On Tuesday night’s “Daily Show”, scientist and famous atheist Richard Dawkins chatted with host Jon Stewart about his book, his religious views, and the certain demise of civilization as we know it.
The conversation took a somewhat dark turn when Stewart asked Dawkins what he thinks will be the cause of the end of the world.
“Do you believe that the end of our civilization will be through religious strife or scientific advancement?” asked Stewart.
“The answer is probably both,” answered Dawkins. “Science provides in the form of technology — weapons which hitherto have been only available to reasonably responsible governments are likely to become available to nutcases who believe that their God requires them to reap havoc and destruction.”
Dawkins, who is an active advocate for scientific exploration and outspoken critic of religion, also said, “Science is the most powerful way to do whatever it is you want to do.”
Stewart and Dawkins also discussed the idea of faith, with Stewart challenging Dawkins’ views regarding people who believe in God, saying that faith should at least be acknowledged for “enriching society.”
“I don’t think faith is positive, because faith means belief without evidence and you shouldn’t believe anything without evidence,” Dawkins responded to audience applause. “And it’s all too common and people who are brought up to say, ‘I believe it because I believe it;’ a minority of those people are going to be seduced into doing terrible things, because you can’t argue with them, you can’t argue with faith.”
In his new book, “An Appetite for Wonder,” Dawkins recalls his time spent as a Christian, saying that he prayed every night, but at one point realized that he believed totally in science and no longer had a belief in God.
In the interview with Stewart, Dawkins maintains that nobody knows the answer to the big questions, including what happens when humans die, but said that evolution is a scientifically proven process. “We are evolved creatures,” Dawkins added. “We are African apes.”