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The God Delusion Paperback – 16 Jan 2008


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Product details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Mariner Books,US; Reprint edition (16 Jan. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0618918248
  • ISBN-13: 978-0618918249
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 2.7 x 21 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,335 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,184,734 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

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The international bestselling broadside that has taken the world by storm --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 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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214 of 249 people found the following review helpful By Andrew INGRAM on 18 Jun. 2007
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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