1. Wednesday September 28, 2011 Richard Dawkins vs Plato and Descartes Lesson Objective; Explore Darwins ideas of the soul
2. Richard Dawkins
3. What he believes?• Dawkins is a materialist and this means that he doesn’t believe in the existence of the soul. Therefore there is no chance in a life after death as there is nothing to exist after death, the mind dies with the physical body. There life after death could only be understood as?
4. Where is his idea expressed?• Dawkins rejects any ideas proposed by Plato and Descartes about the soul – he is against the idea that we have an immortal soul. In The River Out of Eden (Palgrave, 1995) Dawkins says that we are just bytes of information, with nothing supernatural about us.
5. Evidence• Dawkins argues that scientific views can be supported by reliable evidence whereas the ideas proposed by Plato and Descartes depend on myth and faith, for which there is no empirical evidence.
6. • Dawkins sees the concept of the soul as an illusion caused by ignorance, superstition and irrational perception. He says that human consciousness is a ‘mysterious aspect of brain activity, which neither science or philosophy can understand’, it is this consciousness that is mistaken as a soul.
7. • Dawkins connects this false belief of a soul to religion, stating that ‘the universe turns due to genetic replication and has nothing to do with a divine being’. Conversely if we are no more than the selfish DNA robot that Dawkins.
8. So why do we have this belief• Dawkins alleges that the reason we have belief in the soul is because it results from the human incapacity to accept the fact that evil and suffering have no purpose. He says that we are nothing more than DNA. He says that each person is the product of evolution and not an immortal soul