Dawkin's God / Edition 1

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Overview

Alister E. McGrath is one of the world’s leading theologians, with a doctorate in the sciences. Richard Dawkins is one of the bestselling popular science writers, with outspoken and controversial views on religion. This fascinating and provoking work is the first book-length response to Dawkins’ ideas, and offers an ideal introduction to the topical issues of science and religion.

  • Addresses fundamental questions about Dawkins’ approach to science and religion: Is the gene actually selfish? Is the blind watchmaker a suitable analogy? Are there other ways of looking at things?
  • Tackles Dawkins’ hostile and controversial views on religion, and examines the religious implications of his scientific ideas, making for a fascinating and provoking debate
  • Written in a very engaging and accessible style, ideal to those approaching scientific and religious issues for the first time
  • Alister McGrath is uniquely qualified to write this book. He is one of the world’s best known and most respected theologians, with a strong research background in molecular biophysics
  • A superb book by one of the world’s leading theologians, which will attract wide interest in the growing popular science market, similar to Susan Blackmore’s The Meme Machine (1999).
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“In this book McGrath does a good job of condemningaspects of Dawkins’ zealotry but in the process does much tocondemn his own arguments as well.”  (Journal ofReligious History, 20 January 2014)

"The book is important for a number of reasons ... Dawkins' Godends with a valuable and more general chapter on science andreligion, emphasising the limitations of the human mind." (TheJournal of SJT, 2012)

"In Dawkins' God, McGrath has written a brilliant book,and it is difficult to think that the exposition of Dawkins'writings and their religious implications, will ever be betterstated, explored and criticised... at once dispassionate, robustand readable." Richard Harries, Times Higher EducationSupplement

"Alister McGrath's book Dawkins' God: Genes, Memes andthe Meaning of Life does a fair and sophisticated job ofsummarising my position." Richard Dawkins, Times HigherEducation Supplement

"Dawkins is disposed of with panache, and with McGrath's ususalclarity and conciseness." Theology

"Lucid and brief, without being perfunctory or dismissive, andfulfils the role of guide to the educated layperson withouteliciting boredom from the academic familiar with the field ... Theend result of this effort by McGrath is that, once again, I wouldhave no hesitation in recommending the book as a basic text forA-level or first-year undergraduate students looking for theirappetite to be whetted for a number of connected fields ofscholarship, or indeed for the 'educated layperson' seeking a graspof the issues without having to wade through hundreds of pages ofscience and theology ... A very finely judged piece of writing."Kaleidoscope

"With clear and incisive argumentation, McGrath takes Dawkins onand exposes many of the weaknesses in his case for atheism."Reformed Theological Journal

"Wielding evolutionary arguments and carefully chosen metaphorslike sharp swords, Richard Dawkins has emerged over three decadesas this generation's most aggressive promoter of atheism. In hisview, science, and science alone, provides the only rock worthstanding on. In this remarkable book, Alister McGrath challengesDawkins on the very ground he holds most sacred - rational argument- and McGrath disarms the master. It becomes readily apparent thatDawkins has aimed his attack at a naive version of faith that mostserious believers would not recognize. After reading this carefullyconstructed and eloquently written book, Dawkins' choice of atheismemerges as the most irrational of the available choices about God'sexistence."
Francis Collins, Director of the Human Genome Project

In this tour-de-force Alister McGrath approachesthe edifice of self-confident, breezy atheism so effectivelypromoted by Richard Dawkins, and by deft dissection and argumentreveals the shallowness, special-pleading and inconsistencies ofhis world-picture. Here is a book which helps to rejoin themagnificence of science to the magnificence of God’s goodCreation.”
Simon Conway Morris, Professor of Evolutionary Palaeobiology,Cambridge University

“This is a wonderful book. One of the world’sleading Christian contributors to the science/religion dialoguetakes on Richard Dawkins, Darwinism’s arch-atheist, andwrestles him to the ground! This is scholarship as it should be– informed, feisty, and terrific fun. I cannot wait to seeDawkins’s review of Alister McGrath’scritique.”
Michael Ruse, Lucyle T. Werkmeister Professor of Philosophy,Florida State University

A timely and accessible contribution to the debateover Richard Dawkins’s cosmology which exposes philosophicalnaivety, the abuse of metaphor, and sheer bluster, left, right andcentre. Here Alister McGrath announces what every DarwinianFundamentalist needs to hear: that science is and always has been acultural practice that is provisional, fallible, and sociallyshaped – an enterprise to be cultivated and fostered, buthardly worshipped or idolised. A devastating critique.”
David N. Livingstone, Professor of Geography and IntellectualHistory, Queen’s University, Belfast

“Alister McGrath critically examines the places whereRichard Dawkins’ well-established biological science changesinto the speculations which undergird Dawkins’ ownanti-religious faith. In his appreciative examination and ruthlessanalysis of Dawkins writings and the polemics associated with them,McGrath has done a marvellous apologetic job, as well as providinga particular service for those daunted by scientificauthoritarianism. We are all in his debt for rigorously identifyingand exposing the weaknesses of some of the commonly used argumentsagainst the Christian faith.”
R. J. Berry, formerly Professor of Genetics, University College,London and President of the Linnean Society

“Alister McGrath subjects the atheistic world-view ofRichard Dawkins to critical analysis and finds it severely lackingin intellectual rigour. As a former atheist himself, and abiochemist turned theologian and philosopher, the author is wellplaced to appreciate Dawkins’ well-deserved reputation as apopulariser of evolutionary theory, but equally well qualified toassess his stratagem of using a biological theory for ideologicalpurposes. This book is essential reading for those interested inthe traffic of ideas between science, philosophy andreligion.”
Dr Denis Alexander, Chairman, Molecular Immunology Programme,The Babraham Institute and Fellow of St. Edmund’s College,Cambridge

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781405125383
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 10/15/2004
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 208
  • Product dimensions: 5.55 (w) x 8.55 (h) x 0.65 (d)

Meet the Author

Alister McGrath is Professor of Historical Theology at Oxford University. He is a world-renowned theologian, with a strong research background in molecular biophysics, making him uniquely qualified to write this book. He is acclaimed as a highly lucid writer, capable of explaining difficult ideas to lay audiences, and is the author of numerous titles available through Blackwell Publishing including Theology: The Basics, A Brief History of Heaven, Christian Theology: An Introduction 3rd edition, The Christian Theology Reader 2nd edition, and Science and Religion: An Introduction. He is also the author of In the Beginning: The Story of the King James Bible, and The Re-enchantment of Nature.
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Table of Contents

Encountering Dawkins: A Personal Account.

1. The Selfish Gene: A Darwinian View of the World.

Introducing Dawkins.

The new approach: Charles Darwin.

The mechanics of inheritance: Mendel and genetics.

The discovery of the gene.

The role of DNA in genetics.

Dawkins’ approach: the selfish gene.

River out of Eden: Exploring a Darwinian world.

2. The Blind Watchmaker: Evolution and the Elimination ofGod?.

Natural science leads to neither atheism nor Christianity.

God as an explanatory hypothesis.

The case of William Paley.

The religious views of Charles Darwin.

The Christian reaction to Darwin.

3. Proof and Faith: The Place of Evidence in Science andReligion.

Faith as blind trust?.

Is atheism itself a faith?.

Christian faith as irrational?.

The problem of radical theory change in science.

The rhetorical amplification of the case for atheism.

4. Cultural Darwinism? The Curious “Science” ofMemetics.

The origins of the meme.

Is cultural development Darwinian?.

Do memes actually exist?.

The flawed analogy between meme and gene.

The redundancy of the meme.

God as a virus?.

5. Science and Religion: Dialogue or IntellectualAppeasement?.

The “warfare” of science and religion.

The poky little medieval universe of religion.

The concept of awe.

The mind of God.

Mystery, insanity and nonsense.

Conclusion.

Acknowledgements.

Notes.

Works Consulted.

Index

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 22, 2007

    Some summer reading fun.

    I have read a few of Dawkins' books and found McGrath's book adequately disects much of Dawkins' arguments/references against religion. I espicially like the brief discussion on memes his argument seems to convince me that memes are not traditional science as they doe not hold to the scientific method. Ultimately, read this book on your own and decide for yourself- you can read reviews and have a biased perspective, or you can decide for yourself. I enjoyed it and will read many more books.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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