Richard Dawkins On Terrorism And Religion

Jun 6, 2017

By Scott Simon

Richard Dawkins, the scientist and outspoken atheist, speaks with NPR’s Scott Simon about terrorism, and how the world has changed since he first began talking about his opposition to religion.

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Richard Dawkins is on tour. The scientist, humanist and skeptic of religion is making a series of appearances to benefit the Center for Inquiry, including in Los Angeles, Boulder, Colo., Washington, D.C. and Miami. Of course, he’s a pioneering biologist who’s now an Emeritus fellow at New College in Oxford and is, of course, perhaps, the best known public atheist in the world. Dr. Richard Dawkins joins us in our studios. Thanks so much for being with us.

RICHARD DAWKINS: Thank you for having me.

SIMON: I want to begin this way. Terrible crime this week – a suicide bomber in Manchester blew himself up during a concert, more than 20 people, many of them youngsters, were killed. The British government have identified the bomber. ISIS has claimed responsibility. There is, of course, an ongoing investigation. You’ve been outspoken and unbowed in your beliefs that religion plays a role in terrorism.

DAWKINS: Well, I think it obviously does. I mean, every time one of these things happened – and we know what the person says. It’s usually, Allahu Akbar. This is in the name of religion. That – of course, it’s very important to say this doesn’t mean all Muslims agree with it. But nevertheless, it is true…

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8 comments on “Richard Dawkins On Terrorism And Religion

  • Richard polite as ever, even in the face of the bigoted view from the host suggesting that atheists don’t do good works in the world.

    A atheist groups do, but more to the point atheists individually do every day and they do so without asking for credit in the name of atheism. I volunteer at a hacker-space set up for children with ASD teaching programming and robotics. I’m not looking for credit here because speaking to the parents and other volunteers it’s clear that none are particularly religious and most are atheist and religion generally never every comes up except when the religious blow themselves up for their faith. No one gives religious motivation as a reason we help ASD kids have a space where they can feel comfortable and have solidarity among those that understand them. That is reason enough so of course you are not going to see as many organized groups around a description of non-belief. Most atheists are not part of atheist groups it’s just not part of their lives but merely a description of something they don’t believe. Among atheist groups that do organize around fighting theocracy there are clearly a great many who contribute to secular charities.



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  • @OP – Richard Dawkins, the scientist and outspoken atheist,

    Is that an atheist who does not obediently shut up when told to do so by a theist, or who won’t pander to fantasy nonsense by giving it unearned respect – when it is wearing a “my religion badge”!



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  • 4
    maria melo says:

    Yes, Prof. Dawkins is polite, this kind of format, even the enterviewer does not allow great long answers (to silly questions sometimes).



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  • Why do atheists always have to go on the back foot when some religious group is doing good works ?
    Most of their charitable works are often funded by governments through the tax system – i.e. it is the secular dollar that funds many charitable initiatives.
    One example that really irks me is hospitals with the word “Saint” in front of them. It implies that the hospital is funded by a religious organisation, when in fact it is run with public monies, and often at a profit to the religious organisation.
    When governments make a billion dollar donation in foreign aid to a suffering country, why don’t atheists taxpayers get a “thank you” ?



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  • One example that really irks me is hospitals with the word “Saint” in front of them. It implies that the hospital is funded by a religious organisation, when in fact it is run with public monies, and often at a profit to the religious organisation.

    Here, here particularly when they try to mandate what medical treatments their doctors can and can not perform. I remember when the Victorian Archbishop threatened to close Catholic Hospitals if the government brought less restrictive abortion laws. I remember at the time thinking how dare you threaten to risk the lives of tens of thousands of patients in a state funded (certainly tax exempt) institution. I’d have at that point if I were PM been writing legislation to move that religious institutions have tax exempt status removed entirely. Probably wouldn’t have gotten through parliament but it would have got the idea out there. I’d also be demanding exactly the same rules and regulations for religious schools no exceptions. If a mentally handicapped kid wants to come to your school you take them and provide appropriate support (some do of course but private schools are not obliged in-spite of receiving tax payers dollars).



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