Happy Birthday, Richard Dawkins, born 26 March 1941
- We are all atheists about most of the gods that humanity has ever believed in. Some of us just go one god further.
- 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.
- Do not indoctrinate your children. Teach them how to think for themselves, how to evaluate evidence, and how to disagree with you.
- The whole point of religious faith, its strength and chief glory, is that it does not depend on rational justification. The rest of us are expected to defend our prejudices. But ask a religious person to justify their faith and you infringe ‘religious liberty’.
- We are survival machines — robot vehicles blindly programmed to preserve the selfish molecules known as genes.
- Be thankful that you have a life, and forsake your vain and presumptuous desire for a second one.
- There’s real poetry in the real world. Science is the poetry of reality.
Richard Dawkins is an English ethologist, evolutionary biologist and author. He is an emeritus fellow of New College, Oxford, and was the University of Oxford’s Professor for Public Understanding of Science from 1995 until 2008. His books include The Selfish Gene and The God Delusion.
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