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The Dawkins Delusion?: Atheist Fundamentalism and the Denial of the Divine
     

The Dawkins Delusion?: Atheist Fundamentalism and the Denial of the Divine

3.5 13
by Alister McGrath, Joanna Collicutt McGrath
 

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2008 Christian Bookseller's Covention Book of the Year Award winner!

World-renowned scientist Richard Dawkins writes in The God Delusion: "If this book works as I intend, religious readers who open it will be atheists when they put it down." The volume has received wide coverage, fueled much passionate debate and caused not a little confusion.

Alister

Overview

2008 Christian Bookseller's Covention Book of the Year Award winner!

World-renowned scientist Richard Dawkins writes in The God Delusion: "If this book works as I intend, religious readers who open it will be atheists when they put it down." The volume has received wide coverage, fueled much passionate debate and caused not a little confusion.

Alister McGrath, along with his wife, Joanna, are ideal to evaluate Dawkins's ideas. Once an atheist himself, he gained a doctorate in molecular biophysics before going on to become a leading Christian theologian. He wonders how two people, who have reflected at length on substantially the same world, could possibly have come to such different conclusions about God. McGrath subjects Dawkins's critique of faith to rigorous scrutiny. His exhilarating, meticulously argued response deals with questions such as
Is faith intellectual nonsense? Are science and religion locked in a battle to the death? Can the roots of Christianity be explained away scientifically? Is Christianity simply a force for evil?

This book will be warmly received by those looking for a reliable assessment of The God Delusion and the many questions it raises—including, above all, the relevance of faith and the quest for meaning.

Editorial Reviews

Mark D. Barret
"[T]he McGraths' book is an effective response."
Cliff Martin
"While not exhaustive (by design), the McGraths have offered us a well-reasoned critique of the atheistic arguments of Dawkins, and left us with a cogent description of the inherent weaknesses in The God Delusion. I recommend it to my friends on both sides of this debate."
David von Schlichten
"[H]elps theistic people respond more intelligently to the current religion-bashing that has become a source of schadenfreude for some (though certainly not all) nonbelievers."
Enrichment Journal
"This book will be warmly received by those looking for a reliable assessment of The God Delusion and the many questions it raised—including all the relevance of faith and the quest for meaning."
"What's New on the Bookshelf" with Shirley Updyke
"This book will be warmly received by those who are looking for a real assessment of The God Delusion."
Rowan Williams
"Alister McGrath invariably combines enormous scholarship with an accessible and engaging style."
Michael Ruse
"The God Delusion makes me embarrassed to be an atheist, and the McGraths show why."
Owen Gingerich
"Richard Dawkins's utopian vision of a world without religion is here deftly punctured by the McGraths' informed discourse. His fellow Oxonians clearly demonstrate the gaps, inconsistencies and surprising lack of depth in Dawkins's arguments."
Does God Exist? November/December 2007
"You cannot argue with the McGraths' credentials or the content of this book. It is very well done."
New Man
"McGrath identifies Dawkins' flawed arguments with surgical precision. McGrath spotlights Dawkins' embarrassing biblical ignorance and exposes his religion-as-virus-of-the-mind theory as sociological naivete. This intelligent, yet accessible book is a must-read for anyone interested in the subject or for those with friends sucked under by the new current of atheist literature."
Christianity Today
"One could hardly think of a better apologist for theism than Alister McGrath. This atheist-turned-Christian, also of Oxford, is a professor of historical theology. But as a student of molecular biophysics, he possesses the dual credibility in science and religion that Dawkins lacks. Like watching one schoolboy do another's work, McGrath's true gift is pointing out what Dawkins is obliged to show in order to make his case."
Jim Miller Review
"Alister and Joanna McGrath offer a meaty book without all the gratuitous gristle, clearly making their points."
Deinde blog
"You cannot help but be impressed with the depth of scholarship which the McGraths bring to this discussion—something markedly different than Dawkins."
Francis Collins
"Addressing the conclusions of The God Delusion point by point with the devastating insight of a molecular biologist turned theologian, Alister McGrath dismantles the argument that science should lead to atheism, and demonstrates instead that Dawkins has abandoned his much-cherished rationality to embrace an embittered manifesto of dogmatic atheist fundamentalism."
David G. Myers
"In this crisp and cogent book, Alister and Joanna McGrath note, among other things, how fundamentalist scientism fuels antiscientific Christian fundamentalism. They also remind us of well-documented associations between an active faith and measures of health and well-being. A must-read contribution to today's debate other whether religion spreads dangerous falsehoods or benevolent wisdom."
M. F. in Libraries Alive
"Alister McGrath provides an excellent rebuttal to Dawkin's arguments against God and religion. Scholarly, yes but also very readable for lay people."
Dr. Timothy Johnson
"With rigorous logic and exquisite fairness, the McGraths have exposed Dawkins's very superficial understanding of the history of religion and theology. Because he is so 'out of his depth' in these areas, Dawkins uses his fundamentalistic scientism and atheism to constantly misjudge the possibilities for dialogue between religion and science. Thank God for scholars like the McGraths who are committed to finding truth in both."
Van Sprague
"Considering that the McGraths are dealing with someone they describe as 'one of the most successful and skillful scientific popularizers' in the world, the authors of The Dawkins Delusion? prove themselves to be worthy opponents . . . The authors do not write a defense of theism, but of reason and fairness. While refuting the claims of Dawkins, they teach the valuable lesson that we must also take care in the arguments we use."
Thomas P. Sheahen
"The McGraths make refuting Dawkins look easy. In a text of less than one hundred pages, they systematically dismantle each of Dawkins' major assertions. The Dawkins Delusion? is well-written and easy to read, and it gives the reader a clear understanding of why Dawkins need not be taken seriously. It will give even the initially neutral reader the opportunity to see that real science is not the enemy of religion and that the religiously oriented interpretation is superior to the atheistic one."
Publishers Weekly

When authors write books that criticize other books, they have usually already lost; the original book has set the agenda to which the critics respond, and the outcome is foretold. Not in this case. The McGraths expeditiously plow into the flank of Dawkins's fundamentalist atheism, made famous in The God Delusion, and run him from the battlefield. The book works partly because they are so much more gracious to Dawkins than Dawkins is to believers: Dawkins's The Blind Watchmaker"remains the finest critique" of William Paley's naturalistic arguments for deism available, for example. The authors can even point to instances in which their interactions with him, both literary and personal, have changed his manner of arguing: he can no longer say that Tertullian praised Christian belief because of its absurdity or that religion necessarily makes one violent. The McGraths are frustrated, then, that Dawkins continues to write on the a priori, nonscientific assumption that religious believers are either deluded or meretricious, never pausing to consider the evidence not in his favor or the complex beliefs and practices of actual Christians. They conclude disquietingly: perhaps Dawkins is aware that demagogic ranting that displays confidence in the face of counterevidence is the way to sway unlearned masses. (July)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Library Journal

In his 2006 best seller, The God Delusion, Richard Dawkins, who has made his reputation as generally a fine popularizer of science, argued that belief in God is no more than a delusion and that atheism is the only respectable position for a thinking person to adopt. Alister McGrath (historical theology, Oxford; Dawkins' God: Genes, Memes, and the Meaning of Life), originally an atheistic molecular biophysicist, and his wife, Joanna (psychology of religion, Heythrop Coll., Univ. of London; coauthor, Meeting Jesus: Human Responses to a Yearning God), see Dawkins as a brilliant thinker who went down the wrong path with his last book. Combining scholarship with a popular style, the McGraths examine Dawkins's arguments and find them wanting. They do not respond to every one of his points; instead, they show the inadequacy of his argument on the major points, contending that Dawkins's critique of religion is based on hearsay and anecdotal evidence rather than on hard research and that he employs rhetoric rather than rationality. Where Dawkins's criticisms are justified, they have no problem agreeing with him and in fact have nothing but praise for his earlier works. Recommended for all libraries.
—Augustine J. Curley

M.F. in Libraries Alive
"Alister McGrath provides an excellent rebuttal to Dawkin's arguments against God and religion. Scholarly, yes but also very readable for lay people."
Doctor - Timothy Johnson
"With rigorous logic and exquisite fairness, the McGraths have exposed Dawkins's very superficial understanding of the history of religion and theology. Because he is so 'out of his depth' in these areas, Dawkins uses his fundamentalistic scientism and atheism to constantly misjudge the possibilities for dialogue between religion and science. Thank God for scholars like the McGraths who are committed to finding truth in both."
November/December 2007 - Does God Exist?
"You cannot argue with the McGraths' credentials or the content of this book. It is very well done."

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780830837212
Publisher:
InterVarsity Press
Publication date:
06/03/2010
Series:
Veritas Books
Pages:
119
Sales rank:
730,840
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.10(h) x 0.40(d)

What People are Saying About This

Dr. Timothy Johnson
"With rigorous logic and exquisite fairness, the McGraths have exposed Dawkins's very superficial understanding of the history of religion and theology. Because he is so 'out of his depth' in these areas, Dawkins uses his fundamentalistic scientism and atheism to constantly misjudge the possibilities for dialogue between religion and science. Thank God for scholars like the McGraths who are committed to finding truth in both."
Dr. Timothy Johnson, physician, journalist and author of Finding God in the Questions
Rowan Williams
"Alister McGrath invariably combines enormous scholarship with an accessible and engaging style."
Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury
Francis Collins
"Addressing the conclusions of The God Delusion point by point with the devastating insight of a molecular biologist turned theologian, Alister McGrath dismantles the argument that science should lead to atheism, and demonstrates instead that Dawkins has abandoned his much-cherished rationality to embrace an embittered manifesto of dogmatic atheist fundamentalism."
Francis Collins, Director of the Human Genome Project
Owen Gingerich
"Richard Dawkins's utopian vision of a world without religion is here deftly punctured by the McGraths' informed discourse. His fellow Oxonians clearly demonstrate the gaps, inconsistencies and surprising lack of depth in Dawkins's arguments."
Owen Gingerich, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, and author of God's Universe
David G. Myers
"In this crisp and cogent book, Alister and Joanna McGrath note, among other things, how fundamentalist scientism fuels antiscientific Christian fundamentalism. They also remind us of well-documented associations between an active faith and measures of health and well-being. A must-read contribution to today's debate other whether religion spreads dangerous falsehoods or benevolent wisdom."
David G. Myers, Professor of Psychology, Hope College
Michael Ruse
"The God Delusion makes me embarrassed to be an atheist, and the McGraths show why."
Michael Ruse, Lucyle T. Werkmeister Professor of Philosophy, and Director of the Program in the History and Philosophy of Science, Department of Philosophy, Florida State University

Meet the Author

Alister McGrath (DPhil, DD, Oxford University) is the Andreas Idreos Professor of Science and Religion at Oxford University. He previously held the chair of theology, ministry and education and was head of the Centre for Theology, Religion & Culture at King's College, London. He is in constant demand as a speaker at conferences throughout the world and is the author of many books including The Dawkins Delusion? and Christianity's Dangerous Idea.

Joanna Collicutt McGrath studied experimental psychology at Oxford, then went on to specialize for some years in clinical neuropsychology, and subsequently studied Christian theology, particularly biblical studies. Currently she is lecturer in the psychology of religion at Heythrop College, University of London. She is also coauthor with Jeremy Duff of Meeting Jesus: Human Responses to a Yearning God.

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Dawkins Delusion?: Atheist Fundamentalism and the Denial of the Divine 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
Matthew1964 More than 1 year ago
The moment a so-called ex-atheist writes about atheists being god-haters is the moment they prove they have never understood the atheist mind. They were, at best, weak Christians/theists. You have to believe in a god in order to hate it, that would make the god-haters actual believers or theists, not atheists. This is a projection of the Christian mind. Why they would pose as ex-atheists? It is to try and add false authority to their statements about atheists. This is just another way Christians have found to tell us who and what we are instead of just asking us.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a very simple and concise analysis of Dawkins' approaches/arguments in the God Delusion. While McGrath doesn't really make a case for religion, he does point out the extreme bias and denial Dawkins makes in his writings. I encourage everyone to read this and understand how fundamentalism exists in all worldviews, including atheism, and no matter how much one wants their view to be correct, if evidence is ignored there simply is no case. McGrath certainly casts a distasteful light on Dawkins (no doubt because of Dawkins' radical and often unsupported statements). That is the only problem I had with this book. Nonetheless, it's one to be read...it's precise, logical, and offers insightful interpretation for readers to knowingly analyze and sort out information others present.
hamilton7 More than 1 year ago
This author outlines and documents the changing tone in Richard Dawkins' successive books. He is even-handed about the problematic issues raised in the Watchmaker, but fairly criticizes Dawkins as his philosophy and supposition move away from logical thought to the point where even atheists seek to distance themselves from him in The God Delusion. McGrath also accurately points out the logical flaws in Dawkin's theories, stated as fact, so this was a very enjoyable read for me. I highly recommend it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
You know a book is bad when i cant even finish the sample. Just another fake exatheist. Im sad the suthor hit the limit of their intelligence.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Large gaps in logic are everywhere in this book. The author seems to me to be another false ex- atheist.
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WillisP More than 1 year ago
An interesting read if you are already informed on Richard Dawkins and his works.
JohnAndrew More than 1 year ago
The McGrath team hit the nail right on the head about Dawkins!!! All Christians need to pray for his soul, which he so foolishly disregards.