Good And Bad Reasons For Believing

By Richard Dawkins

Dear Juliet,

Now that you are ten, I want to write to you about something that is important to me. Have you ever wondered how we know the things that we know? How do we know, for instance, that the stars, which look like tiny pinpricks in the sky, are really huge balls of fire like the sun and are very far away? And how do we know that Earth is a smaller ball whirling round one of those stars, the sun? The answer to these questions is "evidence." Sometimes evidence means actually seeing (or hearing, feeling, smelling.....) that something is true. Astronauts have traveled far enough from earth to see with their own eyes that it is round. Sometimes our eyes need help. The "evening star" looks like a bright twinkle in the sky, but with a telescope, you can see that it is a beautiful ball - the planet we call Venus. Something that you learn by direct seeing (or hearing or feeling.....) is called an observation.
World religion symbols with the NO symbol

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