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Some foolish men declare that creator made the world. The doctrine that the world was created is ill advised and should be rejected. If God created the world, where was he before the creation? If you say he was transcendent then and needed no support, where is he now? How could God have made this world without any raw material? If you say that he made this first, and then the world, you are faced with an endless regression. If you declare that this raw material arose naturally you fall into another fallacy. For the whole universe might thus have been its own creator, and have arisen quite naturally. If God created the world by an act of his own will, without any raw material, then it is just his will and nothing else – and who will believe this silly nonsense? Jinasena, Mahapurana 9th century
It has been said that the highest praise of God consists in the denial of Him by the atheist, who finds creation so perfect that he can dispense with a creator. Marcel Proust
Belief in God – Religion – There is no evidence that man was aboriginally endowed with the ennobling belief in the existence of an Omnipotent God. On the contrary there is ample evidence, derived not from hasty travellers, but from men who have long resided with savages, that numerous races have existed, and still exist, who have no idea of one or more gods, and who have no words in their languages to express such an idea. The question is of course wholly distinct from that higher one, whether there exists a Creator and Ruler of the universe; and this has been answered in the affirmative by some of the highest intellects that have ever existed.
The belief in God has often been advanced as not only the greatest, but the most complete of all the distinctions between man and the lower animals. It is however impossible, as we have seen, to maintain that this belief is innate or instinctive in man. On the other hand a belief in all-pervading spiritual agencies seems to be universal; and apparently follows from a considerable advance in man’s reason, and from a still greater advance in his faculties of imagination, curiosity and wonder. I am aware that the assumed instinctive belief in God has been used by many persons as an argument for His existence. But this is a rash argument, as we should thus be compelled to believe in the existence of many cruel and malignant spirits, only a little more powerful than man; for the belief in them is far more general than in a beneficent Deity. The idea of a universal and beneficent Creator does not seem to arise in the mind of man, until he has been elevated by long-continued culture. Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man
I can’t believe that each species was brought into existence by a merciful God who cares about human beings. David Attenborough, televised interview
It is so fundamentally against every scientific principle you can think of, that to put it in the same bracket is to seriously confuse thinking. David Attenborough, interview Horizon: A War on Science, BBC 2006
Quite a lot of people are upset that the findings of evolutionary science don’t coincide with what is written in Genesis. And there are people who think Genesis should be taken literally. David Attenborough, interview Horizon: A War on Science, BBC 2006
A kind of conjuring trick of taking a rib out of a man’s side in a trance. ibid.
... the swindle of life and the treachery of a God that can create disease and misery and crime – create things that men would be condemned for creating – that men would be ashamed to create. Mark Twain, cited Isabel Lyon journal 2nd February 1906
Man has been here 32,000 years. That it took a hundred million years to prepare the world for him is proof that that is what it was done for. I suppose it is. I dunno. If the Eiffel tower were now representing the world’s age, the skin of paint on the pinnacle-knob at its summit would represent man’s share of that age; & anybody would perceive that that skin was what the tower was built for. I reckon they would. I dunno. Mark Twain, Was the World Made for Man?
I care passionately about the question whether there is a supernatural designer in the universe. Professor Richard Dawkins, interviewing P Z Myers 2008
I mean I think the closest is the idea that the fundamental constants of the universe are too good to be true. That does to me seem to need some kind of explanation, if it’s true ... It certainly doesn’t suggest to me in any way a creative intelligence because you’re still left with the problem of explaining where that come from. Richard Dawkins, The Four Horsemen: Dawkins, Dennett, Harris, Hitchens, 2012
2The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but blind pitiless indifference. Richard Dawkins
The theory of natural selection was his greatest contribution ... How the fantastically complicated illusion of design that living creatures have could have been produced ... by an automatic undersigned unplanned process. Richard Dawkins, Radio Ulster 2008
Meet the Reverend William Paley. An old enemy of evolution. He put forward the most lucid argument to the existence of a creator. And his argument has been used ever since to try and shoot down Darwin. Paley likened all living things to a clock or watch. Random forces, he said, cannot explain how who all these beautiful springs and gears came together to tell time, nor can they explain the organs of living things. No purposeless process could ever fashion such intricate detail. No blind leap of chance could ever construct such complex machinery. Richard Dawkins, The Blind Watchmaker, Horizon 1987
Not vision, no foresight, no sight at all. If it can be said to play the role of watchmaker in Nature, it is the blind watchmaker. ibid.
The theory of evolution by cumulative natural selection is the only theory we know of that is in principle capable of explaining the existence of organized complexity. ibid.
What this does to Science is it wastes a lot of time of scientists who could be getting on with their work. Richard Dawkins, interview Horizon: A War on Science, BBC 2006
When one says that in America Intelligent Design is getting a hold – it is not getting a hold in the scientific community, in the intellectual community. It is getting a hold only among those parts of the population who don’t know anything. ibid.
Design needs to postulate an entity as least as complicated, at least as high information content, at least as irreducibly complex, as that which it is supposed to explain. It is therefore a total lack of explanation. It doesn’t explain anything because it can’t explain itself. ibid.
Intelligent Design explains precisely zero. ibid.
I think that The Origin of Species is one of the greatest revolutions ever to hit the human mind. Before Darwin came along nobody really understood that it was possible to explain big complex beautiful elegant things in simple terms. People thought that in order to explain big things like life you had to have an even bigger explanation like God. What Darwin showed is that you can explain big complicated beautiful things in terms of simpler things, and that’s a real scientific explanation. Richard Dawkins, interview Horizon: The President’s Guide to Science, BBC 2008
Natural Selection ... has no vision, no foresight, no sight at all. If it can be said to play the role of watchmaker in nature, it is the blind watchmaker. Richard Dawkins, The Blind Watchmaker ch1, 1986
Charles Darwin turned our world upside down. His theory of evolution by natural selection is one of the most profound and far-reaching ideas in human history. It’s also, alas, one of the most controversial. Science now has the evidence that proves evolution is true, yet today, incredibly, the opposition to Darwin is more fiercely vocal than ever, denying plain facts in more and more elaborate ways. Richard Dawkins, God Strikes Back: The Genius of Charles Darwin, Channel 4 2008
Creationism’s next best strategy is not flat denial but to claim there is evidence against evolution, and that a genuine debate is yet to be had. This is the creationists’ favourite claim in America where the battle between faith and science really rages. ibid.
The eminent astronomer Sir Fred Hoyle has pointed out that it’s just about as unlikely that any complex living structure could spring into existence suddenly by luck alone. He said it’s rather like taking a junkyard and letting a hurricane blow through it and the hurricane has the luck to spontaneously assemble the Boeing 747. Richard Dawkins, lecture 3 Climbing Mount Improbable