The God Delusion Paperback – 21 May 2007
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"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)
The international bestselling broadside that has taken the world by stormSee all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
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?Read more ›
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.
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Liberating fascinating life celebrating book
I have previously read nothing about these issues so all the ideas were new
May be less life changing if similar books... Read more
These arguments are worth as much as little boy's arguments trying to convince his parents he doesn't need to eat breakfast, pure silly and shallow.
Waste of money and time.
Should be compulsory reading for everyone. The world would be a better, kinder, nicer and more thoughtful place if everyone read it. Read morePublished 10 days ago by Mr V.
While I am fascinated by the subject matter of faith and religion and how society has constructed it, Dawkins confirms himself to be condescending and out of touch in this book. Read morePublished 23 days ago by EJ
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