This site is not maintained. Click here for the new website of Richard Dawkins.

It takes faith to have a child, faith in mankind's purpose

Europe is the most secular place on Earth but elsewhere religion is growing

A while back, in the course of a public lecture, I offered a simple five-part refutation of the new atheism, based as it is on neo-Darwinian principles: the Universe is blind, life merely evolves, there is neither transcendent God nor transcending purpose, and so on. I repeat it here because it’s worth genuine reflection. It goes like this:

The first point: if you are a Darwinian, what matters is reproductive success. The rest is mere froth. Forget God, faith and the other relics of a believing age. We are here to pass on our genetic heritage to the next generation. A person is just a gene’s way of making another gene. The bottom line is reproduction.

Second: Europe is the most secular place on Earth. Elsewhere religion is growing; in Europe it is dying.

Third: Europe is failing to reproduce itself. The fertility rate for stable population size is 2.1 (greater than 2 because some children die before reaching the age of reproduction). No nation in Europe has a fertility rate this high today. In France it is 1.9, in the U.K. 1.74, in Germany 1.37, in Italy 1.33, and in Greece 1.29. The average is 1.47. The native populations of Europe are ageing and declining.

Fourth: almost everywhere today on average, the more religious people are, the more children they have. This is true in Judaism, Christianity and Islam. The more orthodox the believers, the larger are their families. I suspect it is true among Hindus and Sikhs as well. The demographic revolution now taking place is documented in detail in Eric Kaufmann’s recent book, Shall the Religious Inherit the Earth?

Fifth: the greatest challenge to religious belief today is atheism based on neo-Darwinism. Hence the conclusion: if you are a consistent neo-Darwinian atheist you will wish there to be as few people as possible who share your beliefs.

Read More

TAGGED: ATHEISM, COMMENTARY, RELIGION


RELATED CONTENT

Viewpoints: Why is faith falling in the...

- - BBC News Comments

A new poll suggests that atheism is on the rise in the US, while those who consider themselves religious has dropped. What's the cause? Two writers debate.

Blasphemy Laws Exposed: The...

- - human rights first Comments

Blasphemy Laws Exposed: The Consequences of Criminalizing “Defamation of Religions”

Update - Too crazy even for the...

Ed Kilgore - Political Animal Comments

update - too crazy even for the evangelical right
Barton’s Fall From Grace

David Barton says his documents prove that the Founding Fathers were deeply religious men who built America on Christian ideas - but do his sources check out?

Pussy Riot's closing statement

Cory Doctorow - BoingBoing Comments

Pussy Riot member Yekaterina Samutsevich has given a tremendous closing statement, which is a masterful summary of Russian oligarchy

Refuting Richard: Dawkins Doesn’t “Get”...

Graham Veale - Saints & Sceptics? Comments

Refuting Richard: Dawkins Doesn’t “Get” God

Witchcraft-based child abuse: Action...

- - BBC News Comments

The government has launched an action plan to tackle child abuse linked to witchcraft or religion in England.

MORE

MORE BY JONATHAN SACKS

Even great science tells us nothing...

Jonathan Sacks - The Times (London) 119 Comments

MORE

Comments

Comment RSS Feed

Please sign in or register to comment