Dawkins' GOD: Genes, Memes, and the Meaning of Life / 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

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

"Dawkins is disposed of with panache, and with McGrath's ususal clarity and conciseness." (Theology)

"Lucid and brief, without being perfunctory or dismissive, and fulfils the role of guide to the educated layperson without eliciting boredom from the academic familiar with the field ... The end result of this effort by McGrath is that, once again, I would have no hesitation in recommending the book as a basic text for A-level or first-year undergraduate students looking for their appetite to be whetted for a number of connected fields of scholarship, or indeed for the 'educated layperson' seeking a grasp of the issues without having to wade through hundreds of pages of science and theology ... A very finely judged piece of writing." (Kaleidoscope)

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

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781405125390
  • Publisher: Wiley, John & Sons, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 12/6/2004
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 212
  • Product dimensions: 5.60 (w) x 8.60 (h) x 0.80 (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 of God?.

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 and Religion.

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” of Memetics.

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 Intellectual Appeasement?.

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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