The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins

49%

22 Critic Reviews

Yet he fails to present atheism as an affirmative, joyful choice. Few secular Christians will leave their traditions, dysfunctional as they are, for his cold refuge of skeptics and stuffed shirts.
-AV Club

Synopsis

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.
 

About Richard Dawkins

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Richard Dawkins taught zoology at the University of California at Berkeley and at Oxford University and is now the Charles Simonyi Professor of the Public Understanding of Science at Oxford, a position he has held since 1995. Among his previous books are The Ancestor's Tale, The Selfish Gene, The Blind Watchmaker, Climbing Mount Improbable, Unweaving the Rainbow, and A Devil's Chaplain. Dawkins lives in Oxford with his wife, the actress and artist Lalla Ward.
 
Published January 16, 2008 by Mariner Books. 465 pages
Genres: Religion & Spirituality, Science & Math, Law & Philosophy, Education & Reference, Business & Economics, History, Gay & Lesbian. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for The God Delusion
All: 22 | Positive: 9 | Negative: 13

Kirkus

Excellent
on May 20 2010

You needn’t buy the total Dawkins package to glory in his having the guts to lay out the evils religions can do. Bible-thumpers doubtless will declare they’ve found their Satan incarnate.

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Publishers Weekly

Below average
on Dec 29 2015

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.

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NY Times

Below average
Reviewed by Jim Holt on Oct 22 2006

Despite the many flashes of brilliance in this book, Dawkins’s failure to appreciate just how hard philosophical questions about religion can be makes reading it an intellectually frustrating experience.

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NY Times

Below average
Reviewed by Jim Holt on Oct 22 2006

Despite the many flashes of brilliance in this book, Dawkins’s failure to appreciate just how hard philosophical questions about religion can be makes reading it an intellectually frustrating experience.

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NY Times

Below average
Reviewed by Jim Holt on Oct 22 2006

There is lots of good, hard-hitting stuff about the imbecilities of religious fanatics and frauds of all stripes, but the tone is smug and the logic occasionally sloppy.

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NY Times

Below average
Reviewed by Jim Holt on Oct 22 2006

Despite the many flashes of brilliance in this book, Dawkins’s failure to appreciate just how hard philosophical questions about religion can be makes reading it an intellectually frustrating experience.

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Guardian

Above average
Reviewed by Robin McKie on Jun 02 2007

The God Delusion is carefully crafted, elegantly constructed and skilfully argued. And although the author may be rather rude about God and some of his followers, he is still at pains to point out that atheism is no more than a realistic aspiration, not a moral imperative.

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Blog Critics

Good
Reviewed by Bob Felton on Dec 21 2006

Religion's occasionally lovely sentiments and wisdom, as well as its myriad, undeniable evils, are going to be part of the human experience for a long time to come. Better, then, to reform with intelligence the superstitious impulses that aren't going to go away...

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Blog Critics

Below average
Reviewed by John Bambenek on Dec 12 2006

The book remains a rehash of pop philosophy and loosely strung-together anecdotes, half-truths, and outright falsehoods. A defense of reason? Hardly.

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Blog Critics

Below average
Reviewed by Tim Gebhart on Oct 31 2006

If The God Delusion suffers a flaw, it is an inherent and perhaps ultimately fatal one. It is almost impossible to use logic and reasoning to educate and persuade others on a subject that requires ignoring and rejecting logic and reasoning.

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AV Club

Below average
Reviewed by Donna Bowman on Dec 07 2006

Yet he fails to present atheism as an affirmative, joyful choice. Few secular Christians will leave their traditions, dysfunctional as they are, for his cold refuge of skeptics and stuffed shirts.

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AV Club

Above average
Reviewed by Donna Bowman on Dec 07 2006

For all his scattershot, sloppy rhetoric, Dawkins is on the side of the angels. He proffers the equation that supernaturalism plus indoctrination equals zealotry without the possibility of restraint, and few who have been awake during the opening of the 21st century could dispute his logic or his evidence.

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Pajiba

Above average
Reviewed by Jen K. on Feb 15 2010

Overall, I thought it was a well-reasoned book that addressed the problems with religion from a variety of views rather than just science. It is hard to imagine how the world would have developed without religion but it is an interesting question to ponder.

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London Review of Books

Below average
Reviewed by Terry Eagleton on Oct 19 2006

...Dawkins could have told us all this without being so appallingly bitchy about those of his scientific colleagues who disagree with him, and without being so theologically illiterate. He might also have avoided being the second most frequently mentioned individual in his book – if you count God as an individual.

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The Age

Below average
Reviewed by Barney Zwartz on Nov 24 2006

I imagine this book's main contribution will not be to reach the unconverted, as he hopes, but to provide more bullets for atheists to fire. Or one could read him simply for informative entertainment, like a bigoted Bill Bryson. It may be too harsh a judgement...

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LabLit.com

Good
Reviewed by Bill Hanage on Nov 05 2006

It is a tour de force of sustained argument which never quite descends into name-calling – even in the face of some pretty unpalatable truths. Instead, he is almost playful in his put-downs.

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Challies

Above average
Reviewed by Tim Challies on Jul 27 2007

He is condescending towards those who hold to religion and has a kind of pity for them. There is a sense in which he is right.

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http://scienceblogs.com

Below average
Reviewed by Razib Khan on Oct 04 2006

Clearly the The God Delusion was a somewhat disjointed book. I think it comes close to incoherency because of the neglect of major points introduced early on in the exposition in light of later chapters.

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http://www.wsws.org

Good
Reviewed by Joe Kay on Mar 15 2007

Dawkins has done us a service, if only in making more acceptable the general proposition that religion and science are at odds with each other, and that it is science that should win out.

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Buddha Space

Above average
Reviewed by G on Feb 22 2013

This investigative spirit is totally in line with the Buddha’s teaching regarding it as ehipassiko, inviting investigation, as opposed to blind belief. For this alone, the book has been a wonderful read, prompting the continued search for the truth of the way things are – the Dharma.

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http://www.michaelshermer.com

Good
on Jan 26 2007

The God Delusion deserves multiple readings, not just as an important work of science, but as a great work of literature.

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http://billmuehlenberg.com

Below average
on Dec 29 2006

...the overwhelming arrogance, pomposity and self-assuredness of the author. He can admit to no wrong, and will not allow any quarter from his enemies. There is just one choice. One must either believe Dawkins and his atheism, or one is deluded.

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Reader Rating for The God Delusion
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Dan Rory Green 11 Feb 2014

Rated the book as 5 out of 5

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Jordan Olsen 16 Jun 2014

For theists: First, you need to actually read the book. Not just the title. Open your mind to the hard questions and issues presented. If you come out a free and enlightened atheist or agnostic, gr...

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Dan Rory Green 11 Feb 2014

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