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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 3.1 x 21 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 249 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (119 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,725 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.

Review

"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

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Peter Jones 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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122 of 148 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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Format: Kindle Edition
The appreciation and understanding of science and nature is one of my great joys of life. This sense of joy and wonder is one of the main motivations of Dawkins' work. To most fully appreciate this book, I recommend reading The Selfish Gene, and possibly some of Dawkins' other books. My favourite is The Ancestor's Tale.

This book is not some kind of cynical rant, from a jaded, depressed person, tearing down people's beloved traditions and moral beliefs. Rather, Dawkins shows us how harmful it can be to hold onto mystical beliefs. These harms are abundantly present throughout history, in the form of wars, persecution, ostracism, induction of guilt, financial exploitation, etc. Another harm is that dogmatic religious belief often prevents people from experiencing the joy and wonder (and deeply motivated ethics) that come from understanding science and nature.

The book is also an invitation for those of us who have held similar views for many years to consider expressing ourselves more clearly. Many of us have been afraid of expressing non-religious views out of concern for offending family members, etc. Dawkins argues convincingly that such silence may quietly contribute to the perpetuation of harmful religious extremism. The time is right to "come out" and show that it is possible to be devoutly, outstandingly moral (in a manner similar to Gandhi, or Einstein, or Jesus) without being "religious" at all. In fact, religiosity usually gets in the way of morality, as we can see constantly in the daily world news.

Dawkins does not have some kind of militant rejection of all religious tradition or literature. In fact, in the book he encourages religious texts such as the Bible to be appreciated as literature.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
No, not in the least. I wrote a letter to the author, who claimes that he reads all his emails, but could not find his email address; I did find other queries on the internet for his address, but no answer.

I'm an theist, of about the same age as Mr. Dawkins and for roughly the same number of years as him. However, because of how my atheism framed my early life, I abhor people who would impose their ideas on others. Mr. Dawkins failure to recognize that multi-culturalism is the only real protection we all have, theists and atheists, from either group imposing his beliefs on others is a recurrent them that made me hate much of his book.

Voltaire said (my translation): I disagree with everything you say but I will defend to my death your right to say it. I'm prepared to say that about this book, though I disagree with much of its subsidiary tenets. Of course I like to read something that basically says what I say about the provable absence of gods and goddesses; but I wish the author did not treat those who disagree with us with the unbearable condescension that he bestows on them.
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