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After Darwin, God’s role changes from being the designer of all creatures, great and small, to being the designer of the laws of nature, from which natural selection can unfold, to being just perhaps the chooser of the laws. Daniel C Dennett
I should emphasize this, to keep well-meaning but misguided multiculturalists at bay: the theoretical entities in which these tribal people frankly believe – the gods and other spirits – don’t exist. These people are mistaken, and you know it as well as I do. It is possible for highly intelligent people to have a very useful but mistaken theory, and we don’t have to pretend otherwise in order to show respect for these people and their ways. Daniel C Dennett, Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon
I think that most people who say they believe in God ... actually believe in belief in God. Daniel C Dennett
I can’t even read this. Proposition Alpha ... It’s in Turkish. But I believe it’s true. Daniel C Dennett, lecture AAI 2007, ‘Good Reasons for Believing in God’
We can pass the buck to the experts. ibid.
They insist that they don’t understand. They make a special, marvellous glory of the fact that the central propositions of their faith are incomprehensible even to the experts. Now this is just bizarre. ibid.
There are no good reasons for believing that god exists. And plenty of good reasons for believing that God does not exist. But there are several good reasons for declaring a belief in God. ibid.
They just don’t think about it ... Whatever those formulae mean ... it’s true. ibid.
They think that belief in God is for some reason obligatory. ibid.
They contrive to believe in God. ibid.
Strategic reasons: Their fear of God, their fear of a vengeful God ... Catastrophic collapse of consensus ... There are very good reasons to lie ... The belief by so many religious people that they have to cling tenaciously with white knuckles to their religious declarations. ibid.
Can we reason with them? No. ibid.
The very discussion of the issue undermines the consensus. ibid.
We are threatening them with a choice between betrayal and lying. ibid.
They passed the buck to the deceived. ibid.
We have to confront the murkiness. ibid.
The Concorde fallacy: When one makes a hopeless investment: I can’t stop now. ibid.
What we’ve seen is the evolution of the God concept in the last few thousand years from Yahweh [mountain] ... to the Ground of all Being. ibid.
The weathering of the God concept. ibid.
We all know people who deny that they’re atheists. Daniel Dennett, lecture Global Atheist Conference 2012, ‘How to Tell You’re an Atheist’
There’s the cognitive dissonance. ibid.
Of those 54% [UK] census Christians ... Half of them hadn’t attended a church service in the last year. ibid.
The son of God – how can you believe that? ibid.
There are better ways to help people lead better lives. ibid.
The unembarrassed exploitation of this convenient dodge by critics – as if they had never noticed how they are availing themselves of a parlour trick. ibid.
How do you tell wishful thinking from genuine belief? ibid.
Scientists know the anguish of confronting awful facts. ibid.
An adaptation of religious beliefs to be impenetrable in this way. ibid.
Cartoon [son to mother]: Aren’t you a little old to have an imaginary friend? ibid.
In organised religions God gets credit for all the good things and never takes the blame for the bad things. Daniel C Dennett, lecture Venice September 2006, ‘The Domestication of the Wild Memes of Religon’
Robert Wright: The Evolution of God cf. The evolution of the concept of God. ibid.
What can be asserted without proof can be dismissed without proof. Christopher Hitchens
It’s childish to blame God for things that are going wrong. It’s idiotic ... We don’t think that God designed us and the universe after all, and if he did, he did it with such cruel ineptitude. Christopher Hitchens v Mark Roberts 2007
Why do you impose this extraordinary burden on yourself? ibid.
I’m very glad it’s not true that there is a permanent, unshakable, unchallengeable supervision, a divine North Korea in which no privacy, no liberty, is possible from the moment of conception not just until the moment of death but until well after. Christopher Hitchens v Reverend Al Sharpton
Some design. Some father. Some caring God. Some designing supervisor. Collision: Christopher Hitchens v Douglas Wilson
If God is just, then why the need to tremble? Christopher Hitchens
It is the wish to be a slave. It is the desire that there be an unalterable unchallengeable tyrannical authority who can convict you of thought crime while you are asleep. Who can subject you – who must indeed subject you – to a total surveillance ... A celestial North Korea. Who wants this to be true? Who but a slave desires such a ghastly fate? ... At least you can fucking die and leave North Korea. Christopher Hitchens
They say, Where would your morals come from if there was no God? It’s actually a question that’s posed in Dostoyevsky’s wonderful novel The Brothers Karamazov. One of the bothers says ... If God is dead, isn’t everything permitted? Isn’t everything permissible? Where would our ethics be if there was no superintending duty? This again seems to me a profound insult to us in our very deepest nature and character. It is not the case, I submit to you, that we do not set about butchering and raping and thieving from each other right now because we’re afraid of a divine punishment or because we’re looking for a divine reward. Christopher Hitchens, lecture Authors@Google.com
There is something positively wicked ... You can’t be a God person and a Good person ... What is moral about vicarious redemption? Christopher Hitchens, Freedom from Religion Foundation 2007
The belief in a supreme being or creator is actually a pernicious belief. It does a great moral and intellectual damage to our poorly evolved primate species. Christopher Hitchens v Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, debate New York 30th January 2008
We are furnished with so little evidence for so horrible a proposition. ibid.
Why does this delusion persist? ... I think it’s to do with wishful thinking. ibid.
And then just decides around four thousand years ago – gee – to intervene. ibid.
Again if this was the plan, was it made by someone who likes us? ... And if so, why have 99.9% of all the other species that have ever been created already died out? As part of what plan was that? Christopher Hitchens, lecture 6th October 2009
The planner must be either very capricious, really toying with his creation ... or very cruel and very callous or just perhaps very different, or some combination of all of the above. ibid.
Love is compulsory. You have to love someone who you are also forced to fear ... It’s a sinister idea. ibid.