I haven't listened or read anything from Dawkins in many months. Thanks for the share.
There is one problem with Dawkins' statement that "the fact that it can be used for the bad makes me want to cut it off at the roots." Fact is, the same could be said for science. The products of science can be used to benefit all mankind or erase it all with alarming efficiency. Science is a TOOL; people CHOOSE how it is used. The same could be said about religion, except that the good that religion accomplishes could as easily be accomplished by a secular organization with no religious component.
Where I would draw a better differentiation is that science is based in demonstrable fact, where religion has no such facts to bolster its arguments or position.
That right Loren - that statement has it's flaws - I like your statement much better. It is more precise.
I agree with you as well, Loren. I've known too many people who use religion as a tool (or reason) for altruism to dismiss it solely on the basis of its potential for harm. That being said, it would be better for them to drop the illusory pretense of religion and fully embrace their own humanity – thus accrediting their own virtues unguided by divine threat or reward.
Yes, but note that: "the fact that it can be used for the bad makes me want to cut it off at the roots", does not mean the same as: "the fact that it can be used for the bad means it should be cut off at the roots".
It's like: "When my wife farts all night in bed, it makes me want to bung her butt with a cork".
Loren, I agree but want to pick a little nit before I take your insightful thought further.
Dawkins could have said science can be used for the bad.... I'm wondering if he would have added that it's not scientists, but politicians who order military people to use science that way.
Politicians use politics for similar "bads". They order young people into combat much as some religious leaders order young men into suicide missions.
In the US of A, Democrats both lied and ordered young people into a war in Viet Nam and Republicans both lied and ordered young people into a war in Iraq.
People have to question every use of authority.
I think it is in the nature of human beings to classify ourselves into types based upon location. This is not only apparent in religion where geography so often defines creed, but also in patriotism and other areas as well. Americans generally revere the American flag and all it stands for, the Chinese venerate the flag of China and the customs of their country, etc. More locally, Colorado natives are more likely to support the Denver Broncos, whereas Florida natives are more likely to be Miami Dolphins fans regardless of the actual merits of each team.
The tightest grouping is family. Most individuals are far more likely to support and fight for a blood relative (whether they are right or wrong) than a total stranger. So often we just accept these things as natural – and I think as a species, groupings based upon localization are natural. These instincts are probably evolutionary, built into our species and difficult to overcome. This is why I think so many have such a difficult time breaking free from their cultures – religious or otherwise. But indeed, the only way to break free is to question everything.
Oh I certainly agree with that Tom - you should question everything.
If Dawkins was a man he would have hit that guy.
he held it in. He can fight him off camera.
yes- kinda like Superman!