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Richard Dawkins nails it: the universe doesn’t give a damn

January 11, 2016

I just saw this tweet from Richard Dawkins:

It seemed as though he was writing a series of tweets responding to and critiquing an anti-intellectual stance which suggests that, ‘if it feels right, or it comforts me, it must be true’. Hence this message that Dawkins tweeted moments before.

I completely agree with the sentiment expressed in these tweets. Comfort without truth is empty!

Yet what really intrigued me was what he said about the universe. The universe doesn’t care about your feelings.

Do you think the universe gives a damn how you feel?

Dawkins has nailed it. In an atheistic universe the universe doesn’t care about us. It doesn’t care if you’re right. It doesn’t care if you’re wrong. It doesn’t care if you suffer. It doesn’t care if you succeed. It just is and that’s it.

This is precisely what Dawkins himself wrote in one of his most famous quotes from River out of Eden,

“In a universe of electrons and selfish genes, 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 that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pitiless indifference.”

This describes atheism. In an atheistic universe there is ultimately nothing but blind pitiless indifference. The desire and quest for a better world, for justice, for the ‘good’, for meaning, for hope in the end is doomed.

This doesn’t mean that people don’t seek after them, but that does raise the question of how ‘rational’ their pursuit becomes? Is it rational and reasonable to pursue justice when there ultimately isn’t any? Is it rational and reasonable to promote the ‘good’ when there ultimately isn’t any?

In the end, if Dawkins is right and there is no god, no hope, no meaning and no future, then whether we succeed at life or fail, it doesn’t matter – the universe just doesn’t give a damn.

 

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From → Comment, Ethics

3 Comments
  1. It was an interesting choice of words, but I read it more along the lines “the Universe continues to be what it is regardless of what you want to believe about it”. That, of course, applies to everyone of us.

  2. dandare2050 permalink

    All it means is that we can only expect justice to be a consideration between thinking beings. A tidal wave can not be expected to be just in its choice of victims. Meaning and value likewise arise from thinking beings and not from amoebas or rocks. That doesn’t diminish those things, only restricts our expectation of sources. Life being limited does not produce a problem for me, I still care about things and how things may work out after I die.

  3. Greg Wilson permalink

    God is not evil,
    he does not exist,
    thank God

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