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The suggestion is that God in deciding to create life chose to do it in precisely the way that made it look as if He wasn’t there. Richard Dawkins, interview Professor Richard Blakemore, Christianity: A History: God and the Scientists, Channel 4 2009
It would be very surprising if this is the only planet in the entire universe where there’s life. And I think it would also be surprising if this is the only planet in the universe where there is intelligent life ... There could well be alien beings elsewhere in the universe that are so far ahead of us we would treat them as gods. Richard Dawkins, Minnesota Radio 2008
Something like a protein molecule has I think got to be characteristic of life on any planet where there’s life. Richard Dawkins, Edinburgh Book Festival 2008
Barriers to our being visited: Origin of life very hard to arise; technological life very hard to evolve; technological life short-lived; technological life can’t be bothered to visit us. Richard Dawkins, American Atheists Conference 2009
The human race is one of the wonders of the universe. It may be unique. And of all our remarkable properties one stands out: it is that we are restlessly drawn to ask questions like, Why are we here? What is the purpose of life? Richard Dawkins, The Big Question s1e3: Why We Are Here, Channel 5 2004
Life makes the wonders of technology seem commonplace. So where does life come from? What is it? Why are we here? What are we for? What is the Meaning of Life? There’s a conventional wisdom which says that Science has nothing to say about such questions. Well all I can say is that if Science has nothing to say, it’s certain that no other disciple can say anything at all. Richard Dawkins, lecture 1: Waking Up in the Universe, 1991
Everything that is alive is a cousin of us ... We are all descended from one remote ancestor which lived probably between three and four thousand million years ago. ibid.
In very different ways, the possibility that the universe is teeming with life, and the opposite possibility that we are totally alone, are equally exciting. Either way, the urge to know more about the universe seems to me irresistible, and I cannot imagine that anybody of truly poetic sensibility could disagree. Richard Dawkins, Unweaving the Rainbow
We are going to die, and that makes us the lucky ones. Most people are never going to die because they are never going to be born. The potential people who could have been here in my place but who will in fact never see the light of day outnumber the sand grains of Arabia. Certainly those unborn ghosts include greater poets than Keats, scientists greater than Newton. We know this because the set of possible people allowed by our DNA so massively exceeds the set of actual people. In the teeth of these stupefying odds it is you and I, in our ordinariness, that are here. We privileged few, who won the lottery of birth against all odds, how dare we whine at our inevitable return to that prior state from which the vast majority have never stirred? ibid.
Life results from the non-random survival of randomly varying replicators. Richard Dawkins
I think it is likely that there is life out there. I fear we shall never know about it. Richard Dawkins
5However many ways there may be of being alive, it is certain that there are vastly more ways of being dead. Richard Dawkins, The Blind Watchmaker 1986 ch1
The essence of life is statistically improbability on a colossal scale. ibid. ch11
I suspect the reason is that most people ... have a residue of feeling that Darwinian evolution isn’t quite big enough to explain everything about life. All I can say as a biologist is that the feeling disappears progressively the more you read about and study what is known about life and evolution.
I want to add one thing more. The more you understand the significance of evolution, the more you are pushed away from the agnostic position and towards atheism. Complex, statistically improbable things are by their nature more difficult to explain than simple, statistically probable things. Richard Dawkins, cited The New Humanist, the Journal of the Rationalist Press Association vol 107 no 2
Darwin’s great insight was that life evolved steadily and slowly, inching its way gradually over four billion years. Natural selection, not a divine designer, was the sculptor of life. So evolution driven by Darwin’s motor of natural selection gets us to the top of mount improbable. From primeval simplicity to ultimate complexity. The design hypothesis doesn’t even begin to do that. Because it raises an even bigger problem than it solves. Who made the designer? Richard Dawkins, The Root of All Evil? The God Delusion, Channel 4 2006
My eyes are constantly wide open to the extraordinary fact of existence. Not just human existence, but the existence of life and how this breathtakingly powerful process, which is natural selection, has managed to take the very simple facts of physics and chemistry and build them up to redwood trees and humans. Richard Dawkins
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, 2008
Darwin’s Theory of Evolution by Natural Selection explains everything about Life – its complexity, its beauty, its elegance, its diversity. Richard Dawkins, Oxford University, interview Darwin’s Brave New World
He is one of the greatest scientists who has ever lived. He provided the explanation for my existence and yours. And the existence of every living creature. You can explain everything about life. Now that’s a powerful idea. ibid.
DNA is the computer recipe for life itself, unravelling like magnetic tape on some giant computer. Richard Dawkins
The difference between life and non-life is a matter of substance but of information. Richard Dawkins, The Greatest Show on Earth p405
All surviving life forms on this planet use the same machine code and we are all descended from a single ancestor. ibid. p410
Humans were aware of the cycles that govern our lives long before we understood them ... Gravity mediates other cycles that also matter to life ... It has even been suggested, again implausible in my opinion, that life without the moon would be impossible. What if our planet didn’t spin on its axis? ... What if Earth spun, but on an axis that was not tilted? ... The whole system, whether we are talking about life, or about water rising into the clouds and falling again, is finally dependent on the steady flow of energy from the sun ... Life evolves greater complexity only because natural selection drives it locally away from the statistically probable towards the improbable. ibid. p410-416
Oxygen flooded into the atmosphere as a pollutant, even a poison, until natural selection shaped living things to thrive on the stuff and, indeed, suffocate without it. ibid. p418
Self-replication spawns a population of entities, which compete with each other to be replicated. Since no copying process is perfect, the population will inevitably come to contain variety, and if variants exist in a population of replicators those that have what it takes to succeed will come to predominate. This is natural selection, and it could not start until the first self-replicating entity came into existence. ibid. p419
I think the RNA World theory plausible, and I think it quite likely that chemists will, within the next few decades, simulate in the laboratory a full reconstruction of the events that launched natural selection on its momentous way four billion years ago. ibid. p421