Richard Dawkins Says that Humanity Has Only 50% Chance of Surviving Into the Next Century

The leading atheist cites religious fanatics and intense weapons as destructive combo.

On Tuesday'sThe Daily Show, scientist and atheist Richard Dawkins said that the greatest threat to the human species comes from the possibility that powerful technologies could, in theory, fall into the hands of religious fanatics. This possibility, he said, gives the entire human race an only 50 percent chance of surviving into the next century.

Stewart began the show's segment with a quote from a liberal Presbyterian pastor who asserted that the christian faith and scientific princinples are not as diametrically opposed as the culture would have one believe. 

"Yes, I'm aware of that," Dawkins said. "It's a point I often make, and I often join forces with bishops and other friends to combat the anti-scientific tendency of fundamentalist religion." Dawkins went on to explain that it is a common misconception that all religious people are fundamentalists, when in fact they're not.    

Stewart then proposed the question of whether "the end of our civilization will be through religious strife or scientific advancement," essentially asking which will, in the long term, be more damaging to the human race.

Dawkins, quoting British Astronomer Royal Sir Martin Rees, cited the potential 50-percent stastic, stating that "[Rees] fears that the fruits of scientific advancement — the bad fruits, things like dirty bombs, things like biological warfare — could get into the hands of religious fanatics, who unlike all other terrorists, actually want to die.” 

Overall, a very light interview, as you can see.

Rod Bastanmehr is a freelance writer in New York City. Follow him on Twitter @rodb.