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85 of 121 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars These dogmatists, they don't like it up 'em!
This is a small book, printed on thick paper with big margins - which sounds like a criticism, but, since it makes its case succintly, stylishly and, for the most part, carefully, really functions as a dig at Richard Dawkins' big book, The God Delusion, which brims with ideas apparently cribbed from stage 1 philosophy notes - the implication being that a more careful and...
Published on 25 Sep 2007 by Olly Buxton

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79 of 111 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Darwin's Angel gives Dawkins a pasting?
I approached this book with some glee; it has generally had good reviews and I had high hopes of it. There have been several previous books, attempting serious criticisms of Richard Dawkins's highly popular (currently 51 weeks on the US `Bestseller list') The God Delusion. These earlier books disappointed me; they either failed to rebut Dawkins, they misrepresented him...
Published on 16 Sep 2007 by John Anderson


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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, 3 Feb 2013
By 
E. Heel (Oxfordshire, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Darwin's Angel: An Angelic Riposte to "The God Delusion" (Hardcover)
As a Christian (albeit a currently doubting one) who has just read "The God Delusion", I was interested to read this supposedly Christian response. Sadly, I was disappointed.

Although the cover blurb does suggest that this book is not supposed to be a vigorous, comprehensive and in-depth response to "The God Delusion", I did expect something a bit more convincing. Surprisingly, as a Christian, I found "The God Delusion" to be logical and carefully argued (although there were some parts that went over my head). In contrast, I found "Darwin's Angel" to be full of weak arguments and logic.

Like other reviewers of this book, I also think that John Cornwell appears to have misunderstood Richard Dawkins on a few points, and has misrepresented what he wrote or misquoted him. And again like other reviewers, I also think that John Cornwell's / the angel's attitude toward Richard Dawkins is a bit too critical of him personally. I think that a more loving, forgiving approach that concentrated solely on what Dawkins wrote, rather than on Dawkins himself, would have been more effective.

Of course, as a Christian, I think that it is good to try to write a response to "The God Delusion". However, this attempt perhaps does more harm than good.
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5 of 10 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Riposte into own foot, 19 Jan 2009
By 
D. A. Laturner "Riffler" (Bracknell) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Darwin's Angel: An Angelic Riposte to "The God Delusion" (Hardcover)
Oh dear.

One has to wonder why Cornwell has chosen not to attack Dawkins' genuine arguments but wilful misrepresentations of them. Did he not understand the arguments in The God Delusion, or could he not disprove them?

Cornwell succeeds only in slaughtering a regiment of straw men.
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28 of 52 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An enjoyable, non-spiteful response, 30 Sep 2007
By 
Oliver Lea "Oli Lea" (Portsmouth, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Darwin's Angel: An Angelic Riposte to "The God Delusion" (Hardcover)
This book serves as milk to cool the burns inflicted by Dawkins vehemence. Rather than return fire, John Cornwell takes a lighthearted approach, reminding us that we are not obliged to "take Dawkins as seriously as he takes himself".

This is NOT a book which defends any specific religion, nor is it even especially a defence of theism or an argument in favour of God's existence. What it shows to the perceptive reader is that if Dawkins turns out not to have landed the death-blow to religion, that it is not simply because of blind faith and stupidity.

Cornwell duly highlights the fact that Dawkins unjustifiably fails to see a distinction between benign religion and dangerous fanaticism.
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21 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A dose of common sense, 18 Sep 2007
By 
RW (Cambridge, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Darwin's Angel: An Angelic Riposte to "The God Delusion" (Hardcover)
In a short, easily readble book, John Cornwell reminds the reader that there is more to life than the often rather bleak reductionism of Richard Dawkins. Its good to see quotes from poets and writers as well as philosophers and theologians brought to bear on the question of what makes a life worth living. Plenty of avenues for further reflection are introduced here.
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17 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Towards a calm polemic, 25 Sep 2007
By 
Pugin (Stourbridge) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Darwin's Angel: An Angelic Riposte to "The God Delusion" (Hardcover)
When I read this book I was impressed first of all by the degree of its convergence with Dawkin's negative critique of religion. The next thing I noticed was that it was written at breakneck speed, which is just what one would expect of a polemic. These two salient facts should give us pause before we enter too quickly into mutual denunciation, particularly about motivation.

Of course 'everyone agrees' about how dreadful 'religion' can be, and how dangerously easy it is to manipulate traditional and intemperate believers. One thing that Cornwell's critics correctly observe is that dangerous religion is hugely widespread and cannot be ignored or dismissed. But then the question is, whether there is anything to salvage, whether anything 'intelligent' is embedded in religious language and poetry, whether there is any intellectually respectable form of religious belief and practice. This seems to be at the real heart of the debate between Cornwell and Dawkins, and it seems to me that on the whole Cornwell has a stronger grasp of the alternative possibilities than Dawkins does, and this mostly because he offers an interpretation of the traditional biblical myth that Dawkins seems not to address. Everything then turns on the possibilities of interpretation. In particular, it would be disappointing if religious language and imagery were found to be reducible to what any good secular humanist would want to defend anyway, though in less quaint language. Does religious lnguage intimate human possibilities just beyond our normal grasp? It is one thing to acknowledge, as Dawkins does, though he does it with an air of honest bafflement, that 'decent people' can be 'religious', and quite another to show how that decency can be inspired and fostered by the possibilities inherent in the religious traditions. It seems to me that this is where Cornwell excels, and one does not have to agree with everything he says to see this excellence at work. Cornwell shows that it is not mad or idiotic to be a theist, and I say this as one who is no theist. But a rational case for theism is not a rational case for literalism and creationism. As far as the 'expressive' or 'symbolic' content of religion is concerned everything depends on what it is to unpack the metaphors and myths of the biblical traditions. It should not be assumed that it is to be unpacked in terms that one already grasps and understands: there is more than one sense of transcendence, as may be witnessed in that unexpected switch in perspective about what is important and what is trivial, about what is just there before one's eyes, as Dennis Potter reports, when one is in the presence of death. To put it another way, what were the ancients seeking to capture in their stories of creation? What insights, if any, were they seeking to express? That seems to me a better kind of question than one which asks what the evidence is for a creator God. Of course there is no evidence becaause it is not an evidential claim. We are or they were telling stories round the camp fire.

As for the breakneck speed ... Cornwell is certainly careless in places, as Dawkins points out on his website. Dawkins does not say that the famous remark 'if God is dead, then everything is permitted' expresses a view of Dostoevsky. It is a remark made by one of the characters. On the other hand, Sartre made the same careless mistake. However, the exclusive alternatives are not stupidity or mendacity: simply carelessness, a fault, no doubt, but not of the order too rapidly assumed. But the real issue, which is wholly obscured by all the indignation, is how one understands the dramatic significance of the remark in the context of the novel, how one relates it to the figure of Fr Zossima, for instance, and this is where the creative and imaginative work about what constitutes religion needs to be done, and Cornwell's comments here cannot be dismissed with the impatience of critics who say, look, I am clever and well qualified and I don't understand what on earth he is saying. It is easy to dismiss a position as vague when really it is the vagueness of one's understanding that needs to be addressed. It is difficult to understand Fr Zossima. That is the point. But it is not the end of the story.
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8 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Undone by an Angel, 11 Jun 2008
By 
J Grainger - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Darwin's Angel: An Angelic Riposte to "The God Delusion" (Hardcover)
This was an enjoyable book because it addressed specific aspects of the God Delusion succinctly and without unecessary embellishment. One can only wonder how Dawkins would respond to these points. There again, someone (Dawkins) who gets his wife to read out loud his own book - twice - is hardly likely to take kindly to criticism of it. Dawkins's myopic views seem mirrored by the reviews of some of his supporters. Dr V Stewart [Real Name, apparently] finds Cornwell's 'patronising tone repellent'. You couldn't make it up! Has Dr Stewart ever read anything Dawkins has written? If he had he'd easily recognize patronising words. S Page [Real name, apparently] accuses Cornwell as "deliberately misrepresenting Dawkins' argument". Anyone who had actually read the book could hardly make this claim with any objectivity. If anyone wants a precis of the book they could do worse than read Chapter 2 'Your Sources' to evaluate the background to Dawkins' views and Chapter 9 'Theories of Everything' for a robust and, arguably, unanswerable challenge to Dawkins' firmly held belief that science will one day provide an answer to everything.
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2 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Boring, 6 July 2009
By 
S. Arif (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Darwin's Angel: An Angelic Riposte to "The God Delusion" (Hardcover)
I naively expected some rational and genueinly critical arguments against the God Delusion. There are none. Cornwell makes a handful of arguments which make you think 'ok that's an interesting way of looking at things' but it falls a long way short of been a 'response' to Dawkins. An example: he states 'religious' scientists will remain in the closet in today's world because science would 'ex-communicate' such individuals. Just as in the past, Dawkins argued that it was the other way around, athesist scientists would remain in the closet for risk to their lives of challeging the Church. Whereas Dawkins gives hints of evidence of the belief tendency of certain past great scientists, Cornwell does not cite any evidence for a single scientist. A good book to entrench my view that religon is for people that can't/don't want to think for themselves.
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5 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I hoped for better; I was disappointed. Another critic bites the dust., 26 May 2008
By 
This review is from: Darwin's Angel: An Angelic Riposte to "The God Delusion" (Hardcover)
I thought John Cornwell would do so much better than this. Often sly and rarely convincing. He is playing out of his league in taking on Dawkins although this is much better than most of the boring, extended Christian tracts which, delivered ex cathedra, merely repeat, "I know best and Richard Dawkins is ignorant."

To any Dawkins haters reading this all I would say is, "Keep on practising but success in undermining Dawkins with any fair minded readers is a long way off. I suppose you could try prayer except that it is Dawkins who seems to be on the side of the angels."
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19 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Angel takes on an Old Devil, 5 Sep 2007
By 
This review is from: Darwin's Angel: An Angelic Riposte to "The God Delusion" (Hardcover)
* * * * *

I really liked this book. It's so refreshing in the midst of all the mud-slinging by Dawkins and his cronies. The book is written from the perspective of a friendly Guardian Angel, with John Cornwell the earthly interpreter of its divine wisdom. He talks about the issues that Dawkins raises regarding religion and religious people, science as a doctrine for atheists etc. It takes issue with Dawkins sources and some of the dangerous implications of his dogmatic ideologies. Although it talks about all faiths, it does take on an openly Christian viewpoint of religion which might be slightly distancing for people of a non-Christian cultural or religious background. This should not matter though, as the real argument is about deity and the existence of the divine, not a specific religion. You must read this book if you read the God Delusion, and you should read it if you are interested in the debate, which is current. Five stars.
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4 of 12 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not worth the thick paper and wide margins it's printed on, 7 Oct 2008
By 
S. Tighe (lincolnshire, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Darwin's Angel: An Angelic Riposte to "The God Delusion" (Hardcover)
i think before publishing a rebutal of anothers work one should at least do the other the service of reading and understanding the work. Understanding is totally lacking from this book.
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Darwin's Angel: An Angelic Riposte to "The God Delusion"
Darwin's Angel: An Angelic Riposte to "The God Delusion" by John Cornwell (Hardcover - 6 Sep 2007)
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