RE: Provocative Richard Dawkins quotes

From: Hofmann, Jim <>
Date: Mon Nov 07 2005 - 22:10:13 EST

From Skeptic vol. 3, no. 4, 1995, pp. 80-85.
An Interview With Richard Dawkins

By Frank Miele

Skeptic: You also took a bit of flak for likening religion (I think specifically Catholicism) to a virus? Is that still your position?

Dawkins: Yes. I come to it through the analogy to computer viruses. We have two kinds of viruses that have a lot in common--namely real biological viruses and computer viruses. In both cases they are parasitic self-replicating codes which exploit the existence of machinery that was set up to copy and obey that kind of code. So I then ask the question,"What if there were a third kind of milieu in which a different kind of self-replicating code could become an effective parasite?" Human brains with their powerful communication systems seem to be a likely candidate. Then I ask, "What would it feel like if you were the victim of a mind virus?" Well, you would feel within yourself this deep conviction that seems to come from nowhere. It doesn't result from any evidence, but you have a total conviction that you know what's true about the world and the cosmos and life. You just know it and you're even prepared to kill people who disagree with you. You go around proselytizing and pe!
rsuading other people to accept your view. The more you write down the features that such a mind virus would have, the more it starts to look like religion. I do think that the Roman Catholic
religion is a disease of the mind which has a particular epidemiology similar to that of a virus.

Skeptic: But couldn't the Pope (or Evangelical Protestants for that matter),reply, "Look, we just have a terrific meme.It's winning what you would describe as a Darwinian battle and you're angry because you just don't like it."

Dawkins: Religion is a terrific meme. That's right. But that doesn't make it true and I care about what's true. Smallpox virus is a terrific virus. It does its job magnificently well. That doesn't mean that it's a good thing. It doesn't mean that I
don't want to see it stamped out.

Jim Hofmann

-----Original Message-----
From: on behalf of Joel Cannon
Sent: Mon 11/7/2005 6:34 PM
Subject: Provocative Richard Dawkins quotes
Hi Folks:

I am part of a panel discussing intelligent design tomorrow
(Tues. night). One thing I would like to do is provide some context in
which to view the ID movement.

Can someone provide me with a good Dawkins quote. The one that I
recall I read on the old Templeton listserv where he was at his
provocative best. I believe it was from an article in The Independent
where Christianity or its practice was labeled as something like
wicked or insane. (which would you choose?)

Joel W. Cannon | (724)223-6146
Physics Department |
Washington and Jefferson College |
Washington, PA 15301 |
Received on Mon, 7 Nov 2005 19:10:13 -0800

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