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The God Delusion Paperback – Jan 16 2008

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; Reprint edition (Jan. 16 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0618918248
  • ISBN-13: 978-0618918249
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 2.7 x 21 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 358 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (105 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,278 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

The antireligion wars started by Daniel Dennett and Sam Harris will heat up even more with this salvo from celebrated Oxford biologist Dawkins. For a scientist who criticizes religion for its intolerance, Dawkins has written a surprisingly intolerant book, full of scorn for religion and those who believe. But Dawkins, who gave us the selfish gene, anticipates this criticism. He says it's the scientist and humanist in him that makes him hostile to religions—fundamentalist Christianity and Islam come in for the most opprobrium—that close people's minds to scientific truth, oppress women and abuse children psychologically with the notion of eternal damnation. While Dawkins can be witty, even confirmed atheists who agree with his advocacy of science and vigorous rationalism may have trouble stomaching some of the rhetoric: the biblical Yahweh is "psychotic," Aquinas's proofs of God's existence are "fatuous" and religion generally is "nonsense." The most effective chapters are those in which Dawkins calms down, for instance, drawing on evolution to disprove the ideas behind intelligent design. In other chapters, he attempts to construct a scientific scaffolding for atheism, such as using evolution again to rebut the notion that without God there can be no morality. He insists that religion is a divisive and oppressive force, but he is less convincing in arguing that the world would be better and more peaceful without it. (Oct. 18)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.


"At last, one of the best nonfiction writers alive today has assembled his thoughts on religion into a characteristically elegant book." --Steven Pinker, Johnstone Professor, Harvard University, author of The Language Instinct, How the Mind Works, and The Blank Slate

"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

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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

121 of 147 people found the following review helpful By Oliver TOP 500 REVIEWER on Oct. 7 2006
Format: Hardcover
Richard Dawkins is an evolutionary theorist and holds the Charles Simonyi Chair in the Public Understanding of Science at Oxford University. He is also a best seller author of science books, and quite easy to read.

In this book, Dawkins tackles the problem of religion -- and he does see it as a problem. Dawkins begins by pointing out that there is no evidence whatsoever of god. True, he cannot prove that god does not exist, but the same is true of all possible gods, including Zeus and Wotan. The fact that something cannot be proven false is no evidence whatsoever that is true.

Dawkins further points out how religion (or, more precisely, faith) is so damaging. Faith is, quite simply, the enemy of reason. If one believes something on faith then, by definition, it does not matter what the evidence shows, one will still believe. It is a matter of faith. No matter how strong the evidence of evolution, for example, many faithful simply refuse to believe. With faith, there is no argument, no evidence good enough. With reason, one will still make mistakes, but at least one is trying to get it right.

Dawkins believes very strongly in what he says, but that does not make him just another fundamentalist. Dawkins came to his beliefs by looking at evidence, considering all arguments and applying reason. If, tomorrow, one presented him with evidence that he was wrong, he would change his mind.

This book will offend many readers, but that is not what Dawkins intends and it only proves his point: readers who are offended have been so blinded by religion that they are unable to consider that they might be wrong without suffering pain.

For an explanation of how evolution works, read Dawkins' The Blind Watchmaker.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Dominic Brissette on Jan. 17 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Richard Dawkins presents a wide variety of well formed arguments against creationism, often referencing evidence from his own scientific background (genetic biology). The book is divided in many subjects, and covers each one in a great, intelligent way. A must read for both atheists, agnostics and believers (especially if you're struggling with your own faith). It is a great way to test your own faith if you think it's strong and solid, but I can't garantee you will still believe strongly after reading this.
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By Peter Jones TOP 1000 REVIEWER on Nov. 25 2014
Format: Paperback
First, this book is deep and thought-provoking. Whatever our faith or belief in something is, this book dispels and strengthens the convictions we held before. It is a book meant for the open-minded who appreciate varying views of what man holds as the most mysterious of all things (God). The views of different peoples, cultures and religions should be taken into consideration in whatever judgments we make on this. This is so because I had this fascinating insight into this subject from a story with the title Disciples of Fortune. The God Delusion is a book to take seriously.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on May 27 2010
Format: Paperback
The God Delusion is a well-written and researched book. If you are inclined to read the negative reviews, be sure to take a lot of salt with you as you'll need more than a grain. People that claim he's ignorant because he doesn't believe what they do simply show their own hypocricy and one individual claimed that if Dawkins spent any time actually researching Islam that he would have converted. THIS is the sort of arrogant self-righteousness that authors like Dawkins sees in the religiously entitled. Others still claim him to be ignorant as a last-ditch defence when they feel their beliefs in imaginary sky monsters being threatened - treat those reviews as the paranoid slander that they are. He does not advocate 'random chance' or magic (as stated plainly within the book's pages) as others would suggest and this simply shows that they did not actually read the book before attempting to bash it. Another reviewer presses you to read Hitchens vice Dawkins. Hitchens raises good points but is obviouslly more passionate and less calculating in his writings. Dawkins stands out with Mills (Aethiest Universe) and Harris (End of Faith) among the best writers of this particular topic. Highly recommended.
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58 of 75 people found the following review helpful By Dave_42 TOP 1000 REVIEWER on April 13 2007
Format: Hardcover
Richard Dawkins does an excellent job of building a strong case for atheism by using logic and science in "The God Delusion". He shows the logical fallacies of the so-called proofs of Gods existence. He debunks the myth about religion being the source of morality and ethics, debunks other myths about the immorality of non-believers. He exposes some of the logical inconstancies and errors within the religions themselves. All in all, he does an outstanding job of explaining why atheism is on much firmer ground than any of the major religions.

There are some problems with the book as well, but before I go into those it is important to note that this is definitely a good book for religious people as well as atheists and agnostics to read. It gives a good explanation of why atheists don't believe in a god or gods, and probably deserves an overall rating of around 3.75 stars. So while I will go into some more detail about what I thought was not so good about the book that is merely because it is necessary to be more detailed about the problems than it is to be about the parts which are well done.

The weaknesses of the book all stem from one source, and that is that Dawkins, like everyone, is too close to the subject. It is probably impossible for anyone to take a completely dispassionate look at this subject, as we all have had to deal with various religions throughout our lives. On several occasions, Dawkins ventures out from his base of logic and science to make assumptions which are based only on his thoughts and not facts. For example, in Chapter 10, "A Much Needed Gap" he implies that religious people should be happy when a loved one is about to die, and goes on to imply that because they aren't it is somehow significant in the argument.
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