Matt Ridley: ‘most scientists are bored by what they have already discovered. It is ignorance which drives them on.’ Dawkins: Mystics exult in mystery and want it to stay mysterious.’
‘those people who leap from personal bafflement at a natural phenomenon straight to a hasty invocation of the supernatural are no better than the fools who see a conjuror bending a spoon and leap to the conclusion that it is ‘paranormal.’ ‘
Against the anthropic principle: ‘it follows from the fact of our existence that the laws of physics must be friendly enough to allow life to arise… ‘ in other words if they weren’t it wouldn’t and we wouldn’t be having this discussion. Just because it is ‘very improbable’ doesn’t mean impossible.
‘in George Bernard Shaw’s words: ‘the fact that a believer is happier than a sceptic is no more to the point than the fact that a drunken man is happier than a sober one.’
‘if neuro-scientists find a ‘god-centre’ in the brain… will still want to understand the natural selection pressure that favoured it.’
Hitler and Stalin may well have been atheists but that wasn’t why they perpetrated their evil deeds. In fact Dawkins argues Hitler lived a Catholic until he died. ‘In 1923 Hitler’s speech in Munich said: ‘…rescue our country from the Jew who is ruining it…we want to prevent our Germany from suffering as Another did the death upon the Cross.’ In other words the extermination of the Jews was justified in his mind. Even Martin Luther famous protestant reformed was a virulent Anti-Semite.’
Dawkins is not a fundamentalist scientist because if evidence came along that evolution was not true he would abandon it. He knows what it would take to change his mind. His objection to religious fundamentalism is that it ‘saps the intellect and subverts science.’
He gives the example of Kurt Wise a promising and respected geologist and palaeontologist who had a crisis of faith as a result of a fundamentalist upbringing and realising that he could not reconcile evolution and the Bible chose to reject evolution.
Quoting from the Glasgow Herald an article by Muriel Gray regarding the London Bombings: ‘Everyone is being blamed from the obvious duo Bush and Blair…[but] the cause of all this misery, mayhem, violence terror and ignorance is religion itself.’ Bertrand Russell said: ‘Many people would sooner die than think. In fact they do.’ And Voltaire: ‘Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.’