79 Quotes of Richard Dawkins About Evolution

” By all means let’s be open-minded, but not so open-minded that our brains drop out. “
” God exists, if only in the form of a meme with high survival value, or infective power, in the environment provided by human culture. “
” Nothing is wrong with peace and love. It is all the more regrettable that so many of Christ’s followers seem to disagree. “
” Natural selection is anything but random. “
” You can’t even begin to understand biology, you can’t understand life, unless you understand what it’s all there for, how it arose – and that means evolution. “
” Biology is the study of complicated things that have the appearance of having been designed with a purpose. “
” An Internet meme is a hijacking of the original idea. Instead of mutating by random change and spreading by a form of Darwinian selection, Internet memes are altered deliberately by human creativity. There is no attempt at accuracy of copying, as with genes – and as with memes in their original version. “
” My eyes are constantly wide open to the extraordinary fact of existence. Not just human existence, but the existence of life and how this breathtakingly powerful process, which is natural selection, has managed to take the very simple facts of physics and chemistry and build them up to redwood trees and humans. “
” Religion is capable of driving people to such dangerous folly that faith seems to me to qualify as a kind of mental illness. “
” Let us try to teach generosity and altruism, because we are born selfish. “
” Let us try to teach generosity and altruism, because we are born selfish. “
” I’m fascinated by the idea that genetics is digital. A gene is a long sequence of coded letters, like computer information. Modern biology is becoming very much a branch of information technology. “
” Evolution never looks to the future. “
” The solution often turns out more beautiful than the puzzle. “
” 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. “
” We cannot, of course, disprove God, just as we can’t disprove Thor, fairies, leprechauns and the Flying Spaghetti Monster. “
” The meme for blind faith secures its own perpetuation by the simple unconscious expedient of discouraging rational inquiry. “
” Secularism is categorically not saying that the religious may not speak out publicly or have a say in public life. It is about saying that religion alone should not confer a privileged say in public life, or greater influence on it. It really is as simple as that. “
” A delusion is something that people believe in despite a total lack of evidence. “
” 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. “
” Discrimination is not liberal. Arguing against discrimination is not intolerance. “
” We are all atheists about most of the gods that societies have ever believed in. Some of us just go one god further. “
” The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but blind, pitiless indifference. “
” I accept that there may be things far grander and more incomprehensible than we can possibly imagine. “
” The central dogma of the New Testament is that Jesus died as a scapegoat for the sin of Adam and the sins that all we unborn generations might have been contemplating in the future. Adam’s sin is perhaps mitigated by the extenuating circumstance that he didn’t exist. “
” A guided missile corrects its trajectory as it flies, homing in, say, on the heat of a jet plane’s exhaust. A great improvement on a simple ballistic shell, it still cannot discriminate particular targets. It could not zero in on a designated New York skyscraper if launched from as far away as Boston. “
” All the great religions have a place for awe, for ecstatic transport at the wonder and beauty of creation. “
” The essence of life is statistical improbability on a colossal scale. “
” It would be intolerant if I advocated the banning of religion, but of course I never have. “
” Our animal origins are constantly lurking behind, even if they are filtered through complicated social evolution. “
” My personal feeling is that understanding evolution led me to atheism. “
” 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. “
” 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? “
” The fact that life evolved out of nearly nothing, some 10 billion years after the universe evolved out of literally nothing, is a fact so staggering that I would be mad to attempt words to do it justice. “
” 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. “
” If there is a God, it’s going to be a whole lot bigger and a whole lot more incomprehensible than anything that any theologian of any religion has ever proposed. “
” Natural selection will not remove ignorance from future generations. “
” To fill a world with religion, or religions of the Abrahamic kind, is like littering the streets with loaded guns. Do not be surprised if they are used. “
” I am very comfortable with the idea that we can override biology with free will. “
” The question of whether there exists a supernatural creator, a God, is one of the most important that we have to answer. I think that it is a scientific question. My answer is no. “
” The chances of each of us coming into existence are infinitesimally small, and even though we shall all die some day, we should count ourselves fantastically lucky to get our decades in the sun. “
” Every night of our lives, we dream, and our brain concocts visions which are, at least until we wake up, highly convincing. Most of us have had experiences which are verging on hallucination. It shows the power of the brain to knock up illusions. “
” 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. “
” I think looking back to my own childhood, the fact that so many of the stories I read allowed the possibility of frogs turning into princes, whether that has a sort of insidious affect on rationality, I’m not sure. Perhaps it’s something for research. “
” Let us understand what our own selfish genes are up to because we may then at least have the chance to upset their designs. “
” What’s wrong with being elitist if you are trying to encourage people to join the elite rather than being exclusive? “
” I am very conscious that you can’t condemn people of an earlier era by the standards of ours. “
” My thoughts, my beliefs, my feelings are all in my brain. My brain is going to rot. “
” There’s branches of science which I don’t understand; for example, physics. It could be said, I suppose, that I have faith that physicists understand it better than I do. “
” Religion teaches you to be satisfied with nonanswers. It’s a sort of crime against childhood. “
” I think the written word is probably the best medium of communication because you have time to reflect, you have time to choose your words, to get your sentences exactly right. Whereas when you’re being interviewed, say, you have to talk on the fly, you have to improvise, you can change sentences around, and they’re not exactly right. “
” What is illiberal is not persuasion but imposition of one’s views. “
” 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. “
” The Bible was written by fallible human beings. “
” 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. “
” There are many very educated people who are religious, but they’re not creationists. “
” There does seem to be a sense in which physics has gone beyond what human intuition can understand. We shouldn’t be too surprised about that because we’re evolved to understand things that move at a medium pace at a medium scale. We can’t cope with the very tiny scale of quantum physics or the very large scale of relativity. “
” Bereavement is terrible, of course. And when somebody you love dies, it’s a time for reflection, a time for memory, a time for regret. “
” The whole idea of creating saints, it’s pure ‘Monty Python.’ They have to clock up two miracles. “
” There are quite a lot of YouTube clips of me that have gone viral. One that I think of is of a young woman at a lecture I was giving – she came from Liberty University, which is a ludicrous religious institution. She said, ‘What if you are wrong?’ and I answered that rather briefly, and that’s gone viral. “
” As Darwin himself was at pains to point out, natural selection is all about differential survival within species, not between them. “
” The earliest books in the New Testament to be written were the Epistles, not the Gospels. It’s almost as though Saint Paul and others who wrote the Epistles weren’t that interested in whether Jesus was real. “
” We have to find our own purposes in life, which are not derived directly from our scientific history. “
” I think I would abolish schools which systematically inculcate sectarian beliefs. “
” I wouldn’t want to have the thought police going to people’s homes, dictating what they teach their children. I don’t want to be Big Brotherish. I would hate that. “
” We should not live by Darwinian principles. But Darwin explains how we got here. “
” ‘What is the purpose of the universe?’ is a silly question. “
” Why are we so obsessed with monogamous fidelity? “
” There are many religious points of view where the conservation of the world is just as important as it is to scientists. “
” As a liberal, I would hesitate to propose a blanket ban on any style of dress because of the implications for individual liberty and freedom of choice. “
” Tortoises can survive for weeks without food or water, easily long enough to float in the Humboldt Current from South America to the Galapagos Islands. “
” Intelligent life on a planet comes of age when it first works out the reason for its own existence. “
” Religion is about turning untested belief into unshakable truth through the power of institutions and the passage of time. “
” A native speaker of English who has never read a word of the King James Bible is verging on the barbarian. “
” A universe with a creator would be a totally different kind of universe, scientifically speaking, than one without. “
” Isn’t it sad to go to your grave without ever wondering why you were born? Who, with such a thought, would not spring from bed, eager to resume discovering the world and rejoicing to be part of it? “
” 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. “
” Design can never be an ultimate explanation for anything. It can only be a proximate explanation. A plane or a car is explained by a designer but that’s because the designer himself, the engineer, is explained by natural selection. “
” 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. “