- Hardcover: 176 pages
- Publisher: Profile Books; First Edition edition (6 Sept. 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1846680484
- ISBN-13: 978-1846680489
- Product Dimensions: 13.8 x 2.1 x 20.4 cm
- Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,283,401 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Darwin's Angel: An Angelic Riposte to "The God Delusion" Hardcover – 6 Sep 2007
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This book is a piece of sheer heaven. It kicks Richard Dawkins' self-aggrandising polemic, The God Delusion, into touch with featherlight footwork and is deliciously wise, witty and intellectually sharp into the bargain. (The Times)
...he (Dawkins) might find some of the (other) arguments made by Cornwell in this short and elegantly written response (more) worthy of consideration. (Sunday Times)
It's an ace for Cornwell. (New Scientist)
Cornwell has done an excellent job in providing a book that should, in an ideal world, be sold taped to every copy of The God Delusion as an essential corrective. (Peter Stanford Independent)
Richard Dawkins' apologia for atheism has attracted huge attention, and sales, all over the world. In a telling critique cast in the classical form of a letter to Dawkins John Cornwell takes issue with it. 'Monkeys make men ... Men make angels' - Charles Darwin --This text refers to the Paperback edition.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
Two natural philosophers, Diderot and d'Holbach, invoked atheism in reaction to theology's continued sway over physics, mathematics and medicine. These philosophers... were convinced that the autonomy of the sciences must be achieved by denying the existence of God. (DA, p. 158)
This misrepresents the French Enlightenment. The philosophes railed against the Church (not `theology') for its stifling of rational inquiry and it's cruel, authoritarian nature. In writing the Encyclopedie, the attempt to record the sum of human knowledge at the time, the philosophes did not `deny the existence of God' to achieve the autonomy of science; some may have concluded `there is no God' but others, perhaps the majority, were actually Deists and believed in a non-interventionist, non-personal God. And the Encyclopedie was about far more than science.
You may not see this as important and think that such differences do not matter. But they do. It is an example of how Cornwell twists things. Virtually the whole of Chapter 10 is a mis-representation of Dawkins's writing about Dostoevsky's The Brothers Karamazov.
Then there is Chapter 4, the `Beauty' argument.Read more ›
Cornwell's book strikes just the right tone - faintly amused and rather derisive of Dawkins' great foray into religious studies: treating a dogmatic zoologist as a serious entrant in the philophy of religion would be to afford him too much respect: a courtesy Dawkins himself wouldn't extend for a moment if confronted with a dogmatic religious fundamentalist wishing to discuss biology (famously, Dawkins refuses to even debate such people).
Cornwell is also wise not to get dragged too far into the merits of the issue (i.e., whether there actually is a God) and instead spends his few pages more profitably remarking that, whatever ones position on that question, Dawkins' arguments simply can't carry the day, unless you really want them to.
That's important because Cornwell can therefore carry along skeptics like me, who don't personally subscribe to religious belief, but still find Dawkins' dogmatic essentialism a crashing bore.
Along the way Cornwell makes some thumping scores and while, as other reviewers have noted, he may misconstrue Dawkins' arguments in a couple of places, they don't really make a difference and, in any case, for a Dawkinite to make that protest really is to call the kettle black.Read more ›
I found the patronising tone repellent. Cornwell, wrapping himself in the wings of 'Darwin's Angel,' here allows himself the kind of personal abuse and partiality that isn't present in his other books. Instead of taking on Dawkins's issues on their own terms, he writes in a 'de haut en bas' style that diminishes his arguments by their sense of personal attack - thereby ensuring that anyone who reads the book without already having taken sides will probably be cheering for Dawkins.
He completely ignores some of the arguments that Dawkins presents for a benign and universal God: for example, Dawkins cites more than one Old Testament story in which a man is praised for putting out his daughters or his servants to be gang-raped to death - there are a number of such anecdotes, and they deserve to be treated on their own terms.
Somewhere about half-way through the book (which by now is becoming unreadable) he elides 'religion' into the 'Christian God' and so we have very little treatment of the dreadful atrocities committed in the name of whatever God is in view. And he doesn't treat any of the arguments for a benign God that permits childhood cancer, or any of the arguments that say 'God loves you ... but break his commandments and he'll send you to hell.'
I couldn't make sense of the last part of the book (and I have a fairly good brain).Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Your brilliant erudition makes Dawkins appear rather stupid.We must pray for that man even Voltaire made his peace with God This is no time to make enemies.Published on 7 April 2014 by Desmond Smith
A wise and witty undertaking which does what it set out to do with a sharp understanding of what material science can and cannot do.Published on 25 Jan. 2014 by Kevin Flynn
When I found The God Delusion in a local charity shop I dimly remembered the furore surrounding its publication so I bought it. Read morePublished on 19 Jun. 2013 by Mr. S. J. Cook
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. Read morePublished on 3 Feb. 2013 by E. Heel
There is much wrong with this book in terms of tenor, argument, thrust and integrity and to list all it's faults would be tedious; so I'll confine myself to the more obvious... Read morePublished on 25 July 2012 by Beanson
Before I get started critiquing the book I think that it would be best that I let the reader know where I'm coming from. I'm an unbeliever and have been for a good decade or so. Read morePublished on 8 April 2012 by Simon
This book is hilarious. The author clearly very learned(he thinks) has never once used his brain cells to reason out an argument. He has 'faith' so everyone else should have. Read morePublished on 25 Dec. 2011 by definiteskeptic
I have just finished reading 'Darwin's Angel' having read Dawkins' 'The God Delusion' a couple of years ago. Read morePublished on 5 April 2010 by P. Brown
I came to this book after reading Cornwell's autobiography which is burned through with honesty. Darwin's Angel is an elegant challenge to the fevered imagination of Professor... Read morePublished on 8 Aug. 2009 by Erasmus More