Richard Dawkins

Most of you probably know who Richard Dawkins is, but Ashraf Ghani and Ali Allawi? Prospect Magazine reports on its 2013 top thinkers poll: After more than 10,000 votes from over 100…

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m super conflicted about the rise of popular atheism over the last ten years or so. Let’s get that out of the way right off the bat. I truly respect the way people like Richard Dawkins (and the late Christopher Hitchens) challenge the influence of the world’s dominant religions publically. I love Bill Maher and found his movie Religulous quite amusing for the most part. This critical dialogue is incredibly important because I got news for you, religion is still the great fundamental bamboozle driving the war on drugs and terror. I think organized religion can be just as nuts as these guys do. I guess I just also see that it can also be incredibly and most boringly normal. A lot of good things come out of it as well, a sense of community, drug rehabilitation, charity work, etc.

Truth be told, the majority of people I’ve known or hung out with for most of my life have basically considered themselves atheists. It’s become almost a badge of pride for so many teenagers and young people, but I got news for you, it isn’t anything new or subversive…

Even Dawkins sees some value in religion, just not in the present. ScienceBlogs reports:

Richard Dawkins argues that humanity’s historical predisposition towards religion and supernatural beliefs may have held an evolutionary utility. “The rule of thumb: ‘Believe whatever your parents tell you,’ quite clearly could have survival value,” says Dawkins.

New York Times best-selling author Frank Schaeffer has strong opinions on religion, writing in the Huffington Post:

The media-labeled “New Atheists” such as Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens have put forward what they regard as the answer to religion: grow up, human race, and abandon your myths!

Most Americans, and maybe even most people around the world, have another answer to the extremes of religion that infect people like Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab who (allegedly) tried to blow up an airplane over Detroit: hunt down and kill the extremists.

I think just about everyone has missed the real point: religion won’t go away because — like it or not — people are spiritual beings.

Telling religious people to be moderate is not going to solve anything once they are convinced everyone not like them is the enemy of “truth.” Killing more people just makes martyrs. That being the case, the way to confront religious poison is to change religion, not try to win by eliminating it. And that change means we have to try and get to the next generation before the fundamentalists do…

Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion created a storm of controversy over the question of God’s existence. Now, in The Greatest Show on Earth, Dawkins presents a stunning counterattack against advocates of “Intelligent Design” that explains the evidence for evolution while keeping an eye trained on the absurdities of the creationist argument.

More than an argument of his own, it’s a thrilling tour into our distant past and into the interstices of life on earth. Taking us through the case for evolution step-by-step, Dawkins looks at DNA, selective breeding, anatomical similarities, molecular family trees, geography, time, fossils, vestiges and imperfections, human evolution, and the formula for a strong scientific theory.

Dawkins’ trademark wit and ferocity is joined by an infectious passion for the beauty and strangeness of the natural world, proving along the way that the mechanisms of the natural world are more miraculous — a “greater show” — than any creation story generated by any religion on earth.

Michael Shermer asks an imponderable question in Scientific American Magazine:

What are the odds that intelligent, technically advanced aliens would look anything like the ones in films, with an emaciated torso and limbs, spindly fingers and a bulbous, bald head with large, almond-shaped eyes? What are the odds that they would even be humanoid? In a YouTube video, produced by Josh Timonen of the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science, I argue that the chances are close to zero:

Richard Dawkins himself made this interesting observation in a private communication after viewing it:

I would agree with [Shermer] in betting against aliens being bipedal primates, and I think the point is worth making, but I think he greatly overestimates the odds against…