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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)
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Richard Dawkins, in The God Delusion, tells of his exasperation with colleagues who try to play both sides of the street: looking to science for justification of their religious convictions while evading the most difficult implicationsthe existence of a prime mover sophisticated enough to create and run the universe, "to say nothing of mind reading millions of humans simultaneously." Such an entity, he argues, would have to be extremely complex, raising the question of how it came into existence, how it communicates through spiritons!and where it resides. Dawkins is frequently dismissed as a bully, but he is only putting theological doctrines to the same kind of scrutiny that any scientific theory must withstand. No one who has witnessed the merciless dissection of a new paper in physics would describe the atmosphere as overly polite.
George Johnson is author of Fire in the Mind: Science, Faith, and the Search for Order and six other books. He resides on the Web at talaya.netSee all Editorial Reviews
Very interesting perspective on the 'God' phenomenon. The arguements are very well laid out it is a pity they are lost on the "faithful" who see virtue in believing the... Read morePublished 1 day ago by Andrew Vavasour
Weak arguments, oddly unscientific in his approach to debunking any or all religious claims. For someone who claims to not be a biologist and not philosopher, Dawkins should stick... Read morePublished 3 days ago by Bedazzled
VERY well written, great points and he has a very open friendly tone. Highly recommended.Published 3 days ago by Richard L Smith
Highly recommended. Share this book with your friends and family - my father and I read it concurrently and talked about the most interesting parts. Read morePublished 5 days ago by MRSLAMMM
I enjoyed reading this book. I have asked myself this question about God and the universe for most of my adult life(more than 50 years) The best answer I have been able to find... Read morePublished 7 days ago by Kindle Customer
Excellent book,b ut Dawkins comes on too strong. He more than scolds people who aren't atheists. He gives fine examples from the bible and science and then uses condescension. Read morePublished 10 days ago by diane freeman
After reading this, I no longer have a totally uninformed opinion of Richard Dawkins. I have to say, the man is more rational and less extreme than I expected, and I found myself... Read morePublished 11 days ago by M. MCINTYRE