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The God Delusion [Hardcover]

Richard Dawkins
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,228 customer reviews)

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Book Description

2 Oct 2006
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

  • Hardcover: 406 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam Press; 1st edition (2 Oct 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0593055489
  • ISBN-13: 978-0593055489
  • Product Dimensions: 22.9 x 15.5 x 3.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,228 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 37,710 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

'Dawkins pulls out all the stops to demonstrate the force of his thesis
... lively and highly readable.'
-- Sunday Times

'A spirited and exhilarating read...Dawkins comes roaring forth in
the full vigour of his powerful arguments...' -- Joan Bakewell, Guardian

'Everyone should read it. Aethists will love Mr Dawkins's incisive
logic and rapier wit...' -- Economist

'This is a brave and important book.'
-- Desmond Morris

Book Description

The international bestselling broadside that has taken the world by storm

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
723 of 832 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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206 of 240 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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Real eye opener 3 May 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I've been a bit of a Richard Dawkins fanboy ever since I saw his Channel Four shows 'Enemies of Reason', so it was only natural that I would want this book. It does take some reading, and some parts of it go over my head but it is a very interesting subject and Mr Dawkins doesn't hold back against his 'enemies'.
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2 of 2 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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book 5 May 2014
By Miss Z
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Everyone needs to read it, to think again about how our society deals with religion. It should be everyone's choice!
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321 of 384 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Preaching to the converted 28 Sep 2006
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
If you're reading this, the chances are you're either a 'radical atheist' (the preferred term of Dawkins' late friend Douglas Adams, to whom the book is dedicated), hoping that The God Delusion will give you a good satisfying dose of anti-religion rhetoric; or you're a devout believer, hoping to be roundly appalled and outraged.

Either way, you could be disappointed. For the first half or more, The God Delusion is more rigorous and scientifically demanding than we have been led to expect (Jeremy Paxman in interviewing Dawkins called it 'entertaining': well, yes and no). Dawkins goes to great, and occasionally tiresomely great, lengths to detail why the existence of the universe, the development of life and the variety of creation can be comfortably explained by science and probability. And then he gets to grips with traditional justifications for the existence of God, disposing of them in his own neat way. Perhaps these sections seemed superfluous to me as someone who is satisfied that Dawkins is right and there is no God; and doubtless they will seem equally superfluous - in another sense - to those who believe in God and not in Dawkins.

(It's worth saying at this point that when Dawkins means 'God', he means a personal, supernatural creator of the religious scriptures, a God-being rather than the more progressive notion of God as something nebulous that exists in all of us. This is after all the commonly understood meaning of God, which children are taught and most Christian, Islamic and Jewish adults continue to believe in. For sophisticated modern believers, who do not take the scriptures literally, Dawkins doesn't really regard you as religious at all; and you take that as an insult or compliment as you see fit.
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