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About the Author:
Richard Dawkins is the Charles Simonyi Professor of the Public Understanding of Science at Oxford University
A DEEPLY RELIGIOUS NON-BELIEVER 9
Deserved respect 11
Undeserved respect 20
2 THE GOD HYPOTHESIS 29
Secularism, the Founding Fathers and the religion of America 38
The poverty of agnosticism 46
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
The mother of all burkas 362
A partial list of friendly addresses, for individuals needing support in escaping from religion 375
Books cited or recommended 380
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.
60 out of 178 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
I Also Recommend:
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.
47 out of 58 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.
37 out of 49 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
I Also Recommend:
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.
34 out of 41 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.
27 out of 33 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.
23 out of 32 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
21 out of 85 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.
20 out of 159 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.
20 out of 31 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.
11 out of 20 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 56 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 83 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 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 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.
8 out of 10 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 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 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 25, 2010
I read this Dawkins' book a while ago, then reread it in college for a philosophy class. Upon the second read, in which i was better equipped with some background and jargon related to the subject of God and religion, I found Dawkins' approach and arguement to be smug and narrowminded. His general tone was highly condescending. I am a Catholic with more atheistic beliefs, and even i felt bad for the religious fundamentalists he targets.
Why is a biologist so sure that BIOLOGICAL laws apply to GOD. Isn't God, by Definition, outside of the natural laws that apparently govern our universe? Cause and effect and Darwin's evolution do not apply to "supernatural" entities, such as God.
PLEASE Dawkins...stop making these philosophical forays and stick with true biology. Your "whitty" argumements come off as the pontificating professor who has no real background in the field and is covering a class for a colleague with an ax to grind.
The topic is one of the most intriguing for authors, and i think this book did the discussion of whether or not God exists a disservice.
5 out of 16 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.