Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Evidence and Belief

I have been a little too busy these days to put anything on my blog. So here's a link to something that I keep going back time and again. This is a letter written by Richard Dawkins to his ten year old daughter and what a great letter it is. The letter is here.

Millions of other people believe quite different things, because they were told different things when they were children. Muslim children are told different things from Christian children, and both grow up utterly convinced that they are right and the others are wrong. Even within Christians, Roman Catholics believe different things from Church of England people or Episcopalians, Shakers or Quakers , Mormons or Holy Rollers, and are all utterly convinced that they are right and the others are wrong.

[...]
What can we do about all this ? It is not easy for you to do anything, because you are only ten. But you could try this. Next time somebody tells you something that sounds important, think to yourself: "Is this the kind of thing that people probably know because of evidence? Or is it the kind of thing that people only believe because of tradition, authority, or revelation?" And, next time somebody tells you that something is true, why not say to them: "What kind of evidence is there for that?" And if they can't give you a good answer, I hope you'll think very carefully before you believe a word they say.


If only the parents of all those future suicide bombers could read this.

5 comments:

anurag said...

Nice letter.

If you make up a story that isn't true, handing it down over a number of centuries doesn't make it any truer!

Mithun Kumar said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Mithun Kumar said...

Thats the whole point...
Religion and faith has become just the story that's simply a set of imaginations that has been flowing down the ages and has become true in the minds of believers... :-(

If only the parents can be educated first...

Alok said...

You are right Mithun...

It is very difficult to cure people of this indoctrination.

ML said...

Beautiful letter. Makes all sense. If only elders first understand what they teach their children and what implications it would have on one's actions & thinking, in turn affecting the society as a whole!