Ричард Докинз — Замечательные умы [RUS sub]

Uploaded by lololllolo on 27.06.2012

What does it take to be a scientific pioneer?
To reframe and popularise evolutionary theory?
To reveal a new material and win science's most coveted prize.
Or discover one of palaeontology's elusive missing links.
Is the key to brilliance pure talent, ego,
or just plain good luck?
What makes a beautiful scientific mind?
Prof Richard Dawkins is amongst Britain's most outspoken
and prolific scientific thinkers.
I don't think he's quite in the Oxford English dictionary yet,
but it's almost at that level.
In the 1970s, he made his name with an explosive book
that turned evolutionary thinking on its head.
It was a wonderful, radical new vision, set out in sparkling prose,
and, above it all, this wonderful, wonderful metaphor, the selfish gene.
The book propelled him into the spotlight and gave Dawkins
a platform to speak out as a ferocious critic of religion.
Lord Jakobovits is an educated man,
he knows perfectly well the world was not created in six days.
Richard gives definitive answers to things.
If you don't like those answers, you'll find it controversial and you're not going to like him.
Sir, there could be many things that you know well, but, please,
in the process of it, don't be arrogant.
How did Richard Dawkins become the most influential
evolutionary thinker of a generation?
And how did this lead him
to assume the mantle of evangelical spokesman for atheism?
Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Professor Richard Dawkins!
Richard Dawkins' public career spans four decades.
Since the publication of his global bestseller, The Selfish Gene,
he has penned a further 10 books, written hundreds of articles,
and become a well-known TV personality.
Would you please welcome Professor Richard Dawkins.
Please welcome Professor Richard Dawkins.
His message about science is simple.
I try to emphasise
that science is magical in the best sense of being
spellbinding, spine-crawling, exciting - magical, in that sense.
His thinking is defined by logic
and by an insistence on scientific evidence.
To say, "I don't understand X, therefore it must be magic,
"or therefore it must supernatural, must be a miracle,"
that is cowardly and defeatist, lazy.
I try to rather strongly make the case against that.
You have to be open and constantly questioning
and using the methods of science to try to find out what is really true.
A zoologist by training, Richard Dawkins has spent a lifetime
questioning the mechanisms of the natural world.
As a child of keen naturalists, biology was practically in his DNA.
I grew up in what was then Nyasaland, now Malawi, until I was seven.
Both my parents loved flowers, when my sister and I were young,
and when we went on walks, they would constantly be telling us the names
of all the wildflowers, my father in Latin, my mother in English.
And, um, so, we both of us
had every opportunity to love nature.
Perhaps surprisingly, Richard did not share his family's passion
for animals and plants.
I suppose it should have been a paradise for a young naturalist
and I did enjoy what I saw, and I love butterflies and birds and things,
but I never really developed properly into a young naturalist,
I think perhaps a bit to the disappointment of my father, who always was,
and his father, my grandfather.
I remember, on a visit to England, which we occasionally did,
my grandfather looked out of the window and asked me
whether I could identify a bird that was on the bird table.
I hadn't the faintest idea.
So I said, "Is it a chaffinch?"
And Grandfather was absolutely shocked that I didn't know that it was a blue tit.
Instead, Richard showed signs of being a different kind of thinker,
one who was more interested in ideas than in outdoor life.
I loved reading and I used to read in a rather sort of
clandestine way, both at school and at home.
Um, at school, I used to sort of disappear when I was supposed to be
using my hands in the workshops and things like that, and read.
And at home, I used to sort of sneak up my bedroom and read
when I was really supposed to be out in the big outdoors.
The natural order of things came alive to Richard,
not through country walks,
but in the pages of Hugh Lofting's Doctor Doolittle books.
Dr Doolittle is rather like Charles Darwin on the Beagle.
All the plots of the Doctor Doolittle books concern
animals and animal welfare, really,
and I think that really did influence me
in the direction of having a great sympathy for non-human animals.
When I learned about evolution,
I became even more aware of the continuity, as Darwin very much was,
the continuity between humans and other animals.
We are African apes and we are
a rather recent offshoot from other African apes.
And so, the sort of great moral and political barrier
that we tend to erect around homo sapiens,
as an evolutionist I can see is not logical,
and, as a child, I was kind of schooled into by Doctor Doolittle.
Though Darwin's theory of natural selection would come to form
the bedrock of Richard's science,
as a child he did not immediately grasp it.
I'm not sure that I really got it, actually.
I think I sort of misunderstood it.
I didn't really think it was up to the job of explaining all of life.
"It is interesting to contemplate an entangled bank,
"clothed with many plants of many kinds,
"with birds, and with various insects flitting about.
"And to reflect that these elaborately constructed forms
"have all been produced by laws acting around us."
To Richard, natural selection appeared to be inadequate because
Darwin's idea was so simple.
Darwin's original argument
was that species produce more offspring
than can survive to adulthood.
And among those offspring, it is not random who survives,
but larger ones survive or ones who are somehow better fitted to
survive and to reproduce do.
As the fitter individuals reproduce,
their characteristics are transmitted to their young,
while the less fit individuals perish, or leave behind fewer offspring.
As those forces work through,
down the generations,
those that have that characteristics that that enable them to
survive will do so and will be more represented in the generations.
Natural selection takes place slowly,
through tiny, incremental changes, over vast spans of time.
Richard would be in his teens before he really took this in.
It was probably my father who explained it to me
so that I first got it.
Then, fairly gradually,
became aware that Darwinian natural selection really was not just big enough,
but hugely big enough, it was a really gigantically good idea.
Aged 13, the bookish Richard went to Oundle School in Northamptonshire.
Here he met Mr Thomas,
a teacher who would shape his approach to scientific thinking.
He was an inspired teacher.
He clearly was inspired by the living world
and he spoke with great passion and...poetry, really,
of what a marvellous subject biology is, and how much it would encompass.
Ioan Thomas taught his class to rigorously question
scientific ideas.
But Richard did not yet stand out amongst his classmates.
He wasn't a star pupil, but the group that I had were
a lot of very able - it would be rather difficult
to be a star amongst them.
They were great fun to teach and he was somebody who was fun to teach
because he responded in the right sort of way.
But he didn't look necessarily as being outstanding.
His parents became concerned that he was not applying himself enough
to make the grade and get into the Oxford college they were set on.
I think I'm right in saying that 11 members of the Dawkins family
went to Balliol College, Oxford,
and it was my grandfather's great hope, and my father's great hope,
that I would as well.
So I was sort of automatically entered for Balliol.
My parents went to see Mr Thomas to talk about it.
They did come to see me where I was staying in Oundle,
and I think I did say that I don't think he is going to get to Balliol at this stage.
He'll get into Oxford but he won't get to Balliol.
But anyway, I applied to Balliol
and Mr Thomas had me in his house for several evenings,
I think about once a week, actually, for extracurricular coaching.
And then the pace seemed to change,
which was what my intention had been.
Spurred on by Mr Thomas's hot housing,
Richard rose to the challenge, and, in 1959,
he made it to Balliol College, where he would study zoology.
Here, he entered a world where Darwin's theory was
barely on the radar for academic biologists.
Darwin's theory has a curious history. People think of it
as Darwin revealing it to the world in 1859
and then the Origin sailing forth
and Darwinian theory being on top of science ever since.
It wasn't at all like that.
It actually went through a great decline,
it is sometimes called the eclipse of Darwinian theory.
That started around the time that Darwin died in 1882,
and went on until, really, past the middle of the 20th century.
During that time it was deeply misunderstood, often ignored
and reviled, but when it was used,
it was not understood how the logic of it worked.
As an undergraduate, Richard was less concerned with Darwin
than with the meticulous detail of his weekly essays.
He was developing a flair for writing and original thinking.
The topics we were given for our weekly essay could well have been
very specialised, narrow topics,
and we were given the latest research literature on that topic,
went into the library, one of the finest libraries in the world,
and spent a whole week immersing oneself in this topic.
And I did that to such an extent that I would kind of sleep,
eat and dream the topic, whatever it was.
I never, ever just sort of produced a textbook answer.
It was always my own take on something, which I absolutely adored.
My tutors, they said they loved my essays,
I don't know whether they were just being nice.
His talent for refining and communicating ideas
caught the eye of one tutor in particular.
World-renowned animal behaviourist Niko Tinbergen.
When I do this, you know at once what I mean.
The angry face, the clenched fist, convey a mood of aggression.
It is a simple form of communication.
Richard graduated in 1962 and Tinbergen was so impressed by
his abilities that he agreed to take Richard on as a doctoral student.
I then became a member of his group on animal behaviour.
And that was a big turning point in my life.
Before I had tutorials with Tinbergen
I had been going to do something biochemical,
which I know would not have suited me.
And so I am very, very glad that that happened.
The doctoral subject Tinbergen set for Richard was
the study of innate behaviour in young animals, such as chicks.
Richard immersed himself in the work.
At that time, the animal behaviour group lived in
and worked in an old Victorian house in North Oxford.
It was one of those very vertical houses with two rooms on each floor.
My memory of Richard was as
one of the senior, perhaps slightly austere figures in the group,
but absolutely remarkable for his clarity of thought
and clarity of expression. That was one of the things that struck me from the very beginning.
The high spot of the week, for me, was the Friday night seminars,
where we all gathered around, and Niko was there
and somebody gave a talk about their research.
And Niko was quite, um, relentless in his questioning.
I can remember one of these weekly seminars where
a very distinguished scientist from Bristol University called John Crook
came to give the seminar, and he got through the first sentence
and Niko stopped him and said, "What exactly do you mean by that?" - whatever it was he'd said.
He never had a proper chair, he sat on an old orange box or something,
and was chain-smoking, rolling his own,
chain-smoking, pacing up and down,
chain-smoking, sitting on the old orange box,
and interrupting quite frequently.
"Ja, ja, ja," and then interrupt.
That insistence on absolute clarity of thought must have had
an influence on Richard's thinking.
It certainly had an influence on my thinking.
So, in a sense, Richard was following in the Tinbergen tradition.
I think I came away from that enormously enthused about science,
about asking scientific questions.
And feeling that science really was for me.
Richard had found his vocation at an exciting time.
Zoologists were returning to Darwinian ideas and beginning
to wrestle with the question of how natural selection really worked.
They knew that evolution favoured the survival
and reproduction of the fittest, but the fittest what?
The fittest individuals, groups, or species?
For Darwin, it was the individual.
It is us, WE reproduce.
But, in the 1960s, it became apparent that that view
was not wholly adequate.
It was very difficult to take that view and still account
for some of the behaviours that we see out there in the natural world,
especially altruistic behaviours.
Behaviours where animals apparently sacrifice themselves for other animals.
How could that be,
if we are, if individuals are programmed to survive and reproduce?
The answer for many biologists was that
the fittest groups of organisms survived and reproduced.
If one wildebeest behaved altruistically,
to take care of another wildebeest's infant,
the whole group would be successful and altruism would blossom.
But other biologists thought this approach illogical.
Let's imagine a hypothetical example where everybody in a group
behaved altruistically.
And let's say they give up their food for other people,
but that one individual in that group now behaves differently, behaves selfishly.
So, instead of giving up food, it grabs food from others,
and food translates into survival and reproduction.
You play the tape forward through a few hundred generations
and what's happened, all the goody-goodies, the altruists who gave away their food,
have been supplanted, replaced, by the selfish individuals who scoffed
the food and reproduced as result.
An alternative theory was proposed by Bill Hamilton,
an evolutionary biologist with a particular interest
in social insects.
He wanted to know why female worker insects take care of the colony
when they have no chance of ever reproducing in their own right.
He came to believe that the sterile workers were sacrificing
themselves for the Queen and male drones
because they all contained the same genes.
And he believed it was true not just of social insects
but of all biological organisms.
The main thrust was the idea
that animals share genes with their relatives.
So, if I do something for my brother, let's say,
then the genes that cause me to do it will survive in him.
And so there is a kind of...
There is essentially a gene-centred process going on.
If we took a gene-centred view of the world
we could explain some of those behaviours
because it is the case that although we have our genes,
our genes are not uniquely ours, we share them with our relatives.
What Bill Hamilton did, in 1964,
was to realise that what matters
is not just reproduction, not just producing children,
but assisting the survival of your own genes, any gene that
assists the survival of itself by working through
sisters and brothers and nephews and nieces and so on,
such a gene would propagate itself.
Though Bill Hamilton published his work in the mid-60s,
it attracted little attention.
It was, I think, one of the most difficult papers to follow
that has ever been written.
So, although the paper was there, it wasn't having much impact.
But Richard, now lecturing for Tinbergen at Oxford,
had found his way through Hamilton's complex mathematics
and he brought the ideas into his 1966 course notes.
I was immensely enthusiastic about it and brought it into my lectures.
The '66 lectures were a eureka moment for me.
I has this sort of semi-poetic vision of immortal genes manipulating
mortal bodies, survival machines, as I call them,
throwing them away, and then marching on down the generations.
It, it's...
It's true, it's what happens,
the thing about genes is that they are potentially immortal
because they are copied and copied and copied, identically,
down through countless generations, and the bodies are thrown away.
These were ideas Richard would later immortalise in The Selfish Gene.
But for now,
an emerging technology kept him from getting down to writing.
He was still studying behaviour in chicks
and was swamped in statistics.
What Richard needed was a way to process the data.
He was one of the very early people into the use of computers.
In those days, there was just one computer in Oxford
and you had to submit your job on punched-paper tape and then you
came back the next day, or maybe two days later, got the results,
and you found a stupid mistake which you corrected,
put back the paper tape, and came back with another stupid mistake
and so on, so it was a very laborious business.
I learned how to program and became utterly intrigued by it.
Richard was then in charge of an animal behaviour group computer,
which was about the size of a room, and had about the calculating power
of a mobile phone, or less than a mobile phone, in fact.
But Richard was one of the very early adopters.
I remember once I dreamed that I was a computer just chugging my way through,
repeating and repeating and repeating and repeating,
a sort of horrible nightmare of a night.
I got up very early at dawn!
But, anyway, the fascination of computers stayed with me.
I can remember Richard trying to teach all of us
in the animal behaviour group how to write computer programs in machine code,
a string of zeros and ones, so he was a real pioneer in that field.
And it reflects his logical mind and, I think,
his interest in how things work.
I became, I think the correct word would be addicted,
to computer programming, and the addiction became much worse
when computers, following Moore's Law, became smaller and faster
and cheaper and so one could have access to one's own.
And then I really did become addicted
and had to more less positively cure myself of it.
Richard was not only distracted by computers.
In the late '60s, he took a lecturing post at the University of California in Berkeley.
It was the height of flower power
and he soon discovered a passion for campaigning.
My first wife, Marian and I, had just got married,
and we went out together for a sort of adventure, in our 20s.
We were, both of us, very politically active.
We got involved in the anti-Vietnam war demonstrations.
We got involved in the campaigning for
the Democratic candidacy for the presidency.
And so our old car was simply covered with electioneering posters
and things, and we went to demonstrations
and political meetings and things,
both in Berkeley and in San Francisco.
And I lectured on animal behaviour, and I suppose it is really a time
of youth which sort of haunts one's dreams for some time afterwards.
But after two short years, Niko Tinbergen managed to lure
Richard away from California, back to a research position at Oxford.
The England he returned to could not have been
more different from sunny California.
ARCHIVE: There have been fierce struggles between the police
and pickets as the strikers tried to stop lorries entering and leaving.
Britain was in the grip of industrial unrest.
A miners' strike in the early '70s brought Richard's computer work to a standstill.
There were constant power cuts
and it wasn't possible to do research that involved electrical apparatus.
So I thought it would be a good idea if I tried to put together
the ideas that had so inspired me in 1966, and write a book.
And I started to write it, I wrote two chapters.
But then the power came back on, and so I gave up the project
and went back to my research.
But evolutionary thinking was moving fast.
Like Bill Hamilton, who had inspired Richard in the '60s,
other academics such as John Maynard Smith
and Bob Trivers were also publishing papers about altruism and genes.
Reading their work spurred Richard into action.
It was the advent of the Trivers papers and the Maynard Smith papers
in 1971, '72, '73 and '74,
which goaded me into finally getting back to
taking out my first two chapters out of the drawer
and getting down to it properly.
I think I felt, yes, I think that is right now, it is coming back to me -
I think those extra papers,
I really felt, gosh, I've got to get back to that book,
this is so exciting, there's so much to add.
So I wrote it in quite a frenzy of energy.
The manuscript was finished in 1975. Now, it needed a title.
I remember Richard ran a little competition amongst us,
his friends and colleagues, for the title of the book.
And my...my submission was Immortal Coils,
which I think he used as one of the chapter headings.
But he stuck with his own idea as the title of the book.
The title Richard chose was The Selfish Gene.
I called the book The Selfish Gene because if anything is
a selfish entity maximising its own survival, it is the gene.
You don't want to talk about the selfish organism,
the selfish individual, because most of the time, a good bit of the time,
organisms are being altruistic.
There are driven to be altruistic by the selfish genes.
It was this now iconic title that appealed to publisher
Michael Rodgers at Oxford University Press.
So Michael asked if he could see what I was working on and I gave him
some chapters.
And I was phoned up and he said,
"I must have that book!"
And he then, nothing would deter him,
I mean, it was absolutely...
I don't what you'd call it, like a bull charging.
I started reading and I couldn't stop.
It was so good, and it was so brilliant,
and I was completely, absolutely gripped
and I thought it was so wonderful.
And from then on, um...I couldn't sleep for worrying
that, um, we wouldn't get the book.
I wanted to publish this book
because I thought it was going to be important and do really well.
The book was a huge success.
Dawkins' gift for distilling ideas and communicating them
had come together in one seminal piece of work.
It gave a radically new view of the world.
It was a view that we are just vehicles for our genes.
It's the genes' interests that matters, it's not us.
And that, he showed, has all sorts of unintended consequences
for the way in which we think.
New consequences for the way in which we view human behaviour.
And it was a wonderful, radical new vision set out in sparkling prose.
And above it all, this wonderful, wonderful metaphor,
The Selfish Gene.
It revealed the logic with crystal-clear precision.
And that enabled people to see
why natural selection must be gene centred.
Why it doesn't make sense to talk about it in any other way.
Richard was, in a way, taking ideas that existed,
but making us look at them in a different way.
Viewing them through a different window.
Through the window of The Selfish Gene.
It was just the beauty of the way he expressed the ideas
was absolutely riveting.
And, I thought, overwhelming, for me. Captivating.
As somebody who knew a lot about the ideas,
but hadn't really seen them
expressed in exactly that way before.
It's stunningly right. It's stunningly clear.
It is the most extraordinary book.
The book was immensely popular.
But it also came in for heavy criticism.
Some biologists argued that The Selfish Gene was wrong
because genes do not code
for any specific characteristics of an organism.
There is no one-to-one correlation between any gene
and any bit of how an organism actually operates.
Many genes are involved in the expression of any feature
in the organism and, um, each gene is involved
in many, many different aspects of how an organism is.
Once you don't have that one-to-one correlation,
it cannot be the gene is the unit of selection in this sort of way.
I have never, ever suggested
a sort of atomistic relationship
between genes and the actual form of the body
and the behaviour of the body and what it does.
Complete nonsense.
I never said it and I certainly don't think it and never did think it.
My emphasis on genes is strictly an evolutionary emphasis.
That the gene is the level in the hierarchy of life
at which natural selection acts.
It is the gene which survives or doesn't survive.
That's my emphasis on the gene.
But the debate around The Selfish Gene
goes beyond the argument about what genes specifically code for.
Richard Dawkins' critics claim that his ideas reduce human beings
to mindless agents, controlled by our genes.
You cannot say, as Dawkins did in The Selfish Gene,
that organisms are simply lumbering robots, passive vehicles,
whose only function is to help a gene transmit itself
into the next generation.
This gene-centred, gene-metaphor way of describing the world
is what I would call genetic determinism,
what many people call genetic determinism.
Genetic determinism is the notion that, um,...
if there is, "a gene for altruism
"or another gene for another kind of behaviour,"
somehow, that means that the genes
determine everything in our bodies and the way we are
and we have no liberty to change things, no free will.
It's the idea that our genes rule the show.
If we have a natural disposition to be nasty,
then we'll be nasty whatever,
and there's nothing we can do about it.
This is a deep, deep misunderstanding.
There is absolutely nothing fixed about our behaviour.
Look around us. We can see that it's not fixed.
We can see that we respond in different ways.
Genetics and Darwinism had always had a dark side.
Natural selection had long appealed
to those who wanted to use it as a justification
for weeding out the less-fit members of society.
TV: 'Not all mental deficiency is hereditary.
'But heredity accounts for more of the mild, feeble-minded types.
'such as you see in this group of men
'exercising in the grounds of the institution.
'If carefully trained, they can be taught simple routine tasks.
'But it would have been better by far for them
'and for the rest of the community if they had never been born.'
If we want to maintain the race
at a high level physically and mentally,
everybody sound in body and mind
should marry and have enough children
to perpetuate their stock and carry on the race.
Post World War II, eugenics had fallen from favour.
But in the '70s, extremist groups like the National Front
perpetuated the notion of racial purity.
They seized on The Selfish Gene
as an intellectual defence of their ideas.
'A warm review appeared in a journal
'published by the National Front.'
'One result of kin selection
'is a tendency to identify with individuals
'physically resembling oneself.
'And to be nasty to individuals different in appearance.'
Dawkins hit back against what he saw as
the political hijacking of his work.
Some people completely misunderstood what's implied
by a book I wrote called The Selfish Gene.
On the right, we had various writers from the National Front and French equivalents
who saw the idea of The Selfish Gene as chiming in very much
with their own rather nasty political philosophy.
On the left on the other hand,
I remember being blamed in a magazine article
by one influential left-wing writer,
almost personally blamed,
for the election of Mrs Thatcher in the last general election.
Though The Selfish Gene was conceived
in the halcyon days of the '60s,
it hit the zeitgeist in the '80s.
Many still see it as a justification
for a greedy, self-serving society.
During the 1980s, Thatcherism,
free market economics, what I call selfish capitalism,
was in urgent need of some kind of profound intellectual justification.
A deeper argument to justify it.
And it's interesting that The Selfish Gene
didn't become a bestselling book,
one that was read widely by the public,
rather than by just a few academics, until the 1980s.
During that time, it was interpreted
as suggesting that it's natural to be selfish.
That it seemed to be a justification
for the idea that greed is good.
When Margaret Thatcher famously said,
"There's no such thing as society, they're only individuals and families,"
she was, if you like, endorsing the claim of the gene myth
that what matters is not the social organisation in which we're embedded.
What matters is actually only the individuals,
their genes and their genetic relationships.
People have used it and taken it
as a philosophical justification for extreme right-wing politics.
What is your answer to that?
To the extent that natural selection
is politically unpleasant, which it actually rather is.
I mean, if you were to live your life
as though you were constantly aiming for Darwinian success,
then the political world which that would result in
would be a very unpleasant world,
with the strong oppressing the downtrodden.
We can emancipate ourselves politically by saying,
I want to live in a kind of society
which is very far from Darwinian natural selection.
I'm a passionate Darwinian
who believes that it's Darwinian natural selection
that's given us our bodies and our brains,
but I also believe that our brains have become big enough
that we can rebel against that.
Although the book argues this case,
Dawkins has never entirely rid himself of the accusation
that his book was a defence of selfishness.
It is a lesson that sometimes people will read a book by title only
and omit to read the rather large footnote, which is the book itself.
The book could have been called The Selfish Gene And The Altruistic Individual,
or even just The Altruistic Individual.
That would have been a bit long.
Do you think if you'd had called it something else,
we'd still be talking about it 35 years later?
I like to think that the book itself has certain merits
which might have caused it to be being talked about.
Um,...yes, I think...
I'm kind of talking myself around to thinking
perhaps the title was a mistake.
But for Richard Dawkins, the disputes around The Selfish Gene
are also a lesson in the importance of scientific freedom.
You cannot govern science by saying,
if it's suggesting something to you
that's politically or morally or emotionally unpleasant,
therefore, it mustn't be allowed to be true.
The great John Maynard Smith once satirised a left-wing scientist
who was objecting to some scientific principle
on grounds that it was unpleasant.
More or less just that, politically unpleasant.
And John Maynard Smith said,
what should we have done, falsified the equations?
Of course you can't do that.
Of course you can't subvert your science
by just twisting it to be politically acceptable.
You have to report the science the way it is.
But then you can say, let's not run our politics like that.
Richard Dawkins followed up the success and controversy of The Selfish Gene
with The Extended Phenotype, an academic book
which explained gene-centred natural selection in more detail.
But it was his next book, The Blind watchmaker,
which would set the stage for his role as a defender of science
against the claims of creationists.
The Blind Watchmaker was a book about
the argument from design and what's wrong with it.
And it seemed to me a very natural place to go.
The Selfish Gene had dealt with the topics of The Selfish Gene.
There was nothing more I wanted to say about that.
And so, the next obvious thing was
the widespread scepticism about evolution.
Creationists believe that the complexity of nature
can only be explained by the work of a creator.
The concept is called intelligent design.
And in the '80s, the creationist movement was gathering support.
'For over 100 years, science has told us
'that human beings are a chance product of a mindless process.
'But, as the human future gets bleaker,
'so more and more people are turning from the cold analysis of science
'to the apparent certainties of religion.'
# I'm no kin to the monkey No, no, no
# The monkey's no kin to me
# I don't know much about his ancestors
# But mine didn't swing from a tree
# It seems so unbelievable
# And yet they're saying it's true... #
'A new battle for the literal truth of Genesis
'is being fought out on the campuses of American high schools.
'It's an attack on what's being taught in science classes.
'Kelly Segraves is a fundamentalist Christian
'with three children at school.
'Earlier this year, he took his battle
'with the school authorities into the law courts.'
We believe in the home and in our church that God created man as man.
I send my son to school and I tell him, you're going to get an education here
and I want you to listen to the teacher.
Then the teacher's teaching things in opposition to our faith.
In the book and the TV version of The Blind Watchmaker,
Richard Dawkins led the charge
against what he sees as the false scientific claims of creationism -
like the idea that men and dinosaurs walked the Earth together.
These two have been interpreted as a man's two feet standing together.
This one is a very large foot with the big toe there
and the other toes going around here and here.
Although why Cretaceous man should have stood
with his legs like that requires a little bit of explaining.
These are the kinds of slight unimpressive resemblances
that can be produced by chance alone,
by the random forces of physics alone.
But there are things in the world - living organisms, you and me -
that are so complicated they are vastly too improbable to have
been brought about by chance alone.
Dawkins became a tireless promoter of evolution,
arguing the case that only natural selection
could produce such complexity.
This is a flatfish, a halibut.
Its ancestors once swam normally in the water,
like a normal fish does, like that.
But the ancestors of the halibut settled down on the bottom
of the sea, one side down.
But when it did that, the ancestor found that one of its eyes
was looking straight into the sand...
only the other one was looking up.
And so, gradually in evolution, the other eye,
the one that was looking into the sand,
migrated round the side of the head and came up to the top.
Now, anybody who was going to design a flatfish wouldn't do it that way.
For Dawkins,
this kind of adaptation is key evidence for evolution.
And an insistence upon evidence defines his thinking.
In a 2003 book of essays,
Dawkins even published a letter he had written to his daughter Juliet
stressing the value of critical thinking.
"Next time somebody tells you something that sounds important,
"think to yourself, "Is this the kind of thing that people probably
""know because of evidence?
""Or is it the kind of thing that people only believe
""because of tradition, authority or revelation?"
"And next time somebody tells you that something is true,
"why not say to them, "What kind of evidence is there for that?"
"And if they can't give you a good answer
"I hope you'll think very carefully before you believe a word they say."
I was trying to tell her how to think about certain things.
Not what to think, but how to think.
And I was trying to encourage her always to demand evidence.
So we know something only when there's evidence for it.
And I was particularly trying to warn her,
trying to guard her against various wrong ways of thinking
that you know something, such as tradition.
You should never say, "Our people have always believed X,
"so you should believe X."
Authority - you should never say, "Professor so-and-so believes X,
"therefore you should believe X."
Or your priest believes X so you should believe X.
Or revelation: "I have this inner conviction that X is true,
"therefore you should believe X."
No, the only reason you should believe X is that
there's evidence for X.
It is, ultimately, this passionate belief in the importance
of evidence which has fuelled Richard Dawkins'
most controversial role - as an outspoken advocate of atheism.
In 2006 he published The God Delusion,
a polemic against religion.
It became his fastest-selling book and pitted him head-to-head
with the religious establishment.
Richard really had two careers - his career as a very successful
writer on evolutionary biology - I mean, the most influential
figure of his generation, I would say, in broader public terms,
and one of the most influential in the scientific community.
But then he's had this other career as a promulgator,
as a proselytiser for atheism, which I think stems very much
from the same kind of logical clarity of thought that he's used in
his biological work to say, "Well, what does it actually boil down to?
"What is religious belief trying to explain?"
Dawkins sees this militant opposition to religion
as a natural progression from his scientific roots.
Right from certainly before the time when I wrote The Selfish Gene,
I have been every bit as militant an atheist as I ever became,
and the perception of The God Delusion as a militant book
is really because it is a book that's all about religion,
and my other books only touched on religion peripherally.
But if you look at The Selfish Gene you'll find phrases which are
just as militant as anything you'll find in The God Delusion.
It's just that that wasn't a book about religion,
whereas The God Delusion is.
Richard Dawkins has campaigned tirelessly to promote science over religion.
Religion is part of a complex of supernatural beliefs
that are founded on lack of evidence and astrology, homoeopathy,
all sorts of things like that.
And it could be said that some of these are harmless.
I don't think it's harmless. There is something insidious about
training children to believe things for which there's no evidence.
And so an uncritical, kind of too open-minded,
so open-minded your brains fall out attitude is a great pity
because it means you miss such a lot.
And merely to say that religion is harmless isn't good enough.
And he has taken every opportunity to publicly attack religion
in the strongest terms.
The God of the Old Testament has got to be the most unpleasant
character in all fiction.
Lord Jakobovits is an educated man.
He knows perfectly well the world was not created in six days.
There is nothing special about the Bible.
Richard gives definitive answers to things, and, um,
if you don't like those answers, you're going to find it
controversial, you're not going to like him.
I'm rather less interested in what people think than in what's true.
A human brain is extremely good at making things up.
The age of the Earth - 5,000 years - I mean,
that's... I'm sorry, Rabbi, that is ridiculous.
People find him argumentative
because he doesn't suffer fools gladly,
and he is rapier-like in his ability to pick up a hole in your argument.
And some people find that uncomfortable.
I'm looking for God. Well, which God? I mean, why not Jupiter, why not Zeus, why not Thor?
You're a Taurean, you have great gravitas,
you find change anathema. You're Venus-ruled, that's why you've got
those rather lovely, kissy lips on your tie.
Richard Dawkins, where would you put astrology on a scale of belief?
Somewhere among fairies.
What if you're wrong?
Well, what if I'm wrong? I mean, anybody could be wrong.
We could all be wrong about the flying spaghetti monster
and the pink unicorn and the flying teapot.
What if YOU'RE wrong about the great juju at the bottom of the sea?
Nobody not brought up in the faith could reach any verdict other than "barking mad".
Sir, there could be many things that you know well.
There are other things that you don't know well.
But please, in the process of it, don't be arrogant.
Many of Dawkins' critics believe that their own spiritual
experiences are proof enough of God's existence
and that Dawkins treats their faith with a lack of respect.
I think they should grow thicker skins.
I mean, we all have to bear satire on whatever it is, our political views.
And if politicians sort of started blubbing every time somebody
drew a satirical cartoon of them or something,
they'd never get anywhere in politics.
There's no reason why religion should be regarded as particularly
vulnerable to satire
and should be handled with kid gloves any more than politics.
But a powerful argument against Dawkins is that he does not
appreciate the deeply consoling role religion plays in human life.
Science and religion are performing very, very different roles,
they're setting themselves very different questions
and they have very different ways of answering them.
What religion does is generate narrative structures.
We are storytelling animals, that's what human beings are.
They need stories.
And the thing about religions is that they all have
lots of stories, and I think those stories are about helping
human beings to find meaning and value and purpose.
And to come to terms with the seemingly arbitrary nature
of human experience.
I can see why you might want to find something consoling.
I can see why you might want consolation.
I can see why you might want to take a drug that consoles you,
or why you might go and cry on a friendly shoulder and get patted
and hugged and get consolation from that, but to believe that
something is the case when you have no more reason to think it's
the case than that it is consoling, that is just fatuous.
That's ridiculous and illogical.
If it's bleak, too bad.
I mean, why should it be anything other than bleak?
I mean, there's no caring about the universe, why should there be?
Why should the universe care about what happens to us?
But we can make our own world, we can make our own purposes,
our own warmth, our own affections, our own loves,
and we can lead a life that's anything but bleak.
We gaze up at the stars on a dark night, with no moon
and no city lights, and breathless with joy,
we say the sight is pure magic.
In this sense, "magical" simply means "deeply moving, exhilarating,
"something that gives us goosebumps, something that makes us
"feel more fully alive".
Richard Dawkins' evangelical stance has made him
one of the most recognisable faces in science.
He has sold five million books
and regularly packs out venues around the world.
But all of this may have come at a cost.
'Richard has become almost a household phrase.'
You see it in leaders in the broadsheet newspapers.
They refer to "Dawkins", or "Dawkinsisation",
or something like that.
So it's almost become... I don't think he's quite
in the Oxford English Dictionary yet, but it's almost at that level.
Yet Richard himself is actually quite a shy
and retiring person, in many ways.
He... I mean, I suspect he probably finds it quite stressful
to be continually on public platforms, as he is.
And, whilst many revere him, he has also faced very personal criticism.
His e-mail inbox has, at times, been flooded with hate mail.
People regard any attack on their religion almost as though
I'm saying they've got an ugly face or something,
it's a personal attack on them.
And I think that they feel cornered and so they lash out
with personal attacks, what amount to personal dislike.
So, given the hostility he faces, what drives Richard Dawkins
to continue as the outspoken public figure he has become?
'Richard keeps on going.'
I mean, his messages about evolution,
his messages about religion are very well articulated
and have been presented many times, but Richard keeps on going.
And one might wonder why that is, what drives him.
I think it's passion
and it's belief that he has got an important message to put across.
The true understanding, the scientific understanding
of the nature of existence is so utterly fascinating.
How could you not want people to share it?
Carl Sagan, I think, said,
"When you're in love, you want to tell the world."
And who, on understanding a scientific view of reality
would not, as it were, fall in love and want to tell the world?
And at the age of 70,
he shows no sign of giving up on his desire to understand
the wonders of the universe and communicate them to others.
Different people have different ways of responding to the thought
that they're very lucky to be alive.
For me, it seems to suggest a great responsibility
to make the most of it.
I mean, you're extremely lucky to be here.
The odds against your being here are far greater than the odds
against your winning the lottery,
so be thankful and spend your time - your brief time - under the sun,
looking around and rejoicing and wondering and being fascinated
and trying to understand everything about the universe in which
you are so fortunate to be born.
# It's all too beautiful
# It's all too beautiful
# Over Bridge of Sighs
# To rest my eyes in shades of green
# Under dreaming spires... #
Перевод этого фильма на Нотабеноиде: http://notabenoid.com/book/29054/98323