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BOOK REVIEW – RICHARD DAWKINS – THE GOD DELUSION 2006 Black Swan Press

 

The highly controversial biologist, evolution expert, and outspoken atheist present his most explosive arguments against God and organized religion to date here.

 

Dawkins begins by challenging the often totally nonsensical arguments presented in philosophy, by such Luminaries as Augustine and Anselm, for why God should exist, such as the Argument from Design and First Cause Theory. Intelligent Design (ID) is dismissed by recognition of how Darwinian theories show precisely how life can become so complex and diverse without having a background architect. He adds that a complex designer would himself need to be explained. If we reason that God just exists, then we are being self-defeatist about why we use God as a convenient way of explaining everything else.  With First Cause theory, God again needs explanation.

 

Pascal’s wager is dismissed on the grounds that there is more than one God to choose from, among other reasons.

 

Turning to scripture itself, Dawkins writes off God as a moral role model as being positively sociopathic, killing while races of people for the slightest disagreement with his will.  Dawkins touches on the sensitive subject of child abuse by religionists, and goes on to observe that by often not teaching children that there are alternative ways of senate World than the parental, communal religious point of view (be it Christian, Jewish, Islamic, etc), we are abusing and deceiving our children in denying them the freedom to choose for themselves what to believe.

 

Dawkins asks why in being so sure of a happy afterlife and Heaven, so many religious people seem to be in abject terror as death gets near, and don’t look forward to death as we might look forward to a holiday in the Seychelles. 

He is dismissive of the often-cited Christian evangelist claims that many scientists are religious, by showing how relatively few leading scientists actually do claim to believe in God.

 

This is powerful, passionately angry book, presented with some considerable humour. Dawkins aims the book at a Christian readership, though long established Humanists and atheists like myself will find much food for thought here. The book carries a terrific reading list for future study.

 

The 2007 paperback edition caries a number of replies to the Christian and absurd creationist criticisms raised after the hard-back edition went to press. A best-selling and highly important contribution to atheist free-thought literature – A book that should not and cannot be ignored.

 

 

Arthur Chappell

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