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


partly said that when I said that in the


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partly said that when I said that in the

great wars of the of the 20th century


these were driven by non religious

motivations but they were driven by my


country right or wrong kind of

patriotism that's a little bit different


from morality we're talking about at

least it's it's not religious I was


interested in what you said you in your

preamble when you said that didn't I


take it you're a social scientist and

you're you're no doubt right to suggest


that since social scientists are

studying the human animal you noticed


that people actually don't behave

rationally well unfortunately that's


true but that doesn't mean we shouldn't

behave rationally just because people


don't let's take a question from an

atheist or an agnostic gentleman in the


black jacket they're three rows down in

the middle very apparent to me that


evolution Nature has given the human

species some very very powerful survival


instincts we're aggressive men want to

spread their genes we want to gather as


much resources together as we can to to

help her genes continue and survive and


as a result of that there's been a lot

of very very dark episodes in our


history the Roman Empire which was

terribly oppressive hedonistic the


Vikings who stole raped pillaged the

parish and so on and so forth do you not


think that it was actually the ideas of

religion that took human the human race


the human species from beyond these base

survival instincts and started to give


them a new paradigm for thinking which

was not necessarily in the interest


of their their the instincts that they

have for survival it's perfectly true


that that a a sort of selfish Jean view

of life which is what I'm mostly mostly


written about is a very unpleasant view

of life and and if you follow the the


Creed of The Selfish Gene literally and

actually lived your life according to it


it would be a very unpleasant world in

which to live it would be a sort of


Thatcher right

I mean I've often said that while I'm a


passionate Darwinian when it comes to

explaining the way life is I'm a


passionate anti-darwinian when it comes

to organizing our lives the world would


be a better place if religion

disappeared tomorrow yes it's about all


the good things we discussed me

recognize we can still have the Nazi


Holocaust to communism you wouldn't have

the charities that's fine I would have


the charities but but I mean it's only

your assumption but I'd want to finish


it because because the question actually

challenged me by saying that it was


religion that helped us to escape from

the unpleasantness of the other Selfish


Gene I don't actually think that is true

I think that we have escaped by a long


and slow process of civilization in

which religion no doubt played a part if


you look historically over the very long

times benefit of history we're getting


better we're getting nicer I'm getting

more charitable we're getting kinda


getting less cruel I wouldn't give

religion the credit for that I think I


would give a much more complicated

mixture of civilizing processes the


credit for it and religion is probably a

part of that ok let's take one last


question gentlemen there in the blue

jumper and we have to make it to the


last question

professor Dawkins as an atheist is it


not the case that you either believe in

the universe just popping into existence


without a cause which is worse than

hocus
or in this thing called the multiverse


which has as much independent empirical


evidences as Hades controlling the

underworld right the the fret the


phraseology you you use this is somewhat

biased somewhat somewhat slanted the


popping into the universe popping into

existence out of nothing the multiverse


theory is used in this context to

explain the fact that some physicists


believe that the physical constants are

too finely adjusted it's as though it's


a put-up job it looks as though the

physical constants are so finely


adjusted that if you change any one of

them then the universe would collapse


the donor to say that yes

now the multiverse hypothesis is a kind


of Darwinian way of solving that problem

it says there are billions and billions


of universes all of which have different

settings of their fundamental constants


a tiny minority of those billions and

billions of universes have their


constants set in such a way as to give

rise to a universe which lasts long


enough to give rise to galaxies stars

planets chemistry and hence the process


of evolution that's but do you

understand it it doesn't make me chuckle


that you mocked me for believing in a

prophet that flies into a heaven but you


believe in lots of lots of universes

that you can't show me proof to me


testing me in a lab as a basis of

getting out of believing in a God and a


prophet I'm astonished that you should

compare the two evidence for the two


well you cannot use your own intuitive

common sense in order to dis physics I


mean if you could do that we wouldn't

need physicists I mean they they are


very sophisticated people they do

mathematics but there are physicists


like Paul Davis who have dissed the

multiverse theories being nonsense well


Paul Davis would rather take the view

that there's something mysterious in the


origin of the universe and that's

another perfectly respectable physicists


view as Steven Weinberg the Nobel

prize-winning it's respectable if a


physicist holds a view about mystery in

the universe but not if anyone else


holds it if we're talking about the

origin of the universe that is a problem


in physics yes let's end with a couple

of quick questions


if as Christopher Hitchens the late

Christopher Hitchens wrote religion is


in E radical and as you put it harder to

get rid of than smallpox doesn't this


basically mean that whatever motivations

you have no matter how passionately


you're driven and love for the truth

you are essentially wasting your time I


would never admit to wasting my time

trying to propagate the truth and I


think I can claim a modicum of success

with the people that I've written have


read my book to the people who've

attended my lectures it's a doctrine of


despair to say that we're stuck with

religion for all eternity


the religions of ancient Greece and

ancient Rome and the Vikings of all dead


nobody believes in Jupiter or Thor

anymore and I have great hopes that the


same is going to be true of the of the

God of Abraham and one last thing


there's a new book out from one of this

country's well known philosophers called


religion for atheists which makes the

case that no matter how false religion


is no matter how imaginary God may be

there are some lessons there are some


institutions there are some values that

a theist could usefully borrow I've


heard that argument what I've heard

people say that we that humans do need


some sort of rituals and they need some

sort of gathering places meeting places


I can sort of see that it's not a thing

that interests me very much I don't feel


any great need for for for ritual I

don't feel any great need to fill the


alleged vacuum that'll be left when

religion goes I think there's plenty to


fill it already a fantastic discussion

it's a pleasure to have had you here on


al Jazeera thank you all to the audience

here in the Oxford Union chamber and


thanks to you all at home for watching

goodbye
and dare I say god bless


you



you
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