I feel that while The Selfish Gene was a standalone book intended to convey a brilliant concept in a very articulate fashion to the general reader, The God Delusion is a more of a glorified pamphlet meant to be a handbook of reference for any atheist for the range of illogical, childish or even intelligent arguments that might be addressed to him. An atheist who reads and remembers a fair bit of The God Delusion will always be well equipped to blunt any argument against his position.
But this huge strength of the book is also its major flaw that demotes it much below the Selfish gene in my opinion. The Selfish gene is a must-read book that I would thrust in the hand of anyone I like - because I want them to learn from it, raise their consciousness or because I want to have a wonderful discussion with them. In contrast, the God Delusion is a book I would thrust in exasperation at someone with whom I am tired of arguing and would rather prefer them to go through Dawkins' exhaustive repudiation of most arguments.
That is the difference. The book would be useful if I want to convince someone or If I wanted to win an argument. But what if neither was ever my objective? It gives me no intrinsic value that is not situational. But then, perhaps I was never one of the intended audience of the book; the purpose of this book, is not to explain science. He also spends a lot of time debunking obvious fallacies and beliefs purely because they are prevalent.
It might be important to show how silly they are, but I frankly was impatient to get on with it and not spend time on such obvious facts. Most of the arguments in the book are ones that I could have come up with too if I had sat down and though about it. True, Dawkins has made my job easier, but what if I am comfortable with not having the God Delusion and with the fact that a lot of people have? What if the formula of zeitgeist that Dawkins proposes about what is moral is applicable to religions too?
After all, the religion of today is far from what it was in the s. The only genuinely useful sections in the book for me were the intriguing discussion on morals and that wonderful last chapter on model building. If only the rest of the book was as memorable. I have a few other peeves with the book too - It condemns anyone who understand religion and science and takes the informed decision to be an agnostic. This condemnation by Dawkins of agnostics is perhaps my single biggest point of difference with Dawkins. I have no problems with the debunking of the God Hypothesis as Dawkins defines 'God'.
But, his atheism goes into exactly those realms which he accuses religious fundamentalists to be going in. He gives an example of a Priest who says that even though he has moments of reservation about the existence of a God, he keeps such doubts to himself and extols God's virtues purely so that the common man is not mislead into doubt.
Dawkins condemns this as intellectual and moral cowardice. Then later, in a section titled 'Why there almost certainly is no God', he freely acknowledges that "most probably" God does not exist and then classifies himself as an agnostic leaning heavily towards atheism. Then he says that such agnostics should refrain from calling themselves agnostics as it will cause damage to the common people who want to support atheism. Is this not the same intellectual and moral cowardice? If you cannot in your own logic call yourself a full blown atheist, do not do that just to prove a point or to support a pet theory.
If there 'almost certainly' is no god, then it is 'almost certainly' a 'delusion' to say that pure atheism is fully reasonable too. Dawkins makes an appeal to closely define the meaning of the word "God". But then, not matter how you define it, as long as the basis is in irrationality, the same principle is being attacked. And hence to say I believe in Science as the ultimate answer when it has so far been unsuccessful in furnishing one is just to substitute the term "Science" for "God".
Of course I understand the value of people like Dawkins being there to be the vanguard for this change. And there is a real need for a spokesperson for the atheists when the other party has so many very vocal ones. But that does not mean that he should call for educated agnostics to brand themselves as atheists just to add religious fervor to the brand.
All that is still no reason to call for making atheism an organized religion too.
There are too many paradoxes and unknowns in nature which science is more and more throwing up its hands in utter confusion towards. What if the universe truly is 'queerer than we can suppose' as J.
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Haldane puts it? Dawkins manages to explain most phenomena with natural selection but dismisses the larger conundrums and paradoxes with the great sweeping idea called the 'Anthropic principle'. The Anthropic principle might be a good tool to stall an argument but is no authentic scientific theory as he pretends it to be. It would be the equivalent of saying that the clock is telling time correctly isn't it, so that explains its form and function and hence it needs no designer.
I just paraphrased above the argument Dawkins uses to prove that atheism is absolutely valid. Well, unless we resort to such rhetoric devices, it is not. And in the 'belief spectrum' ranging from radical theism to complete atheism, the only position we can take without resorting to faith is one of doubt - agnosticism.https://fitzsleemcepneuta.ga
Robert Wright — The Evolution of God - The On Being Project
In conclusion, my opinion is that pure atheism is not possible under present scientific knowledge and that is why agnosticism is the only reasonable position to take - without slipping into blind belief in science after climbing out of blind belief in religion.
Nov 02, Alex Telander rated it it was amazing Shelves: books-read-in Having an open mind is actually one of the New Ten Commandments Dawkins cites. And yet religion — especially Christianity — remains stagnated in the ideas of men from thousands of years ago. As the book progresses, Dawkins seems to grow more impatient with religion and its whole-hearted certainty in a book and a god.
He does an impressive job of going from chapter to chapter in defending different stances on science, always providing the evidence — a facet, he says, religion is lacking. One point Dawkins makes that I really found fascinating was his evolutionary reason for the existence of religion, in that it was a component of our very early societies in helping to unite communities and keep them together as a whole.
As human beings, we strive for companionship and the evidence speaks for itself when we look back to the time when there was a shift from the nomadic hunting and gathering societies to settling down in groups and communities, which started farming, large scale food production, and ultimately leading to technology, writing, law, art and so on. After this, Dawkins tackles the question of morality and makes it a very big deal that everyone understand we keep this separate from religion and not think them one and the same.
So he goes back into our ancestry to the days of Cro-Magnon, in the time when all humanity cared about was trying to survive. He posits that this was when we began to develop a sense of morality, because in being good to others, families and groups were formed, which helped improve survival. If you liked this review, and would like to read more, go to BookBanter. View all 7 comments.
Mar 24, Nick rated it did not like it Recommends it for: People with a critical mind. Ok, we get it. Religion is bad. Christianity is evil, Islam is maniacal, and all other religious zealots are out of their mind. I guess Dawkins is right I wish we still practiced 'exposing' infants i. Although there seems to be correlation between violence, homocide, and arrogance Ok, we get it. Although there seems to be correlation between violence, homocide, and arrogance with organized religion, is a state without a god any better say, Maoist China?
I think Dawkins has forgotten the most important axiom of science in his contentious ramblings and methodical deconstruction of ancient texts, history, and religion of which he is no expert Dawkins is only emboldening the religion of science at the exprense of the world's major belief systems.
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I just hope humanity will resist a "brave new world" in which organized religion is replaced by other systems that devalue human life in the name of progression and knowledge. View all 32 comments. Nov 22, Manny rated it really liked it Shelves: linguistics-and-philosophy , life-is-dante. I thought the very best point this book made came right at the beginning.
Dawkins reports on surveys carried out in the US, where subjects received a description of an otherwise sympathetic political candidate, and were asked whether they would still vote for them if one extra feature were added. Would it still be OK if they were a woman? Well, we have hard evidence on that now! Most people still say yes. Half the population says no!
Considering I thought the very best point this book made came right at the beginning.
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Considering that many of the Founding Fathers had deep reservations about religion, this should sound warning bells. If we going to claim we believe in religious tolerance, surely that should include tolerance for people who don't belong to any religion and think it's all nonsense? Everyone bends over backwards to show understanding towards Christians, Muslims, Jews and what have you. Why not atheists? Dawkins just says what he honestly thinks, and doesn't see why he needs to be ashamed of it. Why should he? I didn't like this book as much as The Selfish Gene and The Ancestor's Tale , but that's more because they are positive books celebrating the amazing beauty of the new universe that science, and in particular evolutionary theory, have opened up to us; this is a negative one, attacking the ugly and constricted world that many self-described "religious" people still choose to live in.
Sometimes you need to be negative, though, and many deeply respected figures in the history of religion were negative about the prevailing orthodoxy. If Martin Luther had been a nicer guy, he'd probably never have offended so many good Catholics with all those unpleasant theses, and I bet the money-changers weren't particularly thrilled when Jesus threw them out of the Temple. As far as I'm concerned, Dawkins is in pretty good company.
THE EVOLUTION OF THE GOD ILLUSION
I'd love to think that I'd started it, but of course Dawkins gets all the credit. Still, I would like to expand on my initial review, and clarify my own position. I admire this book, and Dawkins's stand in general, because I think he is being decisive about pointing out a very serious problem in the world today. Religion is in a state of crisis.