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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English -Richard-Dawkins-VS-Islam-Debate-Q A-
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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

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

and dare I say god bless


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