"Discovery" magazine has recently called Richard Dawkins "Darwins Rottweiler" for his fierce and effective defense of evolution. In his "New York Times" bestseller, Dawkins turns his considerable intellect on religion, denouncing its faulty logic and the suffering it causes.
The antireligion wars started by Daniel Dennett and Sam Harris will heat up even more with this salvo from celebrated Oxford biologist Dawkins. For a scientist who criticizes religion for its intolerance, Dawkins has written a surprisingly intolerant book, full of scorn for religion and those who believe. But Dawkins, who gave us the selfish gene, anticipates this criticism. He says it's the scientist and humanist in him that makes him hostile to religions fundamentalist Christianity and Islam come in for the most opprobrium that close people's minds to scientific truth, oppress women and abuse children psychologically with the notion of eternal damnation. While Dawkins can be witty, even confirmed atheists who agree with his advocacy of science and vigorous rationalism may have trouble stomaching some of the rhetoric: the biblical Yahweh is "psychotic," Aquinas's proofs of God's existence are "fatuous" and religion generally is "nonsense." The most effective chapters are those in which Dawkins calms down, for instance, drawing on evolution to disprove the ideas behind intelligent design. In other chapters, he attempts to construct a scientific scaffolding for atheism, such as using evolution again to rebut the notion that without God there can be no morality. He insists that religion is a divisive and oppressive force, but he is less convincing in arguing that the world would be better and more peaceful without it. (Oct. 18) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
Showing 1-3 of the 3 most recent reviews
1 . Please read
Posted February 01, 2010 by Roberto , Columbus, GAThis book should be read by every christian, muslim, jehova's witnesses, mormon and every member of all the religions out there. But more importantly, even those of us that consider ourselves Atheist should read this book. And if you have already read it, read it again.
Simply put. Amazing and an eye opening experience. Thank you Mr. Dawkins!
2 . Excellent
Posted December 31, 2009 by Matt , Madison, WIA rational, systematic destruction of the idea of religion from a logical viewpoint. A good read for anybody already an athiest or questioning their religion. Heck, read it if your are really religious, you might see things in another light.
3 . Rationalism at its best.
Posted December 23, 2008 by Sam Pandit , Newtown, PAOne of the most well thought out arguments for Atheism. Dawkins systematically peels away at the onion of blind faith by injecting wisom through a logical and a rational process. It argues brilliantly against the dogma of 'Because I believe' in a very methodical way. One can't come away being religious in the traditional sense after reading and understanding this work. Highly recommended.
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
January 15, 2008
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Excerpt from The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins
1 A DEEPLY RELIGIOUS NON-BELIEVER
I don't try to imagine a personal God; it suffices to stand in awe at the
structure of the world, insofar as it allows our inadequate senses to
The boy lay prone in the grass, his chin resting on his hands. He suddenly
found himself overwhelmed by a heightened awareness of the tangled stems
and roots, a forest in microcosm, a transfigured world of ants and beetles and
even - though he wouldn't have known the details at the time - of soil
bacteria by the billions, silently and invisibly shoring up the economy of the
micro-world. Suddenly the micro-forest of the turf seemed to swell and
become one with the universe, and with the rapt mind of the boy
contemplating it. He interpreted the experience in religious terms and it led
him eventually to the priesthood. He was ordained an Anglican priest and
became a chaplain at my school, a teacher of whom I was fond. It is thanks
to decent liberal clergymen like him that nobody could ever claim that I had
religion forced down my throat.*
In another time and place, that boy could have been me under the
stars, dazzled by Orion, Cassiopeia and Ursa Major, tearful with the unheard
music of the Milky Way, heady with the night scents of frangipani and
trumpet flowers in an African garden. Why the same emotion should have led
my chaplain in one direction and me in the other is not an easy question to
answer. A quasi-mystical response to nature and the universe is common
among scientists and rationalists. It has no connection with supernatural
belief. In his boyhood at least, my chaplain was presumably not aware (nor
was I) of the closing lines of The Origin of Species - the famous 'entangled
bank' passage, 'with birds singing on the bushes, with various insects flitting
about, and with worms crawling through the damp earth'. Had he been, he
would certainly have identified with it and, instead of the priesthood, might
have been led to Darwin's view that all was 'produced by laws acting around
Thus, from the war of nature, from famine and death, the most exalted object
which we are capable of conceiving, namely, the production of the higher
animals, directly follows. There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several
powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that,
whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity,
from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful
have been, and are being, evolved.
Carl Sagan, in Pale Blue Dot, wrote:
How is it that hardly any major religion has looked at science and
concluded, 'This is better than we thought! The Universe is much bigger than
our prophets said, grander, more subtle, more elegant'? Instead they
say, 'No, no, no! My god is a little god, and I want him to stay that way.' A
religion, old or new, that stressed the magnificence of the Universe as
revealed by modern science might be able to draw forth reserves of reverence
and awe hardly tapped by the conventional faiths.
All Sagan's books touch the nerve-endings of transcendent wonder that
religion monopolized in past centuries. My own books have the same
aspiration. Consequently I hear myself often described as a deeply religious
man. An American student wrote to me that she had asked her professor
whether he had a view about me. 'Sure,' he replied. 'He's positive science is
incompatible with religion, but he waxes ecstatic about nature and the
universe. To me, that is religion!' But is 'religion' the right word? I don't think
so. The Nobel Prize-winning physicist (and atheist) Steven Weinberg made
the point as well as anybody, in Dreams of a Final Theory:
Some people have views of God that are so broad and flexible that it is
inevitable that they will find God wherever they look for him. One hears it said
that 'God is the ultimate' or 'God is our better nature' or 'God is the universe.'
Of course, like any other word, the word 'God' can be given any meaning we
like. If you want to say that 'God is energy,' then you can find God in a lump
Weinberg is surely right that, if the word God is not to become completely
useless, it should be used in the way people have generally understood it: to
denote a supernatural creator that is 'appropriate for us to worship'.
Much unfortunate confusion is caused by failure to distinguish
what can be called Einsteinian religion from supernatural religion. Einstein