50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God

93% of the members of the National Academy of Sciences reject the concept of God. These are their reasons.

Speakers in order of appearance:

1. Lawrence Krauss, World-Renowned Physicist
2. Robert Coleman Richardson, Nobel Laureate in Physics
3. Richard Feynman, World-Renowned Physicist, Nobel Laureate in Physics
4. Simon Blackburn, Cambridge Professor of Philosophy
5. Colin Blakemore, World-Renowned Oxford Professor of Neuroscience
6. Steven Pinker, World-Renowned Harvard Professor of Psychology
7. Alan Guth, World-Renowned MIT Professor of Physics
8. Noam Chomsky, World-Renowned MIT Professor of Linguistics
9. Nicolaas Bloembergen, Nobel Laureate in Physics
10. Peter Atkins, World-Renowned Oxford Professor of Chemistry
11. Oliver Sacks, World-Renowned Neurologist, Columbia University
12. Lord Martin Rees, Astronomer Royal
13. Sir John Gurdon, Pioneering Developmental Biologist, Cambridge
14. Sir Bertrand Russell, World-Renowned Philosopher, Nobel Laureate
15. Stephen Hawking, World-Renowned Cambridge Theoretical Physicist
16. Riccardo Giacconi, Nobel Laureate in Physics
17. Ned Block, NYU Professor of Philosophy
18. Gerard ‘t Hooft, Nobel Laureate in Physics
19. Marcus du Sautoy, Oxford Professor of Mathematics
20. James Watson, Co-discoverer of DNA, Nobel Laureate
21. Colin McGinn, Professor of Philosophy, Miami University
22. Sir Patrick Bateson, Cambridge Professor of Ethology
23. Sir David Attenborough, World-Renowned Broadcaster and Naturalist
24. Martinus Veltman, Nobel Laureate in Physics
25. Pascal Boyer, Professor of Anthropology
26. Partha Dasgupta, Cambridge Professor of Economics
27. AC Grayling, Birkbeck Professor of Philosophy
28. Ivar Giaever, Nobel Laureate in Physics
29. John Searle, Berkeley Professor of Philosophy
30. Brian Cox, Particle Physicist (Large Hadron Collider, CERN)
31. Herbert Kroemer, Nobel Laureate in Physics
32. Rebecca Goldstein, Professor of Philosophy
33. Michael Tooley, Professor of Philosophy, Colorado
34. Sir Harold Kroto, Nobel Laureate in Chemistry
35. Leonard Susskind, Stanford Professor of Theoretical Physics
36. Quentin Skinner, Professor of History (Cambridge)
37. Theodor W. Hänsch, Nobel Laureate in Physics
38. Mark Balaguer, CSU Professor of Philosophy
39. Richard Ernst, Nobel Laureate in Chemistry
40. Alan Macfarlane, Cambridge Professor of Anthropology
41. Professor Neil deGrasse Tyson, Princeton Research Scientist
42. Douglas Osheroff, Nobel Laureate in Physics
43. Hubert Dreyfus, Berkeley Professor of Philosophy
44. Lord Colin Renfrew, World-Renowned Archaeologist, Cambridge
45. Carl Sagan, World-Renowned Astronomer
46. Peter Singer, World-Renowned Bioethicist, Princeton
47. Rudolph Marcus, Nobel Laureate in Chemistry
48. Robert Foley, Cambridge Professor of Human Evolution
49. Daniel Dennett, Tufts Professor of Philosophy
50. Steven Weinberg, Nobel Laureate in Physics

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Richard Dawkins' Speech at "Protest the Pope" March

This is the full speech by Richard Dawkins at the “Protest The Pope” rally, 18th September 2010. (unedited)

The Knobe Effect

The vice president of a company went to the chairman of the board and said, ‘We are thinking of starting a new program. It will help us increase profits, but it will also harm the environment.’ The chairman of the board answered, ‘I don’t care at all about harming the environment. I just want to make as much profit as I can. Let’s start the new program.’ They started the new program. Sure enough, the environment was harmed.

Did the chairman harm the environment intentionally? In a 2003 study, 82 percent of respondents said yes, he did. But now consider this:

The vice president of a company went to the chairman of the board and said, ‘We are thinking of starting a new program. It will help us increase profits, and it will also help the environment.’ The chairman of the board answered, ‘I don’t care at all about helping the environment. I just want to make as much profit as I can. Let’s start the new program.’ They started the new program. Sure enough, the environment was helped.

Did the chairman help the environment intentionally? Only 23 percent of respondents said yes.

What should we make of this? Yale philosopher Joshua Knobe says, “It seems very puzzling that all we changed was this one word, just changing the word harm to help, and yet we’re now having completely different judgments about whether what he did was intentional or unintentional. Yet it seems like it’s only the moral status of what he did that is changing. … Somehow the moral judgments people are making are affecting their intuitions about something like how the mind works.”

Ten Bible verses on family values

It appears that some people are in doubt as to how the Bible says one should treat their own children. Someone “highly doubts God would condone murdering a 19 month old baby for not saying AMEN” and thinks that I should reread the Bible, praying before and after every single passage. Someone else complains about verses being taken “out of context” and others just say that they don’t “live by Old Testament ways,” despite Jesus’ firm command to the contrary.
One of the many cultural myths with which I would like to do away is the notion that the Bible is somehow a sturdy moral foundation for our lives, particularly where families are concerned. To that end, I have compiled ten of the meatiest verses from both Hebrew and Christian Testament on the treatment of child and family. Of course, as these are the rules of an extinct ancient theocracy and not a modern society, they are appropriately barbaric. They are so over-the-top crazy that no sane person should assent to them, and I sincerely doubt any “Biblical literalists” are so evil as to obey them, if they are even aware of them:
10. God deems it good to punish Babylon by smashing her infant children to bits on the street, so right off the rod we know that the slaughter of children cannot be a priori an evil thing in Biblical morality. (Isaiah 13:16)
9. Jesus himself will cause your family and your household to be torn apart, so now we also know that it can’t be a priori an evil thing to ruin families in Biblical morality. (Luke 21:16)
8. The sexual enslavement of thousands of children (32,000, to be exact) is OK, as long as God has already told you to murder their families, so we also know that neither genocide or the sexual torture of children is a priori an evil deed in Biblical morality. (Numbers 31:17-18)
7. If you mock or disobey your parents, the birds-of-prey will devour your eyes right out of your head, so the disfigurement of your own children also cannot be a sin. (Proverbs 30:17)
6. If a ruthless dictator doesn’t manumit his slaves at the request of a single random soothsayer, the morally good response is to murder the children of everyone in the nation, even if they have never even heard of Moses or his god, so for the Bible moralist it is morally good to punish people for deeds in which they took no part. (Exodus 12:29)
5. A superficial (read: literal) reading of the story of the binding of Isaac makes it clear that your moral duty to obey a pernicious command from above far outweighs any love you might have for your own offspring. In Bible ethics, then, standing up for your own bloodline is not a priori a morally good action. (Genesis 22:2-13)
4. If children make fun of your bald head, the appropriate response is to have them massacred by bears. This way, we know that in Biblical morality, punishments need no proportion to the crimes. (2nd Kings 2:23)
3. If you don’t hate your mom, your dad, your siblings, your children, and yourself, Jesus is wrong for you. So in Biblical morality, a cohesive family unit is a moral aberration. (Luke 14:26)
2. If a child is disobedient and doesn’t listen to his parents, have the entire town get together and execute him The Lottery-style. There is no exception made here for “19 month old babies who don’t say AMEN.” (Deuteronomy 21:18-21)
1. And of course the most famous father-son relationship in the Bible is God’s own: God loves us so much that he would torture and murder his own son to save us from God’s own wrath.
So, we have learned (1) that the murder, torture, rape, disfigurement, and ritual execution of children is morally permissible in certain cases, (2) the very existence of a loving family structure is morally impermissible, and (3) and annihilation of entire cultures is OK so long as the young children are spared to fulfill the victors’ sexual lust. All this is the case, unless either God is not good, or God is not the author of the Bible.
We are very fortunate indeed, then, that virtually all so-called “Biblical literalists” are either unaware of or too morally good to follow the commands to slaughter and torture written about in the Bible. While I have a great deal to say on this question, particular on the pertinence of these arguments to the Euthyphro Dilemma, I feel the point has been made so I will let it rest.

11 Things The Bible Bans, But You Do Anyway.

Here are 11 things that are technically banned by the Bible. (All quotes are translations from the New American Standard Bible, but, because I’m actually trying to maintain serious journalistic integrity here, I cross-referenced several other translations to make sure I wasn’t missing the point.)

  1. Round haircuts. See you in Hell, Beatles… and/or kids with bowl cuts, surfer cuts or (my favorite) butt cuts. Leviticus 19:27 reads “You shall not round off the side-growth of your heads nor harm the edges of your beard.”
  2. Football. At least, the pure version of football, where you play with a pigskin. The modern synthetic footballs are ugly and slippery anyways. Leviticus 11:8, which is discussing pigs, reads “You shall not eat of their flesh nor touch their carcasses; they are unclean to you.”
    And you’re doubly breaking that if you wake up, eat some sausage then go throw around the football. Or go to the county fair and enter a greased pig catching contest.
  3. Fortune telling. Before you call a 900 number (do people still call 900 numbers, by the way?), read your horoscope or crack open a fortune cookie, realize you’re in huge trouble if you do.
    Leviticus 19:31 reads “Do not turn to mediums or spiritists; do not seek them out to be defiled by them. I am the Lord your God.” The penalty for that? Check Leviticus 20:6: “As for the person who turns to mediums and to spiritists, to play the harlot after them, I will also set My face against that person and will cut him off from among his people.”
    Seems like a lifetime of exile is a pretty harsh penalty for talking to Zoltar.
  4. Pulling out. The Bible doesn’t get too much into birth control… it’s clearly pro-populating but, back when it was written, no one really anticipated the condom or the sponge, so those don’t get specific bans.
    But… pulling out does. One of the most famous sexual-oriented Bible verses… the one that’s used as anti-masturbation rhetoric… is actually anti-pulling out.
    It’s Genesis 38:9-10: “Onan knew that the offspring would not be his; so when he went in to his brother’s wife, he wasted his seed on the ground in order not to give offspring to his brother. But what he did was displeasing in the sight of the Lord; so He took his life also.”
    Yep — pull out and get smote. That’s harsh.
  5. Tattoos. No tattoos. Leviticus 19:28 reads, “You shall not make any cuts in your body for the dead nor make any tattoo marks on yourselves: I am the Lord.”
    Not even a little butterfly on your ankle. Or Thug Life across your abdomen. Or even, fittingly enough, a cross.
  6. Polyester, or any other fabric blends. The Bible doesn’t want you to wear polyester. Not just because it looks cheap. It’s sinfully unnatural.
    Leviticus 19:19 reads, “You are to keep My statutes. You shall not breed together two kinds of your cattle; you shall not sow your field with two kinds of seed, nor wear a garment upon you of two kinds of material mixed together.”
    Check the tag on your shirt right now. Didn’t realize you were mid-sin at this exact second, did you? (Unless you checked the tag by rolling off your neighbor’s wife while you two were having anal sex in the middle of robbing a blind guy. Then your Lycra-spandex blend is really the least of your problems.)
  7. Divorce. The Bible is very clear on this one: No divorcing. You can’t do it. Because when you marry someone, according to Mark 10:8, you “are no longer two, but one flesh.” And, Mark 10:9 reads, “What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.”
    Mark gets even more hardcore about it a few verses later, in Mark 10:11-12, “And He said to them, ‘Whoever divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her; and if she herself divorces her husband and marries another man, she is committing adultery.’”
  8. Letting people without testicles into church. Whether you’ve been castrated or lost one or two balls to cancer isn’t important. The Bible doesn’t get that specific. It just says you can’t pray.
    Deuteronomy 23:1 reads (this is the God’s Word translation, which spells it out better), “A man whose testicles are crushed or whose penis is cut off may never join the assembly of the Lord.”
    Oh, and the next verse says that if you’re a bastard, the child of a bastard… or even have a great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandchild of a bastard, you can’t come to church or synagogue either. Deuteronomy 23:2 reads, “No one of illegitimate birth shall enter the assembly of the Lord; none of his descendants, even to the tenth generation, shall enter the assembly of the Lord.”
  9. Wearing gold. 1 Timothy 2:9 doesn’t like your gold necklace at all. Or your pearl necklace. Or any clothes you’re wearing that you didn’t get from Forever 21, Old Navy or H&M.
    “Likewise, I want women to adorn themselves with proper clothing, modestly and discreetly, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly garments.”
  10. Shellfish. Leviticus 11:10 reads, “But whatever is in the seas and in the rivers that does not have fins and scales among all the teeming life of the water, and among all the living creatures that are in the water, they are detestable things to you.” And shellfish is right in that wheelhouse.
    Leviticus 11 bans a TON of animals from being eaten (it’s THE basis for Kosher law); beyond shellfish and pig, it also says you can’t eat camel, rock badger, rabbit, eagle, vulture, buzzard, falcon, raven, crow, ostrich, owl, seagull, hawk, pelican, stork, heron, bat, winged insects that walk on four legs unless they have joints to jump with like grasshoppers (?), bear, mole, mouse, lizard, gecko, crocodile, chameleon and snail.
    Sorry if that totally ruins your plans to go to a rock badger eat-off this weekend.
  11. Your wife defending your life in a fight by grabbing your attacker’s genitals. No joke. Deuteronomy actually devotes two verses to this exact scenario: Deuteronomy 25:11-12.
    “If two men, a man and his countryman, are struggling together, and the wife of one comes near to deliver her husband from the hand of the one who is striking him, and puts out her hand and seizes his genitals, then you shall cut off her hand; you shall not show pity.”
    That’s impossible to misinterpret. Ladies, if your husband is getting mugged, make sure to kick the mugger in the pills. Do not do the grip and squeeze (no matter what “Miss Congeniality” might advise). Or your hand needs to be cut off.

As a final note, I know that nine of these 11 cite the Old Testament, which Christianity doesn’t necessarily adhere to as law.

To which I say: If you’re going to ignore the section of Leviticus that bans about tattoos, pork, shellfish, round haircuts, polyester and football, how can you possibly turn around and quote Leviticus 18:22 (“You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination.”) as irrefutable law?

But that’s me trying to introduce logic to religious fanaticism (or, at least, trying to counter some mix of ignorance, bigotry and narcissism with logic). And I should probably know better.