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The God Delusion [Paperback]

Richard Dawkins
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,238 customer reviews)
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Book Description

21 May 2007

The God Delusion caused a sensation when it was published in 2006. Within weeks it became the most hotly debated topic, with Dawkins himself branded as either saint or sinner for presenting his hard-hitting, impassioned rebuttal of religion of all types.

His argument could hardly be more topical. While Europe is becoming increasingly secularized, the rise of religious fundamentalism, whether in the Middle East or Middle America, is dramatically and dangerously dividing opinion around the world. In America, and elsewhere, a vigorous dispute between 'intelligent design' and Darwinism is seriously undermining and restricting the teaching of science. In many countries religious dogma from medieval times still serves to abuse basic human rights such as women's and gay rights. And all from a belief in a God whose existence lacks evidence of any kind.

Dawkins attacks God in all his forms. 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.

The God Delusion is a brilliantly argued, fascinating polemic that will be required reading for anyone interested in this most emotional and important subject.


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Product details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Black Swan; New Ed with additions edition (21 May 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 055277331X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0552773317
  • Product Dimensions: 12.6 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,238 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 538 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Richard Dawkins first catapulted to fame with his iconic work The Selfish Gene, which he followed with a string of bestselling books: The Extended Phenotype, The Blind Watchmaker, River Out of Eden, Climbing Mount Improbable, Unweaving the Rainbow, The Ancestor's Tale, The God Delusion, The Greatest Show on Earth, The Magic of Reality, and a collection of his shorter writings, A Devil's Chaplain.

Dawkins is a Fellow of both the Royal Society and the Royal Society of Literature. He is the recipient of numerous honours and awards, including the Royal Society of Literature Award (1987), the Michael Faraday Award of the Royal Society (1990), the International Cosmos Prize for Achievement in Human Science (1997), the Kistler Prize (2001), the Shakespeare Prize (2005), the Lewis Thomas Prize for Writing about Science (2006), the Galaxy British Book Awards Author of the Year Award (2007), the Deschner Prize (2007) and the Nierenberg Prize for Science in the Public Interest (2009). He retired from his position as the Charles Simonyi Professor for the Public Understanding of Science at Oxford University in 2008 and remains a fellow of New College.

In 2012, scientists studying fish in Sri Lanka created Dawkinsia as a new genus name, in recognition of his contribution to the public understanding of evolutionary science. In the same year, Richard Dawkins appeared in the BBC Four television series Beautiful Minds, revealing how he came to write The Selfish Gene and speaking about some of the events covered in his latest book, An Appetite for Wonder. In 2013, Dawkins was voted the world's top thinker in Prospect magazine's poll of 10,000 readers from over 100 countries.

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Review

"A very important book, especially in these times... a magnificent book, lucid and wise, truly magisterial " (Ian McEwan)

"Written with all the clarity and elegance of which Dawkins is a master. It should have a place in every school library - especially in the library of every "faith" school" (Philip Pullman)

"A resounding trumpet blast for truth... It feels like coming up for air" (Matt Ridley)

"A spirited and exhilarating read... Dawkins comes roaring forth in the full vigour of his powerful arguments, laying into fallacies and false doctrines with the energy of the polemicist at his most fiery" (Joan Bakewell Guardian)

"This is my favourite book of all time... a heroic and life-changing work" (Derren Brown)

Book Description

The international bestselling broadside that has taken the world by storm

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Thank god for that! 8 Dec 2012
By Saint
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Having reached my 60s and, ocassionally, pondering the meaning of life, whilst having serious doubts about my Christian indoctrination at a Church of England primary school in the 1950s, this book has been a revelation. In future, when I see that little box on application forms marked "religion" I can now write "none" with complete conviction. I am now free of doubts about the existence of heaven or any of the superstitious nonsense that drags us into a "faith" early in our lives. I am even more glad that, despite grand-parental tuttings and mutterings, my wife and I have refused to let our children be christened or go to church against their choice. My only negative criticisms of this book concern the initial pages wherein the author feels the need to rant against his critics and, irritatingly, the author's reference to numerous academic sources with, to my mind, obscure celebrity status. I may be ignorant but I don't wish to feel ignorant! That said, I would recommend this book to anyone, of any "faith", to help rid themselves of their fears and dispel the lies of their religious indoctrinators.
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730 of 839 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars By a practising Muslim... 14 Mar 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
An excellent book, very well-written and thoughtfully argued. Stimulating and challenging - at times scathing - but something which definitely propels one to delve deeper into the reasons for belief - or indeed lack of them.

Dawkins' central thesis seems to be that the evolutionary process of natural selection, as propounded by Darwin and bolstered by the amalgamation of much subsequent indicatory evidence, provides a viable and real alternative to the "God Hypothesis" - indeed it blows it out of the water. But, why then - if blatantly false - is religion so ubiquitous? Evoking theories of evolutionary psychology and the human need for consolation and meaning (as well as the scientific ignorance of our ancestors), Dawkins explains the popularity of religion in purely secular terms.

But what, then, about morality? How can we derive our principles of right and wrong if not from an absolute source of incontrovertible authority (God / revelation)? Again Dawkins responds by explaining how the roots of morality have Darwinian origins and includes a chapter on how the moral lessons of traditional religion (quoting biblical scripture, although I suspect his treatment of the Quran or other sacred texts would be equally unsympathetic) are not that endearing anyway. Why be so hostile though - isn't religion a good thing, a quaint yet harmless cultural phenomenon? Well no, look at the fundamentalists, terrorists, homophobes and other fanatics being spawned by the religious project in increasingly large numbers. Dawkins is unequivocal: religion is dangerous and we need to protect ourselves from it.

So what's the solution, what do we do?
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208 of 242 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
The other reviews of this book demonstrate what a touchy subject this is! Whatever your views I would recommend reading this book. It's fluent, well argued and engaging - although he is sometimes so angered by religious people that the fury starts to seep through and you can sense his knuckles whitening on the pen.

As with many theses the nuggets are sometimes tucked away. He casually reflects at one point how "believers" are actually atheistic about many gods (Apollo, Ra, Vishnu, Odin etc) - they dismiss almost as many gods as he does.

His scale of believing/not believing is interesting too: this isn't just a case of yes or no, there are many graduations on the way through - so, which are you? Quite atheistic but vaguely think there might be a God? Find out where you are on this handy, easy-to-read scale!

Seriously: this is a book that puts religious belief into perspective. If you are fifty like me, Christianity was probably a big part of your childhood education, and you challenged it at your peril. Like everything else your teachers believed in (corporal punishment, fair play, fitness, mind/body balance) in later life you have to assess the value of those ideas. Are you going to try to pass them on to your children? Are you sure that's right?

My tip - don't read the intro when you start: it's the angriest chapter, as it recounts the polemical (and sometimes downright horrid) attacks which have been made on Dawkins about the subject, so he's cross.

My own beliefs? Why should you care! This is an amazon review. It's about the book and whether it's worth reading. Enough with the ranting already.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
I need no conversion, indoctrination or to be convinced that there is no God, since I have been an atheist almost all of my live, in spite of being born in a catholic household. So, when I picked up this book in a bookstore in Rome, I did it just out of curiosity. And it was a ‘blessing’, first because it is a very interesting book indeed and secondly, because it put me in contact with the scientific work of professor Dawkins, which I intend to read in a very near future (The Magic of Reality, The Selfish Gene, and The Ancestor's Tale).

So, if you are an atheist like me, you will find yourself agreeing with the rational, logical and sane argumentation again and again. Everything will be obvious, so crystal clear, and you just wonder how incredible it is that such evidences and common sense are not shared by everybody. But even for an atheist, this book has magnificent moments of discovery, not only in the field of religion, but also in the field of history, psychology or science. And of course, at the end you will be even more enlightened as a non-believer and reinforced in your ‘believes’ and rationality.

If you are someone religious but with doubts, who feels that something is not right about religious teachings, someone curious about how the atheistic view works, then this is the book for you. The only thing I can wish for, is that at the end you will be in a position to make your own choices, and free yourself from the choices that others made for you when you were probably too young and helpless to defend yourself against nonsense religious brain-wash. This book is your chance of freeing yourself from the claws of religion, any religion, and to build a real and beautiful image of the world and everything attached to it.
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