Richard Dawkins, one of the world’s most famous atheists, has admitted that eliminating God from the public consciousness would pose huge problems. Dawkins insisted that if religion were to be abolished, it would “give people a license to do really bad things.” The Oxford University fellow said that, without the presence of a higher being, “people may feel free to do bad things because they feel God is no longer watching them.” Dawkins warned that people would feel entitled to do what they like because they no longer need to obey a “divine spy in the sky reading their every thought,”, a description he often uses for an omnipresent God.
Dawkins told of an experiment he came across which intended to find out whether people would be “good” if they felt someone was watching. The experiment, carried out by professor Melissa Bateson at the University of Newcastle, entailed the setting up of a coffee station and “honesty box” system for payments. People simply put in what they felt was the appropriate amount for their drink of choice. At different points, Bateson switched the display overlooking the coffee bar, between a flowery image and an ominous pair of eyes. When the eyes were watching, “people put in nearly 3 times as much for their drinks than when the eyes were not displayed,” Dawkins said.
He concluded that “it seems plausible that, if somebody sincerely believes God is watching his every move, he might be more likely to be good.” “I hate that idea,” Dawkins added. “I want to believe that humans are better than that and would be honest whether anyone was watching or not.” In response controversial creationist Ken Ham, said, “Dawkins has spent his life fighting God, but still recognizes that atheism doesn’t provide a foundation for morality.” “Without a biblical foundation, anything goes,” Ham added. “Who determines what is right or wrong? Everyone does what’s right in their own eyes. Dawkins is admitting that atheism is totally morally bankrupt.”