April 7, 2020
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The Case Against Faith (Richard Dawkins)



I was asked to talk about faith and not being an expert on faith and fundamentalism like dr. Marty and I would greatly enjoyed listening to him I'm going to talk about faith as a scientist faith to me means belief in the absence of evidence and I want to begin by illustrating the difference between faith based belief and evidence based belief in the form of a spoof issue of the quarterly review of biology well known biological Journal and I've invented an issue a special issue on the vet quest vexed question of how did the dinosaurs come to an end did an asteroid killed the dinosaurs liner I've got a list of imaginary papers that might be submitted to the quarterly review on this question did an astronaut kill the dinosaurs first paper iridium layer at KT boundary and potassium argon dated crater in Yucatan indicate that an asteroid killed the dinosaurs perfectly sensible respectable scientific paper the president of the Royal Society has been vouchsafed a strong inner conviction that an asteroid killed the dinosaurs it has been privately revealed to Professor Hut stain that an asteroid killed the dinosaurs professor hordley was brought up to have total and unquestioning faith that an asteroid killed the dinosaurs professor Hawkins has promulgated an official Dogma binding on all loyal Hawkins Ian's that an asteroid killed the dinosaurs well I hope it's clear that paper number one is the one that I approve of and I hope that nobody will approve of papers two three four or five they do seem to me to illustrate precisely the religious approach to what's true about the world faith can sometimes be caught like a virus from a charismatic preacher or a persuasive book but more usually faith is hereditary isn't it a remarkable coincidence almost everybody has the same religion as their parents and it always just happens to be the right to religion religions tend to run in families if we'd been brought up in ancient Greece we'd all be worshipping Zeus and Apollo we'd been born Vikings we'd all be worshipping Wotan and Thor how does it come about through childhood indoctrination at Christmastime one year my daily newspaper The Independent was looking for a seasonal picture and they found this heartwarmingly ecumenical one of a school nativity play the three wise men were played by shad breat a Sikh musharraf a Muslim and Adel a Christian all aged four I'm going to make one slight change to that caption shad breat a monetarist Musharraf a Keynesian an Adele a Marxist all aged four [Applause] if that headline had appeared might not the parents have been investigated to see whether they were fit to bring up children the feminists taught me about consciousness-raising and I want to raise our consciousness about the labeling of tiny children with the religion of their parents if we're talking about four-year-old children there's no such thing as a Catholic child there's only a child of Catholic Paris there's no such thing as a Protestant child there's no such thing as a Muslim child only a child of Muslim parents let's change that picture one more time Chad breed and atheist musharraf and agnostic and Adele a secular humanist all aged four I suggest that those that parents of such children might have been investigated for child abuse you've all seen maps like this which map out in color the predominant religions of the world in a green area you're a Sunni Muslim in a red area you're a Protestant etc what a preposterous thing that map is when you think about it imagine that a similar map were constructed of the scientists of the world portraying what they feel about the extinction of the dinosaurs the point is that although that is ridiculous all of society even the secular part of society accepts that it is perfectly natural to see a map like the previous one in an atlas of the world and it's perfectly natural to see in a newspaper headline this child this four-year-old child is a Christian this foil child is a Muslim etc it's not just that religious people accept that all of us in society have been persuaded cajoled into treating religion as uniquely allowed to get away with such outrageous labeling there's a map of Belfast with Protestant areas and Catholic areas and throughout centuries of history those represent battle lines there's no other difference between the people who live in Belfast they're the same color they speak the same language they look the same they sound the same the only difference is they have different hereditary faiths here editorial in the sense that they Protestants go to Protestant schools and their children do and their grandchildren do Catholics go to Catholic schools and it goes on down the generations and they are taught separation again this preposterous idea of scientific theories being mapable it's accepted in religion curious noise going on it's rather a monotonous tune now science is often accused of arrogant certainty but how about faith Clarke's third law arthur c clarke any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic Clarke's third law is a good illustration of the humility of science in this case in the guise of Technology we're humble in the sense that we are implicitly acknowledging that the technology of say a century's time or two centuries time will appear to us as magical as our technology as mobile phones as computers as Boeing 747s would have appeared to an 18th century person the same is true of science of his attitude to the mysteries of the universe JBS Haldane the great british scientist and polymath said now my own suspicion is that the universe is not only queerer than we suppose but queerer than we can suppose I suspect that there are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamed of or can be dreamed of in any philosophy richard fineman compared the accuracy of quantum theories experimental predictions to specifying the width of north america to within one hair's breadth this means quantum theory has got to be true in some sense yet the predictions are so fantastically accurate yet the assumptions that quantum theory needs to make in order to deliver those predictions are so mysterious that even Fineman himself was move to remark if you think you understand quantum theory you don't understand quantum theory David Deutsch in this splendid book the fabric of reality resorts to and I think resort is the right word the many-worlds interpretation of quantum theory because the worst you can say of that is that it's preposterous ly wasteful it postulates a vast and rapidly growing number of universes existing in parallel mutually undetectable except through the narrow portal of quantum mechanical experiments these universes all differ in slight ways in some of these universes I'm already dead in a minority of them I have a green beard and so on the alternative Copenhagen interpretation is equally preposterous the human mind was not evolved to understand these things yet the predictions indicate that in some sense they are true science is humble enough to recognize that there are that the universe is queerer than we can suppose what is it that makes us capable of supposing anything and does this tell us anything about what we can suppose are there things about the universe that will be forever beyond our grasp but not beyond the grasp of some superior intelligence some superior superhuman intelligence or other things about the universe that are in principle ungraspable by any mind however superior the history of science has been a long series of violent brain storms as successive generations have come to terms with increasing levels of queerness in the universe we're now so used to the idea that the Earth spins rather than the Sun moving across the sky it's hard for us to realize what a shattering mental revolution that must have been after all it seemed so obvious that the earth is large and motionless the Sun small and mobile although it's worth recalling what Vivian Stein said on the subject a friend asked Victor can start sorry Wittgenstein asked a friend of his why do people always say it was natural for man to assume that the Sun went round the earth rather than that the earth was rotating his friend replied well obviously because it looks as though the Sun is going round the earth bitman Stein responded well what would it have looked like if it had looked as though the earth was rotating science has taught us many things against our intuition apparently solid things like crystals and rocks are really almost entirely empty space the familiar illustration is a fly in the middle of a sports stadium the atom the nucleus of the atom is the fly in the middle of the sports stadium and the next nucleus is the next fly in the middle of the next sports stadium the hardest solidus densest rock is quote really almost entirely empty space broken only by tiny particles so widely spaced they shouldn't count why then do rocks look and feel solid and hard and impenetrable well as an evolutionary biologist I'd say something like this our brains have evolved to help us survive within the orders of magnitude of size and speed at which our bodies normally operate we never evolved to navigate in the world of atoms if we had our brains probably would perceive rocks as full of empty space rocks feel hard and impenetrable to our hands because our hands themselves can't penetrate them it's therefore useful to our brains to construct notions like solidity and impenetrability moving to the other end of the scale our ancestors never had to navigate through the cosmos at anything like the speed of light if they had our brains would be much better at quote quote coping with Einstein relativity I give the name middle world to the medium scaled environment with things moving at medium speeds in which we have evolved in which our brains have evolved the ability to understand and take action Steve Grande he's the one on the left Douglas Adams is on the right it's Steve at the Steve grands book creation life and how to make it he is almost scathing with our mundane preoccupation with matter itself we have this tendency to think that only solid material things really are the at all waves of electromagnetic fluctuation in a vacuum seemed unreal and for the Victorians they seemed so unreal that they had to be waves in some material mediums of the Victorians invented the ether to cope with that a whirlpool for Steve Grande is a thing with just as much reality as a rock even though a whirlpool only has its shape because of motion that that's a similar effect that's a sand dune in Tanzania which moves which walks at about 17 meters per year but it retains its shape because the wind blows the dust in that form another quotation from Steve Grande he says think of an experience from your childhood something you remember clearly something you can see feel maybe even smell as if you were really there after all you really were there at the time weren't you how else would you remember it but here is the bombshell you weren't there not a single atom that is in your body today was there when that event took place matter flows from place to place and momentarily comes together to be you whatever you are therefore you are not the staff of which you are made if that doesn't make the hair stand up on the back of your neck read it again until it does because it is important we are evolved denizens of middle world and that limits what we are capable of imagining we find it intuitively easy to grasp ideas like when a rabbit moves at the sort of medium velocity at which rabbits and other middle world objects do move and hits another solid middle world object it knocks itself out science has the humility to recognize that there's an awful lot but we don't understand and maybe that we can't understand Carl Sagan said how is it that hardly any major religion has looked at science and concluded this is better than we thought the universe is much bigger than our prophet said grander more subtle more elegant instead they say no no no my god is a little God and I want him to stay that way a religion old or new that stressed the magnificence of the universe as revealed by modern science might be able to draw forth reserves of reverence and awe hardly tapped by the conventional faiths faith on the other hand seems to me to show an arrogance which is missing from science I know the truth and nothing will change my mind my holy book tells me the truth that I needed look no further my priest my Pope my ayat Allah tells me the truth I need look no further and in a voice in my head tells me the truth I need look no further talking back to my quarterly review of biology spoof so where science is filled with doubt skepticism willingness to learn openness to correction faith is exactly the opposite I'm going to tell two anecdotes to illustrate the difference curt wise is an american geologists highly qualified trained at the University of Chicago and at Harvard in geology and paleontology under Steve Gould no less but he had a fatal weakness he was infected with deep faith early in his life and he couldn't shake it off and as he grew older after he graduated he became increasingly uneasy about the mismatch the incompatibility between his Sciences geology his Haley ontology and his Scripture and one evening he put it to the test with a pair of scissors he got a Bible he went right through the whole Bible with a pair of scissors cutting out physically cutting out every verse in the Bible that would have to go if he were to accept the scientific worldview that he'd learned at Chicago and Harvard I quote try as I might and even with the benefit of intact margin throughout the pages of Scripture I found it impossible to pick up the Bible without it being rent into I had to make a decision between evolution and Scripture either the scripture was true and evolution was wrong or evolution was true and I must toss out the Bible it was there that night that I accepted the Word of God and rejected all that would ever counter it including evolution with that in great sorrow I tossed into the fire all my dreams and hopes in science I think that's a tragic story I think that anything in this case faith that can do that to a man like Curt wise is a force for evil and if it can do that to a highly educated scientist like Curt wise just think what it can do to the rest of the population my contrasting story is of a scientist an elderly scientist who was a senior figure in my department at Oxford when I was an undergraduate for years this old man when I say old he's probably about the same age I am now have to be careful he had taught us and he had believed that at the golgi apparatus which is a piece of submicroscopic a piece of microscopic apparatus inside most cells he believed that the golgi apparatus was an artifact he thought it didn't exist and he had written paper after paper after paper on this he'd lectured to asunder' graduates about this and then one day an American cell biologist came and gave a public lecture in our department in which he demonstrated beyond all possible doubt that the golgi apparatus was real our old man strode to the front of the lecture hall took him by the hand and said my dear fellow I wish to thank you I have been wrong these 15 years and all of us applauded till our hands were red and none of us will ever have forgotten that incident that is science at its best that's the very opposite of faith that's knowing when you are wrong even being pleased to be disproved that's a bit of an of an ideal but that's what he did what finally baffles me is the way our society all of our society has limply bought into the idea that faith should somehow be treated with exaggerated respect as I said before even secular individuals have come to accept the idea that faith should somehow be immune to criticism simply because it is faith where you would gladly criticize somebody's political views or their artistic tastes or their football team or their views on hunting or gun ownership or something like that when it comes to faith we are all expected to back off and say no no we can't criticize faith it isn't done it's not good manners to criticize faith well I think it's about time we started criticizing faith the truth is that without this convention of good manners which pervades our society faith couldn't withstand criticism because it has no resources with which to do the withstanding how can you defend a position when there are by definition no arguments in its favor so my suggestion is that we should henceforth abandon our social convention of automatic respect for religious faith finally just to make the point that this only a theory you all have seen that in criticisms of evolution evolution is only a theory it's one of the crosses we have to bear if you'll pardon the expression isn't it ironic that this only a theory actually stems from the non arrogance of science because scientists are careful enough and cautious enough to say that everything they know is only a theory which is just awaiting disproof yet that humility comes back and bites us in the form of the criticism evolution is only a theory which implies that it is in doubt HL Mencken said we must respect the other fellows religion but only in the sense and to the extent that we respect his theory that his wife is beautiful and his children smart thank you very much thank you very much

Otis Rodgers

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31 COMMENTS

  1. David Canatella Posted on June 1, 2019 at 2:22 pm

    Richard our brains are quantum just like the rest of us. Go ahead argue ya big square. Scientists are stuck in the box. in order to understand the universe quit being something like a scientist or a religious disciple and be the universe.

    Reply
  2. Mohanad Mahdi Posted on June 1, 2019 at 2:22 pm

    Dawkins…. you believe in evolution without sound evidence …. so you have a blind faith!!!!

    Reply
  3. Don farlan Posted on June 1, 2019 at 2:22 pm

    Good thing this wasn't the 60s you might be taken as a Soviet enemy

    Reply
  4. #WalkAway Posted on June 1, 2019 at 2:22 pm

    This presentation is well-articulated and thought-provoking.

    Reply
  5. Lee James Posted on June 1, 2019 at 2:22 pm

    Imagine were the human race would be if someone hadn't started tricking people into believing in their b.s. traveling in time and space? We would have understood the pyramids and what they are about. The how, when, why and were. Not living in fear of death and destruction caused by blind faith in nothing!

    Reply
  6. Lee James Posted on June 1, 2019 at 2:22 pm

    Well, now we have little boys that are really little girls, because, projection!
    Just cut it off and give it pills and injections and you can have a wonderful little girl.
    People are IDIOTS.
    ( a non believer in human bs)

    Reply
  7. GoVitasCom Posted on June 1, 2019 at 2:22 pm

    Tell us, Mr Dawkins, are there more than two human genders according to medical science? No. So why not give a speech that denounces the BGTSL who are at war against Science? Come on, Mr Dawkins. We're waiting….

    Reply
  8. Michael Seo Posted on June 1, 2019 at 2:22 pm

    There is no such thing as an atheist child.

    Reply
  9. Artiom Andreev Posted on June 1, 2019 at 2:22 pm

    THE CASE AGAINST DAWKINS :

    Dawkins was once, some 30 years ago, asked a question by creationists : " can you give an example of a mutation or evolutionary process which can be seen to increase information to genomes " (thus enabling progress from daphnia to Dawkins), yet still preaches his Darwinian faith as science..

    Reply
  10. Steve Posted on June 1, 2019 at 2:22 pm

    I'd rather hear about "The Case against Scientists".

    Reply
  11. Tamer Aydogdu Posted on June 1, 2019 at 2:22 pm

    Evidence of God's existence wouldn't solve the mystery. Then the next question would be why would there be one God? If there are multiple which one should humans warship

    Reply
  12. Matthew Tenney Posted on June 1, 2019 at 2:22 pm

    That's not my definition of faith. To the militant atheists, faith is always a bad thing. Would Dawkins like an unfaithful wife? an unfaithful employee? A Marine Corp with the motto "
    non fidelis"?

    Reply
  13. HoubaBouba Posted on June 1, 2019 at 2:22 pm

    Im not sure I agree on his definition of faith at all. When God spoke to Moses and told him to strike the rock, when he did it, although he didn't know what would happen, he had faith: he trusted or had faith in God that God would or could be counted upon. So, if I were to tell someone " Gosh Steve, you have absolutely NO faith in me" – You can imagine that the argument was about him not trusting my capabilities.

    The same for Christian faith. Faith in God is also trusting that God is capable to deliver on His promises. It is based on evidence also, and that evidence comes from experience. St Mary, when she told her Son that there was no wine left in the wedding feast at Canaa – who told her that Christ could do anything? No miracles were ever done before?? Experience from her entire life with Christ led her to have faith in His capabilities. Why is this ignorant man on religion talking about religion?? 

    This does him a disservice as he seems to be using science to attack religion – it is like using a car to drive me to the moon. It is the wrong vehicle, for the wrong purpose.

    Reply
  14. GoVitasCom Posted on June 1, 2019 at 2:22 pm

    Until Richard Dawkins exposes the transgenders who violate the scientific principles of human biology and genetics, he has no ground on which to stand against "faith." Just because a man wears a dress and "believes" he is a woman, doesn't change his DNA; nor can a woman magically change her DNA by claiming she is a man. Tell them about the science, Dawkins or shut up.

    Reply
  15. Richard Schaefer Posted on June 1, 2019 at 2:22 pm

    Faith or Evidence….? Uh…there is no evidence that "In the beginning there was a self-creating pebble, the size of a pea, that auto-detonated for some reason and created matter, gravity, the laws of physics, time, blackholes, and perhaps billions of galaxies and maybe even billions of universes.

    Purpose or Happenstance? Plan or Magic? No one has any freakin' idea…and I suspect that is part of the plan.

    Reply
  16. Patrick Posted on June 1, 2019 at 2:22 pm

    Science is wonderful and does not conflict with the Christian faith as many will have you believe.Furthermore,I will suggest that Science , through technology has done much more good than harm( some post-modernists might disagree).
    Science has also helped to explain a lot of the universe at both the astronomical and sub molecular level.You say :" We know that !! " True. I just don't want people shooting off unnecessarily, that is why I take the pains.
    How ever, Science has failed to explain more than it led us to believe it can explain.In fact personally, I do not believe Science can explain EVERYTHING.Take all the time you need!!
    The Christian faith has also failed to explain everything.I concede !!
    However, Christians humbly quote from the bible" What God has revealed to us (through Science and otherwise) belongs to us and our children, and the things not revealed to us belong to God"
    On the other hand . when Science fails, fanatics(not all) ,many of them clueless about science and her capabilities , insist : " Given enough time science will explain this" .Their FAITH is in "ENOUGH TIME" usually , billions of years.
    Well, when some scientists started postulating that our universe shall not last forever( collision with Andromeda? Sun burns out?) then I guess some became impatient and less enchanted with this science and it's "given enough time" excuses,
    We are at a point now where,:
    "I found mine in The Gospel of Jesus Christ"
    "She found hers in Post Modernism" and
    " He found his in Sciences"
    Found what ?Found the partial answers to life's big questions.
    I hope you find yours.Be true to yourself and feel enough confidence in it,that you can tolerate my claims of a hell, a heaven and a God. And yes."Given enough time, I can prove they exist…"
    Thank you all

    Reply
  17. Patrick Posted on June 1, 2019 at 2:22 pm

    Poor Dawkins..that's a hard sell brother.Just when science was gaining on faith, along came post-modernism.
    Preachers continue to preach FAITH
    The Dawkins continue to preach Science
    And the masses continue in their herd mentality…BUT
    The few who have met the True God cannot be swayed…They know He lives
    It is just impossible to have a relationship with your creator and then think, "Yeah, I hear you Dawkins,,I never thought of that! It must be because I was born in a Christian home"
    The fact is, there are proselytes, and the number just keeps growing in every non Christian culture , world wide, as I write.If you don;t believe me, then be happy, because you've won!!
    Like the french saying translates into English " The dogs bark, but "sadly", the convoy passes on, unperturbed". Sorry Dawkins.

    Reply
  18. GoVitasCom Posted on June 1, 2019 at 2:22 pm

    Has Dawkins confronted the transgender males who have "faith" that they can magically change their biological gender and their DNA simply by putting on a dress? Has he explained to transgender females that they cannot mysteriously change their DNA by claiming they are now men? If not, why not? Are not the transgenders violating the principles of biology and genetic science?

    Reply
  19. GoVitasCom Posted on June 1, 2019 at 2:22 pm

    Dawkins has great faith in the unproven theory of the Singularity, which claims that all of the billions of stars and planets within the billions of vast galaxies and all life forms magically and spontaneously just "happened" and that Singularity was smaller than the period at the end of this sentence. Dawkins knows more about "faith" than any Deist or Theist, because he claims that everything mysteriously came from a tiny dot in the vastness of space. To him I say, PROVE IT!

    Reply
  20. Walter Mendoza Posted on June 1, 2019 at 2:22 pm

    Since Richard Dawkins is the textbook example of an intellectual idiot, it makes perfect sense that he would give a talk on a subject which he isn't qualified for and obviously doesn't understand! Even better, his blind devotees actually think he's brilliant for doing it, and hang on to his every word as IF he were an expert on the subject! PRICELESS

    Reply
  21. RICHARD LAVERSUCH Posted on June 1, 2019 at 2:22 pm

    I don't believe it is necessary to believe in God. Almost a matter of taste. That said, Professor Dawkins is in hock to western science and rationality as the only means to truth. Science has achieved many great things but the meaning of life and the answer to many of the big questions lies in Eastern mysticism.

    Reply
  22. Warrior of the Light Posted on June 1, 2019 at 2:22 pm

    The lack of awareness of quanta results in the belief in the spiritual and the religious to explain the unknown and unseen.

    Reply
  23. Paragon Of virtue Posted on June 1, 2019 at 2:22 pm

    Richard Dawkins should find himself a god and stop this foolishness ,

    Reply
  24. Make Epicurus Teachable Again Posted on June 1, 2019 at 2:22 pm

    the God of the gaps.
    there is no direct evidence for God, sure. there is no evidence for the universe coming out of nothing, or life coming out of inert matter. so according to Dawkins, we came from nowhere, exist to keep our minds closed and to squabble over the dying planet and everything proceeds to ash and dust for no reason.
    God is something that happens to you. you can't be taught this thing. that's why believers say they were reborn.
    "There is a principle which is bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance- that principle is contempt prior to investigation." Herbert Spencer

    Reply
  25. Rui Viegas Posted on June 1, 2019 at 2:22 pm

    0:57 "Astronaut"… LOLOL

    Reply
  26. Khalifa Al Qubaisi Posted on June 1, 2019 at 2:22 pm

    Check Yusuf Estes

    Reply
  27. Paragon Of virtue Posted on June 1, 2019 at 2:22 pm

    The evidence for smart design is high enough to drown in it but atheists are part of the creation ,misguided or devil worshippers ?

    Reply
  28. Les Posted on June 1, 2019 at 2:22 pm

    All life is information based.

    So, there are two questions:

    1. Where did the DNA code come from?
    2. Once the code is in place, is there any evidence that an unguided material process can generate information?

    There is no repeatable empirical evidence showing that a material process is responsible for either. Therefore, evolution is a faith-based theory without a shadow of support. The basis of life is information, and information can only come from an intelligent source.

    Evolution is a 19th century theory which has no concept of the information problems that face biology.

    Science makes Darwinian evolution increasingly unlikely and the theory survives mainly because it suppresses other theories.

    Evolutionists always duck and dodge and will never allow themselves to be pinned down by an actual model or theory of evolution.

    Let me summarize:

    1. There's no successful model of evolution. Nobody knows how evolution works.
    2. Evolution has never been tested in the lab or validated experimentally.
    3. No computer simulation has shown that evolution is even theoretically possible.

    Reply
  29. whiteliketar Posted on June 1, 2019 at 2:22 pm

    The stupidity of macro bullshit evolution , given enough time the impossible becomes the inevitable – Dawkins should be stripped of all his academic degrees and be tarred and feathered for his modern day stupidity. Quit infecting the beautiful science of biology you modern day moron. The emperor has no clothes – that’s what. Humor the idiot atheist professors – get the marks like I did and then fight their dumb theist asses outside the classroom, it’s time to call these idiots out.

    Reply
  30. I'm Gandalf Posted on June 1, 2019 at 2:22 pm

    All religious people
    Who's the right god?

    Reply
  31. glitch gamer Posted on June 1, 2019 at 2:22 pm

    Hindus never said to kill muslims hindus never tried to kill anyone not hindu or even hindu

    Reply
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