Richard Dawkins interview on religion, evolution and Iraq
By MATT KENNARD - THE COMMENT FACTORY
Added: Mon, 22 Mar 2010 00:00:00 UTC
MK: Do you draw distinctions between religions? In terms of Islam and Christianity do you think they are both equally malicious and malign or do you think that one is worse than the other?
RD: Well in terms of the potential danger from blind faith thereâs no difference between them. All faith is dangerous because all faith teaches that you donât need to argue for your point of view – you just simply assert: this is my faith, this is what I believe, I donât have to give reasons for belief. That is very dangerous. And in the case of Christianity the danger in practice was sort of played out in the Middle Ages and thereafter and Christianity has now more or less tamed it except in some extreme areas in America. In Islam it hasnât and so what weâre seeing in Islam – they are now doing what Christianity used to do in the Middle Ages, in much more dangerous circumstances because now there are much more terrible weapons than the Crusaders, for example, ever had. Or than other Medieval Christians ever had.
So Islam is the big danger today because they have a Medieval mindset which bursts through into the twenty-first century.
MK: How far do you think the rise of this Medieval mindset can be put at the door of the West in terms of encouraging it in the 20th century?
RD: That is always a good point that one has to make. That the West in a way has been answering for trouble by its belligerent posture, for example, in the Iraq war. This has served to exacerbate political – thatâs undoubtedly true. But I think itâs a sort of added affect over the precept of Islam.
MK: Do you think religion – I know your very anti-it – could it be described as an evolutionary mechanism to consolidate social relations and that type of thing?
RD: I believe that it probably does have to have some kind of evolutionary explanation. But you immediately slid into one particular hypothesis, which was social consolidation. Thatâs only one of many hypothesis that one could offer and it could be right but you donât have to plump for that one when you talk about an evolutionary hypothesis.
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