On Dawkin's God Delusion


The atheist and evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins wrote a very interesting book entitled God Delusion, in which, not only he refers by providing clear rational scientific reasoning that God does not exist, but also that religion is immoral and detrimental to the humanity, peace and world order. I agree with the prior and disagree with the latter. I am a Portuguese atheist and my nation has been fighting since eight centuries ago against the Spaniards on territorial disputes in homeland and overseas, and though we are two nations with exactly the same faith, Roman Catholics. Therefore it seems that religion is not the true cause for violence and aggression, it is just a surrogate or a proxy. The true cause relies on human nature and evolutionary psychology, as we evolved to be aggressive, that is, the selected individuals were the ones who presented higher aggressive groupal behaviour towards people from tribes different from them. On this subject it might be interesting to read about kin selection and Hamilton's rule, which in rough terms suggest that we tend to be evolutionary altruistic, but only to our relatives, that is, to those with whom we share a great amount of genes. Furthermore there was already violence before the existence of monotheistic or even polytheistic religions, much greater violence amongst Mankind. Indeed secular state gave a further civilised step removing religion from state affairs, but we cannot either deny that the greater horrors and genocides in the History of Mankind were perpetrated during the twentieth century when religion's influence had already dramatically diminished. More particularly, the two world wars, the holocaust, the atomic attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the gulags from Stalin or the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, were phenomenons which had nothing to do with religious motivations, but rather secular or communistic ones. God does not exist, that is certain according to the most basic principles of reason, logic and science, and indeed there is an evolutionary explanation why we tend to believe in some supranatural anthropomorphic deity. Nonetheless I tend not to attribute such negative connotations and consequences on religion, since as the atheistic Freud referred, this non-existent mindful deity works also as a thoughts-reader punishing father that somehow lowers the probability of an individual to be prone to crime. Fear from an authority is a very powerful psychological means to prevent crime, specially if such authority is omnipotent, omnipresent and omniscient. Education is indeed and therefore the solution for us to get rid of this totalitarian authority, because the means to abolish this man-made Dictator rely on knowledge, term which in Latin gave birth to the word Science, and not on violence.

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