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The God Delusion Paperback – 21 May 2007

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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: 12.7 x 2.9 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,335 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 204 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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"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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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Adrian Maxwell on 21 Jan. 2015
Format: Paperback
Lots of reviews. What to say that already hasn't been said? Something insightful and interesting. Alan Partridge would pose this question - This God thing, what's that all about?

I am in the humanist camp. It seems to me, and I may be wrong, there are 3 big, basic questions; (1) Is there a god? (2) If there is, in any form you like, who cares? and (3) Is the human institution of religion, in any form you like, a good thing? The answers to Q1 and Q2 are hardly subjectively important. The head of a pin question. We are free to believe anything we like - the Flying Spaghetti Monster?

We are quite rightly free to have faith, whatever that may mean, in anything we choose. What another person believes in or has faith in doesn't, per se, concern me or impact on me at all. Belief or faith may only impact on me if those who possess it put it into practice in a way that operates to my detriment. Only then does it become an existential issue. And existential issues as opposed to supernatural ones are the only game in town.

So, it really boils down to Q3 being of any consequence. Religion is the human construct that provides the structure, form, platform, arena, manifestation, apparatus in and on which the answers to (1) and (2) may effect me. In reviewing The God Delusion a number of issues should be pushed into the long grass - the potential harm or good of a single person holding a god belief and wandering among a planet of those who don't, the growing idea that god is among all of us all the time and is everything all the time. For Dawkins and a sensible discussion god means a personal, supernatural creator of the religious scriptures. That particular view is all smoke and mirrors and impossible to address meaningfully.
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754 of 864 people found the following review helpful By Mr Tea-Mole on 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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Dr. H. A. Jones TOP 500 REVIEWER on 16 July 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins, Bantam Press (Transworld), 2006, 406 ff.

There have been so very many reviews of this book that I feel I have little to add. As the title implies, it is about the concept of God as imaginative fantasy - an idea that is finding increasing acceptance amongst Christian clergy in Britain (Bishop John Robinson) and America (Bishop John Shelby Spong). There are many other examples in Britain (such as Anthony Freeman, Don Cupitt) and I'm sure others in America. For these men, Man has created God in his own image rather than God creating Man in His image. Richard Dawkins was Professor for the Public Understanding of Science at Oxford University when this book was written.

As well as dismissing the idea of God, Dawkins points up the vacuity of scripture as a wholly human enterprise - an idea again supported by many clergy and one that is rationally sound. He also regards the indoctrination of children with one specific religious view as intrinsically evil. He dismisses the idea that our sense of morality drives in any way from belief in a deity. He does however accept that religion (however illusory) provides comfort to many people but, unlike many atheist authors who followed him, Dawkins does not ascribe all the world's evils to religion. It is fundamentalism that Dawkins really rails against rather than any kind of religion, which he thinks may have evolved as a Darwinian contribution to survival or as a meme.

This is an extremely well argued and wittily written book - see, for example, the description of Pope John Paul's survival of an assassination attempt in 1981 (p. 35). The saddest thing is that it will probably be read only by those who are already atheists or at least agnostics. There is a good list of reference books, notes on items in various chapters and a quite detailed index.

Howard Jones is the author of The Thoughtful Guide to God
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