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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Miracle of a book .......
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...
Published 4 days ago by Adrian Maxwell

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1.0 out of 5 stars Unreasoned Rant as opposed to a Scientific Proposition.
I bought this book hoping to get a reasoned scientific argument for atheism. What I got was an unbearable evangelical sermon from a self-important author. Rather than presenting a rational argument for atheism this book comes across as a bad salesman's attempt to persuade one to buy one brand rather than another. I really didn't feel that I was being given any kind of...
Published 1 day ago by Richard Wiltshire


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Miracle of a book ......., 21 Jan. 2015
By 
Adrian Maxwell "Floreat Aula" (Bedford Falls) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The God Delusion (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.

Also I assume that we all accept there is a burden of proving a positive and that there is not a burden of proving a negative. I say this because I have noticed the trend of believers (theists) insisting that the default position is that god must be disproved.

A thread of criticism is that RD's style in the book (and, indeed, on You Tube etc) betrays his distain for believers. This is demonstrated by a condescending or a facial grimace of astonishment when listening to views other than his own. But this is really shooting the messenger and avoid the arguments. Of course the subject matter inflames the passions but it is surprising and often hilarious reading the personal attacks on Dawkins, Hitchens, Harris et al. Whilst Dawkins does attempt to objectively deconstruct the (a) belief in god I interpreted the book as largely an attack on religion and a function of RD's frustration with the weakness, ineptitude and craven nature of the human condition.

By `religion' I mean the personal or mass celebration and assertion of the existence of a god and the consequences that believers seem obliged to implement. Without the history, apparatus and form of religion the issue of the existence of a god is entirely moot and passive. It cannot be denied that religion sometimes does good. But this is the same as saying that motorways or fracking can be often good things. On any objective view of history and current analysis of world events, religion doesn't come out too well.

At the end of the Ally Tennant, Therapist and the 2 disturbed people sketch, Alan Partidge asks his guest Ally Tenant `was that good therapy or barmy old cack?' I am driven to hold that that Dawkins succeeds in showing that religion and god fall into Alan's latter category.
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754 of 864 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars By a practising Muslim..., 14 Mar. 2009
By 
Mr Tea-Mole (Lancashire, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The God Delusion (Paperback)
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? Simple, answers Richard with customary gusto: take a strong dose of courage followed by an even stronger one of rationalism, then cast off these restrictive fetters we've inherited from childhood. Grow up, for God's sake (no pun intended), and breathe the fresh, fragrant air of twenty first century scientific freedom! Our experiments have revealed, after all, that there are no fairies at the bottom of the garden.

This, in a nutshell, is a synopsis of the book and something, I must say, I found to be an exhilarating read. I approached the book with an open mind, determined not to allow the predilections of my preconceptions taint my appreciation of his arguments, and was sufficiently enthused to write directly to the author (I await his response). It's always refreshing to have your beliefs challenged, and Dawkins is an expert at doing that. He also has a brilliant knack of reducing complex scientific content down to digestible chunks (peppered with generous offerings of very entertaining humour), and this adds considerably to the readability value of the text. It's not for nothing that Dawkins was the Charles Simonyi Professor for the Public Understanding of Science at Oxford University, demonstrating his ability to explain - in simple terms - science to the layperson. Also worth pointing out is one of the key benefits of the book in the way in which it collates into a single place so many of the classic as well as modern arguments for belief versus disbelief, making it into a cutting-edge handbook for reference.

So what of the key questions the text raises? How can people of faith come to terms with the structured and forceful arguments outlined above? Can we marry faith with modern twenty first century scientific rationalism or are the two fundamentally incompatible, consigned to follow paths of mutually irreconcilable divergence?

I, for one, remain content with my faith as a Muslim after reading Dawkins' book. Although appreciating the validity of many of his arguments, and recognising the negative impact that extreme religion can have, I'm not convinced entirely by the argument for blind and random evolution. Too many holes exist for my liking, and a "leap of faith" is required similar to what the religious person must commit to. I also found his section on the "anthropic principle" to be singularly unconvincing. Cosmology and the origin of life is something science is still stabbing in the dark at (although Dawkins says he has "faith" the answer will be found as the discoveries of science continue). I choose to have faith that the answer has been given to us, whilst fully respecting those who choose to disagree. Ultimately, it's the personal prerogative of each individual to forge an understanding of existence unique to them, whether buttressed by an accepted world-view or not. Dawkins challenges and stimulates us into believing that there is nothing outside of ourselves - we are the sum and substance of billions of years of chance occurrences and all supra-natural entities our ancestors believed in are nothing but the fictions of human imagination. What we choose to believe, though, is our individual and independent choice.
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214 of 249 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars In 100 years I sense this will be seen as a timely book, 18 Jun. 2007
By 
This review is from: The God Delusion (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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330 of 394 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Preaching to the converted, 28 Sept. 2006
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This review is from: The God Delusion (Hardcover)
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.)

All this is worthwhile but when the book was more than half over, by page 200, and we were still on "The Roots of Religion," I couldn't help wondering when it would all get going. I needn't have worried. Dawkins, who has been quite restrained up until now - his disrespect limited to the odd sneer of 'faith-heads' or referring to the God of the Old Testament as a 'psychotic delinquent' - lets fly with the passion of his true feelings once the subject turns to morality.

And it is a thrilling, invigorating display. Dawkins systematically dismantles all arguments for morality being connected to religious belief in any sense (indeed shows how diametrically opposed much religious teaching is to widely accepted morality), addresses tricky issues like the Darwinian explanation for altruism, disposes of a few sacred cows along the way (Mother Teresa is "sanctimoniously hypocritical [with] cock-eyed judgement," God an "evil monster"), and horrifies us with religion's historical and present-day cruelties and injustices.

The other principal benefit of The God Delusion is that it gives us an opportunity to see all Dawkins' religious arguments in one place, having previously experienced them only in snippets of other books, newspaper articles and TV programmes. And he wastes no time in reiterating some of his favourite rhetoric:

"I think we should all wince when we hear a small child being labelled as belonging to some particular religion or another. Small children are too young to decide their views on the origins of the cosmos, of life and of morals. The very sound of the phrase 'Christian child' or 'Muslim child' should grate like fingernails on a blackboard."

"I have found it amusing strategy, when asked whether I am an atheist, to point out that the questioner is also an atheist when considering Zeus, Apollo, Amon Ra, Mithras, Baal, Thor, Wotan, the Golden Calf, the Flying Spaghetti Monster, and almost all the other gods that have been invented since the dawn of man. I just go one god further."

And having put the fear of, well, God into us by detailing the dark side of religious belief (Dawkins would argue that there is no bright side: if your good morals and deeds are determined solely by a God you believe in, he argues, you are an "immoral person we should steer a clear passage around"), he is too professional to leave us floundering. Instead he injects the last ten pages with a soaring essay on the passion of science, which "widens the window" on what we can see, and leaves us with a lasting taste of the freedom that can be ours if we can only dare to think for ourselves. It is reminiscent of this beautiful passage from his earlier book Unweaving the Rainbow, which seems a good place to end, letting the wonder of what's really there speak for itself:

"Fling your arms wide in an expansive gesture to span all of evolution from its origin at your left fingertip to today at your right fingertip. All across your midline to well past your right shoulder, life consists of nothing but bacteria.

"Many-celled, invertebrate life flowers somewhere around your right elbow. The dinosaurs originate in the middle of your right palm, and go extinct around your last finger joint. The whole history of Homo sapiens and our predecessor Homo erectus is contained in the thickness of one nail clipping. As for recorded history; as for the Sumerians, the Babylonians, the Jewish patriarchs, the dynasties of Pharaohs, the legions of Rome, the Christian Fathers, the Laws of the Medes and Persians which never change; as for Troy and the Greeks, Helen and Achilles and Agamemnon dead; as for Napoleon and Hitler, the Beatles and Bill Clinton, they and everyone that knew them are blown away in the dust of one light stroke of a nail file."
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best, 29 Jun. 2014
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This review is from: The God Delusion (Paperback)
I grew up believing in God. I was born in a christian family. We eat God, drink God, sleep God, but after reading this book, I can honestly say, the world looks different and its refreshing to see this God in a different perception. Highly recommend it.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent! - reinforced my existing views but added so much more clarity, depth & perspective, 26 Feb. 2014
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This review is from: The God Delusion (Kindle Edition)
This is an essential reference for anybody even remotely interested in the whole 'is there a god debate', irrespective of which side of the fence you are on. If you are a 'believer' and having read this book don't have any niggling doubts or serious questions to ask yourself, then the brainwashing process has done it's job well and only serves as further evidence of Dawkins' point. The 'God Delusion' is a comprehensive expose of probably the single most important debate in the world today. However, despite the gravity of the subject matter it still managed to amuse and entertain me massively!!

I would recommend this to anybody...
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The god delusion, 17 Sept. 2012
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Though I don't agree with all the views expressed in the book, I certainly agree that most of the problems of the world would decrease enormously if people realised there was no god. They are all fighting to protect just their own ideas, what they THINK
god is. And the only basis for their views is that it is THEIRS. How illogical and sad. And crazy and harmful. Everyone should have the courage to read it but I suspect the people who really need to do so, won't. It should be required reading in schools to enable children to examine the falsehoods they have been told and check them out. Or should that be CHUCK them out.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Unreasoned Rant as opposed to a Scientific Proposition., 25 Jan. 2015
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This review is from: The God Delusion (Paperback)
I bought this book hoping to get a reasoned scientific argument for atheism. What I got was an unbearable evangelical sermon from a self-important author. Rather than presenting a rational argument for atheism this book comes across as a bad salesman's attempt to persuade one to buy one brand rather than another. I really didn't feel that I was being given any kind of objective view of the argument - rather one that was twisted to favour Dawkins preconceived ideas.

It seems others have the same doubts about his objectivity. To quote the late Professor Antony Flew on Dawkins' selective use of quotes from Einstein:

"The fault of Dawkins as an academic (which he still was during the period in which he composed this book although he has since announced his intention to retire) was his scandalous and apparently deliberate refusal to present the doctrine which he appears to think he has refuted in its strongest form. Thus we find in his index five references to Einstein. They are to the mask of Einstein and Einstein on morality; on a personal God; on the purpose of life (the human situation and on how man is here for the sake of other men and above all for those on whose well-being our own happiness depends); and finally on Einstein's religious views. But (I find it hard to write with restraint about this obscurantist refusal on the part of Dawkins) he makes no mention of Einstein's most relevant report: namely, that the integrated complexity of the world of physics has led him to believe that there must be a Divine Intelligence behind it. (I myself think it obvious that if this argument is applicable to the world of physics then it must be hugely more powerful if it is applied to the immeasurably more complicated world of biology.)

Of course many physicists with the highest of reputations do not agree with Einstein in this matter. But an academic attacking some ideological position which s/he believes to be mistaken must of course attack that position in its strongest form. This Dawkins does not do in the case of Einstein and his failure is the crucial index of his insincerity of academic purpose and therefore warrants me in charging him with having become, what he has probably believed to be an impossibility, a secularist bigot." [This is an excerpt from a review which can be found by Googling Richard Dawkins and Flew.]

I'm now going to try a book on the same subject by A C Grayling and hope to find something a little more reasoned.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Probably the most important book I have ever read, 4 Jan. 2013
This review is from: The God Delusion (Kindle Edition)
For me, this book put religion in perspective. We are very lucky to have people like Dawkins who are brave enough to stand up and talk sense. The book made a big impact on my thinking and I have since spent some time on youtube listening to the author and other like minded intellectuals. This book should be read by everyone.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If everyone in the world became non-believers just think how much better the world would be, 6 Dec. 2014
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Every religious person in the world, no matter which religion, should read this, then maybe they would realise just how ridiculous the concept of religion is! I was a confirmed atheist before reading this, and Richard Dawkins with this book has confirmed everything I have ever thought about religion and religious people. I'm thankful that my parents allowed me to make my own mind up about these matters, I just wish religious parents would stop brainwashing their children just because they were. If everyone in the world became non-believers just think how much better the world would be!! The only down side to atheism is you don't get any holidays!
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The God Delusion
The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins (Paperback - 21 May 2007)
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