Home > Interesting People, Science, Think About It > An Interview with Richard Dawkins – 15 August 1994

An Interview with Richard Dawkins – 15 August 1994

Interview With Richard Dawkins
Channel 4 UK
Channel 4 in the UK ran a half-hour series of interviews in 1994 called “The Vision Thing”. Various people with different beliefs were interviewed by Sheena McDonald, a respected TV journalist.
The only atheist viewpoint was put by Richard Dawkins on 15 Aug. 1994.

McDonald’s intro : “Imagine no religion!” Even non-believers recognize the shock value of John Lennon’s lyric. A godless universe is still a shocking idea in most parts of the world. But one English zoologist crusades for his vision of a world of truth, a world without religion, which he says is the enemy of truth, a world which understands the true meaning of life. He’s called himself a scientific zealot. In London I met Richard Dawkins.

Sheena McDonald: Richard Dawkins, you have a vision of the world – this world free of lies, not the little lies that we protect ourselves with, but what you would see as the big lie, which is that God or some omnipotent creator made and oversees the world. Now, a lot of people are looking for meaning in the world, a lot of them find it through faith. So what’s attractive about your godless world, what’s beautiful – why would anyone want to live in your world?

The world and the universe is an extremely beautiful place, and the more we understand about it the more beautiful does it appear. It is an immensely exciting experience to be born in the world, born in the universe, and look around you and realize that before you die you have the opportunity of understanding an immense amount about that world and about that universe and about life and about why we’re here. We have the opportunity of understanding far, far more than any of our predecessors ever. That is such an exciting possibility, it would be such a shame to blow it and end your life not having understood what there is to understand.

Right, well, let’s maximize this opportunity. Paint the world, describe the opportunity that too many of use – you will probably say most of us – are not exploiting to appreciate the world and to understand the world.

Well, suppose you look at an animal such as a human or a hedgehog or a bat, and you really want to understand how it works. The scientific way of understanding how it works would be to treat it rather as an engineer would treat a machine. So if an engineer was handed this television camera that engineer would get a screwdriver out, take it to bits, perhaps try to work out a circuit diagram and try to work out what this thing did, what it was good for, how it works, would explain the functioning of the whole machine in terms of the bits, in terms of the parts. Then the engineer would probably want to know how it came to be where it was, what’s the history of it – was it put together in a factory? Was it sort of suddenly just gelled together spontaneously? Now those are the sorts of questions that a scientist would ask about a bat or a hedgehog or a human, and we’ve got a long way to go, but a great deal of progress has been made. We really do understand a lot about how we and rats and pigeons work. I’ve spoken only of the mechanism of a living thing. There’s a whole other set of questions about the history of living things, because each living thing comes into the world through being born or hatched, so you have to ask, where did it get its structure from? It got it largely from its genes. Where do the genes come from? From the parents, the grand-parents, the great-grand parents. You go on back through the history, back through countless generations of history, through fish ancestors, through worm-like ancestors, through protozoa-like ancestors, to bacteria-like ancestors.

Read more…

  1. No comments yet.
  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: