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The God Delusion: David Quinn & Richard Dawkins debate (Transcript Here)
Catholic Education Resource Center ^

Posted on 10/28/2006 7:47:16 AM PDT by SirLinksalot


The God Delusion: David Quinn & Richard Dawkins debate


Now, this morning, we are asking, what’s wrong with religion? That’s just one of the questions raised in a new book called, The God Delusion. We’re going to talk to its author — the man who’s been dubbed the world’s most famous, out of the closet, living atheist — Richard Dawkins.

Ryan Tubridy

Richard Dawkins

David Quinn

Ryan Tubridy: Richard, good morning to you

Richard Dawkins: Good morning.

Tubridy: It’s nice to talk to you again. We spoke before once on the similar subject matter. David Quinn is also with us here. David Quinn is a columnist with the Irish Independent. David, a very good morning to you.

David Quinn: Good morning.

Tubridy: So Richard Dawkins here you go again, up to your old tricks. In your most recent book, The God Delusion. Let’s just talk about the word if you don’t mind, the word delusion, so put it into context. Why did you pick that word?

Dawkins: Well the word delusion means a falsehood which is widely believed, and I think that is true of religion. It is remarkably widely believed, it’s as though almost all of the population or a substantial proportion of the population believed that they had been abducted by aliens in flying saucers. You’d call that a delusion. I think God is a similar delusion.


Tubridy: And would it be fair to say you equate God with say, the imaginary friend, the bogeyman, or the fairies at the end of the garden?

Dawkins: Well I think He’s just as probable to exist, yes, and I do discuss all those things especially the imaginary friend which I think is an interesting psychological phenomenon in childhood and that may possibly have something to do with the appeal of religion.

Tubridy: So take us through that little bit about the imaginary friend factor.

Dawkins: Many young children have an imaginary friend. Christopher Robin had Binker. A little girl who wrote to me had a little purple man. And the girl with the little purple man actually saw him. She seemed to hallucinate him. He appeared with a little tinkling bell. And, he was very, very real to her although in a sense she knew he wasn’t real. I suspect that something like that is going on with people who claim to have heard God or seen God or hear the voice of God.


Tubridy: And we’re back to delusion again. Do you think that anyone who believes in God, anyone of any religion, is deluded? Is that the bottom line with your argument Richard?

Dawkins: Well there is a sophisticated form of religion which, well one form of it is Einstein’s which wasn’t really a religion at all. Einstein used the word God a great deal, but he didn’t mean a personal God. He didn’t mean a being who could listen to your prayers or forgive your sins. He just meant it as a kind of poetic way of describing the deep unknowns, the deep uncertainties at the root of the universe. Then there are deists who believe in a kind of God, a kind of personal God who set the universe going, a sort of physicist God, but then did no more and certainly doesn’t listen to your thoughts. He has no personal interest in humans at all. I don’t think that I would use a word like delusions for, certainly not for Einstein, no I don’t think I would for a deist either. I think I would reserve the word delusion for real theists who actually think they talk to God and think God talks to them.

Tubridy: You have a very interesting description in The God Delusion of the Old Testament God. Do you want to give us that description or will I give it to you back?

Dawkins: Have you got it in front of you?

Tubridy: Yes I have.

Dawkins: Well why don’t you read it out then.

Tubridy: Why not. You describe God as a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.

Dawkins: That seems fair enough to me, yes.

Tubridy: Okay. There are those who would think that’s a little over the top.

Dawkins: Read your Old Testament, if you think that. Just read it. Read Leviticus, read Deuteronomy, read Judges, read Numbers, read Exodus.

Tubridy: And do you, is it your contention, that these elements of the God as described by yourself are what has not helped matters in terms of, say, global religion and the wars that go with it?

Dawkins: Well, not really because no serious theologian takes the Old Testament literally anymore, so it isn’t quite like that. An awful lot of people think they take the Bible literally but that can only be because they’ve never read it. If they ever read it they couldn’t possibly take it literally, but I do think that people are a bit confused about where they get their morality from. A lot of people think they get their morality from the Bible because they can find a few good verses. Parts of the Ten Commandments are okay, parts of the Sermon on the Mount are okay. So they think they get their morality from the Bible. But actually of course nobody gets their morality from the Bible, we get it from somewhere else and to the extent that we can find good bits in the Bible we cherry pick them. We pick and choose them. We choose the good verses in the Bible and we reject the bad. Whatever criterion we use to choose the good verses and throw out the bad, that criterion is available to us anyway whether we are religious or not. Why bother to pick verses? Why not just go straight for the morality?

Tubridy: Do you think the people who believe in God and in religion generally who you think that have, you use the analogy of the imaginary friend, do you think that the people who believe in God and religion are a little bit dim?

Dawkins: No, because many of them clearly are highly educated and score highly on IQ tests and things so…

Tubridy: Why do you think they believe in something you think doesn’t exist?

Dawkins: Well I think that people are sometimes remarkably adept at compartmentalizing their mind, at separating their mind into two separate parts. There are some people who even manage to combine being apparently perfectly good working scientists with believing that the book of Genesis is literally true and that the world is only 6000 years old. If you can perform that level of doublethink then you could do anything.

Tubridy: But they might say that they pity you because you don’t believe in what they think is fundamentally true.

Dawkins: Well they might and we’ll have to argue it out by looking at the evidence. The great thing is to argue it by looking at evidence, not just to say “Oh well, this is my faith. There’s no argument to be had. You can’t argue with faith.”

Tubridy: David Quinn, columnist with the Irish Independent, show us some evidence please.

Quinn: Well I mean the first thing I would say is that Richard Dawkins is doing what he commonly does which is he’s setting up straw men so he puts God in the same, he puts believing in God, in the same category as believing in fairies. Well you know children stop believing in fairies when they stop being children, but they usually don’t’ stop believing in God because belief in God to my mind is a much more rational proposition than believing in fairies and Santa Claus.

Tubridy: Do we have more proof that God exists than we do for fairies?

Quinn: I will come to that in a second. I mean the second thing is about compartmentalizing yourself when he uses examples of… well you’ve got intelligent people who somehow or other also believe the world is only 6000 years old and we have a young Earth and they don’t believe in evolution… but again… I mean that’s too stark an either or… I mean there are many people who believe in God but also believe in evolution and believe the universe is 20 billion years old and believe fully in Darwinian evolution or whatever the case may be… Now I mean in all arguments about the existence or nonexistence of God often these things don’t even get off the launch pad because the two people debating can’t even agree on where the burden of proof rests. Does it rest with those who are trying to prove the existence of God or with does it rest with those who are trying to disprove the existence of God? But I suppose you know if I bring this on to Richard Dawkins’ turf and we talk about the theory of evolution…The theory of evolution explains how matter — which we are all made from — organized itself into for example highly complex beings like Richard Dawkins and Ryan Tubridy and other human beings but what it doesn’t explain just to give one example is how matter came into being in the first place. That, in scientific terms, is a question that cannot be answered and can only be answered, if it can be answered fully at all, by philosophers and theologians. But it certainly cannot be answered by science and the question of whether God exists or not cannot be answered fully by science either and a common mistake that people can believe is the scientist who speaks about evolution with all the authority of science can also speak about the existence of God with all the authority of science and of course he can’t. The scientist speaking about the existence of God is actually engaging in philosophy or theology but he certainly isn’t bringing to it the authority of science per se.

Tubridy: Back to the original question, have you any evidence for me?

Quinn: Well I will say the existence of matter itself. I will say the existence of morality. Myself and Richard Dawkins have a clearly different understanding of the origins of morality. I would say free will. If you’re an atheist, if you’re an atheist logically speaking you cannot believe in objective morality. You cannot believe in free will. These are two things that the vast majority of humankind implicitly believe in. We believe for example that if a person carries out a bad action, we can call that person bad because we believe that they are freely choosing those actions. … And just quickly an atheist believes we are controlled completely by our genes and make no free actions at all.

Tubridy: What evidence do you have, Richard Dawkins, that you’re right?

Dawkins: I certainly don’t believe a word of that. I do not believe we are controlled wholly by our genes. Let me go back to the really important thing that Mr. Quinn said.

Quinn: How are we independent of our genes by your reckoning? What allows us to be independent of our genes? Where is this coming from?

Dawkins: Environment for a start.

Quinn: Well hang on but that also is a product of if you like of matter. Okay?

Dawkins: Yes but it’s not genes.

Quinn: What part of us allows us to have free will?

Dawkins: Free will is a very difficult philosophical question and it’s not one that has anything to do with religion, contrary to what Mr. Quinn says…but…

Quinn: It has an awful lot to do with religion because if there is no God there’s no free will because we are completely phenomena of matter.

Dawkins: Who says there’s not free will if there is no God? That’s a ridiculous thing to say.

Quinn: William Provine for one who you quote in your book. I mean I have a quote here from him. “Other scientists, as well, believe the same thing… that everything that goes on in our heads is a product of genes and as you say environment and chemical reactions. That there is no room for free will.” And Richard if you haven’t got to grips with that you seriously need to because many of your colleagues have and they deny outright the existence of free will and they are hardened materialists like yourself.

Tubridy: Okay. Richard Dawkins, rebut to that as you wish.

Dawkins: I’m not interested in free will what I am interested in is the ridiculous suggestion that if science can’t say where the origin of matter comes from theology can. The origin of matter… the origin of the whole universe, is a very, very difficult question. It’s one that scientists are working on. It’s one that they hope eventually to solve. Just as before Darwin, biology was a mystery. Darwin solved that. Now cosmology is a mystery. The origin of the universe is a mystery; it’s a mystery to everyone. Physicists are working on it. They have theories. But if science can’t answer that question then as sure as hell theology can’t either.

Quinn: If I can come in there, it is a perfectly reasonable proposition to ask yourself where does matter come from? And it is perfectly reasonable as well to posit the answer, God created matter. Many reasonable people believe this and by the way… I mean look it is quite a different category to say look we will study matter and we will ask how

Dawkins: But if science can’t answer that question, then it’s sure as hell theology can’t either.

Tubridy: Richard, if ...

Quinn: Sorry — if I can come in there — It’s a perfectly reasonable proposition to ask oneself where does matter come from. And it’s perfectly reasonable as well to posit the answer God created matter. Many reasonable people believe this.

Dawkins: It’s not reasonable.

Quinn: It’s quite a different category to say “Look, we will study matter and we will ask how matter organizes itself into particular forms,” and come up with the answer “evolution.” It is quite another question to ask “Where does matter come from to begin with?” And if you like you must go outside of matter to answer that question. And then you’re into philosophical categories.

Dawkins: How could it possibly be another category and be allowed to say God did it since you can’t explain where God came from?

Quinn: Because you must have an uncaused cause for anything at all to exist. Now, I see in your book you come up with an argument against this that I frankly find to be bogus. You come up with the idea of a mathematical infinite regress but this does not apply to the argument of uncaused causes and unmoved movers because we are not talking about maths we’re talking about existence and existentially nothing exists unless you have an uncaused cause. And that uncaused cause and that unmoved mover is, by definition, God.

Tubridy: OK. I’m going to move...

Dawkins: You just defined God as that! You just defined a problematic existence. That’s no solution to the problem. You just evaded it.

Quinn: You can’t answer the question where matter comes from! You, as an atheist —

Dawkins: I can’t, but science is working on it. You can’t answer it either.

Quinn: It won’t come up with an answer, and you invoked a mystery argument that you accuse religious believers of doing all the time. You invoke a very first and most fundamental question about reality. You do not know where matter came from.

Dawkins: I don’t know. Science is working on it. Science is a progressive thing that’s working on it. You don’t know but you claim that you do.

Quinn: I claim to know the probable answer.

Tubridy: Can I suggest that the next question is quite appropriate. The role of religion in wars. When you think of the difficulty that it brings up on a local level. Richard Dawkins, do you believe the world would be a safer place without religion?

Dawkins: Yes, I do. I don’t think that religion is the only cause of wars. Very far from it. Neither the second World War nor the first World War were caused by religion, but I do think that religion is a major exacerbater, and especially in the world today, as a matter of fact.

Tubridy: OK. Explain yourself.

Dawkins: Well, it’s pretty obvious. I mean that if you look at the Middle East, if you look at India and Pakistan, if you look at Northern Ireland, there are many, many places where the only basis for hostility that exists between rival factions who kill each other is religion.

Tubridy: Why do you take it upon yourself to preach, if you like, atheism and there’s an interesting choice of words in some ways — that you’ve been accused of being something like a fundamental atheist. If you like, the “High Priest” of atheism. Why go about your business in such a way that that’s kind of ...trying to disprove these things. Why don’t you just believe in it privately, for example?

Dawkins: Well, fundamentalist is not quite the right word. A fundamentalist is one who believes in a holy book and thinks that everything in that holy book is true. I am passionate about what I believe because I think there’s evidence for it. And I think it’s very different being passionate about evidence from being passionate about a holy book. So I do it because I care passionately about the truth. I really, really believe it’s a big question. It’s an important question, whether there is a God at the root of the universe. I think it’s a question that matters, and I think that we need to discuss it, and that’s what I do.

Quinn: Ryan if I could just say...

Tubridy: Go ahead.

Quinn: Richard has come up with a definition of fundamentalism that obviously suits him. He thinks a fundamentalist has to be somebody who believes in a holy book. A fundamentalist is somebody who firmly believes that they have got the truth and holds that to an extreme extent and become intolerant of those who hold to a different truth. And Richard Dawkins has just outlined what he thinks the truth to be and that makes him intolerant of those who have religious beliefs.

Now, in terms of the effect of religion upon the world, I mean, at least Richard has rightly acknowledged that there are many causes of war and strife and ill will in the world, and he mentions World War I and World War II. In his book he tries to get Nietzsche off the hook of having atheism blamed for example, the atrocities carried out by Josef Stalin, and saying that these have nothing particularly to do with atheism.

But Stalin and many Communists who were explicitly atheistic took the view that religion was precisely the sort of malign and evil force that Richard Dawkins thinks it is. And they set out from that premise to, if you like, inflict upon religion sort of their own version of a “final solution.” They set to eradicate from the earth true violence and also true education that was explicitly anti-religious. And under the Soviet Union, and in China, and under Pol Pot in Cambodia explicit and violent efforts were made to suppress religion on the grounds that religion was a wicked force; and we have the truth, and our truth would not admit religion into the picture at all because we believe religion to be an untruth. So atheism also can lead to fundamentalist violence and did so in the last century. And atheists…


Tubridy: We’ll allow Richard in there.

Dawkins: Stalin was a very, very bad man and his persecution of religion was a very, very bad thing. End of story. It’s nothing to do with the fact that he was an atheist. We can’t just compile lists of bad people who were atheists and lists of bad people who were religious. I am afraid there were plenty on both sides.

Quinn: Yes, but Richard you are always compiling lists of bad religious people. I mean you do it continually in all your books, and then you devote a paragraph to basically trying to absolve atheism of all blame for any atrocity throughout history. You cannot have it both ways! You cannot…

Dawkins: I deny that.

Quinn: But of course you do it. Every time you are on a program talking about religion, you bring up the atrocities committed in the name of religion. And then you try to minimize the atrocities committed by atheists because they were so anti-religious and because they regarded it as a malign force in much the same way you do. You are trying to have it both ways.

Dawkins: Well, I simply deny that. I do think that there is some evil in faith because faith is belief in something without evidence.

Quinn: But, you see, that is not what faith is. You see, that is a caricature and a straw man and is so typical. That is not what faith is! You have faith that God doesn’t…

Dawkins: What is faith? What is faith!?

Quinn: Wait a second! You have faith that doesn’t exist. You are a man of faith as well.

Dawkins: I do not! I have looked at the evidence!

Quinn: Well, I have looked — I have looked at the evidence too!

Dawkins: If somebody comes up with evidence that goes the other way, I will be the first to change my mind.

Quinn: Well, I think the very existence of matter is evidence that God exists. And by the way, remember, you are the man who has problems believing in free will, which you try to, very conveniently, shunt to one side.

Dawkins: I’m just not interested in free will. It’s not a big question for me.

Quinn: It’s a vast question because we cannot be considered morally responsible beings unless we have free will. We do everything because we are controlled by our genes or our environment. It’s a vital question.

Tubridy: We are returning to the point at which we kind of pretty much began, which is probably an appropriate time to end the debate. Richard Dawkins, good to talk to you again. Thank you for your time. And to you, David Quinn, columnist at The Irish Independent, thank you very much indeed for that. The God Delusion, by the way, throws up many, many interesting questions. It’s written by Richard Dawkins and is published by Bantam Press. We’ll put details, as always on our website, If you want to exercise your free will to contact us, please do so.


Ryan Tubridy. "The God Delusion: David Quinn debates Richard Dawkins." The Ryan Tubridy Show (October 9, 2006).

Published with permission of The Ryan Tubridy Show of RTE radio in Dublin, Ireland.

Listen to the audio of this discussion here.

The debate lasts for about 18 minutes.


Ryan Tubridy (born 28 May 1974) is a television and radio presenter on Radio Telefís Éireann in Ireland. Tubridy started his radio career at the age of 12 reviewing books for the popular Radio 1 show "Poporama" presented by Ruth Buchanan. From 2002 until 2005 he presented RTÉ 2 fm's hugely popular morning show, The Full Irish. In 2006 he presents The Tubridy Show, weekday mornings on Radio 1.

David Quinn is one of Ireland's best known religious and social affairs commentators. For over six years he was editor of The Irish Catholic, Ireland's main Catholic weekly newspaper. He has written weekly opinion columns for The Sunday Times and The Sunday Business Post. He has contributed to publications such as First Things, the Human Life Review and the Wall Street Journal ( Europe edition). Currently he is working freelance and contributes weekly columns to The Irish Independent, Ireland's biggest selling daily paper, and the Irish Catholic. He appears regularly on Irish radio and television current affairs programmes.

Richard Dawkins was educated at Oxford University and has taught zoology at the universities of California and Oxford. He is the Charles Simonyi Professor of the Public Understanding of Science at Oxford University. His books about evolution and science include The Selfish Gene, The Extended Phenotype, The Blind Watchmaker, River Out of Eden, Climbing Mount Improbable, Unweaving the Rainbow, and, most recently, The God Delusion.

Copyright © 2006 RTE radio

TOPICS: Culture/Society; News/Current Events; Philosophy
KEYWORDS: atheism; christophobia; crevolist; davidquinn; debate; goddelusion; misotheism; postedinwrongforum; richarddawkins; theophobia
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1 posted on 10/28/2006 7:47:18 AM PDT by SirLinksalot
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To: SirLinksalot

We'll see what Dawkins thinks when he's on his death bed.

2 posted on 10/28/2006 7:51:22 AM PDT by Seruzawa (If you agree with the French raise your hand - If you are French raise both hands.)
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To: SirLinksalot
>"it’s as though almost all of the population or a substantial proportion of the population believed that they had been abducted by aliens in flying saucers. You’d call that a delusion. I think God is a similar delusion"
>Richard Dawkins was educated at Oxford University and has taught zoology at the universities of California and Oxford. He is the Charles Simonyi Professor of the Public Understanding of Science at Oxford University

3 posted on 10/28/2006 7:52:04 AM PDT by theFIRMbss
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To: theFIRMbss
The Crusade Against Religion -- By Gary Wolf 02:00 AM Oct, 23, 2006, WIRED.COM
4 posted on 10/28/2006 7:56:15 AM PDT by theFIRMbss
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To: Seruzawa
We'll see what Dawkins thinks when he's on his death bed.

Actually, it'll be right after that. Things will be sorted out in the end. Much to his displeasure, I'm afraid.

5 posted on 10/28/2006 7:56:30 AM PDT by bcsco ("He who is wedded to the spirit of the age is soon a widower" – Anonymous)
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To: SirLinksalot

Memo to Dawkins:

1. The Universe is a Box. Science can tell us a lot about what's in the box, and even what the box is made of. Science can not look outside the Universe to see where the box came from.

2. Re-read Arthur Allen Leff. You can attemp to dervie a morality not based on God, but such attempts will fail.

6 posted on 10/28/2006 8:00:03 AM PDT by tdewey10 (Can we please take out iran's nuclear capability before they start using it?)
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To: SirLinksalot
Jesus spoke of the Kingdom of God in many parables....
Some people "got it"...
Some didn't "get it" until later...

Some WOULDN'T believe even though someone was raised from the dead! (Lazarus! -- Jairus' daughter -- son of the widow of Nain)

Every word is established in themouth of two or three witnesses!

7 posted on 10/28/2006 8:00:22 AM PDT by Wings-n-Wind (All of the answers remain available; Wisdom is gained by asking the right questions!)
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To: Seruzawa

Thanks for that post - a good read.

8 posted on 10/28/2006 8:04:19 AM PDT by vimto (Blighty Awaken!)
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To: SirLinksalot

18. For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;
19. Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.
20. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:
21. Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
22. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,

9 posted on 10/28/2006 8:12:11 AM PDT by kindred (Dems are communists, Pubs are fools, hold your nose and vote?)
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To: SirLinksalot

thanks for posting this...

10 posted on 10/28/2006 8:15:43 AM PDT by D-fendr
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To: Seruzawa

C.S. Lewis used to believe the same nonsense as Dawkins.

11 posted on 10/28/2006 8:17:35 AM PDT by Boiler Plate (Mom always said why be difficult, when with just a little more effort you can be impossible.)
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To: theFIRMbss
Charles Simonyi

Was one of the early, big programmers at Microsoft, probably worth close to a billion or more at this point. He is the inventor of "Hungarian notation" in programming.

12 posted on 10/28/2006 8:18:37 AM PDT by ikka
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To: ikka
>Charles Simonyi ... Was one of the early, big programmers at Microsoft, probably worth close to a billion or more at this point

Yep. And now he is
giving big bucks to Russia
to fly into space . . .

13 posted on 10/28/2006 8:23:04 AM PDT by theFIRMbss
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To: Seruzawa

To think that God must have some origin is the thought of a small mind from inside a small box.

14 posted on 10/28/2006 8:23:42 AM PDT by RoadTest ( He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches. -Rev. 3:6)
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To: tdewey10
Re-read Arthur Allen Leff. You can attemp to dervie a morality not based on God, but such attempts will fail.

It actually might be worse than that. See this essay. And while this article credits evolution for human moral hardcoding, it points out that there is more to morality than cold rational logic.

15 posted on 10/28/2006 8:33:00 AM PDT by Question_Assumptions
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To: Boiler Plate

Here is a review of Dawkin's latest book by Dinesh D' Souza


God knows why faith is thriving
- Dinesh D'Souza
Sunday, October 22, 2006

A group of leading atheists is puzzled by the continued existence and vitality of religion.

As biologist Richard Dawkins puts it in his new book "The God Delusion," faith is a form of irrationality, what he terms a "virus of the mind." Philosopher Daniel Dennett compares belief in God to belief in the Easter Bunny. Sam Harris, author of "The End of Faith" and now "Letter to a Christian Nation," professes amazement that hundreds of millions of people worldwide profess religious beliefs when there is no rational evidence for any of those beliefs. Biologist E.O. Wilson says there must be some evolutionary explanation for the universality and pervasiveness of religious belief.

Actually, there is. The Rev. Ron Carlson, a popular author and lecturer, sometimes presents his audience with two stories and asks them whether it matters which one is true.

In the secular account, "You are the descendant of a tiny cell of primordial protoplasm washed up on an empty beach 3 1/2 billion years ago. You are a mere grab bag of atomic particles, a conglomeration of genetic substance. You exist on a tiny planet in a minute solar system in an empty corner of a meaningless universe. You came from nothing and are going nowhere."

In the Christian view, by contrast, "You are the special creation of a good and all-powerful God. You are the climax of His creation. Not only is your kind unique, but you are unique among your kind. Your Creator loves you so much and so intensely desires your companionship and affection that He gave the life of His only son that you might spend eternity with him."

Now imagine two groups of people -- let's call them the Secular Tribe and the Religious Tribe -- who subscribe to one of these two views. Which of the two is more likely to survive, prosper and multiply? The religious tribe is made up of people who have an animating sense of purpose. The secular tribe is made up of people who are not sure why they exist at all. The religious tribe is composed of individuals who view their every thought and action as consequential. The secular tribe is made up of matter that cannot explain why it is able to think at all.

Should evolutionists like Dennett, Dawkins, Harris and Wilson be surprised, then, to see that religious tribes are flourishing around the world? Across the globe, religious faith is thriving and religious people are having more children. By contrast, atheist conventions only draw a handful of embittered souls, and the atheist lifestyle seems to produce listless tribes that cannot even reproduce themselves.

Russia is one of the most atheist countries in the world, and there abortions outnumber live births 2 to 1. Russia's birth rate has fallen so low that the nation is now losing 700,000 people a year. Japan, perhaps the most secular country in Asia, is also on a kind of population diet: its 130 million people are expected to drop to around 100 million in the next few decades. And then there is Europe. The most secular continent on the globe is decadent in the literal sense that its population is rapidly shrinking. Lacking the strong Christian identity that produced its greatness, atheist Europe seems to be a civilization on its way out. We have met Nietzsche's "last man" and his name is Sven.

Traditionally, scholars have tried to give an economic explanation for these trends. The general idea is that population was a function of affluence. Sociologists noted that as people and countries became richer, they had fewer children. Presumably, primitive societies needed children to help in the fields, and more-prosperous societies no longer did. From this perspective, religion was explained as a phenomenon of poverty, insecurity and fear, and many pundits predicted that with the spread of modernity and prosperity, religion would fade away.

The economic explanation is now being questioned. It was never all that plausible anyway. Undoubtedly, poor people are more economically dependent on their children, but on the other hand, rich people can afford more children. Wealthy people in America today tend to have one child or none, but wealthy families in the past tended to have three or more children. The real difference is not merely in the level of income. The real difference is that in the past, children were valued as gifts from God, and now they are viewed by many people as instruments of self-gratification. The old principle was, "Be fruitful and multiply." The new one is, "Have as many children as enhance your lifestyle."

The prophets of the disappearance of religion seem to have proven themselves to be false prophets. Even though the world is becoming richer, religion seems to be getting stronger. The United States is the richest and most technologically advanced society in the world, and religion shows no signs of disappearing on these shores. China and India are growing in affluence, and the Chinese government is not exactly hospitable to religion, yet religious belief and practice continue to be strong in both countries. Europe's best chance to grow in the future seems to be to import more religious Muslims. While Islam spreads in Europe and elsewhere, Christianity is spreading even faster in Africa, Asia and South America. Remarkably, Christianity will soon become a non-Western religion with a minority presence among Europeans.

My conclusion is that it is not religion but atheism that requires a Darwinian explanation. It seems perplexing why nature would breed a group of people who see no purpose to life or the universe, indeed whose only moral drive seems to be sneering at their fellow human beings who do have a sense of purpose. Here is where the biological expertise of Dawkins and his friends could prove illuminating. Maybe they can turn their Darwinian lens on themselves and help us understand how atheism, like the human tailbone and the panda's thumb, somehow survived as an evolutionary leftover of our primitive past.

Dinesh D'Souza's new book "The Enemy at Home: The Cultural Left and Its Responsibility for 9/11" will be published in January by Doubleday. He is the Rishwain Fellow at the Hoover Institution

16 posted on 10/28/2006 8:38:30 AM PDT by SirLinksalot
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To: bcsco

See Richard Dawkin's explanation of HUMAN RESPONSIBILITY in light of Darwinian Evolution here :

17 posted on 10/28/2006 8:39:40 AM PDT by SirLinksalot
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To: theFIRMbss
Yep. And now he is giving big bucks to Russia

Speaking of Russia, read this :

A Sterile Worldview

Vanishing Russia

By Chuck Colson

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

According to a recent Los Angeles Times article, Russia “has lost the equivalent of a city of 700,000 people every year since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.” We’re talking about the population of San Francisco or Baltimore—a grim reminder of how fruitless some worldviews can be.

If demographic trends hold steady, Russia’s population, which stands at 142 million today, will drop to 52 million by 2080. At that point, according to Sergei Mironov, the chairman of the upper house of the Dumas, the Russian parliament, “there will no longer be a great Russia . . . it will be torn apart piece by piece, and finally cease to exist.”

Mironov isn’t alone in his fears. Russia’s demographic crisis raises “serious questions about whether Russia will be able to hold on to its lands along the border with China or field an army, let alone a workforce to support the ill and the elderly.”

Even more disturbing than the numbers are the reasons behind them: that is, “one of the world’s fastest-growing AIDS epidemics . . . alcohol and drug abuse . . . [and] suicide” are among the leading causes of Russia’s shrinking population.

What’s more, last year there were 100,000 more abortions than births in Russia. And many women who want children can’t have them: “[A]n estimated 10 million Russians of reproductive age are sterile because of botched abortions or poor health.”

As Scripps-Howard columnist Terry Mattingly puts it, “we have suicide, AIDS, substance abuse, rampant abortion, and a loss of hope in the future . . . in a nation that, in the past century, saw the rise of an atheistic regime that tried to stamp out the practice of faith . . . Do you think there might be a religion element in here somewhere?”

Well, not according to the Los Angeles Times or the Russian government. The Times’s story did not mention the role of religion—or, in this case, its absence—in its analysis of Russia’s plight. And the Russian government is trying to avert catastrophe by using the same techniques that have failed in the rest of the world: that is, bribing people to have children.

They will fail in Russia, as well, because they don’t address the real problem: The real problem is a loss of faith. Life has always been tough in Russia, and Russians are famously fatalistic. But, as writers such as Dostoevsky and Solzhenitsyn told us, Christianity helped Russians to see their suffering as redemptive and not to lose hope.

Seventy-four years of official atheism robbed the Russian people of this source of hope. This, more than a ruined economy and environmental degradation, is what has put Russia on the road to extinction. It’s a tragic reminder that ideas, and the worldviews and attitudes they engender, have very real consequences.

It’s also a cautionary tale, for what happened to Russia is, in many ways, just an exaggerated and accelerated version of the secularism and materialism overtaking much of Europe. There, as in Russia, secularism is proving to be literally sterile. And maybe it is a lesson we had better learn here as courts and cultural elite continue to marginalize the Christian faith in America.

Chuck Colson is the Chairman and Founder of BreakPoint and of Prison Fellowship Ministries
18 posted on 10/28/2006 8:43:56 AM PDT by SirLinksalot
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To: SirLinksalot

[Dawkins: You’d call that a delusion. I think God is a similar delusion.

Romans 1:
22. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,
23. And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.
24. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:
25. Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.
26. For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:
27. And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.
28. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;

29. Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,
30. Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,
31. Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:
32. Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.

19 posted on 10/28/2006 8:45:16 AM PDT by kindred (Dems are communists, Pubs are fools, hold your nose and vote?)
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To: Seruzawa

Dawkins faces difficult questions by creating straw men and then destroying them.

This exchange was enlightening.

A true debate would be Dawkins and Norm Geisler.

20 posted on 10/28/2006 8:46:57 AM PDT by aMorePerfectUnion (outside a good dog, a book is your best friend. inside a dog it's too dark to read)
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