David A., February 9, 2009 (view all comments by David A.)
In his inaugural address President Obama recognized a segment of America that many others in "the land of the free" would just as soon have removed, or at least remain silent. These are the non-believers: The atheists, the humanists, the naturalists--the folks who depend upon "evidence" rather than "faith" to sustain them. Richard Dawkins' now classic "The God Delusion" gives a rich context to those who do not live by religion, but rather look to science and the evidence of nature to guide them through life. Though not quite as biting as Christopher Hitchens, Dawkins very astutely observes and reports on some of the most egregious "sins" of religion, foremost of which is the intolerance and hatred of fundamentalists for those who do not accept their narrow and often inexplicable beliefs. Even more disturbing, however, is the abuse of children which religious fundamentalism fosters; often subtle, but nonetheless effective in its aim of robbing children of their right to challenge and question and decide for themselves. This is a book to be carefully read, understood, and acted on. No less than our freedom is at stake whenever and whereever the inherent right of a person to choose their own way, based upon personal study, reflection, and an open mind, is subverted by those who reject truth in favor of irrational, unsubstantiated belief and superstition. Read this book, again and again! It is a testament to the abiding power of truth, and the necessity for the continued search for knowledge.
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Melissa Ryan, February 9, 2009 (view all comments by Melissa Ryan)
I teeter on the edge of Agnosticism and Atheism, and after reading Dawkin's manifesto, I nearly fell head first into the welcoming arms of Atheism. A 'recovering Christian', I found myself plopping my husband down to furiously read aloud especially frightening segments. He nodded and, being raised without any sort of religion, was not as shocked as I was. Some of the information in this book truly had my heart hammering in indignation! How I wish I had the gumption to send a copy to every Christian in my family!! (And there are plenty, let me tell you!) I fear Dawkin's strong voice will piss of too many believers to win any 'converts', but reading his work has definitely challenged me, prompting a quiet evolution that is slowly seeping out via my online and personal interactions. No longer the closeted doubter, thank you Richard Dawkins!
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A typically bold and incisive book from one of our great science writers, The God Delusion pulls no punches. I gave it to my cousin in hardcover last year, and he hasn't stopped citing passages since. "There are lots of people out there," Dawkins notes in the preface, "who feel vague yearnings to leave their parents' religion and wish they could, but just don't realize that leaving is an option. If you are one of them, this book is for you."
"Publishers Weekly Review"
by Publishers Weekly,
"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." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
by Kirkus Reviews,
"Dawkins focuses heavily on the monotheistic religions with quotations from the Bible and Koran that sanction genocide, rape and the killing of unbelievers....Bible-thumpers doubtless will declare they've found their Satan incarnate."
by Desmond Morris, author of The Naked Ape and The Human Animal,
"This is a brave and important book."
by Matt Ridley, author of Genome and Francis Crick,
"A resounding trumpet blast for truth....It feels like coming up for air."
"At last, one of the best nonfiction writers alive today has assembled his thoughts on religion into a characteristically elegant book." Steven Pinker, Johnstone Professor, Harvard University, author of The Language Instinct, How the Mind Works, and The Blank Slate
by San Francisco Chronicle,
"To those readers tired of being told that they must bow respectfully before every absurd or bizarre superstition they encounter, and who worry about the effects of this atmosphere of hyper-tolerance on the health of our society, Dawkins' irreverent and penetrating work will seem a breath of fresh air."
Discover magazine recently called Richard Dawkins "Darwin"s Rottweiler" for his fierce and effective defense of evolution. Now Dawkins turns his considerable intellect on religion, denouncing its faulty logic and the suffering it causes.
In his sensational international bestseller, the preeminent scientist and outspoken atheist Richard Dawkins delivers a hard-hitting, impassioned, but humorous rebuttal of religious belief. With rigor and wit, Dawkins eviscerates the arguments for religion and demonstrates the supreme improbability of the existence of a supreme being. He makes a compelling case that faith is not just irrational, but potentially deadly. In a preface written for the paperback edition, Dawkins responds to some of the controversies the book has incited. This brilliantly argued, provocative book challenges all of us to test our beliefs, no matter what beliefs we hold.
by Houghton Mifflin,
A preeminent scientist — and the world's most prominent atheist — asserts the irrationality of belief in God and the grievous harm religion has inflicted on society, from the Crusades to 9/11.
With rigor and wit, Dawkins examines God in all his forms, from the sex-obsessed tyrant of the Old Testament to the more benign (but still illogical) Celestial Watchmaker favored by some Enlightenment thinkers. He eviscerates the major arguments for religion and demonstrates the supreme improbability of a supreme being. He shows how religion fuels war, foments bigotry, and abuses children, buttressing his points with historical and contemporary evidence. The God Delusion makes a compelling case that belief in God is not just wrong but potentially deadly. It also offers exhilarating insight into the advantages of atheism to the individual and society, not the least of which is a clearer, truer appreciation of the universe's wonders than any faith could ever muster.
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