Richard Dawkins Quotes and Sayings

Richard Dawkins is a passion-inspiring man. His critics have dubbed him a fanatic, but his supporters say that he’s finally saying what has needed to be said for too long.

Richard Dawkins is perhaps the world’s most prominent Atheist. His book, The God Delusion, is a no-holds-barred assault on religion. His passion for science and his dislike of faith have made him one of the most controversial figures of public discourse and a central figure in the New Atheism movement. Here are some quotes by Professor Richard Dawkins.

Quotes by Dawkins on Science

Richard Dawkins, being a scientist by trade, holds a deep respect for the scientific method and often claims that he is “passionate about what’s true.”

He believes science is the best vehicle for human understanding, and that it can show a more wonderful and beautiful universe than religion. Though he is impassioned about science, he also attempts to be realistic about its limitations.

 

If you want to do evil, science provides the most powerful weapons to do evil; but equally, if you want to do good, science puts into your hands the most powerful tools to do so.

 

We admit that we are like apes, but we seldom realise that we are apes.

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

 

The universe is a strange and wondrous place. The truth is quite odd enough to need no help from pseudoscientific charlatans.

Religions do make claims about the universe–the same kinds of claims that scientists make, except they’re usually false.

 

Science offers us an explanation of how complexity (the difficult) arose out of simplicity (the easy). The hypothesis of God offers no worthwhile explanation for anything, for it simply postulates what we are trying to explain.

Science, as opposed to technology, does violence to common sense.

 

Science has taught us, against all intuition, that apparently solid things like crystals and rocks are really almost entirely composed of empty space. And the familiar illustration is the nucleus of an atom is a fly in the middle of a sports stadium, and the next atom is in the next sports stadium.

 

But perhaps the rest of us could have separate classes in science appreciation, the wonder of science, scientific ways of thinking, and the history of scientific ideas, rather than laboratory experience.

 

Of course in science there are things that are open to doubt and things need to be discussed. But among the things that science does know, evolution is about as certain as anything we know.

 

I am one of those scientists who feels that it is no longer enough just to get on and do science. We have to devote a significant proportion of our time and resources to defending it from deliberate attack from organised ignorance.

 

Science coverage could be improved by the recognition that science is timeless, and therefore science stories should not need to be pegged to an item in the news.

 

Darwin gives courage to the rest of science that we shall end up understanding literally everything, springing from almost nothing – a thought extremely hard to comprehend and believe.

 

Any teaching of falsehoods in science classes should certainly be identified and stopped by school inspectors. School inspectors should be looking at science teachings to make sure they are evidence-based science.

Quotes by Dawkins on Faith

Faith is the great cop-out, the great excuse to evade the need to think and evaluate evidence. Faith is belief in spite of, even perhaps because of, the lack of evidence.

 

At least the fundamentalists haven’t tried to dilute their message. Their faith is exposed for what it is for all to see.

 

If we are too friendly to nice, decent bishops, we run the risk of buying into the fiction that there’s something virtuous about believing things because of faith rather than because of evidence. We run the risk of betraying scientific enlightenment.

 

Many people want to send their children to faith schools because they get good exam results, but they’re not foolish enough to believe that it’s because of faith that they get good exam results.

 

Quotes by Dawkins on Religion

Dawkins doesn’t just assert the falsity of religion, he also posits that religion is immoral and encourages bad ways of thinking. His critique of religion is as forceful as the world has seen since Robert Ingersoll, and he does not take pains to avoid offending people.

 

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.

 

Faith is the great cop-out, the great excuse to evade the need to think and evaluate evidence. Faith is belief in spite of, even perhaps because of, the lack of evidence.

 

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?

 

There are all sorts of things that would be comforting. I expect an injection of morphine would be comforting… But to say that something is comforting is not to say that it’s true.

 

If there is no God, why be good?…When a religious person puts it to me in this way (and many of them do), my immediate temptation is to issue the following challenge: ‘Do you really mean to tell me the only reason you try to be good is to gain God’s approval and reward, or to avoid his disapproval and punishment? That’s not morality, that’s just sucking up, apple-polishing, looking over your shoulder at the great surveillance camera in the sky, or the still small wiretap inside your head, monitoring your every move, even your every base thought.

 

I am against religion because it teaches us to be satisfied with not understanding the world.

 

A universe with a God would look quite different from a universe without one. A physics, a biology where there is a God is bound to look different. So the most basic claims of religion are scientific. Religion is a scientific theory.

 

Disagreements between incompatible beliefs cannot be settled by reasoned argument because reasoned argument is drummed out of those trained in religion from the cradle.

 

Many of us saw religion as harmless nonsense. Beliefs might lack all supporting evidence but, we thought, if people needed a crutch for consolation, where’s the harm? September 11th changed all that.

 

We’ve all been brought up with the view that religion has some kind of special privileged status. You’re not allowed to criticise it.

 

It would be intolerant if I advocated the banning of religion, but of course I never have.

 

One of the things that is wrong with religion is that it teaches us to be satisfied with answers which are not really answers at all.

 

Religion is about turning untested belief into unshakable truth through the power of institutions and the passage of time.

 

All the great religions have a place for awe, for ecstatic transport at the wonder and beauty of creation.

 

Religion is capable of driving people to such dangerous folly that faith seems to me to qualify as a kind of mental illness.

 

The very idea that we get a moral compass from religion is horrible. Not only should we not get our moral compass from religion, as a matter of fact we don’t.

 

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

 

I get the feeling more and more that religion is being left behind.

 

People really, really hate their religion being criticized. It’s as though you’ve said they had an ugly face; they seem to identify personally with it.

Richard Dawkin’s sharp critique of religion and his defense of science have forever changed the world’s discourse on faith. His words, though harsh and callous to some, are to others the clear, honest appraisal of how the world is that has been long overdue.

If one wishes to learn more about Richard Dawkins, information about him is available at his web site, RichardDawkins.net.

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