As a Christian, I began listening to The God Delusion with a certain amount of trepidation that my faith might be substantively challenged. I have concluded the book with the contrary perspective that my faith has been substantively strengthened. If this book represents the best arguments from one of the brightest minds, then Christianity has nothing to fear from atheistic secular humanism. Dawkins has been referred to as Darwin's bulldog, but Darwin's pussy cat might be a more accurate appellation - for his arguments lack any teeth. I expected a scientist like Dawkins to provide conclusive facts and proofs in support of his position. Instead, what I encountered were a slew of opinions, theories, and fallacious arguments. By fallacious arguments, I mean that virtually all of his arguments exhibited one or more fallacies in structure or content - fallacies that almost anyone could spot. The worst fallacies in the book are in the categories of faulty generalizations (cherry picking, composition, false analogy, circular reasoning and hasty generalization), red herring fallacies (including straw man, argument from silence, association fallacy, and chronological snobbery), propositional fallacies (existential fallacy and proof by example) and most commonly, the fallacy of judgmental language. (You can look at the list of fallacies in wikipedia and find a good number of them represented in Dawkins' book). Dawkins argues religion against science and uses specific instances from not only across all of Christendom, but across all religions in the world and generalizes the specific instances to be representative of religion in general. He refers to anyone who agrees with him as enlightened, intelligent, thinking, reasonable, etc., and all (including some specific distinguished scientists) who disagree with him as ignorant, delusional, unreasonable, unthinking, abusive, etc. etc. Regardless, Dawkins has been rendered irrelevant by fellow atheists Foucault, Derrida and Rorty.
I am amazed at the number of readers who applaud this book. It is, in my mind, one of the clearest examples of the "straw man" logical fallacy I have read in many years. Dawkins arrogantly creates the illusion of refuting ostensible positions which are really just figments of his own creation. I laughed at many of his examples. If I could have rated this book lower than an one, I would have. I don't recommend it at all.
Jed M. Merrill
Mr. Dawkins goes to great lengths to teach people how to close their religious eyes and minds, as if it would help them see the world more clearly with their physical. Half the time I felt I was reading The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis, a better intentioned book that I recommend to all. A fascinating study of how willfully blind one can become, The God Delusion is either a masterwork of self-delusion or sophistry. Those who have had real spiritual experiences will find this book shallow, manipulative, scornful, and it's author at best spiritually naive and inexperienced, at worst an unwitting spokesman for the enemy of God. A poor, unfortunate soul! As for atheists, they'll probably make a prophet out of him, but "Will the blind lead the blind? Both shall fall into the ditch." ~ Jesus A word to the wise: Keep BOTH eyes open! The spiritual and the physical, science AND religion. God did not send us here to rely solely on our senses. He also does not ask us to ignore them.
If you want a book that helps you decide if you are a believer, or if you are an atheist then The God Delusion is not the right book for you, Its more like a debate book, Dawkins speaks about earlier discussions between him and various religious believers, however in part 2 there are a some helpful facts for the recovering religious addict, But it is more like a handbook for the already established atheists, I would recommend Sam Harris The end of Faith for the addict, and once you break free of religion and start to enjoy life for what it is, then you are ready to read The God Delusion
By anticipating criticism of his points, Dawkins was able to construct coherent and convincing arguments. Given the topic of the book one probably shouldn't listen while driving - it can elicit strong reactions - both positive and negative!
Part 2 is far more intersting than part 1, overall very thought provoking. Oh how man is often duped into believing 'The written word' must be the 'truth'
Most enjoyable and recommended reading for all broad minded people.
Geez, this book is more about how much Dawkins thinks everyone else is an idiot and he is brilliant, than it is about the empirical underpinnings of atheism. I kept trying to concentrate on the real arguements in favor of atheism, but the surfeit of invective Dawkins injects into the book finally overwhelmed me. This book felt like I was walking in on a couple of well educated school boys having a slanging match - there was so much animosity and name calling going on that the discussion lost all credibility. Too bad, because there is a good book out there using the material Dawkins collected. Frankly he really needs a tough editor to box his ears and get him to focus on the subject and not on his detractors.
This book addresses and answers nearly every argument the true believers of our world make to convince us that imaginary beings are in charge. Great ammunition when confronted with aggressive proselytizers.
Typically, it would be humorous to propose scientific evidence from a work of science fiction. In the same way, quoting Wikipedia in an academic paper produces a comedic effect, and to encounter a complicated philosophical issue with a piece of armchair philosophy is silly. However, this sort of thing is sometimes submitted with grave sincerity, and then it becomes something worse than an innocent jest. It turns into something of an insult to the intelligent men and women who do serious work in the field.
Richard Dawkins is undoubtedly an intelligent man, and like most intelligent people, it is equally clear that he holds his opinions on whatever subject to which he devotes his attentions to be rather important and insightful. He's a man who doesn't idly waste his own time. Unfortunately, professional philosophers have seen his work and some of them have even tried to correct him, saying with a unanimous conviction that "Dawkins in The God Delusion would fail any introductory philosophy or religion course." It really is quite bad. For instance, he makes strident declarations (twice, I believe) that lead to epistemological skepticism, but perhaps we've misunderstood his intentions.
It is questionable how seriously he expected anyone to treat this work. It is not written in his usual style, the first-person frame of reference gives away the fact that he is not speaking as a professional, but simply as someone with an opinion, like any of his readers. The book is not organized into an obvious progression but addresses a variety of topics of broadly varying quality and importance. He skips over rather controversial material without a word, neglects to define his terms, doesn't seem overly interested in engaging the arguments of those who intelligently disagree (I'm not even sure he believes they exist), and generally writes as though he is addressing those who already share his position. It seems that Dawkins intended the book simply to provide an outlet for expressing a collection of thoughts that he felt his more avid readers would enjoy perusing. In that case, unfortunately it acts merely as an artifact of belief perseverance for both sides.