Sunday, February 14, 2010

Book review: The God Delusion, Richard Dawkins

Dawkins, a well-respected scientist with ground-breaking work in evolutionary biology, focuses his attention now on converting readers to Atheism. He makes no bones about the fact, and states his intention outright in his introduction.

Dawkins believes that science and theology are mutually exclusive, and that God does not exist, because there are scientific explanations to many of the perceived realms of God. He believes that seemingly random events, miracles and tragedies, are just what they appear to be: random. He disputes the idea of intelligent design, and argues against the complexity theory, which says that organisms are far too complex to have evolved at random or by accident. He explains the popular misconceptions regarding evolution, and that evolution itself is anything but random.

He also discusses the various evils done in the name of God that would not or might not have happened in a world without God. He believes that not only is there no God, but belief in God is not only foolish, but dangerous, and that religion is an inherent evil.

I believe in God, but I went into the book willing to listen and be convinced of the scientific merits. I didn't believe that Dawkins would talk me out of my belief, and he didn't. I was impressed with the science, but Dawkins lost a lot of credibility in his ad hominem arguments and for making arguments with the same lack of proof that he condemns religion for.

The bottom line: If you're unwilling to believe or discuss evolutionary theory, this is not the book for you. If you're an Atheist, you'll come away feeling pretty smug and superior. If you're a person of faith who does not believe that God and science are mutually exclusive, or that God is for the ignorant and science for the intelligent and rational, you'll find this book alternately frustrating and fascinating.

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