762 of 877 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars By a practising Muslim...
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...
Published on 14 Mar. 2009 by Mr Tea-Mole
2.0 out of 5 stars DAWKINS GOES MILITANT. AND FORGETS HIS EVOLUTION.
As a fellow scientist I have great respect for Dawkins ability to popularize complex ideas. Who can forget "THE SELFISH GENE"?! His ideas used to come across crystal clear and redolent with logical symmetry. And I think that he is long overdue for the Nobel Prize for his introduction of the notion of memes. I am afraid though that he bit the forbidden fruit for a...
Published on 26 Aug. 2007 by NeuroSplicer
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39 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome book, but unfortunately titled,
The book is excellent. The subject matter is controversial. The point of this book is to show how the belief in any god can be a delusion. Unfortunately, the title of the book will put off the people it is generally aimed toward, as it's pretty obvious the kind of person who will buy this is the kind of person who doesn't already believe in any god. A religious person picking this book up will likely approach it with a biased mind, based on years of teachings from scripture. A non-religious person picking it up will approach it with an open mind. It will give you more reasons for continuing your (non-)belief.
Science cannot prove or disprove the existence of a god, but if all religions claim to be true, and all religions follow various different gods, then not all of them are correct. However, this is the problem with many religions today - they all claim to be true.
Richard Dawkins explains clearly how the arguments of the religious can be deflated, by using reason, logic and thought. For example, because science cannot prove or disprove god, you can't leap from "I don't know" to "God did it". We simply don't know *yet*.
Dawkins also refutes the suggestions that Hitler was an atheist (he wasn't). Stalin *was* an atheist, but did he really kill anyone *because* of his atheism?
He also goes into plenty of detail on the various levels of religiosity of certain countries, and how their religious dogma has caused suffering and inhumane treatment for the merest aberration from scripture: stoning of adulterers etc.
All in all, this book is a must read for anyone with an interest in religion and where its place lies in today's world. If you've never read Dawkins before, start here.
5.0 out of 5 stars All hail the Flying Spaghetti Monster!,
This review is from: The God Delusion (Kindle Edition)
I was worried that this book would do little more than attack religion with condescending language. I'm an atheist but I still cringe at how tactless many other atheists are when discussing religion. Thank God this is not the case with Richard Dawkins and the God Delusion.
The God Delusion is a well reasoned and thorough look at the case against God and religion, why people are religious, why science is incompatible with God, the harm religion causes. You will also learn about evolution, philosophy, and psychology along the way. All of this is done in a very pleasant manner, without insults directed towards religious people.
As I said, I was an atheist before reading this book, but I still found it worth reading. I learnt so much and am now even more confident in my pro-atheism conclusions. If you are religious, I struggle to imagine how you can not be an atheist after reading this unless you deliberately refuse to understand the arguments, (In that case, why would you even bother reading this?)
4 of 5 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 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 god is in all of us and everything all the time 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.
4.0 out of 5 stars He was Preaching to a Convert,
I bought this book in 2007 and only last year 2014 did it come to the top of my very very high pile of 'books to read'! I must admit it was for me quite a slog, I read it on and off for months and I am so glad I am done with it. It is a 'heavy' read, overloaded with information and facts but I learned new things from the mountain of references he made. Dawkins is a very clever man but for me he was preaching to the converted, I am surrounded by very religious people on a daily basis and so some of the anecdotes and analogies in the book I would quite like to use should I find myself in an argument. I found one or two flaws but there was so much stuff in the book I can no longer remember what they were. Yes, the book is quite funny and amusing at times but it is rather densely packed with facts and I am in two minds whether, as some have said, the book needed a good editor, but that might have taken away his passion for the subject matter. Religion is a force for good and a force for evil.
42 of 52 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Right thesis, but could have used a good editor,
This review is from: The God Delusion (Hardcover)
This book will surely attract agnostics and atheists as its majority audience so it is saying what a lot of us already know and think. The book says a lot we'd all like to have said publicly and globally, like atheists don't murder thousands of people by flying planes into buildings, etc., so it is a gratifying agent for saying what needs to be said and heard. I continue to be amazed at how many religious people don't actually know the contents of their Bible and Quran and/or do not question it. I am one of those people who doesn't close my door to Jehovah Witnesses, I give them time and alarm them with the Bible's stories of Jephthwa, Elisha, Lot and Abraham and query whether this is the behaviour of righteous people or the barking mad who would be committed to mental asylums if they were around today. (The last JWs that came to my door actually had no knowledge of Elisha's God-invoked murder of children in 2 Kings as punishment for them laughing at his bald pate.) So, if so many theists don't even read their own holy texts it's difficult to see how many will rush out to read this book. It's like the majority of fundmentalist Muslims supporting the fatwa against Salman Rushdie without having actually read The Satanic Verses.
Which brings me to a few failings I see in this book:
- It doesn't hit its stride until circa page 200 when it starts looking at the absurdity of the Bible by reference to its content, especially the Old Testamant. That's a long wait to get serious in a 370-page book.
- The narrative is meandering and fragmented. Dawkins repeatedly walks into subject areas then quickly puts the subject aside saying he will come to that later. This resembles a University lecture where the lecturer has the basic backbone of what he is lecturing on and an end game but wanders off at tangents as he goes. The book would have far more punch and cogency had a good editor been allowed to structure it and give it more coherence.
- Dawkins does get emotional on the subject via a plethora of exclamation marks and italicised words that dilute the power of the arguments that would be stronger without them.
- At times he resorts to ridiculing his adversaries, at one point even using the schoolyard "Nar-nar-na-nar-nar". Again: formidable, objective reasoning isn't enhanced by child-like language.
- And finally, Dawkins can be self-indulgent with copious name-dropping and mentioning his wife reading the book aloud to him from cover to cover which was a little wincing.
Without these distractions, its intended audience of reasonable and reasoning theists prepared to question their beliefs would have a better platform to debate and engage from.
21 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Why don't sensible people completely agree with him?,
It is such an intelligent and well reasoned book: it must be very frustrating to Dawkins that thinking people regularly reject his conclusion. I think the problem is that he didn't take enough time studying what real theists are like, and why they believe. Yes of course there are crazies in the world who he ably demolishes, but many religious people I have met seem to be much subtler than the straw men he puts up. I don't think people are prepared to walk with him all the way because his theory fits their(my) experience like a clog fits a foot - not badly, but chafing a bit. he's like Ayn Rand - plausible completely while your reading her, but then you realise that her world is peopled by 1 dimensional characters. Read the book because it is excellent: read all the thousand odd reviews too cos they are a vital part of the story. Okay, you don't have to read all of them!
13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Thorough, reasoned, but over-stated,
The book comes alive in the last chapter as Dawkins waxes lyrical on the wonders of the universe which are all the more so because of a lack of a deistic fingerprint.
Before this point the book could have been somewhat shorter, there is a fair amount of repetition, and a tone which at times shows too much exasperation, but Dawkins point is clearly made and difficult to refute.
All in all a good, important read, which I don't think will convert many people, but may tip an agnostic or two over and bring a little doubt into scientific theists.
12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you have doubts about religion, read this book. If you don’t, read it too!,
I need no conversion, indoctrination or to be convinced that there is no God, since I have been an atheist almost all of my live, in spite of being born in a catholic household. So, when I picked up this book in a bookstore in Rome, I did it just out of curiosity. And it was a ‘blessing’, first because it is a very interesting book indeed and secondly, because it put me in contact with the scientific work of professor Dawkins, which I intend to read in a very near future (The Magic of Reality, The Selfish Gene, and The Ancestor's Tale).
So, if you are an atheist like me, you will find yourself agreeing with the rational, logical and sane argumentation again and again. Everything will be obvious, so crystal clear, and you just wonder how incredible it is that such evidences and common sense are not shared by everybody. But even for an atheist, this book has magnificent moments of discovery, not only in the field of religion, but also in the field of history, psychology or science. And of course, at the end you will be even more enlightened as a non-believer and reinforced in your ‘believes’ and rationality.
If you are someone religious but with doubts, who feels that something is not right about religious teachings, someone curious about how the atheistic view works, then this is the book for you. The only thing I can wish for, is that at the end you will be in a position to make your own choices, and free yourself from the choices that others made for you when you were probably too young and helpless to defend yourself against nonsense religious brain-wash. This book is your chance of freeing yourself from the claws of religion, any religion, and to build a real and beautiful image of the world and everything attached to it.
If you are heavy believer, one of those persons with no doubts whatsoever, who knows without flinching what’s right and wrong for yourself and everybody else, then you could read this book too, just for the sheer pleasure of imagining professor Dawkins or myself, suffering the tortures of hell for all eternity to come.
16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Difficult, but worthwhile read.,
I hadn't even heard the hype surrounding this book before I picked it up in a local bookshop as something that looked interesting. I found the book difficult to get into initially, Dawkins quotes a lot of different people in the book, not all of them entirely relevant on the face of it, but I struggled through the opening hundred and fifty or so pages and then things started making more sense. About halfway through the book, the central premise of what Dawkins is trying to relay just came out and SMACKED me full on. Everything he states beforehand starts to make sense as part of a larger picture and it all just makes sense. It's quite a complicated premise which relies on you remembering a lot of detail from earlier on in the book and understanding the interplay between numerous factors, but if you get it. Wow. Before I read this, I would have classified myself as an Agnostic. I believed in "something" although I wasn't too sure exactly what that something was. I was certain that Christianity (of any kind) as well as numerous other religions weren't representative of my view of the world/universe etc, but I didn't know of anything else that was. This book gives you a taste of just enough of the advanced science without leaving you too confused to make you question things. Of course we have all heard of evolution, but do we *really* understand it? I thought I did, but upon reading this, I know realise how little I actually understand about it, but know enough to see it makes sense. Buy this book, Dawkins is clearly trying to convert people, but if you can get past his outrage, it really is an incredibly educational read.
352 of 439 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dawkins raises a few hackles,
This review is from: The God Delusion (Hardcover)
My goodness, some of the more vitriolic reviewers are demon speed readers! Ploughing through and absorbing 400 pages in hours! This one "A flawed fundamentaist tract in which Prof Dawkins fails once again to prove the non-existence of God" appearing within a day of the book becoming available. Evidently failing to grasp that it is impossible, logically, to prove the non-existence of any supernatural entity, be it Osiris, Thor, or unicorns.
Then we have the all too common "Why can't a scientist ever admit that their beliefs are theories, not fact?", showing a complete misapprehension of the term 'theory' as scientifically understood. 'Theory' as understood by scientists does not mean a speculative conjecture, Einstein's 'theory' of relativity and 'theory' of gravitation have stood the test of nearly a hundred years now and are accurate beyond dispute.
And stunning non-sequiturs: "God is outside of nature, and science cannot prove or disprove his existence. Therefore, atheism is an unreasonable and illogical position". For the flaw in this try substituting 'atheism' with 'theism'.
For my part I strongly recommend this book. It is well written and well argued. Those already convinced, atheists and agnostics alike, will of course enjoy it, but it is not meant for them primarily. Those who are troubled and tormented by doubt will find much to console and support them here.
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