satanism that is, and I'm not 100% sure of that.

So why do so many extremists want to kill in the name of their God?

If their God is omnipotent, as most seem to be, why do they need anyone's help in killing those that offend them?

Is there a God? If not, we should thank Professor Dawkins for putting the case so clearly. If there is a God, why get upset about Professor Dawkins? God will see he gets a BIG surprise!

  • 300.
  • At 01:34 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Rob Paton wrote:

To all those who keep posting that Prof Hawkins contradicted himself by saying 'I dont believe we were put here to be comfortable'. You are completely missing the point.

One day the universe may well be worked out. Who knows, it may turn out to be a bloke with a white beard running things afterall (it does make me laugh how the western world portrays him as 'one of us' ha ha).

His point is that the more we find out and understand, the less likely that scenario is. Sorry folks, but them's the facts.

He stands for truth and logic, and it is science that strives to understand. Religion says it has the answers already and therefore rejects all aims to uncover the truth if it differs from 'theirs'.

Thats ok for simpletons, but not for a sophisticated society.

Well done Richard Dawkins. A sensible voice in a world full of misguided looneys.

  • 301.
  • At 01:35 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Peter wrote:

Good God. What some people will do to make a living.

  • 302.
  • At 01:38 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Steve byrne wrote:

The interview was a breath of fresh air.
The bible.. why would anyone take any notice let alone form a religon around a book written thousands of years ago by people who knew the world to be flat.

  • 303.
  • At 01:39 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • chris thomas wrote:

I am quite literally wetting my pants with laughter reading the repeated comments from various posters picking up on the "... we weren't put here to be comfortable." line.

Prof Dawkins has had a lot of practise wording things in ways that the ignorant can understand, so it is not surprising that they immediately go for the juglar while the irony passes effortlessly over their heads.

Go read some popular science books that are a little bit more up to date than a 2000+ year old text.

  • 304.
  • At 01:46 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Tangles wrote:

My question is this, were all the people born prior to the life of the Prophet Mohammed infidels because the Koran had not been written at that time and therefore they could not of lived by its doctrine?

  • 305.
  • At 01:46 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • gary wrote:

why didnt Newsnight have someone like Prof. Alistair McGrath interview Dawkins? he is the only person to match and beat Dawkins in both a scientific and theological argument. further, since when did newsnight promote one form of extremism (nothing in any of Dawkins books can actually be described as more than a hissy fit against religion, lacking clear and qualitative argumentation) against another?

  • 306.
  • At 01:46 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Paul wrote:

I am actually saddened to read an awful lot of people's opinions on this book, and on life in general.

Dawkins asks why God would be interested in us. Well, why wouldn't he be? How much must you hate yourself to make such a statement? I can actually feel the fear, the self-loathing and the hoplessness of many people who have commented here in that same way.

I pray for you all, because faith is not a bad thing and those who can't disassociate "faith" from "religion" are poor indeed. Religions kill, faith makes lives better.

  • 307.
  • At 01:46 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Tim Wilkinson wrote:

I am dumbfounded by the number of posts on the page that illustrate that society is still full of people who believe in the tooth fairy, ghosts, Father Christmas and the monster in the cupboard. Many posts poke at Dawkins and say he should have a proper debate with a theologian. I am sure he would welcome the chance!

Well done to someone who actually has some guts to speak with clarity about such issues.

  • 308.
  • At 01:48 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Andrew Bailey wrote:

A fair amount has been written about Richard's last words in the interview. "I don't think we were put here to be comfortable". I find it amusing and consistent that the religious commentators among us jump to an asumption when reversing this statement. He is stating what he doesn't believe. It doesn't indicate what he does believe. His statement is not proof to say that he thinks we were put here to be uncomfortable or to say that we were put here at all.

Logic 101.

  • 309.
  • At 01:49 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Robin H wrote:

I would also recommend Alistair McGrath's book, "Dawkin's God" as balance to the discussion. McGrath is Professor of historical theology at Oxford University with a PhD in molecular biophysics so well able to debate with Dawkins. From what little I know the scientific community no longer takes Dawkins seriously. His scientific theories are so embarrassingly flawed that I'm amazed that he's got as far as he has. I understand he refuses a public debate with McGrath, I wonder why? It would only be reasonable to add McGrath's book to Newsnight's library in order to add balance.

  • 310.
  • At 01:49 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • J Neil wrote:

This whole issue of God and the disputes between different religions boils down to just one sentence. "Who has got the best imaginary friend".

  • 311.
  • At 01:50 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Jeff wrote:

I believe that Professsor Dawkins really does need our prayers because where he's going he'll need all the help he can get!
Christians have always been easy targets for anyone with half baked and offensive ideas because we tend not to respond with violence. Could I suggest that the good professor now directs his campaign of enlightenment towards the world of Islam as they do claim, after all, to worship the same God?

  • 312.
  • At 01:51 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Alexandre Raposo wrote:

To all the participating carthesians, i.e., the ones who believe that if the idea of god exists in our minds therefore god has to exist, I recommend an excellent book by an excellent scientist, Lewis Wolpert: "Six impossible things before breakfast: the evolutionary origins of belief".

To the ones that introduced 'Creationism' or 'Intelligent designs' to the debate, allow me to say that Science is a process depending on the power of its questions and not, like the doctrines above, on the confort of its answers.

  • 313.
  • At 01:51 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Gary wrote:

please write the 'Dawkins Delusion' book, it will be a good read against the junk he is constantly spouting, i recommend you all read 'Dawkins God: Genes, Memes and the meaning of Life' by Alistair McGrath, a prof of theology with a PHD in science

  • 314.
  • At 01:52 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Steve Blunden wrote:

When I look at my baby son, and see the way he learns to act and move, my heart yearns with love; and I perceive a Good Creator.

When I hear about someone's own baby being deformed or dying, then I am saddened; and perceive the evil in the world.

In contemplating the evil that robs, kills, and maims, I hope with longing that Good will prevail.

Indeed, Athiesm for all its rational argument cannot provide these: Wonder, Hope, and Love. Without these, we are left with a cruel and bleak world to scratch a meaningless existance from.

  • 315.
  • At 01:53 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Jon wrote:

People who claim Science has disproved God have FUNDAMENTALLY misunderstood the two things i hold most dear: Science and God!

Science is a wonderful thing that allows us to understand our physical world with new eyes. However, science can never prove or disprove anything, only suggest a likely physical reality. Science can never measure a God who exists outside of our reality and cannot be defined in our terms.

I also agree however that organised religion has lead to a great deal of evil in our world... and i completely sympathise with all those who despair of what religious extremism is bringing to the world. Most of what people claim is "God-inspired" is human inspired. However, atheists attacking people for their religious beliefs is just as bad as religious people persecuting other religions or atheists.

  • 316.
  • At 01:56 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Carolyn wrote:

Let's take this in context. Mr Dawkins is a well known atheist. But his problem here seems to be with religion and its interpretations and not necessary God himself (he can hardly criticise a being he does not believe in). Please bear in mind that faith should not just be based on books and religious dogma but a real experience of God. If more people read some of our religious texts properly, the world would actually be a better place to live. "Love your neighbour as yourself". I agree that religion can be dangerous. God and the love he asks us to show is not.

  • 317.
  • At 01:56 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Tschaka wrote:

Dawkins defence that he was merely pursuing truth seemed to stray into bigotry when he stated that miracles were nonsense. This is contradictory with his statement that a scientist can never say God does not exist. It would have been more 'truthful' to say that he was only following the beliefs or conclusions the evidence had led him to. Certainly his position is not incontrovertable when it comes to substantive claims about ancient history, religion and sociology considering his expertise is biology. It seems that his argument is not really about truth.

I'm all for a debate about truth and the inherent evils of religion and society in general, particularly as a Christian who claims to follow the truth itself, but I don't think Dawkins contribution is ultimately very constructive.

  • 318.
  • At 02:05 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Boris K. wrote:

Great! I am such a fan of the author! Great book! It should be on the summer reading lists in schools! Fantastic job!

  • 319.
  • At 02:07 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Joseph Black wrote:

The problem here is that people are confusing the issues. You cannot compare science (reason and rationality) with religion (the home of the confused, the nebulous and the medieval).

So much is done in the name of religion, but the idea that science produces the same evils is utterly without perspective - science has moved on more in the last 50 years than in the last 500, due to the fact that it can be proven or unproven - religion has by and large remained unchanged for hundreds of years.

What should be the focus here is that religion is utterly un-provable. The very fact that the American extremist Anne Coulter rages against the "agents of reason" proves my point; reason is by its very nature a good thing - to say it is godless is true as there is no empirical reason to believe in a god - but to present this as evil is simply irrational.

There is no need to eradicate religion from society, as it gives support and help to so many, but to replace science with the teachings of a confused and jumbled book that could have been written any time in the last 2000 years is selfish and shortsighted in the extreme.

We should be going through a Golden Age - a global economy, higher levels of wealth and living standards in the west, and technological and scientific progress unthought of 20 years ago - but the actions of these agents of stupidity are dragging us back to the Dark Ages.

  • 320.
  • At 02:10 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Norman George wrote:

People who consider scientific evidence properly (be they Einstein, Darwin or Dawkins) generally do so to establish truths. They are usually open to debate and will accept what is proven or disproven by demonstrable scientific method, recognising each new truth which is exposed, and rejecting inadequate theories. If there was any possibility of scientific method disproving that species have evolved by gradual genetic change, then by now maybe we would all be singing in church and wondering why we’d ever doubted the bible.

People who blindly accept indoctrination, whether it be from iron age texts, parents, teachers or al-qeada are taking an easy way out. They can repeat whatever the text states – even if it seems to be goobledy-gook - their case is satisfied – they don’t need to prove or disprove anything – their beliefs are true and can’t be debated – because they were written by god – it says so in the bible, Koran or whatever. This doesn’t even amount to pseudoscience. To enter into a debate with this type of viewpoint will lead inevitably to a heated argument or the hijacking and crashing or an airliner.

It is important that the scientific community present the truth to anybody who might be potentially blinded by indoctrination. That is the only way to build a cooperative rather than confrontational global community. We are often made to feel guilty for criticising peoples religious beliefs – but to not speak the truth is to appease. To turn a blind eye to indoctrination (political or religious) in the light of current scientific knowledge is to deny reality in a manner which is retrogressive.

I take my hat off to Professer Dawkins - if only the World's political leaders would show the same moral courage to stand up for what is true then maybe the World would be a safer place.

St. Gervais-les-bains

  • 321.
  • At 02:11 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Jamie Hitel wrote:

Dawkins confuses faith with bigotry and religion with fundamentalism; apart from that, this looks like an interesting book.

  • 322.
  • At 02:16 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Brian J Dickenson wrote:

I agree with almost everything Richard Dawkins says. My one dissension is when he said that we were not put here to be comfortable. I do not think we were put here, that would mean someone or something did it.
Darwin was right, it is a matter of evolution, not some otherworldly entity making us from whatever.
Religion has been and I think will always be the cause of wars and killings. I'm not an atheist because I think they are acknowledging a God in a reverse sort of way.

I do believe that the man known as Jesus existed, however, I think he was just another wise man, like many other so called prophets.

  • 323.
  • At 02:17 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • RM wrote:

Being both a devout follower of Science and a devout follower of Christ, I fail to see what how the one negates the other.

Nor do I see what business it is of scientists to "Disprove the existence of God".

God and science ARE compatible with one another, and it should be the decision of the individual as to whether or not he believes in either (or both).

If Professor Dawkins doesn't believe in God then fine, but why are the media making such a big deal of it all? All that will happen is Atheists will say "I told you so" and Christians (and other followers of God and/or Christ)will criticize. Essentially all the book and its hype will do is emphasise an existing disparity that has no real resolution.

Personally, I think Professor Dawkins should stick to his own turf and write another book about the "Selfish Gene" (which, by the way, I don't believe in!).

  • 324.
  • At 02:18 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Andrew Neeson wrote:

Richard Dawkins has, in my opinion, a history of reducitonism. From his ultra-Darwinian stance with regard to genes to his attacks on Religion.
Just as arguably Evolution should not be simply reduced to biological determinism (human bodies are passive entities at the mercy of self replicating genes), the violent actions of religious men and women should not simply be reduced to their religious belief. Is for example the violence of George Bush and Tony Blair reduced to their religious believes or are there other reasons - imperial and economic interests?
Why for example are there examples of suicide bombers in Palestine who did not hold any religious beliefs. Are there not environmental, psychological, economic, social factors that inform peoples actions?
Isn't much of the anti imperialism in the middle east, rather than simply a religious attitude of justice, an example of a budgeoning capitalist class seeking greater autonomy - currently being held back by foreign invasion and economic strangulation?
Although I'm horrified by for example attempts of creationists to posit their beliefs into a psuedo scientific framework - Dawkins for me always comes across as fundamentalist in his own right.

P.S. Those who argue that evolution is just a theory on this thread. Stephen Jay Gould says Evolution is a fact - Humans did evolve from apes etc. Darwinism (eg his theory of Natural Selection) is a theory in that it is a way of explaining how evolution works. Similarly Gravity is a fact - it doesn't matter that Einstein made Newtons caluclations incorrect.

  • 325.
  • At 02:21 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Mrs Matson wrote:

Lets hope others will be more forthcoming, with being more assertive in their own believes if given the chance. It's terribly brainwashing bringing up children to enforce them into your own believes. How many of your 'god believers' can honestly say that you let your children exlore all theories of god/jesus and our planet, and stand by their differ opinion to yours. My children have been on their school bus whereby fellow students have learned that my kids do not go to church, and their reaction is of 'how alien', "what do you mean you don't go to church?" This says it all to me.... they children have been brought up in a family that have not been open minded.... have not let the children make their own opinions.... or encouraged their child to explore the different reglions that are out there. It should be acceptable to debate this issue within your family, and to accept the childs differ opinion. I also find that because families enforce their children to follow their parents relion, these families are quite often the ones that are the most judgemental, unforgiving, delusional characters. I did go to my friends church with my young children to give them some exposure of different relions, but when the pastor quotes "non believers are evil" I'm like 'RELION IS NOTHING OTHER THAN BRAINWASHING'. This god thing is destructive to our future.

  • 326.
  • At 02:21 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Damian wrote:

I've read the excerpts from the book and will be listening to the interview later. I'll probably go and buy the book too. However, I've been most struck by the reaction of those people who believe in a god (small "g" intentional) Their reactions range from anger to pity for us committed non-believers. Also, the concern of one contributor that a fatwa might be put on the author really saddens me. It saddens me because we know that this sort of thing happens.

The fact that so many people still cling on to faith as a moral insurance policy saddens me too. It also angers me that religion is still used as a method of opression and control.

Dawkins has raised a point that has been screaming to be heard above the histeria of the religious & politically correct.

  • 327.
  • At 02:26 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • David wrote:

I agree with those who say that if it wasn't religion that is so divisive it would be something else, such as colour, social status, etc. Unfortunately, it seems that religion is currently the main reason for divisions and intolerance in the world today. I consider the major, if the not the only, important problems to be addressed to be education and up-bringing.

Here in Europe, as across the world, we have many instances of divisions in society due to superficial, or even contrived, differences, but better education and integration soon reveals that we are all the same and that there's no reason to be at each other's throats. One particular example that I find amusing, though admittedly it's mainly fueled by alcohol, is the nationalistic behaviour between English (not British) and Germain so-called football supporters - a little research into anglo-saxon history proves that the English (whoever they are) are in fact decended in part from the German invaders after the Romans left (not to mention Norwegian vikings, Danish vikings, the Italians obviously, and of course Duke William's Danish-French vikings).

So what's the point I'm making? I've said it already: education. Education, which yields proof, which one hopes leads to understanding, which in turn allows for civilized living. We have a long way to go, though, as humanity is still so obviously immature. But better education that concentrates on what we have in common, and that which is real and provable, can only be for the better for humans and, indeed, all other life on this planet.

  • 328.
  • At 02:31 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • James wrote:

Dorkins says that we can never disprove god, and at the same time says that Science disproves it. He also believes anyone who thinks differently is stupid. We need to respect those who think differently to us, and not call them “stupid” or say they are deluded.
There are hundreds of better books by atheists and agnostics, I would not recommend this one.

I am amazed at the number of people who think we would be any better off without religion. I personally think things would be much worse.

He quotes extremists, and gives the impression that everyone who has faith is dangerous. It's like saying that all atheists are evil and intolerant because of Hitler, Stalin, and all the others who wanted to stamp out religion.
Arguments based on extreame example can be very week indeed.

Faith can be real, and isn't necessarily science but along side it.
Science is the "hows?" of life and faith is the "whys?"

I find the arguments of Richard Dorkins full of contradiction, confusion, and even writen with hatred in places- which I actually find quite worrying.

  • 329.
  • At 02:32 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Andrew wrote:

This sounds rather like All in the Mind: A Farewell to God by Ludovic Kennedy, another book questioning our unquestioning beliefs in Christianity as a nation.

  • 330.
  • At 02:37 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Steve wrote:

For a European, Dawkins' views are so orthodox that they would be downright boring if they were not expressed in such a vigorous and amusing style. Dawkins' book is secular Europe "preaching" to the rest of the world.

The secularity of Europe is in my view linked to the breakdown of society here. Religion is one of the kinds of glue that holds a society together and gives it identity. Europeans are increasingly asocial and nihilistic while those elsewhere have stronger societies but with a tendency for the social glue to be too strong and spill over into bigotry and fanaticism. As a European I prefer our way, but I can see the attractions of the other way.

In this context, I think Dawkins gets it wrong about the motivations of the British suicide bombers. In my view, it is not going to heaven that motivated them. They did not read the Koran all alone then become terrorists. Rather, they were persuaded by preachers that they belonged to a specific community (the worldwide Islamic community) and that that community was at war with all other communities (Christian and secular). In their view, sacrificing themselves, their families and the UK Islamic community for the interest of the perceived good of the worldwide Islamic community was worthwhile. I doubt that the text of the Koran had much to do with it.

  • 331.
  • At 02:37 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Chris wrote:

Great book, but it should have been written in a simpler language without long words. Then perhaps the dim-witted and misguided people who feel the need for religion to fulfil their lives might just understand it!

  • 332.
  • At 02:38 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Simon wrote:

Up the page a bit, Han wrote this: "I was really saddened to hear the interview with Richard Dawkins. I am a Christian, and cannot see how people can look at the mountains, rivers and even at the human body and not see God at work in things so complex."

Would this be the same God that built this planet on tectonic plates and caused the deaths of 200,000 people a couple of years ago?

  • 333.
  • At 02:43 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Zouhair Tourmoche wrote:

Professor Richard Dawkins is a Human Being 10,000 years ahead of his time. His work is for the logical people of modern times who are fed up of all the divisive thinking of followers of fall 3 Major Religions in our World today.
The Principles, or the Bases of all 3 Religions are in no doubt noble, honest,'holy', and reverent,but unfortunately they were designed for Earthly People as some Social,Ethical,and Spiritual framework had had to be put in place
in order to create a Civil,Fair,Decent Societies to which all Humankind can belong,and within which all Humankind can Survive in harmony between each of these varying societies. But,for the past 2,500 years,from Judaism to Islam,people followed these Religions and twisted their Principles using Political Idiologies in order to control the 'thinking' of their own People.
Moses,Jesus,and Mohamad were HONOURABLE thinkers with most profound HONOURABLE intentions.It is their followers that twisted and turned these Religious Principles to divide our World,and not to Unite our World. And,when from impirical evidence,I,now at 61 years of age,have come to the conclusions that Professor Richard Dawkins has expressed so eloquently and coherently in his latest book. I was born a Muslim,but since I read all of Arthur C. Clarke's works from "2002 Space Odyssey" to his Finalworks on the same theme,"3001 The Final Odyssey",I became aware of 'logical' thinking as 'spiritual' thinking had left me confused;Conflicts between,Jews,Christians,and Muslims, where People always referred to their Religion for justification of their 'divisive' Political stance whenever there was a conflict,always sent me on a wild goose chase looking for that 'needle-in-the-haystack' principle that we call the 'Brotherhood of Man', and which principle each Prophet had advocated.Of course,only recently,or in the past decate or so,I searched for the 'Brotherhood of Man' principle in : BOSNIA,KROACIA,MIDDLE EAST,INDONESIA,SUDAN,ETC. AND couldn't find a single evidence to prove to me that God did exist and that he moderated his People's thinking when dealing with one another.All I can hear now are slogans:"Imperialist America","Muslim Terrorists","Evil Zionit Regime",etc.,just to name a few of the accusations that each Major Religion,and in the name of their God,seem to hurle at one another.At this Juncture,I find myself standing on the side of 'LOGIC',and totally divorced from Human-interpretation of 'Spiritualism'. Hence,if I was to be given the real choice between the belief of Richard Dawkins' work,and the combined works of the 3 Major Religions,I will , without any hesitation, embrace the principles of a Richard Dawkins, THE FOURTH MAJOR RELIGION.


  • 334.
  • At 02:43 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Leana wrote:

Some of the most closed and murderous societies are those that chose to reject any belief in any God - Russia, China and North. Freedom and democracy and progress can be traced back to groups of people who chose the path of faith.

  • 335.
  • At 02:43 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Katie wrote:

I'm amazed by the extracts I've read of this book and amazed at the majority of the comments on this message board too. This book demonstrates GCSE-level understanding couched in educated terms. It is far removed from a scholarly, measured, reasonable approach to the subject. Dawkins rants his own opinions with absolutely no attempt to make a coherant argument or produce intelligent evidence. He relies on the extreme fringes of Christinaity and Islam to back up his position - he completely ignores the majority of religious people who live law-abiding and loving lives.

Blind atheism is surely no better than blind faith, Richard.

  • 336.
  • At 02:44 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Angela Brown wrote:

Finally, someone with a grain of sense and not ashamed to speak about it.

He puts all my feelings about this subject into perfect logical understanding. I would not be clever enough to stand up against the God People and argue these points in such a rational and calm way without getting emotianally clogged up.

Love it.


  • 337.
  • At 02:45 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • James Seddon wrote:

Richard Dawkins should be commended. It is refreshing to see the reasoned views held by many presented in such an articulate and considered manner. People such as this, who believe that this life is the only one we can count on, should have more influence in government, rather than people who think that we can sacrifice everything and have another go. His Channel 4 programme was superb and I was saddened by the complete lack of advertising in the breaks - surely us interested parties, religious or not, are a market worth targeting? Or is this an obvious example of the threatening intolerance held by some religious groups?

  • 338.
  • At 02:47 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Chris wrote:

I would go further than Dawkins in saying that people who believe in god are ignorant beyond all logical comprehension. To all those responding with pity or anger to his entirely intelligent and reasonable propositions: Don't pity atheists, we are the real future of decent humanity. I for one pity the fact that you have willingly exchanged your intellectual freedom for repellant dogma.
I also believe that atheists are inherrently better people than theists because I treat people with respect and kindness DESPITE the fact that I know any malfeasance would go unpunished. Your "virtue" is only achieved through the fear or bribery of some sort of afterlife or supernatural slap on the wrist. You have my sympathies!

  • 339.
  • At 02:48 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Stuart Westcott wrote:

In my view, religion can lead to many positive outcomes for individuals and society, through cultivation of various positive memes. However, in the case of religious/irrational thinking, these memes are essentially built upon a foundation that is false. I think these false foundations are mostly benign, but sometimes can give rise to extremely malignant memes, such as violence and oppression in the name of religion.

I think there are two values here, Truth and Happiness, and they do not necessarily come together. Some people are more likely to value the happiness that religion can bring at the expense of the truth, and some people, like myself, are not prepared to give up the truth in order to make myself happy. I think we should aspire to be happy while seeing the world as it really is.

  • 340.
  • At 02:50 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Peter Harry wrote:

I agree with Richard Dawkins, but I will say this, "If ever someone pronounces me dead, I hope they have the decency to throw my mobile phone into the box", just in case!

  • 341.
  • At 02:51 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Jennifer Watts wrote:

Hi Jeremy Paxman, hope you are enjoying your sojurn at Manchester, and hope you have many ice-blistering comments to make. Have you ever studied Law, just a question, based on your style of interviewing?
Now to the main subject, I watched your interview and read the extracts from the book, but none of the many letters sent to you. So,I begin as an ex-archaelogist/anthrolopolist, which means in a most ways I agree with Darwin,and therefore,I think with your subject. However,forgetting the New Testament, as a series of stories, and forgetting Jesus was the son of God, born by immalucate conception, I as a R.C.(heaven knows what will happen to me,if I am wrong,Dante's Inferno at the least)I disagree with the above and call Jesus a prophet, not unlike Allah. so if I take my theory a little further I agree with your subject in most matters, no miracles, crucified, yes for what he said, but no re-appearance, except in the light of believers, which I allow to exist in this world and have no quarrel. To me, he was a person who sought to elighten and give inspiration, as Allah did, only Allah went to heaven on a huge white horse,and left behind him, scores of relatives. Again,no quarrel.
My sense,not sensiblilty,arrives at the point, unfortunately, no life after death, unless there is enough space in this universe and its planets to take all our souls, and who then decides? There are many adequate religions in this world, only to mention Budhism. Two further questions, have you ever looked over the Rift Valley in Kenya, and decided who made it, God or working men/women, and why did you place your interviewee in such a barren place, with chairs, that only your legs could reach the floor level. Who inspired you, God or yourself? Regards Jennifer W.

  • 342.
  • At 02:51 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • James wrote:

Dawkins makes a comment: "To be fair, much of the Bible is not systematically evil but just plain weird". How does he reach the judgement that parts of the bible are evil? If he were completely consistent he would state that there is no such thing as good or evil. A world that is made by chance has no morality.

What are the implications of no morality? No morality means that I can do what ever I want to get what ever I want. An atheistic Stalin killed between 10 and 30 million as part of his "modernisation" of Russia. An atheist/pagan Hitler killed about 11 million during the holocaust. Pol Pot killed 3 million... This doesn't include, of course, those that died in wars that these atheistic leaders started.

Of course there have been atrocities done in the name of religion (the crusades for example). But Dawkins himself is deluded if he thinks that man does better without God.

  • 343.
  • At 02:52 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Herbert G, wrote:

"And all from a belief in a God whose existence lacks evidence of any kind" (from the blurb). Dawkins mean that he chooses to reject the evidence, doesn't he? Now, lots of intelligent people accept the evidence, so Dawkins is being intellectually dishonest when he says there is none.

  • 344.
  • At 02:53 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Richard wrote:

As a Christian I find the persepctive of Richard Dawkins, quite 2D even bleak, he always fails to look up and see the true perspective. Still I believe were created in Gods image and have free will and while we are here on this planet we can either chose to accept God or reject him. For me I find it enormusly comforting and uplifting to know that God loves me, that he has a plan and in the end his will - will be done.

  • 345.
  • At 02:55 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Paul Davies wrote:

What an incredible number of people seem to think it relevant and important to comment on a subject [God] they claim is irrelevant and unimportant! Maybe they should review if it is actually so irrlevant and unimportant as they claim!

  • 346.
  • At 02:57 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Camille wrote:

“There is no bigot like the atheist.”
- G.K. Chesterton

  • 347.
  • At 02:59 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Mohan Hingorani wrote:

Mr Dawkins is getting into the debate that has been around for ages. He is talking from an atheist point of view that is propelled by self-ego and delusion. While religion may promote fundamentalism due to so called rituals and misinterpretation of teachings of the scripts, it is important to differentiate between religion and spirituality. True concept of spirituality was rightly put forward by Buddha who based his teachings on universal connection, love and inherent goodness present in all beings. No body can deny that message of peace and love was the real message of Christ, and one does not need to read the whole bible to understand this. I think Mr Dawkins views represent other side of spectrum, and promote separation,opportunism and disregard for others in the disguise of intellectualism. I do not feel this is much different from what fundamentalists do, as they do it in the name of religion. I think true religion is based on tolerance,love, and respect for others, and looking for a purpose in everything that is. I think these represent the eternal values and it doesn't matter if one follows this with or without belief in God. This is the only solution for the suffering and inequality in this world. We need someboby who can spread the message of peace and not the intellectual views of Dawkins.

  • 348.
  • At 03:07 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Charli Langford wrote:

First, a comment about those who think Dawkins is trying to prove God doesn't exist. It is inherently impossible to prove that something doesn't exist - be it God, the tooth fairy, unicorns, Santa Claus, Martians etc. It is, however, very easy to prove something does exist; all you have to do is to produce one. It seems to me that the burden of proof should lie with the believers.

It follows that the idea of an atheist as a person who *knows* there is no god is not tenable. The word is derived from Greek "without god" and I think it should be applied to those who *believe* there is no god and who live their lives on that basis.

To me, the strongest argument against the existence of an all-powerful, all-knowing, merciful god is the problem of evil. The god who could intervene against evil chooses not to. This is not an argument against the existence of god, but I think it is an adequate demonstration that god is either not all-powerful, or not all-kmowing, or not merciful.

Secondly, the real problem isn't god. On an individual basis it doesn't matter whether you believe or don't. The real problem is religion, which is the organising of believers under an authority structure, the priesthood. The priests claim that their interpretation of the religion is the correct one, and this is used as a means of social control; like all control by threats and coercion this tends to follow right-wing ideologies, and it is no accident that when faced with the problem of evil priests have always defended god's omnipotence and omniscience and have chosen to make their compromises on the mercifulness.

  • 349.
  • At 03:08 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • D Petrie wrote:

I think Chris [176] should tell Dawkins the same about the Bible.

As for the person who mentioned Pliny, which I hadn't, he is evading the evidence like Dawkins. There are original portions of St John's Gospel in existance. St John said; "We write what we have seen because we wre there from the beginning." If we do not accept eyewitness accounts, and even Pliny and others, then by the same critiria we should burn all ancient and pre-modern history books because they were written after the events by people who were not present and had not seen what happened. Some logic. Why are Dawkin's followers so illogical? I bet he accepts other historical events that were written by people who had not seen them.

Dawkins says that religion and science cannot mix and that men of science cannot have faith. As a biologist himself, who does science regard as the father of genetics and heredity – which is directly linked to evolution? It is Gregor Mendel, a monk from the Augustine monastery at Brunn. He laid down the laws of heredity and many biologists base their work on his. In fact, the monastery at Brunn had a science laboratory where Mendel did all his scientific work on genetics. Neither Mendel nor the monastery thought that religion and science are opposites. As Professor Dawkins is a biologist he should know this. Dawkins hides any evidence that contradict his own personal theories and beliefs. For someone who looks for truth he certainly likes to sweep it under the carpet when it doesn't suit him. Most scientific discoveries were done by men of faith. He has a monk to thank for his own science.

Professor Dawkins believes passionately in evolution. How does the Bible differ from evolutionary theories?. If Professor Dawkins had read Genesis properly, he would have found that the description of the creation follows exactly the sequence of events laid down by science, from the waters to the simple life forms all through to the final creation – man. Alan Hayward, a biologist and researcher, says of Genesis: "Many thousands of scientists today find no difficulty in accepting that simple dignified account of creation. If geologists were to make a short cine film of the Earth's history as seen through the eyes of an imaginary observer on Earth, Genesis 1 would provide quite a good summary of the film." Scientific facts written by a man of God when science was in the dark ages.

The Big Bang theory again was not Dr Steven Hawkings's great discovery. It is about 1700 years old. The first person to talk about the Big Bang theory - or the creartion in these terms as the beginning of the universe - was a 3rd century Bishop, Saint Gregory of Nyssa. In his talk on the Creation, Saint Gregory states that the universe begun with a "Big Bang" and all life was present in embryonic form. From there it gradually grew and evolved – with God's direction - into what we now know as the world and all life. So credit where credit's due. And yes, the six days of creation are periods of time as the sun does not appear until the fourth day. So the Bible is not referring to 24-hour days. Theologically we are still in the seventh day of creation. He should not forget that it was written for the people of the time. How did Moses know in such detail the sequence of events of creation thousands of years before science "discovered" them? He could not speak about scientific things to the people of the time, just as you would not speak to children about quantum physics. I think Professor Dawkins should stop taking words from the Bible out of context and at face value and turning them into propaganda for his own ends and dismissing them as fairy tales. I challenge him and his followers to disprove the sequence of events in Genesis. Is this the sign of an investigative scientific mind? So much for intellect.

Dawkins says that people should not impose their religious beliefs on people yet he is happy to impose his atheistic views on society. In my vocabulary this is called hypocrisy. Clearly he is not a man who practises what he preaches.

Professor Dawkins had conversations with various people opposed to his views, and whenever they showed the holes in his argument and put him on the spot, his only response was: "Well, let's leave it at that." Clearly he did not now how to reply to evidence that contradicted his own views. Is this why he never discusses with his peers who have faith? You bet. He always takes the easy option. One of the greatest minds of the past 100 years, Einstein, which he likes to misrepresent, said that "science leads to the understanding of God's design of the universe." He clearly regards himself greater that Einstein, who through his discoveries in science later came to say that God exists.

Professor Dawkins said that in the Holy Land 4,000 people had died in 5 years due to religion. Well, in Hiroshima 100,000 died in one second due to science. Is it men of faith who invented the greatest and most horrifying weapons known to man or scientists? And who strives to make these weapons even more horrendous, even more destructive than ever, theologians or scientists?

The question that psychiatrists and pschologists must ask is this: Why does he care so much about what people believe and doesn't just get on with his own life? Is it so empty that he needs to fill it with such polemics against believers? Or is it because of his jelously because men of faith have found something which eludes him and is eating him away inside and the only comfort he gets is to attack them? But then again, the book is making money, isn't it? That is the god that he likes - the one in his pocket.

  • 350.
  • At 03:09 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • glyn walters wrote:

i have been what you might call a militant atheist for past 32 years. at least there is one person who views the universe the same way as i do.

  • 351.
  • At 03:11 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Regge wrote:

yea okay so RD has some good points, Religion is the cause of many of the worlds probelms - tell is something we don't know...; however, I'd like to remind him of stuff from the quantum world (of science) that basically says ALL in the the Universe is connected. Whether you believe in God or not - everything connected - that is a little spooky. I go with the perception of conciousness being the intelligence that drives the universe and believe it is localised in humans, like waves (quatum waves) on the vast ocean of conciousness. That is where we go (back to the connected state) after 'individual existence'. I was an atheist but am now agnostic (not religious) due to the practice of meditation that has allowed me to expeience trancendetal conciousness. It has broadened my cosmic awareness (uh oh hippy your thinking!) The more of us that do that (meditate) and go beyond the dualisum of God exists - no he doesn't, we will be the ones that start to lift global conciusnesss above the level of dogma. There is hope! Meditate. Guru Reg

  • 352.
  • At 03:12 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • arren wrote:

Richard Dawkins is God as far as I'm concerned. I really wish we could have a good debate on this with out the uneducated etc behaving like spoilt brats; I've seen Richard's attempts before.

One thing I'd like to see rasied is every Church, Mosque, Synagogue sold off, along with the vatican etc. The money for this to pay for Africa, Adis etc - Somehow I doubt the 'godly' would do this as a sign of faith.

But main question would be to Richard: Should not Religious Education be banned in Schools and in it place the truth be told as by law?

  • 353.
  • At 03:13 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • David Howard wrote:

What facile, trite, self serving garbage. I'm no religion junky - however if perople cannot see the circular and misleading arguments/techniques used by Dawkins, then it is no surprise that others believe holy texts word-for-word.

Still, at least the BBC gets a load of "hits" and maintains its viewer/reader interactivity quota by giving such half-arsed works more publicity.

  • 354.
  • At 03:15 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Mike Harris-Stone wrote:

Professor Dawkins, writing about the story of Lot and his daughters says: "Whatever else this strange story might mean, it surely tells us something about the respect accorded to women in this intensely religious culture." Oh really? What about the story where a woman caught in adultery is brought to Jesus by the religious leaders who are preparing to stone her to death? Jesus writes in the sand and then says, famously, "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone." When all of the woman's accusers have gone, he sends her off with the admonition to go and sin no more. And what about Paul writing that "In Christ there is no male or female, jew or greek, slave or free." Surely the message of the Bible is that God is not a respecter of persons and that in God's eyes everyone, from Pope to prostitute, is the same. Yet Dawkins ignores all this and concentrates on the straw men he uses to bolster his assertions. Stick to the Biology professor and leave the theology, philosophy and history to those with the real expertise to comment on it. And by the way, Pat Robertson is NOT a typical American christian nor does he represent anything close to my views. And finally, where, historically, did the idea of individual liberty and freedom come from? And how many of those millions murdered in the 20th Century were murdered by religious people?

  • 355.
  • At 03:16 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Chris wrote:

How dare Dawkins compare The Flying Spaghetti Monster (Ragu be upon him) with a fictional omnipotent being such as this so called "God"? I find this remark deeply offensive and I hope the book doesn't contain any images of The Flying Spaghetti Monster (Ragu be upon him) or I'll have to burn some effigies and Union flags etc.

Dawkins: Don't even consider an apology, I'm just too offended. Anyway I won't be able to hear you since I'll have my fingers in my ears and be shouting "lalalalala".

  • 356.
  • At 03:21 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Barbara Kendall-Davies wrote:

All ideologies have their dangers whether religious or scientific. Putting the onus on a god stops us from progressing. We should take responsibility for our own lives, refusing to give our power away to priests or scientists.
Religions are formed from a collection of myths and ancient history and impose control over millions, many of whom are driven mad by such primitive concepts.
Secularism is to be desired but
having said that, I do believe in a "First Cause", but cannot abhor religion in any shape or form.

  • 357.
  • At 03:21 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Simon Hope wrote:

The notion of an all seeing and all powerful deity stems from a time when ordinary people had no access to the teachings of learned men (other than priests and street corner prophets) Society as such was in its infancy and the human mind needed the succour and support of a belief system that gave some indication as to the reason for our existence (and perhaps also a moral structure). In the interim we have developed sophisticated understandings of the workings of the universe and one would hope through this process, moved away from infantile wish fulfillment dreams into a new and enlightened view of the world and our place in it.

Looking around this doesn't seem to be the case and I feel it is vital that rational and intelligent people such as Richard Dawkins give voice to those who feel the same way. We are slipping into dangerous territory when we wholeheartedly accept the teachings of an outdated patriarchal mythology and my fear is that certain world leaders are insidiously preaching and advocating this foolishness to succeptable minds impoverished by lack of education and social welfare.

I don't pretend to have any answers except to say open your eyes and see the world for what it really is, an amazing and infinitely diverse coming together of physical, biological and chemical circumstance over an unimaginable stretch of time which just happened to lead to the exsistence of human intelligence which allows us to seek (and find) the truth.

  • 358.
  • At 03:21 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Johann Schmidt wrote:

Yes, but what about pixies, faeries, and Father Christmas?

  • 359.
  • At 03:23 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Andy wrote:

Of course Christians and any God-bothering types will find this book "2D/shallow and wrong". It's about time for people to forget this God nonsense and had some self respect in humanity. Can't people see that the good (and evil) in the world is all down to humanity? Not some kind of being, feeling or idea.

  • 360.
  • At 03:25 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Thor wrote:


Please don't use me as an example as proof as non exsitance of god-like beings - as this comment proves I and my fellow gods in Valhalla are 'alive' (being gods we are neither living or dead), and well.

Father Christmas (a close neighbour) also says he is quite annoyed too and that he is thinking of taking you off his list -no pressies for you! And as for the tooth fairy just goes into a rant when I mention your name and that you were quite happy to take the money when you were a child or something like that.


Thor, God of Thunder. (Another example of my power - explain Thunder!)

  • 361.
  • At 03:25 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Al Blackwood wrote:

The fundamental arrogance of this auther prevents him from questioning his own logic. He claims that religion causes wars. Did he ever consider that maybe a more accurate interpretation would be to say "people not understanding the teachings of their religion is what causes wars". It is clear that Richard Dawkins has deep seated pschological issues with unresolved anger which effect his so called scientific judgement skills. You only have to see him interviewed to see the angst in the mans personality. True Scientists are aware of their own arrogance and bias and subtract these influences in their analasis, however dawkins clearly is not aware of nor has dealt with the personal issues that influence his judgement. He is an intellegent man, yet often the most intelligent people are the most easily fixated on their own opinions and have difficulty challanging them and will project these accusations of ill judgement onto others without awareness as dawkins often does.

  • 362.
  • At 03:25 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • David F wrote:

Another book and another debate by another group of people concerning a subject that has been debated long before they arrived on this mortal coil and will continue long after they depart.

God is conceptualised in the hearts and minds of every individual and takes the form of whatever sits best with them. For some God is love. For others hate, science, fear, fashion, family, work, money, technology, people and so on.

Everyone has a god i.e. a faith, belief or adherence to some guiding, driving principle. To debate about or attack god is about their own lack of faith, belief and adherence to their own chosen principle.

The God Delusion is an interesting title. Is it about the delusion of a god or the delusion of being a god who doesn't have faith in self so attacks the faith of others?

  • 363.
  • At 03:26 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Dave wrote:

It's about time that the science community had a voice in the world today. Too many people act or hold beliefs without any logical or thought out reason why. Thank you Professor Dawkins, hopefully more intelligent people will follow you and wade into the debate.
The majority of people who'll criticise this book, will of course, be those who wish to stifle any discussion, as the myths of religion are far too important to them.

  • 364.
  • At 03:27 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Luke Pilarski wrote:

An obvious problem with Dawkins' is that he doesn't apply his own willingness to explain every human affair in term of evolution without bias. If the human brain evolved to coordinate the central nervous system, thereby increasing survival chances, how does that confer on Dawkins the right to truth claims, but removes them from religious believers? Quite besides this, science involves belief in axiomatic suppositions also, not to mention Dawkins far-fetched meme ideas, which to him are somehow more real than religious ideas, despite the lack of evidence. I would strongly recommend theologian Alister McGrath and philosopher Mary Midgley as antidotes to the overhyped obsession with Dawkins' reductive materialism.

  • 365.
  • At 03:29 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Lee wrote:

Whether it be those in the C0fE who pretend the bible is not misogynistic/homophobic to Islamic fundamentalists who would convert you at the point of a sword, Richard Dawkins's analysis is a much needed push back against the resurgence of blind faith over genuine thought.

Its a shame the religious types get so aggressive when anyone holds a different view. Although I feel the root of the problem is people. Those that find a reason to justify their actions, would probably turn to an ideology if their religion did not exist.

  • 366.
  • At 03:30 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • pete wrote:

It is a great shame that even now in the year 2006 someone has to write a book showing how superstitution and fear ( for example hatred of foreigners, new things and of course the idea of a god) is retrogressive.
I thought that sort of superstition was finally "put to bed" by Russell in his books in the late 50's.
Maybe in another thousand years the people will learn that only science has brought man anything whilst superstitution and fear only bring disaster on mankind.

  • 367.
  • At 03:32 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Peter Stitt wrote:

Whilst Professor Dawkins covers his back by saying he cannot be 100% certain that God doesn't exist, his comments then betray him as they assume such certainty.

As a believer I do not feel there is anything offensive about the book and people have a right to hold such views. I do agree that the fundamentalists of all faiths are dangerous in their extreme "certainty" and this does interfere with the teaching of science. To them I would ask "Is God afraid of scientific investigation?". The American obsession with Armageddon is truly alarming and hinges on a complete misinterpretation of Revelations which was a metaphorical history book when it was first written. How could it be prophetic?

  • 368.
  • At 03:37 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Anthony Poulton-Smith wrote:

Clearly the vast majority side with Professor Dawkins. However what is truly interesting is not the numbers but the wording. Pro-Dawkins using plain wording, while those Pro-God trot out a stream of diatribe which, when translated, means absolutely nothing.

The sooner religion ceases to be the crutch of the ignorant and the inept the better.

  • 369.
  • At 03:37 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • w. eggen wrote:

comment 143 rightly states that one should not attack Dawkins on his words about not being put here to be comfortable, as if that implied some belief in an unexplained source of being. Clearly, his parents put him here! But did they not do so to make him be happy and comfortable? He says that DNA reproduces DNA just because that is how it is. Period. Does this not shame all his parents' love? Religion is not trying to explain where that love originates from, but how to insure the complex conditions required to keep it going. Dawkins may be right various religious institutions have made a bad job of this. But looking at the weapons-producing scientific gang, I wonder if they should be trusted more in these matters than faithful beleivers.

  • 370.
  • At 03:37 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Rob P wrote:

Whilst it is clear that Dawkins has a powerful brain, it is very sad that he barely gets it out of neutral when considering the Bible. His problem is that he makes the a priori assumption that God doesn't exist, therefore any evidence that God does exist is disregarded or explained away with absurd arguments like "Paul invented Christianity". Everyone knows that to exclude a set of results before even looking at the evidence is simply BAD SCIENCE. If only he would apply his keen analytical skills and look at the solid historical and archaelogical evidence for the life and resurrection of Jesus, then he might write a book worth reading.

  • 371.
  • At 03:39 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • R.A.Lee wrote:

Would this amount of fuss be made if it had been a Christian theologian arguing the existence of God?

  • 372.
  • At 03:39 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Harry Alton wrote:

Read it alongside "The end of faith" by Sam Harris which broadly has the same thesis. Compelling reading for all modern intelligent people.

  • 373.
  • At 03:41 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • D. L.Stockdale wrote:

No truly logical minded person could do anything else but agree with Richard Dawkins.
There is not a single shred of evidence to prove the myth of God. it is a mental crutch for wooly minded,shallow thinking individuals who do not have the cofidence to stand by the conclusions that must inevitably be reached on the subject of God, Jesus,miracles, angels and the like.

The bible was written by men who had no knowledge of the world, the universe or science and as is the case today like so many people who believe that there must always be someone or something that is greater than and more intelligent than human beings "somewhere".
The bible was written almost two thousand years before men in the middle ages where still condeming animals for muder and hanging them.
Jesus was the first "prophet" and a few hundred years later the Arabs decided that "This fits the bill" and decided that they would have one too.

Thank goodness that we have a man like Richard Dawkins who has the courage to take a high profile lead in this matter

  • 374.
  • At 03:44 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • D. L.Stockdale wrote:

No truly logical minded person could do anything else but agree with Richard Dawkins.
There is not a single shred of evidence to prove the myth of God. it is a mental crutch for wooly minded,shallow thinking individuals who do not have the cofidence to stand by the conclusions that must inevitably be reached on the subject of God, Jesus,miracles, angels and the like.

The bible was written by men who had no knowledge of the world, the universe or science and as is the case today like so many people who believe that there must always be someone or something that is greater than and more intelligent than human beings "somewhere".
The bible was written almost two thousand years before men in the middle ages where still condeming animals for muder and hanging them.
Jesus was the first "prophet" and a few hundred years later the Arabs decided that "This fits the bill" and decided that they would have one too.

Thank goodness that we have a man like Richard Dawkins who has the courage to take a high profile lead in this matter

  • 375.
  • At 03:46 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Steve wrote:

Mr Dawkins should take a long hard look at himself in the mirror before spouting forth such self opinionated self important rubbish.

One only needs to look dispationatly at the world around us to see evidence of design eveywhere in the world.

I suggest that Mr Dawkins put aside his blind faith and look at the evidence again. There is just no way this could all have happened by accident........

  • 376.
  • At 03:48 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Steve C wrote:

If he is so full of "truth" why is it then that he refuses to engage in a decent debate at his university against other professors who do believe!! Reason - he can't hold up his ideas against logical thought. He has more faith in his god than anyone else!!

  • 377.
  • At 03:50 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Ade wrote:

Believing in fairy stories is not the way ahead for human civilisation -it scares me that so much of the world believes in a supernatural force that will absolve them of the responsibility of their actions - well done Richard

  • 378.
  • At 03:50 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Aaron Turner wrote:

My own personal rationalisation has long been as follows:

1) ALL BELIEF IS A GUESS (and that includes everything from the details of your own personal religion to who you think your birth mother was and everything in between).

2) Each individual is bombarded with a constant stream of "percepts" (sound, vision, etc) from the first moment we become conscious (probably while still in the womb).

3) Each individual (largely subconsciously) painstakingly constructs (and continuously refines) their own belief system from this constant stream of percepts (sometimes called a "learning biography") - the overall goal of this continual "belief maintenance" process is that the resulting belief system should be logically consistent with the learning biography from which it is derived, in other words any specific belief system is essentially a gigantic hypothesis, i.e. a GUESS.

4) Fundamental to how this process differs between individuals is the strength of evidence that is required in order for an assertion to be incorporated into a belief system as "true" (as the saying goes "you only know who your daddy was because your momma told you"), for example, most people believe that Easter Island exists but only a tiny fraction have ever actually been there, the rest are happy to rely on an accumulation of third party information that appears to be overwhelmingly consistent.

5) Religious belief is an extreme example of this phenomenon - a young child is almost certain to take what its parents, teachers and other authority figures say at face value, thus unquestioningly incorporating their religious beliefs into his or her own belief system (at a very low level, of course) without thinking for a moment that their only sources of direct information on the subject essentially did the same when they were children and that this process was most likely repeated through many generations over many centuries.

6) Each individual, of course, has a different life experience and therefore a different learning biography and therefore everybody's personal belief system is different (sometimes subtly, sometimes drastically) - a perfect example would the tendency for children growing up in Nashville, Tel Aviv and Riyadh to develop Christian, Jewish and Muslim beliefs respectively (but, of course, the very fact that what is assimilated as "truth" depends on the geographical location in which you spent your childhood rather suggests that such truth is less well founded than say 2+2 = 4 which is true everywhere).

7) Although there is no simple function from belief system to behaviour, a person's individual behaviour (i.e. response to any specific circumstance) is largely determined by their personal belief system - in other words, if you could implant a specific belief or set of beliefs into another person's belief system, you might not be able to predict their subsequent behaviour exactly, but you could at least expect the implanted beliefs to increase the likelihood that that person would then behave in a particular way.

8) The process of learning (i.e. continually constructing and modifying your belief system) is cognitively speaking extremely hard work, consequently people often have a great deal invested in their belief systems (and have become very comfortable with them, possibly after decades of refinement) and can therefore be (sometimes vehemently) reluctant to modify those belief systems when presented with new information - however if the new information is logically inconsistent with an established belief system then they can't BOTH be true - it is often easier to choose NOT to believe the new information (and there are many examples, e.g. in science, where it is possible to see this happening).

I believe that a proper understanding of the above ideas - that all belief is basically a guess, that everybody's belief system is different, that someone else's belief system is just as valid from their point of view as yours is from your point of view, that belief essentially drives behaviour, and that deep changes to someone's belief system can be (literally) very painful and are therefore often fiercely resisted - is a fundamental prerequisite if we are to address many if not most of the major problems facing our national, regional and global societies such as Israel / Palestine or militant religious fundamentalism (Jewish, Christian, Islamic or otherwise). These are extremely difficult and important problems whose resolution requires intelligent rational thought at the highest level - something which appears to have been worryingly lacking in recent years.

It is extremely refreshing therefore to see the subject of belief confronted head-on and at the deepest possible level by such an eminent thinker and accomplished writer. The more widely these issues are discussed, however uncomfortable the process may be for some, the more (it is hoped) we will drift collectively towards rational, sensitive and effective solutions to problems such as the so-called War on Terror and even, if we are addressing root causes here, the process by which American presidents get selected and then elected.

  • 379.
  • At 03:52 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Dave wrote:

One of the hardest things I've had to do was to be brought up with religion and then discover, over time, the many flaws in my beliefs and take myself away from Christianity. Never having found sense in any religious argument as an adult, people like Richard Dawkins help to clarify the reasons for science and atheism. Now as an atheist, difficult as I find the word to type (a taboo and throwback from the sense of guilt that being brought up with religion brings), I am far happier and grounded than I ever was.
If I have children I'll certainly not be inflicting the unnecessary emotional baggage on them that I had to burden.

By having a beneficient, all-seeing and forgiving 'God' out there who will forgive people all their sins, it kills the notion that people have a conscience right here next to them that will tell them all they need to know about right and wrong. It means that can commit a sin, go to God for forgiveness, get it, then carry on manipulating and behaving in unconscionable ways to other people .... and get away with it! Waa-hay !!
Like those 'Rubber Bands' that were given out - sold even - at the BIG music concert in July last year : people wear them to show the world "Look everyone, I'm wearing a Rubber Band (or ten), so that means I care" . Takes away their conscience so they can carry on manipulating and coercing others and generally manifesting their dissatisfaction at the way life's turned out for them.
I thought we were all supposed to be like computers - well people should go 'one file up' to see the cause of the problem, not sideways.

Or to put it another way,
Rich People have Money to grant their wishes : Poor People have God. And the Lottery.

Well done Richard Dawkins.

  • 381.
  • At 03:55 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • john kemp wrote:

I was so pleased to read what dawkins had to say. we must nail forever the myth that religion is about morality, and we must stop religious leaders from lecturing us on what is moral. religion is about dogma and delusion. it is about doing what someone tells you is the will of god, regardless of how evil or silly it might appear to an outsider.

  • 382.
  • At 03:56 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Aravind wrote:

Some one who has no experience about the process of self and God-realization shouldn't be talking about this subject. Dawkins should explore the Vedic (ancient Indian) philosophy and culture before coming to a conclusion. The Vedic model goes beyond 'natural selection' by taking into account consciousness, which Dawkins and other scientists hardly have a clue about. It is foolish to come to a conclusion about life and its origins without deeply exploring all possible models of consciousness, both physical and non-physical. Prof. Dawkins with your super intellect, you can certainly make a lasting contribution to the advancement of science, provided you remain open-minded. If you wish to explore the Vedic texts, which have inspired greats like Schrodinger, I can help.

  • 383.
  • At 03:57 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Peter Theakston wrote:

Three cheers for Richard Dawkins !

If people want to use religion as their crutch they are quite welcome..just as long as they don't impose their crutch on the rest of us free-thinking people out there... I don't try and push my athesism down their I'd be happy if the god-squadders (both Muslim and Christian) kept their beliefs to themselves in private and not bother the rest of us..and certainly never have the affrontery to pity and forgive me for not agreeing with them..

If I was to follow the non sensical book of claptrap - The Bible I'd have no chance, gay, tattoed, love shellfish, wearer of cotton and polyester, lover of steak with a cream sauce, and I'm sorry we never locked my mum away when she was having her period in our house...

  • 384.
  • At 03:57 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Tim, Hampshire wrote:

I totally agree with Dawkins. Spring 06, I was asked by my 5 year old, "why did it get hot in the summer"? - I explained, very simply that the earth got slightly closer to the sun in the summer and demonstrated using some fruit. Autumn 06, I am told by my 5 year old that I was wrong. She had been told by her teachers that GOD makes the seasons! It is true GOD and the belief in GOD is destroying science. What worries me is that education system is brainwashing kids at a very early age at school. I mean how can I argue with what the teachers have said, aren't they always right? In the eyes of a 5 year old they are!

  • 385.
  • At 03:59 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Lawrence Aegerter wrote:

Dawkins should concentrate on Organised Religion rather than on 'God' or 'Faith'. Organised religion was INVENTED by humans to control other humans, motivated by POWER and GREED.
God is a function of human nature, a way of us coping with the fact that we are beings of the universe, be it random or not, and that we are connected with everything in the universe as a result. The original writings (and this is a punt) would have been stories describing our cosmic cycles in a way the human mind can understand (the numbers are simply too big to be meaningful).
It was convenient, then, for these myths to be rounded up and used as a tool by authorities to exert a universal truth over society, and rules designed to serve only them, and not to increase our understanding of the universe.

I believe in 'god' but only because the numbers tell us it's in there somewhere.

  • 386.
  • At 03:59 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • mattcitizen wrote:

To Gareth (218), the question of whether evolution or creationsm "give us more dignity" is a complete red herring, because the issue is not how beleiving one or the other will make us feel, but rather what actually transpired to bring about our presence on this earth. But I might just mention that there there is no dignity whatsoever in beleiving that you were created in the image of some supernatural being, so that you can spend your whole life on bended knee in worship of him. If this God is true (and my money's on the fact he's not), then his hubris is staggering.

  • 387.
  • At 04:01 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Peter Watson wrote:

As someone very famous once said, "If there is a god, he has a lot of explaining to do".

  • 388.
  • At 04:02 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Gerard Mulholland wrote:

David F (3.25 pm) is quite wrong.
I most certainly do not have either god or goddess at all.
And when I look at god-believers in general (and of every kind) and see their murderous disagreements, their mental confusion, their hysterical belief that they couldn't survive without believing something utterly impossible (which is the one thing they all have in common), their preposterous doctrines and the general mess that always follows their pathetic attempts to shove their superstitions down other peoples' throats, I am ever so glad!

Hurray for Richard Dawkins!
It is always refreshing to see an intelligent person write the truth about the history, theory and practice of superstitions and about the particular god, gods, goddess and goddesses that superstitions invent.

  • 389.
  • At 04:02 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Zaki Aminu wrote:

Actually the person who is deluded here is Mr. Dawkins. For one thing, he clearly has no clear idea what he means when he uses the word "God". For another, his main argument in support of God's non-existence is that God must be the most complex organism possible. This is utterly absurd! In fact, the EXACT OPPOSITE is the case!

Mr. Dawkins fails to realise that, with his extreme views on this matter, he himself is no more than just another another fundamentalist nut. Just another religious fanatic defending his own blind faith - Scientism.

  • 390.
  • At 04:02 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Max Lewis wrote:

One thing really bothers me about intelligent design theory. If it is correct and the complexity of the world is such that it must have been created by something, what logically allows these people to say that the creator was in fact this or that? An honest intelligent design theorist has to say that it is equally likely that the Jews have it right as the Muslims, or even a small tribe in the Amazon who stumbled upon something all other religions had not. There is a massive difference between saying (to borrow an analogy from Prof Dawkins), "This watch must have been built by someone" and saying, "This watch was built by someone who is not only a very good watchmaker (the furthest they logically can go) but who is angered by people who work on the Sabbath or who enjoy having sex with their neighbour's wives". Intelligent design theorists need to be a great deal more humble and accept that seeing design is not the same thing as seeing the designer. Most importantly, if intelligent desingn theory is true, where is the evidence of a moral imperative within the evidence we have of the complexity of the world? Why could it not be true that an intelligent designer wanted us to have sex with as many people as possible at the same time? I am not being flippant in the slightest; where in nature is there evidence sufficient to ground morality?

  • 391.
  • At 04:03 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • J Croot wrote:

Hurrah for Dawkins. History shows us that all religions are and always were vehicles for use and abuse of human power. And in response to D Petrie, Dawkins is not imposing his aetheist views on society, he is merely writing a book -hardly the Spanish Inquisition I think. Now those Inquisition lads, they really did know how to impose their view of god -or do I mean sadism? Has anyone else ever wondered why all major religions are run by old men in frocks? Do you suppose that a creator of quasars, black holes, gas planets, nebulae, light, stars, protozoa, bee mites, diatoms and so forth cares a jot about what you wear, eat, read or believe? Hurrah for rationality. Hurrah for Dawkins.

For a bestselling writer, Dawkins admits at the beginning of Chapter 7 to a curiously limited understanding of writing. There are, he says, "two ways in which scripture might be a source of morals. One is by direct instruction, for example through the Ten Commandments. The other is by example ... God or some other biblical character might serve as a role model". Dawkins forgets or ignores cautionary tales, rhetorical questions, and many other more complex forms of writing. In fact even many of Aesop's fables for children would not fit into Dawkins' simplistic view of how a piece of writing can illustrate a moral.

Reading on, a major tenet he holds is that we (people in general) "pick and choose which bits of scripture to believe, which bits to write off as symbols or allegories" and therefore this leaves our morality "without an absolute foundation". However, reading is about understanding the writers' message and intent. That is true for both allegories and factual stories alike (why did the writer note this down particularly; what is he trying to say?) If Dawkins believes people cannot read a book and understand the writers' message, one must wonder why he bothers to write so many books himself.

But never mind - I was always likely to dislike his view; after all, he's from Oxford and I'm writing this from Cambridge.

  • 393.
  • At 04:05 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • John Purins wrote:

Religions should be classified as some kind of mass delusional mental illness.

Mankind will only progress when religions are exposed for what they actually are and Richard Dawkins book is a good beginning.

I wonder if the story about Lot and his daughters might not make an enlightening movie. I don't know what the rating would be but I'm sure that a guy pimping off his daughters to a group of men so that they won't bugger a couple of angels would be a real highbrow blockbuster.

How about John Cleese with Mel Gibson directing.

Then stay tuned for the 72 virgins sequel although casting that one may prove to be problematic.

  • 394.
  • At 04:07 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • John Gurney wrote:

Dawkins always seems to throw the baby out with the bathwater. It is easy to have a pop at religion and the idea of God being an old bloke with a beard in the clouds. What about pantheism? This eastern concept of god was held dear by many of the worlds greatest physicists (Einistein, Heisenberg, Schroedinger, Planck, Pauli, etc) and is rarely discussed. These men surely had a clearer view on the nature of reality than Dawkins. It is his materialistic/reductionist approach which I object to and the way he tries to pass this off as the concensus view of 'Science'.

  • 395.
  • At 04:08 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Alex R wrote:

I'm a great admirer of Dawkins' writing and I'm looking forward to reading The God Delusion - I find him to be a voice of reason that's enormously heartening amongst the continuing and alarming proliferation of religious beliefs. However, as much as Dawkins would like this book to be read by everyone and to have the power to disillusion those of a religious persuasion, I think he'll be preaching to the converted as the readership will consist mostly of atheists like myself. Moreover, religion is well equipped with mechanisms to resist this kind of reasoning - one of the reasons why it's still so active today. No amount of logic or science can convince those who are truly within the grip of this delusion - just look at some of the "counter-arguments" on this board.

  • 396.
  • At 04:13 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • jp wrote:

Just reading this thread and the ramblings of those who have "found god etc" do nothing but reinforce my own view that religon must be some kind of mental illness.....

Keep it up Mr Dawkins.

  • 397.
  • At 04:15 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • stathis wrote:

I have watched an hour or so of Dawkins on TV and have read the above published extracts from his book.

There are many problems that I have with the contents of those arguements of his that I have heard but I'm going to try present my feelings on one.

Prof Dawkins is supposedly a scientist of very high quality yet does not even seem to understand the concept of arguement based on logical thinking and the proper treatment of evidence:

He has a problem with the concept of there being a higher intelligence (or 'god') that had a hand in the creation of life as we know it. In the excerpts from his book published above he seems to be trying to cast doubt on the validity of the bible as part of his arguement. I however dismiss that casting such doubt on the bible (or the scriptures of any organised religion) goes any meaningful way towards logically disproving the existence of anything. I personally have faith in the existence of 'god' (I do not assume too much of it's nature other than that it is moral and, from an intelligence point of view, it probably compares to humans as humans compare to single-celled organisms, maybe several times over) yet I am the first person to dismiss the validity of most organised religions and substantial portions of their scriptures.
That he should stoop to arguing these points at all suggests to me that he has no proper evidence to put towards his claims of the non-existence of 'god'.

Certainly there is irrefutable evidence for evolution and natural selection being a part of the whole life process on this planet. As far as I'm aware there is no evidence or even vague scientific theory for how life processes originally started, other than that it happened at random. Great theory but perhaps he should go and speak to a group of probability specialists and bio-chemists and get them to estimate the probabilty for him.
And he says that the existence of 'god' is wildly improbable? Sounds more like the rantings of a religious fanatic than a scientist to me...

  • 398.
  • At 04:17 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • RM wrote:

A couple of other points:

Firstly, mentioned above is Dawkins comment on how the Bible views women (with the Lot's wife story) - but, is it not true that leading eminent scientists of the 19th century (far more recently than the writings of the Bible) wrote essays on the lower intelligence of women due to their smaller brains; information which scientifically PROVED that a woman's rightful place was in the home! However, that was proven to be utter rubbish years later - these days practising Catholics do not view women as "lesser creatures" and, as pointed out in a previous post, the Bible did not promote this view either.

Secondly, Dawkin's choice of title is (assuming he is an intelligent man) deliberately inflammatory, directly stating that believers in God are delusional. There is no ambiguity about this. If he hopes to "win us over" with his book then he's kind of stumbled at the first hurdle!

Oh, and one other thing - someone previously commented on how things can not be disproved, only proved. Actually, in science it is the precise opposite - it is rarely possible to prove a theory unequivocally "right". Any given theory is assumed to be correct until such a time as it is disproved. So, in fact, *disproof* is the cornerstone of science - the onus is on those who wish to discredit belief in God to provide some proof against the idea, not on the believers to provide proof for the idea.

It's a funny old world, isn't it?!

  • 399.
  • At 04:18 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Mr T-sus wrote:

What are you believers talking about? one person had the nerve to say:
"Mr Dawkins should take a long hard look at himself in the mirror before spouting forth such self opinionated self important rubbish."
What do you think preachers, Imams and all other religious leaders do at every service every day of the week, spouting their religious rubbish to convince non-believers to join their cults.
as for the questioning of "who does Dawkins think put him on the planet if he doesn't think he was put here to be comfortable".. that's the whole point he doesn't think we were put here at all.
I suggest all religious people read this book and while your at it look up the flying spaghetti monster on the web to see how ridiculous you all sound.

  • 400.
  • At 04:21 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Seán wrote:

I have a few points to make.

1. Throughout the ages, several cultures and religions have risen and fallen. Most have the same stories just with different names and places. How can we be so sure which one is right if they all share the same basis?

2. Why do people find it nessecary to 'brag' about being christians and try to convert others? Surely having faith in your god in your own way should be enough for him to accept you?

3. How come so many 'Christians' are pick-and-choose? Even when they contradict themselves? People cite the bible as a reason to persecute certain groups e.g: homosexuals, prostitutes etc. Yet Jesus also taught Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

4. Why in the Old testament was God this vengeful man whosent his wrath upon us to teach us a lesson yet in the new testament he was loving and peaceful who wanted us to find our own way.

Anybody getting the point yet?

I am not saying there is no god. I believe that there could be a higher being. Believe in what you will but don't force others to believe as you do and do not use god or religion as an excuse for war or hate crimes or things like that.

  • 401.
  • At 04:21 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Rob wrote:

I am not here to mock anybody, and can only speak from my own experience.

When I looked into the teachings of Christ and the evidence of his life, death and ressurection I found myself profoundly challenged. Whilst I confess that my intellect is limited when compared to the worlds great thinkers, for me the words and actions of Christ appear utterly reasonable, balanced, and imbued with both compassion and honesty.

I don't want to offend those atheists who are reading this, but I would just encourage them to spend some time investigating Christ.

He really is rather compelling.

  • 402.
  • At 04:22 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • sheldon wrote:

Atheism is a faith believe that there is no God, but you cannot prove nor disprove that He does exist.

Why would you believe Titus but not the Bible. They date from about the same time, and there were many many more manuscripts of the Bible than most if not all other historical texts of that age. Is it because it says something so radical to what you find important right now, that you want to reject it without caring and bothering to find out if it is indeed true?

Funnily enough, God had already told us that no one could believe in Him unless they had an open heart, and God touched them. No one became a Christian because his friend convinced him....Prof Dawkins cannot be convinced by us mere mortals, but maybe one day he will be convinced by someone higher than us.

Also, it is important to understand that many faiths are mutually exclusive, the same way as atheism is exclusive of any particular faith-hence you can't just bung any faith into the "God" category and hence say that they are all bad.

  • 403.
  • At 04:22 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Nick Tulett wrote:

Someone of his apparent intelligence ought to be able to see propaganda when it rears its ugly head. Has he never wondered why "we" are always on the side of right and our enemies are always "evil"? Is it any coincidence that to win we always kill more of "them" than they do of "us", yet we always occupy the moral high ground? Governments pursue wars for their own reasons and need to make us believe that our opponents are beyond reason and must be killed, rather than talked with - hence the modern myth of "religious fanatics" being behind the attacks on the West. Given our shameful history whenever we have intervened in the resource-rich areas of the world, simple revenge is a far more convincing motive for murder than religious fervour.

  • 404.
  • At 04:25 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Matt Codd wrote:

The vehemence, nay, fanaticism with which Mr Dawkins' denies the existence of God reminds me of nothing so much as the repressed homosexual desperately fighting against his nature by being virulently anti-gay.
I suspect he senses he is starting to lose his battle against belief, and is beginning to panic...

  • 405.
  • At 04:27 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Laurence C wrote:

Dawkin's analysis of religion is dreadful. He assumes religious belief is a linear causation - parent to child, like a virus. He ignores religious conversion (unexplainable by his thesis), he is self selecting of sources and evidence and he hangs onto a belief that 'Evolution solves all' like a form od deism - 'Deo-atomism' in a sense.

He is also, sadly, arrogant and allows no critique of his positions. He also flatly revises history trying to show Hitler was a Christian and killed the Jews from religious reasoning.

He's a got a real hate complex. Shame in such an intelligent guy but he is not sound when it comes to religion. He invents beliefs not held by the gorups he critiques and demolishes 'proofs' offered by religions that they do not, in fact offer. He never engages with the real issues, the genuine case for religious belief at all.

Now, how about a discussion about first causes, the lab experiements to prove evolution, the development of reason, how far Darwinism can actually predict behaviour in reality? No?

  • 406.
  • At 04:28 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Dave wrote:

Belief in God is a matter of Faith, no evidence is required.

  • 407.
  • At 04:30 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Kamy wrote:

Professor Dawkins would like you to believe that religion makes people do evil acts - such as the well educated middle class hijackers of 9/11, however some of the most evil men in history such as Hitler, Stalin and Pol Pot were not driven by religion but by atheist ideology and secularism. How does the professor explain this flaw in his hypothesis?

  • 408.
  • At 04:31 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Norman George wrote:

A simple evolutionary explanation for gods and religions:-

Over the last 3 billion years all life on Earth as we know it evolved, initially from chemical building blocks to very simple self-replicating forms, to the many complex species which are still evolving today. Particularly since the evolution of sexually reproducing organisms about a billion years ago, a variety of mechanisms of reproductive isolation has caused branching or “speciation” to produce many different families/genera/species, of which Homo sapiens is just one species.

The evolution of many different species incorporated adaptations to a particular ecological niche. Since branching from the common ancestor of modern men and chimps, H. sapiens developed as a socially cooperative, hunter-gatherer with an ability to make and use tools. Natural selection of this species has favoured increased brain size with associated intelligent reasoning and problem solving ability. However, such a characteristic could not evolve without an associated innate curiosity.

Modern man – i.e. including our ancestors over the last hundred thousand years or so – wants explanations. Until around 2000 years ago those problems which couldn’t be answered were assigned to divine forces – so various early civilisations had sun gods, moon gods, thunder gods, sea gods, gods associated with various heavenly bodies, etc. But from around the time of the Greek philosophers people started to develop their understanding of nature. All the old gods started to become obsolete – but that still left life, the universe and everything still to be explained – and if the answer wasn’t 42 then the easiest way out is a god - but just one of them who stops us having to worry about our innate curiosity.

The (western) modern religions sprang out of the Roman Empire and its neighbours, and were exploited (consciously or otherwise) by political leaders to ensure the cooperation of their minions – and it’s still happening – even in 2006!. They hijack morality as a characteristic of believers. If you’re not religious you must be evil! The truth is morality is another innate aspect of our social evolution. Unfortunately it doesn’t quite function as designed because our society has evolved beyond its biological design – hence crime, bad boys etc. – (see The Human Zoo by Desmond Morris).

St. Gervais-les-bains

  • 409.
  • At 04:32 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Elizabeth . O wrote:

Mr, have you ever wondered why Christians don’t fight for themselves? Because we believe that we serve a living God who said vengeance should be left to him. It would have been more bearable if you had kept your opinion to yourself but as you have decided to share your confused state of mind, I only hope you find Jesus soon, before he finds you wanting. People like you are the exact cause of confusion in our world because you just wake up one morning without no one realising that something has gone wrong in your head and you begin to discuss sensitive issues like this without any atom of knowledge. I pray that Jesus will have mercy on you, heal your head and deliver you from heal. The good thing about it is that you are only helping to spread the good news about Christ.

  • 410.
  • At 04:36 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Michael wrote:

It seems preposterous that Dawkings can use mankind's stupidy and ignorace as evidence for the lack of God. He seems to think he is a perfect being when we were all already aware that human beings are the most destructive animals on God's earth. You need only look to communities of animals in the wild to see that the human race has gone astray. Our observations, conclusions and inevitable actions prove nothing.

  • 411.
  • At 04:36 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Sue Bloodworth wrote:

To Dave(11) - do you consider the Bhuddist religion (philosophy)to be the path to intolerance?

"The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth." John 1:14

There is your proof Richard Dawkins. Jesus is one with God. The Bible is like gold, the precious Word of God. You have failed to accept what others have experienced as proof.

  • 413.
  • At 04:41 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Alistair wrote:

"At 11:06 PM on 22 Sep 2006, Han wrote:
I am a Christian, and cannot see how people can look at the mountains, rivers and even at the human body and not see God at work in things so complex."

I cannot see how people can look at murder, mass murder, genocide, war, and terrorism and not see God at work in such things. Why does 'God' get praise for 'mountains and rivers' but not condemnation for Hitler, Stalin and countless other murderous tyrants? He created them all. Who are we to question the wisdom of the omnipotent benevolent God that allowed these acts to happen?!? That's not even to mention the genocides, wars and terrorism specifically INSPIRED by God, or 'Allah'.

And don't even get me started on disease, famine, drought, death, James Blunt, tsunamis, hurricanes, earthquakes, violence, abuse, sexual abuse, child neglect, Marmite, and wasps.

  • 414.
  • At 04:45 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Philip wrote:

First of all, I would like to say am a religious atheist. By that, I mean, I do not believe in God, but I am religious.

Just believe you believe in God does not mean you are religious. There is a difference. The contrary is true: just believe you are religious does not mean you believe in God.

We cannot see the similarity between humans and apes, now, and so that is why evolution is so difficult to see.
The concept of a divine being, God, is far more "convincing", far more powerful, because we anthropomorpise the concept of the unknown.

If God did not create humans, then humans must have created humans.
A simple conclusion.
An earlier form of humans must have created a later form of humans. Going back and back, amino acids were the first to form.

The concept of Heaven and Hell is troubling, simply because there is an incentive to be good.
Be good = heaven
Be bad = hell.

If God was omnipotent, then God must also be indifferent. Why would God care for us if he was omnipotent. If God did create the universe and us, his true meaning is totally irrelevant, because he is inherently independent of existence and the act of creating us suggests psychology.

That particular psychology is totally meaning is God is truly an anthropomorphic projection of the unknown.

Taking literal meaning from scriptures is purely illogical, since their meaning will have changed. Technology, for example, has advanced beyond anything this century and its consequences are huge.

I have yet to read this book, but I will read it.

I must criticise, however, in light of programmes he did for C4, Richard Dawkins does seem rather arrogant and he tried to make atheism into a "religion".

  • 415.
  • At 04:46 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • clare wrote:

I think its ludicrous to describe the belief in god as the root of all evil, if it wasn't for this belief in god would those such as ghandi or martin luther king have accomplished the things they did without violence. It is also to be remembered that one of the biggest genicides in history was done in the name of eugenics and science.

  • 416.
  • At 04:46 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Philip wrote:

First of all, I would like to say I am a religious atheist. By that, I mean, I do not believe in God, but I am religious.

Just believe you believe in God does not mean you are religious. There is a difference. The contrary is true: just believe you are religious does not mean you believe in God.

We cannot see the similarity between humans and apes, now, and so that is why evolution is so difficult to see.
The concept of a divine being, God, is far more "convincing", far more powerful, because we anthropomorpise the concept of the unknown.

If God did not create humans, then humans must have created humans.
A simple conclusion.
An earlier form of humans must have created a later form of humans. Going back and back, amino acids were the first to form.

The concept of Heaven and Hell is troubling, simply because there is an incentive to be good.
Be good = heaven
Be bad = hell.

If God was omnipotent, then God must also be indifferent. Why would God care for us if he was omnipotent. If God did create the universe and us, his true meaning is totally irrelevant, because he is inherently independent of existence and the act of creating us suggests psychology.

That particular psychology is totally meaningless if God is truly an anthropomorphic projection of the unknown.

Taking literal meaning from scriptures is purely illogical, since their meaning will have changed. Technology, for example, has advanced beyond anything this century and its consequences are huge.

I have yet to read this book, but I will read it.

I must criticise, however, in light of programmes he did for C4, Richard Dawkins does seem rather arrogant and he tried to make atheism into a "religion".

  • 417.
  • At 04:47 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Lena Beradze wrote:

Dawkins' behaviour and writings are an embarrasment to thinking atheists around the world and Oxford University. This is hardly accurate or wise Promotion for the Public Understanding of Science which is his post at the institution.

If the job is to make outrageous provocative statments with shockingly loaded vocabulary which is hardly designed to provide an objective or reasoned consideration of important issues, that would be regrettable but at least part of the job description. Is science really so poorly supported it can only be promoted by trying to demote something else?

What seems to really being Promoted is the understanding that Science is full of anti-religion bigots - except there is a curious fact that there are so many emminent scientists (in all branches) who are members of faith communities themselves; and the view that religion is responsible for all the world's woes. Does the appalling record of Communist countries, atheist by definition, on Human Rights mean nothing? Perhaps the problem is people rather than religion.

As a Philosophy & Ethics teacher such material provides my classes with great fodder for debate. How often though they weary even the most ardent atheist in my groups with needlessly patronising and arrogant language, not to mention a poor grasp of theology.

'And all from a belief in a God whose existence lacks evidence of any kind.' Really? Surely it is the proof, not the evidence which is missing on both sides.

And poor Darwin! How he has been hijacked. TH Huxley would be proud - but would Darwin?

It's all basic stuff which has been repeated ad nauseum. So why pour out the same tired unhelpful science-religion diatribes?
Maybe it doesn't pay quite as well or bring quite so much fame, does it?

  • 418.
  • At 04:54 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Kevin wrote:

Scientists' purpose is to serve the human race in practical and pragmatic ways, not to dictate our beliefs. Like some other scientists this man seems to have delusions about his own power, making the fundemental mistake of believing that knowledge alone is wisdom. One symptom of this lack of wisdom, is the delusion that science has sufficient knowledge of the workings of the cosmos to even begin to enter spiritual debate in a mature fashion. The models that scientists work from are nowhere near sufficiently accurate and sensitive to detail to do this, just read some of Mikio Kaku's work to see how inaccuracies and unexplained forces abound. It is like a child on discovering his plastic toy aeroplane fails to fly, dictating to the rest of us that heavier than air flying machines are an impossibility and we should abandon any "delusion" we have to the contrary. While he steadfastly refuses to look up and see their existence for himself.

  • 419.
  • At 04:54 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Chris wrote:

>>He eviscerates the major arguments for religion and demonstrates the ultimate improbability of a supreme being. He shows how religion fuels war, foments bigotry and abuses children.

Unfortunately science also fuels war, foments bigotry and abuses children. On that basis we should abandon science.

Prof. Dawkins judges religion by the bad that is done and not the good and yet asks us to judge science by the good and not the bad - atomic bomb, genetic modification, chemical weapons etc.

Prof. Dawkins - your role is to promote the public understanding of science a job for which you are paid a lot of money. As a scientist I am disappointed that you equate this to continually attacking religion.

Can I suggest that as I scientist I take your job you pursue you desired career path of religious leader. For that is what you have reduced yourself to...look at me.....listen to what I is the absolute truth....everyone else is wrong.....follow me into enlightenment.

Dr. Chris - rocket scientist and a man with faith in more than humankind

  • 420.
  • At 04:55 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Paul Uszak wrote:

I totally support Prof. Dawkins arguments, but would offer my own slight expansion...

A great deal is said of how faith developed over time in order to justify /comprehend early Man's world. Science has clearly put paid to God for most rational people, but I think that religion and faith are propogated these days for an alterior motive.

Power. Religious leaders hold great power over billions of narrow minded /vulnerable people, whom will do what they are told and give up (or just give) what they are told. Witness the amount of gold in the Vatican. Like drug lords, they peddle their 'drug' to anyone willing to try it. They gain power, money, respect and influence. They recently won an election in the USA.

They also cleverly adapt their 'drug' to the changing market, so that it remains palatable to new tastes. "Burn witches at the stake? Sure, no problem"! "What, you won't follow us if we keep torturing and killing too many of you. Sure, we'll abandon heresy." "Gays? Hmmm, we'd better allow them as the proletariat will say we're out of step with the times". Just enough faith to stay popular.

Mr. Marx hit it right on the button when he wrote that 'opium' line. Instead of focusing on the real problems facing this world, religion peddlers offer their own brand of salvation if you just follow them. Sounds a little like a political party, doesn't it?

I've not heard Prof. Dawkins say much about politics, but I think that if he considered that aspect, he'd be able to better understand why there's still so much of it about in a rational society.

  • 421.
  • At 04:55 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Mr G wrote:

The Bible says that the man who says there is no God is a fool, and an educated fool is still a fool. Look around us, after all these years, we think that we are the result of slime mating with slime and the rampant effect of crossover, mutation and recombination of genetic material that we still dont fully understand. Only a Creator could have done this, but as usual, someone with a view has a go at God and then world applauds, I pray that you meet with God, His Son Jesus Christ, and the power of His Holy Spirit, and then you will see things from another perspective, I assure you.

  • 422.
  • At 04:56 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • aqua wrote:


What an insult to the intellectual thinking minds...which Richard Dawkins clearly is not part of. I challenge Richard Dawkins to invoke the curse of God on himself...IF he is truthful

In fact, I challenge all those atheists to invoke the curse of God on themselves if they are telling the truth.

I can garrantee that he wont do it...why because the truth of the matterm is, is that he wants to make money out of the name of God, and if he misleads people by doing doesnt matter to him...He is what you call 'Evil'

Let him face my challenge.

From, A Muslim.

Richard Dawkins is wrong in saying religion causes wars, it is man that causes war with their greed for what does not belong to them. Untill man can love his neighbough as himself there will never be peace. Regards, Jacqui

  • 424.
  • At 05:02 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Andrew Wallace wrote:

Dawkins is God!

  • 425.
  • At 05:02 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Ymi Balogun wrote:

I can see that the so- called professor is very ignorant of spiritual things. Someone that has wisdom or common sense will not criticise what he knows nothing about. Obviously, he cannot tell the difference between religion and a one to one relationship with the God of the Bible. I can see a sinister secularist, liberalist agenda in this interview and the exposure given to Dawkins. I hope for balance someone there will welcome a response from a solid scholar from the other side, which I will be more than willing to supply. Sooner or later Dawkins will meet the true God. I pray he Get to know this God before it is too late.

  • 426.
  • At 05:04 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Rob wrote:

Would God be prepared to offer a comment at this point?

  • 427.
  • At 05:04 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Mary wrote:

There's one big hole in Dawkins' argument - what happens if we get rid of religion. It was tried in Russia, for example, and shows that the human condition is just as much of a problem whether religion is present or not. It is human nature, not religion, which lets us down.

I'm glad he likes Richard Holloway - who is honestly trying to tread a middle path between the world of religion and the world of Dawkins. I can recommend his books. Whatever you do, don't muddle him up with David Holloway!

  • 428.
  • At 05:11 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • James wrote:

Prof Dawkins is deluded in thinking that his status as a prominent scientist means he can make such certain metaphysical and philosophical pronouncements. He only judges himself when his attempts to denounce religion for its promotion of hatred show up his vitriolic and irrational hatred of all things religious. Does he not realise that he himself is putting a large amount of faith in his reason? What grounds does he have to assume that his own reason is more worthy of faith than those of people who believe in God? On top of this he demonstrates a complete misunderstanding of Christianity at the very least. The Bible itself claims that human efforts at trying to know God (man-centred "religion" if you like) are of no use. Instead it offers God's word about himself, which can be scrutinised carefully through looking at the claims of the historical figure of Jesus Christ. The civilised person would do well to investigate these without prior prejudices of any human philosophy, whether theistic or atheistic.

  • 429.
  • At 05:15 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • David wrote:

Re. Post 385. A commendable attempt to explain heat in summer, but it just highlights my point (#328) earlier about education. In fact, it get's hot in summer due to the axial tilt of the Earth: In summer in the northern hemisphere the Earth is further from the Sun, not closer. However, full marks for giving a rational explanation, especially as kids are not stupid and deserve a much better than they get at the school in question. Have you ever thought of moving your child to a more enlightened establishment?

  • 430.
  • At 05:16 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Wendy wrote:

Finally a 'scientist' to back up my own views. Thank you.

I believe that the church and religion have both been negative influences on our way of life and have served to judge other people based on the interpretation of a select group of people of books written down merely as stories. Church and religion have led to wars, violence and intolerance. I have no time for such bigotted people. It is love thy neighbour, but only if that person has exactly the same views as you. That is not tolerance or understanding. Women have been turned into original sinners and have been allowed to play no part in the management or organisation of the church.

However, as a religious person you can never lose or be wrong. If you pray for an ill person and they die then it is God's will, if they live then it is due to the fact that people were praying. Similarly with the bible, any part of it that has been either proved to be wrong or is obviously ridiculous is just portrayed as being 'symbolic'. Religious people are always on the winning team. That is until they actually want to have views of their own and may actually be gay, or want a divorce, they are then cast out.

I cannot imagine if religion and 'God' were to be introduced as a concept now for the first time. I think that it would be laughed at and treated with no more respect than alien crop circles.

  • 431.
  • At 05:17 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Philip Stevens wrote:

Richard Dawkins seems to be suggesting that all religion causes violence and bigotry. So using this argument, China (a strictly atheist state) should be the height of morality and someone like the Dalai Lama (a religious leader) should be one of the most evil men alive. In fact China has one of the worst human rights records of any country and the Dalai Lama is a world renowned peacemaker and humanitarian; how does Prof. Dawkins explain this?

I am curious as to how Richard Dawkins, is qualified to talk in such depth on this subject, he is not a theologian or an anthropologist but an evolutionary theorist. He seems to think that evolution is still a disputed idea in need of defence, when in fact it is a fundamental law of science, accepted by the majority of people, religious and nonreligious alike. I saw Dawkins’ program on Channel 4 when he only interviewed the most insane zealots he could fined and conveniently ignored talking to any moderate faith leaders.

It is true that throughout history religion has been used as a very useful excuse to kill and murder, but if you look at any ‘holy war’ in history there is always a wholly political or strategic reason for these conflicts. Today, al-Qaeda commits their acts, not for god but for well stated political reasons. Though I admit it would be harder for them to recruit suicide bombers without the false promise of paradise, it has been done before; Kamikaze pilots did not normally have any strong faith, if any. There have been wars, genocides and terror attacks throughout history which were not caused by religion and many more that religion prevented.

Look at the beatitudes of Christ, or the Prophet Muhammad's Final Sermon or the teachings of Guru Nanak Dev in which the foundation of these beliefs are shown as teachings of peace and tolerance. It is the followers of these faiths over many generations that twist and abuse religion into something that it is not; something evil. The aforementioned suicide bombings are strictly forbidden in all Abrahamic religions and only the most twisted doctrines and hypocritical teachings permits it. Punishment after death is promised to anyone who breaks God’s laws. How can Dawkins say that everyone fearing a void after death with the sense of law and right and wrong being an abstract idea will prevent an incentive to break human laws?

I must say that I strongly believe it is very important and healthy for every religion and faith to be scrutinised and criticised, but I would say that to call for an end to religion in our world may solve some of our problems, but it would cause many more. There are many terrorist inspired by religion but many, many more charities and humanitarian organisations funded by faith. To give up faith would ignore and important significant theory of existence and consciousness, but more than that it would cause a sense of hopelessness in our world and nothing is more dangerous to a society than that.

  • 432.
  • At 05:18 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Dave wrote:

Couple of atheists posting comments like "Thank God for Richard Dawkins" Seems a bit of a contrary position to me....

  • 433.
  • At 05:21 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Martyn Shenstone wrote:

Wonderful, once again the BBC in it's quest to be impartial sets up an interview between two people who do not believe in what they are debating. Why oh why can't we have a debate between a real fundamentalist (someone like Ken Ham from answersingenesis) and Dawkins. I am frankly bored to tears with all these documentaries and debates between atheists and liberals (who are quasi atheists) in which findamentalism is "debated" and defeated ad infinitum. But of course for those of you who don't know, Dawkins and his crowd of evolutionaists never debate informed fundamentalists because they always lose the debate. It's easy to prove someone an idiot whan he's not there to answer you.

  • 434.
  • At 05:23 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Mamoseketsi Ramollo wrote:

For all who don't believe in God, what I want to say is that you should not be put off by the poor example set by some Christians or for the things that some have said and done in the name of God. Being a Christian is not say you think more highly of yourself than others but merely to say that you are trying to follow Christ's example. Unfortunately, for as long as we're human, we can never be perfect; what's important is to continue to follow Jesus' example. Again, do not be put off by how some people have lived their faith. Understand the message in the Bible, that God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life. To me, that's real love. BTW, I think it's perfectly OK to ask these questions and to wonder about God and I think all intelligent people should keep an open mind about it until there is incontrovertible evidence that there is no God (which I don't think will ever happen but is open for anyone to test). You may be surprised to learn that the Bible actually encourages people to search and question and God always shows up for those who have a real desire to know Him or to know He exists. Unfortunately, I can't answer some many of the very interesting questions posed here (space, etc.) but I should maybe mention that knowing God is like falling in love (in fact it is!)...if you've never experienced it before, it's really hard to tell someone what it's like or even to get them to believe what they've never known. But it does happen and I pray for all of you to SEEK and find truth, not just rely on what others (including myself) are saying. God will not disappoint you if you open your mind and read everything relevant (on both sides of the debate). I hope someone reads it and tries this for themselves. I recomment "The Case for Christ" by a former atheist who looked at archeological, medical, and other evidence and grilled the best in the field on the existence of Christ. By the time he was done, he felt that there was a lot to be said for Jesus and I encourage you to do the same.

To believe we evolved means we are justified in being racist (because then we really are different).
To believe in God means that we were created equal.

To believe that we can be born as a homosexual is to believe that we can be born a paedophile.
To believe in God is to realise his love can rescue us from all sin.

I will not make the case for Christianity here. Anyone who wants 'scientific, reasonable proof' for the existance of a loving God can easily find such content if only they open thier eyes and actively investigate.

  • 436.
  • At 05:28 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Martin wrote:

Just reading some of the previous comments demonstrates one clear thing:

1) people of reason use it to establish evidence based causes for events in the world

2) people of faith do nothing but attack anyone who is prepared to question their unfounded convictions

If more people would wake up and base their worldview on the evidence and reasoned argument, the world would be a better place.

  • 437.
  • At 05:30 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • MG wrote:

What an idiot.

One day he will be standing face to face with God, and be asked why he wrote this book! I wouldn't want to be in his shoes!

  • 438.
  • At 05:30 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Edward wrote:

Yawn. What a dull, self-righteous, arrogant little man he is. What's worse is that he's exactly as much a fundamentalist as the religious fundamentalists he affects to despise.

  • 439.
  • At 05:33 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • steven hallberg wrote:

For any Christians out there, don't be taken captive by Dawkins' hollow and deceptive philosophy. His universe is one which came from nothing, is coming to nothing and therefore is worth nothing in between. This man claims that religious belief is some kind of virus, but if there is no God or anything beyond the life we have on earth, what difference does it make what one believes? The simple response to anything Dawkins says is SO WHAT! If Dawkins is so sure of what he believes is true then let him prove it on a live TV debate with those whom he denigrates; oh! I forgot, Mr. Dawkins no longer debates creationists and the like anymore.

  • 440.
  • At 05:35 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Scott wrote:

"416. At 04:56 PM on 25 Sep 2006, aqua wrote:

What an insult to the intellectual thinking minds...which Richard Dawkins clearly is not part of. I challenge Richard Dawkins to invoke the curse of God on himself...IF he is truthful

In fact, I challenge all those atheists to invoke the curse of God on themselves if they are telling the truth.

I can garrantee that he wont do it...why because the truth of the matterm is, is that he wants to make money out of the name of God, and if he misleads people by doing doesnt matter to him...He is what you call 'Evil'

Let him face my challenge.

From, A Muslim."

Why can't he criticise religion, its principles and beliefs, and those who promote them? What gives you the right to deny him that freedom? As far as I can tell he has practised this freedom responsibly, whereas you appear to be advocating irresponsible censorship.

Religion has certain attractions, mainly those that are dealing with common sense personal responsibility matters, but there are other aspects which are utterly abhorrent and self-defeating and hypocritical.

Similarly it is a mistaken scientist who claims to understand everything, after all human experience is constantly expanding our knowledge.

  • 441.
  • At 05:36 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • E. Le Boënnec wrote:

I never heard of Dawkins before that night, but I am glad to have heard one claiming the god is a fraud.

When comes to the 3 main monotheisms, I always thought that they equally contain the human madness to justify dictatorship. The basis of each is a revealed entity that bring the truth. It means that each has the one and only truth! Isn't it scary?

There is a lot of talks today about Islam. But rather than a clash of civilisation, I think that that religion is going through the same stages that Christianity went through: people say openly no to it partially or in totality. Why? Because technology such as satellite dishes and Internet provide other experience and lead to questions. What a revealed belief hates the most is a question that will require a justification of its own roots and rules, because it cannot by definition. The argument is soon that if it has survived 2000 years it should be true. False! It took centuries to be able to challenge Catholicism. In 1616, Copernicus is outcast after publishing the idea that the Earth is not the centre of the universe. Later, Galileo is thrown in jail for the same “heresy”. But most astonishingly, it is the last leader of the Catholic cult that recognises that Galileo was correct! Nearly 400 years to acknowledge that it was a mistake. So, you who believes in that cult will excuse me to laugh when I heard the current one stating that religion and reason were closely related. By the way, do Muslims today accept that the man has walked on the moon which supposedly the domain of their divine being.

When we come to talk with some friends about the subject of religions and some news from the world, I like to point out that it is not a matter of Islam, but just the fundamentals of such religion. The current catholic faith is as barbaric. I personally think from my experience that the leader of the Vatican state should face trial for crime against humanity. I am not talking of past support to crusades when priests were made soldiers, in Saint Barthelemy massacre, to inquisition and the related tortures and abuses, to slavery as blacks were considered as non human, and so on. No, I am talking of current systematic misinformation and lies. In June 1994, I was in Luanda (Angola) when the late head of Vatican came to visit the country. During the gathering for the main speech, I felt that collective power that a belief of no doubt provides except that it reminds me pictures from Hitler in Nuremberg. When thousands of people take for granted the say of one, because he should know as the representative of a divine entity. But that collective feeling, you might get it going to a concert of the Rolling Stones except that no one will take Brown Sugar for more than a story that it is. But a religious leader suggests that condoms should not be used in a country where AIDS is already striking seriously, I call that: intend to murder. By the way, that religious leader could be any of the three monotheisms that you call him pope, mufti or rabbi. The same goes for any leader that put the personal beliefs before the common good of all his/her people.

Religions tend to trap people in a stable mental frame that is comfortable. Therefore, to challenge it is to challenge the stability of a model where everybody has a defined place. But reason is uncertainty by nature. Reason is about questioning the existing models. It might take decades, but at the end one is proven correct or that there is an overarching concept that encompasses many. That was the first breakthrough of Einstein on light. But Einstein could bare the idea that the relativity theory was part of something more complex. His own religious beliefs let him think that the divine made things simple like his famous formula. He never was able to go beyond. It does not change that he was a very nice chap. So, if Einstein can get stuck, what about one that has received little education if not none. That is why it crucial that education remains independent from religion. Our schools exist to provide the knowledge that we have acquired through time. It is not to say that it is written in the stone, but the learning method must develop the aptitude to challenge it. The major difference with religion is that reason provides ground for reproducible experiments. A belief is a thought that has been unchallenged and that time has made truthful rule. Sometime it can come from a genuine health issue. Pork is a kind of meat that deteriorates much faster than beef in warm environments. It is understandable that a precept of carefulness was established to avoid deceases, but it does not mean that it must not be consumed for ever.

Coming from a religious, political or marketing campaign, always think several times before accepting the information for gold value. Question, compare and decide on your own what it is worth. In finance, it is said that there is no such a thing as a free meal. In physics, it is agreed that to each action force there is an opposite one of equal value. If you give up your freedom of speech and thought, it is up to you but you will pay for it in a way or another.

  • 442.
  • At 05:40 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Gen 1 wrote:

Dawkins' ideas are long overdue.

  • 443.
  • At 05:43 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • James Heywood wrote:

"Only religious faith is a strong enough force to motivate such utter madness in otherwise sane and decent people." Has Prof Dawkins forgotten Nazism? Stalin's purges? Pol Pot? And what about the American determination to impose democracy by force at any cost in human lives? Dawkins' obsessive opposition to God blinds him to reality. His own quasi-religion of rationalism and science causes him to manifest all the pettiness, self-righteousness and hostility he perceives in other faiths.

  • 444.
  • At 05:44 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • John, Bristol wrote:

"A Muslim" believes that God will take revenge on Richard Dawkins, a commonly-expressed belief of fundamentalist Christians as well as Jews and Muslims. In that case, why are religious fanatics so keen to take the burden of punishment on themselves?

As long as people of all faiths use their beliefs as an excuse for murder and mayhem, I will continue to hold those beliefs in utter contempt.

  • 445.
  • At 05:44 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Owen Wiseman wrote:

Thank you Richard . Money is not the root of all "evil" , Religion is!

  • 446.
  • At 05:47 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Sarah wrote:

Thank you Mr Dawkins, you're a braver man than most.

  • 447.
  • At 05:55 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Max Fabre wrote:

It strikes me as rather more than interesting that, in his very title, Professor Dawkins has invoked the language of a superstition of scientism; namely the cult of psychiatry - a systematised dogma of licensed denigration that would assign all human concerns to one or other of a comprehensive pathological repertoire. That "the fault is not in their stars, but in themselves" is its invariable nostrum for all social ills and common discontents; and whatever cannot be understood without empathy for its broader context can be dismissed as "irrational."

There is nothing especially enlightening in the rehearsal of straw-man burning that takes the merely pedagogical illustrations of teleology and ontology for the sum total argument of intellectual endeavour to address the essential mystery of the divine that a Socratic, as much as an uneducated ignorance has ever found to warrant attention. The beliefs in which humanity inclines to rest in the progress of its quest for wisdom, and the contexts in which those are adopted and through which they duly evolve are dismissed for merely the sake of a currently prevalent infatuation with empirical materialism - whose view of the universe is doomed, in the fullness of time, to seem at least as quaint and archaic as any it now denigrates.

In sum, though I rest on the exerpts provided (£20 is rather too much for a tract!) it would seem entirely unlikely that Professor Dawkins has anything to offer in answer to the real and irrefragible ethical needs of humanity in the face of its evolution and history. No future scientific Utopia is ever going to answer the anguish of history, nor assuage the pain of so many of us already passed into it. Supposing, from the year 3,000, everyone might live in peace and justice, and for long enough to exhaust all life's potential, what ethical justification could there be for damning all who had lived before such rational enlightment to random exclusion from it? It is justice itself that would be rendered delusory by any such presumption - whether express or by default.

Throughout the schism of faith and reason, that can only intially be blamed on a corrupt religious dogma, the tragedy for humanity has been that the bond of generations over time, and the hope and prospect of its eventually becoming more clearly understood, has been intellectually jettisoned, and for frankly no better reason than a negligence of despair.

Were scientific rationalism to constructively contribute to human understanding, as distinct from mere technology, it would need to cease from shirking the very questions that faith, however fallibly, has always had to pursue. The mere abrogation of everything that we have still to understand to the irrational (including all apperception of things divine or transcendent) is no contribution to wisom at all, but simply a noise in the din of confusion.

Richard Dawkins begins his seventh chapter by falsely stating that the Ten Commandments "are the subject of such bitter contention in the culture wars of America's boondocks". He would certainly be correct if he stated instead that the Ten Commandments IS such a source, because how we ought to honor the document as a whole is greatly debated both in and out of our courts. But few argue about the Commandments themselves, at least not bitterly, at least not down here below the ivy. It seems to me that the author betrays a prejudice that twists his language, or he twists ours. Either way, as a thinking person, I very often wonder how anyone imagines there's sense in denying the existence of something because they have no personal experience in the matter, and of questioning the mental health of those who've said they had that knowledge and moved the world with it.

  • 449.
  • At 05:58 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Sean wrote:

I heard something on a docu just recently that summed it up for me.

'Good men do good things'
'Evil men do Evil things'
'but to get a Good man to do something Evil requires Religion'

  • 450.
  • At 05:58 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Richard Seefried wrote:

While much of Mr Dawkins'points are reasonable, his objectivity is impaired by his obvious anti-religious bias. His examples illustrate that extremely fallible human beings will get anything wrong, given the time.

But the blame should be laid at the feet of this fallible humanity.

History shows that human beings will do terrible things in the name of ANYTHING they believe strongly in. The Crusades and the current violence still pale in comparison to the violence done in the name of fascism, communism, nationalism,(POLITICAL ideologies).

Using Mr Dawkins' logic, if one blames religion for human violence, one must also blame sport, ie, football/soccer for the frequent violence which erupts at such events.

  • 451.
  • At 06:01 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Gerard Mulholland wrote:

How screamingly funny!

It is perfectly clear from their drivel and rantings that half these correspondents defending their own ideas of a god have read neither the Bible nor the Koran nor Richard Dawkins' book nor even either the two extracts of the latter that you publish here.

And it is equally clear that the other half are psychologically incapable of understanding that anyone who fundamentally disagrees with them really disagrees with them fundamentally! All these desperate attempts to suggest that Richard Dawkins must have another sort of god or another sort of religion really are bizarre.

Evidently part of their blindness is that they are incapable of understanding that Richard Dawkins and those of us who agree with him are not feeble-minded like them.

We are content to stand on our own two feet, look the universe in the face and -when we bother to think about it- say that it is the ultimate proof that all those fatuous superstitions are nothing but fantasies. The chaotic state of the universe, the appalling mess our planet in general has always been in with its natural disasters practically every day, the evident evolutionary faults in every single species that has ever lived on the planet and the horrendous cruelty and suffering all around us everywhere and all the time are the incontrovertible evidence that there are neither god, gods, goddess or goddesses.

And as for this barmy idea of ‘intelligent design’, if I were to have possessed just an iota of the powers with which these nutters credit their "good, merciful, omnipotent and omniscient" god(s), I would have done a far better job! How can any rational person believe in a divine being so viciously cruel and so crassly incompetent?

Many of your correspondents profess to believe in one or other (or several) of these mythical divine beings but all religions' descriptions of the alleged divine powers and nature weigh very badly against the reality of the universe, of this planet and of all the species on it.

It is quite clear that their divine being(s) most certainly would never have been, could not now be, nor ever would be fit company for any civilised person to keep.

  • 452.
  • At 06:02 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Brian wrote:

Working with people who suffer from mental illness as I do; I've never really had a satisfactory answer to the question: What is the difference between psychotics and religious peole? Both groups beleive things for which there is no evidence.
I find it hard to believe that people in this day and age believe in basing their lives on iron age mythologies, mostly stolen from older religions (Nothing new under the sun?), mistraslated and hacked about. Reading the Bible, it appears obvious, that not many people believed it then!
As Billy Connolly said, it's strange how many religions started after someone assured us they had heard the word of God, but never any witnessess?
Religion is a form of juvenile hero worship: God does all the good things, Man all the bad, mostly revolving around sex and devaluing women. It's a regression against a rapidly changing world. I'm sure psychologists would have a field day.
Please read Richards books before passing comment.
Anyone out there willing to define "faith"?

  • 453.
  • At 06:12 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • john wrote:

Anyone who likes Dawkins should read some Bertrand Russel. Dawkins makes some good arguments but sometimes I feel he is over-opinionated and it detracts from the point he is trying to make. Russel said exactly the same sorts of things but earlier and more eloquently.

Although, looking at most of the nonsensical pro-God comments on here I can see why Dawkins feels he has to take a very direct approach...

  • 454.
  • At 06:13 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Ilyas wrote:

Christianity declared war on science
and thus created an artificial divide
between faith and reason. Truth is around us to see, Professor Dawkins
is a vastly gifted individual who has fallen into the trap set by the old Christian establishment that labeled all inquisitive men as heretics.
Spiritualists and scientists need to start thinking out of the box. So called religious establishments are preventing faith and reason from coming together but the truth will
emerge sooner or later. Science will guide us to the reality of God.

  • 455.
  • At 06:14 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Garry Goodwin wrote:

The problem is Dawkins has gained the position of the nation's resident athiest. Unfortunatly his lone voice is a tad too shrill, and heard alone will not cause a theist to question themself or their beliefs. Still this book is very much needed and should be part of the national curriculum.

  • 456.
  • At 06:14 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Gavin Brown wrote:

Me thinks 'he doth protest too much' He always sounds to me like he is trying to convince himself through his own rhetoric

  • 457.
  • At 06:16 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Garry Goodwin wrote:

The problem is Dawkins has gained the position of the nation's resident athiest. Unfortunatly his lone voice is a tad too shrill, and heard alone will not cause a theist to question themself or their beliefs. Still this book is very much needed and should be part of the national curriculum.

  • 458.
  • At 06:20 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Brian wrote:

He comments that "he does not believe we are put here to be comfortable" is simple to understand if you break it down. "He does not believe" and it is a non belief in a concept of "being put here to be comfortable".
Some comments suggest that not to believe in god is to not be at ease or not to have found peace. I am completely at ease and have found peace and I do not believe in god. I also understand that life is complicated and not always comfortable. I am not gullible and delusional. I used to be when brainwashed as a child to believe in a religion but life is so much better now and my values and morals and respect for people and other living things are better. I do not have any simplistic notions to justify hate, and killing based upon faith or justify the pathetic lack of love for life and this planet. This notion of wanting this second coming of "Christ" to set the stage for "biblical voodoo" so that the world is destroyed and only the true believers are chosen is a disgusting lack of respect for life of others and the one and only life you will ever know. This planet has evolved into an amazing and unique home that is constantly easily dismissed and threatened by religion.

  • 459.
  • At 06:20 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • mattcitizen wrote:

Aqua, I accept your challenge: if there is a god, I invoke him to curse me.

Oooooh oogey boogey oogey boogey!!!
Oooooh oogey boogey oogey boogey!!!

  • 460.
  • At 06:23 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • An atheist wrote:

"In fact, I challenge all those atheists to invoke the curse of God on themselves if they are telling the truth."

OK - Just did it. How long should I have to wait? Or will you tell that god moves in mysterious ways and any random bad thing that happens to me at any point in the future will be a sign of the curse...? Wow - I might even die one day... It's very convenient to be so non-specific isn't it? You'd think a supreme being would be a little better at communicating...

  • 461.
  • At 06:25 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Rachel O wrote:

If you're wanting to explore ideas of God, for an opposite viewpoint read "A Case For Faith" by Lee Strobel. There's definitely another side to Dawkin's story.

An equally interesting take on humans and religion is one exploring religion as a Darwinian phenomenon. Broadcast: Wednesday, August 30, 2006 11-12PM ET

from OnPoint. (\,
Email this story to a friend
By host Tom Ashbrook:

The urge is so strong, most people don't fight it. In the presence of religion and religious icons -- churches, temples, altars, scripture, holy relics from the Ganges riverbank to Rome -- most people become reverent. Not Daniel Dennett.

Denett is a philosopher on a mission. His mission is to break religion itself open to scientific inquiry, to "break the spell," in his words, of faith.

Dennet's conclusion is that religion is not miraculous or supernatural, but a product of nature itself -- of Darwinian evolution, like the finch's beak or the opposable thumb. If that sounds like sacrilege, maybe it is.

Hear about the evolutionary theory of religion.

·Professor Daniel C. Dennett, Center for Cognitive Studies, Tufts University
·Stephen Pope, Professor of Theology, Boston College.

Here's the link.

I got this from the internet...please note - 'Laura' in this case is supposed to be Laura Schlessinger. I would substitute 'Laura' for any of the pompous, self-righteous posters on this thread offering patronising prayers for 'non-believers'

Dear Dr. Laura,

Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God's Law. I have learned a great deal from your show, and I try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind him that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination. End of debate.

I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some of the specific laws and how to best follow them.

a) When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord (Lev 1:9). The problem is my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?

b) I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?

c) I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of menstrual uncleanliness (Lev 15:19-24). The problem is, how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offense.

d) Lev. 25:44 states that I may indeed possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can't I own Canadians?

e) I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself?

f) A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an Abomination (Lev 11:10), it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don't agree. Can you settle this?

g) Lev 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle room here?

h) Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev 19:27. How should they die?

i) I know from Lev 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?

j) My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev 19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? (Lev 24:10-16) Couldn't we just burn them to death at a private family affair like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14)

I know you have studied these things extensively, so I am confident you can help.

Thank you again for reminding us that God's word is eternal and unchanging.

Your devoted disciple and adoring fan.

Thank you for the Richard Dawkins interview. I've read some of his books, but never seen him. I consider him to be one of the sanest, brightest, most rational and sensible men on the planet. I will buy this book. I will share this interview URL with as many people as possible. What a joy it would be to have a quiet dinner of intelligent conversation with this man!

  • 465.
  • At 06:30 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • chris meadows wrote:

What a great interview, at last somebody has stood up and said something sane. Most conflict in the world currently seems to revolve around the "My God is better than your God" routine.So let ban God poitics fine ,God no way lets base discusion on some sort of rationality. Not a cobbled toghther method of peasant control so believed of Rome,Mecca and Jerusalem apologies to other faiths. Please believe in whatever gets you through the day but stop letting it get in the way of rational thought.

  • 466.
  • At 06:32 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • chris meadows wrote:

What a great interview, at last somebody has stood up and said something sane. Most conflict in the world currently seems to revolve around the "My God is better than your God" routine.So let ban God poitics fine ,God no way lets base discusion on some sort of rationality. Not a cobbled toghther method of peasant control so believed of Rome,Mecca and Jerusalem apologies to other faiths. Please believe in whatever gets you through the day but stop letting it get in the way of rational thought.

  • 467.
  • At 06:34 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Behelzebub wrote:

I'm not sure why people keep saying "his (dawkins) ideas are long overdue". These "ideas" he puts forward are ideas most people with common sense have had for years.

Myself and colleagues at work discuss (when were not working hard ;-)) things like God/religion/terrorists and we all come to the same conclusions Dawkins talks about in his books - God/Religion is an outdated concept, and people who refuse to let it go are deluded.

You dont need to be a Scientist to realise that. I suppose at least it's getting some media attention, and those on the fence might "convert" to common sense...

  • 468.
  • At 06:36 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Barry Smart wrote:

To those writers who have asked,"Who put man on Earth, if not the creator ?

Who put the creator there?

  • 469.
  • At 06:38 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Kevin wrote:

I’m glad this book has been published. The religious texts were written by PEOPLE – a plain and simple fact, saying that it’s ‘god’s word’ is, in my opinion, utterly ridiculous.

But what I do find even more curious, is that many ‘hard line’ Islamic clerics in Egypt and Iran, and indeed, the Iranian president himself, claim that the holocaust of sixty years ago either never happened or has been exaggerated – and yet there is ample proof that those dreadful events took place, films archives, photos, documents and most important of all, some of the people who witnessed those awful events are still alive to tell us. And yet, some Islamists refuse to believe it, yet they will believe, without question, religious texts of events that happened 1,500 years ago – for which there is no proof at all.

  • 470.
  • At 06:39 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Simon wrote:

Religion is a product of ancient ignorance and a very base human desire for power and wealth, nothing more. Don't know the answer to a question? Say "God did it and he doesn't have to explain why to us mere mortals." Get enough people to believe you and you have a religion, a powerbase, and cash.
Religion relies on "faith" and that means it is narrow-minded and ignorant of other possibilities. Where I can say "I do not believe in a God", I can also say "I might be wrong". Anyone who does believe in God cannot, by definition, admit they might be wrong as it shows they have no "faith". It also means if I am wrong, and God exists, I will know I was wrong when the end comes. A religious person, if wrong, will never know it. And yes, I would rather spend an eternity in pain in hell than an eternity feeling nothing at all.
The Egyptians had their gods 3000-4000 years ago. No-one believes in them now. The Romans had their gods 2000-2500 years ago. No one believes in them now. Christianity and Islam will be extinct within a few thousand years and we'll either believe in a new religion or, as a species, we will have grown up, got some courage, and finally be mature enough to accept that when life is over, it is over.

  • 471.
  • At 06:40 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • TB wrote:

I couldn't agree more with Professor Hawkings. It's about time that someone has the conviction to stand up and say what they truly believe and say that there is no deity or 'god'.

It's about time people stopped using religion to hide from the reality of who we are and where we came from. Im still staggered that in this modern day and age, with so many atrocities still being justified by "god's wish" (or at least the individuals version of that wish) and with our understanding of the universe expanding as quick as the universe itself, that people can put all of their belief in something so fundamentally flawed and unjustified instead of facing the truth. Professor Hawkins has it spot on when he says we create our own purpose in life, it's not created for us.

The absurdity of religion can be beautifully highlighted with the example that a convicted serial killer can go to heaven because he's found 'faith' in his final days and confessed his sins to God and has thus been forgiven, yet a believer who has lived their life exactly according to God and done nothing but good in their life will end up in exactly the same heaven as the supposedly 'forgiven' murderer. Now please explain where present day morals fit into that scenario.

Or is there a hierarchy to which kind of heaven you end up in that we're missing?

Professor Hawkins, I'm with you all the way.

  • 472.
  • At 06:44 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Tk wrote:

In response to comment #416.

Dear aqua,

I hereby "invoke the curse of God" on myself.

I am certain Richard Dawkins would have absolutely no trouble in doing the same.

Do you really believe in a god that would use its supernatural powers to take revenge on an online comment poster?

That would make god a belligerent, petty, website moderator with far to much time on his hands.

  • 473.
  • At 06:49 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Peter Pootlebury wrote:

For the next program on religion can we please see a debate on the growing schism between Reformed and Orthodox Tooth-Fairyans. The Reformed Tooth-Fairyans say that the Tooth Fairy substitutes a coin for childrens milk teeth placed under the pillow. They scorn Orthodox Tooth-Fairyans for clinging to the "ridiculous notion" that the Tooth Fairy somehow transmutes the tooth itself into a coin.

Although I was raised in an orthodox environment, sometimes I find it hard to believe that the Tooth Fairy could really change a tooth into a metal alloy disk. On the other hand perhaps we should rely on faith and not reform our beliefs just to make them fit with current trendy scientific beliefs.

  • 474.
  • At 06:51 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Patrick Rush wrote:

Science is a great tool but a terrible master. Mr Dawkins knows the physical limits of scientific instruments because even he cannot measure out either a kilogramme of love, a millitre of joy, a metre of peace, or a coulomb of undeserved mercy.
Mr Dawkins depends daily on scientific tools that cannot even detect, let alone measur, anything that is supernatural. So it logical for Mr. Dawkins, the scientist, to conclude from using his tools, that there is no evidence of supernature.
However to limit yourself to natural methods of enquiry and to reject any form of supernatural revelation is to condemn yourself to swinging a black cat around in a black space in the hope that you might generate some light on why we are here and where we are heading after we die.
Perhaps Mr Dawkins should add the letters "DFSF" to his list of qualifications because he is a Doctor of Foolish Scientific Fundamentalism of the worst kind.

It is amazing how many people did not hear Dawkins' words, but only heard what they thought he said. He did not deny Gods existence, in fact, he noted that it was impossible to prove God did not exist. Another example...he did not recommend drugs to make people happy, just noted that IF happiness were the human purpose, it could be more easily achieved by drugs. And I am amazed by the number of people who missed the mild attempt at ironic humor in his closing line about "being put here...." Ah well.....That would be like me closing this post by saying "Thank God for clear thinking atheists like Richard Dawkins!"

  • 476.
  • At 06:53 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Patrick Rush wrote:

Science is a great tool but a terrible master. Mr Dawkins knows the physical limits of scientific instruments because even he cannot measure out either a kilogramme of love, a millitre of joy, a metre of peace, or a coulomb of undeserved mercy.
Mr Dawkins depends daily on scientific tools that cannot even detect, let alone measur, anything that is supernatural. So it logical for Mr. Dawkins, the scientist, to conclude from using his tools, that there is no evidence of supernature.
However to limit yourself to natural methods of enquiry and to reject any form of supernatural revelation is to condemn yourself to swinging a black cat around in a black space in the hope that you might generate some light on why we are here and where we are heading after we die.
Perhaps Mr Dawkins should add the letters "DFSF" to his list of qualifications because he is a Doctor of Foolish Scientific Fundamentalism of the worst kind.

  • 477.
  • At 06:58 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Rodney P. wrote:

It is very encouraging to think that after 40 to 60 years of life we humans, the most intelligent life form on the planet Earth, have amassed a knowledge base of truth that spans hundreds of millions if not hundreds of trillions of years.
In a few mor years Mr. Dawkins will find out he knows nothing.

  • 478.
  • At 07:00 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Norman Adams wrote:

Dawkins has his own views, fair enough, but anyone who objects to them is a bigot and not worth listening to.
Trouble is he is the one who is bigotted. I do not agree with his views as I am a 'Christian' but some of the 'Christians' he quotes are actually worse than him. He has chosen which side of the fence he sits on and if he does not change he will reflct upon it for eternity but that is his choice. So called liberal theologians hope they will be in heaven when they die but will go to where Dawkins is destined along with all the people they have led there.
I do not think that God is afraid of Dawkins views, in fact, he will use them to good effect, sorting the wheat from the chaff.
Still I pray that he will see the errors of his ways, repent and accept Jesus as the Son of God and become one of the many sons and daughters of God.

  • 479.
  • At 07:00 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • wayne wrote:

Mr Dawkins even though you reject the very idea of God, be assured that he does exist, and that he cares for you. He came into my life nearly 2 years ago now and I have not looked back, life as a christian is not easy I wish it were, but that is the life I choose, I pray that you do as someone suggested earlier, and write a book about your conversion to christianity.

  • 480.
  • At 07:01 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Joshua wrote:

Well am on the borderline in beliving in God or not. I am listening to both sides of the argument (Athesim and Religious). The only thing that amazes me if we all fight in the name of God. Who will win???

  • 481.
  • At 07:02 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Daniel Chalk wrote:

It is easy to be rude and insulting about another's beliefs or opinions. I have yet to hear Mr Dawkins provide a rational structured argument as to why belief in God is so wrong . He stands back and issues verbal abuse which makes the unknowing believe that,"if he sounds so important he must be right".

But come on , Mr D, convince me with a good argument before you pile on the insults.

  • 482.
  • At 07:04 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Jaki wrote:

The irony is that people who claim to be atheist are saying "thank God" - who according them doesn't exist.
Faith is an unshakeable belief in something unseen. It doesn't mean that people with faith doubt sometimes what they believe. But if it could be proved either way of God's existence, then it would no longer be faith but truth. As for needing a crutch - is it any different to those "new age" people who believe in the magic of crystals or tree hugging? Actually, yes it is! How can you say the created have the same power as the creator.

  • 483.
  • At 07:06 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Gareth Morris wrote:

Kevin Johnson (300)

"So why do so many extremists want to kill in the name of their God?"

Do you consider that to be the same for Christianity? The whole Bible is about Jesus from beginning to end. He does not change. To get a good idea of the nature of God, read about Him in human form in the Gospel of Mark or John - They are shortest of the four Gospels, so it won't take you long to judge for yourself! Ask yourself, would Jesus commend killing a fellow human being? What does the sixth Commandment say?

"If there is a God, why get upset about Professor Dawkins? God will see he gets a BIG surprise!"

And that's the frightenning thing isn't it. You see, I don't just believe in hell, I know there is a hell. Big difference. If I saw your house was burning and you were fast asleep, how could I not warn you? Look at Mark 16:15-17: "He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues;

  • 484.
  • At 07:08 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Tim Owen wrote:

In response to comment #472

As humans we are already under a curse. The first humans chose to go against God's will. Many of us make the same mistake everyday.

As a Christian I search for God's will in my life daily and try to follow Jesus' guidance. I fall short every day. The only difference is I engage my heart as well as my mind in seeking truth.

Jesus laid down his life 'once and for all' to break this curse. If you believe in what He has done for you, the curse is half way to being broken. The rest is up to you, working in 'heart dialogue' with Jesus.

  • 485.
  • At 07:08 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • John Purins wrote:

The reason that religion was and is so vehemently opposed to science and knowledge is quite simple.

With every bit of scientific knowledge that mankind acquires, the power of a god is diminshed by a corresponding amount.

If something cannot be rationally explained then religion attributes it to some divine being or power. Eventually, when a scientific explanation is found, the item in question ceases to be something that god has done and passes into the realm of factual knowledge.

Obviously, as the body of knowledge expands, the power of god erodes and that is not an acceptable scenario for people who want to maintain the idea of an omnipotent god.

Religions claim that only faith is required to believe in a god. They don't have much choice in this regard because if proof was a requisite then religions would cease to exist.

Believing something does not make it a fact and this is something that religions are really confused about.

  • 486.
  • At 07:12 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Andrew wrote:

If our minds cannot fully comprehend certain complexities it is not a sound reason for rejecting it.

Consider some examples:

(1) Time. No one can point to a certain moment as the beginning of time. And it is a fact that, even though our lives end, time does not. We do not reject the idea of time because there are aspects of it that we do not fully comprehend. Rather, we regulate our lives by it.

(2) Space. Astronomers find no beginning or end to space. The farther they probe into the universe, the more there is. They do not reject what the evidence shows; many refer to space as being infinite. The same principle applies to the existence of God.

(3) Heat of the Sun. Astronomers tell us that at its core the Sun is 27,000,000 degrees Fahrenheit (15,000,000° C.). Do we reject that idea because we cannot fully comprehend such intense heat?

(4) Milky Way size. They tell us that the size of our Milky Way is so great that a beam of light traveling at over 186,000 miles per second (300,000 km/sec) would require 100,000 years to cross it. Do our minds really comprehend such a distance? Yet we accept it because scientific evidence supports it.

Which is more reasonable—that the universe is the product of a living, intelligent Creator? or that it must have arisen simply by chance from a nonliving source without intelligent direction? Some persons adopt the latter viewpoint because to believe otherwise would mean that they would have to acknowledge the existence of a Creator whose qualities they cannot fully comprehend. But it is well known that scientists do not fully comprehend the functioning of the genes that are within living cells and that determine how these cells will grow. Nor do they fully understand the functioning of the human brain. Yet, who would deny that these exist? Should we really expect to understand everything about a Person who is so great that he could bring into existence the universe, with all its intricate design and stupendous size?

  • 487.
  • At 07:14 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • David Owen wrote:

A copy of this book should be placed in every hotel room in the world.

  • 488.
  • At 07:16 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • PinkyMan wrote:

Common sense. But then there are those to whom common sense is unwelcome.

Lets face it. It is fantastic to be able to blame a god for our screwups! We don't need to take responsibility for pollution, social injustice, racial hatred, persecution, violence and wars.

Maybe we should have more gods so we can have COMPLETELY BLAME FREE LIVES!!!

Disclaimer: Don't be offended by this post please. I was told to do this by my god. (See! It works!!!)

  • 489.
  • At 07:20 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Dominic W. Martin wrote:

I was very distressed at Richard Dawkins' confused and misplaced attack on the Flying Spaghetti Monster. As a committed Spaghettian I hope and pray he will one day see the light and be born again into pasta-and-tomato-sauce-based peace.

  • 490.
  • At 07:21 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Sallie wrote:

Proverbs 18:2 A fool finds no pleasure in understanding but delights in airing his own opinions!

  • 491.
  • At 07:29 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Cxiz wrote:

"Argue your limitation and surely they will be yours"

A brave man to start a conflict of intellectual spiritual opinions at this time in our fragile history.

  • 492.
  • At 07:30 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Matthew Johns wrote:

Dawkins brings a healthy scepticism to religion and I can only applaud his energy and willingness to engage this debate. Only a religion without faith refuses to discuss its beliefs. Most of the religions that I'm familiar with actually applaud those individuals who challenge doctrine in this manner.
Conversely, I can't believe that he will win an argument on the nature of belief by citing facts; greater men that he have tried that. But then I don't think he wants to. The point is in the striving.

  • 493.
  • At 07:30 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Seth wrote:

It is ridiculous to attempt to disregard religion, or to make any claims that it is even possible. Religion is merely faith in the unseen.

Without faith, we have no imagination, no hope, no dreams--only a sea of probabilities, equally possible, equally meaningful. Even science requires this same measure of faith, or we would have no scientific method: no hypothesis to prove or disprove, no theory to build onto.

Even as intelligence requires imagination, the ability to look into the future, so civilization requires religion. Whether religion is pantheistic, polytheistic, humanistic, monotheistic, or technotheistic, it is religion nonetheless, and an important part of being human. We should study religion, debate it, philosophize about it, but we cannot ban it or destroy it. It is part of who we are.

  • 494.
  • At 07:34 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Mike Thomas wrote:

I find Dawkins fascinating in a strange way. A man engaged in the pointless pursuit of the meaningless. It is noteworthy that, while his scientific mind is formidable and his convictions impressive, he studiously avoids the issues of scientific philosophy. Someone wrote that they wanted a good Christian mind to "take on Dawkins". I suggest Alister McGrath, whose book "Dawkin's God" is a masterful disarmament of Dawkin's hollow and hopeless philosophy. I am sad for the deluded few who rally to his faithless and blind cause.

  • 495.
  • At 07:36 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Andy wrote:

From the excerpts provided this does seem an interesting book. I am not sure that it proves anything as it requires the reader to believe the interpretation that Dawkins presents from religious quotations or stories. In any faith the interpretation of the 'founders' meaning was the job of the clerics and since they are only human, there are bound to be differences in the way the information is passed on. In my opinion it doesn't matter whether you believe in, or have profound faith in a religion, provided you use some common sense. Most intelligent people should be able to know what a religion's teachings are trying to convey since most have many common elements; respect of the world and all living beings, do as you would be done by and so on. Any or all of these can be perverted by zealots or misguided followers, but it would seem obvious to me that no Deity would advocate wanton killing or destruction. Even the most devoted atheist must understand that the smallest molecule or gas cloud from which our universe was formed had to be 'created' by someone or something - a supreme being perhaps?

  • 496.
  • At 07:37 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • David Vinton wrote:

I disagree with Dawkins dispersions upon religion.
Although he raises some salient points, he is very keen to lurch into extremism, and use examples that are not typical of 99% of religious believers to prove points against religion as a whole.
This seems wholly inconsistent with a man who argues from a scientific principle, and his abstraction of a minority viewpoint to prove a point is hardly a reasoned or thought through opinion.

In the abstracted passage, he uses a couple of examples of acts that are widely condemned among the religious community to cast doubts upon religion itself. Dawkins is as bad as the "fire and brimstone" preachers he so despises - he has taken an extremist view, and fails to engage with the vast majority of religious believers.

  • 497.
  • At 07:39 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • wondering wrote:

just wondering on what moral grounds the learned professor is making his protests against morality.

  • 498.
  • At 07:45 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Peter Shields wrote:

For one so educated & learned, the extracts read like the rantings of a bigoted, religious fundamentalist. He never chooses to debate with men of equal intellect but uses straw-men arguments, sarcasm & hyperbole. He seems to dismiss all his scientific objectivity when it comes to analysing things he doesn't belief, and gets the conclusions he wants to find. In psycology it's known as the pygmalion effect.

Still with more & more of the worlds population adopting religious faiths, these are depserate times for atheists.

  • 499.
  • At 07:48 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Art wrote:

Religion and science are two hands on the same body. On the one hand, science, on the other, religion. We are creatures of fact and faith. We cannot separate the two. Humanity has understood this from the beginning, and they will continue to search for meaning through both religion and science.

Dr. Dawkins understands this too, but he gets entangled in surface issues that don't have much to do with religion. Of course this is forgivable since he isn't a religious man and has almost no religion training or understanding. I am not a scientist, so of course I do not criticise the failings of science. Nevertheless, we all welcome some new perspectives and thoughts on the age-old questions.

  • 500.
  • At 07:49 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • James wrote:

Prof. Dawkins should not use the bible to argue his case as he clearly has not read it (or has delibrately misunderstood it).

He gives the example of Noah. Noah pleaded with the people for 120 years to join him in the ark. God can not be accused of not giving them a chance.

His version of the story of Lot is flawed as well, read it and think about it, his wife was not just looking at the "fireworks".

Prof. Dawkins should either stop using the bible to make his arguments or read it/stop twisting it. He is relying on others' ignorance: I'm sure he could make similarly ludicrous interpretations of advanced biology to the general public and only those who know it wouldn’t believe him

I do not follow religion, religion is the product of man and is as false as the WMD in Iraq when used for hatred.

I do, however, believe in Jesus. Jesus only taught love. Read any of the gospels and you will see that. If you read this book also read the gospels to get the other side of the story.

God bless you all, even Prof Dawkins!

  • 501.
  • At 07:50 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Peter wrote:

Dawkins is not a fool (no scientist is a fool!) and he should be applauded for his words. In todays world of strained relations, it is refreshing that someone - anyone! - can speak plainly, and honestly, about a subject that some feel hurt by. How many millions out there do NOT question, do not even (for a moment) dare to inquire about this nonsense called faith. Which faith is the right one? Choose - there's enough to be going around. Are they all correct? Since they each cry that they are the correct one, that means that none of them is the True Faith, and as such the whole game is a huge waste of time - the biggest con of all time!

  • 502.
  • At 07:55 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Bernard McCarthy wrote:

Wow! What a response Mr Dawkins has cultivated! I would just like to say that no matter what Mr Dawkins says, He too is a victim of His upbringing. A man lost in the wilderness of trying to come to terms with human understanding of our place in the universe and bereft of any emotional contact with his own soul! Mr Dawkins should realise that what makes us different from the animals is precisely that, "Emotions". Some animals might show those characteristics but has he or anyone else read anything intelligent written by an animal? No!...Ergo the fact that he can? Shows that we as humans have a special place in this world and that is too spooky to put down to "Evolution"! We might not have been put here by some Godlike entity but as sure as eggs are eggs, what is written by humans, whether it be religious dogma or scientific theory, it stands on its own as a "Testament" to our "Speciality"! Now that is surely not a quirk of our imagination or a quark in the fundamental building blocks of the universe? It is a fact that we invented God and we could not do that unless He already existed in our minds! What came first? The chicken or the egg? I rest my case! Bernard.

  • 503.
  • At 08:00 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Leo wrote:

Religion is the cause of all evil in the world is it? How come the worst evils in the world have been carried out by atheistic ideologies? Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot have killed many more than any religious ideology has.

  • 504.
  • At 08:00 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Bruce Lyon wrote:

Let me first say that I have read many of Dawkin's books and articles on sociobiology and enjoyed them. There is no question that Dawkins has made important contributions to evolutionary biology and to popular science writing.

Dawkin's statements in the interview (and the excerpts from his book) share the shortcomings of every advocacy of atheism that I have ever encountered. I will write from the perspective of Christianity since I do not want to claim to know enough about (say) Islam to address the issues that a Muslim might have.

First, regarding the idea that Christianity is evil:

1) "Religion" is never defined. Dawkin's real target is Christianity, but examples of the bad effects of (say) belief in magic or animism are chalked up to "religion" and then taken as evidence against Christianity, even when Christianity rejects those aspects of "religion." You can't blame Christianity for everything that can be called "religion," especially when "religion" hasn't even been defined.

2) "Fundamentalism" is never properly defined. Historically, Christian Fundamentalism is adherence to the tenets of a specific set of nineteenth-century tracts published in the US; obviously Islamic "fundamentalism" is something quite different. There is no such thing as a "fundamentalist" movement that embraces both radical Islam and what we might call "American Folk Christianity." American Fundamentalists cannot be blamed for the actions of Islamicist radicals. Nor are all Christians Fundamentalists.

3) Although he feels qualified to make all kinds of statements about Christianity, Dawkins betrays very little knowledge of Christianity as it is actually lived and practiced. Using Pat Robertson as an example of a Christian thinker is about the same as using Lysenko as an example of a geneticist. Dawkins never engages, for example, with the thinking of N. T. Wright, his fellow Englishman who has written extensively about many of the very issues that Dawkins claims to address.

4) When assessing the actions of "religion," Dawkins fails to consider the difference between a person's actual reasons for acting and the pretext that the actor cites for his actions. Clearly, people will tend to appeal to whatever their society holds as its highest value when they want to justify their actions. The kinds of things that Dawkins wants to blame on Christianity (Crusades, Spanish Inquisition, witch executions, etc.), even though the actors claimed that their actions were justified by Christianity, cannot be blamed on Christianity unless it is shown that Christianity really does justify them. Since the New Testament never suggests that believers are ever to mete out any kind of physical punishment against unbelievers, the Inquisitors (for example) have no Christian justification for their acts and Christianity is not to blame for them. Whether some particular movement or denomination within Christianity is guilty for such actions (because of errors in following the New Testament) is a different question.

5) Dawkins argues that the evil acts committed in the name of religion to be evidence against Christianity. However, in the interview when the presenter asks if there is evidence that societies that promote atheism are better than more religious societies, Dawkins says that he doesn't know and says that that point is unimportant. This seems to me to be having it both ways. Of course, the problem for Dawkins is that the 20th century showed just what a determinedly atheistic and avowedly scientific society is like - Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union, Maoist China, the Khmer Rouge.

Dawkins also claims that Christianity is irrational, and that faith is opposed to reason.

1) In the interview, Dawkins claims repeatedly that truth matters, and he also says that he values (for example) love of nature, love of music, and love of human companionship. But none of these things has any value that can be established by experiment. That is, Dawkins (like everyone else) must take these values on faith. So while it may not be possible to prove that Christianity is true, to say that Christianity is therefor irrational would require us to decide that all humans are irrational, and indeed that any worthwhile human life is by definition irrational.

2) Dawkins says that to him it is obvious from looking at the universe that there is no God. Logic would require him to say what the universe would be like if there was a God. I have never anything by Dawkins where he does this. It is entirely possible that the God Dawkins doesn't believe in is one that no one else believes in either! In fact, I am almost certain that is, in fact, the case.

Almost 400 comments! Prof. Dawkins is well on his way to outdoing Mr.Dan Brown and with a great deal less work - not even a fake Mona Lisa or Catholic undercover thugs .
Prof. Dawkins is paid well by the State (read taxpayer)to be our expert on Science (with a capital S!)- you know, things like fusion rather than fission so don´t need oil - we also pay several hundred other Drs This and That to be experts on theology, philosophy, history, literature and butterflies who are, no doubt quite capable of speaking for themselve. Am I alone in thinking that while Pro. Dawkins has a perfect right to believe whatever he wants to as regards God, he is getting paid to proslytise science and not his beliefs (or not as the case may be) in God,The Bible,Life after death, How good or how bad the established churches are, Whats wrong with the Pope or the Bishop of Canturbury, whether its more moral to burn someone because they dont agree with you or to hang,draw and quarter them and other preciosities. In short, (great!) believe whatever he wants to personally but stick to writing books about the subject he presumably understands - whatever he thinks about God makes a difference only to himself - leave off trying to destroy the faith of others.

  • 506.
  • At 08:06 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Phil Chivers wrote:

Debate about the moral or social value of benign interpretations of religious creeds isnt the issue. The problem is that literal and dogmatic belief in 'The Word' is done without looking at the world we live in today. Its done without thinking, without reason.

In early civilization I can see a scientist agreeing that Pigs were 'unclean' - that they caused or propagated disease in humans. They should not be eaten.
However today, in many societies, this risk has been irradicated - why would it please a God to NOT eat pork in such societies ? In a world that's short on food ?

Does an overpopulated world need Abortion and Contraception ? Does a society that is seeing antibiotics failing and cancers rising need Stem Cell research ?

Enlightenment and scientific progress must show leadership as Richard Dawkins is. There are universal morals/rights to support - but dogma based on social rules and conditions thousands of years ago in another society should not be the dominant or prevailing view.

Next topic... Heaven whats the point ?

  • 507.
  • At 08:06 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Paul Busquets wrote:

There are some things people leave aside -intentionally I believe- when discussing these issues, and is just not "fair" to play like that, for it just confuses people more than anything else. One of those things, and quite possibly the most important is the FACT that religion IS NOT the same as GOD -nor I see a definitive reason WHY it Should be-. And God as some might choose to call it, is first and foremost a self evident first principle of anything we know exists, and this is that "exists" period, even when we CAN explain, and not only when we cannot explain the existence or behavior of something: then we choose to "change" words like GOD for others more acceptable within some circles -scientists might prefer words like "nature" or "laws of phyisics", or EVEN the very word "NEED" or "evolution" that entail concepts so profound that are impossible to even BE without apealing to, again, "GOD". If there is no "God" why would ANYTHING, EVER, "NEED" to be in a certain way; even evolution in which I DO BELIEVE, why would it be that we or anything would be "set" to "evolve"?????, why a "need" bearing deep beneath every single little thing that is. I repeat, the "word" GOD has been manipulated so badly over the centuries BY RELIGIONS, POLITICS, SOCIETY, POPES, FAIRYTALES and POWER, that it is almost embarrasing to use it on a logic presentation, but IT´S CONCEPT is there, it will always be, because GOD IS, EXISTS, and is just plain "silly" to deny that.

  • 508.
  • At 08:07 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • rach wrote:

I hope this book was written in his spare time - Prof. Dawkins is employed to enhance the "public understanding of science", not to commentate on the pros and cons of religious belief (except where that overlaps with science). Perhaps he does unnoticed work, but in terms of publicity he does very little to further the understanding of science in general, and a lot to further his own opinions. As a physicist and practicing Christian I would not get away with such behaviour, nor would I choose to abuse my employers in this manner. Perhaps a change of job is called for.

  • 509.
  • At 08:08 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Deryck Wilde wrote:

I believe in God but not in any religion

  • 510.
  • At 08:10 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Angelica Gabriel wrote:

Dawkins is a fool, so tied up with his own "wisdom" that he is blinded by it. Those of you who are led astray by him should look for redemption so that you won't be a bigger fool allowing yourselves to be led down a dark path by a blind man.

God is not soft, Jesus is not a sissy and you will know that he is the Lord when he has his vengeance.

  • 511.
  • At 08:10 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Adam Gajlewicz, Wroclaw, Poland wrote:

It is interesting to see that a long, long time after Voltaire, Schopenhauer, Stirner, Marx, Nietzsche and Sartre, to mention just a few big names, a man of scientific thought once again had sufficient courage to restate their arguments in his new long-awaited book. Well done, Professor Dawkins! I have always admired your courage! Questions such as "What is God?" "Would there be a God but for Death?" "Would we need to believe but for our hope for an everlasting life?" appear to answer themselves. Yet, those who believe are men of convictions and not men of scientific thought, and yet, it is sad but true, "A man convinced against his will is of the same conviction still".

  • 512.
  • At 08:15 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • John, Bristol wrote:

Dave wrote:
Couple of atheists posting comments like "Thank God for Richard Dawkins" Seems a bit of a contrary position to me....

It's a joke Dave. Not a particularly good one, admittedly, but I would have thought that even a addict of religion would recognise it. But then a sense of humour doesn't seem to be that common among the faithful...

  • 513.
  • At 08:15 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • James Peterson wrote:

I'm surprised at the number of people of faith that are so readily denouncing Prof Dawkins and proclaiming what God/Jesus/Allah will or won't do to/with him.

For me the saddest thing is that Prof Dawkins looks only at the faith aspect of religion and not at the good deeds.

I have no wish to deny that religion has caused ill feeling, hatred and war, but it has also been the major driving force behind such vital steps as the abolition of slavery, the American Civil Rights movement and more recently the campaigns to free poor countries from their debts and for greater Trade Justice.

For such a balanced scientist I think it is a shame that he shoots down in flames the faith which has supported the actions which have been such a positive force in our world.

  • 514.
  • At 08:22 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Gareth Morris wrote:

Swebb (279)

God will not punish you for not finding Him. He will punish you for lying - even little fibs, stealing - no matter how small, murder - God considers hatred as murder. Ever looked at a woman to lust after? God says that if you do this then you commit adultery with her in your heart. Those are just four of the Ten Commandments. When you measure yourself against them you see that we all have failed to achieve the perfection that God expects. Instead of seeing perfection, God see's a liar, a thief, a murderer, and an adulterer. God hates all sin so much so that He says it is deserving of everlasting punishment.

C S Lewis said, "There is no doctrine which I would more willingly remove from Christianity than the doctrine of hell, if it lay in my power. But it has the full support of Scripture and, especially, of our Lord's own words; it has always been held by the Christian Church, and it has the full support of reason."

You will be condemned for eternity if you reject His rescue package - a gift which is given freely. But essentially its your sins that will send you to hell, not because you refused to say "God is"! Believing in God's existence isn't enough.

I would also like to reitarate another point that has arisen today about faith. God does not expect you to live by blind faith, that is, just believing that He is. When you repent of your sins and accept that Jesus bore your punishment on the cross, you are no longer an enemy of God - you become born again of the Holy Spirit - it is a move of God. God is not flesh and blood. He is an eternal Spirit-immortal and invisible. Like the television waves, He cannot be experienced until the "receiver" is switched on. Look at what Scripture says: "He who has My commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him" (John 14:21). What does "manifest" mean to you? Something experiential? So if the true convert does not experience Him in a real sense, wouldn't that piece of Scripture be a lie?

How much research did Prof Dawkins conduct into Christianity? He wrongly suggested that St Paul started the Christian Church, when it is clear in the Book of Acts that Paul was an enemy of the early Church, before His encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus. How can you call that science? By all means, I encourage you to investigate the Bible scientifically - it will stand the test. Did He consider interviewing the great men of God who are under the power and anointing of the Holy Spirit and performing amazing feats in the name of Jesus? He discounted the miracles of Jesus of 2000 years ago, and yet Jesus is performing the same miracles in the world today - through His Church. Don't like what you see in the Church. Read what the Bible says about the Church.

I was once an evolutionist/atheist and I completely understand your lack of regard or desire for the existence of God, especially an all seeing and Just God. But how can you possibly discredit the claims of the Bible without taking a hard look at them for yourself. To me this makes you less of a scientist. I love science, I have a degree in mathematics; but before I became a Christian I could never be as gullible as to reject the possibility of God based on the opinion of popular scientists.

God bless

A good website on the evidence of creation:

  • 515.
  • At 08:26 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • John, Bristol wrote:

Brian Reid wrote:
Dawkins last comment was "I don't believe we are put here to be comfortable".

If he does not believe in God, then who are we "put here" by?

No, Brian. Do try to learn some basic logic. The statement "we are put here to be comfortable" is FALSE if either:

1. We are NOT put here


2. Our reason for being put here is NOT to be comfortable

Dawkins' contention is proposition 1. Given the truth of that, the truth or falsehood of proposition 2 is irrelevant.

  • 516.
  • At 08:28 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Jeff wrote:

Tolerant guy, that Dawkins, ain't he?

  • 517.
  • At 08:29 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Emily wrote:

I was brought up as a Catholic and introduced to Richard Dawkins (through my religious studies teacher, no less)in my late teens. Since then I have been an admirer of his work.

I found then, and still find now, nothing offensive in what he stands for and how it is portrayed. What he encourages is the application of REASON to religious mythology. Let's not kid ourselves, even growing up and being taught in Catholic schools I was told that many of the stories were not to be taken literally, and served a purpose as merely a tale with a moral; a sort of guide to "right and wrong". Dawkins is absolutely correct to question the the Bible, and I am astounded to read that so many of you find this strange. Surely it is human nature to be inquisitive? And isn't it something to be encouraged, not derided?

In all other aspects of life we take the utmost care that we are taking all information into account and proceeding with caution, why not our religious beliefs? I believe, for example, that tectonic plates are resposible for continental shift, and cause the lively things that happen on our dear earth like earthquakes and volcanoes. Why? Because there is evidence, it has been studied & measured meticulously. Do I believe in one almighty creator, based on a centuries-old collection of stories which can never be proven to be accurate?

I am not going to say what my beliefs are now, I don't think they're relevant. But I do think that Prof. Dawkins is a very important voice in religious debate.

ANYONE who is encouraging sane, logical, intelligent thought in a minefield such as this is to be commended and respected.

  • 518.
  • At 08:32 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Danny wrote:

If Dawkins is going to hold organised religion responsible for killing many thousands of people, then let's look at the record of organised atheism. It is documented that Communist states, with atheism built in to their constitution, have been responsible for many more killings in the last hundred years than all the killings done (pervertedly) in the name of Christianity in its entire history. Stalin killed people by the million. Those who say 'but that wasn't atheism, that was politics' must allow the same response to killings done in the name of religion. Otherwise, based on the statistics, Atheism is a far more effective motivator for mass killing than religion. Dawkins should be consistent, and more scientific.

  • 519.
  • At 08:34 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Patrick McGrath wrote:

A true champion of mankind. If only the believers of whatever faith could have the courage to look honestly at the facts, without prejudice, they would see the world Professor Dawkins correctly describes. I was brought up religious by my loving parents. They meant well but of course they had been indoctrinated by their parents. I finally had the courage to confront my doubts around 10 years ago and realise that a Godless Universe is the truth. It wasn't comforting but over time I understood that the truth was so much more important than the comfort and I found peace and wondermont in this. I now feel exactly like Richard Dawkins who I admire and totally support. It is satisfying that within 200 years humans will abandoned religion and Man will then have made his first step to be considered enlightened as a race.

  • 520.
  • At 08:34 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • ZiziJo wrote:

It is one thing to think to yourself that "there is no God". It is quite another to take it upon yourself to try and convince others that He does not exist. The first one the Bible calls a "FOOL" the other I'd call the epitome of FOOLISHNESS.

It is unfortunate that when Dawkins finally stands to face his Maker, none of his many 'friends' will be there to defend him. You see, God is so independent of us that He does not need our belief in Him to prove that He exists. Dawkins will soon find out and I will not want to be there when he does.

  • 521.
  • At 08:39 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Kevin wrote:

I think Mr Dawkins comments are equally as valid as those people who choose to take their religion literally.

Fortunately most people abide by their belief and do not live strictly by it and those few that do can lead to extremism - whether it be the Muslim bomber, Christian anti-abortionist or animal rights activist..

What we should embrace about religion is, for most people it is a great coping system, when we have a question that cannot be answered rationally then religion can always answer the question.

  • 522.
  • At 08:41 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Rob G wrote:

Having read but a few comments, it seems that atheists (me included) cannot understand what religion really means to people, and believers 'feel pity' for atheists. 'Tis a pity that we can't just believe or not and keep it at that. The problems begin when everyone tries to compete and 'out-believe' each other. Dawkins included. I agree whole-heartedly with him, except that he doesn't allow people to see the world their way. They (believers) SHOULD allow others to exist without trying to convert or blow them up. I believe there is much politics and ambition in religion. But also genuine belief at grass roots which I cannot understand and do not feel a need for. That is my loss. I have my own explanations and seek my own comforts which may or may not offend others, but never deliberately so and I do not seek to put down those who offend me. I compromise and respect. Maybe Dawkins is preaching to the converted. It makes him feel better and gives others a rallying point. But there is a danger of ridicule and smugness. I am not better, I just think differently. Here endeth my lesson !

  • 523.
  • At 08:43 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Anne wrote:

Dawkins has been reading my Scotsman posts.

  • 524.
  • At 08:43 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Milan wrote:

Dawkins blames the Judeo-Christian-Islamic God for the world's woes or organized religion for that matter.
Yet the Nazis, an organized godless group, or the communists another atheist minded group did far more harm to the world in the 20th century than any religious group in the past. Perhaps the fault does not lie with God but with man for not accepting God's love and applying it to every day life. For if we did, perhaps atrocities as those commited by the Nazis or the Communists would have been avoided.
Though Dawkins, an obviously God-less cannot look at things from that angle.
Whether God exists or not is irrelevant. But a more Christian approach to every day life would certainly give us more chances to save this planet. Monkeys won't do it, and neither will Dawkins.

  • 525.
  • At 08:48 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Yves wrote:

One of the point people of faith seem to jump on is the last comment:"I don't believe we were put here for comfort" as the proof that Dawkins believes we were put here by "something". You could also read the comment as “since we were not put here at all, we couldn't possibly have been put here for comfort” or any other reason for that matter. In context it makes sense to me.

Religion by definition is a construct that has answer for everything. It references itself for truth and categorizes dissent as heresy. Historically religion has had to adjust its dogma to accommodate progress in science. I’ll spare you the examples.

My point being, religious people should refrain from trying to discuss rational with people of science because their experience requires faith and faith is not born of reason. It is supposedly a gift from god. There is no chance someone without faith would understand it. That is why I find the religious comment in this section very disappointing.

I am wondering if the religious debate should be left to the unfaithful. They are probably the only ones who can rationally discuss the matter and valuably represent all sides of the argument.

Good Interview!

  • 526.
  • At 08:48 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • ben pickard wrote:

Excellent work Prof. Dawkins. Keep battling, as this religious construct will take some effort to tear down.

One thing that always amuses me about the arguments of of the religious in this context is the asumption that Science aims to explain the human experience or determine conscious thought. See the post above:

"...even he cannot measure out either a kilogramme of love, a millitre of joy, a metre of peace, or a coulomb of undeserved mercy."

a) These are not concepts that require religion to understand or experience.

b) Science is descriptive not prescriptive. It can tell you why things are the way they are....but you are free to do what you want and feel what you feel.

c) Religion too often results in what can only be described as tribal or pack behaviour. Atheism requires the conscience of the individual human to be engaged.

  • 527.
  • At 08:49 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Oscar wrote:

Why is mr. Dawkins so concerned and angry at a God he does not believe in?
Dawkins rejection is not so much about His existence but His moral standard.

  • 528.
  • At 08:51 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Varvara Black wrote:

Richard Dawkins is one of my heroes -I've read all his books.
I give you here the best one-liner I know about God.
"If there is a God he's an underachiever" - Woody Allen.

From an apatheist.

  • 529.
  • At 08:51 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • dolfrog wrote:

Religions were developed to create cultural conformity, intially for small communities. As these communities grew and merged, so competing faiths either merged, became marginalised, or disappeared. In earlier times these competing ideologies could causes such levels of conflict that war was the only form of resolution for one group to become dominant.
Religion like everything else has evolved to meet the needs of man and the particular culture into which he is born.
Religions use the fear of the unknown, as a tool to promote their faith to trying to explain why man does not have infinate knowledge, rather than accepting the limitations of the technology avialable explain all the questions we may have. Man is still developing these technologies, in an attempt to find more answers.

Some of the more complex answers that recent technology and understanding of life has provided, can not always be explained in terms that all can easily understand. This creates a communication and understanding gap, that tends to be filled by those with relatively easy answers, the religious fundamentalist. All religions have them.

Long live the Professors who question all of these issues, and question other professors who promote their own doctrines.

  • 530.
  • At 08:55 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Smiffy wrote:

He says the brain could simulate religious experiences and voices etc. So he's basically saying the brain can trick the conscious, that we aren’t always rational. He then attempts to construct a rational argument. Didn't he just contradict himself? What makes him think that he and people who share his ideas are rational and other people are not. It's quite a claim really.

I saw his video a while back "The Faith Virus", he says religions start wars, he talks about Israel and Palestine but conveniently forgets to mention WW1 and WW2.

Oxford prof or not, this guy's logic is seriously flaky.

To all the people that think this guy is the height of intelligence – time to unplug yourselves from the matrix!

  • 531.
  • At 08:56 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • stuart hamilton wrote:

Richard Dawkins, you're the man. I support the good work that you are doing. I think it is significant that the majority of views expressed here are backing him up, when you would expect the pro religious minority to be especially vocal.

  • 532.
  • At 08:57 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Bernar wrote:

I wood to meet prof Dawkins, and give him a massive slap on the back. FINALLY someone whos got the balls to stand up for the truth. I'm defs going to buy the book, but from what i've read it is amazing. and not a moral in sight. I'd just like to say, to who ever posted

What a cold, Godless man, who never misses an opportunity to take a pop at believers. I think I'll write a book called 'The Dawkins Delusion'.

I wonder if thats what the authors of the bible said

"Wow i've got an i dea, i think i'll write a book about someone who can do miricles and stuff!"

May the backlash t oreligion begin!!! and my GOD its time

  • 533.
  • At 08:58 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • John, Bristol wrote:

It might interest all those who've exemplified Hitler and Stalin as atheist tyrants to look at their upbringing.

Hitler was educated as a devout Catholic, where he acquired his anti-Semitism, and Stalin studied at a Jesuit seminary. Good training for megalomanics, clearly; they only had to substitute themseves for their god, and all the other mechanisms were in place.

Whatever god or gods people believe in, and whatever their prophets' teachings, their organised religions are depressingly similar.

  • 534.
  • At 08:59 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • rich ford wrote:

allah/god/thor/zeus etc will strike you down ...

my thoughts are... what happened to god before we became 'civilised'...


  • 535.
  • At 09:10 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Matt Brown wrote:

"Yet the Nazis, an organized godless group, or the communists another atheist minded group did far more harm to the world in the 20th century than any religious group in the past."

Nazism was, effectively, a religion. "The Fuhrer Cult" is a well documented phenomenon that sprang up around the Nazi Party and Hitler himself. The same applies to Communism, with the concept of workers paradise and following of The Party being almost religious sacraments. None entirely attainable, or realistic but something people followed nonetheless in hope of finding something better in this life.

Also given that Christianity and Islam have been turning the worlds rivers red with blood ever since the Crusades, I find it a little arrogant of the "faithful" who post here to take the moral high ground. The 20th Century simply sticks in our minds because it was the most recent, and the most "easy" in terms of finding ways to kill people.

  • 536.
  • At 09:12 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Olusoji Elias wrote:

The Old Testament and contemporary life - as illuminations of a God's untenable "judicial brimstone" - are evidently not the best foundations of atheism.

Excerpts of Dawkins' book which address the newer scriptures lend the necessary credence to his thesis which, indeed, is convincing as it is without necessarily being as compelling as it can be, for the reasons mentioned hereinabove.

  • 537.
  • At 09:15 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Adam wrote:

Thank you Mr. Dawkins.
After reading most of the comments, I am glad to see that a great majority share Mr. Dawkins opinion. There is still a small proportion who disagree, and they all vehicule the same message: Repent or you will be punished.
This blind faith in some ludicrous magical being is exactly the source of all the violence we see every day in many different countries.
I love, respect, share, etc..., not because I am afraid to be smitten by a giant lightning bolt from the clouds, but beacuse I was EDUCATED this way by loving and caring parents.
Religion is the cause of too much violence and suffering. It is directly responsible for all the sadness we see all around us.

  • 538.
  • At 09:16 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Tony Dugdale wrote:

Religion is mental illness.

  • 539.
  • At 09:21 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Michael R Hodder wrote:

May I commend the reading of the poem 'Abu Ben Adhem' by Leigh Hunt. It rather makes being religious, atheist or agnostic rather irrelevant. It is the 'unifying principle'.

  • 540.
  • At 09:22 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Gareth Morris wrote:

Phil Chivers (507)

"In early civilization I can see a scientist agreeing that Pigs were 'unclean' - that they caused or propagated disease in humans. They should not be eaten.
However today, in many societies, this risk has been irradicated - why would it please a God to NOT eat pork in such societies ? In a world that's short on food ?"

You are refering to the Old Covenant here where there were certain laws on food to uphold and also of course the Ten Commandments. When Jesus died on the cross and rose again on the third day, He won the battle over the power of death. So in effect, He abolished death. We still have to die, but those who repent of their sin and believe that Jesus took their punishment on the cross will rise again just like Jesus did, and be given a new immortal body. So we have a new and better Covenant. Under the Old Covenant, the Law said that anyone who failed to keep the Ten Commandments would die. What we see in the Old Testmanent is the battle that man has to keep the law and his ultimate failure. Scripture says all have sinned and if you rely upon keeping the Law to get to heaven then you will end up in hell - Check out the Scripture. Fail the Law once and your damned! If failure of the Law requires death and damnation then we require a Saviour who could take the punishment for us - only Jesus could do that and He did! The details of His coming and death are prophesised in the Old Testament.

What all this means is that believers are no longer subject to the Law. Jesus has forgiven every sin. So if I told a lie for instance God will forgive me. It doesn't mean you can trust Jesus and then sin to your hearts content! That would be hypocrisy. When you genuinly repent, God gives you a new heart of flesh and you have the desire to do the things that please Him! When Moses was given the Law they were on tablets of stone. When you trust Jesus He writes the Law in your heart. The analogy here shows that we once had a heart of stone towards His Commandments, but now we have a heart of flesh which naturally desires that His Commandments be kept - The fruit of the convert. You have to battle with sin just like Jesus did, but if you trust in God He will bring you to victory! As for food laws, these were abolished under the New Covenant so you can eat what you like!

  • 541.
  • At 09:25 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Martin Ward wrote:

After listening to Dawkins' various appearances on TV including his two documentaries which were very well produced, it is apparent that he nurtures a hate for those who blindly accept their faith without deep study of the subject. He is a scientist after all and scientists arive at their conclusions by using science, i.e. examination, experimentation and inference. Religion by inculcation or wishful thinking is his pet hate and he derides those who find their faith in that way. But of course as a staunch Darwinist he is just as guilty, for the theory of evolution by mutation of genetic material and natural selection of those fortuitous mutations is a theory which cannot be the subject of observation, experimentation and inference. It is a supposition, an assumption, a 'faith'. Darwin proposed his theory at a time when Victorian scientists didn't have a clue as to the staggering complexity of biological micro-systems. Twentieth century discoveries in cell biology and biochemistry have shown such complexity to be mind boggling and impossible to have arisen gradualistically as Darwin proposed. An argument offered by Darwinists including Dawkins is that in the vast reaches of time involved anything can happen, but it doesn't matter how long you shuffle a pile of bricks you will never get a Greek temple. In fact more open minded scientists who are sceptical of Darwin's hypothesis have proposed that the universe is not old enough by many magnitudes for such complexity to have arisen accidently by minute fortuitous changes over time. It is strange that Dawkins appears blinkered to this fact and this is typical of the neo-Darwinists generally. They are obsessed with the paradigm of random mutation and natural selection and interpret every new discovery in the light of that paradigm. Dawkins continually stresses that there is no proof for the existence of God. Neither is there proof for Darwinism. However, there is definitely circumstantial evidence for intelligence in the universe.

  • 542.
  • At 09:26 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Brian wrote:

No.552: It doesn't always take faith to kill people, but it often apears to help. Wasn't Hitler blessed by the Pope?
Just going back to Dawkins' main point. It is that the probability of a god existing is infinately improbable. There is no evidence that he/she exists and bucketfulls of evidence that reigious texts are incosistant(put "Bible inconsistences" into Google), contrary, full of factual errors, stolen from older religions, misranslated, and edited by people unknown. Evolution is, especially after recent finds, as good a scientific theory as those that keep planes up in the air.
Also, the last think the world needs now is more religeous moralities, a barbarous proposition.

  • 543.
  • At 09:26 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Terry Harvey-Chadwick wrote:

There's nothing wrong with having personal faith, no matter what it is. But organised religion should be made a thing of the past. It's amazing to me that this medieval concept has continued on into the 21st century. The really stupid thing, I think, is that the three main religions all worship the same god, just in different ways, and they fight each other because they think their way is the only correct way. Even more amazing is the fact that within each religion are factions who also fight each other, because they think their way is best. Atheism is the only true route to happiness. You never see atheists killing each other over the right way to not beleive in god.

  • 544.
  • At 09:31 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Bernar wrote:

wen ever i have debates with religious people i generally use the same argument to win ofcourse.
say in 2000 years time, after many natural disasters no artifacts apart from a harry potter book remain. god help them when they worship him and his broomstick. Surley they'll wonder...if he could do magic then, whyt can't WE now? Sound familier cough miricles cough lets just hope we don't worship davil blain as well!

  • 545.
  • At 09:32 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Ian Kennedy wrote:

Most refreshing to hear some commonsense spoken for a change.
Where ever there is religion in the world there is poverty look at India and South America its a disgrace
Religion is used to control and divide people.

  • 546.
  • At 09:32 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Marie wrote:

Although Mr. Dawkins concern about religious fanaticism is valid, he is guilty of the same error as those he is attacking. The biggest problem we have in the world today is the lack of understanding, respect and sympathy for other people's beliefs, no matter how much they differ from ours. The hatred (poorly disguised) in his words only fuels the religious hatred he is accusing others of.

The fundamental question is not whether God exists or not, as this will never be proven nor disproven, but what each of us can do to help humanity live in peace and harmony, and how to stop so much hatred in the world. His book does nothing to contribute to that goal.

His muddled thinking confusing God and human-invented religion is undeserving of serious scholarship. The Bible or the Koran or any other religious text is not evidence of God's existence. It is only a human idea, not unlike Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings. Any self-respecting academic would also be unlike to quote the nonsensical utterances of a Pat Robertson to substantiate his arguments. Also, to claim that the men who blew up the World Trade Center did so "because they believed they would go straight to paradise" is naive to the extreme.

I would suggest that if Mr. Dawkins wants people to take his arguments seriously, he should do a lot more research on a subject that thus far has simply shown his utter ignorance of the extremely important issues involved.

  • 547.
  • At 09:34 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Ben Williams wrote:

Great stuff,
I really felt a rapport with Mr Dawkins, who has clearly considered this issue for some time, in the way that I have, and come to the same conclusion. I have read extensive portions of the bible, so I know that the testaments are contradictory, and agree that they do not stand any intelligent analysis. I also know that the popular stories of the old testament (popular with children) only account for a tiny fraction of the text, the rest is plain weird, often violent and not a model of a modern way of life by any means. Anyway, it is well worth the £20, I think it looks like a good read.

  • 548.
  • At 09:34 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Andy Smith wrote:

The God I happen to believe in says:

Do not kill.
Love your neighbour.
Love your enemies.
Turn the other cheek.
Don't be greedy.
Don't cheat or steal.
Look after the weakest and the poorest and the downtrodden.
Forgive each other because nobody's perfect and god has forgiven you.

I don't see how any religion that promotes those things can cause any evil.

And if some atheists are following the above principles for some unknown reason then I'm glad that they are doing God's will.

Alot of people including me tend to just look out for number one because we don't realize how much God loves us. The thing is, no religion, not even atheism or science or Christianity can force us to be good to our fellow man.

And no amount of being good can make us friends with God, only accepting his forgiveness. I happen to believe that is possible through Jesus, I hope you don't mind.

  • 549.
  • At 09:35 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • J.B. wrote:

A world that 'just happened' is not intrinsically less moral than a world manufactured by a 'Creator'. Indeed, once we realize it us up to us to bring our own sense of moral structure into our lives instead of copying it from some wierd book, the quest to do the right thing becomes infinitely more personal and more meaningful. After all, religious fundamentalists only do 'good' things because they believe they'll be punished if they don't. It's very primitive, really it is. The carrot of heaven and cattle-prod of hellfire leading all those asinine faith-heads over the bypass of reason.

I hope Dawkins' book helps inspire more people to publicly denounce the delusion of religious faith and give witness to the extraordinarily rich experience of life available to those who live without it. Why is it that the religious think the alternative to faith is to live in a bleak, unrewarding universe? The stars, the seas, the tenderness of the human condition - religious people claim a monopoly on the wonder of these things, as if that wonder is somehow made more profound when you claim to know who created them all, and how many days it took him to do it, and how he will send your soul to burn for eternity if you don't give him 'nuff respect for his troubles.

Like I said: primitive.

Atheists and agnostics of the nation - let's unite, forge a coherent political voice, and liberate our society from these fairy tales. I would like to see all faith-based schools banned by 2010. The progress and liberty of our civilization may well depend upon it.

  • 550.
  • At 09:36 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Bill Armstrong wrote:

Religion is like money. People can do horrendous, evil things with lots of money, and they can do astonishingly good and noble deeds with lots of money. The means really don't hold any intrinsic moral value of their own.

The same is true of religion. It has caused terribly tragedies and it has carried people through impossible times with grace and humility; it has caused violent division and unheard-of unification and beautiful acts of human compassion.

Writing a book on the evils of faith is like writing a book on the evils of technology, or biological research, or money. It is what it is, and people use it as they will. There is nothing good or bad about it in itself.

  • 551.
  • At 09:38 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Chris B wrote:

There is one point in this argument which hasn't shown up in these posts, which is that atheists don't have to prove anything. All we need is to show that the evidence used to support religion is inadequate, which is pretty easy (internal contradiction will do it every time, and there are plenty of other means if that doesn't satisfy you). We don't need to go any further. Atheism is not a belief system, it is a philosophically well grounded and highly nuanced way of saying that you, the believers, are wrong,

  • 552.
  • At 09:40 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Raj wrote:

Why god Created so many religions with different color of skins on this on earth?.

Why 2004 dec Tsunami thousands of people died ( Including children) and saved few hundreds?

why Human species is chosen mainly to rule this world by "God"?

Does other Species like dogs, cats etc have their own gods?

Everyday thousands of women being raped, childrens getting killed every minute because of poverty. Who's to blame for all of this Ofcourse not "god"

" Religions were created because of diff in faith. But none of people who created them looked beyond their life. look at us today. Beleive me Religion riots killed more humans than total wars fought on this earth."
our religious institutions have ttrillions of dollars because of our faith in god. I beleive we can save million of lives If we use donated money to our churches, temples, masjids, gurudwars. But its not going to happen & you know why Because your so called god cares more about money than human life.

  • 553.
  • At 09:41 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Gareth Morris wrote:

Deryck Wilde (510)

"I believe in God but not in any religion"

If you believe in God then please read the Gospel of John, repent and ask God to reveal Himself to you - He did to me.

God bless.

  • 554.
  • At 09:49 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • John wrote:

How I found God in the Financial Times (Sep 23, p11 to be precise)!
I hope Jeremy Paxman finds time to interview Pope Benedict XVI, whose views are much more nuanced than the extracts of Richard Dawkin's book presented here. Surprisingly I read about Benedict's book "Without Roots" in last weekend's FT. Dawkins argues that rationalism is incompatible with belief in God, without considering whether God Himself is a rational being. The intolerance of Dawkin's "scientific thinking" for those who believe in God, when true scientists are actually ready to weigh the evidence for a given hypothesis without preconception, of itself questions whether Dawkin's assertions can be taken seriously or are equally as fundamentalist as those he denigrates. Dawkins unfortunately defends an atheist 19th Century world view at the very time it is crumbling: scientists calculating the extraordinary odds against stars in the universe generating carbon (which is necessary to support life) wonder if an intelligent Creator is not needed to explain the miracle of how the universe came to be in the form we know it.

  • 555.
  • At 09:53 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • David wrote:

I've just watched the Richard Dawkins interview with Jeremy Paxman. I hold his views and find myself staggered that this view is still (even in these enlightened times) held in such suspicion. Even by intelligent thinking people. How refreshing to hear Richard Dawkin speak so passionately about the truth. About reason versus delusion.

For a Christian, as I am, waiting for the return of Jesus to the earth, and watching for the signs, this is a very exciting book, as it is exactly what the Bible tells us to expect as the last days approach. Thanks Richard for fulfilling God's word. May Jesus indeed return very soon.

2 Tim 3:1-7 But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money...always learning but never able to acknowledge the truth.

  • 557.
  • At 10:00 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Genevieve wrote:

If you excuse the pun, God, that was a breathe of fresh air!

  • 558.
  • At 10:01 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • David Hodges wrote:

I find the comments from the different sides of the argument more interesting than the article itself. Both sides are so polarized and there is so much indignation and even exasperation and this goes to show us what a divider any strong belief is be it religion or atheism. The same goes with nationalism, politics and any other strongly held belief. Individual human beings feel weak and alone so we need to be part of something be it a church, a country, a political party and yes even a local or national football team. This gives us a sense of belonging and unity which feeds our sense of importance and makes us feel stronger and enables us to forget our insignificant little lives and how impotent we are in this difficult world we live in.
Do not think that I am trying to be negative, I love this life and there is so much to be thankful for but I have been aware since I was a child that you sow what you reap and there are no free handouts and least of all miracles. There is no point asking for help from above because the only entities who can help you through any crisis are yourself or friends and family.
There is nothing wrong in believing in god or supporting the Labour Party or even being a Chelsea FC fan it just has to be understood that this is your personal belief and that you must learn to tolerate and not belittle others that do not or cannot think as you do.
No I do not believe in any god but I do not give a damn if you do or do not because it is none of my business.

  • 559.
  • At 10:03 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • GI wrote:

Clearly there is a polarisation of opinions. Can I suggest that whoever has strong views should read their appropriate Holy Book and Dawkins book, trying to put aside their "belief" in what is right and analyse the logic. This is difficult to do but not impossible, if you seek enlightenment rather than "blind" faith in God or Science.

It would be interesting to see how many converts there are to the other side of the arguement. My personal belief is not many. I find the lack of willingness to reason and change "beliefs" to be as frightening as anything posted here previously. It's not faith but intolerance and intransigence based on a "certainty" that we are right that is a significant threat to society and indeed the planet to-day.

  • 560.
  • At 10:05 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Mike wrote:

Our Father who art in Heaven,
Holy is Thy name.
Thy kingdom Come. Thy will be done.
On earth as it is in Heaven.
Give us this day, our daily bread. Forgive our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us.
Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from Evil.

He walks the paths of Rightousness. He is Love, Understanding, Lovingkindess, and the GOD of long suffering. His judgements are just.
He has restored my soul through the death and resurrection of HIS SON.
Through Faith we are saved.

As in the time of Noah, so to will the coming of The Son of Man be.

The universe declares the glory of GOD.

Seek and you shall find.

I was there, just as some of you are. He SAVED me. I pray that He saves you too.

I love you all,
A fellow bond servant of Christ.

  • 561.
  • At 10:09 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Chai Block wrote:

Whilst I agree with Richard Dawkins in that I too am an atheist, I've got to admit that I do not share his associated "political" views from his interview or the various excepts I've read from his book.

But religion comes in different forms. Religion today is seen as a "belief", but it originated as a form of politics, and it is interesting that those arguing against atheism show up the twisted "belief" that people had in Stalin's Communism or Nazism as examples of non-religious ideologies.

Those who originally wrote the Bible and/or edited it along the way laid rules to help create a stable society. Some stories were used to show belief in certain rules, others were used to instill belief in a unifying force, while other stories were used to raise the morale of the people in times of hardship by speaking of messiahs and the like.

Modern politics is not that dissimilar in using our belief to rule the masses. We don't vote for the person we think may be the best Prime Minister, or the person we think may be the best Chancellor, or best Foreign Minister. We vote for the party we believe in and wish to lead us and let the leaders of that party select the Cabinet regardless of the fact that other MPs from other parties may be better suited for certain roles.

  • 562.
  • At 10:09 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Clive R wrote:

Richard Dawkins' books are a shining beacon of reason in a world that seems to be entering another dark age of myth based ritual superstition.

  • 563.
  • At 10:10 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Justin Crossley wrote:

Ironically Richard Dawkins seems to view himself as being God, he is so arrogant.

  • 564.
  • At 10:10 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Charles wrote:

I am a man that had a personal encounter with the living God seven years ago. I repented and asked Jesus Christ into my life. He forgave me, cleansed me, set me free, and lives inside of me. He is coming back soon. The Bible is God's word, and He is not bothered by your take on it. It is still the truth, whether it makes sense to you or not. Nothing else makes any sense. God will judge you and all the rest of the world one day. What will you tell him that will make any sense when you stand before Him? Just as in the days of Noah God will bring His righteous judgement to this world. Sodom and Gamorrah were judged because of their sin. The story of Lot is told to warn us about "pitching our tents" in the midst of the wicked. The sin of Sodom was pulling on him, just as the sin of this world is pulling on you. The Bible is full of stories that are written to warn us and instruct us in the ways of righteousness and the path to heaven. The wages of sin is death. You are just trying to justify your sin by slamming God's word. Get saved, humble yourself under the mighty hand of God, and it will blow your mind what He will show you.

  • 565.
  • At 10:12 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Ben wrote:

I'd like to ask the Atheists...

If you don't believe in God or any supernatural power why does anything exist at all? If the big bang occurred then who put the elements there to cause the big bang? And also why?

First person to give a credible answer which doesn't involve a superpower to that gets to light the fuse for another "Big Bang".

"Those who refuse to believe in the bible would rather believe in anything than nothing"

  • 566.
  • At 10:12 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Peter Jenner wrote:

There is no evidence that there is an objective God out there as the creator, sustainer and occasional intervener in the world. If concrete evidence can be provided I, Dawkins and others would be happy to consider it and change our position, as appropriate.

As for the psychological God-concept, perhaps this came about as a result of our species becoming self-conscious i.e. having a consciousness of a 'self' which is separate from all that is 'not-self'. This 'not-self' may be objectified as an external God.
The sense of separation or sin or alienation may be unbearable (uncomfortable) and a longing may arise to return or to advance to a state of non-separation (union with God). But this is a problem that exists in consciousness not in the world. All that needs to be realised is that the sense of 'self' and 'not-self' are 'convenient fictions' that may serve useful adaptive functions. But they have no objective reality.

  • 567.
  • At 10:14 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Chris wrote:

Thank God (forgive the pun) that someone is actually spreading the word of intelligence and reason. What a hero. The concept of God was invented as a metaphor to try to get over the uncomfortable feeling we humans have from not understanding the universe and our place in it, it isnt literal. It is just a way to get over (through a ludicrous concoction of myths and fairy tales) the incomprehensible miracle of our existence so we can get on and make the tea.
I say ban all religions, that is where our biggest threat to humanity lies. Its all very well to let people believe in what they want but not when they indoctrinate others far to young to be able to think for themselves. Bravo Dawkins, keep up the good work.

  • 568.
  • At 10:14 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Ray Hewitt wrote:

Put your faith in God - But keep your powder dry!!!

  • 569.
  • At 10:21 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Leonard wrote:

And the Lord God formed man of dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living being.

Genesis 2:7

Anything that states or attempts to refute this in any way is grossly arrogant and ignorant. This is just another book that attacks the Lord in all his glory! There is nothing new under the sun, and this book is not new in its way of thinking. There is no such thing as an atheist...everybody has a god! Whether they worhsip themselves or objects, they worship something. Man left to his own devices distort God and make up something else instead. There is only one way..and that is through Jesus Christ who has died on the cross for all our sins.

  • 570.
  • At 10:22 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Phil Rhodes wrote:

Reading the comments from the supporters of religion reminds me of an argument stated by Prof Dawkins. Religous poeple always mistake followers of science as believers in an alternative to religion. This is not true. Scientists mearly accept the best hypothesis (based on evidence) for any aspect of the physical world. Currently there is not a single jot of evidence for God. Therefore 'he or she' has no place in science. If you want science to take all this apparent mumbo jumbo seriously, come up with some evidence chaps. In the meantime please stop restricting the free-thinking-worlds freedom of speech. It's starting to feel like we are moving towards a new puritanical age.

  • 571.
  • At 10:27 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Dominic Murphy wrote:

The book extract shows clearly why Dawkins is surely one the most self-righteous, sanctimonious, confused, self-indulgent and intellectually unprincipled of modern 'commentators'. Motivated by a hateful streak a mile wide, his arguments are strings of sparkling fallacies which satisfy his desire to pontificate from his materialist philosophical soapbox without having to engage any of the usual critical faculties generally associated with intellectual discourse.

He fails to make any genuine distinctions in his rantings, and, confuses all sorts of issues, points, beliefs and people in huge, sweeping indiscriminate statements intertwined with skewed anecdotal titbits. The staple of his views seems, along with spite, to be presumption. For example, he paints a portrait of terrorists, and also by association 'Christian murderers of abortion doctors', as 'brought up, from the cradle, to have total and unquestioning faith.' But this is convenient, generalised presumption, and it is contradicted by the facts in many instances where terrorists have been converted to a religion they were not brought up in.

Part of Dawkins' problem, or perhaps 'tactics' would be a better word, is that he is so vague and general and sweeping that it is difficult to sustain any sensible critique of his views, like trying to talk sensibly to someone who deliberately aims not to talk sense. Clever stuff, alright, unless you are in fact interested in intelligent debate. In which case Dawkins is not your man. Why Newsnight is wasting everyone's time with this interview I don't know. Perhaps it's an agenda thing. Right agenda, who cares if it makes sense, right?

Oh and by the way, for the record, Christians are not 'obsessed with private sexual inclinations such as homosexuality.' It's atheists who have pushed the homosexual agenda over the last fifty years. It is a deft smokescreen to assert that homosexuality doesn't 'interfere with anybody else's life'. It is persistently pushed into the public arena, until children are taught it is normal, which it isn't. How can sexual relations between two people of the same sex be normal? It is intellectual suicide to suggest it is not a perversion. And it is immoral to teach perversion to children. That's interfering with other people's lives. Not really too difficult to grasp that argument intellectually is it? Just too tricky to honestly admit it, right?

But Dawkins' raving is full of such disingenuous, intellectually unprincipled and manipulative misrepresentations. As for his views on the Holy Bible, I can tell you one thing for sure, he does not understand anything about the Holy Bible at all. But, of course, that does not stop him ranting conveniently and manipulatively about it. Dawkins evidently does not feel the need to know about something in order to use it to his advantage in his pontifications. To him the world is simple - anyone who rejects his miserly materialistic philosophising must be ridiculed and vilified, no matter who they are or what they believe. It is one long, tedious lesson in self-indulgence. The one principled thing about Dawkins' intellectual exertions is that he believes the universe is meaningless and endeavours to conform all his diatribes to this belief. Little wonder he couldn't possibly contemplate the idea of intelligent design as an alternative to his dismal fantasy world of accidental everything. What place for intelligence there?

  • 572.
  • At 10:28 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Gareth Morris wrote:

John (534)

Please read my posts John. You can't go saying the Bible is wrong because Hitler was acclaimed to be of the Church of God. Many people claim to be Christians yet they don't show the fruits of a true convert. One of these fruits is a desire to read God's Word. Another fruit is a heart filled desire to save the lost. If Hitler was a Bible man, why did he feel the need to write his own bible - Mein Kampf? There is no evil in God and hence, He can not cause you to do evil. You don't necessarily need to believe in God to come to the conclusion that if there was a God he would probably be good (Please don't play semantics into that one!) Jesus said you will know them by their fruits. There are good Godly Christians in this world. But the Bible also prophesis money-grabbing preachers and false converts in the last days which is truly evident in the world around us.

  • 573.
  • At 10:29 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Mike Endacott wrote:

I haven't read Dawkins and only know him from the hype. But perhaps it is worth remembering that some of Britain's greatest scientists - Newton and Farraday for example - were deeply religious men. Their monumental discoveries were in certain respects inspired by their particular faith. The current posture of many 'public' scientists that religion is bunk - is unfortunate and just as churlish and ignorant as the religious fundamentalism they are fixated on. Science and religion have a lot to contribute to each other. Open hearts and open minds if you please.

  • 574.
  • At 10:29 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Prof. Mike Robinson wrote:

Thanks to Richard Dawkins for continuing his critique of religious superstition.
Many people will not know that even today State Schools have a mandatory requirement to hold "Daily collective worship (which) must be wholly or mainly of a broadly Christian character."

As a school governor, I am glad that my school is opting out of this relic of the 1800's.

I shall suggest to the Board that the Dawkins book is recommended, subject to staff approval, for inclusion in Religious Studies. An understanding of myth is important for children. Superstition is simply damaging.

  • 575.
  • At 10:31 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Laurie wrote:

I do actually thank God for people like Richard Dawkins. Having read the Blind Watchmaker I can assure those who haven't that Dr Dawkins superb explanations of the intricacies of bat hearing is one of the best proofs of a Creator that I have ever laid eyes on.

Perhaps I could remind Dr Dawkins that Science is based absolutely on Nullifiable Hypotheses. I might say that a nullifiable hypothesis for Evolution would be an interesting one to frame, to put it mildly.

  • 576.
  • At 10:36 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Paul wrote:


Richard Dawkins has been saying this for many years, I was lucky enough to see him speak at a conference where he was encouraging folk to come out of the closet and admit they were atheist.

He once said why he was proud to be british to a US Audience about 5 years ago showing a photo of the ten pund note next to the US dollar bill.

One reads:

"in God we trust" (US Dollar Bill)

The other:

has a picture of Charles Darwin (Ten pund note)

... :)

  • 577.
  • At 10:37 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Benedict St George wrote:

God is a defence from the false...a man who can assert his own truth free from the enemisitc response of others and their desire to win with their falsity...has no need for god, or the influence of one in your own battles,

... so god for many is an inconvenience, a collective responsibility that reminds you of the enemies of the future from the evidence of the past who you would wish to be on your side but who rarely agree with you ...

...unless you pray harder to prepare better to win the moralities of the world to your own way... those areas you have to think of when preparing to go into a world over which you have no control.

A man free from falsehood around him ...can transcend any situation and look to the supernatural of a great hereafter...

Christianity seems to organise our enemies into religious order...

...where allah allows us to act proudly for the truth of what is right within the boundaries of the warnings of what is wrong!

Benedict St.George

Copy of posting to newsnight 23.07 22 Sep 2006, since removed for some reason!!

  • 578.
  • At 10:40 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Pieter wrote:

Professor Dawkins said the Christianity was invented by Paul. Probably the (mad oh sorry I shouldn't say that) professor knows that Paul used to be called Saul who actively persecuted christians. That all ended when he was knocked of his donkey. Be careful professore. Your zeal to attack Jesus Christ may cause you to have an encounter with Him that will knock you of your donkey. I do admire your zeal and energy with which you attack that you have no knowledge of.

God bless you,


  • 579.
  • At 10:40 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Rob Goldsmith wrote:

There seems to be a lot of people stating that so-and-so wouldn't think like they do if they'd allowed God into their lives or so-and-so is deluded to believe in the bible. Maybe the problem is one of respecting another person's perspective and unique world-view. No-one can share another's 'revelation' or understand science the same way. We all have our own sense of logic and our own ethics developed from our personal life experiences. Why state that another would believe if they read the bible ? I have and don't. That doesn't prove it to be untrue. It just means that I choose not to believe it. Likewise, someone can shoose to believe in the teaching of the Koran. Just don't assume that a personal ego-centric viewpoint has any relevance to anyone but yourself. It can shape your actions but don't expect anyone else to understand it. It is your own belief. It is not the truth. It is not reality. It is merely your own means of rationalising the universe around YOU!

  • 580.
  • At 10:40 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • paul lee wrote:

spot on dawkins! at long last a voice for fair minded people everywhere has spoken. i am tired of religion in all its forms been rammed down my throat.can the undecided amongst you please take on board what prof dawkins is saying . it could truly open your eyes to a better view of the world.

  • 581.
  • At 10:46 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Jeroen wrote:

I respect mr Dawkins and his opinion. Why? Because I believe god is everywhere. In every living being, including mr Dawkins. So he deserves my respect as much as any other person does.

I am lucky to have been allowed to see this truth. He unfortunately has not. Which is a pity because it makes life so much more beautiful and meaningful.

  • 582.
  • At 10:50 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Annya_X wrote:

Dr Dave Gilbert notes that a kilogramme doesn't really exist, it is an abstract concept.

Correct - the difference is that 50% of the electorate don't choose to fly in the face of all empirical evidence and logic(and frankly their own common sense) and believe otherwise just because it makes them feel better.

The argument that the world is too complex to be accidental and therefore must be designed by a god or some such other is purely an excuse for lazy thinking - "I don't understand this so rather than attempt to understand I'll just choose to belive it's magic"

I don't understand calculus - it doesn't mean it doesn't work and there isn't cold hard logic behind it, it simply means I haven't worked out the answer - YET, the answer does, however, exist.

  • 583.
  • At 10:54 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • E. G. Penet wrote:

Read Sir Dawkins' other books and you'll realise that he believes all human existence comes from slugs and all human emotion comes from chemical activity.

If he has no faith ... fine.

No belief ... OK.

But why the criticism? To answer a few wild zealots like Bin Laden or Pat Robertson? Why waste your breath, Sir?

Regarding your book, why waste your time? Leave the believers be. Get on with your science and stay out of minds and hearts ... for none of which you have any scientific basis upon which to criticise. No facts ... no science. Your opinions are worth NOTHING ... dear Sir.

(Why the hell was this man knighted?)

  • 584.
  • At 11:01 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • justin wrote:

The Human Race, in evolutional terms is still very young. Maybe if put in terms of our own individual lifespan, mankind is about the age of 6 or 7 (this isnt to say of course that man will live to ripe old age!)around the time we learn there is no Santa Claus. As heartbreaking as it is at the time, we soon learn that the fact that our parents saved their money to buy us presents, gave them to us AND didnt take the credit is more comforting and wonderful than the 'white lie'.
Prof Hawkins is the kid at school trying to tell his schoolmates that Santa isn't real and although some already know the truth, the younger ones won't want to believe and will probably go home to their parents, who, wanting their offspring to remain innocent, tell them that 'HE' really is real (and if you are not good, won't visit!)
This isn't to say I don't approve, I simply believe that it will take many more Prof Hawkins and many hundreds of years before the children of the earth are evolved enough to take responsibility for it's self and its actions. Unfortunately for us all Santa gave the children of the Earth WOMD and shoe bombs and oil fueled engines and spaceships and napalm and 'God' knows what else..........

  • 585.
  • At 11:02 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Gareth Morris wrote:

Chris B (552)

If I'm so stupid, why are there atheists trying to prove me wrong?

  • 586.
  • At 11:11 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • paul wrote:

Paxman asked if a society could be moral without religion. I say religion is very imoral if compared to our modern standards. We know genetics play a key part of homosexuality, We know that corporal punishment is abhorant, we know that wiping out every last man women and child becuse "they didnt behave as we wished" in the Noah flood is WRONG. Modern morality has surpassed religions obselete standards.

  • 587.
  • At 11:16 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • James wrote:

It is clear that the pro and anti-Dawkins contributors to this debate feel equally strongly that their view is correct; the other misguided.

However, the quality of the argumentation is very unequal. Whereas the pro-Darwinists are essentially logical, the anti-Darwinist arguments are either puerile, simplistic, absurdly self-referential or just plain bonkers.

I have a blank sheet of ordinary white paper in front of me. My neighbour tells me that (although he cannot actually see it) an image of a frog is represented on my piece of paper, and furthermore, that this invisible frog has unlimited magical powers. I dare to question my neighbour's conviction, and two things happen. He challenges me prove that the invisible frog does not exist, and since I cannot prove the non-existence of nothing, he concludes he is correct. Then he kills me.

  • 588.
  • At 11:31 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Elliot wrote:

Would someone be able to help me out with one genuine question I have.

What are the minimum necessary things one has to believe in be considered a Christian?

  • 589.
  • At 11:32 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Michael wrote:

There have been a lot of comments posted here and much I suspect in answer to comments posted by other people. I will reserve judgement until I have read the book. Personally I believe we are finding more and more about the world and all that is in it and beyond it. I believe that one day religion will become more and more superfluous as our understanding improves and when science is able to put across in simple terms its understanding of the world. 2000 years ago we knew very little and are finding out more and more each day about how it all works. In the meantime you can either believe in a God and his creative powers or you can hold on in a state of disbelief until it is proven. Either way religious or not it doesnt stop any of use from enjoying all we can see and do with the world in its present state.

  • 590.
  • At 11:33 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Chris B wrote:

Gareth Morris

'If I'm so stupid, why are there atheists trying to prove me wrong?'

Because you have political power,


  • 591.
  • At 11:34 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • John wrote:

If the excerpts on Newsnight's site are representative, then Dawkins has done his position a disservice by choosing such soft targets. There are plenty of rational and educated theists, who are the appropriate objects of his sort of scrutiny. Nor could he say of them all that, like his report of the Bishop of Edinburgh, they have reasoned themselves out of religion. He knows this very well, or he should, since he has many colleagues in academia who are both intelligent believers and would consider the likes of Pat Robertson deeply problematic (not least Oxford's fine crop of theologians). Just like the theism he attacks, the arguments he makes are well over 2000 years old and there are plenty of good answers to them. By choosing such soft targets he leaves his own position weakly defended, and his readers ill-informed. This is unfair to them and to the subject-matter.

  • 592.
  • At 11:53 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • John, Bristol wrote:

Gareth (573)

I think you're missing my point (which probably makes us even). I am saying that there is a common thread that runs through the structure of organised religions and the evils that they do. This has very little to do with their alleged god or gods or even of the "prophets" who start them.

They are structures by which a small group in society can encourage people's vices and twist their virtues so as to turn them into vicious wolves and obedient sheep.

In this context, Tomás de Torquemada, John Calvin, Adolf Hitler, Josef Stalin, Avraham Stern, Ruhollah Khomeini and far too many others were all singing from the same songbook.

  • 593.
  • At 11:54 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Andrew wrote:

I was a 'fundamentalist' Christian for over 15 years. Then I opened my eyes and saw that I could only believe the things I did by blindly ignoring the truth.

It has been writers like Richard Dawkins that have given me the knowledge and courage to put all these childish things behind me and be free. No longer living in fear of some fantastical deity I thought might be angry bcause I'd stopped believing in him.

Marvelous stuff, stating the obvious. But what's wrong with "Thou shalt not kill" Seems some people don't follow their own book.


  • 595.
  • At 11:57 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • scott wrote:

As always Prof Dawkins speaks the truth of an honest inquiring mind. He cant believe in fairy tales. or handed down stories containing no evidence. I agree, organised religion is like two flea's arguing over who owns the dog on which they both sit. If only people were brought up from birth with a balanced view, ie religion exists, science exists, science doesnt have all the answers but it constantly tries to disprove its own theories, resluting in evidence based truths. Religion, is a bunch of tales handed down through the years. Someone made them up, someone passed them on, people chose to believe them. WHY?

Imagine a messiah or prophet coming forward today, people would shoot their delusion down in flames. They would be followed 24/7 by sky and bbc news teams, who would unearth and qualify everything they said and did, always asking why why why. Religion is a human construct designed to make us feel a little better when confronted with the big scary questions. Richard Dawkins, please please please continue the spreading of the good word, of science that is.

  • 596.
  • At 12:04 AM on 26 Sep 2006,
  • Diana wrote:

Great to see Richard Dawkins being awkward again, but then the truth often is. If you confront most theists with selections of their holy books they would be outraged because they usually haven't read the thing properly. Also, why it is ok for them to say I will burn in hell for not believing in their Iron Age fairy stories and I am considered intolerant if I say most religion is a bit silly.Schools never mention the bit in Leviticus that says slavery is a good thing, and I could go on, and on and on.

  • 597.
  • At 12:04 AM on 26 Sep 2006,
  • paul cameron wrote:

“Repeat a lie a thousand
times and it becomes the
truth ...” - usually credited
to Dr Joseph Goebbels,
Propaganda Minister of
the Third Reich.

this tactic has been embraced by religions and politicians for millenniae....well done Professor Dawkins for speaking out on behalf of the many unheard on this planet.
could this be the start of a new enlightenment?

  • 598.
  • At 12:08 AM on 26 Sep 2006,
  • KEITH JOHNSON wrote:

I must confess, I am not a supporter of institutionalized religion in any shape or form. I consider myself and try to be a free thinker as much as possible. However, when I listen to Richard Dawkins I cannot help but think, here is a man who is suffering from delusions of grandeur. He must think he knows everything there is to know in the universe to make the claims he does: maybe he thinks he is GOD. What makes him think that human reason cannot be flawed or is it just HIS reasoning that cannot be flawed? He certainly likes to tell us mortals what the truth is. Maybe, he just finds it difficult to face up to the TRUTH that there is a much greater thinking power than him. A little humility wouldn't go amiss.

  • 599.
  • At 12:23 AM on 26 Sep 2006,
  • Malcolm Parker wrote:

Religion is and has always been an attempt to influence the way that people think and act, for better and for worse. Enlightenment has come from being permitted to receive sufficient education to enable us as individuals to question that which we are taught and those that teach us.
Personally I don't believe religion has any useful role to play in todays world, it's dominated society for 2000 years and failed miserably to produce a better world than the one which we started with and it really is time that we started to move on.

  • 600.
  • At 12:26 AM on 26 Sep 2006,
  • M. Buelow wrote:

First of all, from the excerpts I've read, Dawkins echoes many of my thoughts with an almost frightening similarity.
Secondly, for those who criticize the book as "non-scientific", it certainly isn't meant to be a scientific essay. If it were, probably very few would read it. It is supposed to use some provocative (and popular) style, that's how books are sold, and thus it should be read with a pinch of salt. However, this method doesn't invalidate the core statements Dawkins is making. It is more "food for thought", and as that it certainly serves well, as the many comments prove.
Thirdly, I personally dispute that religious texts like the Bible or the Koran deserve to be treated scientifically, in a serious philosophical discourse. The pulp fiction that they are ought to be treated with nothing more than polemic ridicule and scorn, any scientific approach would only elevate them to a seriousness that is totally inadequate in this context, and a waste of time and effort. The best approach would be to simply ignore them, but the adherents of those books won't stop harrassing us non-religioners, so we are essentially dragged into the discussion, no matter if we want to, or not.

  • 601.
  • At 12:38 AM on 26 Sep 2006,
  • nigel perry wrote:

I was appalled by Dawkin's contemptuous dismissal of The Flying Spaghetti Monster. As one who realised by the age of eight that the religious education being fed to me by my Church of England school was a lot of mumbo jumbo, but who also realised that it is immoral not to believe in a divine being, I was an immensely relieved when eventually I heard about the one true Creator. Scientists like Newton, Einstein and Dawkins believe themselves to be clever, merely because they test falsifiable theories instead of believing what the right person tells them.

  • 602.
  • At 01:11 AM on 26 Sep 2006,
  • Tim wrote:

First, the book in question was written by Richard Dawkins, not Stephen Hawking. Several of the posters here need to at least take the time to read the cover of the book, if not the book itself, before they leap to praise it.

Dawkins is the L. Ron Hubbard of our time. According to him, invisible forces we can't see or touch compel us to act against our own self interest. These "memes" are passed on like viruses, outside of our control, and one of them is religion. For some reason, he is apparently immune to this particular form of illness, and his mission is now to save the rest of us.

He masks his views in the language of science, but his agenda of discrediting beliefs other than his new "true" faith is clear. I'm just waiting for him to start sponsoring "clinics" where you can go to have your troublesome "memes" exorcised, for a small fee of course.

Demonic possession, Hubbard's "thetans", and now Richard Dawkins and his "memes". How anyone takes him for a serious scientist when he strays outside of his area of expertise, I don't know. Anyone interested in this topic for anything other than amusement value would be better off reading Carl Sagan or Joseph Cambell, both also atheists, but vastly better writers in this area.

He attempts to connect religion with most of humanity's ills, but anyone with more than a 6th grade knowledge of history knows that almost every example of conflict he cites had political and ethnic roots, and that religion was just a facade thrown on by political leaders. In the absence of religion, politics takes on all of its trappings, and men like Stalin, Hitler, and Mao become gods to their followers. Isn't it better to have some ideal which has evolved over thousands of years as a moral standard, even if it is based on wishful thinking, than the dictates of one man or group of men?

Dawkins seems bothered that most religion, like science, allows for revision of core truths. The fact that people today don't follow the rigorous codes of conduct of the pre-Christian Judaic tradition is cited as an example of religious fallacy, but would he have scientists cling to ideas thousands of years old? Of course not, but flexible religious beliefs would be much harder to attack than the straw man that Dawkins creates.

I enjoyed Dawkins' early books, some of which I thought contained interesting ideas worthy of discussion, but I'm not capable of the leap of faith required to go from an open minded agnostic point of view to the fundamentalist atheism Dawkins preaches, which seems no more scientifically grounded than any other religious point of view. Science will never prove or disprove the existence of God, or provide easy answers when trying to build a moral code for our society, and claiming otherwise is just naive and foolish.

To me, he comes across as every bit as much the zealot as those he most strongly condemns. I'm hopeful this will be his last foray into this arena, and that he will turn his attention back to real science, rather than become the high priest of his cult of "brights", but it seems almost everyone needs some form of religion to be central in their lives, even Richard Dawkins and his followers.

  • 603.
  • At 01:21 AM on 26 Sep 2006,
  • merle esson wrote:

Sometimes you hear or read the obvious. For a long time it was difficult to narrate in your own language - all of the cultural pitfalls and cliched responses exist to override natural intelligence and pure gut reaction to utter tripe.
Then you encounter a voice that is clear and recognisably close to the one you always knew was there, inside yourself, from the very beginning. God, she/he/it, that enormous invention, is a work of art that curses us all. Worse still, there is this global desire to perpetuate the tragic lie that we are immortal and redeemable, that we are anything other than temporary inhabitants of a temporary planet. There is no morality in suicide, where other human beings die going about their everyday business, or in Nations claiming a right to weapons of mass destruction while at the same time condemning ownership of the same by others. The only saving 'grace' of a woman or of a man is in the chosen path of humble truth. We live and we die and in between we make some difference. It's the difference that matters.

  • 604.
  • At 01:28 AM on 26 Sep 2006,
  • George wrote:

Something you haven't seen yet:

I am a person of faith who happens to agree that it's long overdue to confront the religious extremism that has been dragging the world into a new dark age.

If you have ever been bothered by a persistent pest, and unsuccessfully tried every polite method to get them to leave you alone, sometimes you know that the only way to get your peace & privacy is to yell at them or say "just go away!" or something even more rude.

In other words, sometimes the only way to deal with extremely pushy people is to push back hard.

Religious extremists are engaging in mass-casualty terrorism from one side and waging illegal war from the other, obsessing about other peoples' consenting-adult sex lives and covering-up child molesters on a grand scale, obsessing about sex some more and ushering in a new era of Jim Crow marriage laws in the US (this time it's gay couples rather than interracial couples), obsessing about sex yet some more and attempting to deny access to birth control on a global scale while overpopulation drives global ecology and resource crises, and all the while looking forward with smug cheerfulness to the day when they and theirs are transported to eternal paradise whilst the rest of humanity boils in a sulphurous pit of fire.

Frankly these religious extremists are evil, in the fully religious sense of the word. Someone has to push back, hard. Someone has to break the strangle-hold they have on public discourse. I happen to disagree with much of what Dawkins has to say, and I happen to believe in a number of things he finds absurd, but praise to him for having the guts to push back, and God help him to succeed!

  • 605.
  • At 01:35 AM on 26 Sep 2006,
  • Gareth Morris wrote:

Elliot (589)

In a nutshell, look at the 10 Commandments. God is serious about His Law and anyone who fails to keep it falls short of His glory and will not be able to enter His Holy Kingdom because they don't have the righteousness that He desires. He hates sin in all its kind, from one little fib to mass murder. It only takes one lie to be called a liar. And the law says that you are a liar if you've lied. You're also a thief if you've stolen. A murderer if you hate someone in your heart. God says if you look at a woman to lust after, you've commited adultery with her in your heart. Have you always kept the Sabbath holy? Have you always honoured your parents? Have you loved God with all your strength, with all your heart, with all your mind and all your soul? The Bible says you haven't and no-one else come to that except Jesus. We are born sinners, we don't just sin because of our environment, we sin because we are born that way. We will however be held accountable for our sin because we have a conscience. Now conscience means "with knowledge"; con means with and science means knowledge. We have sinned "with knowledge" of what we were doing. Read the Commandments to yourself and listen to what your conscience says. It will not paint a pretty picture if you are honest to yourself. Now just consider - your sins are deserving of everlasting torment. If you've suffered by any means in this life its nothing compared with the wrath that's to come. The next bit may hurt a bit, but just hold on in there. Fear is good - its stops you from jumping in front of a truck.

So first thing you have to do is realise the severity of your sins and know that God is angry with you.

The "Good News" or Gospel of Christ says that God became man and lived a sinless life. He was the perfect sacrifice in the sense that He is God and He did not break the 10 Commandments during His lifetime. He bore your due punishment on the cross so that you could go free. He rose on the third day, victorious over death and whosoever puts their faith in Him will have everlasting life. Your sins will be forgiven and you will stand on Judgment Day without spot nor blemish with a coat of Righteousness that is Christ Jesus. God loves you that much that He died for you.

But make no mistake those who reject Him will perish - The Bible is clear about that. Once you die it's too late, and who knows when that could happen. It could be tomorrow. God will not hold His hand out to you forever. God is a Just God and like any Judge must see that justice is done. To you petty sin may not sound much but God despises it, because He's so Holy.

To become a Chritian Scripture says:
Rom 10:9 Because if you confess the Lord Jesus, and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved.

1. Recognise your a sinner.
2. Pray to God and admit that you're a sinner and have sinned against Heaven. List some of the sins that come to your mind.
3. Tell Him that you believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, that He died for your sin, took the punishment that was due for you on Himself, and was raised on the third day.
4. Then ask Him to give you the gift of everlasting life.

Believe and He will forgive your sins and give you a new heart!
"If anyone is in Christ, He is a new Creation" 2 Cor 5:17

That's all there is to it!

God reads your heart remember and will not move on you if you are not genuine. You have to seek Him with all of your heart. Being sorry for your sins also means turning away from them. So you need to be willing to turn away from anything ungodly. I'm not saying that will be easy but God will help you. Read the Parable of the Lost Son (Luke 15:11-32) and see how the father welcomed his son. That is exactly how God will welcome you. Come as you are in other words. You don't necessarily need to clean up your act first. The most important thing is that you are willing; He will accept you warts n' all. The Gospels of Mark and John are a good place to start reading the Bible. Find a good Church that preaches the Gospel as I have presented it to you. You'll find God if you want Him - He wants to be found.

  • 606.
  • At 01:47 AM on 26 Sep 2006,
  • Hamish wrote:

Why did Paxman appear to think that Dawkins' ideas were bigoted and extreme? It certainly didn't feel like an objective interview, which was disappointing.

  • 607.
  • At 02:02 AM on 26 Sep 2006,
  • M. Buelow wrote:

At #606, Gareth,
I think you're seriously deranged. This is a discussion about Dawkins' book and the concepts presented therein, and what you do is parrot a long rant of memorized religious paranoia, most likely with the goal to coerce us "sinners" into repentence and so we see the errors of our way. You can stop this now, we do not consider ourselves "sinners", we have nothing to repent and the only one suffering is you, while us non-religioners enjoy a life unburdened by religiously induced doubt and guilt.

  • 608.
  • At 02:27 AM on 26 Sep 2006,
  • Chris W wrote:

To Ben (566): Does there have to be a reason?

"The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but blind pitiless indifference" Richard Dawkins, River Out Of Eden, 1995.

Well said Richard. As a long-term fan (Blind Watchmaker was my favourite), I look forward to reading the book and hope it serves as a popular and helpful nudge towards a more secural and rational society.

  • 609.
  • At 02:33 AM on 26 Sep 2006,
  • Paul Uszak wrote:

It seems clear that the two camps are very entrenched in their positions. And perhaps becoming more so as both science and fundamentalism advance in parallel. I fear for the future as both sides gain ground, especially as their military and political capacities grow. So far we've had wars between differing faith groups. That's old hat. With the worrying religious developments in the US and the middle east, are we to see a war between atheists and believers too..?

  • 610.
  • At 02:42 AM on 26 Sep 2006,
  • Richard Browning wrote:

It's heartening to read the many voices of truth - those in support of Dawkins; just as it is depressing to hear the tired old mantra of The Creed Of The Imaginary Friend.

  • 611.
  • At 03:59 AM on 26 Sep 2006,
  • Charlie wrote:

Perhaps Dawkins in time will become God - Like and people in the future will read His book and believe it !

  • 612.
  • At 04:10 AM on 26 Sep 2006,
  • Perry Turner wrote:

Wow, but I can't help but wonder if we someday find alien life, will they too have a planet where all the natural and self made atrocities are based on the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen.

  • 613.
  • At 04:12 AM on 26 Sep 2006,
  • Jay wrote:

Professor Dawkins views are obviously the views of the majority of this country, you only have to look at our culture to see that.

I say we start a new religion that is all inclusive, nice and simple, and comprising of two commandments.

Commandment No.1 - Treat people as you wish yourself to be treated.

Commandment No.2 - Show no religious piety through your life, as in your death, you will be judged purely on commandment No.1.

How's that for a new religion? We'll even call it Dawkinism!

Put it down as your religion on the next National Census, and lets make it an official recognised religion, giving it a voice within politics and other secular issues.

You never know, give or take a few centuries, people may be making pilgrimages from all over the world to Britain, to the Birthplace of Dawkinism, the first tolerant religion.

Spread the word, fellow Dawkinians.

  • 614.
  • At 04:31 AM on 26 Sep 2006,
  • Floyd wrote:

Richard Dawkins does not believe in God! Yet!

  • 615.
  • At 05:01 AM on 26 Sep 2006,
  • shane wrote:

This man is great. I am so sick to death of hearing about religon and why muslims find it so highly insulting for people to deny mohamed as a prophet that I'm not allowed to say it. Think of it this way - if every jew or christian or hindu or muslim died tomorrow, then their religon would be called a mythology just like Roman mythology, Greek Mythology, Egyptian Mythology, Aztec Mythology etc etc etc. Aethists unite

  • 616.
  • At 05:57 AM on 26 Sep 2006,
  • Nathaniel Kordanski wrote:

I served an brief appreticeship working on a locked psychiatric ward.
I came the realization I could not tell the difference between a paranoid schizophrenic and a "true believer".
Both have deeply ingrained irrational beliefs that keep them from functioning well in society. I have to modify that and state that if there are enough of the religeously deluded they can create a social unit that works as long as it is not stressed.
However both the psychotic and the religious fanatic have not moral restraint, no compunction about inflicting harm or even killing any one who does not share their abnormal ideation.
I have pity for the intrinsically mentally ill and nothing but contempt for any adherent of a religion that makes him act as if he/she is mentally ill.
The author of posting 606 is a dangerously ill man, a real danger to those around him if they do not buy into his delusional system, and he and his ilk are in need of therapy and mediciation.

  • 617.
  • At 06:08 AM on 26 Sep 2006,
  • Gareth Morris wrote:

John (593)

"I think you're missing my point (which probably makes us even)." Love it!

I see you're point now. I'm not sure how to respond though but first I'll ask - have you ever visited a Church where the power of God is in action, of how He heals broken lives and gives hope to the lost? You seem to be making a generalisation based on what you see on the surface. And what's more I would agree with you probably on all of the points that you make. The difference however, is that I know Jesus exists, and the fact that there is so much evil surrounding religion explains a great deal about humanity and what the Bible has to say about it. If I told you that the way you've described the Church is prophesised in the Bible, are you still going to be cynical? So perhaps what your saying is, if there was a God there wouldn't be all this evil that we see in its church, or evil men would not be able to use it to their own gain. But what you've done here is made a god to suit yourself. God doesn't work like that, and I'll try to explain why.

First. let me explain to you a little bit about sin. Now God is a good God - no doubt about it. God is love. A lot of people believe in God and think that God is so good that He wouldn't send them to hell. That's not how the Bible describes it however. I'm not saying He's cruel or tyranical but He has to punish sinners. If I hurt you intentionally by my words then I should be punished for it because I've destroyed your feelings and even though God sees you as a sinner, you were still made in the image of God. So by me insulting you, I've actually insulted a creature that He made. God will punish every sin for those who reject His Son. How many sins do you commit a day? Let's just say 5. Over a lifetime that would total 127,000. A lot of hurt feelings! Like it or lump it, people are sinners. You may live a good moral life; and I know there are lots of descent, honest and gentle human beings in this country who are trying their best to do their bit whilst doing their best to help one another. There are bad sinners and not so bad sinners. Yet since I've become a Christian I see daily how imperfect I am when compared to God. Read John 3, to know the difference from being a "good" religious person and a born again Christian. Here Jesus told Nicodemus that to enter heaven you must be born again. Now Nicodemus was an outstanding member of the community, a genuinely decent chap! Yet Jesus told him you must be born again. See, we can try our best to be good enough, but we still fail God in that we don't keep His Commandments. We are destined for hell. Born again means you are born of the Spirit of God. God gives you a new heart which enables you to fulfill His Commandment of loving God with all your heart, soul, strength and mind and loving your neighbour as yourself.

Please don't dismiss God based on your values for religion. I think that's a cop out. As I've said in my previous comments - believing in evolution has one appealing aspect for the sinner: you get a clear conscience to do the things that God would rather you didn't do. It gives you a false freedom. False, in that one day you will die and meet your maker. Ok maybe creation isn't enough to prove to you there is a God. You've experienced creation and you've concluded there's no God. What's stopping you from picking up the Gospel of John, studying the character of Jesus and prove from that experience whether God is real or not? And if you're undecided you could read the Gospel of Mark. You could visit a good church and hear something from God. What do you have to lose? Nothing. Because by your belief when your dead there is nothing, so in effect your life is meaningless to you. You are unimportant - nothing special at all. Just give God some of your time and approach Him. Ask Him to prove Himself to you if you want. If your genuine towards Him - He will. Read my previous comment on how to become a Christian.

Now to answer your argument, Jesus said that He didn't come to bring peace (see Luke 12:51-53). He said that there will be division. Why? Quite a few reasons I think but the Bible says that we are living in evil days. He will bring peace, the day He destroys evil for good. But at the moment the Devil is still the god of this world. And God is still angry with this world. But He is patient, and long-suffering, not willing for any to perish.

  • 618.
  • At 06:13 AM on 26 Sep 2006,
  • Dawit wrote:

I guess Dr. Dawkin is putting too much confidence in science. Afterall, science does not give, and is most unlikely to ever give, answers to the big questions. And is it really rational that God, the maker of the entire universe, can be analyzed by a mere mortal like Dr. Dawkins?

  • 619.
  • At 06:34 AM on 26 Sep 2006,
  • Matthew wrote:

I accuse Dawkins of lazy thinking.

It is so easy to deconstruct something and talk about its inability to function adequately. Dawkins talks about religion and religious texts as if they were dysfunctional, outdated machines which no longer serve their purpose (if they had any in the first place).

The question Dawkins has not even bothered to approach (and why should he because this is actually the difficult one) is:

What would replace religion in this world?

I have my answers - does he?

Unfortunately Dawkins is under the mind control of certain forces in our society which have propelled a good, scientific brain into dwelling upon subjects of which he has no knowledge or understanding.

This is dangerous for the 'sheep' (who will follow any hungry wolf or shepherd out of their pen and off a cliff) because he is a notable scientific thinker.

As Dawkins' mother once famously said with a smile, after being asked what she thought of his theories:

'Well, he could be wrong...'

  • 620.
  • At 06:59 AM on 26 Sep 2006,
  • SJA wrote:

Dawkins' commentary on believers - whatever their faith - is not only obscurred with blanket generalities, it is as caustic as any of the dogmatic offenses he argues against. While eliminating hatred, bias, and bigotry is noble, he has only emulated it by lambasting those who hold dear what he simply cannot understand.

  • 621.
  • At 07:35 AM on 26 Sep 2006,
  • eryll jalipa wrote:

Ever noticed how every civilization in the world has always had the need to worship. From the founders of philosophy of the Greek Empire, to the mathematical geniuses of the Egyptians. From the humble Kalahari bushmen, to the ruthless Inca realm.

Dr. Dawkins, it's human nature to worship, because no matter how hard you try to deny it, we are "spiritual". If you deny the existance of a God then where do we determine our morals? What are the limits, if any. Who ultimately calls the shots and who controls them?

I don't think atheists realize the fallacy of their beliefs. Who draws the line on right and wrong? And since we all need to idolize something or a rather, a godless world would be worshiping themselves, and its not hard to see that humans make poor gods.

It is distressing to see that so many of these replies are the usual bleating of the very fundamentalists that such a work hopes to help counter. I submit that, as an atheist, I and others like me have spent more time than average wrestling with the idea of the god concept, far more than the religious people who espouse it. There is no reason to believe, mountains and trees and the human body are testaments to nature, not to 'god'. We're not waiting on some special revelation and, quite frankly, if we don't get past this religion problem we're all doomed. Mr Dawkins has my support 100%.

Richard Dawkins must be a man of great faith to so religiously share his personal belief in the absence of God.

  • 624.
  • At 08:00 AM on 26 Sep 2006,
  • Sarah wrote:

Bravo, Professor Dawkins, and congratulations to Newsnight for featuring his book and the issue. Commiserations to Jeremy Paxman for having to play the ... Devil's advocate?!
I trust the book will be translated and distributed widely by clear-sighted publishing houses. (Maybe American English first?)

  • 625.
  • At 08:39 AM on 26 Sep 2006,
  • Nick wrote:

God will punish all those who do evil - unless you live in Africa of course, here he just likes to starve all of them....

  • 626.
  • At 08:49 AM on 26 Sep 2006,
  • Martin Ward wrote:

At 554 Gareth said that God revealed himself to him. Gareth, I am interested to know how this happened. It obviously changed your life. Would you tell us more about that event and why you think it was God.

  • 627.
  • At 08:49 AM on 26 Sep 2006,
  • James wrote:

I'm going straight out to buy this book. All the comments by religious types above just go to show how right Prof. Dawkins is. People are attacking him for being sanctimonious, unreasonable and lacking rationality. Listen to yourselves. I don't doubt religion can give some people some comfort but when a completely unprovable set of beliefs causes people to kill other human beings for no other reason than to get into paradise, there's something very wrong with it. Surely, killing to get into paradise is against the whole point of religion. It shouldn't be about getting a reward, it should be about wanting to live one's life in the proper manner, whatever happens.

  • 628.
  • At 09:01 AM on 26 Sep 2006,
  • Martin Ternouth wrote:

Surprisingly, for a geneticist, Richard Dawkins has missed the recent research that suggests that a genetic disposition towards religious belief may be a positive survival trait. Why that should be - and it does not presuppose that a god actually exists - seems to promise a far more interesting debate than the Yes-he-does/No-he-doesn't stridency of the Religious on one side and the Atheist on the other.

  • 629.
  • At 09:08 AM on 26 Sep 2006,
  • Richard Turner wrote:

I`ve read much of Mr Dawkins` work on evolution ,memes ,and science in general. I don`t think I have ever read a word of his that did not ring true with me . I think this is mainly due to his unapologetic defence of science and reason , a reason that is under attack in every aspect of daily life today . I feel that this subject matter has been ignored for far too long, and this book ,(hopefully), will be more widely read than any of his previous works.

I`ve been waiting months for "The God Delusion" and look forward to devouring it as soon as I can get my hands on it in October!

Thank you Mr Dawkins !

  • 630.
  • At 09:28 AM on 26 Sep 2006,
  • Matt Evans wrote:

Dawkins clearly has to have a lot of 'faith' in his certainty.

I wonder what he basis his moral code on? I suppose logically, he doesn't have one. If there is no God then there is no right or wrong. One could save a starving child one day and rape and murder another child the next day. If there is no God, then there would be no ultimate right and wrong.

What is it then inside us that repels at the evil we see around us and causes a Lover of a corrupt world to lay down his life itself to save them.

  • 631.
  • At 09:41 AM on 26 Sep 2006,
  • Matthew Ford wrote:

As usual, most of these atheist arguments (both on this page and in the extracts from the book) are aimed at the wrong people. What's the point of criticizing religion, if all the religious readers are put off by the cover before they even open the book? If Dawkins wants to make a constructive difference in the world, and not just to make other atheists feel proudly superior, he needs to learn some tact. Tearing a real human being away from his/her religion is a very, very delicate matter, affecting his/her entire worldview, relationships, and possibly marriage. This is hardly going to be accomplished by a book yelling "YOU ARE AN IDIOT!" on every page, as nearly all atheist books unfortunately do.

  • 632.
  • At 09:50 AM on 26 Sep 2006,
  • Rob wrote:

Whilst I speak as a Christian,I'm not blind to some of the flaws within the Church.

It has done things wrong. It continues to do things wrong.

Thing is, I try to keep my focus on the person and teachings of Jesus, who as far as I can tell lived the kind of life that many, both within the church and beyond admire.

His voice has resonated through time, and the most sincere Christians I encounter are those that have kept their eyes on him and not allowed themselves to be consumed by religious dogma.

I don't agree with Dawkins, but nor will I mock him in the way that many have. Equally, I think that some of his supporters have spoken with a degree of mockery that undermines any quality their arguments might have posessed.

Come on people. If you look solely at religion it will probably leave you cold. Look at Jesus, however, and he remains as compelling as ever.

  • 633.
  • At 09:52 AM on 26 Sep 2006,
  • Richard Heath wrote:

I am so glad Richard Dawkins is trying to wake people up from the brainwashing that is religion.

The sooner we all get real the sooner we will stop blowing each other up and can get on with things that really matter.

  • 634.
  • At 10:04 AM on 26 Sep 2006,
  • Matthew wrote:

Ultimately we have an innate ability to sympathise with another human beings feelings and thoughts. This is one of the key factors in out species' success, we know what other people are thinking.

So, when we see a person in need of help or being unfairly treated we understand how we'd feel in that situation. This causes very similar feelings to if we actually were in that situation and therefore we respond in the same way, i.e. to protect the victim.

Mirror neurons have proven that the act of watching someone do something creates the same thoughts in our mind as if we we're actually doing it, we're "shadowing" them with our thoughts.

See: for a good introduction to mirror neurons.

  • 635.
  • At 10:07 AM on 26 Sep 2006,
  • Joseph wrote:

Matt Evans, poster 632:

So by your reasoning, the only reason we don't rape and murder children is because you've been told by God that it's wrong? What's the matter with you, man! Do you really need the threat of hellfire to guide your actions? Can't you see that right and wrong are human values, and that each human is responsible for bringing a moral structure to his or her own life? That doing the right thing takes on a much more meaningful importance when you don't rely on some old book to tell you what that right thing is?

Perhaps you should read Dawkin's book before commenting; you address none of his lengthy and convincing explanations of how discarding religious faith actually enables one to develop a more advanced morality. And how dangerous (not to mention arrogant) it is when those of faith assume they have a monopoly on moral guidance.

  • 636.
  • At 10:08 AM on 26 Sep 2006,
  • D Petrie wrote:

These are just a few of the numerous eminent scientists that Dawkins and his followers think are illogical. Their crime is that they all believe in God. Obviously Dawkins and his followers regard themselves intellectually superior to these great minds. Many more, including present day ones, are in the book "Science and Faith: Order in the Universe and Cosmic Evolution Motivate Belief in God". The book deals with only a very small fraction of eminent, award winning, highly respected (but not by Dawkins) scientists who see what Dawkins fails to.

Dawkins once said that he didn't know any scientists that disagreed with him. Such ignorance and egocentrism. I challenge him to discuss with his peers who believe and not with a few chosen interviewers who ask questions that are easy for him. And for those who regard Dawkins's book as a work of art be put to shame by these scientists which you regard as intellectually inferior to you.

Prof. Friedrich Dessauer (Physicist):
"The discovery of natural law is a meeting with God."
Baruch Spinoza (Philosopher):
"The more we know of things, the more we know of God."
"Through steady observation and a meaningful contact with the divine order of the world's structure, arranged by God's wisdom, who would not be guided to admire the Builder who creates all!"
Johannes Kepler:
"Work on astronomy means reading God's thoughts."
Walter Heitler (Theoretical physicist):
"A contradiction between science and religion is out of the question. What follows from science are, again and again, clear indications of God's activity which can be so strongly perceived that Kepler dared to say (not daring for him) that 'he could almost touch God with his hand in the universe'".
Isaac Newton:
"The wonderful arrangement and harmony of the cosmos would only originate in the plan of an almighty and omniscient being. This is and remains my greatest comprehension."
Gottfried Wielhelm Leibniz:
"The order, the symmetry, the harmony enchant us … God is pure order. He is the originator of the universal harmony."
Rudjer Boskovic (Astronomer, mathematician, physicist):
"The deepest intelligence of philosophy and science are inseparable from a religious view of the world."
William Herschel:
"The more science develops, the harder it is to reject the evidence of the eternal existence of creative and almighty wisdom."
Andre Marie Ampere (Physicist):
"The most convincing evidence of God's existence is…the evident harmony which maintains the order of the universe, and in which living beings find…what they need for their spiritual and physical development."
Hans Oersted:
"Every thorough investigation of nature leads to perception of God."
Michael Faraday… "was a man of both tremendous religious faith and great scientific achievement. The central, guiding principle of his life was his faith in God as the creator."
Rober Mayer (Physicist and co-founder of thermodynamics):
"I end my life with deep, heartfelt conviction that real, true natural science and philosophy must lead to faith in God and the Christian religion."
Ernest Rutherford (Physicist - Nobel Prize 1908):
"People who do not work in science are under the misapprehension that the scientist, because of his great knowledge, must be irreligious; to the contrary, our work brings us nearer to God."
Paul Sabatier (Chemist - Nobel Prize 1912):
"Only people uneducated in either science or religion can think that they oppose each other."
Max von Laue (Physicist - Nobel Prize 1914):
"The best physicists have always deeply believed that scientific truth represents in one sense a 'glimpse' of God."
Max Planck (Quantum Physicist - Nobel Prize 1918):
"For believers, God is in the beginning, and for physicists He is at the end of all considerations. For the former, God is the basis, and for the latter, the crown of every observation of the world."
Walter Nernst (Co-founder of thermodynamics - Nobel Prize 1920):
"To work in physics means to observe God's creation."
Robert Millikan (Physicist - Nobel Prize 1923):
"People who know little about science, and people who understand little about religion, could argue with each other, and observers might think this is a dispute between science and religion, but actually, it would be a clash between two forms of ignorance."
Arther Compton (Physicist - Nobel Prize 1927):
"Far from being in conflict with religion, science has become religion's ally. With increased understanding of nature we also learn about the God of nature and the role we play in the drama of the cosmos."
Robert Boyd, professor of physics, University of London and director of the Mullard Space Science Laboratory, says, "I can only in honesty assert that I see the whole process (of creation) from beginning to end as the Act of God."

So, are all these great scientists delusional? If this doesn't end the debate then they just like argueing. I think it's time we let this subject alone as you cannot convince people who are so blind to reality that they refuse to accept what is put before their very eyes. Dawkins and his followers are really sad people who we all pray and hope come to accept reality. God bless them!

  • 637.
  • At 10:19 AM on 26 Sep 2006,
  • Songbird wrote:

How intriguing that so many believers who have posted here call their version the 'truth'. They just don't get it about evidence, do they?
And as for the person who called Dawkins a "cold godless man", well, clearly you weren't listening. As a zoologist and evolutionary biologist, Richard Dawkins celebrates life and living things far too much to be called cold, and as for being godless - so what?

His final sentence in the interview will surely be pounced on by believers, and he might regret using the term "put here", but it just goes to show how ingrained in our very vocabulary these expressions are. In any case, the answer to the question of who put us here is of course our parents, and a long line of ancestors before that.

Richard Dawkins is passionate, articulate and dedicated to the search for truth - if he didn't exist it would be necessary for us to invent him. Long may he reign.

  • 638.
  • At 10:20 AM on 26 Sep 2006,
  • JOHN COLDWELL wrote:

That a man, who has no say in when he was born or when he is removed from this world, should have the arrogance, in his brief span of existance, to assert that there is nothing beyond what he has seen or been able to prove empirically, this I call illogical. Nor is it truth. Time for a little humility. " The fool has said in his heart there is no God."

  • 639.
  • At 10:22 AM on 26 Sep 2006,
  • Sue Tekin wrote:

How refreshing to hear someone who can make saying 'I am an atheist' sound as honourable and acceptable as claiming to be a devout believer. You do not have to believe in a god to have moral standards, but it probably takes more strength to keep to them because they are right and not because one believes in a spurious promise of eternal rewards. It also takes considerable ability to asses the right and wrongs of individual situations and not believe in blanket (usually religious morality) to cover all, often causing unbelievable suffering to many.

  • 640.
  • At 10:27 AM on 26 Sep 2006,
  • Geoffrey Tillison wrote:

Believers went through a similar discussion in the 1950's with the 'Honest to God' debate.
I found the interview 'well done' by Jeremy Paxman.
I noted that Richard Dawkins used the word 'believe' well in excess of any pulpit orator I have had the privilege to hear. This could well be, for him, the foretaste of a cataclysmic conversion - a Damascus experience?
I was more than surprised too by his excessive use of the word 'love' - now I wonder where he learned about that?

  • 641.
  • At 10:40 AM on 26 Sep 2006,
  • Tom Roberts wrote:

Religion has often been a 'way' or a path in answer to Auden's question "Tell me the truth about love"

We live in a very different world from the world of the bible. A world of relativity, immense distances in both time and space and overpopulation. Religions have yet to adapt. As a member of a church I have recently questioned everything about the christian faith that I held dear. I found I was increasingly defending a make-believe world which is supported by the church and laughed at by many sane people. It seems to me that many christians do not like to think, but prefer to believe in miracles and a back from the dead person.
It's easy for them and in doing so they place themselves in a power relationship with the church. After all, the church exists to maintain it's existence.
It has objected to almost all scientific advances from the telescope onwards and it has done so because it is afraid to lose power. The christian church can be a very oppressive place for those who like to use their minds. Bishops will say that God loves all equally, but if you are a woman or gay, it must be a different God guiding the church. If you trust the church's definitions then God is mentally ill.

The truths within the message of the man from Nazareth, Gautama, Elijah and Isaac Luria, to name but a few, are enlivening today and help us meet deep needs.
The human condition is steeped in paradoxical meaning and we are all searchers in our lifetime. Let's give each other the space to explore.

  • 642.
  • At 10:45 AM on 26 Sep 2006,
  • Shiv wrote:

So many people commenting on a book they haven't read - why hasn't he thought about this? Why hasn't he thought about that? And yet a moment's reading shows that he has thought about all of those points. Yes, he admits that religions offers consolation, he just doesn't think that's a good enough reason to believe in it. Yes, there may be a genetic / memetic advantage to believing in religion - it still doesn't mean that it is beneficial. Breeding is genetically good, but that doesn't mean that having a child is a sensible thing to do on all occasions.

So you want to believe in god - fine, just don't expect me to. And don't expect me to agree to run society according to the whims and fancies of a group of people writing several thousand years ago when they contradict humanist ideals like equality.

I respect your right to hold stupid beliefs, that doesn't mean I respect those beliefs.

  • 643.
  • At 10:50 AM on 26 Sep 2006,
  • God wrote:

ALL I AM HERE ALL SHALL BOW..Oh sorry about that God here, its been so long and I'm a little out of touch - anyway I'd thought I'd step in and come out at long last. Hey and not like that! Firstly I'm God - I am neither male nor female so sexuality is irrelevant and secondly I'm a homophobe (see Bible).

Now that this little argument is over I'd best get on with some apologies. Where to start?

Men sorry (for women), Women (sorry for Men), snakes (you really don't deserve the bad rap), goats, all the animals that didn't make it into the Ark (there wasn't the room), the guy at my "son's" crucifixion who got hit by lightning (a was a bit pissed), the crusades, numerous other wars - especially WWII and my main Jewish Guys! (I was on Holiday), all the starving in Africa (have you tried growing stuff there?), the recent Tsunamis (me and Satan have been taken to surfing lately). I think I've missed a few things off here but that’II do for know.

A bet Richard is feeling really stupid now; I've such a sense of humour! That’ I teach him.

Anyway I've a thousand or so years worth of prays and e-mails to chuckle through so I'm going to be busy for next couple of weeks or so and then I'm on vacation again.

One last thing - I know that a lot of you are curious about. Dinosaurs. Ok, well they were supposed to be in the Bible but my editors at the time Raphael and Uriel felt that it was a little too long. If, Peter Jackson ever gets around to filming the epic 'Lord of the Bible' these deleted chapters may make it into the extended DVD. Oopps little teaser there.

Well see you folks and remember keep praying!

ALL I AM HERE ALL SHALL BOW..Oh sorry about that God here, its been so long and I'm a little out of touch - anyway I'd thought I'd step in and come out at long last. Hey and not like that! Firstly I'm God - I am neither male nor female so sexuality is irrelevant and secondly I'm a homophobe (see Bible).

Now that this little argument is over I'd best get on with some apologies. Where to start?

Men sorry (for women), Women (sorry for Men), snakes (you really don't deserve the bad rap), goats, all the animals that didn't make it into the Ark (there wasn't the room), the guy at my "son's" crucifixion who got hit by lightning (a was a bit pissed), the crusades, numerous other wars - especially WWII and my main Jewish Guys! (I was on Holiday), all the starving in Africa (have you tried growing stuff there?), the recent Tsunamis (me and Satan have been taken to surfing lately). I think I've missed a few things off here but that’II do for know.

A bet Richard is feeling really stupid now; I've such a sense of humour! That’ I teach him.

Anyway I've a thousand or so years worth of prays and e-mails to chuckle through so I'm going to be busy for next couple of weeks or so and then I'm on vacation again.

One last thing - I know that a lot of you are curious about. Dinosaurs. Ok, well they were supposed to be in the Bible but my editors at the time Raphael and Uriel felt that it was a little too long. If, Peter Jackson ever gets around to filming the epic 'Lord of the Bible' these deleted chapters may make it into the extended DVD. Oopps little teaser there.

Well see you folks and remember keep praying!


  • 644.
  • At 11:05 AM on 26 Sep 2006,
  • Rethaya wrote:

First off I must say that I'm a psychic, and I've seen proof of many things science has yet to explain. Part of what follows is a small story related to what caused me to adapt to a spiritual path in life. I don't care if anyone believes me or not. I for one can say that my life was changed by something science may never explain.

This book seems to take all thats bad about religion and try to use that as a reason to attack the ideas of theology when, so far, science hasn't disproven the idea that god exists. It also disregards the many good things about religion. There is no reason to believe that god doesn't exist just because many people have seen no proof of it, when many others have.

I used to be an athiest, and I was self-centered, depressed, and suicidal and I thought there was no point to life and that it wouldn't matter whether I continued my life or not. Eventually I took to cutting myself in preparation for the final act that I would commit to in my life. I was pretty far gone and psychotic at that point, but anyway eventually I had a vision of something you could call a spirit of some sort who showed me mental images of a car wreck. Two weeks later my best friend's girlfriend died in such an accident. Seeing the pain it caused him from having to bury the girl he loved was horrible. Thinking about my vision and the fact that I may have been able to prevent it was almost as bad.

I'm not sure what caused that vision, but it turned my life around. Seeing that and the many inexplicable paranormal things that followed over the years was not neccessarily proof of god's existance, but it was proof that science has yet to explain everything. Science may never explain everything, and for this man to write a book as an apparent attack on theology is arrogant. Without something science has yet to explain I would be dead right now.

I went from being a suicidal athiest to being a relatively happy life-loving human being within a year from witnessing the power of something I can't fully comprehend, whether you want to call it god or whatever, it helped me, and I doubt I'm the only one with such experiences. If scientists or anyone else wants to call that delusional then I'm happy with my delusions.

  • 645.
  • At 11:08 AM on 26 Sep 2006,
  • Barbara Lockwood wrote:

The God Delusion

What a great discussion, Professor Dawkins- I go along with his every word- It must be a great read; however, I cannot afford it, on a pension.--Barbara Norwich

  • 646.
  • At 11:11 AM on 26 Sep 2006,
  • Jayhawk wrote:

I have had a relationship with God for 33 years now and belive me it isnt a delusion. I can't prove it - except to point to Jesus, but then neither does Dawkins have proof that God doesnt exist, so unfortunately for him it's a matter of faith. Ironic huh?

  • 647.
  • At 11:21 AM on 26 Sep 2006,
  • j wrote:

This common sense thinking is welcome and a long time overdue... about 2000 years overdue

2000 years ago some one did have a common sense view. He was ignored by those who sort power i.e the church.
What he said was right wether you chose to think of him as god or man.
Love one another. Is that so damn hard.

  • 648.
  • At 11:27 AM on 26 Sep 2006,
  • IB wrote:

Religion? A belief system used as a crutch by those individuals who are too weak to accept that the universe and everything contained in it is nothing but a series of random events. Stop wasting your life looking for some divine purpose. At last an intelligent debate about the biggest cause of death and misery on this planet.

  • 649.
  • At 11:29 AM on 26 Sep 2006,
  • Ian wrote:

It seems very clear to me that Professor Dawkins has very little understanding of what Christianity is all about. Christian's have a living relationship with Jesus Christ and believe that the Bible is the word of God, inspired by the Holy Spirit which gives it Authority to speak into their lives about how to live, how to treat others and how to have a relationship with God and not be his enemy. Professor Dawkins would be well advised to relinquish his personal agenda of pride and investigate in a truly open manner 'real' Christianity rather than the 'religion' that seems to have confused him. I for one would not choose to make an enemy of God in the manner that he is doing, it is eternal suicide.

Professor Dawkins : I pray that God will reveal himself to you in all his Truth, Majesty and Glory that you will know the incredible love that he has for you through his Grace, despite your efforts to deny him.

  • 650.
  • At 11:33 AM on 26 Sep 2006,
  • Mendel wrote:

Prof dawkins as like soo many in our world today are deliquent of the purpose and reason of God that their ethos reflects the perversions they pursue and the lack of interest by God himself to reveal Himself to them, making their end and life as full of godlessness as the topics they immaturely follow.
If you knew God at all, you will know that everybody, Christains,Muslims,English,Jews,indians,sodom,lot or americans eventually reap what they sow... you will to.

  • 651.
  • At 11:34 AM on 26 Sep 2006,
  • De Burke wrote:

(127)Gareth Morris wrote:
"Shouldn't science be a study of what we can observe and identify."

I have yet to hear of any substantiated accounts of transubstantiation, women turning into pillars of salt, men living to be 800 years old, lepers being healed with a touch or ANYTHING being created from raw firmament. Why accept these as facts based on a book written 2000 years ago, but also 300 after all this stuff is supposed to have happened?

"Monkeys have similar features to humans so that is enough to say as a fact that we evolve from them? What about comparing a small cessna plane to a 747. They have similar features. Did the cessna physically evolve into a jumbo? Of course it didn't. It had a common designer who used a similar blueprint."

Of course 747 didn't literally evolve from smaller aircraft. One of the main requirements for evolution is for the organism evolving to be alive. This is demonstratably not the fact with airplanes. You can sit and watch one from now until your dying day and you will not see one grow, respond to stimuli, respire, absorb nutrition, excrete or reproduce. These are not things that objects do. Airplanes are not alive-therefore you can't apply characteristics of living organisms to them.

Figuratively speaking 747s DID "evolve" from smaller airplanes. The basic design was validated because of its success, and that blueprint was scaled up to make larger, more powerful, more efficient airplanes. The major difference between humans and planes has been, as I said before, the fact that planes are not alive and are incapable of reproducing themselves, so we must do it for them. Thinking about it now, I quite like the analogy of how planes have evolved; one basic design being adopted over many "generations" to fit all niches available- speed, strength, size, space, load bearing, one man. Were it possible to remove humans from the equation and bring life to the machines it would be a great demonstration of evolution in progress.

  • 652.
  • At 11:45 AM on 26 Sep 2006,
  • Mofo wrote:

Religion, like politics and sport, is something that everyone likes to feel they are experts on. It is simple for an atheist to dismiss any religion as nonsense, believers as deluded and holy texts as 'fairytales.' Anything that upsets the apple-cart that is our very own comfy status-quo must be removed. In the same way, 2000 years ago, how would people have reacted to this Jesus of Nazareth - a man proclaiming to be the Son of God, healing the sick and talk of heaven and everlasting life? It burst the little bubble of the Chief Priests and the Pharisees, and the knee-jerk reaction was to label this man a blasphemer, and to dispose of him on a cross. Very deep running stuff, very human reactions..much more I feel than the stuff of fairytales. Yet people want facts, they want black and white evidence..however this gift of faith still exists; and is not some form of mental illness. Yes, fundamentalism and violence and killing are WRONG, but this divine mystery of faith requires much more than a human 'expert' to understand it fully. While it must be accepted that not all will have faith, why should those that do become objects of derision and become pariahs?

  • 653.
  • At 11:55 AM on 26 Sep 2006,
  • subaqua wrote:

From Post 515:

"God hates all sin"

"God considers hatred as murder"

Therefore, God is a murderer.

"God hates all sin so much so that He says it is deserving of everlasting punishment."

So, is God in Hell?

I have always found it interesting that in English, the words "god" and "good", "devil" and "evil" are so similar. It can't be chance...has to be "design", right?

  • 654.
  • At 11:56 AM on 26 Sep 2006,
  • Douglas Hooker wrote:

Terrorism is just terrorism and to try and infer that governments are abusing the term, to go on a religious crusade against Islam, is a ridiculous and evil inflammatory presumption in itself.
I am only taking the exerts as a basis for this comment, but it angers me that the author of this book has judged so many people in the world to be naive, easily manipulated and basically stupid for believing in their own version of God and how we came to be on the Earth. The author has not challenged himself or the issue in any depth and this book was never going to be anything else but an atheist’s biased rant.
The corruption of religion is dangerous, because as the author said people pick and chose what religion is to them. No single interpretation of the writings can be accepted as the complete and undeniable truth. Part of humanity is having imagination and trying to solve mysteries, so no society could ever be based solely on science. Without religion, philosophers would only create their own theories to answer life’s big questions and conflict would still come from groups following one theory or another and taking the views to an extreme.
I believe that God brought about the conditions in the universe for Earth to become a life-bearing planet, that though we have evolved since Earth’s conception we have an immortal soul and that God sent his only son to die for our sins. The author would see this as delusional religious nonsense and that I am picking and choosing what to believe from the bible. Trying to digest the bible as if it were an unquestionable book of laws with no room for interpretation is not the path that modern Christianity has taken. I see religion in general as a force for good. I see with my own eyes that children who have a solid foundation of religion on which to base their adult decisions on, have better lives than those that don't, even if they later decide to abandon the ethos that they were brought up with.
To read the interpretations of bible stories from someone without faith is pointless, painful and obviously going to make Christians out to be bereft of the simplest analytical skills. Why should I as a modern-minded British Christian trouble myself to analyse every word and line of the bible when the author of this book hasn’t troubled himself to better research the way that Christian’s decipher the bible. Making up his own mind on my religion and everyone else’s and only backing it up by interviewing likeminded ex-clergy members and academics is proof of prejudiced and shoddy work and I urge people to make up their own minds on God, without using this book as their starting point. No religion is a source of evil.

  • 655.
  • At 12:00 PM on 26 Sep 2006,
  • tony wrote:

So, believers, you need a God to tell you what to do?
I am truly astonished.
Truly astonished.
As a human being, with a heart, with 4 fingers and a thumb on each hand, with a liver and two kidneys, with two feet and two eyes, and with a nose, with hair and with a digestive system that works, I am glad I am human, NOT GOD's image.

I am glad I dont believe in God, because in my own right, I am human.

I eat chicken, not because it was made for us, but because I love chicken meat.

God created this, created that, in 6 days or whatver. He created Hell for people who sin.

Why does God ask us questions if He knows the answer?
In the book of Genesis, God asks why Eve ate the apple?
Doesnt God know?
Isnt God omnipotent, omniscient?

Truly astounding.

Believers of God, at what point did you start to believe in God, since there must have been a time that you didnt?
Give the specific time: date, day, location, time (hours and minutes)

Are you saying that as a baby, that you were a believer of God?

Religion is good, but not God.

Does Satan exist then?
The Devil?
Did God create them?
If God is omnipotent, omniscient, why does He create the things he knew he would create?

If God is omnipotent, why create us?

Is there something more powerful than God?
It must be.

If God created us, then why?
God is omnipotent, omniscient, all-knowing.
If God knew everything, and He has to create us, then Who told Him to do it?

God cannot be omnipotent, unless he is not, simply because He knew he had to create us.
What compelled God to create us?

Is God delusional?
Yes, and so are we humans.
Its the flaw in the "Gods design"
We are flawed.

Think about miscarriages, suffering, and the terrible events that take our loved ones.
God would not permit this, unless he is truly indifferent.

Think about the pain when you cut yourself with a knife; we bleed and we heal.

Why do we feel pain?

Humans are not perfectly designed. Why?
Humans are weak.
Accept your weakness, believers.

  • 656.
  • At 12:03 PM on 26 Sep 2006,
  • Vincenzo wrote:

The Darwinian Theory of Religion

Religion can be neatly explained in the
framework of Darwinian evolution.

Religious people tend to have more babies
than non-religious ones, and also strive
to educate them in their religion, setting
off a positive-feedback process.

This is (or was -- see below) in turn
beneficial for survival of the species as
a whole, as more offsprings are produced.
The fact that religion in itself may be irrational,
weird, even cruel, is irrelevant in this context,
if the end result is the survival of the species.
Likewise the odd victims of religious violence fall
below the noise level of
the population growth.

This is akin to the Peacock's tail.
In itself a totally useless appendage -- even
positively dangerous for the individual --
yet instrumental to the survival of the
Peacock species as we know it. Cut off
the tail to all male peacocks you can
catch and watch the birthrate plummet.

You may well point out that these days
excessive population growth is a
liability rather than an asset,
but this is entirely a different story.
Also, serious Darwinians are not
supposed to try and predict evolution
(or lack thereof) into the future.

  • 657.
  • At 12:07 PM on 26 Sep 2006,
  • Josef wrote:

A lot of people have siezed upon Dawkins' comment that 'I don't believe we were put here for comfort' as proof of a double standard in his thinking: "If you're such an atheist, who did put us here, eh?".

All these people are wilfully misunderstanding the point and assuming that being 'here for comfort' was the only part he didn't believe in.

What he actually said he didn't believe in was being 'put here for comfort': he doesn't believe we are here for comfort BECAUSE he doesn't believe we were put here. Not by any rational, omnipotent being anyway.

  • 658.
  • At 12:12 PM on 26 Sep 2006,
  • Niall McAleenan wrote:

Well i think every argument has been said already but thank you Richard Dawkins for speaking out and not just allowing religous people to get away with never having to prove their religion. Blind faith is the biggest ever cop out. Plenty of Jesus' folowers had miracles to affirm their religion why do we have to have blind faith. Go richard!!! Niall from Belfast

  • 659.
  • At 12:26 PM on 26 Sep 2006,
  • Susan wrote:

Poor God! It is the only one who doesn't have a say on this matter.

  • 660.
  • At 12:29 PM on 26 Sep 2006,
  • Julia Withington wrote:

Just to say that many of the comments pick up on the fact that Mr Dawkins refers to being "put here".

Many replies have picked up on this - what they haven't picked up on is the context of the sentence. He doesn't just beleive we weren't put here to be comfortable - he beleives we weren't put here!!!!

  • 661.
  • At 12:29 PM on 26 Sep 2006,
  • Gary wrote:

If blind faith is the biggest ever cop out, does that include blind faith in the non-existence of a deity ? Unfortunately I did not see the interview, but I looked at the BBC article here. It seemed very oriented towards specific religions and ancient texts, and seemed to think there was a point to be made that beliefs have changed over time. Well of course they have, there would be something wrong if it they had not. What a pointless point. Just because beliefs change does not mean all belief is inevitably wrong. A bit of tolerance between those who opt for different blind faiths, wouldn't go amiss.

  • 662.
  • At 12:42 PM on 26 Sep 2006,
  • Ian wrote:

At 628, Martin asked Gareth to explain his conversion. Why bother. It'll just be the usual fundamentalist nonsense.

Threads like this always end up with the same polarised postings. The atheists can't understand the believers and the believers don't understand the atheists.

However, as someone else said, in one or two or five hundred years, when ALL religious nonsense has been consigned to the superstitious dustbin of history and mankind is spreading through the galaxy, our descendents will be writing copious doctoral theses trying to explain it all.

At least it's going to provide work for future academics.

  • 663.
  • At 12:42 PM on 26 Sep 2006,
  • ian wrote:

I was bought up a Catholic. From the early age of seven, I started to feel ashamed of myself, in the eyes of my ever watching God. I didn't feel that i was good enough to gain the love of my family, I didn't feel that I could stand up for myself without causing some kind of sin. I didn't feel that there was much I could do that wasn't loaded with sin of some kind or another, be that pride, envy, lust, greed, and so on. It didn't seem clear to me, in my formative years, that part of growing up is becoming aware of these feelings and thoughts, dissecting them, rather than ignoring, or automatically feeling guilty because of them. I officially broke my marriage with religious dogma at the age of twelve, although i tried for a number of years to see the morality within the teachings of various faiths. It was either that, or go mad, whilst being taught in a catholic boys school. In my own thoughts, I knew that none of the religious dogmas made sense. Who decides what is a just war? A god, we will never have the privellage of meeting, whilst we should, out of the purity of our tainted hearts(uh?) blindly, unquestionably follow the desicions of our leaders, who by virtue of position, have Gods ear? It says much about My secondary school, St. Aloysious college, that creationism was widely spouted, whilst the quagmire of the big bang was explained away as trying to understand how God done it. Heavy depression was staved away purly by the fact that the only teachers we had that would openly question all this, and put it into the shade of metaphore were the Christian Brothers that taught some of t