CREDOS : Dawkins on God — I

British biologist Richard Dawkins has made a name for himself defending evolution and fighting what he sees as religiously motivated attacks on science. Dawkins sat down with Beliefnet at the World Congress of Secular Humanism.

You’re concerned about the state of education, especially science education. If you were able to teach every person, what would you want people to believe?

I would want them to believe whatever evidence leads them to; I would want them to look at the evidence, judge it on its merits, and not accept things because of internal revelation or faith. Not everybody can evaluate all evidence; we can’t evaluate the evidence for quantum physics. So it does have to be a certain amount of taking things on trust. I have to take what physicists say on trust, for example, because I’m a biologist. But science has a system of appraisal, of peer review, so that I trust the physics community to get their act together in a way that I know from the inside. I wish people would put their trust in evidence, not in faith, revelation, tradition, or authority.

What do you wish people knew about evolution?

They need to understand what evolution is about. Many of them don’t.

I was truly shocked to be told by two separate religious leaders in the US a few weeks ago — they both said something to the effect that, “I’ll believe in evolution when I see a tailed monkey give birth to a human.” —