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The Dawkins Delusion?: Atheist Fundamentalism and the Denial of the Divine [Paperback]

Alister McGrath , Joanna Collicutt McGrath
2.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (221 customer reviews)
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Book Description

16 Feb 2007
World-renowned scientist Richard Dawkins writes in The God Delusion: 'If this book works as I intend, religious readers who open it will be atheists when they put it down'. The volume has received wide coverage, fuelled much passionate debate and caused not a little confusion. Alister McGrath is ideally placed to evaluate Dawkins' ideas. Once an atheist himself, he gained a doctorate in molecular biophysics before going on to become a leading Christian theologian. He wonders how two people, who have reflected at length on substantially the same world, could possibly have come to such different conclusions about God. McGrath subjects Dawkins' critique of faith to rigorous scrutiny. His exhilarating, meticulously argued response deals with questions such as: Is faith intellectual nonsense? Are science and religion locked in a battle to the death? Can the roots of Christianity be explained away scientifically? Is Christianity simply a force for evil? This book will be warmly received by those looking for a reliable assessment of The God Delusion and the many questions it raises - including, above all, the relevance of faith and the quest for meaning.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 96 pages
  • Publisher: SPCK Publishing; Reprint edition (16 Feb 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0281059276
  • ISBN-13: 978-0281059270
  • Product Dimensions: 13.9 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (221 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 8,930 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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. . . a fine, dense, yet very clear account, from [McGrath's] particular Christian perspective, of the full case against Dawkins. --New Scientist (Bryan Appleyard)

From the Publisher

'The God Delusion makes me embarrassed to be an atheist, and
the McGraths show why.'

Michael Ruse, Professor of Philosophy, Florida State University

'Richard Dawkins' utopian vision of a world without religion is here deftly
punctured by McGrath's informed discourse. His fellow Oxonian clearly
demonstrates the gaps, inconsistencies, and surprising lack of depth in
Dawkins' arguments.'

Owen Gingerich, Professor of Astronomy, Harvard University

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
68 of 76 people found the following review helpful
To Alistar McGrath's credit he got me thinking a bit about some counter-arguments to Richard Dawkin's book 'The God Delusion'. He is a very good intellectual writer and puts forth a few good ideas such as - some beliefs may not be proven but justifiable (especially considering that half the world believe in some God), the relevance of a world view, and how evolution is not regarded as being incompatible with religious beliefs. He also tries to provide a balance to some of Dawkins very strong views about the role in which religion plays in our every day lives and how it impacts society. Unfortunately, he never follows through and hence leaves the reader wanting. He does make it clear up front that he did not want to write a detailed book that counters against every anti-religion point that Dawkins makes in TGD but that is precisely what I was hoping he would do (perhaps not with a 400 page book, but with something a bit more than a short high level essay). Like it or hate it, 'The God Delusion' puts forth some very powerful arguments against religion and the perceived irrational thinking that accompanies it. Dawkins does not don kid gloves and attacks religion very aggressively in his book - which was his intention. He was not looking to publish a politically correct book. Hence a strong rebuttal would have been appropriate and potentially very interesting - especially from somebody of McGrath's intellectual caliber. I am an atheist but continue on my quest for answers and I have a good appreciation for rational counter-argument. This was McGrath's opportunity to put forth some solid rebuttals but it doesn't happen. He stops well short of a full rebuttal to almost all of the issues raised by Dawkins so he lost his opportunity to persuade otherwise - which I assume was the reason for publishing the Dawkins Delusion in the first place. In short - had potential but fails to deliver.
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120 of 135 people found the following review helpful
First of all, i'm an atheist, so whilst reading this book I was constantly aware that I might fall into the cognitive bias trap - I hope I didn't and hope the below doesn't give the impression that I was deluding myself into thinking that I was neutral. Having said that my main focus is on what I thought was wrong with the book.

I've often heard that Alister McGrath is an exceptionally bright guy - and I'm sure he is - but after reading this short book I'm hoping it isn't anywhere near his best work as it really isn't that good. I agree with numerous other reviewers that McGrath seems to rant less and I didn't get the impression that he was almost shouting at me (as is sometimes the case with Dawkins) but more often than not I put that down to individual styles of writing as opposed to effectively being off-balance and irrational when putting an argument across. Below are a few of the observations which disappointed and, in some cases, annoyed me;

- McGrath seems to consistently confuse atheism with anti-theism. For example, he talks of the terrible things that occurred in the former Soviet Union because of, and often in the name of, atheism. For my money this could not be further from the truth. To persecute and kill people because they believe in a God is surely 'anti-theism'. I'm an atheist and all that it means for me is that I don't accept that God exists and I'm disinterested in practicing any form of religion, worship etc. If I was then to attack somebody because of their religious believe or burn a church (say) then I'd most likely consider myself an anti-theist. I'm indifferent to God, or an 'Atheist' and not an 'anti-theist' just as a natural disaster is 'Amoral' and not 'immoral'.
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266 of 302 people found the following review helpful
By T. Owen
So, having really enjoyed the celebrated work to which this book is a counter, I thought I'd give Dawkins's nemesis's book a try. After all, it's easy to choose to listen to someone who's arguing from your side; the challenge is to hear the counter arguments respectfully.

I'll give the professor his due; he has a measured approach that makes him far more charming a narrator than is Dawkins. The latter tends to go for the jugular, and I can envision him red-faced, pounding his keyboard at times.

Professor McGrath wisely lets Dawkins hang himself at times; when Dawkins is silly enough to use absolutes ("all religion is evil"), attention is drawn to it.

Nonetheless, writing a rebuttal to this book should also prove easy. After all, whilst it's true that Dawkins deliberately extracted bad bits of the Bible, it's still the case that they are in it, irrespective of whether there heppen to be good bits too.

Likewise, one of the most striking pages of Dawkins's work describes the god that is mentioned in the Old Testament using very negative adjectives based on accounts contained therein. McGrath's answer to that is "I don't believe in a god like that." That may be the case, but it doesn't change the fact that the stories that Dawkins read to come up with such a description are there, and so the professor's rebuttal is not effective.

I don't know. It's hard not to automatically side with the person who espouses one's own opinion, of course, in which case I'd be with Dawkins. But when all is said and done, this is not a cut-and-dried debate, and there is much that is worthwhile in the riposte. I would say, though, that Dawkins didn't totally undermine the case for a god; he undermined the case for organised religion.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Too Lightweight
I enjoyed TGD and was looking for a counter view. If this is it, then it's a laughably one sided discussion.
This book is lightweight in more ways than one. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
1.0 out of 5 stars Blah blah blah
McGrath is deluded. Virgin birth, Resurrection from the dead, talking snakes, this man
is supposed to be a scientist. Drivel ..
Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars True Scientific Approach
If only the mainstream media, including publishing houses would invest the same amount of time and energy in promoting books like this, that balance out the facile rhetoric and... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Stephen Ross
1.0 out of 5 stars rubbish
rubbish rubbish rubbish rubbish rubbish rubbish

I mean, just look at the title. its obvious it's rubbish!!!
It's a shame these sort of things get printed
Published 2 months ago by Ihaterain
5.0 out of 5 stars Well put together and argued
Systematic and analytical - challenges rationally and in a well constructed manner. Well worth reading - sent well packaged and timely as well, so very pleased.
Published 4 months ago by D. M. Dugdall
1.0 out of 5 stars mindnumbingly stupid
Couldn't give minus stars so one will have to do for this pile of tripe.I rarely get angry reading a book but this one really does bring on the red mist. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Dan
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent and well reasoned counter argument.
Very good if brief rebuttal of Dawkins' God Delusion book. Well worth a read and this is one amongst several other authors who have written counter arguments showing both the... Read more
Published 10 months ago by Orlando Larsson
5.0 out of 5 stars Just the facts
Excellent little book exposing all the cherry picking and distortion of facts in the God Delusion. read this if you want a well presented balanced argument
Published 10 months ago by Andrew J. Turley
5.0 out of 5 stars Fundamental riposte to Dawkins' fundamentalism
This is a great book: measured and impassioned in equal measure; and just as importantly thoroughly researched and meticulously argued. Read more
Published 11 months ago by J. Sale
5.0 out of 5 stars A good read
Immediate delivery on Kindle. Alister McGrath is a good writer and argues his case well. Not much else to say.
Published 12 months ago by Carol
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