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The God Delusion [Paperback]

Richard Dawkins
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (101 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Jan. 16 2008
A preeminent scientist -- and the world's most prominent atheist -- asserts the irrationality of belief in God and the grievous harm religion has inflicted on society, from the Crusades to 9/11.

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.

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The God Delusion + God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything + The Portable Atheist: Essential Readings for the Nonbeliever
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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.


"A powerful argument for how to think about the place of religion in the modern world. It's going to be a classic." -- Seed Magazine

"In the roiling debate between science and religion, it would be hard to exaggerate the enormous influence of Richard Dawkins." Salon

"A particularly comprehensive case against religion. Everyone should read it. Atheists will love Mr. Dawkins's incisive logic and rapier wit, and theists will find few better tests of the robustness of their faith." --Economist

"If I had to identify Dawkins's cardinal virtues, I would say that he is brilliant, articulate, impassioned, and impolite . . .The God Delusion is a fine and significant book." The San Francisco Chronicle

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
120 of 146 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dawkins Lays Out the Case for Atheism Oct. 7 2006
By Oliver TOP 500 REVIEWER
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
5.0 out of 5 stars Quite clever book! 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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars DAWKINS GOES FULL MILITANT Sept. 6 2007
As a fellow scientist I have great respect for Dawkins ability to popularize complex ideas. Who can forget "THE SELFISH GENE"?! His ideas used to come across crystal clear and redolent with logical symmetry. And I think that he is long overdue for the Nobel Prize for his introduction of the notion of memes. I am afraid though that he bit the forbidden fruit for a scientist: Star System.

The huge success and popularity he enjoyed for his previous books obviously addicted him to public recognition and with every new book he tries to titillate the media into turning him into an even bigger Star. His ideas get more and more provocative - sadly, mostly to provoke. From the air-time he gets, I would say he has the moves down pat.

He might be an Oxford Biologist, and an excellent one at that, yet the territories he endeavors here are not Biology. For, any Biologist never forgets that we humans, are nothing more than metazoans, groups of cooperating animal cells. So are birds, butterflies and dogs. Birds can appreciate music, butterflies color patterns, whereas dogs can learn tricks. Yet they cannot comprehend simple algebra. We humans can do all of the above (and much more), nevertheless, there is no reason whatsoever our abilities to be unlimited. Actually, the opposite has been proven to be true.

Case in point: we fail to comprehend the illusion of time. Our brain separates our consciousness into memories (past), present (lasting about 3sec) and imagination (future). The arrow of time is but a human shortcoming. Even its most modern definition (as the increase of entropy) only replaces the einsteinian "observer" or the classic "clock" with a humanly measurable change.
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81 of 103 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book - unless you have a vested interest. March 14 2007
I won't waste your time telling you what a good book this is ... get it and read it! Notice that all the bad reviews will quote scripture or otherwise reveal their not-so-hidden agendas for criticizing it.

I'm not sure I read too much that I didn't already know, but this is a great book for recommending to others who need a good overview/primer of the atheist position.
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57 of 74 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Case For Atheism April 13 2007
By Dave_42 TOP 500 REVIEWER
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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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read
Dawkins is thoughtful and entertaining as always. When one person holds a delusion, it's mental illness, when many hold the same delusion, it's religion.
Published 23 days ago by Dianne Jacobson
5.0 out of 5 stars PErfect
Makes sense to me!~ I grew up around religion and hated it, now I know why, this book proves it was all BS!
Published 2 months ago by Wayne from Ottawa, CAN
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a must have in the personal library
Dawkins has a great command of the topic and does a masterful job of keeping it an accessible level without compromising the intellectual core of the topic. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Annie
5.0 out of 5 stars Book
Husband loves this book because it represents what he believes. Neither of use are religious and this explains a lot.
Published 3 months ago by blumergal
4.0 out of 5 stars Makes Sense
This book is well-researched, articulate and it makes a lot of sense. I'm ambivalent, however, likely out of fear of the ultimate unknown.
Published 3 months ago by Dirk
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read for anyone that thinks religion is harmless or worthwhile
I have read Dawkins book 'The God Delusion' twice over the years. I thoroughly recommend it to anyone that thinks there is no harm in religious belief or for anyone that thinks... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Stevie Ray
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Book
Dawkins knows his stuff. Its a very scholarly book and is a book that you just don't read casually. His logic is presented well and I recomend this book to anyone who just would... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Bootsy Bass
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic.
I was raised a Christian under my mother, and was utterly convinced into my teen years that there was a god and that all of my friends were going to hell. Read more
Published 7 months ago by T. Rambaran
5.0 out of 5 stars Scientific Enlightenment
A very compelling argument against the theory of intelligent design. It's important to keep an open mind when reading this book if you are religious but I recommend it for anyone... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Elias Samuel Fisher
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
Simply one of the best books I have ever read. Grabbed my interest in the first chapter and I could hardly put it down.
Published 11 months ago by Scopes
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