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Darwin's Angel: An Angelic Riposte to "The God Delusion" Hardcover – September 6, 2007


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Editorial Reviews

Review

"'Monkeys make men... Men make angels' - Charles Darwin"

About the Author

John Cornwell's books include Hitler's Pope and, most recently, Seminary Boy. He is Director of the Science and Human Dimension Project at Jesus College, Cambridge
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Profile Books Ltd (September 6, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1846680484
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846680489
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 2.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,226,422 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

This is a very weak response to a far better book.
Mr. R. T. Frost
Often, Cornwell is content not to address an argument as such but instead to draw into question the credentials of the source.
MartinP
Unfortunately, this sets the tone for the rest of the book, which is condescending and irritatingly smug in equal measure.
Jack Baxter

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Calvin Grier on May 3, 2010
Format: Hardcover
The central thesis of this book appears to be this: that art, poetry, imagination and beauty have no meaning or purpose without God, so this must prove his existence. However true this might be, it isn't backed up by any evidence included in the book.

The author frequently takes issue with Dawkin's ego, but what of his own? He fancies himself an angel? His attempt to 'shame' Dawkins at every corner turns the book into a personal attack whether or not it was intended that way. Ad hominem arguments abound in this tiny volume.

Cornwell also has issue with attributions: Cornwell picks on each author cited by Dawkins, and even seems to take offense when that author is a poet - as if poets have nothing that would speak to athesits. There is no index or bibliography in this book, and Cornwell even fails to credit George Carlin for his contribution.

The author says Hitler was a millitant atheist? Cornwell asserts this without anything to back it up. How did Hitler 'convert' all the good Catholic Germans to atheism without them knowing. Short answer - he didn't. Page 108 is typical of these unfounded assertions: "it is widely accepted that unless children are given..." Really? by whom? Dawkins asserts that humanity should strive to reduce the suffering of children. Cornwell's 'angelic' response is to defend childhood suffering and deprivation on the basis of religion and culture. This is simply Unconscionable. It is astounding to think this book might be used by some cult to support their own mistreatment of children.

Chapt 18 is mostly selected quotes and summary from Dawkins with an admonishment "your thinking is so limited" at the end. What the author don't see is that Dawkins aknowledges innate behavior and free will - individuals acting of their own volition.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jack Baxter on January 19, 2015
Format: Paperback
Cornwell begins by giving us the immense logical fallacy that in Dawkins mind there is no difference between an Islamic suicide bomber and your religious neighbour. Absolutely not. Dawkins would agree that their religions share fundamental similarities, but to say that he sees no difference is dishonest and disingenuous in the extreme.
Unfortunately, this sets the tone for the rest of the book, which is condescending and irritatingly smug in equal measure. Cornwell's main tactic seems to be to dance around the issues that Dawkins raises and avoid taking on anything other than the most trivial points in The God Delusion, and to misquote Dawkins to take him out of context as often as possible. Twice Cornwell even mixes up theism and deism.
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11 of 16 people found the following review helpful By MartinP on October 11, 2008
Format: Hardcover
To be sure, Dawkins God delusion is a flawed book that can be criticized in many ways. But this unctuous little tract does nothing to unsettle its basic premise, namely that there is no reason to assume the existence of a god and that doing so in the absence of any evidence carries with it many potentially harmful consequences while not bringing any benefits that can't be reached through other means as well.

John Cornwell is a prodigal son who returned to the church after twenty years as a renegade, i.e., is a person unable to live without religion, so that gives you a pretty clear picture of what to expect. His little book is founded on several assumptions that are as lazy as anything in Dawkins. He starts out by equating religion with art, literature and poetry as just another act of imagination, and completely ignores the fact that unlike these other disciplines, all religions claim to represent actual truths; not literary truths, but literal truths. This is exactly why religion clashes with science, which Cornwell also erroneously groups with the arts as an act of imagination, but which is in fact something quite different.

He then goes on to expound that most `sensible believers' have a far less simplistic view of god than Dawkins assumes; this line of reasoning ends in his somewhat ludicrous description of god as a god of the Final Gap: god as the brainless Idea at the beginning of the universe. I don't believe for a minute that this well-nigh meaningless abstraction is what the average, non-university trained believer has in mind when he thinks of god; indeed, this line of reasoning is rather more likely to prove that Cornwell is much further removed from that average believer's frame of reference than is Dawkins.
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10 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Matthew I. Santullano on May 13, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Combating "arrogance" with ignorance is a dubious notion at best. Trying to refute reason with deliberate and willful misinterpretation, omission, and out right falsehood is vile and disrespectful to not only Professor Dawkins but to anyone misfortunate enough to read this sad and desperate attempt to get punch and pie in the hereafter. A goal witch the author may find untenable(even if it wasn't fiction), being such a prolific liar.
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5 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Mr. R. T. Frost on May 15, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This is a very weak response to a far better book.

Dawkin's work deserves a much better response than this patronizing, self important and light weight attempt at a rebuttal. The introduction demonstrates that Cornwell is no Wordsworth but is a great name dropper and far more reliant on the bandwagon effect than on properly reasoned argument.

We see some of the first gratuitous nonsense interspersed throughout this book at the foot of page 22 where Cromwell in his self appointed role as an Angel smears and sneers with the best of them - read the bottom three lines.

One of the other devices Cromwell uses (see page 30) is the rhetorical and "loaded" question. Such questions are always self serving but not always quite so transparent.

Another device, page 31, is Cornwell's attempt to link Dawkin's position with that of five year olds. One might ask just why is Cornwell so irritated by the questions of little children? Cornwell is so blinkered however that he fails to see that Dawkins might well be able to relate very well to children whereas Cornwell finds them simply irritating. What pomposity!

This reviewer could go in this vein but why bother?

I bought this book as having read Dawkin's book, with all its strengths and weaknesses, I wanted to read both sides of the discussion and I use the word discussion advisedly.

Cornwell, presumably, thinks he is poking fun, but he simply comes across as pompous and patronizing. I trust he is not a bigot but as they say, people who live in glass houses should not be the first or even the second to throw stones.

Heaven spare us from self important and self appointed angels.
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