Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens and Sam Harris

Find out who Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, and Sam Harris people are (were), what they think about religion and why they think it. You can create a little biography  sheet for all three, or a more detailed sheet on just one of them. This could also take the  form of a documentary about them.

Richard Dawkins (1941 – present)

dawkinsRichard Dawkins was once voted ‘most intelligent man in the world’ by readers of Daily Telegraph. He doesn’t like religion very much. He says that religion is out dated and against science. Science tells us all the answers about where the world came from and religion is just a lot of made up stories believed by stupid people.

Religion, he says, damages society by telling people lies and threatening kids with ‘hell’ if they don’t do as they are told. We’d all be better off if we got rid of it.

He is an ‘evolutionary biologist’ – that means a scientist who look at how life has changed over millions of years. He says that life evolved, it wasn’t created, and how we treat each other has nothing to do with moral rules given to us by God, they are just ways of acting that have worked over time and made life easier!

You can find more about Dawkins by look at his website:

The Richard Dawkins Foundation for Religion and Science

Christopher Hitchens (1949-2011)

SPECIAL FOR THE WASHINGTON POSTHitchens was a journalist who was incredibly famous for opposing religion. He was more outspoken and less polite about religion than Dawkins. It is difficult to direct you to clips or quotes about Hitchens that don’t contain swearing, and please don’t tell your parents I asked you to look for them! For now, make do with:

Religion comes from the period of human prehistory where nobody—not even the mighty Democritus who concluded that all matter was made from atoms—had the smallest idea what was going on. It comes from the bawling and fearful infancy of our species, and is a babyish attempt to meet our inescapable demand for knowledge (as well as for comfort, reassurance, and other infantile needs). Today the least educated of my children knows much more about the natural order than any of the founders of religion.

God Is Not Great

Religion is man-made. Even the men who made it cannot agree on what their prophets or redeemers or gurus actually said or did.

God Is Not Great

Sam Harris (1967 – present)

sam harrisSam Harris is an American neuroscientist (someone who studies how the brain works) who has used his scientific knowledge to explain many of the things that people think about God and how they ahve their origin in the basic makeup of the human brain. There is no God, he says, but the belief in God is a creation of the normal workings of the human brain. However, it is not true, and as religion causes harm we ought to challenge this falsehood.

“[I]t is difficult to imagine a set of beliefs more suggestive of mental illness than those that lie at the heart of many of our religious traditions.”
―    The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason

“Religious faith is the one species of human ignorance that will not admit of even the possibility of correction.”
―   The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason

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