Richard Dawkins quotes

  • Today the theory of evolution is about as much open to doubt as the theory that the earth goes round the sun.
    -- Richard Dawkins

    #Health #Inspire #Doubt

  • I do believe that nice religious people make the world safe for extremists by teaching us that faith is a virtue, that there's something good about holding beliefs without any substantiating evidence, that you believe because you believe. Once you buy into that, then the door is opened to extremists who defend their extremism by saying, 'Oh well, it's my faith, you can't touch it, you can't criticise my faith, I don't even need to defend it because faith is faith.'
    -- Richard Dawkins

    #Religious #Nice #Believe

  • Religion: Together we can find the cure.
    -- Richard Dawkins

    #Religion #Together #Cures

  • Religion has been a powerful weapon in the hands of governments, in the hands of priests, in the hands of kings who have used it as a weapon to keep down the populace. It is a wonderful way of disciplining people and making them do what you want, to tell them that if they don't do what you want they will, for example, go to Hell.
    -- Richard Dawkins

    #Kings #Powerful #Government

  • The theory of evolution by cumulative natural selection is the only theory we know of that is in principle capable of explaining the existence of organized complexity.
    -- Richard Dawkins

    #Health #Inspire #Principles

  • Commonsense lets us down, because commonsense evolved in a world where nothing moves very fast, and nothing is very small or very large; the mundane world of the familiar.
    -- Richard Dawkins

    #Moving #World #Familiar

  • It has become almost a cliche to remark that nobody boasts of ignorance of literature, but it is socially acceptable to boast ignorance of science and proudly claim incompetence in mathematics.
    -- Richard Dawkins

    #Ignorance #Knowledge #Science

  • There's a natural tendency for children to, in some sense, inherit the cultural values of their parents. I'm not against that, that's fine, that's wonderful. What I am against is labelling. Nobody ever labels a child a cricketer because his father is a cricketer, but they do label a child a Catholic because his parents are Catholic. I think it's more or less unique. Nobody ever labels a child a socialist or a conservative or a liberal because that's what their parents are.
    -- Richard Dawkins

    #Children #Father #Unique

  • People sometimes say that you must believe in feelings deep inside, otherwise you'd never be confident of things like 'My wife loves me'. But this is a bad argument. There can be plenty of evidence that somebody loves you. All through the day when you are with somebody who loves you, you see and hear lots of little tidbits of evidence, and they all add up. It isn't purely inside feeling, like the feeling that priests call revelation. There are outside things to back up the inside feeling: looks in the eye, tender notes in the voice, little favors and kindnesses; this is all real evidence.
    -- Richard Dawkins

    #Love #Kindness #Real

  • I'd like everybody to be secular. I suppose I have to say politically I would like religion to become gentler and nicer and to stop interfering with other people's lives, stop repressing women, stop indoctrinating children, all that sort of thing. But I really, really would like to see religion go away altogether.
    -- Richard Dawkins

    #Children #People #Going Away

  • There is something infantile in the presumption that somebody else has a responsibility to give your life meaning and point… The truly adult view, by contrast, is that our life is as meaningful, as full and as wonderful as we choose to make it.
    -- Richard Dawkins

    #Meaningful #Atheist #Responsibility

  • Some sort of belief in all-powerful supernatural beings is common, if not universal. A tendency to obey authority, perhaps especially in children, a tendency to believe what you're told, a tendency to fear your own death, a tendency to wish to see your loved ones who have died, to wish to see them again, a wish to understand where you came from, where the world came from, all these psychological predispositions, under the right cultural conditions, tend to lead to people believing in things for which there is no evidence.
    -- Richard Dawkins

    #Children #Powerful #Believe

  • The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.
    -- Richard Dawkins

    #Atheist #Hate #Jealous

  • What you cannot have is a gene that sacrifices itself for the benefit of other genes. What you can have is a gene that makes organisms sacrifice themselves for other organisms under the influence of selfish genes.
    -- Richard Dawkins

    #Selfish #Sacrifice #Benefits

  • Be thankful that you have a life, and forsake your vain and presumptuous desire for a second one.
    -- Richard Dawkins

    #Death #Spiritual #Religious

  • I think we certainly benefit from social institutions which encourage us towards moral behavior. It's very important to have law. It's very important to have a moral education.
    -- Richard Dawkins

    #Thinking #Law #Important

  • How thoughtful of God to arrange matters so that, wherever you happen to be born, the local religion always turns out to be the true one.
    -- Richard Dawkins

    #Thoughtful #Matter #Born

  • It's very important to try to inculcate into children moral rules, such as "do as you would be done by."
    -- Richard Dawkins

    #Children #Important #Trying

  • The Bible should be taught, but emphatically not as reality. It is fiction, myth, poetry, anything but reality. As such it needs to be taught because it underlies so much of our literature and our culture.
    -- Richard Dawkins

    #Reality #Needs #Culture

  • If I were God wanting to make a human being, I would do it by a more direct way rather than by evolution. Why deliberately set it up in the one way which makes it look as though you don't exist?
    -- Richard Dawkins

    #Way #Looks #Evolution

  • It is absolutely safe to say that if you meet somebody who claims not to believe in evolution, that person is ignorant, stupid or insane (or wicked, but I'd rather not consider that).
    -- Richard Dawkins

    #Stupid #Believe #Ignorant

  • I don't understand why so many people who are sophisticated in science go on believing in God. I wish I did.
    -- Richard Dawkins

    #Believe #People #Wish

  • I am thrilled to be alive at time when humanity is pushing against the limits of understanding. Even better, we may eventually discover that there are no limits.
    -- Richard Dawkins

    #Humanity #Understanding #May

  • THE MAJORITY of children born into the world tend to inherit the beliefs of their parents, and that to me is one of the most regrettable facts of them all
    -- Richard Dawkins

    #Children #Parent #Religion

  • By all means let's be open-minded, but not so open-minded that our brains drop out.
    -- Richard Dawkins

    #Funny #Trust #Laughter

  • Religious people are atheists about all other gods, atheists only take it one god further.
    -- Richard Dawkins

    #Religious #Atheist #People

  • You can't blame science for being used for evil purposes. What you can do is say, 'This is an exceedingly powerful tool.' And you want to make sure it is used for good purposes, not bad ones. That is a political decision.
    -- Richard Dawkins

    #Powerful #Evil #Decision

  • Let us try to teach generosity and altruism, because we are born selfish.
    -- Richard Dawkins

    #Selfish #Philosophical #Generosity

  • Religion is a powerful weapon that can be used because it persuades people to do things. And thus it can be used for good or ill. But it should not be a powerful weapon at all.
    -- Richard Dawkins

    #Powerful #People #Weapons

  • Science ha seradicated smallpox, can immunise against most previously deadly viruses, can kill most previously deadly bacteria. Theology has done nothing but talk of pestilence as the wages of sin.
    -- Richard Dawkins

    #Wages #Done #Pestilence

  • There is something wrong with using faith - belief without evidence - as a political weapon. I wouldn't say there is something similar about using science. Science - or the products of science like technology - is just a way of achieving something real, something that happens, something that works.
    -- Richard Dawkins

    #Real #Technology #Political

  • Faith can be very very dangerous, and deliberately to implant it into the vulnerable mind of an innocent child is a grievous wrong.
    -- Richard Dawkins

    #Children #Mind #Vulnerable

  • It's known that stress gives rise to disease. It's also known that many diseases, especially stress-related diseases, can be cured by placebos - pills that have no medicinal effect, but people think they do, and so they do.
    -- Richard Dawkins

    #Stress #Thinking #Giving

  • Let children learn about different faiths, let them notice their incompatibility, and let them draw their own conclusions about the consequences of that incompatibility. As for whether they are ‘valid,’ let them make up their own minds when they are old enough to do so.
    -- Richard Dawkins

    #Children #Mind #Different

  • We accept that people are irrational for good Darwinian reasons. But I don't think we should be so pessimistic as to think that therefore we're forever condemned to be irrational.
    -- Richard Dawkins

    #Thinking #People #Forever

  • Science is the poetry of reality.
    -- Richard Dawkins

    #Reality

  • My love of truth and honesty forces me to notice that the liberal intelligentsia of Western countries is betraying itself where Islam is concerned.
    -- Richard Dawkins

    #Country #Honesty #Islam

  • God exists, if only in the form of a meme with high survival value, or infective power, in the environment provided by human culture.
    -- Richard Dawkins

    #Survival #Religion #Culture

  • I could easily believe that religion could enhance health and hence survival, and that therefore there could be indeed be literally Darwinian survival value, Darwinian selection in favor of religion. None of that of course bears at all upon the truth value of the claims made by religions.
    -- Richard Dawkins

    #Believe #Survival #Favors

  • Do not indoctrinate your children. Teach them how to think for themselves, how to evaluate evidence, and how to disagree with you.
    -- Richard Dawkins

    #Children #Thinking #Teach

  • You can never be absolutely certain that anything doesn't exist. But you can show that it's unlikely.
    -- Richard Dawkins

    #Certain #Unlikely #Shows

  • Religion teaches the dangerous nonsense that death is not the end.
    -- Richard Dawkins

    #Atheism #Nonsense #Ends

  • Some people find clarity threatening. They like muddle, confusion, obscurity. So when somebody does no more than speak clearly it sounds threatening.
    -- Richard Dawkins

    #Confusion #People #Doe

  • Sometimes in life it is a good idea to stop,sometimes it is a good idea to go on. The trick is to decide when to stop
    -- Richard Dawkins

    #Ideas #Goes On #Sometimes

  • If we say that religion is a virus, then why isn't science a virus?
    -- Richard Dawkins

    #Viruses

  • Scientific beliefs are supported by evidence, and they get results. Myths and faiths are not and do not.
    -- Richard Dawkins

    #Atheist #Belief #Results

  • Human beings are just gene machines.
    -- Richard Dawkins

    #Machines #Genes #Humans

  • A designer God cannot be used to explain organized complexity because any God capable of designing anything would have to be complex enough to demand the same kind of explanation in his own right.
    -- Richard Dawkins

    #Design #Religion #Atheism

  • People will listen to sophisticated physicists, using God as a kind of metaphor for the deep constants, the deep problems, the deep principles of physics, and say that in that sense I believe in God. The reaction is, "Oh, this great physicist believes in God - that means I'm free to believe in the trinity and in the crucifixion and in the reincarnation of Christ" - and all that stuff, which of course has nothing whatever to do with the fundamental constants of physics, which is what these physicists are talking about.
    -- Richard Dawkins

    #Believe #Mean #Talking

  • After sleeping through a hundred million centuries we have finally opened our eyes on a sumptuous planet, sparkling with color, bountiful with life. Within decades we must close our eyes again. Isn’t it a noble, an enlightened way of spending our brief time in the sun, to work at understanding the universe and how we have come to wake up in it? This is how I answer when I am asked—as I am surprisingly often—why I bother to get up in the mornings.
    -- Richard Dawkins

    #Life #Gratitude #Morning

  • My point is not that religion itself is the motivation for wars, murders and terrorist attacks, but that religion is the principal label, and the most dangerous one, by which a "they" as opposed to a "we" can be identified at all.
    -- Richard Dawkins

    #Motivation #War #Religion

  • Just because science can't in practice explain things like the love that motivates a poet to write a sonnet, that doesn't mean that religion can. It's a simple and logical fallacy to say, 'If science can't do something therefore religion can.'
    -- Richard Dawkins

    #Mean #Writing #Simple

  • If children understand that beliefs should be substantiated with evidence, as opposed to tradition, authority, revelation or faith, they will automatically work out for themselves that they are atheists.
    -- Richard Dawkins

    #Atheist #Children #Work Out

  • People who believe in something for which there is not a shred of evidence act on that belief and, above all, impose their beliefs on others, they make me cross, and they make me especially cross when they impose their beliefs on defenceless children.
    -- Richard Dawkins

    #Children #Believe #People

  • ...when two opposite points of view are expressed with equal intensity, the truth does not necessarily lie exactly halfway between them. It is possible for one side to be simply wrong.
    -- Richard Dawkins

    #Lying #Views #Opposites

  • The fear of Hell is a very powerful motivation.
    -- Richard Dawkins

    #Motivation #Powerful #Hell

  • The world and the universe is an extremely beautiful place, and the more we understand about it the more beautiful does it appear.
    -- Richard Dawkins

    #Beautiful #World #Doe

  • Theology is a non-subject. I'm not saying that professors of theology are non-professors. They do interesting things, like study biblical history, biblical literature. But theology, the study of gods, the study of what gods do, presupposes that gods exist. The only kind of theology that I take account of are those theological arguments that actually argue for the existence of God.
    -- Richard Dawkins

    #Biblical #Interesting #Literature

  • Those who wish to base their morality literally on the Bible have either not read it or not understood it...
    -- Richard Dawkins

    #Religion #Atheism #Wish

  • It is interesting to ask whether there's any general reason why being religious might make you do nice things or indeed nasty things. It's possible that people do nice things because they're religious. One reason might be they're hoping for a reward in Heaven, which is not a very noble reason.
    -- Richard Dawkins

    #Religious #Nice #Interesting

  • There is an anaesthetic of familiarity, a sedative of ordinariness which dulls the senses and hides the wonder of existence. For those of us not gifted in poetry, it is at least worth while from time to time making an effort to shake off the anaesthetic. What is the best way of countering the sluggish habitutation brought about by our gradual crawl from babyhood? We can't actually fly to another planet. But we can recapture that sense of having just tumbled out to life on a new world by looking at our own world in unfamiliar ways.
    -- Richard Dawkins

    #Effort #World #Way

  • I hope nobody is seriously suggesting that we get our morals from scripture because if we did we'd be stoning people for working on the Sabbath or switching on a light on the Sabbath. So the point is that you can find good bits of the Bible but you have to cherry-pick, you have reject the nasty bits and pick the nice bits.
    -- Richard Dawkins

    #Nice #Light #People

  • I don't want to sound callous. I mean, even if I have nothing to offer, that doesn't matter, because that still doesn't mean that what anybody else has to offer therefore has to be true.
    -- Richard Dawkins

    #Mean #Want #Matter

  • One of the possible reasons why we might be good is that we're frightened, frightened of God. We want the reward in Heaven, we don't want to go to Hell. That would be an ignoble, ignominious reason for being good, and I think that if anybody was good to you just because they hoped for a heavenly reward, you wouldn't respect them, you'd probably give them a wide berth.
    -- Richard Dawkins

    #Thinking #Giving #Heaven

  • Indeed, organizing atheists has been compared to herding cats, because they tend to think independently and will not conform to authority.
    -- Richard Dawkins

    #Atheist #Cat #Thinking

  • Religion and science have nothing to do with each other, they're about different things, science is about the way the world works and religion is about miracles, I mean, if you ask most ordinary people in church or in a mosque why they believe, it's almost certainly got something to do with the belief that God does wonderful things, that God intervenes, that God heals the sick, that God answers prayers, God forgives sins.
    -- Richard Dawkins

    #Prayer #Believe #Mean

  • It's a horrible idea that God, this paragon of wisdom and knowledge, power, couldn't think of a better way to forgive us our sins than to come down to Earth in his alter ego as his son and have himself hideously tortured and executed so that he could forgive himself.
    -- Richard Dawkins

    #Son #Thinking #Ideas

  • The fact that somebody does good doesn't make their beliefs true.
    -- Richard Dawkins

    #Facts #Doe #Belief

  • Offense is what people take when they can't take argument.
    -- Richard Dawkins

    #People #Argument #Offense

  • To be fair, much of the Bible is not systematically evil but just plain weird, as you would expect of a chaotically cobbled-together anthology of disjointed documents, composed, revised, translated, distorted and 'improved' by hundreds of anonymous authors, editors and copyists, unknown to us and mostly unknown to each other, spanning nine centuries
    -- Richard Dawkins

    #Biblical #Editors #Evil

  • In childhood our credulity serves us well. It helps us to pack, with extraordinary rapidity, our skulls full of the wisdom of our parents and our ancestors. But if we don't grow out of it in the fullness of time, our ... nature makes us a sitting target for astrologers, mediums, gurus, evangelists, and quacks. We need to replace the automatic credulity of childhood with the constructive skepticism of adult science.
    -- Richard Dawkins

    #Skulls #Childhood #Parent

  • So it is best to keep an open mind and be agnostic. At first sight that seems an unassailable position, at least in the weak sense of Pascal's wager. But on second thoughts it seems a cop-out, because the same could be said of Father Christmas and tooth fairies. There may be fairies at the bottom of the garden. There is no evidence for it, but you can't prove that there aren't any, so shouldn't we be agnostic with respect to fairies?
    -- Richard Dawkins

    #Atheist #Father #Science

  • To invoke the origin of the DNA/protein machine by invoking a supernatural Designer is to explain precisely nothing - for it leaves unexplained the origin of the Designer.
    -- Richard Dawkins

    #Dna #Machines #Designer

  • Why do more than 40 percent of Americans think that the Universe began after the domestication of the dog?
    -- Richard Dawkins

    #Dog #Atheist #Thinking

  • The idea of a divine creator belittles the elegant reality of the universe.
    -- Richard Dawkins

    #Reality #Ideas #Divine

  • The feeling of awed wonder that science can give us is one of the highest experiences of which the human psyche is capable. It is a deep aesthetic passion to rank with the finest that music and poetry can deliver. It is truly one of the things that make life worth living and it does so, if anything, more effectively if it convinces us that the time we have for living is quite finite.
    -- Richard Dawkins

    #Passion #Giving #Feelings

  • Isaac Asimov's remark about the infantilism of pseudoscience is just as applicable to religion: 'Inspect every piece of pseudoscience and you will find a security blanket, a thumb to suck, a skirt to hold.' It is astonishing, moreover, how many people are unable to understand that 'X is comforting' does not imply 'X is true'.
    -- Richard Dawkins

    #People #Comforting #Pseudoscience

  • The word 'mundane' has come to mean 'boring' and 'dull', and it really shouldn't - it should mean the opposite. Because it comes from the latin mundus, meaning 'the world'. And the world is anything but dull: The world is wonderful. There's real poetry in the real world. Science is the poetry of reality.
    -- Richard Dawkins

    #Real #Latin #Mean

  • The truth is more magical - in the best and most exciting sense of the word - than any myth or made-up mystery or miracle. Science has its own magic: the magic of reality.
    -- Richard Dawkins

    #Reality #Miracle #Magic

  • The time has come for people of reason to say: Enough is Enough! Religious faith discourages independent thought, it's divisive and it's dangerous.
    -- Richard Dawkins

    #Religious #Independent #People

  • ‎"Matter flows from place to place, and momentarily comes together to be you. Some people find that thought disturbing; I find the reality thrilling.
    -- Richard Dawkins

    #Reality #People #Religion

  • Peter Sutcliffe, the Yorkshire Ripper, distinctly heard the voice of Jesus telling him to kill women, and he was locked up for life. George W. Bush says that God told him to invade Iraq (a pity God didn't vouchsafe him a revelation that there were no weapons of mass destruction).
    -- Richard Dawkins

    #Jesus #Voice #Iraq

  • We are survival machines – robot vehicles blindly programmed to preserve the selfish molecules known as genes. This is a truth which still fills me with astonishment.
    -- Richard Dawkins

    #Selfish #Science #Survival

  • The solution often turns out more beautiful than the puzzle.
    -- Richard Dawkins

    #Beautiful #Turns #Puzzles

  • Evolution could so easily be disproved if just a single fossil turned up in the wrong date order. Evolution has passed this test with flying colours.
    -- Richard Dawkins

    #Order #Flying #Tests

  • Faith is the great cop-out, the great excuse to evade the need to think...
    -- Richard Dawkins

    #Thinking #Religion #Atheism

  • Real life seeks the gentle slopes at the back of Mount Improbable, while creationists are blind to all but the daunting precipice at the front.
    -- Richard Dawkins

    #Real #Real Life #Blind

  • Indeed, organizing atheists has been compared to herding cats, because they tend to think independently and will not conform to authority. But a good first step would be to build up a critical mass of those willing to 'come out,' thereby encouraging others to do so. Even if they can't be herded, cats in sufficient numbers can make a lot of noise and they cannot be ignored.
    -- Richard Dawkins

    #Atheist #Cat #Thinking

  • The feeling of awed wonder that science can give us is one of the highest experiences of which the human psyche is capable.
    -- Richard Dawkins

    #Giving #Feelings #Wonder

  • Can omniscient God, who Knows the future, find The omnipotence to Change His future mind?
    -- Richard Dawkins

    #Omnipotence #Mind

  • The take-home message is that we should blame religion itself, not religious extremism - as though that were some kind of terrible perversion of real, decent religion. Voltaire got it right long ago: 'Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.' So did Bertrand Russell: 'Many people would sooner die than think. In fact they do.
    -- Richard Dawkins

    #Religious #Real #Believe

  • It is a remarkable coincidence that almost everyone has the same religion as their parents and it always just so happens they're the right religion.
    -- Richard Dawkins

    #Atheist #Parent #Coincidence

  • Isn't it a remarkable coincidence almost everyone has the same religion as their parents ? And it always just happens to be the right religion. Religions run in families. If we'd been brought up in ancient Greece we would all be worshiping Zeus and Apollo. If we had been born Vikings we would be worshiping Wotan and Thor. How does this come about ? Through childhood indoctrination.
    -- Richard Dawkins

    #Running #Childhood #Parent

  • I believe that an orderly universe, one indifferent to human preoccupations, in which everything has an explanation even if we still have a long way to go before we find it, is a more beautiful, more wonderful place than a universe tricked out with capricious ad hoc magic.
    -- Richard Dawkins

    #Beautiful #Atheist #Believe

  • Religion teaches you to be satisfied with nonanswers. It’s a sort of crime against childhood.
    -- Richard Dawkins

    #Childhood #Crime #Teach

  • Presumably there is indeed no purpose in the ultimate fate of the cosmos, but do any of us really tie our life's hopes to the ultimate fate of the cosmos anyway? Of course we don't; not if we are sane. Our lives are ruled by all sorts of closer, warmer, human ambitions and perceptions.
    -- Richard Dawkins

    #Ambition #Fate #Ties

  • I've been reading an Alabama newspaper that one man shot another man because he beat him in a Bible-quoting competition.
    -- Richard Dawkins

    #Atheist #Reading #Men

  • If you're an atheist, you know, you believe, this is the only life you're going to get. It's a precious life. It's a beautiful life. Its something we should live to the full, to the end of our days. Where if you're religious and you believe in another life somehow, that means you don't live this life to the full because you think you're going to get another one. That's an awfully negative way to live a life. Being a atheist frees you up to live this life properly, happily and fully
    -- Richard Dawkins

    #Beautiful #Religious #Atheist

  • Evolution has no long-term goal. There is no long-distance target, no final perfection to serve as a criterion for selection, although human vanity cherishes the absurd notion that our species is the final goal of evolution.
    -- Richard Dawkins

    #Distance #Vanity #Goal

  • The true scientific understanding of the nature of existence is so utterly fascinating; how could you not want people to share it? Carl Sagan, I think, said 'when you're in love, you want to tell the world.' And who, on understanding a scientific view of reality, would not, as it were, fall in love and want to tell the world.
    -- Richard Dawkins

    #Falling In Love #Love You #Reality