Richard Dawkins on the Awe of Life & Science

Here’s some vin­tage Richard Dawkins. Back in 1991, the Oxford Uni­ver­si­ty biol­o­gist pre­sent­ed a series of lec­tures for the Roy­al Insti­tu­tion. In the very first lec­ture (pre­sent­ed above), Dawkins forces his audi­ence to con­front some big ques­tions. (What’s the ori­gin of life? Where do we fall in the scheme of life on plan­et Earth? What’s our role in the larg­er uni­verse? etc.) And he reminds us that we’re extreme­ly priv­i­leged to have the brains and tools (name­ly, rea­son and sci­ence) to make sense of the awe­some won­ders that sur­round us. We’ve evolved and grown up, he says. We don’t need super­sti­tion and the super­nat­ur­al to explain it all. We just need our­selves and our faith in sci­ence and its meth­ods. It’s clas­sic Dawkins.

The 55-minute talk is now added to our YouTube favorites, and we’ve also added Dawkins’ YouTube Chan­nel to our col­lec­tion of Intel­li­gent YouTube Chan­nels.

via TED

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Comments (3)
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  • Hanoch says:

    Dawkins may con­tend that “[w]e don’t need super­sti­tion and the super­nat­ur­al to explain it all.” But he also con­cedes — as he must — that sci­ence is also inca­pable of explain­ing it all. He appar­ent­ly believes, how­ev­er, that some­day sci­ence will be able to do so. That seems as much an arti­cle of “faith” as those who believe in the “super­sti­tions” Dawkins takes so much plea­sure in derid­ing.

  • Vox says:

    Late to the par­ty…
    Reflect­ing on the future may be “an arti­cle of faith” but it does NOT reflect upon the man­ner in which the sci­ences reveal the uni­verse around us. A man­ner which is cer­tain­ly not root­ed in super­sti­tions.
    So, Dawk­in’s derid­ing is quite safe while his belief in the sci­en­tif­ic method­’s abil­i­ty is based upon a stronger foun­da­tion than faith; it is based upon the advances in Human knowl­edge detailed in any his­to­ry or sci­ence book.

  • Bret says:

    Believ­ing a sup­po­si­tion (sci­ence will explain all mys­ter­ies) is believ­ing what has not been proven and so is belief based on faith. If Dawkins or any­one asserts this, that is a state­ment of faith only. It is con­trary to log­ic to state oth­er­wise.

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