Richard Dawkins on Why We Should Believe in Science: “It Works … Bitches”

Appearing at Oxford's Sheldonian Theater in 2013, evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins fielded a question that's now being asked unnervingly often in our anti-Enlightenment age.

Audience member: "The question is about the nature of scientific evidence. You both said, and I think most people here would agree with you, that we’re justified in holding a belief if there is evidence for it, or there are logical arguments we can find that support it. But it seems like this in itself is a belief, which would require some form of evidence. If so, I’m won­dering what you think would count as evidence in favour of that and, if not, how do we justify choosing that heuristic without appealing to the same standard that we are trying to justify?"

Dawkins: "How do we justify, as it were, that science would give us the truth? It works. Planes fly, cars drive, computers compute. If you base medicine on science, you cure people; if you base the design of planes on science, they fly; if you base the design of rockets on science, they reach the moon. It works … bitches."

Now, someone please send that memo to the folks who call the shots.

 

Related Content:

Richard Dawkins’ Famous “What If You’re Wrong” Speech Animated in the Style of South Park

Growing Up in the Universe: Richard Dawkins Presents Captivating Science Lectures for Kids (1991)

Richard Dawkins Explains Why There Was Never a First Human Being

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  • E. Derksen says:

    Science, yes,; ‘scientism’,no. There is a difference. Eric Voegelin wrote about the distinction long ago: scientism is the dogma that “all reality which is not accessible to sciences of phenomena is either irrelevant or, in the more radical form of the dogma, illusionary.” 1948

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