The enlightenment is under threat. So is reason. So is truth. So is science, especially in the schools of America.
It has become almost a cliche to remark that nobody boasts of ignorance of literature, but it is socially acceptable to boast ignorance of science and proudly claim incompetence in mathematics.
If children understand that beliefs should be substantiated with evidence, as opposed to tradition, authority, revelation or faith, they will automatically work out for themselves that they are atheists.
When I say that human beings are just gene machines, one shouldn't put too much emphasis on the word 'just.' There is a very great deal of complication, and indeed beauty in being a gene machine.
We humans are an extremely important manifestation of the replication bomb, because it is through us - through our brains, our symbolic culture and our technology - that the explosion may proceed to the next stage and reverberate through deep space.
We are all atheists about most of the gods that societies have ever believed in. Some of us just go one god further.
There may be fairies at the bottom of the garden. There is no evidence for it, but you can't prove that there aren't any, so shouldn't we be agnostic with respect to fairies?
The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but blind, pitiless indifference.
The meme for blind faith secures its own perpetuation by the simple unconscious expedient of discouraging rational inquiry.
The Bible should be taught, but emphatically not as reality. It is fiction, myth, poetry, anything but reality. As such it needs to be taught because it underlies so much of our literature and our culture.
Science coverage could be improved by the recognition that science is timeless, and therefore science stories should not need to be pegged to an item in the news.
Religion is about turning untested belief into unshakable truth through the power of institutions and the passage of time.
Personally, I rather look forward to a computer program winning the world chess championship. Humanity needs a lesson in humility.
One of the things that is wrong with religion is that it teaches us to be satisfied with answers which are not really answers at all.
Of course in science there are things that are open to doubt and things need to be discussed. But among the things that science does know, evolution is about as certain as anything we know.
Nothing is wrong with peace and love. It is all the more regrettable that so many of Christ's followers seem to disagree.
Many of us saw religion as harmless nonsense. Beliefs might lack all supporting evidence but, we thought, if people needed a crutch for consolation, where's the harm? September 11th changed all that.
I am one of those scientists who feels that it is no longer enough just to get on and do science. We have to devote a significant proportion of our time and resources to defending it from deliberate attack from organised ignorance.
God exists, if only in the form of a meme with high survival value, or infective power, in the environment provided by human culture.
For the first half of geological time our ancestors were bacteria. Most creatures still are bacteria, and each one of our trillions of cells is a colony of bacteria.
Faith is the great cop-out, the great excuse to evade the need to think and evaluate evidence. Faith is belief in spite of, even perhaps because of, the lack of evidence.
Design can never be an ultimate explanation for anything. It can only be a proximate explanation. A plane or a car is explained by a designer but that's because the designer himself, the engineer, is explained by natural selection.