CREDOS : Dawkins on God — III

What are your thoughts about the despair some people feel when they ponder natural selection and random mutation?

The idea of evolution and natural selection makes some people feel that everything is meaningless — people’s individual lives and life in general.

If it’s true that it causes people to feel despair, that’s tough. It’s still the truth. The universe doesn’t owe us condolence; it doesn’t owe us a nice warm feeling inside. If it’s true, it’s true, and you’d better live with it.

However, I don’t think it should make one feel depressed. My book, Unweaving the Rainbow, is an attempt to elevate science to the level of poetry and to show how one can be — in a funny sort of way — rather spiritual about science. The contemplation of the size and scale of the universe, of the depth of geological time, of the complexity of life — these all have an inspirational quality. It makes my life worthwhile.

You criticise intelligent design, saying that “the theistic answer” — pointing to God as designer — “is deeply unsatisfying” — presumably you mean on a logical, scientific level.

Yes, because it doesn’t explain where the designer comes from. If they’re going to emphasise the statistical improbability of biological organs — “these are so complicated, how could they have evolved?” — well, if they’re so complicated, how could they possibly have been designed? Because the designer would have to be even more complicated. —