Haven’t been able to listen yet – but Faith Central on the Times site has helpfully provided a transcript of a few of the exchanges – here are one or two (though of course we have no way of knowing the context to what was said just yet):
Dawkins: If it were evidence based, whywould you need to call it faith? You would just call it evidence.
Lennox: I presume you’ve got faith in your wife is there any evidence for that?
Dawkins: Yes plenty.
Lennox: There you go.
On the Big Bang and the Bible
Dawkins: There are two possibilities, either the universe was here for ever, or it had a beginning, getting it right [that there was a beginning] isn’t that impressive, there were only two possibilities.
Lennox: At least it [the Bible] got the right one.
Dawkins: Toss a coin and you had 50 per cent chance of getting it right.
On ‘who created the creator?’
Lennox: Your book assumes God was created, no wonder you call it the God Delusion, created Gods are by definition a delusion. I don’t believe in the God you don’t believe in. I need to know what you mean by God, none of us, Christians, Jews, Muslims, believe in created Gods. The point is not whether God is created or not, it’s about simplicity. We can’t just postulate complexity we have to go back to simplicity…We need some kind of ultimate explanation for the complex object. You can’t evade the issue by saying God was always there – you still need an explanation.
On Atheism and faith
Dawkins: This is supposed to be a debate and I feel intensely frustrated. Teaching children that faith is virtuous. It is teaching them that you don’t have to justify what you do. The convention that we have all bought into that religious faith is something to be respected, not to be questioned. In most cases that’s quite harmless, but if you take your faith really literally, then it’s the fact that you were educated as a child in a madrassah and which if you happen to be unstable or violent, leads to the sort of terrible acts in the name of religion.I would not for a moment say that all religion is bad or dangerous, only a minority of religious people are bad or do bad things.
Lennox: I agree with you on many points, and am ashamed as a Christian for many of the historical acts like the Crusades undertaken in the name of Christianity. But your attempt to airbrush out the atheistic regimes in your book concerns me that a scientist who is very concerned with historical evidence is content with a superficial analysis of the Cold War. I would like you to write another book in which you differentiate between religions.
Dawkins: I agree that Stalin, and Pol Pot did bad things, it may even be their Marxist, their Atheism that led them to do bad things. Those 19 men who flew planes into targets in the US – they weren’t psychopaths, they were well educated, rational people, who thought they were good, the same thing could be said of the Taliban. Once you grant people the premise of their faith, then the terrible things that they do follow.
Lennox Atheism is a faith as well
Dawkins: It’s not
Lennox: Don’t you believe it?
Will post more as i hear of it…