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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 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 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 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 30 September 2017
Argumentative, insightful, intolerant and funny.
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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 26 March 2015
Berlinski is a true intellectual in a field in which such beings are, perhaps surprisingly, rare. In this highly engaging, wide-ranging and easily understood book, he separates what western science 'knows' from the dogma and opinions promulgated in its name.

Highly recommended.
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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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VINE VOICEon 16 June 2008
There were certain lecturers at university - Hans Kornberg springs to mind - whose lectures nobody would miss. It wasn't because they were necessarily the crucially important courses. It was because there was something about the style of the lecturer - his or her humour, perhaps, or delivery - which captivated the undergraduate audience and held it until the end of the course.

Reading this book by Berlinski reminded me of some of those lecturers. Various things about it were captivating. The layers of meaning that can be found in so many of the sentences; the deft way in which opposing opinions are dismantled; the shocking mild political incorrectnesses; the carefully-measured putdowns; the rhetorical interaction with opponents and readers.

Berlinski is writing a book in defence of belief in a god. Nothing unusual about that - Dawkins' book "The God Delusion", and similar ones, have sparked a whole publishing industry in response, many of which I've already reviewed on Amazon. What is most unusual about this book is that Berlinski is not a religious believer - and yet he is quite adamant that belief in God is not unreasonable. Furthermore, he is substantially better informed - biblically, philosophically, scientifically - than Dawkins, Hitchens or Harris.

He makes his case persuasively. For example, in response to the insistence that "miracles don't happen" by anti-theists, he points out that whilst we can understand the chemical process by which the eye "sees" something, we don't have a clue about what perception really is, and just because it is part of our everyday experience doesn't mean that it is inappropriate to describe it as a miracle. In response to the dogmatic insistence that we are no more than animals, he points out the fact that if that is what we are in biological terms, then it simply demonstrates that biology is telling us nothing useful about what it means to be human at all. He demonstrates that the theories that supposedly prove that God isn't necessary rarely do what they set out to, and say more about the presuppositions of the proponent than about the nature of the universe.

As I read the book, I found myself increasingly puzzled as to why, given his dissatisfaction with arguments against the existence of God, he should not believe in God himself. The dedication - to his father, who was lost in Auschwitz - perhaps provides one clue, and another big clue is provided in the last chapter - "The Cardinal and his Cathedral." Here he writes movingly of his life in science, and his hope - perhaps a little forlorn now - that despite its failures, science will one day provide a coherent means of understanding the world.

Two quibbles. The first is that the book could really have done with footnotes or endnotes for the many references. The second is that the odd provocative piece of political incorrectness could have been avoided - not because it does any harm in itself, but because it provides his opponents with a red herring card to play against him (to mix metaphors). But the bottom line is that this is an excellent, highly quotable book, which I intend to pass on to many other thoughtful people.
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