Compare opinions of world leading experts and influencers.
  Biology    Atheism    Genetics    Evolution    Science    Topic Index  Add Expert Opinion    Edit Expert    History   

Richard Dawkins

Evolutionary Biologist, Writer, Atheism Activist

Richard Dawkins is an evolutionary biologist and prominent atheist, who has written several books, including "The Selfish Gene" and "The God Delusion".

Richard Dawkins' Opinions

The Darwinian world-view [...] is the only known theory that could, in principle, solve the mystery of our existence. This makes it a doubly satisfying theory. A good case can be made that Darwinism is true, not just on this planet but all over the universe, wherever life may be found.
01 Jan 1986    Source

The distribution of fossils in space and in time are exactly what you would expect if evolution were a fact. There are millions of facts all pointing in the same direction and no facts pointing in the wrong direction. British scientist J.B.S. Haldane, when asked what would constitute evidence against evolution, famously said, "Fossil rabbits in the Precambrian." They've never been found. Nothing like that has ever been found. Evolution could be disproved by such facts.
30 Apr 2005    Source


The total amount of suffering per year in the natural world is beyond all decent contemplation. ... In a universe of electrons and selfish genes, blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, [others] are going to get lucky, and you won't find any rhyme or reason in it, nor any justice. The universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pitiless indifference.
01 Nov 1995    Source

If the methods of Astrologers were really shown to be valid it would be a fact of signal importance for science. Under such circumstances astrology should be taken seriously indeed. But if - as all indications agree - there is not a smidgen of validity in any of the things that astrologers so profitably do, this, too, should be taken seriously and not indulgently trivialised. We should learn to see the debauching of science for profit as a crime.
01 Dec 1995    Source

...whenever I lecture publicly, there always seems to be someone who comes forward and says, "Of course, your science is just a religion like ours. Fundamentally, science just comes down to faith, doesn't it?" Well, science is not religion and it doesn't just come down to faith. ... Science is based upon verifiable evidence. Religious faith not only lacks evidence, its independence from evidence is its pride and joy, shouted from the rooftops.
01 Jan 1997    Source

There is something dishonestly self-serving in the tactic of claiming that all religious beliefs are outside the domain of science. On the one hand, miracle stories and the promise of life after death are used to impress simple people, win converts, and swell congregations. It is precisely their scientific power that gives these stories their popular appeal. But at the same time it is considered below the belt to subject the same stories to the ordinary rigors of scientific criticism...
01 Mar 1998    Source

...The theory that there is something non-material about life, some non-physical vital principle [...] according to which a body has to be animated by some anima [or] vitalized by a vital force. Energized by some mysterious energy. Spiritualized by some mysterious spirit. Made conscious by some mysterious thing or substance called consciousness. In [this] sense of [a soul] science has either killed the soul or is in the process of doing so [but] science [is absolutely not] killing soulfulness...
10 Feb 1999    Source

The whole scientific enterprise is aimed at explaining the world in terms of simple principles. We live in a world which is breathtakingly complicated, and we have a scientific theory - we have several - which enables us to see how that world could have come into being from very simple beginnings. That's what I call understanding. ... Reductionist explanations are true explanations. ... I don't think God is an explanation at all.
09 Jan 2006    Source

You mean true for you is different from true for anybody else? Something either has to be true or not.
23 Apr 2007    Source

Mostly Agree
When one uses rhetoric like 'Frankenstein's plants', you could call a maize cob a Frankenstein plant, but every one is quite happy to eat maize cobs. ... The reaction has been as if people believe genetically modified plants are poisonous... Well anything can [be]. Genetic engineering can introduce genes from one species of plant or animal into the genetic make-up of another species of crop plant, but [this fact] does not inherently make it bad or good.
14 Aug 1998    Source

...it's not necessary to assume religion aids human survival, though it might. ...do religious people survive better than non-religious people because they are freed up from stress, and so they don't get stress-related diseases and that kind of thing? I find that less interesting and less persuasive than the idea that religious ideas are just simply good [i.e. successfully replicating memes] for the religious ideas themselves.
18 Oct 2004    Source

Many of us saw religion as harmless nonsense. Beliefs might lack all supporting evidence but, we thought, if people needed a crutch for consolation, where's the harm? September 11th changed all that. Revealed faith is not harmless nonsense, it can be lethally dangerous nonsense. Dangerous because it gives people unshakeable confidence in their own righteousness. Dangerous because it gives them false courage to kill themselves, which automatically removes normal barriers to killing others.
11 Oct 2001    Source

I mistrust the uses of words like 'evil' which suggest a kind of personification of them. I'm happy to use a word like 'evil' of a particular individual. I'm happy to say that Adolf Hitler was evil, Adolf Hitler did evil things, but too many people once again, leap to the conclusion 'Oh there must be some kind of spirit of evil which entered into Hitler,' or 'There's a spirit of evil abroad'. That I think is unhelpful, putting it mildly.
01 Apr 2004    Source

I was one of those who had unthinkingly bought into the hectoring myth that science can say nothing about morals. To my surprise, The Moral Landscape has changed all that for me. It should change it for philosophers too. Philosophers of mind have already discovered that they can’t duck the study of neuroscience, and the best of them have raised their game as a result. Sam Harris shows that the same should be true of moral philosophers, and it will turn their world exhilaratingly upside down.
26 Apr 2010    Source

...no serious theologian takes the Old Testament literally anymore... We choose the good verses in the Bible and we reject the bad. Whatever criterion we use to choose the good verses and throw out the bad, that criterion is available to us anyway whether we are religious or not. Why bother to pick verses? Why not just go straight for the morality?
09 Oct 2006    Source

God is a delusion. ... Human thoughts and emotions emerge from exceedingly complex interconnections of physical entities within the brain. An atheist in this sense of philosophical naturalist is somebody who believes there is nothing beyond the natural, physical world, no supernatural creative intelligence lurking behind the observable universe, no soul that outlasts the body and no miracles - except in the sense of natural phenomena that we don't yet understand.
18 Oct 2006    Source

Any belief in miracles is flat contradictory not just to the facts of science but to the spirit of science.
05 Nov 2006    Source

"What are you going to put in its place? How are you going to fill the need, or comfort the bereaved?" What patronising condescension! "You and I are too intelligent and well educated to need religion. But ordinary people, hoi polloi, Orwellian proles, Huxleian Deltas and Epsilons need religion." In any case, the universe doesn't owe us comfort, and the fact that a belief is comforting doesn't make it true.
12 May 2007    Source

Comparisons with Other Experts and Influencers

The similarity between Richard Dawkins and each expert and influencer is calculated by looking at how the same questions were answered. These figures are used to calculate conforming, nonconforming, and projected opinions. The accuracy of the analysis depends on Richard Dawkins' coverage, which grows with the number of their opinions entered into TakeOnIt.

Ayn Rand
Philosopher, Novelist
94% agreement / 9 opinions

Eliezer Yudkowsky
Artificial Intelligence Researcher
91% agreement / 6 opinions

Paul Z. Myers
Biology Professor
100% agreement / 4 opinions

Steven Pinker
Psychology Professor
93% agreement / 4 opinions

World's Largest Encyclopedia
100% agreement / 3 opinions

Austin Cline
100% agreement / 3 opinions

Mostly Agree
Steven Weinberg
Nobel Laureate in Physics
68% agreement / 4 opinions

Friedrich Nietzsche
Iconic Philosopher of 19th Century
62% agreement / 2 opinions

Robin Hanson
Economics Professor
50% agreement / 2 opinions

Kenneth Miller
Biology Professor, Christian
50% agreement / 2 opinions

Barack Obama
United States President
50% agreement / 2 opinions

Arpad Pusztai
Protein Scientist
50% agreement / 1 opinions

Mostly Disagree
The Catholic Church
Largest Christian Church
20% agreement / 6 opinions

Phillip Johnson
Law Professor
37% agreement / 2 opinions

John Polkinghorne
Physics Professor and Reverend
25% agreement / 2 opinions

Albert Mohler
President, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
16% agreement / 3 opinions

Osama Bin Laden
Former Leader of Al Qaeda
16% agreement / 3 opinions

Kevin Rudd
Australian Prime Minister, 2007-2010
16% agreement / 3 opinions

Deepak Chopra
Inventor of Quantum Healing
0% agreement / 3 opinions

Sam Brownback
Senator, Republican
0% agreement / 3 opinions

Andrew Sullivan
Journalist, Author
0% agreement / 2 opinions

Conforming Opinions

Richard Dawkins' conforming opinions are opinions that align with the group of experts and influencers Richard Dawkins typically agrees with.

Coverage Answer Question
High Disagree Does God exist?
High Agree Should atheists directly challenge religious beliefs?
High Disagree Does astrology work (is personality correlated with the positions of celestial bodies at birth)?
High Agree Did complex life evolve through the process of natural selection?
High Disagree Is God just?
High Disagree Do we have an immaterial soul?
High Disagree Is truth relative?
Medium Agree Is self-deception a fault?
Low Disagree Are the core truths of science and religion complementary?

Nonconforming Opinions

Richard Dawkins' nonconforming opinions are opinions that contradict the group of experts and influencers Richard Dawkins typically agrees with.

Coverage Group Answer Expert Answer Question
Low Mostly Agree Agree Is morality objective?
Low Mostly Disagree Neutral Are our enemies innately evil?

Projected Opinions

Richard Dawkins' projected opinions are opinions Richard Dawkins is expected to have if their opinions align with the experts and influencers that they typically agree with.

Coverage Answer Question
High Neutral Can science prove or disprove the existence of God?
High Neutral Is free will an illusion?
High Mostly Disagree Does religion encourage good behavior?
Medium Agree Should abortion be legal?
Medium Disagree Does homeopathy work?
Medium Disagree Must God exist to explain how the universe began?
Medium Mostly Agree Would the world be better off without the Catholic Church?
Medium Neutral Can we handle the truth?
Medium Neutral Should the federal government ban gay marriage?
Medium Agree Can reductionist methods help explain consciousness?
Medium Mostly Agree Is free trade generally beneficial for a country?
Medium Neutral Is "ought" derived from "is"?
Medium Mostly Agree Should marijuana be legal?
Medium Disagree Is the unconscious philosophical zombie possible?
Medium Mostly Disagree Is there a Law of Karma?
Medium Disagree Are psychic powers real?
Medium Mostly Disagree Have aliens from outer space visited Earth?
Low Mostly Agree Is abortion morally acceptable?
Low Neutral Is Yucca mountain the best place to store nuclear waste?
Low Agree Is global warming caused primarily by humans?
Low Neutral Would invading Iraq result in a quagmire?
Low Disagree Do ghosts exist?
Low Disagree Does evolution violate the second law of thermodynamics?
Low Neutral Should women have the right to vote?
Low Neutral Are pickup artist strategies effective?
Low Neutral Are pickup artist strategies misogynistic?
Low Mostly Disagree Are pickup artist strategies morally acceptable?
Low Neutral Should pickup artist strategies be considered good education?
Low Neutral Do pickup artists underestimate the diversity of women's personalities?
Low Disagree Does everything happen for a reason?
Low Neutral Should paternity testing be mandatory?
Low Neutral Has feminism gone too far?
Low Neutral Is capitalism good?
Low Mostly Agree Could a computer ever be conscious?
Low Mostly Agree Is truthfulness a characteristic of a politician who is good for the people?
Low Disagree Did the US Government play a part in the 9/11 attacks?
Low Disagree Is rebirth/reincarnation plausible?
Low Mostly Disagree Is a technological singularity likely?
Low Neutral Is information-theoretic death the most real interpretation of death?
Low Neutral Is living forever or having a greatly extended lifespan desirable?