Sull’Independent di ieri Richard Dawkins risponde alle domande dei lettori («Richard Dawkins: You Ask The Questions Special», 4 dicembre 2006). Ecco alcune delle risposte più brillanti:
In the beginning was...?
What is there to distinguish your intolerance from that of a religious fanatic?
It would be intolerant if I advocated the banning of religion, but of course I never have. I merely give robust expression to views about the cosmos and morality with which you happen to disagree. You interpret that as ‘intolerance’ because of the weirdly privileged status of religion, which expects to get a free ride and not have to defend itself. If I wrote a book called The Socialist Delusion or The Monetarist Delusion, you would never use a word like intolerance. But The God Delusion sounds automatically intolerant. Why? What’s the difference?
I have a (you might say fanatical) desire for people to use their own minds and make their own choices, based upon publicly available evidence. Religious fanatics want people to switch off their own minds, ignore the evidence, and blindly follow a holy book based upon private ‘revelation’. There is a huge difference.
Einstein, Newton, Bacon, Kepler, Pascal, Boyle and Faraday all believed in God. Does it bother you that such eminent scientists might not have been “deluded”?
It was hard to be an atheist before The Origin of Species. Einstein is the only member of your list who was born into the post-Darwinian world, and it is no accident that he was also the only one who didn’t believe in God. He declared: “It was, of course, a lie what you read about my religious convictions, a lie which is being systematically repeated. I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly.”
Why have you not engaged in public debate with Alister McGrath, Mary Midgley, Michael Ruse, Keith Ward, or indeed anyone else who would present you with a serious challenge?
The producers of my Channel 4 documentary [Root of All Evil?] invited the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster and the Chief Rabbi to be interviewed by me. All declined, doubtless for good reasons. I don’t enjoy the debate format, but I once had a public debate with the then Archbishop of York, and The Observer quoted the verdict of one disconsolate clergyman as he left the hall: “That was easy to sum up – Lions 10, Christians nil.”
Should men submit to their selfish genes, dump their wives and go for younger, blonder models?
No. We gave up submitting to our selfish genes long ago, when we took up clothes, contraceptives, sonnets, cubism, astronomy, snooker, bungee-jumping and other things that our selfish genes would at best consider a waste of time. Scientific facts about the world do not translate into moral “shoulds”.
I salute your courage in questioning Christianity, but what do you do on Christmas Day when everyone is celebrating? I presume you do not send or receive cards or give/receive presents.
Why do you presume that? Do you seriously imagine that all – or even a majority of – the people who send cards and presents are followers of Jesus? Why, even the music we have to endure in shops is usually “White Christmas”, “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”, and the nauseating “Jingle Bells”. What’s religious about that?
If you died and arrived at the gates of Heaven, what would you say to God to justify your lifelong atheism?
I’d quote Bertrand Russell: “Not enough evidence, God, not enough evidence.” But why is God assumed to care so much about whether you believe in him? Maybe he wants you to be generous, kind, loving, and honest – and never mind what you believe.