Richard Dawkins and Lawrence Krauss double down on disbelief – The Globe and Mail


Between them, evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins and theoretical physicist Lawrence Krauss are among the most outspoken scientists who say the world would be a better place if religion were relegated to the dustbin of history – or at least taken out of action as a political and social force. In best-selling books and numerous media appearances, both have repeatedly made the case for the scientific worldview as an alternative to faith, sometimes to the discomfort of fellow scientists.

Note: there are 3 videos on the Globe and Mail site – please go to the source article to watch.

Starting in 2003, the scientists began teaming up in public talks in which they lay out their arguments in the form of a conversation. Filmmaker Gus Holwerda picks up this evolution as the pair take their skeptical show on the road, tangling with religious leaders, talk-show hosts and several thousand years of cultural inertia. The result is the feature-length film The Unbelievers, which had its world premiere in Toronto at the Hot Docs festival on Monday night.

Before the screening, Dr. Dawkins, a professor emeritus at Oxford University, and Dr. Krauss, who is director of the Origins Institute at Arizona State University, sat down to talk about science and religion with The Globe and Mail.

Is there a risk that by challenging religion head-on you galvanize your opposition?

LK: At some level that may be true, but what it does do is point out a key fact: that religion shouldn’t have a free ride. Somehow people get the sense that religion is sacred – if you’ll forgive the pun – and nothing should be sacred. Everything is subject to discussion and that’s what makes life worthwhile.

Aren’t there important things that we can all draw from religion, like a sense of community or consolation in difficult times?

RD: We can find fellowship and community in other settings, of course. I think it’s an odd thing to encourage people to get consolation from something for which there’s no evidence. Science, of course, provides it’s own consolation – the consolation of knowing what it’s all about. This is something uplifting.

LK: People are programmed to think that reality isn’t uplifting and that it takes away from things to understand perhaps that the universe isn’t made for us. But I think what we need to do is encourage people to recognize that that doesn’t make your life less meaningful. You make the meaning in your own life.

Written By: Ivan Semeniuk
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  1. There is no need to dump religion, just faith. Even if you thought religious tradition needed to go too, divide and conquer is a more successful strategy.

  2. One might be tempted to comfort an upset child by making up a story involving elves and fairies but why anyone would advocate treating adults like children – comforting adults with fantasies about a nonexistent, absolutely carefree, eternal afterlife is beyond me. The faith of a child in the fairytale is lost once the parent eventually disavows the fable. Temporary faith, a faith certain to be outgrown, doesn’t carry the consequences of inculcating the belief that faith is a virtue does. Indoctrinate children with the claim that not believing in something for which there is no evidence is a immoral, as opposed to teaching critical thinking, creates an environment that occasionally yields people who will assassinate physicians, bomb clinics and fly airliners into skyscrapers.

  3. I personally believe that religious faith breaks down the fact that inevitably one must die and the idea of permanent extermination is a difficult pill to swallow for humans. With someone left with this likely option of being “no-one” after death, the mind grasps with fear and develops this sort of “hope” or faith as it is called that a lordly being, greater than themselves will cradle them intact into forever land. It seems better for all of us to embrace some of the ideas that even if you strictly believe in Science that dis-corporation of the body is the contributing back into natures fold to re-emerge into another form so to speak.

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