A Selection of Curious and Startling
Quotations by Richard Dawkins

© Spotlight Ministries, 2012,
www.spotlightministries.org.uk




This page is simply a collection of quotations from top atheist Richard Dawkins. I have collected these over the years and thought I would share them here as I have personally found them to quite useful to memorize and quote when talking to atheists and other sceptics.

Design/Fine Tuning of the Universe/God

Richard Dawkins once said science may eventually discover the existence of some sort of "gigantic intelligence" in the universe (but it wouldn't be helpful to call it God!):

Interviewer:  “But was there not, in his mind, a tiny possibility that one of these future physicists could discover God in one of these dimensions?

Dawkins:   “Well, I’m convinced that future physicists will discover something at least as wonderful as any god you could ever imagine.”

Interviewer:  Why not call it God?

Dawkins: “I don’t think it’s helpful to call it God.”

Interviewer: OK, but what would “it” be like?

Dawkins: “I think it’ll be something wonderful and amazing and something difficult to understand. I think that all theological conceptions will be seen as parochial and petty by comparison.”
Interviewer: He can even see how “design” by some gigantic intelligence might come into it.
Dawkins: “But that gigantic intelligence itself would need an explanation. It’s not enough to call it God, it would need some sort of explanation such as evolution. Maybe it evolved in another universe and created some computer simulation that we are all a part of. These are all science-fiction suggestions but I am trying to overcome the limitations of the 21st-century mind. It’s going to be grander and bigger and more beautiful and more wonderful and it’s going to put theology to shame.” (God . . . in other words, Ruth Gledhill, Religion Correspondent , The Times, May 10, 2007).


Belief in the possibility that aliens created us (anything but God it seems!):

Ben Stein: "What do you think is the possibility that Intelligent Design might turn out to be the answer to some issues in genetics or in evolution?"

Dawkins: "Well, it could come about in the following way. It could be that at some earlier time, somewhere in the universe, a civilization evolved, probably by some kind of Darwinian means, probably to a very high level of technology, and designed a form of life that they seeded onto perhaps this planet. Now, um, now that is a possibility, and an intriguing possibility. And I suppose it's possible that you might find evidence for that if you look at the details of biochemistry, molecular biology, you might find a signature of some sort of designer." (Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed. Clip at this link).


Evolution/Darwinism

“Darwin may be triumphant at the end of the twentieth century, but we must acknowledge the possibility that new facts may come to light which will force our successors of the twenty-first century to abandon Darwinism or modify it beyond recognition.” (A Devil's Chaplain: Selected Essays by Richard Dawkins, 2003, p. 81)


Meaningless

“The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but blind, pitiless indifference.” (River out of Eden, 1995, p. 133).


“We are machines built by DNA whose purpose is to make more copies of the same DNA…It is every living object's sole reason for living…that the purpose of all life is to pass on their DNA means that all living things are descended from a long line of successful ancestors…which can best be understood as fulfilling a purpose of propagating DNA…There is no purpose other than that." (Nick Pollard talks to Dr. Richard Dawkins, interviewed February 28th, 1995 published in Third Way in the April 1995 edition [vol 18 no. 3])


Ethics/Morality

"Not all absolutism is derived from religion. Nevertheless, it is pretty hard to defend absolutist morals on grounds other than religious ones." (Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion, 2006, p. 266).


[Larry Taunton speaking to Dawkins] 'I asked an obvious question: “As we speak of this shifting zeitgeist, how are we to determine who’s right? If we do not acknowledge some sort of external [standard], what is to prevent us from saying that the Muslim [extremists] aren’t right?”

[Dawkins] “Yes, absolutely fascinating.” His response was immediate. “What’s to prevent us from saying Hitler wasn’t right? I mean, that is a genuinely difficult question. But whatever [defines morality], it’s not the Bible. If it was, we’d be stoning people for breaking the Sabbath.”

I was stupefied. He had readily conceded that his own philosophical position did not offer a rational basis for moral judgments. His intellectual honesty was refreshing, if somewhat disturbing on this point.' (byFaith: The Web Magazine of the Presbyterian Church in America, Richard Dawkins: The Atheist Evangelist, Larry Taunton, Issue Number 18, December 2007)


Justin Brierley: “Ultimately, your belief that rape is wrong is as arbitrary as the fact that we've evolved five fingers rather than six.”

Richard Dawkins: “You could say that, yeah.” (From an interview with Justin Brierley of 'Unbelievable?')


"Science has no methods for deciding what is ethical." (Richard Dawkins, A Devil's Chaplain: Selected Essays, 2003, p. 34)


"In the 1920s and 1930s, scientists from both the political left and right would not have found the idea of designer babies particularly dangerous - though of course they would not have used that phrase.

Nobody wants to be caught agreeing with that monster, even in a single particular. The spectre of Hitler has led some scientists to stray from "ought" to "is" and deny that breeding for human qualities is even possible. But if you can breed cattle for milk yield, horses for running speed, and dogs for herding skill, why on Earth should it be impossible to breed humans for mathematical, musical or athletic ability? Objections such as "these are not one-dimensional abilities" apply equally to cows, horses and dogs and never stopped anybody in practice.

I wonder whether, some 60 years after Hitler's death, we might at least venture to ask what the moral difference is between breeding for musical ability and forcing a child to take music lessons. Or why it is acceptable to train fast runners and high jumpers but not to breed them. I can think of some answers, and they are good ones, which would probably end up persuading me. But hasn't the time come when we should stop being frightened even to put the question?" (Originally found under: Eugenics may not be bad, Scotland’s Sunday Herald, Nov. 19th 2006, now online under ‘From the Afterword’)


Religion/Faith

Teaching children your faith is akin to child abuse. (Throughout Ch. 9 of The God Delusion)


“Faith acts like a virus that attacks the young and infects generation after generation…” (Documentary: The Root of All Evil, and the book: The God Delusion, pp. 218-219).


"How much do we regard children as being the property of their parents?" Dawkins asks. "It's one thing to say people should be free to believe whatever they like, but should they be free to impose their beliefs on their children? Is there something to be said for society stepping in? What about bringing up children to believe manifest falsehoods?" (Wired Issue 14:1, Nov., 2006, The Church of the Non-Believers, by Gary Wolf)





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