Does God exist his religion a force for good or even camp religion and science


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does God exist his religion a force for
good or even camp religion and science

go hand in hand to find some answers


I've come to Oxford home to the oldest

university in the english-speaking world


place where I study as an undergraduate

one of the jewels in the city's crown is


the Oxford Union the debating chamber

that's witnessed such legendary orators


as Winston Churchill benazir bhutto and

of course Kermit the Frog I've come back


to the Union today to sit down with the

world's most famous atheist Professor


Richard Dawkins to put faith on trial

and to ask his religion evil


Muslims riot in protest against a truly


awful film demonizing Islam dozens are

killed tries to burn a copy of the Quran


and a unites global fandom and even

Buddhists are at it attacking the Muslim


minority ro hangers in western Burma and

of course it's a conflict plaguing the


modern Middle East are often blamed on

ancient hatreds between the children of


Abel remember 9/11 was this religiously

inspired terrorism thousand died yet


here's the thing societies without faith

communism banned all religions as Joseph


Stalin and Mao Zedong systematically

slaughtered millions of their own


country is science any better since

Galileo and Darwin scientists have


sought to stamp out ignorant and unravel

the mysteries of the universe but


science has also poisoned the

environment Unleashed killing on an


industrial scale and now threatens our

entire planet my guest


today however stands firmly on the side

of science and has provoked controversy


with his attacks on religion ladies and

gentlemen professor Richard Dawkins one


of the most prolific thinkers of his

generation he's shot to fame in the


1970s with his research into genetics

and his book The Selfish Gene


transformed evolutionary biology his

most famous work The God Delusion sold


millions of copies and has been

translated into more than 30 languages


Richard thanks so much for joining us


here on our Jazeera before we go any

further I just want to check something


are you an atheist for all practical

purposes yes nobody can actually say for


certain that anything doesn't exist but

I'm an atheist in the same way as I'm an


a leprechaun estándar Nathe various and

an a big unicorn undred % sure God


doesn't exist but you're a sure enough

to make it practically I'm as sure as


you are sure that fairies and

leprechauns don't exist and do you see


an equivalence between the idea of God

and the idea of a fairy and a leprechaun


the evidence for both is equally poor

you say in The God Delusion one of my


favorite sentences jumps out of the page

that the God of the Old Testament is a


petty unjust unforgiving control-freak a

vindictive bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser


a misogynistic homophobic racist

infanticidal genocidal Phyllis idle


pestilential megalomaniacal

sadomasochistic capricious malevolent


bully as a piece of rhetoric superb but

do you really believe that


congratulations on getting

megalomaniacal right by the way most


people most people fungal on that yes if

you've actually read the Old Testament I


think you would have to agree it is it's

hideous it's an anti the god of the Old


Testament who is a monster but also the

god of the Koran the New Testament the


Hindu scripture well the god of the

Quran I don't know so much about the god


of the New Testament is widely

advertised as being a bit a bit more


gentle and certainly on the whole he is

there are things about the New Testament


that I find in a way almost more

objectionable than the Old Testament but


the sheer horror of the character I said

he was the most unpleasant character in


all fiction because I regarded as

fiction of course and yes he is I mean


he's jealous he's vindictive he's

callous he's cruel and this is a God


that is worshipped by loved by adored by

followed by millions billions of


I hope not I hope that the God that is

adored by millions of people is a grown


up kind of God who is no longer I hope

that most people who the kind of people


I would like to know who worship and

admire him regard those stories as not


literally true now there are some who do

regard them as literally true and I


suspect they either haven't read the Old

Testament or they're not the kind of


people I would wish to know because

because you don't you do not win what


want to worship a character like that by

all means worship some kind of great


spirit of the universe some kind of

creative intelligence who created the


universe but don't worship this vile

vindictive monster we throw what why


throw around these sweeping statements

about religion not the God of the Old


Testament but religion itself being evil

I mean do you believe religion is evil


no you say plenty of times in this book

the religion is evil you said in a


speech famously that I think a case can

be made that faith is one of the world's


great evils comparable to the smallpox

virus virus but harder to eradicate I do


think that yes because what I'm talking

about there is faith where faith means


belief in something without evidence

because if you believe something without


evidence then that justifies anything

you you're no longer vulnerable to


somebody coming back at you and saying

hang on a minute let me argue the case


if you believe it without evidence which

is what faith is then you don't argue


the case you say no I'm not arguing that

case this is my faith it's mine it's


private I don't I don't dissent from it

I don't retreat from it you're just


going to have to accept it now that is

evil and yet you spend so much of your


time debating people or faith so clearly

people of faith are interested in having


discussions they're not just all blind

believers insisting on their waiver


nobody said anything about all of them I

mean the vast majority of religious


people are perfectly good nice people as

you are there there's no suggestion I've


ever made that all religious people are

evil of course not


there is a logical progression that goes

from believing in faith having faith


that you that your God tells you to do

something and doing terrible deeds like


suicide bombing like flying planes into

into skyscrapers the vast majority of


people of faith don't do such terrible

things but those people who do terrible


things do it believing that they are

righteous and good and they think that


they're doing the will of their gods as

they are they're not evil people are


actually good people by their own lights

they believe they're doing good things


and that's why religion is evil because

it can make you do evil things believing


that they are good do you really believe

that people who go out and carry out


suicide bombings it is faith religion is

to blame not geopolitics not the world


not their lives not what's going on

around us it's religion plain and simple


not always it's not in the case of the

Tamil Tigers for example but I think in


a great majority of cases it is and I

think it certainly makes it a hell of a


lot easier

the evidence is playing that that in


many Islamic suicide bombers you talk to

them those who fail you talk to them


afterwards

they've got paradise on the brain they


they're desperate to go to a martyrs

heaven and that's what they think about


professor Robert Pape of the University

of Chicago studied every known case of


suicide terrorism 315 cases and he came

to the conclusion that there's quote


little connection between suicide

terrorism and Islamic fundamentalism or


any of the world's religions the taproot

of suicide terrorism he says is


nationalism it's about land it's about

power it's about politics it's not about


faith faith is just a cover what do you

know that he doesn't know well I've seen


other other evidence there are different

people say to say different things I've


seen plenty of of testimonies of suicide

bombers who have said precisely that


they do it because they want and martyrs

paradise shooting through the 7/7


bombers in that case as well yes I

believe so


have you watched their suicide videos

I'm not sure that I have now they talk


about Afghanistan they talk about Iraq

they talk about Crusades they talk about


war between the west and the Muslim

world they talk about invading armies I


mean there's a lot of there's a lot of

real world stuff in there I'm not saying


of course not the faith hasn't doesn't

play a role but I'm just interested in


this idea that you think faith is is the

issue you say you said in a very famous


column you wrote four days after 9/11

that this came


from religion there are enormous ly good

reasons for people to take political


action and this of this we see in

Northern Ireland we see it in


Afghanistan we see it in in Sri Lanka

where the Tamil Tigers operated so yes


there are political reasons but the

promise of other martyrs heaven which is


it we cannot deny that this is part of

Islamic doctrine martyrs go straight to


paradise yes they're not terrorists not

murderers not criminals well they


believe that because they're told it by

their Imams but then what about the


majority of the world's Muslim clerics

and Allah ma who came out and condemned


9/11 strength and delighted they did but

they were pretty quiet about it what


about the argument that says human

beings are prone to violence they're


prone to carrying out crimes against

their fellow man


you can blame religion you can blame

politics do you blame economics lots of


factors lots of excuses why don't what I

don't get why do you only focus on


religion for fairness why don't you also

isolate the other factors there are lots


of other factors and I'm quite happy to

say that yes there are there are lots of


rain if you look at the Wars of history

some of them have been about religion


plenty of them have not been about

religion I never said religion is the


the sole cause of wars and violence you

you may not have said that but you would


accept that the New Atheists

people like Sam Harris the late


Christopher Hitchens have blamed a lot

of history's Wars on God and religion


and you make a similar suggestion to God

Delusion yeah I would blame a lot of


history's Wars but the most terrible

wars in history the two major wars of


the set of this 20th century are nothing

to do with religion listen the Cold War


and Vietnam yes I would have cut of

course yes so when you have a situation


where some of the world's worst crimes

were carried out not by believers how


then does that square with your idea

that it's religion that causes good


people to do bad things religion that's

driving violence your original statement


against religion at the start of this

dogmatic belief in something like


religion or something like Marxism or

something like Nazism these are all


indeed patriotism I mean my country

right or wrong these are all pernicious


beliefs which can drive

people to do to do terrible things and


in the Second World War

hitlerism was driven by by by racism by


a sort of sub Vardhan Aryan pagan

religion which Hitler revived Stalin's


atrocities were were motivated by a

dogmatic belief in Marxism and a few


Stalin happened to be an atheist but he

was never motivated Soviet Union was not


based on scientific rationalism on the

elimination of religion and God


Stalin persecuted the church Stalin

persecuted just about everybody are you


saying that the Soviet Union the leaders

of the Soviet Union were not driven by a


hatred of religion and a belief that

science and human progress and


materialism was the way forward they

believed that materialism science human


progress there was a kind of marker

there was a Marxist slant on those on


those words and they were hideously

misuse Mao Zedong when he invaded Tibet


told the Dalai Lama that religion is

poison the subtext to the late


Christopher Hitchens book was religion

poisons everything can you blame people


of religion for saying hold on we've

heard these ideas before that religion


poisons everything and it leads in one

direction


it's an incidental fact that Mao Zedong

and Stalin happened to be atheists they


recently wasn't it wasn't core to

communism it I I think it was not caught


a communism no so when Karl Marx was

talking about religion being the opiate


of the masses that was just a throwaway

line
yeah I mean that was that was an


out-of-context statement I mean what an


earth you think I've got to do with

atheism I don't know let me put a


statement in context to you

Albania one of the world's worst


dictatorships tyrannies that we've seen

in the last hundred years article 37 of


Albania's communist Constitution

declared quote the state recognizes no


religion and supports atheistic

propaganda in order to implant a


scientific materialistic world outlook

in people what do you think you're


saying I mean that's an appalling thing

to say of course it is why is that an


appalling thing to say what do you

disagree with in that statement why


would I want to support atheistic

propaganda I support science and truths


but you don't support spreading atheism

I support spreading science and truth if


that happens to be atheism I support it

I'm not going to start bullying people


in tube into being atheist I'm not going

to start trying to compel people to be


to be atheist that was what the

Albanians were doing it's nothing to do


whatever you liked it of course but

you'd like to persuade them not to be


believers and becoming I'd like to raise

consciousness in a gentle civilized way


using argument rational argument from

evidence in your book you cite lots of


evidence for the bad things religions

and what I wonder is if you were being


fair wouldn't you've also included some

of the good things that religions done


my passion is for scientific truths I

don't much care about what's good and


evil actually I care about what's true I

mean do you actually believe in your


Muslim faith you believe that Mohammed

split the moon in two do you believe


that Mohammed flew to heaven on a winged

horse for example I pay you the


compliment of assuming that that you

don't know I do I believe in murder you


believe that yes you believe that

Muhammad went to heaven on a winged


horse yes I believe in God I believe in

miracles I believe in Revelation I mean


the point here is that let's assume I'm

wrong Richard I'm wrong that's look


let's just see my wrong

I'm wrong I'm happy to concede that


Richard I'm happy to consider I'm wrong

all religions are wrong God does not


exist

we're all mad the issue is we exist


we've existed for a while I think even

Christopher Hitchens said and you said


in your writings we're not going

anywhere so my question to you is why


not acknowledge for example the good

things that will endure son do you


accept that religion has done good

things despite all of our mad beliefs in


our miracle I accept that individual

religious people have done an enormous


number of good things not driven by

religion like Martin Luther King for


example Reverend Martin Luther King yes

obviously he was up he was a cleric so


so I I imagine that that fed into the

good things that he did plenty of other


things did he was a great admirer of

Gandhi and he was a great admirer of


non-violence he was a brilliant a

wonderful great man would you disconnect


MLK's non-violence and Gandhi's

non-violence from there very strongly


held religious beliefs they didn't well

I think that's it's not a thing that I


really care about actually I mean I

think they will care about it rich


people carry out violence in the name of

God and I cite to an example of very


famous people who've done good and

non-violence in the name of God and you


say I'm not interested if God doesn't

exist then doing something good in his


name it's great that something good gets

done but there's no evidence at all that


believing in God makes you more likely

to do good things I can't see any noble


logical connection between being

religious and doing good things let's


concede that God does not exist let's

concede that religion is false my


problem here is trying to understand why

some of the new atheists are so anti


religion when religious people clearly

are doing lots of good things and


they're doing it in the name of God I've

never denied that religious people are


doing good things and non-religious

people are doing good things I care


about what screw I'm an educator I'm a

scientist and I want people to


understand the truth about the universe

they live that's what I care about and I


regard religion as a distraction and in

some cases of pernicious distraction


from true education which I which I love

and value of the way you value love your


God can you not do both well so long as

they don't contradict each other but but


if you if you if you actually believe

Mohammed flew to heaven on a winged


horse that's an anti scientific belief

and that could be wrong but valuable is


wrong but that doesn't change that

doesn't change how do you know it's


wrong oh come on you're a man of the

21st century


I'm just asking this comes back to my

original question the rational position


addition is the agnostic position way

out there I mean I didn't say up that I


didn't pick a place why would a world

horse be that neither way to get to


heaven if it's not up there I asked a

question about you asked about proof I'm


all for saying I can't prove it but can

you prove he didn't do it I mean this is


flight of heaven I'm just asking on your

criteria
I'm just asking or no I can't prove it


and I can't prove it wasn't a golden


universe fascinated that you would

rather I've fascinated you rather talk


about what animals the Prophet may or

may not have used 1400 years ago rather


than talk about what Muslims or Islam is

doing in the world today good or bad


well that seems to be the distraction if

anyone's distracted seems to be you well


that's your that's your view I'm

fascinated by how somebody a respected


sophisticated journalist in the 21st

century could believe that a prophet


flew to heaven on a winged horse let me

ask you this are all people who hold


beliefs in God and in miracles and the

supernatural do you regard them all as


intellectually inferior to you I regard

those beliefs as intellectual nonsense I


don't regard the individuals as

intellectually inferior to me because


many of them palpably are not if you go

back in history then all bets are off


because before before Darwin for example

it's not at all surprising that before


Darwin people believed in all kinds of

things which they wouldn't believe in


now there are many people many

scientists today who say they're


religious and if you actually ask them

what they


believe in many cases it turns out what

they believe is in some sort of theistic


God some sort of intellectual spirit

some sort of creative intelligence that


lay at the root of the universe perhaps

invented the laws of physics something


like that I don't agree with this book

but it's an excellent but very well


argued you're very passionate clearly

there's one section in the book where


you talk about bringing up children oh

yes and you talked about education you


talked about a story when you you tell

us a story about being in Ireland and


talking about the Catholic child abuse

scandal and there's one quote on page


356 which I will read out to you

horrible as sexual abuse no doubt was


the damage was arguably less than the

long-term psychological damage inflicted


by bringing the child up Catholic in the

first place you believe that being


brought up as a Catholic is worse than

being abused by a priest there are


shades of being abused by a priest and I

quoted the I I quoted the example of a


woman in America who wrote to me saying

that when she was seven years old she


was sexually abused by a priest in his

car and at the same time a friend of


hers who also seven who was Protestant

was of Protestant family I should say


died and she was told that because her

friend was Protestant she had gone to


hell and would be roasting in hell

forever and she told me that of those


two abuses she got over the physical

abuse
it was the yucky which he got over it


but the mental abuse of being told about


hell she took years to get over and

respect Richard you're an empiricist


you're a rationalist one letter from one

woman in America isn't really bit the


basis to extrapolate and make suppose we

think includes of course true and I'm


not basing it on that it seems to me

that that telling children such that


they really really believe that people

who sin are going to go to hell and


roast forever forever that your skin

grows again when it when it peels off


with with with with burning

it seems to me to be intuitively


entirely reasonable that that is a worse

form of child abuse that will give more


nightmares that will give more genuine

distress because they really believe if


they don't believe it's not a problem of

course you also say let me just fit me


and I've been put on the spot about this

Health farthing I we have really been


put on this in what sense have you been

put on the spot well I I sense that you


think it's somehow obvious that that

having a priest if you're a small girl


having a priest

I would be very interested in asking the


audience whether being told about heaven

and hell as a child


I mean brought up as Catholic is worse

than that was worse than being abused by


a priest okay let's have a show of hands

is it worse to be abused by a priest and


if you believe it's worse for a priest

to abuse a child than to bring up your


child Catholic raise your hands are they

both as bad as each other raise your


hands so we have a three-way split in

the audience let's finish this section


with one last related subject on on this

question a personal question from me you


talked about how to teach children that

there is one God or that God created the


world in six days that is child abuse to

even teach your children religion is


child abuse so I have a daughter I teach

her about Islam and the horse am i


guilty of child abuse do you teach her

the world was created in six days


because Islam doesn't teach that I'm

delighted to hear that I ask again am i


guilty of child abuse for teaching my

child stories from the Quran yes or not


good to know we are going to talk more

about science and we're going to go back


to the audience to ask some questions to

professor Dawkins in part two we'll be


back after the break

welcome back we're talking about


religion and its impact on the world

good bad evil we're joined here by our


guest evolutionary biologist professor

Richard Dawkins Richard science is your


great passion and you a great believer

in science you're an evangelist for


science a promoter and defender of

science but what would you say to those


people who say there are some quite

important questions genuine questions


that science cannot answer why are we

here what's the meaning of life where


does morality come from and that if

religion wants to have a cracker


answering those what science is

objection I'm not sure I'd accept that


science can't answer those particular

questions I think there are other


questions sounds probably shouldn't try

to answer like what is what is right and


what is wrong those are those are

questions that are not the immediate


concern of science but what's the

meaning of life why is there it why is


there anything how did it all start but

there seem to me to be scientific


questions or potentially scientific

questions if there are some questions of


that sort that science can never answer

then we should at least keep trying to


answer them and if science can't answer

them religion having a crack at


answering them if there's no reason to

think that religion has any any any


basis for an answer then why would

religion have a crack why would you


bother to listen to religion having a

crack at answering them I mean one thing


I would say there may be questions that

science can't answer like the origin of


everything but if science can't answer

them then religion certainly can't and


nothing else can either why why is it

science either science or nothing


yes because because science is is is the

method of getting at what's true I mean


if you take something like how did the

universe begin which is a very baffling


deep question how did life begin another

baffling
deep question both those questions are


are unanswered the best methods we have


of approaching those are the methods of

science because these are the methods


that that look at evidence that that

evaluate evidence in all sorts of


sophisticated ways what is religion got

to do with that other than just looking


at the the writings of somebody who

wrote a few centuries ago I mean what


why would you bother to read to read

those writings so the great philosophers


and theologians in history will grapple

with these big questions and thought


about spiritual issues moral issues are

transcendent


they were all wasting their time yes

they're wasting their time what about


why does my life have meaning what's

it's worth well yours my dignity come


from your your meaning and your dignity

are up to you and mine are up to me and


and these are not questions that science

would attempt to answer each person


finds their own meaning in their in

their own life and I'm good luck to them


and what's what's wrong with religion

religion offering moral certainties is


if as you say science can't answer moral

questions science can't offer moral


certainty but I don't see that religion

can either you don't think that the


religious values we have to say the

moral codes we live by today a writ were


originally derived from judeo-christian

values Islamic values Hindu values not


really no I mean there are we have

things like the Golden Rule things like


treat others as you would wish to be

treated yourself these are ancient


values which are which crop up all over

the world they've been adopted by many


religions you can find justifications

for them in moral philosophy go and find


justifications for them in evolutionary

biology which is my own my own subject


I don't seriously think you're going to

base your morality on religion because


if you do then you've got disabled do I

base it on scripture I hope you don't


base it on scripture because if you do

then you're going to have some pretty


horrible values unless you deliberately

cut out those parts of scripture which


which which are unacceptable to modern

morality
do you believe science is omnipotent


that it can answer any questions I've


already said no I've already said it

can't answer moral questions but


questions about the real world questions

about reality questions about


the origins of things why life is the

way it is why the world is the way it is


why the universe of the wages yes

science is that is the way to answer


that some of your critics have argued

that you are willing to hold religion up


to a very it put it under the microscope

hold it to account scrutinize it


criticize it you don't do the same to

science or scientists or some of the bad


things that have come out of science

well bad things that come out of science


if by that you mean horrible weapons

nuclear weapons yes chambers nucleogenic


yeah these are these are terrible things

which are technology that arises out of


science and it's certainly true but if

you want to do terrible things with


technology but terrible weapons for

example science is the best way to do it


because that is the best way to do

anything and even bad things even bad


things I mean that that's right at you

if you want to develop a terrible weapon


you're not going to do it in any other

way than by science the trick is not to


want to develop a terrible weapon and

the way and that's a political decision


and you do not you do not see science

and religion as occupying two different


compartments that can live side-by-side

they are in conflict with one over in so


far as religion attempts to talk about

reality and has an alternative vision of


reality I think they are incompatible

yes despite the fact as we discussed


earlier many of our leading scientists

are believers


I think it's baffling I mean what the

impact practice do is they leave their


their religion at the door when they go

into the lab and and so they get on with


their side say they don't well I know

they do but ok isn't it because religion


answers all sorts of human needs and

spiritual urges which science never can


it's not the real issue that you can't

get away from religion may answer human


needs I mean for example if you're

terrified of dying religion may answer


the need for comfort and consolation or

if you if you miss a loved one who's


died and you hope to see them one day in

heaven then religion answers a need


doesn't make it true and one last thing

and then we'll go to the audience do you


what do you say to those people who say

you talk a great deal about the power of


science the truth of science you have

people like Sam Harris who say morality


can be determined by science you have

quite charismatic forceful people going


around the world proselytizing on behalf

of science that science is actually the


new religion that you guys are pitching

I wouldn't say it's a new religion I


mean it certainly does some of the

things that religion traditionally has


tried to do like to answer the deep

questions of existence and and it does


that and it does it successfully in a

way that religion never has but it isn't


a religion because it's not based upon

any holy books it's not based upon faith


it's not based upon Revelation it's not

based upon tradition it's based upon


evidence and there's a huge difference

and anything that we do not have


evidence for that's not scientifically

testable you would dismiss well


scientifically testable is is putting

the bar rather highly but I do think


that that evidence is the only good

reason to believe anything yes so love


beauty as many I mean there's obviously

important questions and and if you ask


that some question like um how do you

know that your wife loves you


it's from evidence I mean it's not some

it's not scientifically testable


evidence but it's evidence it's little

looks in the eyes little catches in the


voice it's it's um that is evidence

that's not that's not just internal


revelation okay let's open up to the

audience we've been talking about God


evil war terrorism bringing up your

children living a good life religion and


happiness science versus religion who

would like to ask the first question yes


you if you Almighty God appears suddenly

on the cloud or on the airs or part of


universe what is your reaction are you

going to believe or are you going to go


against him well it's like if you

believe in God not just me yeah that


mean popping his head through the clouds

yeah that's the thing I've worried about


a lot

obviously do wonders for the book the


reason I worry about it is that is that

obviously as a scientist I'm committed


to the view that I would change my mind

if evidence came along and so it's a


very important question what would that

evidence look like and I talked about it


with my colleagues a great deal I used

to think yes if there was a great deep


Paul Robeson voice coming out of the

cloud saying oh I this and think then


then yes obviously I would I would

believe it but have you ever seen a


really really good conjuring trick there

are things that I've seen done that it


seems to me to be a god that's got to be

a miracle and yet you know it's not and


so that there is a real problem there

that that we are easily fooled


let's take another question from

gentleman here very interesting gun


I was extremely amused when you

described faith as sort of Brooking no


no argument this University of course

began with the study of theology most of


the people here would have been studying

theology at the beginning of the


university and indeed the way in which

it was taught was not professorial you


didn't have lectures mostly mostly you

had discussions debates people didn't


write monographs they collected

discussions notes of discussions people


disagreed about their faith absolutely I

mean everybody had had enough different


opinion and everybody expressed it and

everybody was heard the idea that so the


question is um do you really think that

your your view of faith Brooking no


argument that measures up to really any

experience of how people think about


their faith you talked about the

evidence that your wife loves you I


think for most religious people the

evidence that there's a God is rather


like that well obviously I would be mad

to suggest that the theologians don't


argue they argue all the time and always

have they fight wars over their


arguments so clearly they argue I'd say

when I say Brook no argument I don't


mean that

don't argue when you say that


theologians have had disputes and

interesting discussions I take it that


from your garb you take what a position

one way or the other on whether the


transubstantiation whether the bread and

wine really is the body and blood of a


first century Jew or is merely symbolic

but what evidence you bring to bear on


such an argument I cannot imagine it

would not be a real argument at all it


would be a full SOG argument would not

not be an argument which could be


settled by by real evidence just deal

with the point about the evidence level


when you remember when you have a real

wife when you say that your that your


wife loves you and you do you getting

evidence from looks and the vote looks


in the eye and catches in the voice was

the phrase that I actually used and the


questioner said that's the way religious

people feel about God yes they feel that


about God but there's no evidence that

they're getting any cues at all I mean


they're there God is an imaginary God

inside themselves they feel that they're


getting little looks from the eyes of

God and sounds from the voice of God but


why should we believe them since we

can't see or hear any evidence to that


effect let's take another question

gentlemen here in the secondary with


regards to to religion use you've given

an example where the the Islamic faith


and the Muslims basically they wrapped

themselves up in bombs because that's


what they believe is an Islamic faith

but I disagree with you because there


are more than a billion Muslims living

in the world today who actually believe


in the Quran in the scripture which you

said if everybody started believing in


the scripture then that would be

horrible but I disagree with you because


more than a billion people billion

Muslims believe that if you kill one


innocent person

it's as if as you've killed the entire


humanity so today humanity is about

seven billion people so more than a


billion Muslims do not strap themselves

up and actually go and you know commit


suicides the problem with many

scriptures and I think the Quran is no


exception is that you can find a verse

that says so so when you find another


verse that says the opposite and so you

have to you have to pick and choose I


mean is it not the case for example with

choose the bad


well no I mean I I'm suggesting that you

shouldn't be in a position of having to


choose

I mean you shouldn't base your your your


life on on a holy book which has

contradictory verses where you can


choose one verse when you want to make

one point and another verse when you


want to make make another point I mean

isn't it the case that that the penalty


for apostasy is death you can't take

these things and just hold I could hold


up an example of we mentioned earlier

sam harris has said there are some views


that are so irrational people should be

put to death for them should I hold all


atheist him of course I won't hold him

to me well let me put it to you in is


the penalty for apostasy death no good

I'm delighted here that what why didn't


the Quran doesn't say it is well then

some Islamic scholars do okay that's


debate and discussion there's no

arguments going on things take place


over centuries okay let's have an

atheist make a point and join the debate


lady that's waving her hand actually in

the Quran mankind refers only to Muslims


and excludes infidels which is all the

rest of us so that's a small point but I


really my question to professor Dawkins

is how does he feel about the


encroachment of all religions extremists

evangelists Christians and a lot of


Muslims into the politics and everyday

life and how does he feel about religion


influence trying to influence politics

and in public you know how do you feel


about religion influencing politics in

public life people should be free to to


speak them their minds I mean I'm great

believer in in free speech and so


members of parliament should speak their

minds and if their minds are influenced


by their their religion then that's

that's fine what I would object to I


think is the view that somehow religion

has a privileged right to speak because


it's religion and I think you'll

probably agree to that as well if you


stand up in Parliament and make an

excellent speech in favor of something


which religion has a view on like

abortion say if you make your points


well and win the vote by making your

points well that's fine but what you


shouldn't be allowed to get away with

this saying because it's religion


therefore this is what we should do lady

they're in their scuffle


as a social scientists we sort of the

model of the rational actor is somewhat


discredited we don't look at all actors

at all times as acting rationally in


fact we assume that they don't but that

was the pre lead to my question my


question with really would you accept

that it's not so much religion that


causes conflict but since their

commitment to some belief that you think


is morally important and in that sense

do we get rid of morality well I think I


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