Richard Dawkins’ 65 Best Quotes

Richard Dawkins is a controversial writer, scientist, ethologist and biologist and British broadcaster known for its high level of skepticism and deep criticism of religion, especially of the creationist movement.

This deeply rationalist author is one of the most recognized proponents of the theory of evolution and was considered one of the most influential intellectuals of recent times. He is known for his studies of evolution and genetics, claiming that the gene is the primary unit of evolutionary selection, as well as his critical view of pseudoscience and religious beliefs.

Throughout this article you will find a number of 65 quotes from Richard Dawkins which can allow us to see his thought.

    Table of Contents

    Sixty-five famous quotes from Richard Dawkins

    Below is a selection of quotes from this author that allow you to visualize his position on different topics: biology, life, evolution, religion, etc.

    1. Natural selection will not eliminate the ignorance of future generations

    For Dawkins, natural selection is one of the main forces guiding evolution, but until human beings make an effort to overcome ignorance, it will not be overcome.

    2. Man is a survival machine, an automaton vehicle blindly programmed to preserve selfish molecules called genes.

    In this sentence, the author establishes that the human being is subordinate to the function of transmission of genes, being practically at the service of these.

    3. Is it possible that in the distant future, intelligent computers will speculate on their own lost origins? Will any of them fall into the heretical truth that they come from a previous way of life, rooted in the organic chemistry of carbon, rather than the silicon-based electronic principles of their own bodies? ?

    Dawkins draws an analogy between what might happen in a hypothetical future with synthetic beings created by us and our ability to understand the evolutionary process of our own species.

    4. Isn’t it sad to go to the grave without even wondering why you were born? Who, faced with this thought, would not have jumped out of bed, eager to start discovering the world again and to rejoice in being part of it?

    This expresses the belief in the need to explore our origins based on science.

    5. Faith is the great escape, the great excuse to avoid the need to think and assess differences. Faith is believing everything (or even maybe because of) the lack of evidence

    Dawkins believes religious beliefs are based on an attempt to explain reality without the need to explore viable explanations.

    6. The essence of life is statistical improbability on a colossal scale

    In this sentence, the author indicates the factor of chance in the generation of life and the immense difficulty he encountered.

    7. The universe is governed by the law of survival of what is. The first form of natural selection was the selection of stable forms and the rejection of unstable forms.

    For the author, what it is is what stays and develops, while instability tends to disappear.

    8. Delayed reciprocal altruism (I do something for you and then you do something for me) can evolve into those species able to recognize and remember each member as an individual.

    Dawkins believes that altruism occurs in those species whose cognitive abilities allow recognition and remembrance of what has been accomplished, otherwise the other might not be able to remember who did something for someone.

    9. Almost all cultures have developed their own creation myth, and the story of Genesis is simply one that was adopted by a particular tribe of shepherds in the Middle East.

    The author declares that the Judeo-Christian creation myth is one of many myths of the same type that exist, being neither the only one nor the most correct.

    10. There may be fairies at the back of the garden. There’s no proof that this is the case, but you can’t prove that there isn’t, so … Should we be fairy agnostics?

    Despite his criticism of religion, Dawkins does not see himself as an atheist but as an agnostic. He thinks that even if he doesn’t believe it, that doesn’t mean he might be wrong.

    11. We will try to teach generosity and selflessness, for we are all born selfish.

    For the author being, people are primarily selfish from birth. Values ​​such as generosity have been instilled throughout education if we are to see altruistic and prosocial behaviors develop.

    12. Personally, I prefer to look to the future where a computer program wins the world chess title. Humanity needs a lesson in humility

    Human beings have stood throughout history as a proud creature who considered themselves the pinnacle of the evolutionary chain. Having a little more humility would allow us observe reality with more perspective and more objectively.

    13. We are all atheists of most of the gods that mankind has ever believed in. Some of us just go a god further

    In this sentence, the author indicates that throughout history, different beliefs have overlapped and replaced each other. Today, we do not believe in the same gods, for example, as the Romans or the Celts. One might think the same of a future in terms of current beliefs.

      14. One of the creationist’s favorite questions is: what is the use of half an eye ?. It’s really a light question, easy to answer. Half an eye is just 49% better than one eye

      In this sentence Dawkins criticizes creationism and its conceptions at the same time, it indicates that any attempt to improve in the attempt to explain the world is an advantage over previous attempts.

      15. The universe we are observing has precisely the properties that we should expect if there were, at the beginning of things, no designer, no goal, no evil or goodness, nothing, only blind and relentless indifference.

      The author considers that there is no creator or directed creation, but that the properties of the universe suggest mere chance.

      16. In a universe of blind physical force and genetic reproduction, some will suffer damage and some will not, and it is impossible to find its meaning or justice.

      The author indicates in this sentence that the evolution of life does not exist and of the universe itself is not directed towards a goal nor towards obtaining a concrete organism but is random, and as such assign moral adjectives or meaning is not possible. .

      17. Science is the poetry of reality

      Dawkins believes that through science it is possible to glimpse and know reality.

      18. I am against religion because it teaches us to be satisfied with the incomprehension of the world

      In this sentence the author tells us that he considers that religion prevents one from knowing and understanding the world, being in his opinion incompatible with science.

      19. Blind faith can justify anything. If a man believes in a different god, or even uses a different ritual to worship the same god, blind faith can decree that he must die either on a cross, impaled, pierced by a crusader’s sword. , a gunshot in a Beirut street or dynamite in a Belfast bar.

      This sentence is a critique of religious fanaticism which can cause serious conflicts between people or even between peoples and ways of understanding the same reality.

        20. Genes have no foresight. They don’t plan ahead. The genes simply exist, some with a higher chance of survival than others, and that reduces everything

        In this sentence, the author tells us again that there is no advance planning leading to a specific situation. Things happen and develop as they do with Genoa.

        21. It has become almost a cliché commentary, which no one today brags about ignoring in the literature, but it is socially acceptable to brag about ignoring science and proudly claiming to be incompetent in mathematics.

        Dawkins criticizes the social tendency to ignore the scientist and that this is viewed favorably by the population.

        22. An evolution has been observed. It’s just that it wasn’t observed while I was there passing

        Evolution is a certainty that can be observed, although it is a protracted process over time that is not noticeable when it occurs but from its results.

        23. There is no alternative medicine. You just need the drugs that work and the drugs that don’t

        Richard dawkins he criticizes homeopathy and alternative medicine unless it proves to be effective. He considers that these disciplines are harmful because they give false hope and can lead to ignoring a reliable treatment.

        24. Reason has built the modern world. It is something beautiful, but also fragile, which can be corrupted by seemingly harmless irrationality.

        Dawkins is a profoundly rationalist and believes that reason, which is fundamental to the development and understanding of the world, can be influenced by superstition with great ease.

        25. The theory of evolution, through cumulative natural selection, is the only theory that we know is in principle capable of explaining the existence of organized complexity.

        The author reflects the importance of the theory of evolution as an explanation for the existence of present-day organisms.

        26. Evolution should be one of the first things you learn in school … and what do you give children in return? Sacred hearts and incense. Superficial and empty religion

        The author criticizes the American training system and the popularity of creationism in the teaching of many schools, while pointing out the lack of training in aspects such as evolution.

        27. In childhood, our gullibility serves us well. It helps us fill our heads, with extraordinary speed, with the wisdom of our parents and ancestors. But if we don’t grow up and overcome this stage in the fullness of time, our nature … makes us an easy target for astrologers, psychics, gurus, evangelists, and charlatans. We must replace the automatic gullibility of childhood with the constructive skepticism of adult science

        Throughout the growth process, we gradually acquire more cognitive and critical thinking skills. Otherwise, we will easily accept any explanation they offer us.

        28. Today, the theory of evolution is as questionable as the theory that the Earth revolves around the sun.

        The author indicates that the theory of evolution is sufficiently validated as if to consider it true even though other tendencies seek to reject it.

          29. Many of us saw religion as harmless nonsense. Beliefs may not have all kinds of evidence to back it up, but, we think, if people need support, where can I find solace, where is the danger? September 11 changed everything

          Dawkins believes religion can become dangerous and can be used in extremist ways to justify acts of violence.

          30. We must prioritize verifiable evidence over personal observations. Or we will place ourselves vulnerable to obscure the truth.

          For this author, the scientist is above all. We must observe reality in an objective and falsifiable way without our opinions skewing our perception.

          31. Anyway, let’s be open-minded, but not enough that our brains escape us

          We have to be imaginative and accept the possibility that there are more interpretations of reality than ours, but that’s not why everyone will be equally grounded.

          32. The history of science has been a long series of violent mental storms, successive generations facing increasing levels of scarcity in the universe.

          Science has had a turbulent history in which a large number of theories and research have been confronted which have evolved in different directions and with different results, sometimes contradicting those of other trends and theories.

          33. You can go back as much as you want. I propose to go back 185 million generations; you will realize that your ancestor of 185 million generations was a fish

          The author emphasizes the theory of evolution

          34. In real life, the selection criterion is always short term: simple survival or, more generally, successful reproduction.

          In this sentence Dawkins mentions what causes evolution, which allows natural selection to act: The ability to adapt, survive and reproduce our genes.

          35. Most unusual or extraordinary characteristics in humans can be summed up in one word: culture

          Culture is one of the things that sets us apart. For better or for worse, it has allowed for the creation of different ways of seeing and participating in the world.

          36. Cultural transmission is analogous to genetic transmission in storytelling, although it is fundamentally conservative, it can give rise to some form of evolution.

          The author indicates that culture is a form of transmission similar to genetics, because it generates new perspectives and ways of being and acting.

          37. Already starting from the gametes, the male is more egoistic because he invests less than the female in their production. The female is exploited from the start

          In this sentence from “The Selfish Gene”, the author tells us about the presence of greater selfishness in men than in women.

          38. If there is only one creator who made the tiger and the lamb, the cheetah and the gazelle. What are you playing at? Is he a sadist who likes to be a bloody sports spectator?

          In this sentence, Dawkins criticizes the belief in the existence of a God who directs life and directs it towards a goal, pointing out the existence of controversial aspects such as the existence of cruelty.

          39. Things that are complex and statistically improbable are inherently more difficult to explain than things that are simple and statistically probable.

          The author indicates in this sentence that the statistically improbable will always be more difficult to explain than the simpler aspects of reality. An example of this is found when trying to explain life or existence.

          40. We no longer have to resort to superstition in the face of deep problems: is there meaning in life? What are we looking for? What is man?

          In ancient times, we used superstition and mystical beliefs to explain the most complex and profound questions. The author suggests that today this is no longer necessary, as science may come to offer new evidence-based explanations.

          41. The problem is that God in this sophisticated physical sense is nothing like the God of the Bible or any other religion. If a physicist says that God is just another name for Planck’s constant or that God is a superstring, we should take it as a picturesque metaphorical way of saying that superstrings or the value of Planck’s constant are a deep mystery. He obviously has no connection whatsoever with a being able to forgive sins, a being who can hear prayers, who cares whether the Sabbath begins at five or six in the afternoon, if you wear veil or not, or if you don’t. t see a bit of the arm, and there is no connection either with being able to impose the death penalty on your own child to atone for all the sins in the world that were committed before and after birth.

          The author indicates that the idea of God is a concept related to mystery, To be against the idea of ​​a personal being judging all that exists.

          42. Organisms exist on Earth, never knowing why, for more than three billion years, before the truth, at the end, is understood by one of them. By a man named Charles Darwin

          The author indicates the importance of the theory of evolution as part of explaining how present-day organisms were generated and developed, as well as the fact that evolution has continued to occur even though no one has observed it.

          43. As a scientist, I am hostile to fundamentalist religion because it actively perverts scientific endeavor. It teaches us not to change our minds by wanting to know stimulating things that are available for knowledge. It subverts science and atrophies knowledge

          Dawkins declares himself opposed to fundamentalist religious doctrines by considering them as closed and inflexible and not allowing the development of knowledge.

          44. God exists, if only as a meme with high survival potential, or infectious power, in the environment provided by human culture

          The concept of meme is for this author analogous to that of gene, indicating the theoretical unity of cultural information as well as the gene is biological. The idea of ​​God is closely related to culture, so even if it is as such, its existence is true.

          45. Revealed faith is not harmless nonsense, it can be deadly dangerous nonsense. Dangerous because it gives people a firm confidence in their own righteousness. Dangerous because it gives them the false courage to kill themselves, which automatically removes the normal barriers to kill others. Dangerous because it instills hostility in other people labeled only by a difference in inherited traditions. And dangerous because we have all acquired a strange respect which exclusively protects religion from normal criticism

          The author declares that religion can be dangerous in the hands of extremists, in this sentence which criticizes the absence of criticism of religion and the fact that it allows the formation of in-groups and out-groups and what he did shortly after September 11, 2001.

          46. ​​The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of himself, petty, unjust, a relentless controller, a bloodthirsty vengeful ethnic cleanser, misogynist, homophobic, racist, infanticide , genocide filicida, pestilent, megalomaniac, sadomasochist, malicious whimsical skewer

          Dawkins criticizes the original conception, portrayal and image of God from the Old Testament, in which he is seen as a cruel and vengeful figure to those who have not followed his precepts.

          47. Just as genes are propagated in a gene pool by jumping from one body to another through sperm or ova, memes are propagated in the inheritance of memes by jumping from one body to another. . its broadest sense, can be called imitation

          In this sentence we propose comparison between genetics and cultureThe second is conveyed by imitating the ideas of others.

          48. If a scientist listens to or reads a good idea, he passes it on to his colleagues and students. He mentions it in his articles and papers. If the idea becomes popular, we can say that it has spread by spreading from one brain to another.

          In this sentence, the author indicates how ideas are transmitted and reproduced, reaching more and more people.

          49. When a woman is described in conversation, it is very likely that her sexual attractiveness or lack of sexual attraction will be particularly emphasized. This is so whether the person speaking is a man or a woman. When describing the man, it is likely that the adjectives used have nothing to do with gender

          The culture and the transmission of stereotypes cause the existence of differences in conceptions between men and women, women being much more sexualized.

          50. Consciousness is the culmination of an evolutionary trend towards the emancipation of the survival machine, the day-to-day administration of one’s life, and the ability to predict the future and act upon it.

          Dawkins attaches great importance to the ability to become aware of oneself as one element that helps us to be free and not to rely solely on the survival and reproduction of ourselves, but on making plans for it. future and the pursuit of different goals.

            51. Creationists Deny Scientific Evidence to Support a Bronze Age Myth

            The author criticizes his creationism and his denial of the theory of evolution.

            52. The argument of this book is that we, and all other animals, are machines created by our genes.

            The author talks about one of his works, in which he proposes that organisms are only a mechanism by which genes survive and try to replicate.

            53. In the first half of geological history, our ancestors were bacteria. Most of today’s creatures are still bacteria, and each of our trillions of cells is a colony of bacteria.

            The author indicates the importance of keeping in mind that we are made up of millions of living cells, and that it is the simplest and oldest elements that have gradually structured themselves to evolve into other forms of life. .

            54. If we look at the Milky Way through the eyes of Carl Sagan, we are struck by the feeling of something bigger than ourselves. And that’s how. But it’s not supernatural

            Dawkins says the absence of supernaturality in the universe. Everything that exists can be rationally explained.

            55. I have had absolutely wonderful conversations with Anglican bishops, and I suspect in a moment of frankness they might say they don’t believe in the immaculate conception. But for each of them there are four who would tell a child that he is going to rot in hell for doubting

            The author indicates that many people and religious authorities have an open and flexible mindset, while decisions on religious doctrines tend to be dominated by strict dogmatism and condemnation of those who doubt or do not share the belief. dogma.

            56. What they cannot understand is why they cannot see the extraordinary beauty of the idea that life is born from nothing. It is something so amazing, elegant and wonderful … why would you want to saturate it with something as complicated as a God?

            The author expresses his consideration that life is born of chance, that we are the fruit of chance, has great beauty and simplicity, while the incorporation of a concept like that of God is an element of considerable complexity.

            57. I can’t be sure that God doesn’t exist … on a scale of seven, where a means I know he’s seven and I know I wouldn’t say I’m six . Doesn’t mean that I’m absolutely sure, that I know absolutely, because I’m not.

            While not believing in the idea of ​​a God, Dawkins indicates that he could be wrong and has no absolute certainty that he is not there although he is practically convinced.

            58. Men are high risk gamblers and women are safe investors.

            The author shows the tendency of men to seek great benefits by taking great risks, while women tend to prefer less earnings but with a higher level of security.

            59. The meme of blind faith assures its own perpetuation through the mere unconscious account of a discouraging rational inquiry.

            For the author, blind faith is spread by preventing the advancement and dissemination of science and rational and reproducible explanations.

            60. The fact that life was born from next to nothing, barely 10 billion years after the universe was born from literally nothing, is such a surprising fact that it would be crazy if you tried to find words that would do it justice.

            In this sentence, the author indicates the great surprise to consider that he perhaps looked a little like life or even the universe itself.

            61. At some point, a particularly notable molecule was formed by accident. We’ll call it the replicator. It didn’t necessarily have to be the largest or the most complex of all molecules, but it did have the extraordinary property of being able to create copies of itself. It may seem like an accident with very little chance of happening. Indeed: it was extremely improbable.

            This sentence refers to the spontaneous and random emergence of the the ability of molecules to replicate that would eventually shape large structures and ultimately allow them to evolve into increasingly complex life forms.

            62. In our human calculations of what is probable and what is not, we are not used to calculating in hundreds of millions of years. If you have been betting every week for 100 million years, it is very likely that you will win, several times, considerable sums.

            Probability and statistics tend to be skewed by our conception of time and our lifespan. What may seem impossible will likely happen at some point in history.

            63. Religion is about to transform unproven beliefs into immutable truths through the power of institutions and the passage of time.

            Beliefs and traditions passed down over time may become considered wholly true even if no evidence is found to confirm their institutional and social acceptance.

            64. No one is suggesting that children willfully and consciously deceive their parents because of the selfish genes they possess. And I have to repeat that when I say something like, “A creature must not miss any opportunity to deceive, lie, entangle, exploit …”, occupy the word “should” in a special way. I am not advocating this type of behavior as moral or desirable. I’m just expressing that natural selection will tend to favor creatures that act in this way and therefore when we observe wild populations we can expect to see deception and selfishness within. families. The phrase “the creature should deceive” means that the genes which tend to deceive creatures have a genetic advantage.

            These phrases indicate that regardless of whether deception may be morally objectionable behavior, at the biological level it can be adaptive.

            65. The next time someone tells you something that seems important, do you think, “Is this one of those things that people tend to believe based on evidence? Or is it one of those things? that people believe in tradition, authority, or revelation? And the next time someone tells you something is true, try asking. What evidence is there? And if it cannot? not give you a good answer, hope you do. they tell you.

            Dawkins suggests scientifically examining any claim and basing it on the existence of evidence before considering it credible.

            Leave a Comment