The God Delusion Paperback – 21 May 2007
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More About the Author
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.
"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)
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Top Customer Reviews
Very early into it I realised this would enter the very short list of books that have changed the way I think about the world, sitting alongside The Handmaid's Tale and Bleak House to name but two.
In a sense the title book really tells you what it is going to contain.
Many have written on this subject but what makes this book so important is that it is written by a man who has both one of the finest modern minds alongside an ability to express his thought with a clarity and accessibility which is rare indeed.
The result is a thorough and searing dissection of religious belief.
Dawkins' main argument stems from the fact that a proper understanding of evolution can be used to explain the existence of all life on this planet. Religion is an outdated notion that stemmed from a lack of understanding in how the world works. He goes on to examine more specific aspects of religion such as the wrathful homicidal God of the Old Testament and questions the morality of some of the more wacky passages from the Bible.
The focus is mainly on Christianity as this is the religion that Richard Dawkins is most familiar with. However his most extreme examples of the evils committed as a result of religion all come from Islam though so it would have been helpful if he had discussed this and other religions in more detail.
I also felt that the book did not really address the main reason people cling to religious faith - because the alternative is to accept a world where they are completely alone, just another biological entity which will one day die and cease to exist. Richard Dawkins is clearly lucky enough to find beauty and joy in science, and especially in evolution (he is a biologist after all).Read more ›
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?Read more ›
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Sorry to say that half the book is used to list all the weaknesses in Christianity through the centuries. In this sense it is a lurid best seller. Read morePublished 3 days ago by R. D. Mannix
I need to buy this again as my son removed it from the house before I could read it. It's one of those books everyone should read, in my opinion.Published 5 days ago by Word Soup
You will learn quite a lot about when to use adverbs in polemical discourse but next to nothing about God. Dawkins has not a clue about religious experience. Read morePublished 7 days ago by Peter Eglington
Book came in excellent condition, interesting book, would recommend it to be read by people of all religions or no religion, or those with an interest in religion. Eye openingPublished 9 days ago by k wheeler
Very informative, nicely written, I dare to say - a world classic read.Published 11 days ago by Jan S.
Incredibly disappointing. I read this book honestly hoping to find answers. For example, I was hoping to find someone who could scientifically compare, e.g. Read morePublished 13 days ago by Ayako
A love of Ricky Gervais and Brian Cox brought me to this book and a general awareness of Richard Dawkins. Read morePublished 20 days ago by Amazon Customer
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