Author Topic: Richard Dawkins - The God Delusion (2006)  (Read 11552 times)

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Offline Apeiron

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Richard Dawkins - The God Delusion (2006)
« on: April 07, 2008, 05:40:32 AM »
Subject introduction
Dawkins argues against the existence of God, discusses several scientific theories on the origins of morality and religion, and explains why he feels religion has a bad influence on the world.

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Richard Dawkins
The God Delusion

Offline Apeiron

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Richard Dawkins - The God Delusion (2006)
« Reply #1 on: April 07, 2008, 05:46:40 AM »
This book is not only controversial among theists, but also among agnostics/atheists. I do not understand why, because the book is in my opinion a very rational and fair analysis of religion, its influence, its origin, and the likelihood of the existence of God. To a theists it may be perceived as a very hostile book, but that is largely due to the fact that people don't like to learn they're wrong. I don't get why some atheists are so critical of the book.

As I've indicated already, I liked this book very much. It's clarity and broader approach in my opinion made it better than for example God Is Not Great (Hitchens), or The End of Faith (Harris). The paperback version that I got has lot's of testimonials by impressive names, one of which (too lazy to check who) wishes that this message would come across to theists. That's the exact same sentiment I had while/after reading it: if only theists would read the book and approach it fairly and neutrally. Would solve a lot of problems.

Offline Kwisatz Haderach

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Richard Dawkins - The God Delusion (2006)
« Reply #2 on: April 07, 2008, 06:16:45 AM »
Quote from: "Apeiron"
The paperback version that I got has lot's of testimonials by impressive names, one of which (too lazy to check who) wishes that this message would come across to theists. That's the exact same sentiment I had while/after reading it: if only theists would read the book and approach it fairly and neutrally. Would solve a lot of problems.


I have just picked up the paperback version of this book as well.  I find the comment that they wish this message would come across the theists rather amusing, since so far, all of the criticisms in this book are ones that we discussed at length in my first year seminary classes.  Not brought up and disdainfully dismissed out of hand, nor raised up and then shot down with logical fallacies, but brought up as realities that must be incorporated into any theology that could hope to be relevant in the twenty-first century.

So far, this book has done nothing to mitigate my prejudice that the "anti-religious" strain of atheism is little more than one long argument from ignorance.  Perhaps my mind will be changed as I continue reading...

Offline Jim

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Richard Dawkins - The God Delusion (2006)
« Reply #3 on: April 07, 2008, 09:39:22 AM »
I've just finished the preface, so you may have to wait a bit for a comment :-)
Jim

Offline Apeiron

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Richard Dawkins - The God Delusion (2006)
« Reply #4 on: April 07, 2008, 09:41:56 AM »
I look forward to more people posting opinions :)

P.S.: I've got a court order that no-one is allowed to inform spiney of the existence of this thread. Anyone who does will be held in contempt of court and can be kept in jail for an undefined period.

Offline zntneo

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Richard Dawkins - The God Delusion (2006)
« Reply #5 on: April 07, 2008, 10:01:42 AM »
I personally love this book. Although this could be biased by the fact that it was one of the first books on atheism that I read, it was also one of the first books I read as an atheist.  I liked this book so much that I have read it multiple times all the way through.  If you want a book that has more of philosophical arguments refuting theistic arguments, I'd recommend George H.  Smith's book atheism: the case against God.

Offline TurboCramb

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Richard Dawkins - The God Delusion (2006)
« Reply #6 on: April 07, 2008, 12:01:25 PM »
I really enjoyed this book as well.  I'm about 25% through reading it for the second time.  (Actually, I think I had to return it to the library the first time, so i didn't read the last few chapters.  This time I went out and bought it.)

It had a significant effect on my conversion to atheism, although the SGU podcast was by far the most significant factor.  This book's influence was about as large as talking to the people in this forum.  It was the last book I read as a theist, and the first I read as an atheist.

As for Febo's comments on anti-religious themes, I personally think that the arguments FOR the benefits of organized religion lack any real merit.  Organized religion can have good effects, and may have even served a necessary purpose during some unknown period in history, but I don't know of anything that it does which cannot be replicated in a secular form.  Fine, that's an argument from ignorance.  But I'm not advocating the abolition of religion.  If your personal preference is to be part of some non-harmful organized religion, then go ahead.  Why should I care what you do?  The "personal preference" argument is the only thing going for religion IMO.
There is no god, and Richard Dawkins is her prophet.

Expelled Exposed

Offline Sabbie

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Richard Dawkins - The God Delusion (2006)
« Reply #7 on: April 07, 2008, 01:56:42 PM »
I thought it was better than God is not Great as well, but I am not sure why. I am just not easily bored with this book, while I was with the former.

I still can't give my full opinion though, because I haven't finished reading it yet. So far I'm loving it and I think this will be among my favorites for a long time.

Offline Donnikko

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Richard Dawkins - The God Delusion (2006)
« Reply #8 on: April 07, 2008, 06:41:17 PM »
I started reading this book and got sidetracked with some other projects. This thread has reminded me and it will be the next non shcool related book I read.

Offline glosrob

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Richard Dawkins - The God Delusion (2006)
« Reply #9 on: April 08, 2008, 08:39:08 AM »
Like some others on this thread this was the first book on Atheism I have read.

I find Dawkins style very easy to read and thoroughly enjoyed this book. Some people better read than I have said he brings nothing new to the table; if this is the case I dont have a problem with it. The arguments he puts forward are clear and concise and if all he is doing is going over old ground, then at least lots of new people are taking it in for the first time.

The arguments are persuasive to me, but then in my case he is preaching to a very attentive choir.

I also have the audiobook which I listen to occasionally at work - it is one of few books I an read and reread with ease.

Offline Apeiron

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Richard Dawkins - The God Delusion (2006)
« Reply #10 on: April 08, 2008, 08:47:15 AM »
The audiobook, at least the version I found, is heavily abridged. Just a heads-up.

(I hate abridged audiobooks)

Offline Kwisatz Haderach

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Richard Dawkins - The God Delusion (2006)
« Reply #11 on: April 08, 2008, 08:49:58 AM »
Quote from: "TurboCramb"
As for Febo's comments on anti-religious themes, I personally think that the arguments FOR the benefits of organized religion lack any real merit.  Organized religion can have good effects, and may have even served a necessary purpose during some unknown period in history, but I don't know of anything that it does which cannot be replicated in a secular form.  Fine, that's an argument from ignorance.  But I'm not advocating the abolition of religion.  If your personal preference is to be part of some non-harmful organized religion, then go ahead.  Why should I care what you do?  The "personal preference" argument is the only thing going for religion IMO.


I'm not really in favor of "organized" religion; nor do think that believe in anything supernatural should go unchallenged.  I just think that Dawkins is completely misunderstanding or intentionally misrepresenting the potential grandeur of the human experience when he makes argues that the religious views of men like Einstein and Spinoza are ok, so therefore they are not really religious.  It's kind of like if a creationist said, "When I talk about scientists, I don't mean the people who actually understand the scientific method, I only mean people with whom I disagree!"

However, I am still only a few chapters along, so my thoughts may change...

Offline Apeiron

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Richard Dawkins - The God Delusion (2006)
« Reply #12 on: April 08, 2008, 08:53:31 AM »
Dawkins says those deist ideas are ok because they do not interfere with reality. If you want to phrase that as "they're not really religious", then I'm fine with that, but don't (ab)use your way of translating Dawkins' sentiment.

Offline Kwisatz Haderach

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Richard Dawkins - The God Delusion (2006)
« Reply #13 on: April 08, 2008, 09:00:17 AM »
Quote from: "Apeiron"
Dawkins says those deist ideas are ok because they do not interfere with reality. If you want to phrase that as "they're not really religious", then I'm fine with that, but don't (ab)use your way of translating Dawkins' sentiment.


Using Dawkins' own definitions, neither Einstein nor Spinoza were deist, they were pantheists, the difference being that Deists believe that God is supernatural, while Pantheists use God as a metaphor for the more awesome or mysterious aspects of the natural world.

I've been a "pantheist" (by Dawkins' definition) my whole life, even when I self-identified as a Christian.  It's the assumption that religion = supernatural belief that I have a problem with.

(But, Like I said, still reading... :wink: )

Offline Apeiron

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Richard Dawkins - The God Delusion (2006)
« Reply #14 on: April 08, 2008, 09:02:59 AM »
I think the two of us will always disagree on these definitions. To me religion must be supernatural in order to be religion. To me Christians must believe in Jesus' death and its importance in order to be Christians.

Oh well  :P