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Richard Dawkins

Date de naissance: 26. mars 1941

Richard Dawkins, né le 26 mars 1941 à Nairobi, est un biologiste et éthologiste britannique, vulgarisateur et théoricien de l'évolution, membre de la Royal Society. Professeur émérite au New College de l'université d'Oxford, Richard Dawkins est l'un des académiciens britanniques les plus célèbres.

Il acquiert la consécration avec son livre de 1976 intitulé Le Gène égoïste, qui popularise la théorie de l'évolution centrée sur les gènes et introduit le terme de « mème ». En 1982, il développe cette théorie dans son ouvrage Phénotype étendu puis publie en 2006 Pour en finir avec Dieu, vendu à plus de deux millions d'exemplaires et traduit en trente et une langues.

Vice-président de la British Humanist Association, il est reconnu comme un ardent défenseur du rationalisme, de la pensée scientifique et de l'athéisme. Il est résolument anticlérical et est aussi l'un des principaux critiques anglo-saxons du créationnisme, du dessein intelligent et des pseudo-sciences. Il s'est rendu célèbre aussi pour sa controverse amicale, mais ferme, avec son collègue Stephen Jay Gould sur la question des équilibres ponctués.

En plus de ses nombreux ouvrages scientifiques, Dawkins promeut sa vision rationnelle au travers de films et documentaires, de conférences et de débats télévisés sur les grandes radios ou chaînes nationales du monde entier. Il complète son action sur le terrain associatif en créant et dirigeant la Fondation Richard Dawkins pour la raison et la science.

Œuvres

Citations Richard Dawkins

„Nous allons mourir, et cela fait de nous les veinards. La plupart des gens ne mourront jamais parce qu’il ne naîtront jamais. Les personnes potentielles qui auraient pu être là à ma place mais en fait ne verront jamais la lumière du jour sont plus nombreuses que les grains de sable du Sahara. Ces fantômes non nés comprennent certainement des poètes plus grands que Keats, des scientifiques plus grands que Newton. Nous savons cela parce que l’ensemble des personnes possibles permises par notre ADN dépassent si massivement l’ensemble des personnes réelles. En dépit de ces probabilités stupéfiantes c’est vous et moi, dans notre banalité, qui sommes là. Nous les quelques privilégiés qui avons gagné la loterie de la vie contre toutes les probabilités, comment osons-nous nous plaindre de notre inévitable retour à cet état précédent dont la majorité d’entre nous ne s’éveillera jamais?“

—  Richard Dawkins

en
We are going to die, and that makes us the lucky ones. Most people are never going to die because they are never going to be born. The potential people who could have been here in my place but who will in fact never see the light of day outnumber the sand grains of Sahara. Certainly those unborn ghosts include greater poets than Keats, scientists greater than Newton. We know this because the set of possible people allowed by our DNA so massively outnumbers the set of actual people. In the teeth of these stupefying odds it is you and I, in our ordinariness, that are here. We privileged few, who won the lottery of birth against all odds, how dare we whine at our inevitable return to that prior state from which the vast majority have never stirred?
Les Mystères de l'arc-en-ciel (Unweaving the Rainbow), 1998

„So-called alternative medicine either hasn’t been tested or it has failed its tests.“

—  Richard Dawkins

The Enemies of Reason (August 2007)
Contexte: If any remedy is tested under controlled scientific conditions and proved to be effective, it will cease to be alternative and will simply become medicine. So-called alternative medicine either hasn’t been tested or it has failed its tests.

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„What worries me about religion is that it teaches people to be satisfied with not understanding the world they live in.“

—  Richard Dawkins, livre Pour en finir avec Dieu

Heart Of The Matter: God Under The Microscope | BBC (1996)
Variante: [... ] one of the truly bad effects of religion is that it teaches us that it is a virtue to be satisfied with not understanding.
Source: The God Delusion

„Let us understand what our own selfish genes are up to, because we may then at least have a chance to upset their designs, something that no other species has ever aspired to do.“

—  Richard Dawkins, livre The Selfish Gene

Ch. 1. Why Are People?
The Selfish Gene (1976, 1989)
Contexte: Let us try to teach generosity and altruism, because we are born selfish. Let us understand what our own selfish genes are up to, because we may then at least have a chance to upset their designs, something that no other species has ever aspired to do.

„The evolution of the capacity to simulate seems to have culminated in subjective consciousness. Why this should have happened is, to me, the most profound mystery facing modern biology.“

—  Richard Dawkins, livre The Selfish Gene

Ch. 4. The Gene machine
The Selfish Gene (1976, 1989)
Contexte: Survival machines that can simulate the future are one jump ahead of survival machines that who can only learn of the basis of trial and error. The trouble with overt trial is that it takes time and energy. The trouble with overt error is that it is often fatal.... The evolution of the capacity to simulate seems to have culminated in subjective consciousness. Why this should have happened is, to me, the most profound mystery facing modern biology.

„The first cause cannot have been an intelligence, let alone an intelligence that answers prayers and enjoys being worshiped.“

—  Richard Dawkins

Intelligent, creative, complex, statistically improbable things come late into the universe, as the product of evolution or some other process of gradual escalation from simple beginnings. They come late into the universe and therefore cannot be responsible for designing it.
The Huffington Post, 23/10/2006 http://www.huffingtonpost.com/richard-dawkins/why-there-almost-certainl_b_32164.html
Why There Almost Certainly Is No God (2006)

„The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but blind, pitiless indifference.“

—  Richard Dawkins

pp. 131–132
River out of Eden (1995)
Contexte: The total amount of suffering per year in the natural world is beyond all decent contemplation. During the minute it takes me to compose this sentence, thousands of animals are being eaten alive; others are running for their lives, whimpering with fear; others are being slowly devoured from within by rasping parasites; thousands of all kinds are dying of starvation, thirst and disease. [... ] In a universe of blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, other people are going to get lucky, and you won't find any rhyme or reason in it, nor any justice. The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but blind, pitiless indifference. DNA neither knows nor cares. DNA just is. And we dance to its music.

„What I can’t understand is why you can’t see the extraordinary beauty of the idea that life started from nothing“

—  Richard Dawkins

that is such a staggering, elegant, beautiful thing, why would you want to clutter it up with something so messy as a God?”
During his conversation with the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams, as quoted in The Telegraph, in . In " Richard Dawkins: I can't be sure God does not exist http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/religion/9102740/Richard-Dawkins-I-cant-be-sure-God-does-not-exist.html"

„However difficult those simple beginnings may be to accept, they are a whole lot easier to accept than complicated beginnings. Complicated things come into the universe late, as a consequence of slow, gradual, incremental steps. God, if he exists, would have to be a very, very, very complicated thing indeed. So to postulate a God as the beginning of the universe, as the answer to the riddle of the first cause, is to shoot yourself in the conceptual foot because you are immediately postulating something far far more complicated than that which you are trying to explain.“

—  Richard Dawkins, livre Pour en finir avec Dieu

The God Delusion (2006)
Contexte: If the alternative that's being offered to what physicists now talk about - a big bang, a spontaneous singularity which gave rise to the origin of the universe - if the alternative to that is a divine intelligence, a creator, which would have to have been complicated, statistically improbable, the very kind of thing which scientific theories such as Darwin's exists to explain, then immediately we see that however difficult and apparently inadequate the theory of the physicists is, the theory of the theologians - that the first course was a complicated intelligence - is even more difficult to accept. They're both difficult but the theory of the cosmic intelligence is even worse. What Darwinism does is to raise our consciousness to the power of science to explain the existence of complex things and intelligences, and creative intelligences are above all complex things, they're statistically improbable. Darwinism raises our consciousness to the power of science to explain how such entities - and the human brain is one - can come into existence from simple beginnings. However difficult those simple beginnings may be to accept, they are a whole lot easier to accept than complicated beginnings. Complicated things come into the universe late, as a consequence of slow, gradual, incremental steps. God, if he exists, would have to be a very, very, very complicated thing indeed. So to postulate a God as the beginning of the universe, as the answer to the riddle of the first cause, is to shoot yourself in the conceptual foot because you are immediately postulating something far far more complicated than that which you are trying to explain. Now, physicists cope with this problem in various ways, which may seem somewhat unconvincing. For example, they suggest that our universe is but one bubble in foam of universes, the multiverse, and each bubble in the foam has a different set of laws and constants. And by the anthropic principle we have to be - since we're here talking about it - in the kind of bubble, with the kind of laws and constants, which are capable of giving rise to the evolutionary process and therefore to creatures like us. That is one current physicists' explanation for how we exist in the kind of universe that we do. It doesn't sound so shatteringly convincing as say Darwin's own theory, which is self-evidently very convincing. Nevertheless, however unconvincing that may sound, it is many, many, many orders of magnitude more convincing than any theory that says complex intelligence was there right from the outset. If you have problems seeing how matter could just come into existence - try thinking about how complex intelligent matter, or complex intelligent entities of any kind, could suddenly spring into existence, it's many many orders of magnitude harder to understand.

Lynchburg, Virginia, 23/10/2006 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qR_z85O0P2M&t=42m41s

„Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Etiam egestas wisi a erat. Morbi imperdiet, mauris ac auctor dictum.“

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