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With rigor and wit, Dawkins examines God in all his forms, from the sex-obsessed tyrant of the Old Testament to the more benign (but still illogical) Celestial Watchmaker favored by some Enlightenment thinkers. He eviscerates the major arguments for religion and demonstrates the supreme...
With rigor and wit, Dawkins examines God in all his forms, from the sex-obsessed tyrant of the Old Testament to the more benign (but still illogical) Celestial Watchmaker favored by some Enlightenment thinkers. He eviscerates the major arguments for religion and demonstrates the supreme improbability of a supreme being. He shows how religion fuels war, foments bigotry, and abuses children, buttressing his points with historical and contemporary evidence. The God Delusion makes a compelling case that belief in God is not just wrong but potentially deadly. It also offers exhilarating insight into the advantages of atheism to the individual and society, not the least of which is a clearer, truer appreciation of the universe's wonders than any faith could ever muster.
"A resounding trumpet blast for truth . . . It feels like coming up for air." --Matt Ridley, author of Genome and Francis Crick
"Dawkins gives human sympathies and emotions their proper value, which...lends his criticisms of religion such force." --Philip Pullman, author of His Dark Materials trilogy
"This is a brave and important book." --Desmond Morris, author of The Naked Ape and The Human Animal
"Richard Dawkins is the leading soothsayer of our time. . . . The God Delusion continues his thought-provoking tradition." --J. Craig Venter, decoder of the human genome
"The God Delusion is smart, compassionate, and true . . . If this book doesn't change the world, we're all screwed." --Penn & Teller
“This is exceptional reading." Kirkus Reviews, Starred
"The world needs . . . passionate rationalists . . . Richard Dawkins so stands out through the cutting intelligence of The God Delusion." --James D. Watson, co-discoverer of DNA, author of The Double Helix
1 A DEEPLY RELIGIOUS NON-BELIEVER 9 Deserved respect 11 Undeserved respect 20
2 THE GOD HYPOTHESIS 29 Polytheism 32 Monotheism 37 Secularism, the Founding Fathers and the religion of America 38 The poverty of agnosticism 46 NOMA 54 The Great Prayer Experiment 61 The Neville Chamberlain school of evolutionists 66 Little green men 69
3 ARGUMENTS FOR GOD’S EXISTENCE 75 Thomas Aquinas’ ‘proofs’ 77 The ontological argument and other a priori arguments 80 The argument from beauty 86 The argument from personal ‘experience’ 87 The argument from scripture 92 The argument from admired religious scientists 97 Pascal’s Wager 103 Bayesian arguments 105
4 WHY THERE ALMOST CERTAINLY IS NO GOD 111 The Ultimate Boeing 747 113 Natural selection as a consciousness-raiser 114 Irreducible complexity 119 The worship of gaps 125 The anthropic principle: planetary version 134 The anthropic principle: cosmological version 141 An interlude at Cambridge 151
5 THE ROOTS OF RELIGION 161 The Darwinian imperative 163 Direct advantages of religion 166 Group selection 169 Religion as a by-product of something else 172 Psychologically primed for religion 179 Tread softly, because you tread on my memes 191 Cargo cults 202
6 THE ROOTS OF MORALITY: WHY ARE WE GOOD? 209 Does our moral sense have a Darwinian origin? 214 A case study in the roots of morality 222 If there is no God, why be good? 226
7 THE ‘GOOD’ BOOK AND THE CHANGING MORAL ZEITGEIST 235 The Old Testament 237 Is the New Testament any better? 250 Love thy neighbour 254 The moral Zeitgeist 262 What about Hitler and Stalin? Weren’t they atheists? 272
8 WHAT’S WRONG WITH RELIGION? WHY BE SO HOSTILE? 279 Fundamentalism and the subversion of science 282 The dark side of absolutism 286 Faith and homosexuality 289 Faith and the sanctity of human life 291 The Great Beethoven Fallacy 298 How ‘moderation’ in faith fosters fanaticism 301
9 CHILDHOOD, ABUSE AND THE ESCAPE FROM RELIGION 309 Physical and mental abuse 315 In defence of children 325 An educational scandal 331 Consciousness-raising again 337 Religious education as a part of literary culture 340
10 A MUCH NEEDED GAP? 345 Binker 347 Consolation 352 Inspiration 360 The mother of all burkas 362
Appendix: A partial list of friendly addresses, for individuals needing support in escaping from religion 375 Books cited or recommended 380 Notes 388 Index 400
Posted February 10, 2008
I have to preface by saying that I am a Christian, and I do hope I am not discounted in my somewhat scathing review of this book due to an attributed bias. That being said, I found this book to be rather interesting at times in that it provoked me to think about what I believe in. The author is rather pointed and clear in what he intends to say and he has chosen lines of reasoning that are sensible from one point of view, see doctrine of double arguments. However, the author is also rude and sarcastic. His belittling of religion comes across not merely as the balanced conclusion of a competent thinker but rather as the angered lashing out of a decidely angry man. I can say that however convincing his arguments may be he has missed a significant part of human experience as evidenced through the insulting statements scattered throughout the book. I may be convinced by his argument at points but I don't think I would want to know a man of such an attitude. As such I can make a qualified recommendation of this book as somewhat intellectually stimulating but that is ultimately lost in the scattered spats of animosity most often found in biting sarcasm. For example, a reader could reference page 104 where the author parodies a theological argument in a gratuitous fashion. The sole purpose of the parody is insult. This is unfitting someone who pretends to be a mature adult and reveals the author as more of a child in his ways of expressing himself. I actually feel bad for the guy. His hatred is similar to the religious fanatics he denounces as fools. Two peas in a pod.
68 out of 196 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted November 29, 2008
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The new atheists are doing something that many are not: saying the important things that need to be said without fear of who thinks ill of them at night. The God Delusion is a powerful testament to rationality, evolution, and secular ways of living that have not only defined society, but define what reality should look like.
51 out of 66 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 24, 2008
Richard has created a masterpiece, despite there being many books on the same subject published over the last few years (many of which are referenced) this is a truly original work. As always with Richard his arguments are set out without prejudice and with a great respect for those who in many cases he is criticizing. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in understanding the reality of religion which in this day and age cannot be ignored. Thank you Richard, may you continue to enlighten us for many years to come.
38 out of 53 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 1, 2009
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Professor Richard Dawkins will go down in history as the Charles Darwin of our day. His intellect on evolution and his numerous awards express how "on top of his game" he really is. The God Delusion perfectly illustrates his viewpoint to make the reader understand his perspectives concerning religion and needlessness of it. He breaks it down in simple terms and while there may be some "scholarly" language that might be hard for the average person to comprehend, he stays on track and delivers a thought-provoking insight into Atheism and the benefits for a lack of faith -- not only in an individual, but in society. Some may say that he came off "too harsh" regarding religion and its followers, but that is to be assumed that those accusations were inevitable. Richard Dawkins is a leader and this book proves it beyond just a theory.
36 out of 45 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 17, 2010
Living in the Bible Belt is not easy in the least for the nonreligious person. Thankfully, there are people like Dawkins who come to bring a message of hope and reassurance to those who feel prejudiced and isolated by their close-minded fellow human beings. Just when the intoxication of religious inanity seems to be closing on your last sane breath, Dawkins reminds that you are not insane and that there is so much more to live for when unencumbered by religious nonsense.
28 out of 36 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 28, 2009
I wish I could respond personally to some of these negative reviews because they break my heart. The God Delusion, more than anything else, has given me permission. Permission to question things. Permission to be responsible for my own actions. Permission to live and love freely without the guilt, and the pettyness, and the agenda that are organized religion. Dawkins often asks 'why be angry? why rock the boat?' I have watched lives destroyed, friendships and families crumbled, and just about every war started because of religion. Since accepting Atheism into my heart, I have never felt freer.
24 out of 35 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 21, 2008
The good: 1. Mr. Dawkins describes evolution in an easy to understand way and debunks many myths and misconceptions about its nature. This book can be read purely as an introduction to evolutionary thinking and would still be worth the time. 2. Mr. Dawkins is absolutely hilarious. Worth the read for the sheer comedy. 3. This book challenges people of all religions to question their belief system instead of just accepting what they are told by authority. The Bad: 1. Mr. Dawkins is downright nasty in his use of adjectives. He calls religion a 'virus of the mind' and labels religious people as uneducated and unreasonable. If his goal is really to bring religious people, and not fence-sitters leaning toward atheism, over to atheism, he failed. You win more flies with honey. 2. Mr. Dawkins shows a slightly higher than Sunday school understanding of Christian theology, biblical interpretation, and biblical criticism, as well as a pretty week understanding of philosophy and political thinking (trying to say Hitler was probably a Christian is embarrassing for anyone who has read Machiavelli's The Prince). For someone who claims to be so intelligent and reasonable to make such glaringly erroneous statements and assumptions is disheartening. However, I would recommend the book. It is very interesting and thought- provoking, and it will keep you laughing as well.
24 out of 36 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 22, 2007
You can guess by my headline that I am espousing an atheist, but also disagreeing with one. Nietzche was right, in a sense, that he popularized the idea that the 20th century would be the bloodiest of all time. And it was. You have the two World Wars, the Purges, et citera all in the name of men self-proclaimed as atheists. You have Hitler, Stalin, Mao and Tojo, all atheists. Dawkins argument in the God Delusion that Hitler was a Protestant is entirely farcical. He is noted for admiring Darwin's idea of the species of origins, Nietzche's bombastic attack on religion and Herbert Spencer's coined phrase 'survival-of-the-fittest'. In old war archives, you can see Hitler's gestapo arresting Catholic priests and sending them to 'correctional' camps. Dawkin's blatant attempt to con Hitler as a Protestant Christian can be used against him. He claims he was a Christian himself, until he became an atheist, but does that mean his past connotes the necessity to say his polemic attack on religion is meaningless, since he was, at one time, a Christian. You can say Hitler was once a Christian, but you CANNOT say he was when he expressed his agenda in Mein Kumpf. Stalin undoubtedly was atheist. No question about that. He proclaimed Russia an Atheist State and libeled in religious institution. Does the Purges suggest the act of a religious demagogue? Absolutely not. He killed 35-40 million of his own people. That is 10x more flagrant than the Crusades and the Inquisition combined! And Dawkins proceeds to discredit religion as the most dangerous thing ever to be thought up. There is approximately 1-2% of self-proclaimed atheists in America. The remaining percentile believe in some form of religion. Imagine an America with 60% atheists. The vast majority, all as hostile to religion as Dawkins. The masses can be powerful, as Hitler suggested. That means the constitution can be changed and the minority can't do a thing about it. A cultural relativistic society is no longer institutionalized. Dawkins says anyone who believes in religion and not accept atheism are figuratively inferior, as construed in his book the Selfish Gene. So I have a selfish gene for believing in a God? I'm not like Dawkins. I am therefore inferior, since Dawkins presumes that atheism is the most logical idea of our time. Without a God, the authority of man can do horrible things, because we are stupid en masse, quoting from Hitler. Dawkins claims that the Founding Fathers of America did not build America on religion. I agree with him, but extrapolating that they were all atheists is highly insolent. No the Founding Fathers did not intend for America to be a Theocracy. In fact, the whole idea of a Free Nation was to escape from the Theocratic-Monarchistic country of England. But one thing cannot be denied, that the religious convictions of our Father's was evident. Religion, under the First Amendment, can be practiced freely. Dawkins obviously thinks that it shouldn't. And his rather humerous 'quoting' of Benjamin Franklin saying 'imagine a country without church bells' is absurb at the highest degree. Perhaps, Dawkins rummaging through British archives of the revolutionary war brought out British propaganda, libelous documents perceiving the Rebels as Godless rabble. Our Founding Fathers were religious men. Atheism didn't even come into full-existence until Darwin published the Origins of Species, a harbinger to a world without God but of science.Trust me folks... it is not religion that is the killer... but atheism. Dawkins needs to stop piling all religions [Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, et citera] in one boiling pot. Throughout the Bible, Jesus advocates peace, love and mercy for all peoples. He does not espouse being strapped to bombs and being blown up among a group of innocuous people. When you attack religion, Dawkins, attack it in segments. Don't assume since some people, the vast majority, believe in a higher being that you can conjecture that they all
23 out of 95 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 26, 2008
Richard Dawkins needs to figure out if he is a scientist or a philosopher. A theologian or a evolutionist. I am fairly certain he is educated in one field but acts like he is an expert in another. Where is this data for the absurdity of a god? Dawkins thinks it is in the actions of man which is the real absurdity. He desperately wants the idea of a creator abolished. One must wonder what his motive for this is when atheism is known to be the real downfall of man with the havoc it creates.
21 out of 166 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 30, 2010
If anything, Dawkins is seeking to illustrate what many call "Talking snake theists." In the states we know of them as fundamentalist. Any reasoned person can accept what Dawkins puts forth. If your belief is stuck in the 12th century like so much of the world, read this book.
What I liked most is his impeccably sourced arguments and illustrations against zealots. His promotion of religious education and study as important as it relates to literature, art, history.
If you feel that Christians are marginalized, Islam is portrayed as violent in media, there is a war on Christmas, pick up the book, look in a mirror, and use the brain you either evolved to have or that your god gave you.
13 out of 24 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 27, 2009
I kept waiting for the revalations that would forever change the way I think about God and creation. What I found was a long-winded diatribe against organized religion and anyone with faith in anything other than particle physics.
11 out of 59 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 21, 2008
Only an evil-spirited person could write such hatred about a God who he supposedly doesn't believe in. It's one thing to be against something, but to ridicule a belief with such vehemence as Dawkins has is insane. The Christians don't go around calling the evolutionists every name under the sun. Dawkins has no eloquence, morality, or good judgment in his being. His rudeness to the entire God-believing body is disgusting. I only pity those who are deluted in a way such as he is.
11 out of 88 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 29, 2011
Posted October 13, 2009
This book clearly demonstrates how we have all been duped. Dawkins is an exellent writer who engages the reader in clear and concise format. I was motivated to read more of his works.
10 out of 18 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 14, 2012
Atheism is not a religion. It is the lack of one. An atheist does not believe in blind faith if a god or deity. They dont accept something with out proof and fact. That is not not faith therefore not a religion or belief system. But is a book review really the place for this anyway? It is for those who have read the book to say whether they like it or not and why, so that some one else can decide if they want to buy this book.
This book is great whether atheist or deist it give you a lot to think about and makes many good points. I recomend it thoroughly.
If you really feel like arguing find a forum and do it there.
9 out of 11 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 25, 2008
Dawkins mastery of reason does not disappoint in this well thought out argument against religion. Judging by the 1-star reviews by people who obviously did not read the book and only care to undermine this achievement, Mr. Dawkins message is stirring up a great fear amongst those who are unable or unwilling to gather the intelectual fortitude to, at least, ask important questions about their 'faith'. I look forward to indulging in other of Dawkins' work.
9 out of 18 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 11, 2008
I assume those who have written negative reviews did not read the book. I purchased this book AFTER shifting towards atheism. It was intelligent and thought-provoking. I plan to read more of Dawkin's books.
8 out of 14 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 11, 2012
Posted April 26, 2008
Ok, I have a question. If you and all these other atheists don't think a God exists, then why are you all so obsessed with bashing him? Why would anyone waste time writing about nothing? Or, better yet, why do you hate something you claim does not exist? How can this be? Or maybe there is a more sinister side to your hatred of this 'non-existing' God... In the Gospels, I remember, the demons all had this uncontrollable obsession with Christ (who is God).
6 out of 57 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 22, 2012
Negative reviews does not mean the reviewers did not read the book. I have not though, because I do not plan to waste my time reading such drivel. The reviews have told me enough.
Being insulted and called names is childish and means that the author has to stoop to such levels to make his arguement believable. Dawkins has to use comic relief to make it a better read.
The statement that religion is dangerous is generalizing, lumping all religions/groups together. Occults are dangerous not religions. I am a Christian. I am not brainwashed and my child is not abused. Tell me how not drinking, not using drugs, and going to church every week is dangerous. I am less dangerous than a lot of atheists!
To the April 2008 reviewer, try reading a Bible. Maybe you'll catch it this time!
5 out of 44 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.