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The God Delusion Paperback – Jan 1 2008
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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.
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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Top Customer Reviews
It is not easy accepting, let alone contemplating, that you may have been wrong your whole life. But it is much better than deluding yourself into believing something you know that you doubt. Into my early twenties, I began to resent religion as a whole. It hadn't made me a 'bad' person per-se, but I wasted a lot of energy in my younger years praying and fearing this apparent eternal damnation that was the apparent fate for my friends and extended family. And when I am completely honest, it also negatively influenced me in the following ways: I had naivety towards critical thinking, hostility towards other religions, narrow-mindedness in debates, homophobia, and sexual fear & repression.
And then recently, in the last two years, I knew I seriously doubted there being any god whatsoever. I am happy to say that Dawkins confirmed that doubt, and I found his arguments credible, thorough, and coherent. Some people remark that there is an arrogant undertone---but honestly, I think he has every right to have some arrogance in his arguments which are thoroughly well-supported.Read more ›
His calls for 'militant atheism', which he makes more fiercely in his public debates than in this book (often conflated by critics), are not fascist cries for the violent abolition of religion, but for a confident and unashamed opposition to religious influence in politics and education. It is inherently confrontational, and while Dawkins is more than capable of clever ridicule, he chooses engage with logic, reason, and evidence. Readers most likely to be offended by this book will be those who are unwilling to defend their beliefs using the same tools
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.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
Could not finish it, found it rambling, verbose, and angry and therefore suspicious.Published 1 month ago by Tom
A fantastic well written book everyone should read. Especially those believing in the imaginary man in the sky.Published 3 months ago by Gord Dent
A great read. Well explained and presented. Every religionist should read this text.Published 4 months ago by J. Brian
This will make you think and question your beliefs, whatever they are. A very worthwhile read.Published 4 months ago by Amazon Customer
Arguably the most important book of the century. Too bad those that most need to read it, won't.Published 4 months ago by the silver locust
Love him or hate him, Dawkins is a great writer, and The God Delusion is another great piece of his writing. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Amanda