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  1. Jonalexher
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    Jonalexher Contributing Member

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    Has anybody read The God Delusion by Dawkins?

    Discussion in 'Book Discussion' started by Jonalexher, Jan 31, 2012.

    This, or Hitchens' God is not Great. I don't know which to get, has anybody read any of the two and would like to recommend one?
    Sadly this is a topic that many people don't like talking about, so I can't really trust online ratings due to all the mad 1 star ratings.

    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. TDFuhringer
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    TDFuhringer Contributing Member Contributor

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    I haven't read Hitchens but I have read Dawkins.

    I like Dawkins, but I did not like The God Delusion, despite the fact that I agree with most of the points he makes in it. The book is elitist and insulting and certain key elements of his arguments are not explained in the book. It was not until I'd read his wonderful book The Greatest Show on Earth that I understood what he was talking about regarding how natural selection explains away the 'problems' with believing in evolution.

    I do recommend that everyone read The God Delusion at least once. But do so knowing it is an incomplete book and it will instigate strong feelings in anyone who reads it, regardless of your beliefs (or lack of them).
     
  3. Jonalexher
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    Jonalexher Contributing Member

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    Thanks for the quick review. I'll definitely check out The Greatest Show on Earth!
     
  4. Allan Paas
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    Allan Paas Contributing Member

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    They sound like books worth a read or two. I checked info on wikipedia, what little was there I agreed with.
     
  5. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    I've read both The God Delusion and God is Not Great. As much as I like Dawkins, I'm not crazy about Delusion, his other, science books are much much better. God is Not Great however is great. Just because it's Hitchens really.
     
  6. muscle979
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    muscle979 Member

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    A lot of atheists I've met have been that way. They dismiss anyone with faith as an idiot clinging to ancient fairy tales. As a matter of fact I've often found myself surprised at how passionate people can be about their belief that when they die it will be the end of their existence completely. If I had convinced myself entirely of that I think I would be a little depressed.
     
  7. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    To be fair to us atheists, it does seem to be a sort of trend. At least it was when these two books were at their height. And I'll admit to feeling the same way once. Right now I and most other atheists I know don't condemn religion, it just isn't a part of our lives. If this is elitist in any way then I don't know what else to say.
     
  8. BFGuru
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    BFGuru Active Member

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    Those atheists I know that do condemn religion come from a toxic religious history that has scarred them. It's normally based off of personal experience.

    I don't really focus on what happens after death. It is what it is. It doesn't depress me. And actually the idea of not existing anymore is much more comforting to me than standing before an almighty judge waiting to call me to account for every little mistake I've made in my life. That's a bit terrifying honestly. LOL.

    However, back to the book in question, I have it sitting on my bookshelf. I've read excerpts. I can't seem to get into it. It just seems like the angry atheist, which doesn't bode well with me. If you are convince that you are correct, there is no need to make others look a fool to prove your point.
     
  9. TDFuhringer
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    TDFuhringer Contributing Member Contributor

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    Agreed. this is why, though I agree with Dawkins and love his scientific books, I found God Delusion unpleasant.
     
  10. twelveninetysix
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    twelveninetysix Member

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    I too, like Dawkins, mostly for his work on evolution (The Blind Watchmaker is an excellent book). However I agree that The God Delusion is pretty elitist stuff. Even the title is kind of confrontational for my tastes, and if anything it discredits the points that he makes. I'm an atheist, but I don't condemn people who are religious - I think they're wrong, but history has shown that trying to force your beliefs on people never ends well. I freely admit that I have limited patience for Evangelism and I dislike "Angry Atheists" for much the same reasons.
     
  11. muscle979
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    muscle979 Member

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    I think a lot of people just find it hard to accept that the answer to the meaning of life question might be that there is none. I don't think about death much either but I suspect in 30 or 40 years that could change. Of all the ideas/beliefs about what happens after death reincarnation is the most interesting to me personally. But I think I'm getting off topic, I haven't read the God Delusion and don't believe it's likely that I will.
     
  12. Ziggy Stardust
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    Ziggy Stardust Active Member

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    I prefer God is Not Great, Hitchens tells a lot about his life and personal experience with religion in that book as well. There is no arguing with him.

    God Delusion is also a very good, Dawkins is another brilliant mind. It concentrates more on science, where as Hitchens concentrate more on scripture, history, politics, etc.

    Both are well worth a read imo, Dawkins and Hitchens are/were very impressive men.
     
  13. toadling
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    toadling New Member

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    If you are reading Dawkins, you might find the works of Rupert Sheldrake worth considering; I certainly find his work far more interesting.

    Good luck.

    - Toadling
     
  14. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't know about Dawkins... I hear him often and he leaves me underwhelmed, he seems like such a negative person and he rants a lot, as amusing as it may be, but I don't take much interest in what he has to say..
    I grew up in a relaxed atheist country. It was atheist in as much as not subscribing to any particular religion, state not funding any religious groups, religious groups not enjoying tax exempt status etc. Religion was allowed, of course, but in schools we learned a bit about all religions, compared them and what it all means in relation to the history of society, we discussed evolution as a fact, and all in all, everyone I know, including me, ended up as an agnostic, not strict atheist. As in, we feel there is something bigger, be it nature, laws of physics, a Creator, who knows, everyone is free to ponder about it, with nobody telling you what to believe, what church to go to or not go to etc.

    It is only in otherwise religious countries that I encountered aggressive atheists such as Dawkins. I met people who fervently insisted that once they die, there will be absolutely nothing, yada, zilch. And all I felt from them was sadness and anger. Not relaxation, contentment, but upset. I feel that radical atheism is simply a reaction to some abuse (mental, psychological) that people suffered in the context of organised religion. So I don't really see it as viable philosophy, not for me anyway.
     
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  15. KipDynamite
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    I have read both The God Delusion and god is Not Great, and I don't know that I can recommend one over the other, but The God Delusion was more of a persuasive book, whereas god is Not Great seemed more like it was preaching to the choir (no irony intended).

    Although I agreed with many of the philosophical, scientific, and historical points made in each of them, I have to say I don't like their blasting rhetoric at all. I think they come off as profoundly snobbish and arrogant, even though I'm sure this wasn't intended. I think that if famous atheists/agnostics wanted to get their message across, they'd be better off doing it in a way that is more gentle. Read Breaking the Spell by Daniel Dennett. He criticizes religion, but he does it in a way that is much kinder.
     
  16. Lightman
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    Lightman Active Member

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    Dawkins is philosophically inept (in the sense of formal, academic philosophy). That is all.
     
  17. AndrewH
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    AndrewH New Member

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    Disclaimer: Christian

    Dawkins seems to have gotten more shrill, and moved further away from science and towards ideology as he's progressed. The Blind Watchmaker was a good science book. The God Delusion was a rant, and (as Lightman alluded) makes some questionable philosophical arguments. I also like the bit where he presented his arguments against Pascal's Wager as an indictment of Christianity, when the exact same criticisms have been made against it by theologians since the 17th century.

    I haven't read God Isn't Great, so I can't comment on that one.
     
  18. beanbengo
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    beanbengo Member

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    The greatest show on earth is a better dawkins book in my opinion. First non fiction book ive read cover to cover so can't be that bad :D

    Alsoooo, check out my website ;) www.Monkey2Man.co.uk you might find it interesting, i wrote it all myself. I would appreciate you checking it out if you're interested in the religion evolution thanggg :)
     
  19. Shilac
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    Shilac New Member

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    The God Delusion is one of those books I've started but never been able to finish. I think this largely due to the feeling that many of his arguements only really work within the context of a worse possible senario which as a scientist I hoped Dawkins would have known better than to rely upon. He does make some valid points but I also feel that he has a habit of getting too wound up about something which in the big scheme of things isn't that big an issue.

    I have read God is not Great but for the life of me I can't remember much about it.

    As for The Greatest Show on Earth I can't say that I was particually taken with it but that may have been because I've done a fair bit of reading into evolution and it wasn't really pitched at people like me. His booked The Selfish Gene and The Extended Phenotype were pretty good although they suffer from the problem that much of his writing does, his habit of labouring the point.

    When it comes to science writing I much prefer the likes of Nick Lane or Stephen Jay Gould.
     
  20. BFGuru
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    BFGuru Active Member

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    Barring suspecting I may change in 30 or 40 years, I am kind of with this. Not that I buy into reincarnation as though I'm coming back as a gnat, but it just seems to work scientiffically. Perhaps it's not even reincarnation I'm thinking of. Just the fact that, I won't disappear. My body's energy will dissipate into the atmosphere and the first law of thermodynamics will still be true.
     
  21. TheSerpantofNar
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    TheSerpantofNar Active Member

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    I have not read either of them but I respected Hitchens more then Dawkins im not a atheist but I respected the man even though i did not agree with him on much.
     
  22. Lazy
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    Lazy Banned

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    That's probably true. Luckily we don't need philosophy, we have science, and Dawkins is definitely not inept in that field. The verbose treatises of Emmanuel Kant or Thomas Aquinas or whoever have no bearing on the physical nature of reality. Science is simply an attempt to document that reality, and that reality indicates that there is probably no god.
     
  23. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    I get the sense that you do not know very much about philosophy. It is certainly needed - because philosophy is not about any one subject, or any one interpretation. Quite the opposite, it is rather a huge range of thought and theories. Philosophy and Theology are in no way the same thing.
     
  24. Lazy
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    Lazy Banned

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    What I meant was we do not need philosophy on this particular subject (the nonexistence of god).

    I didn't mean that all philosophy is useless, although I guess that's what I said.
     
  25. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    You can have philosophical arguments for and against the existence of God. One of the most famous philosophical arguments against was first said by Epicurus, and is called 'The Problem of Evil' which I recommend you to google. Another example of a famous philosophical argument, this time for the motion, is called the 'Ontological argument', which is the argument that the definition of something necessitates it's existence.

    In fact, science has nothing to do with the existence of god since god cannot be analysed through sense datum. Most books like The God Delusion use vague and simplistic philosophical arguments (I prefer to call them 'complaints') alongside scientific facts to raise doubt.
     
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