I have no beef with Dawkins' argument for atheism. What bothered me about this book was its dry, sluggish prose, its incessant reference to other works, and its two-reader narration which acted to distract rather than to enliven. Having recently listened to Hitchens' "God is Not Great," which is witty, pithy, and elegantly written, Dawkins' work seemed so dead and uninteresting. Where Hitchens can denigrate his opponents with withering logic wrapped in literary genius, Dawkins' attacks seem petty and rigid. He spends too much time worrying that he'll offend, then dives right in to some petty attacks.
Basically, this is a scientist's book about belief and non-belief. It lacks the culture and personality that many other books on the subject have in spades. Also, one good narrator would have done just fine, instead of Dawkins and a female narrator splitting the duties...poorly.
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My sacred cows lay slain every where. I learned many things about many organized religions and contradictions and little known facts about the Bible. I was put off by what I found as the minimizing of pedophilia when comparing its damage to that of the religious brainwashing of children. Other than that Dawkins makes a logical well supported case against believing in any god. However, to accept his hypothesis, you must restrict your systems of perception to rationalism and empiricism. If you live by faith and not by sight, his arguments will be vacuous.
This book is for young people 18-25 yrs. old or maybe even for people that are just now starting to question their own religious beliefs.
I was a firm non-believer when I bought this book and I was kinda hoping that it would offer some insight into why humans believe what we believe, in a more anthropological way. What you got here is Richard and Lalla tag teaming the dialog and it comes off with this weird feeling that there should be a bright light shinning in your face while they "deprogram" you. I found this format distracting, it felt hokey with a tinge of desperate.
The book sometimes is infantile, with performances mocking other points of view.
However silly the opposite argument may be, I expected more than nanananana from a leading biologist.
The content itself is great and there's some amazing logic there, I just wish I could edit out that bullying.
I think this is a great book. I'm sorry it took me so long to come across it. I've been atheist for a long time, now I no longer feel ashamed to say so. (It's a good thing I'm not a politician, that would be the end of my career.)
This is a good scientific based analysis and presentation of religion as an evolved human adaptation or behavior, and the idea of religion as a meme - a replicating and evolving component of our environment that uses humans as a vector for reproduction. Think of the cold virus.
I picked this up after seeing the author on the Daily Show - I must admit he was preaching to the choir with me. I like a good debate on religious sociology but even though I agreed with the theory I found this book condescending. Maybe it was just the narrators but everytime they brought up an opposing theory it sounded snide and pompous. I probably also missed the point of the book - because rather than discrediting all other theories I thought they would make a case for their theory. Overall disappointed with the product as I was quite looking forward to the book.
I am reading a lot of books about the negative effect of religion these days. I started out with no intention to read any of them, but first tackled Sam Harris’ The End of Faith because an online discussion was just too interesting not to participate. I found the Harris book an eye opener. The number one idea I took away from it was that it doesn’t make sense to exempt religious ideas from any sort of logical argument. Our culture tacitly agrees that anyone can believe anything they want and the result is often that once someone interjects a religious sentiment into the argument or discussion, the debaters silently slink off, whether they agree or not, on the theory that the person is “entitled to his belief”. Believe it or not it had not occurred to me that that practice was not exactly correct. It was tolerant and humane. Harris convinced me it was also dangerous. I think he also convinced me that religion was dangerous when it was “moderate”. Then I read Kevin Phillips’ American Theocracy which was notable primarily for the statistics on the numbers of Americans who believe literally in the Bible and the growth of fundamentalist believers and churches—at the expense of the mainline protestant denominations like the one I was raised in. In the interim I read several articles and speeches such as the one by Bill Moyers on why Christians in thrall to The Rapture don’t care about conservation because they expect the world to end soon anyway. (I see he’s even published a short book on the subject called Welcome to Doomsday). The God Delusion is my third read on this topic in less than a year, despite the fact that I would not say that religion is one of my priority topics.
I must say that while my response to Dawkins’ book was a series of "buts", in all honesty I must stay that he had anticipated my responses and gave answers that satisfied me. Which is not the same thing as saying I loved the book.
Ok, this book has a massive amount if information and ideolgoies being introduced at a fast pace. Though I don't agree with his "proof" of why agnostics should really give up being agnostics and become aetheists (among other things), the book is full of good stuff and should be read in book format to fully understand its concepts; otherwise you'll be hitting rewind a LOT to get the info to sit in your head properly. This is the reason why I gave it 3 stars. It would have gotten more, but he just moves too fast for the casual listener to really comprehend what he's saying.
"The God Delusion" is a blisteringly well-written commentary on the state of religion framed by current events and is an absolute must-read for anyone, but in particular, one who wishes to further explore one's own doubts as an American Christian and the evolution of Christendom in the US. Personally, I found myself nodding my head throughout the read during most of the key points with regard to abuse that many have suffered historically as a direct result of religious fanaticism.
However, when Dawkins' quite obviously personal experiences and emotions surface sporadically, the tone dives deeply into resentment and absurdity. Frankly, I hope that the references to redneck cops, Christian zealots, and fearful, overbearing parents as the center stream of American Christians are written for shock and entertainment value and are not Dawkins' real motivation for writing. Eliminating these sixth-sigma examples from the overall argument is necessary to objectively understand Dawkins' core points.
Unfortunately, Dawkins makes the same mistake that most ‘religious’ Atheists make; that it is necessary to accept God (or a god), a religion and a religious text wholly together in a specific religious context, (such as Christianity, which is a ferociously attacked) as a explanation of the existence of a creator. Exposing the Bible as a book of lies, deceptions and evidence of accepted immorality does not logically disprove the existence of a creator - nor does the argument of ‘not chance’ in an evolutionary argument.
Every American Christian, especially those that are newly-saved and are looking for evidence of why looking inward for a relationship with one's creator is absolutely necessary for freedom of thought. What could be said is that the true delusion is not with the existence of God or a creator, but with the assumption that any human can competently represent or understand God. And for that, I apologize.
The only thing I didn't like about this audiobook was the arrogant tone of Dawkins. I like snark as much as the next person, but if he's going to win people over to his ideas he needs to show a bit more humility, or temper his ideas with humor. His stance is that if you don't agree with him it's because you're intellectually inferior. Frankly, I found it insulting.