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on 16 June 2016
Berlinski is so deft in his writing and a master of literature. The book integrates history, philosophy, theology, logic and mathematics with science to paint a compelling and unavoidable picture and in this he argues far better than Dawkins, Hitchens and the figureheads of New Atheism
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on 13 April 2015
this is a brilliant, witty and erudite book...a philosophical book that deals with metaphysics from a totally non partisan position...more than unusual.
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on 12 April 2017
Scathing in places, interesting reaction to atheistic propaganda.
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VINE VOICEon 16 May 2015
The mechanistic philosophy that the only reality is to be found in the measurements of science, and the logical necessity for atheism of explaining the universe in these terms only, is certainly very blinkered. David Berlinski is a mathematician and logician who happens to detect in his observations evidence of intelligent order in the Universe. This shouldn't be too taxing - the laws of physics and maths are accepted by all scientists,and without them nothing could be predicted, nothing could exist. These laws exist outside of space-time; some scientists seem to worship them as the ultimate reality, the Devil's Delusion. I like this book, a learned and witty rebuttal of atheism's attempt to hijack science as its tool, and evolution as the ultimate reason for existence. Berlinski is not too gentle on the philosophical totalitarian regimes such as Communism and National Socialism that arise from distortions of Darwinian thought to justify experiments in state control and manipulation of populations. Neither should he be. Despite his self-definition as a secular Jew this book is useful for Theists because the arguments essentially support the Theistic world view.
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on 10 October 2015
Berlinski has become the skeptics' skeptic. Unafraid to take on the loudest atheists of today, Berlinski shows that the arguments they use are empty. Berlinski is amazingly articulate and knowledgeable. Great read
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on 24 September 2015
This is a really good book.

Berlinksi does a great job at showing the arrogant pretensions of people like Dawkins, Hitchens and Harris for what they are. He dismantles their weak arguments and shows what science says, and most importantly in this book, what it does not and can not say. And one of the things it cannot say has to do with the existence of God as religion and science are not actually opposed at all, but are simply two different fields of study (see John Lenox's excellent book, 'God's Undertaker' for more on that). The book is easy to read and Berlinski is very witty - although a couple of times I felt his put downs were a little on the nasty side rather than the witty side. Having said that though, the arrogance of people like Dawkins and his ilk have certainly needed the spot light shone on them and their claims, and Berlinksi does a great job of this - from the point of view of science.

The book could be better though - especially if it were a little longer, so Berlinski could go into more depth at times, and also if he had footnotes to reference all of the quotes.
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on 24 August 2008
The author of "The Devil's Delusion", David Berlinski, is a secular Jew and agnostic who co-operates with conservative Christians. Indeed, he is a member of the Discovery Institute, the Intelligent Design (or creationist) think tank in Seattle. Berlinski's book comes with positive blurbs written by Michael Behe and William Buckley. Inside the book, the author thanks Ann Coulter (!) for inspiration.

One wonders why a secular Jew who apparently doesn't believe in God, would ally himself with what many people would consider Christian fundamentalists. Perhaps Berlinski is a "Straussian" cynic who believes that religion, although probably false, is nevertheless necessary. Otherwise the common people might get into their heads that anything goes, and moral breakdown (or revolution?) follows. Berlinski certainly suggests this at one point in the book, where he says that brute force is necessary to tame the evil impulses in man, but since brute force cannot reach everyone everywhere, people need to control themselves with a bit of divine morality. Why the author himself doesn't need to be restrained in this way, we are never told.

I admit that I didn't like this book. It's confused, delusional and quite simply bad. What struck me most, were the constant contradictions. Berlinski seems to have an extreme anti-realist attitude towards scientific theories...except sometimes. When it suits his purposes, he switches to a de facto realist position. Thus, he treats the Big Bang theory as proven, beyond reproach and quite true. Why? Because it suggests that the universe had a beginning, and therefore... (Clue: God may have done it after all.) He also loves the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum physics, which is perhaps understandable from an anti-realist standpoint, but Berlinski seems to love it for very different reasons. Since the Copenhagen interpretation is ontologically weird, the Trinity and Incarnation might be true as well!

In one chapter, Berlinski points out that there is a qualitative difference between humans and animals. But if there is, why does he want the state to treat people as irrational cattle? His friend Buckley, notoriously, wanted a totalitarian bureaucracy to win the Cold War!

Berlinski has crucified his reason, and in return gotten what amounts to a bizarre mixture of anti-realism, al-Ghazali and Intelligent Design creationism. Sounds like a bad trade-off! And what's all this stuff about being an agnostic? Frankly, the guy would be more honest if he simply converted, say to Conservative Judaism.

The best diagnosis I can offer of this strange author is that he is a very consistent methodological agnostic. If scientific theories are strongly anti-realist, if the universe is irrational and incomprehensible, then there is nothing left for us to do, except to survive, and keep law and order in the meantime. Hence the need for pretending that God exists.

If, on the other hand, realism is true, and if our brains can formulate even a "theory of everything", we are at bottom rational creatures, and might one day really start to understand both the universe and ourselves...

But according to Berlinski, we are all doomed to remain delusional devils.

Not recommended.
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on 19 January 2016
I have come across few writers more perceptive than Berlinski. This was the first work of his that I read, and it remains my favourite. The pace of the book is quick, but densely packed with relevant information. By the end of each chapter, and indeed the book as a whole, one is left with a deep sense of scepticism towards the claims of the atheistic establishment. My only criticism would be that sometimes the train of thought is difficult to follow- Berlinski occasionally overwrites whilst under-writing. This is rare however, and should not put you off a buy: rather, be prepared to take extra pleasure on the re-read.
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on 9 December 2010
Sadly I found this book a great disappointment. I was hoping for something well reasoned and courteous, informing the debate about science and religion in an intelligent way. Given, some of the writing has interest, but only in its deft use of word and phrase. Berlinski is sarcastic, ill-informed, and grossly illogical at times. He sets up straw men, with no relevance, and knocks them down with a puff of inconsequential air. His habit of taking a quote out of context and criticising it (often in a schoolboy ad hominem way which has no place in a serious debate - and I'm not saying he's the only person doing this in this arena) finally becomes irritating. I finished it, more to find out what had possessed the publisher to produce it than to hear the force of Berlinski's arguments. Was this a complete waste of time? Perhaps not, as I have been moved to write my first Amazon review to prepare others for what they are about to receive - I doubt God is truly thankful for Berlinski's mean-minded contribution.
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on 15 December 2015
Unfortunately it wasn't until I reached the end that discovered the author of this tedious book was a member of the non-science based Discovery Institute. Although he may have a scientific background, Berlinski clearly no longer wants to identify with real scientists, and has chosen to work on the religious dogma of so-called intelligent design (creationism that hides itself behind a smokescreen of science). Maybe one day I'll read a book that even remotely succesfully argues the case for religion over reality. This book is not it.
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