Reflections on Richard Dawkins and Lawrence Krauss: Something from Nothing, at ANU
Here are my reflections on the following video of a discussion between Dawkins and Krauss. http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=q0mljE9K-gY
This 1.5 hour unstructured discussion covered a wide range of topics. This blog represents some of my reflections on the video. One thread was on the subject of whether we *need* religion. This reminded me of whether drug addicts need their particular drug. People may feel as though they need the comfort of religion when a loved one dies or other catastrophes occur, but heroin addicts also need a regular heroin fix in order to avoid the discomfort and pain of withdrawal. The pains of withdrawal are real to the addict and the theist, but both pains are unnecessary if one simply withdraws from their particular drug. There will be withdrawal symptoms, but once rehabilitation is complete, there is no longer the need for the drug. Once a person begins to base life on evidence and probabilities, there is no need to feel threatened about losing the presupposition of life.
Krauss explained how his life was turned upside down by quantum physics and Dawkins said his fundamental understanding of evolution was toppled by molecular biology. When a worldview is based on evidence and probability, when new evidence is introduced that substantially changes assumptions, the underlying worldview is not toppled; it is just revised. The worldview of evidence and probability remains intact. If a person realizes there are no gods, the fundamental worldview is demolished and pain ensues.
Related to this was the Dawkins/Krauss discussion of whether religion is necessary for happiness. My question was “How could I be happy living as a servant of the biblical egotistical, impetuous, jealous tyrant, who dictates how and what I should think and believe? I could not. How can I believe in a god so unjust, that he could allegedly create humans with free will that allegedly resulted in my ancestor 6000 years ago to disobey god and cause his progeny to have a sinful nature? How can I believe that a just god would then blame me for his own creation, and send me to a lake of fire forever because of it? How is that supposed to be a just god? It isn’t.
One last point was that politicians should not be given a free pass on their beliefs. I should be able to ask Obama, “Do you believe that Jesus is coming back to take all of the Christians to Heaven before humans destroy their own habitat, and, if so, why do we need to battle global warming?” However, such a question is not allowed, because religious beliefs are a private matter. If the logical conclusion to a belief could lead to the destruction of the human habitat, I should be able to know what that belief is. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fVASr10Gg20