An atheist's call to arms

Richard Dawkins on aggressively fighting the incursion of religion

The session was titled "The Design of Life," and the TED audience was probably expecting remarks about evolution's role in our history from biologist Richard Dawkins. Instead, he launched into a full-on appeal for atheists to make public their beliefs and to aggressively fight the incursion of religion into politics and education (quoting Douglas Adams in the bargain). Scientists and intellectuals hold very different beliefs about God from the American public, he says, yet they are cowed by the overall political environment. Dawkins' scornful tone drew strongly mixed reactions from the audience; some stood and applauded his courage. Others wondered whether his strident approach could do more harm than good. Dawkins went on to publish The God Delusion and become perhaps the world's best-known atheist.
About Richard Dawkins Oxford professor Richard Dawkins has helped steer evolutionary science into the 21st century...


Recently by Setareh SabetyCommentsDate
Car Crash
May 28, 2012
Oliver Stone's Son Converts to Islam
Feb 15, 2012
Ziba Nawak: Naked Solidarity
Dec 09, 2011
more from Setareh Sabety

Not Really Sera

by Mehdi on

I am not defending Christian God or any such God. What I am saying is that Dawkins takes a few small facts, misrepresent them and then decides that all religion and anything related to it is invalid! He talks about the idea that God would have to be more complex than a complex creation. I am not agreeing or disagreeing with this because I have no idea what he means when he says God and I have no idea what he means when he mentions complex creation. Is he referring to humans or the entire universe as a complex creation? Wich definition of the word God is he using? I am not agreeing or disagreeing with these things. What I am disagreeing is that the couple of points he brings up about Darwin does not prove that all religious and potentially philosophical ideas are invalid. He never defines what he means by religion so I have no choice but to think that philosophical idea are also included as the distinction has never been made really by anybody. What I am saying is that Darwin never proved anything other than the fact that life forms had not been created and put on Earth in their final form - they had evolved into that form. It is possible that because before this, some religions had claimed that God created creatures and  put them on Earth as such, then to some, Darwin's discovery meant that everything about that religion was then false - or at least the whole story and even idea of creation was invalid. But Darwin never really proved that and his discovery did not prove one way or another wether the universe and humans were created or always existed or whatever. So to say that Darwin proved that there is no creation is falsehood.



You say we should keep science out of the task of proving the existence of God or evoltion theory. I am not what you mean but isn't this exactly what Dawkins is doing?



Now, I told you what is wrong with Dawkins in my mind - he bundles a huge number of things in his talk and shoots them out of sky based on apparently Darwin's discovery. I think what he is doing is not thinking or being scientific - he is just showing his hatred or dislike of the common religions and what they have done in the name of God. I am afraid being a "rebel" is not scientific - it is romatic and sexy but not scientific. Just saying things that causes a stir or controversy might give someone publicity but it has nothing to do with scientific thinking. That's why I say he is dishonest. He can't be unaware of that fact.



But what some of what you talk about has not really been mention by Dawkins. You say things that I am not sure what you mean. You say God doesn't belong to religions? If you want we could stray away from Dawkins, and unlike him, maybe you should first tell me what you think is religion.



Re psychiatry, I don't think you paid attention to what I said. It isn't that some psychiatrists are bad. Psychiatry has it as its tenets that you must believe in materialism and must believe that Man is an object. They will NOT give you a license tp practice unless you believe in that! It is a system. Hundreds of millions of humans have not been put on heroin-like drugs by a few bad psychiatrist. Every single psychiatrist today does ONLY that! So I am not sure how you say some are doing things that are wrong. When heroin, LSD and PCP were introduced by psychiatry as wonder drugs solving the problem of happiness for mankind, it was prescribed by every psychiatrists for years - it wasn't by a few. So again, I am not sure what you mean by only a few did that.



You also misquote me as saying when I think about life having come into existence withour any cause, or accidentaly, that I feel lost. I never talked about feeling. I said if you think about it scientifically, you have no choice but to conclude that there is no sense in doing anything in life and nothing can be defined after such an assumption. This is not my feeling of lonliness or lost it is a scientific fact. Materialists claim that the the world came into existence without a creator - that it just all of a sudden came into existence. Well if we accept that, then what is the gurantee that it won't also disappear any second? Also this means that we mean nothing to anything or anybody and we cannot possibly be aware of our own awareness. This is not a feeling it is inevitable conclusion.


To Mehdi,

by Sera (not verified) on

Thanks for taking time and replying and also your honesty on expressing your uncertainty about few things. I do my best to touch on those, and one more thing, just to share my two cents.
As far as 'cause' and 'effect' you said:"The idea that we can have an effect without a cause is beyond un-scientific, it is insane!". Dawkins talked about it in different terms. please watch the clip again after reading this if you have time. He says something like this, I don't remember the exact words: "believers reason that from statistical probability point of view, it is impossible that something as complex as human can come to existence by accident. this is like shooting your own feet because then we(unbelievers) reason that creator of a complex being should be even more complex, how did the creator come to existence?" he would ask you , with your terminology: "dear Mehdi, if god is the ultimate cause, then how did that god come to existence?" Dawkins reasoning is valid. his analogy of shooting your own feet is similar to what Molana Rumi says: "neshasteh sar-e shakh-o, bon miborid". it's like a person who is sitting on the tip of a branch and cutting it from the end closer to the trunk. well he would be the first one falling down. Those who say human is too complex to be result of an accident, should explain how human's creator who is more complex came around. This is an old discussion. The fact is the "evolution theory" and "prove or disprove of god" are both out of the domain of science. Science is about observation and measurement. as far as "evolution theory" it is impossible to replicate the entire process of evolution in a lab to observe and measure how it happened. even if we can, it would take millions of years and requires a lab as big as the universe itself. as far as "prove or disprove of god" clearly god can not be observed nor can be measured. to give you an example from Quran, verse3, Baghareh chapter, defines a believer(momen) as someone who believe in unseen(gheib). So let's leave science out of this. Science is not an appropriate tool to verify god's existence or verify the evolution theory.

Re spirituality and religion being two different things. you said: " Spirituality and religion are not the same? I am not sure but I do know that the largest religion on Earth, Buddhism, is concerned almost entirely with spirituality and the reaching of a higher state for Man...". That's true but then again Buddhism(lets assume it is the oldest religion and discard older myths and religions) like any other religion touches on spirituality and those fundamental questions you mentioned before. It has the same urge to provide some answers to those questions in order to survive. I give an example to make it doable and tangible for you to differentiate between those two. Imagine you are living 5500 years ago, centuries before all these major religions appeared. you were not even living in any of those big cities in those days civilized world. you were living on an isolated island in Pacific ocean or North pole. seeing the routine of day and night, sunrise and sunset and stars, change of seasons, birth and death around you...etc, as a human being would you contemplate those questions? questions like, who am I? what am I doing here? where did I come from? how/why did I come? who brought be here? who created me? is there a creator at all? Would you contemplate those questions? You would. in fact every human would because "thinking" and "contemplating" is a characteristic of human specie. you would look at your house there and reason: "I made my own house. if my little, simple house couldn't come to existence without me, then this huge universe couldn't come to existence without a creator either...." then you may go further and ask who created the creator then? who created the creator's creator? and this question can endlessly go on. you may remain in the state of 'not knowing whether there is a creator or not' in another word remain an 'agnostic'. Or you may land on this conclusion that: "There must be a creator but I don't know how that creator came to existence". You may get to the conclusion that: "there is no god because the question of "who created god?" would probably remain unanswered forever". The point I'm trying to make here, and I said in both my previous comments but you seem not to have noticed them, is that BELIEVING IN GOD OR NOT, HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH RELIGION.

I understand it when you say you feel lost if you accept the univrse, and human as part of it, are result of an accident and there is no god. If you feel lost, I feel terrified to death if I exclude the creator (with my own understanding of that creator of course) out of the grand picture. However what in reality out there happens is that people are afraid of excluding religion from their lives. this is because they have tied god and religion together and they think if they exclude religion they have excluded god. This is terrifying for them and it is understandable given their assumption of those two being tied together.

You seem to be mad at psychiatrists. Whether they have created a new cult/religion or not they are not any better or worse than any other cult or religion. There are good and bad people among them too, with good and bad intentions and agenda.

This fellow Dawkins, regardless of what he is preaching, sets a good example of a genuine human. He teaches us to 'think', to 'doubt', to 'rebel' and to 'stand' by what we believe, whatever our beliefs might be. I think God is much more pleased with creatures like him, who are closer to the true essence of a human, than those millions of so-called zealous believers who have been given a religious handbook to stop thinking for themselves and blindly follow in order to be saved. For those of us who are so passionatly trying to defend god, I would like to say that the god I believe in, not only is not offended by Dawkins but is rejoicing tremendeously seeing that some of the creatures are using their 'brain' and 'reason' to understand their surrounding. In a way I'm jeolous of Dawkins and his ability to reason and his courage to think for himself. Regardless of what his findings and beliefs are. all the best.


..........rid IRI of islam?

by Faribors Maleknasri M. D. (not verified) on

and give it to devils? Mission impossible. otherweis had devils already finished the job. but they do not dare to do a damn thing against that nation. allone because of the big nummber of "fanatic mullahs" there. 1978/79 they counted about 30 Millions. Now they are 70 Millions. and it seems they know how to protect their country. Dont worry and be happy. Greeting


Evolution theory is

by Anonym (not verified) on

Evolution theory is nonsense?! And a creation of the colonialists to disarm beleivers? we should beleive that God created the earth in 6 days? That's very rational doctor, don't you think?


Now only if.......................

by Faribors Maleknasri M. D. (not verified) on

please who has started with war in the last let us say hundred years? The believer or the atteists? Is Bush a believer? or condolenz or shyni? are these people believer or atteists? No religion advises to a hegemonial war. the fact that islam advises to defending ones life and wealth - jahad - is damned again and again in the western media. so often that people in the western countries are convinced jahad were a hegemonial terroristic war. thanks God a big nummber of humanbeings from Indonesia to andalusia - the ones who could suffer from hegemonial wars - think different. Greeting


I have a hard time.................

by Faribors Maleknasri M. D. (not verified) on

and the idea of the nonsence named evolution-theory is abhorrent. It is by no means a subject of sceince. befiore about 300 hundred years the british colonialisem manufactured this "theory" to disarm the believers. the believers were the only group who did not throw their wealth after them. so they had to be disarmed. those colonialist are the ancestores of the ones who made rushdi to rushdi. Greetings


Now only if we can rid Iran of Islam.

by omid (not verified) on

empty people requie guidance, and throuh guidance the masses are manipulated, and taken advantage of. There should never be too much authority, and Dawkin's call to arms shouldn't be taken literaly. We the athiest should unite for recognition and to influence policies, or else these religius freaks will ruin this planet with their silly, senseless wars. stop being a damn sheep!


why deny GOD?

by Faribors Maleknasri M. D. (not verified) on

Tehran, Nov 9, IRNA

Substitute Friday prayers leader of Tehran Ayatollah Mohammad Emami Kashani said on Friday that production of nuclear bomb is religiously forbidden.

"Islam bans shedding blood of nations; on the same ground, production of nuclear bomb and even thinking on its production are forbidden from Islamic point of view," said Ayatollah Kashani in his weekly Friday prayers sermon at Tehran University campus.

Ayatollah Kashani said that in the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Supreme Leader of Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei, as the highest authority having the power of issuing decrees and having the first say in decision makings and politics, has explicitly banned production and use of Weapons of Mass Destruction.

"The world of arrogance, however, is accusing Iran under vain pretexts that is after production of nuclear weapons," he announced.

He said Iranians based on their religious ideology believe in security of whole the world people and of believers of different religions. "That's because Islam and country's Constitution believe in security in all countries," he made it clear.

He reiterated that Iranian nation does not favor genocide and all the crimes which are usually committed by the world of arrogance.


what is God?

by Faribors Maleknasri M. D. (not verified) on

of course the ones who deny God`s existence know exactly what God is. Their mehtod is at no means scientifical. so it is a waste of time to remind them: first define the object which you claim it does not exist. the main purpose of all these struggles is: the God deneyers want first disarm the ones who does not throw voluntarily their wealth about them and are successfull by help of God. however these MIRSA BENEVIS HA play only an unimprtant roll and get a small salary. some of them get even nothing. they belong to the group of NOKAR HAYE BI JIRE O MAVAJEB. are the nations first disarmed then will the MOOFTKHOORAN have an easy game. this method - denying God - is not new. Karl marx could easily attak the religion becaus the christianity was allready spoiled. and these articles are nothing else exsept VAGHT GOOSARANI. the writers are all but jocking and kidding and making the ones who live in the Diaspora a short nice time. Dont worry, be happy and scream. Greetings


Fight the religion................

by Faribors Maleknasri M. D. (not verified) on

and disarm the ones who do not throw their wealth volutarily after us, yes do it. And then comes uncle sam and takem them all. yes just go ahead and disarm.


He has a briliant mind!

by farrad02 on

I like to see a reasoned and balanced response to this man's speech and if anyone has one or knws where we can find it, please share! Until then, please don't insult our intelligence by posting incompetent babbles that amount to nothing but slogans (shoars)!


An atheist's call to arms

by A.S (not verified) on

Such arguments surprise me. None have defined what God is, yet are denying its existence. How can you talk about something which you do not know what it is? I would challenge any of you to tell me what God is. Richard should first define God, and then reject it. How can he reject something he doesn’t know what it is? what is he rejecting?. The main problem here is his last sentence of his speech. Here he is doing exactly what those very radical religious do and want him to do. What a shame.

Azarin Sadegh

"The voice of Reason is soft, but it is very persistent"

by Azarin Sadegh on

Thank you so much for this wonderful post! I had just finished reading Christopher Hitchens' "god is not Great", and I was contemplating about one of the last phrases of this book: ”The voice of Reason is soft, but it is very persistent.” So, as you notice, I had already started to suspect that all great minds – besides the high IQ - should own a good amount of sense of humor, but now after watching Dawkins and his hilarious (and convincing) speech, I am going to order my copy of "The god delusion" on Thanks, Azarin


Dear Sera

by Mehdi on

I am afraid Mr. Dawkins does lump everything together as "'religion." "Creationism," "Darwin's theory of natural selection," "evolutionists," these terms are used freely, and the implication I get is that there is only two sides "religion" and "materialism." That's the main flaw I am pointing out here. He seems to be doing it unwittingly but he is definitely promoting the idea that all we see around us is just an accident and has no cause. In his words he is refusing the idea that some intelligence was behind this universe. He only brings up the idea of God but then use that as a generalization of any cause. The idea opposing "creationists" would be that there was no cause and we just have this effect out of nowhere. And he calls this a scientific observation!



 He seems completely unaware of the many different definitions of the word "God" in many different cultures. In some cultures, even the owner of a house is called God. If he had said that the God that we know generally in Christianity or some other religions is a hard-to-sell idea and is not scientific, it would be hard to argue with him. But he instead uses that to conclude that there is no creator for this universe. Things "just happened." Personally, I think as soon as we start to think that way, we're lost forever! If there is no creator, and there is no logic and things can just happen for no reason, then I am not sure why he bothers giving a speech. What possible difference could it make? Things could just change in the next five seconds and a completely different universe come into existence all of a sudden. It is too crazy to even bother with that idea. The idea that we can have an effect without a cause is beyond un-scientific, it is insane!



If Mr. Dawkins had said that it is unscientific and dishonest to talk about God and sell the idea without really knowing anything about God, he could be right! But to use this shortcoming of some religions and claim (or imply) that therefore there is no creator or intelligence behind this universe is absurd, and definitely not scientific. It is time for him now to be honest and say that he doesn't know how the heck this universe came about either. But he himself chooses the dishonest path of selling nonsense packaged as science (instead of religion). That supposedly Darwin prooved that things just happen with no reason! 



Spirituality and religion are not the same? I am not sure but I do know that the largest religion on Earth, Buddhism, is concerned almost entirely with spirituality and the reaching of a higher state for Man. So if we are going to use the term religion so carelessly, then we shouldn't make general comments about it. He should have been more clear about exactly what he means then by religion. Because to me "beliefs" and "rituals" have nothing to do with religion. It's only the pretended religion that works on these concepts. Only people who didn't understand the concepts or people who had other agenda used religion for their own purposes and came up with retuals and beliefs. But if Dawkins wanted to talk about the pretence in the field of religoin, the least he could do would be to be more clear in choosing his words. He definitely seem to include all religious concept into this bundle.



Questions about our origin, purpose of existence is not related to religion and belong to philosophy? Well for as long as these terms are not standardly defined, I am not sure what to say. But what you should notice is that there is definitely huge overlapping areas in philosophy and religion. In fact psychiatry is now meddling with that field and that is why I said psychiatry is operating more like a corrupt religion (cult) than a science. Unlike what you say, it isn't how psychiatry may be used, or a small few using it in a bad way, it is within the fabric of psychiatry to pretend to have answers to the millenia old questions of Man. Psychiatry today claims internationally that they know what makes a man happy or unhappy. Correct me if I am wrong but this has been a question for religion/philosophy for thousands of years. Psychiatry today claims that it know what makes a man tick - again the subject of religion and philosophy for years. The whole package of religious beliefs about God, creation, the role of Man, etc, etc, is an attempt to answer such questions. In fact the word psychiatry comes from the greek word "psyche" which means "the soul" and also "the mind." Funny enough, psychiatry does not believe in the soul or the mind - they only believe in the brain! They interchange the use of the word "mind" and "brain" without ever proving or demostrating that the two are the same (don't ask them about the soul at all because all you get is a laughter).



I am all for the exposing of the religious charlatan. I am all for the exposing of un-scientific beliefs. But to me it is far more dangerous to fall into the trap of the materialist. I'd rather be stuck in the dark ages! If you could imagine where such ideas will take mankind, you would think twice before bundling all philosophy and spiritual concepts into one package and shoot them out of existence just because we have suffered in the past from religionist charlatans and criminals. So what is the solution now, we should now submit to the "science" charlatans? We should now allow the free usage of drugs, brain cutting and straight jacket as a solution to human's problems? Do you know that LSD and PCP were first introduced into our society as a wonder drug by psychiatry to "help" mankind with his problems? We should let psychiatrists cut the brain of anybody who doesn't seem to get along? Where are we going with this?



No, my friend this is not science. This is at best an attempt to show upset and disgust about the criminal practices of those who tricked us in the name of God. This is just an emotional revolt against past pains. But emotionalism is not science and it does not lead to a better state of existence.  It only replaces it with something possibly worse. 


Only 1/2 the story

by EDS (not verified) on

While it is true that often there is an environment where challenging religious beliefs is taboo, however the reverse is also at least as true and probably even more so. In other words, while Setareh may proudly post about an atheists speech such as Dawkins, and it may feel cool, a similar post from a religious person, on his religion, would be met with a tornado of objection, hate speech, and insults. The person will positively be harassed.

The issue is really not about religion; rather it is about believing religiously, so to speak, or dogmatically. And so much so that you go out of your way to defame, slander, belittle anyone you see as a threat to your god. Your god being your dogma and your ego. And as can amply be seen on this site, this is not the exclusive domain of religious people. Non-religious people and atheists are just as bad, if not worse.


About time......

by Behzad (not verified) on

It's about time we are having some cerebral discussion on this site! A sine qua non for a civilised and stimulating platform to share ideas! Bravo!!
The reaction Dawkin's lecture has elicted reflects that our intelligentsia contingency is alive and kicking despite our differential philosophical stance on this contentious topic!
Thank you for posting this video Ms. Sabety!


To GrandMagus and Mehdi

by Sera (not verified) on

To GrandMagus: I can't see how you got to that conclusion from my words that you also quoted in your comments. I didn't say he believes in god. that can not be concluded from my phrase. I just said he is not equating those two things. That was in answer to Mehdi(one of the commenters here) that concluded(as I understood) rejecting religion is the same as rejecting spiritual self or god, etc. please read it again.

Dawkins is telling that being an 'a-theist'(god does not exist) and being an 'a-tea potist' ( a teapot is not orbiting this and that planet) are similar. and that they do not bother to prove it either. I very much like it when he says "the onus is on those who say why god exists and not on those who say why not". I totally agree with him. From logical point of view one can not prove the "non-existence" of a thing. It is impossible. Because as soon as you define the 'thing' you want to disprove, you have proved the existence of that 'thing'. hope I make sense to you. that's why the term 'atheist' eventually turned out to be not a good enough term, given its meaning. Thomas Huxley (father of Aldus Huxley who is better known in Iran) introduced another term which is 'agnostic'.

I agree with you about the term 'spirit' being vague and not very clear. I used that because Mehdi used the term 'spiritual self' and I just wanted to go with his terminology.

To Mehdi: Please read my previous comment again. I'm not saying that there is not such a thing as 'spiritual self', 'soul', or whatever you wish to call it. I'm just saying it has nothing to do with religion. it's been there right from the beginning far before religions came across. this is in a way approving what you say. linking that to religion is irrelevant. you seem to put lots of effort into proving that we are more that this matter. no body's arguing that. you said:

"But none of these cancels the need to know where we come from, what we are made of, what is the purpose of our existence, and such questions have traditionally falled under the scope of religion. And being an atheist doesn't simply remove the need to pursue these goals."

First of all these questions fall within the realm of philosophy and not religion. Again those questions were there right from the time humans came to existence. they have nothing to do with religion. However religion had to deal with those questions and find some sort of explanation for them in order to survive. One does not need to believe in a religion in order to attend to those questions and strive to find answers for them. Of course it is a principle of impartiality to consider and look at religions answers too while doing our research.

As far as psychiatry abusing their knowledge, I agree with you. please read again my previous comment when i said: " they just use(or supposed to use) the knowledge to improve the quality of life for mental patients...". also I'm referring to that as 'knowledge' and not 'science'. this knowledge is just a tool and like any other tool, in its essence, is not good or bad. it depends on who is using it. that's true about any other tool, knowledge or science. another thing about who is watching the brain, who is imagining the cat, I think in psychology they call it 'observing ego' and again one can interpret that the same as 'spiritual self' or something totally different.


For Sara

by Mehdi on

Physiology of the brain has never explained how we see an image. It only explains (supposedly) the mechanism of an image getting from the eye to the brain. It never explains how we THEN become aware of that imge, no matter which cells in the brain receive it. When you say the brain is seeing the image, you are obviously looking from outside of the brain saying that. My question is who is standing outside looking at the brain and saying, "oh, there is an image there!" Please think about it for two seconds before you respond, because believe me I have heard all the major theories about this. An image may go from point A to Point B to point C to point... Z100000. But no matter how many points you put there, at the very end, YOU are then the one who becomes aware of it (or "sees" it). And that YOU is ALWAYS outside and exterior to the body. If you pay attention to it, you will actually recognize yourself as a separate entity. And that's the simplest easiest definition of spirit. Spirit is nothing fancy, it's just you not what you own or possess.


On, psychiatry, which is actually not a science at all, it is, funny enough, operating more like a religion if you pay attention, well, more like a cult really. Please notice that the so-called mythical "chemical imbalance" has NEVER been proven. As a matter of fact nobody knows what a "balanced" brain's chemical should be so that an imbalanced could be detected. Please don't refer me to "studies." I have no doubt that billions have been spent "studying it." But they have never proven it. This is very easy to demonstrate. Just go to any medical lab and ask to be tested for chemical imbalance and watch them laugh at you. There is NO such a test. Only a psychiatrist has "magical" powers to look at you, ask you questions and magically "know" that the chemicals in your brian are bad! Very funny, because this is exactly what the "religionist" charlatan has been doing for eons, by looking into mirros, reading tarrot cards and few other tricks! 


In fact if you browse through the Diognostic Statistical Manual (latest version is IV), which is the bible of psychiatry, not one of the so-called mental dieseases or disorders has EVER been proven to be a disease or disorder! If you do a little research you will find out to your amazement that every single of those "diseases and disorders HAVE BEEN VOTED into existence by the "experts." Please understand that I am not denying the SYMPTOMS or tha conditions that exists. I am saying there is no proof that these are "disease or disorder." In fact it is not even clear what is meant when psychiatrists call these diseases. What does that even mean? Their classification as such definitely does not match at all the traditional definition of a disease. Psychiatry simply saw an opportunity to turn everyday problems of life into a profitable business by calling them a disease and offering their snake oil cures. Drugs have been used for thousands of years along this line.  


The "chemical imbalance" has been one of the biggest frauds of our times. It is only there to justify drugging people, electric shocking them, cutting their brain, and all sorts of barbaric practices under the name of "medicine" and "help" - exactly what the corrupted priests and charlatan mullahs and rabbies have been doing! Psychiatry is not scientific, it is the new religion disguised as science. And itis as destructive as any old "religion."


But none of these cancels the need to know where we come from, what we are made of, what is the purpose of our existence, and such questions have traditionally falled under the scope of religion. And being an atheist doesn't simply remove the need to pursue these goals.


He's our modern day Khayyam and Avicenna

by Sherv (not verified) on

Brilliant, courageous and eloquent!

Iranian atheists/agnostics who have--for centuries--silently suffered in the hands of religeous fanatics can certainly empathize with him!


Clarification for Sera

by GrandMagus (not verified) on

In your post you state:

"Believing in a religion and believing in God or spirit are two different things and Dawkins is not equating them."

I believe you have misunderstood Dawkins entirely. He has clearly stated many times that he does not believe in the existence of any kind of god, as there is no evidence for it.

You further refer to the concept of "spirit". I am not aware of a widely accepted and clear definition for the word "spirit". Before we agree on such a definition, it would not be possible to pose and answer scientific questions regarding this matter. That is to say, the words "spirit" and "spiritual" are just nonsensical mumbo-jumbo, unless defined properly.


Thanks and few words with Mehdi and Ensan,

by Sera (not verified) on

That was quite an illuminating lecture. Thanks for posting it.

To our friend Mehdi here, I suggest you study a bit about the physiology of brain and the process of seeing and imagining...etc. By the way, this fellow didn't say anything about soul or spiritual self. What human spirit has to do with religion? Humans were spiritual beings right from the beginning, evolution or creation, long long before all these religions appeared. Human beings did have spirit before hinduism, christianity, islam,...etc came to existence. Believing in a religion and believing in God or spirit are two different things and Dawkins is not equating them.

As far as psychiatrist seeing mental patients, or humans in general, as mere objects and their behaviour sheer result of some chemical interactions, I have to say that's not how psychiatrists see them. they just use(or supposed to use) the knowledge to improve the quality of life for mental patients. It was less that 100 years ago that mental patients were treated as sinners and condemned to death as being possessed by demons. They were burnt on stakes, tortured, chained...etc, while it was simply the imbalance of chemicals in their brain that was causing their problems. If I'm to choose, I prefer the psychiatrist view toward human than the religious one.

To our friend Ensan here, We all need to hold to a rope. I believe it should be out of genuine belief and not out of fear. Our beliefs also should be examined and re-examined in the light of new knowledge and understanding as we acquire them. If they came out unshaken then we have stronger hold. If they didn't, then we should have the courage to pull the plug! just sharing my two cents!


I ahve a hard time to buy the idea of evolution

by Ensan (not verified) on

I am holding on to a rope so I can keep my sanity. Once I let go, I turn into a hollow shell. The idea of evolution is abhorrent to my mind.


Not So Fast

by Mehdi on

Evolution theory is a bit of fraud right now. While Darwin did well in defiining the steps an organism may go through in order to develop the fittest form, it does NOT prove that this selection takes place without an intelligence behind it. It is like looking at a car going through the streets from point A to point B and then saying, "see, it found its destination by natural selection." Not so! The idea of God and what God looks like or what are God's capabilities, etc. may or may not include falsehood but this does not prove that there is no consicnceness and intelligence behind creation. The falacy of "natural selection" if it is meant that "life is a dumb machine" becomes very clear as soon as one starts to consider Man being an animal, which reduces to Man being an object, really. Start thinking the atheist idea that we are just sophisticated animals, that we are just sophisticated computers, that we are stimulus-response machines. This theory currently is pushed forward very hard by psychiatry (and its ally psychology). Psychiatry of course is almost completely based on this materialistic view and is currently putting hundreds of millions of people on dangerous poisonous drugs, cutting their brains (lobottomy), electric shocking them, etc, claiming these people are nothing more than objects, nothing more than a collection of chemicals and electrical reponses and therefore it is OK to manipulate it by physical intervention. The idea that one is responsible for his actions gets washed down the toilet based on materialistic therories. If my brain chemicals determines my mood, happiness, intelligence, sense of pride, sense of honor as well as negative emotions, etc, then how am I responsible for anything I do or feel? As a matter of fact it becomes more ridiculous because you can't even define what the word "I" refers to! What the materialist/psychiatrist/atheist says is that there is no "I." We don't exists people! "We" are only a figment of our own imagination???!!!??! I know it gets really crazy! If we don't even exist, how can we have imagination? It is insane! We cannot be just a bunch of chemicals and electric impulses. Maybe we don't yet understand what we are really, what we are made of, but let's not claim we know then! Let's not claim that we there is nothing more to us than physical objects and energy simply because we don't understand what else we could be. That is not science. It is fraud.


Here is a simple test to see how this idea that we are only stimulus-response sophisticated objects is false. Look at your body, your hands, your feet, etc. You can clearly see that you have a body, right? Good. Now close your eyes and get a picture of a cat. Did you do it? Good. Open your eyes. Where was that cat? That's your mind! You have a mind capable of imagining, etc. We don't care at this point wether the mind is the same as brain or not. Just that we have a mind.  Now, close your eyes one more time. Get a picture of a cat again. Are you looking at the cat? Now here is the question. Who is looking at that cat? That's you, the SPIRITUAL BEING.


There are those who confuse the issue by saying, "oh, well, my brain sees the cat." The answer is simple, "who is aware of the brain looking at the cat?" No matter how many physical parts of the body or the universe you put in between yourself and the cat, the fact is that at the end of the line, it is still YOU, noticing the cat - becoming aware of the cat or a pipcture of the cat. And you is not a physical entity.


Start thinking you are an object and see how it affects your life. You will be crazy in no time! Just try it. Nobody could fully believe and implement that idea! I dare you to try it!




by caspianseamermaid on



Darius Kadivar


by Darius Kadivar on

I was dubious about wanting to listen to this university speach but it turned out that I listened to the entire thing. Truly enriching and interesting.

Thanks for Sharing,



Dawkins, Hitchens are my ....

by Jesus (not verified) on

Richard Dawkins, the foremost scientist and evolutionary biologist, philosopher is my hero, along with Christopher Hitchens, and all the rationalist, and atheists who are struggling in the ultimate battle on this planet. The battle of rational, civilized thinking versus the stupid, violent, and barbarian thinking promoted by all, but particularly the semitic religions.

They have to triumph, or humanity will have little chance of surviving much longer. By much longer I mean in geological time frame.