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Πέμπτη, 29 Μαρτίου 2012

Richard Dawkins - Reason Rally 2012

Richard Dawkins
Cover of Richard Dawkins
0:13Folks, Professor Richard Dawkins.
0:15[Crowd applause]
0:50[Crowd chants: Richard, Richard!]
1:11What a magnificent, inspiring sight. I was expecting great things even in fine weather. In the rain, look at this.
1:17This is the most incredible sight I can remember ever seeing.
1:21Thank you. [applause]
1:29The sharper, critical thinkers among you
1:31may have discerned that I don't come from these parts.
1:38I see myself as
1:40an emissary from a beknighted country
1:42that does not have
1:46a Constitutional separation between Church and State.
1:54Indeed we don't have a written Constitution at all. We have a head of State who is also the head of the Church of England.
2:06The Church is deeply entwined in British public life. The American Constitution is a precious treasure,
2:12the envy of the world. The First Amendment of the Constitution, which enshrines the Separation between Church and State,
2:26is the model for secular constitutions the world over, and deserves to be imitated the world over.
2:36How said it would be if, in the birthplace of secular constitutions,
2:42the very pricipal of a secular constitution
2:44were to be betrayed
2:47in the theocracy. And it's come close to that.
2:54How could anyone rally against reason?
3:01How is it necessary to have a rally for reason?
3:08Reason means basing your life on evidence and on logic
3:14which is how you deduce the consequences of evidence.
3:20In a hundred years time, it seems to me to be inconceivable that anybody would want to have a rally for reason.
3:26By that time, we'll have either blown ourselves up, or we'll have become so civilized that we no longer need it.
3:45When I was at school, we used to sing hymn. It went: It is a thing most wonderful
3:52almost too wonderful to be.... After that,
3:57the hymn rather went off the rails, but those first two lines have
4:06inspired me ever since. 'It is a thing most wonderful' that on this once barren rock
4:14orbiting a rather mediocre star on the edge of a rather ordinary galaxy,
4:18on this rock, a remarkable
4:21process called 'evolution by natural selection'
4:26has given rise to the magnificent diversity of complexity of life. The elegance, the beauty, and
4:37the illusion of 'design' which we see all around us,
4:43has given rise in the last million years or so,
4:48to a species, our species,
4:50with a brain big enough to comprehend that process, to comprehend how we came to be here.
4:59How we came to be here from extremely simple beginnings where the laws of physics were played out in very simple ways,
5:06the laws of physics have never been violated, but the laws of physics
5:13are filtered through this incredible process called 'evolution by natural selection' --
5:18to give rise to a brain which is capable of understanding the process.
5:21A brain which is capable of measuring the age of the universe
5:25(between 13 and 14 billion years),
5:26of measuring the age of the Earth (between 4 and 5 billion years),
5:35of knowing what matter is made of -- knowing what we are made of --
5:41made of atoms brought together by this mechanical, automatic, unplanned, unconscious process
5:49'evolution by natural selection.' That's not just true, it's beautiful.
6:01[applause]
6:05It's beautiful because it's true, and it's almost too good to be true.
6:13How is it conceivable that the laws of physics can conspire together without guidance, without direction, without any intelligence,
6:22to bring us into the world? Now we do have intelligence.
6:25Intelligence comes into the world, comes into the universe late,
6:28it has come into the world through our brians
6:33and maybe other brains in the universe.
6:36Now, at last, finally,
6:39after 4 billion years of evolution, we have the opportunity to bring some
6:47'intelligent design' into the world.
6:53We need --
6:57We need intelligent design.
7:02We need it to intelligently design our morals, our ethics, our politics, our society. We need to intelligently design
7:09the way we run our lives. Not look back to ... scrolls --.
7:16I was going to say 'ancient' scrolls. They're not even very ancient. About 800 B.C. the 'Book of Genesis' was written.
7:30I am often accused of expressing contempt and despising religous people.
7:42I don't despise religious people. I despise what they stand for.
7:48[applause]
7:51I like to quote the British journalist Johann Hari who said:
8:01'I have no contempt for you' -- sorry.
8:09'I have so much respect for you, that I cannot respect your ridiculous ideas.'
8:19[light applause]
8:21The electromagnetic spectrum runs all the way from extremely long wave, in the radio wave of the spectrum
8:29to gamma rays at the very short wave end of the spectrum.
8:35And visible light, that which we can see, is a tiny little sliver in the middle of that electronmagnetic spectrum.
8:44Science has broadened out our perception of that spectrum -- to long wave radio waves on the one hand and gamma rays on the other.
8:52I take that as being symbolic of what science does generally.
8:57It take our little vision -- our little, parochial, small vision and broadens it out.
9:04And that is a magnificent vision for what science can do.
9:06Science makes us see what we couldn't see before.
9:12Religion does its best to snuff out even that light which we can see.
9:21[applause]
9:28So we're here to stand up for reason, to stand up for science, to stand up for logic,
9:35to stand up for the beauty of reality, and the beauty of the fact that we can understand reality.
9:42I hope that this meeting will be a turning point --.
9:46I'm sure many people said that already. I like to think of the physical analogy
9:51of a critical mass.
9:54There are too many people in this country
9:59who have been cowed into fear of coming out
10:06as atheists, or secularists or agnostics.
10:10We are far more numerous than anybody realizes. [applause]
10:21We are approaching a tipping point. We are approaching that critical mass where the number of people
10:31who have come out has become so great,
10:33that suddenly everybody will realize, 'I can come out, too.' That moment --. [applause]
10:43That moment is not far away now, and I think that, with hindsight,
10:50this Rally in Washington will be seen as a very significant tipping point on the road.
10:59[applause]
11:05And I would particularly appeal to my scientific colleagues,
11:11most of whom are atheists.
11:13If you look at the members of the National Academy of Sciences,
11:20about 90% of them are non-believers -- an exact mirror image of the official figures of the country at large.
11:28If you look at the Royal Society of London, the equivalent for the British Commonwealth, again about 90% of them are atheists.
11:35But they mostly keep quiet about it. They're not ashamed of it, they just can't be bothered to
11:39come out and express what they feel.
11:41They think that religion is just simply boring.
11:44They not going to bother to even stand up and oppose it.
11:49They need to come out.
11:51Religion is an important phenomenon. 40% at least of the American population, according to opinon polls,
11:59think that the world -- the universe, indeed -- is less than 10,000 years old.
12:06That's not just an error. That's a preposterous error. [laughter]
12:13I've done the calculation before, and it's equivalent to believing that the width of America --
12:17from Washington to San Francisco -- is equal to about 8 yards. [laughter, applause].
12:32I don't know that I believe that 40% figure.
12:36It stands up as being, apparently so, from about the 1980s
12:40but what I want to suggest you do when you meet somebody who claims to be religious:
12:47Ask them what they really believe.
12:49If you meet somebody who says he's Catholic, for example,
12:51say, 'What do you mean? Do you mean you were just baptised Catholic? Because I'm not impressed by that.' [crowd chuckles]
12:59We just ran a poll by my Foundation in Britain -- just ran a poll in Britain
13:03in which we took those people who had ticked the Christian box in the Census.
13:12And, by the way, that figure has come down dramatically. We just took the people who ticked the Christian box
13:17and we asked them, 'Why did you tick the Christian box?'
13:21And the most popular answer to that question was, 'Oh, well, I like to think of myself as a good person.'
13:28Well, we ALL like to think of ourselves as good people.
13:32Atheists do, Jews do, Muslims do.
13:35So, when you meet somebody who claims to be Christian,
13:40ask her, ask him, 'What do you really believe?'
13:42And I think you'll find that im many cases, that they
13:46give you an answer which is no more convincing than that 'I like to be a good person."
13:51By the way, when we went on to ask a specific question
13:55of these, over 54%,
14:00'What do you do when you're faced with a moral dilemma? Where to you turn? Only 10% turned to their religion when they want to solve their moral question.
14:12Only 10%. The majority of them said, 'I turn to my inate sense of goodness.'
14:24The next most popular answer was, 'I turn for advice to relatives and friends.'
14:28So, when I meet somebody who claims to be religious, my first impulse is, 'I don't believe you.
14:36'I don't believe you until you tell me, do you really believe' -- for example, if they say they're Catholic --
14:41'do you really believe that when a priest blesses a wafer, it turns into the body of Christ?'
14:49'Are you seriously telling me you believe that?!' [Audience laughter.]
14:53'Are you seriously saying that wine turns into blood?'
14:58Mock them. Ridicule them [applause.]
15:07... in public!
15:12Don't fall for the convention that we're all too polite to talk about religion.
18:12Religion is not off the table. Religion is not off limits.
15:22Religion makes specific claims about the universe
15:25which need to be substantiated
15:27and need to be challenged, and if necessary, need to be ridiculed with contempt. [loud applause.]
15:46I want to echo what my colleagues from the Richard Dawkins Foundation said,
15:50I am an outsider. But we have been well staffed in America.
15:57And we're going to spread the word along with our colleagues in other organizations
16:01throughout the length and breadth of this land -- this land which is the fountainhead,
16:07the birthplace of secularism in the world, as I said before.
16:12Don't let's let that tradition down! Thank you very much. [loud applause]


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