I can understand why people might want to believe a priest who comes along and tells them they don't have to worry about death, because they're going to survive it, he told Joe Rogan, on the most recent episode of the Joe Rogan Experience. I'm less understanding of people who make up stories to comfort themselves or other people. A made-up story should not be comforting.
Dawkins name first bubbled up in atheist and popular academic communities following the publication of The Selfish Gene, a work that both put forward a gene-centric view of evolution and also coined the term meme, the cultural equivalent of a gene. His work The God Delusion set forth systematic counterarguments to the existence of god. It has recently been translated into Arabic, and Dawkins told Rogan the translation has now been downloaded 13 million times. In other words, according to Dawkins: a very good, unholy sign.
And even if you do go to heaven, Dawkins continued, on his point about religions being less than comforting, eternity in heaven not just sitting in heaven for billions of years, but trillions of years (these are time-spans beyond our comprehension) [imagine] how unbelievably boring it would be.
Dawkins new book, Outgrowing God: A Beginners Guide, acts as a kind of a reiteration of all Dawkins greatest hits, though one written for a younger audience something like a YA version of The God Delusion.
I originally wanted to write a book for young children. And publishers didn't want to do that. So they kept pushing the age range up. It stabilized around 15, said Dawkins. (Somebody give this man a picture book deal!)
Dawkins said childhood indoctrination motivated his pursuit of a younger reader audience. He said he wanted to break the chain connecting parents to children, children who parents often inculcate without providing intellectual context.
I think that's a very powerful way of [educating] children is to tell them nothing but facts. You're not indoctrinating them. Just tell them: there are lots of different religions. Hindus believes in hundreds of gods and Jews believe in one god lay out all the religions; that would be a very good educational exercise.
Outgrowing God begins by outlining the number of different gods and then moves on to the Bible, explaining the texts unreliability as a source of information. Dawkins then discusses morality how one doesn't need religion to be a moral person. The second half of the book is concerned exclusively with science.
Even the most radically complicated and beautiful and elegant pieces of animal design can be and are explained by science.
I think possibly the major reason people still cling to religion is a belief that the living world is so complicated that it cannot be explained by purely scientific means, Dawkins explained. So Ive set out to disabuse [readers] of that to show how even the most radically complicated and beautiful and elegant pieces of animal design can be and are explained by science.
Dawkins said its understandable why many believe in a divine creator the so-called proof by intelligent design.
Complicated things don't just happen, he explained. The components of a computer or a camera if you jumbled them up at random, they wouldn't work. So its pardonable that people think that there must be a designer [for nature]. But then you think a bit further and you realize the designer himself would need just the same kind of explanation. And therefore the designer is not an explanation.
Of course, the real answer, Dawkins maintains is one of simple evolutionary biology. It's hard to believe that anything so simple as natural selection non-random selection of randomly-varying genes could really be responsible for producing something as complicated as the human body. So its a matter of getting around that barrier of incredulity. . . . The idea is almost ridiculously simple.
As far as what (if heaven) awaits when the lights finally go out? Eternity is whats frightening about death, and eternity is best spent under a general anesthetic, said Richard Dawkins. Answer: nothing. Hows that for a kids bedtime story?