A preeminent scientist and the world s most prominent atheist asserts the irrationality of belief in God, and the grievous harm religion has inflicted on society, from the Crusades toWith rigor and wit, Dawkins examines God in all his forms, from the sex obsessed tyrant of the Old Testament, to the benign but still illogical Celestial Watchmaker favored by some Enlightenment thinkers He eviscerates the major arguments for religion, and demonstrates the supreme improbability of a supreme being He shows how religion fuels war, foments bigotry, and abuses children, buttressing his points with historical and contemporary evidence The God Delusion makes a compelling case that belief in God is not just wrong, but potentially deadly It also offers exhilarating insight into the advantages of atheism to the individual and society, not the least of which is a clearer, truer appreciation of the universe s wonders than any faith could ever muster I m going to get the criticism out of the way before I move on to why I love this book.Richard Dawkins is not an easy read He never pulls a punch, and if any of the beliefs he is attacking in his book are yours then this is going to get your back up Not for nothing was he passed over as a witness in the intelligent design trials in America His appearance on the witness stand would probably have worked for the ID advocates as he pointed at every believer in the room and berated them for th I m going to get the criticism out of the way before I move on to why I love this book.Richard Dawkins is not an easy read He never pulls a punch, and if any of the beliefs he is attacking in his book are yours then this is going to get your back up Not for nothing was he passed over as a witness in the intelligent design trials in America His appearance on the witness stand would probably have worked for the ID advocates as he pointed at every believer in the room and berated them for their gullibility and simple mindedness The book tends to read at times like a diatribe which pummels you, and leaves you wanting to put the book down for ten minutes to get your breathe back.However, having said that, I think this book is just fantastic At times its a comedy masterpiece as he quotes various religious bodies, allowing them to shoot themselves in the foot by highlighting their own inconsistencies or the avoiding of debate For instance, The Catholic Encyclopedia dismissing Atheism Formal dogmatic atheism is self refuting, and has never de facto won the reasoned assent of any considerable number of men Nor can polytheism, however easily it may take hold of the popular imagination, ever satisfy the mind of the philosopher Why not That isn t reasoning, beyond the simple I say it ain t so, so it ain t so.At other times the book is a very clear explanation of the evolutionary pathway which may have led to humans becoming susceptible to such simple fairy stories.The second half of the book then concentrates on the downsides of religion and argues for all sensible, intelligent non believers to make their voices heard, to help the scales fall from the eyes of those infected with faith.What I particularly loved about this book is that I have been atheistic for many yearsthan half my life, and I m almost forty now , but this is the first time I ve read a really coherent, well argued text on what is wrong with religion all of them The scientific approach to ripping down the pillars of faith probably won t achieve all that it should, faith being what it is But it was an excellent read anyway Well, this settles it once and for all There is no God Which turns out to be a good thing, considering the God most Americans believe in is a crazy, vengeful, ego maniacal monster Dawkins insights are so cunning and profound you can t help feeling embarrassed for the believer.Some of the main arguments Believer 1 The diversity of life is too complex to be random, so it must have been designed by someone evencomplex.Dawkins If the designer is so complex, then it must ve been created Well, this settles it once and for all There is no God Which turns out to be a good thing, considering the God most Americans believe in is a crazy, vengeful, ego maniacal monster Dawkins insights are so cunning and profound you can t help feeling embarrassed for the believer.Some of the main arguments Believer 1 The diversity of life is too complex to be random, so it must have been designed by someone evencomplex.Dawkins If the designer is so complex, then it must ve been created by someone evencomplex And on and on like that In philosophical terms it s an infinite regress In simpler terms it s So who made God The only plausible explanation for the complexity of life on Earth is natural selection.Believer 2 The chances of having all the right conditions to develop life are so miniscule, it had to be done on purpose.Dawkins It s true the odds are probably about a billion to one But there are potentially a billion billion planets in the universe I m not very good at math, but that definitely improves the likelihood And we know it happened here, so it could definitely happen again.Believer 3 Without God to teach us, we wouldn t know good from evil.Dawkins People all over the world make the same moral decisions in thought experiments, regardless of vast religious differences We do not need God to teach us good and evil Not only that, no person in modern times can seriously claim they are basing their behavior on Biblical guidelines We re talking about people who were ready to kill their own kids, or at least offer up their virgin daughter to be gang raped In the example of Lot, God only spares Lot and his daughters, because they are the most righteous people in town Then the two daughters proceed to get him liquored up and seduce him Which begs the question, wouldn t God have seen that coming QUOTES TO LIVE BY I do not fear death I had been dead for billions and billions of years before I was born, and had not suffered the slightest inconvenience from it Mark Twain Let children learn about different faiths, let them notice their incompatibility, and let them draw their own conclusions about the consequences of that incompatibility As for whether they are valid, let them make up their own minds when they are old enough to do so R Dawkins But how has it happened that millions of fables, tales, legends have been blended with both Jewish and Christian revelation that have made them the most bloody religion that ever existed John Adams What is there to respect in any of this, or in any of the crimes now being committed almost daily around the world in religion s dreaded name How well, with what fatal results, religion erects totems, and how willing we are to kill for them And when we ve done it often enough, the deadening of affect that results makes it easier to do again.So India s problem turns out to be the world s problem What happened in India has happened in God s name.The problem s name is God Salman Rushdie, Religions, as ever, is the poison in India s blood That it will never come again is what makes life so sweet Emily Dickinson There is something infantile in the presumption that somebody else has a responsibility to give your life meaning and point The truly adult view, by contrast, is that our life is as meaningful, as full and as wonderful as we choose to make it R Dawkins This is perhaps the worst polemic against religion I have ever read Really, if Dawkins actually knew anything about religion, he wouldn t have written the book Instead, he knows nothing about the subject, and so if you know nothing about something, you don t even KNOW when you say stupid things For instance, Dawkins brings up John Hartung s article about love thy neighbor Hartung is not, in case you were wondering, a biblical scholar He s a Professor of Anesthesiology The argument is tha This is perhaps the worst polemic against religion I have ever read Really, if Dawkins actually knew anything about religion, he wouldn t have written the book Instead, he knows nothing about the subject, and so if you know nothing about something, you don t even KNOW when you say stupid things For instance, Dawkins brings up John Hartung s article about love thy neighbor Hartung is not, in case you were wondering, a biblical scholar He s a Professor of Anesthesiology The argument is that both the Old Testament s or Torah and the New Testament s idea of neighbor is an in group conception in other words, other Jews Now, let s not get into the issue that Dawkins and Hartung seem to befundamentalist about the bible than most Christians I mean, Hartung says that Moses wrote the law guess what Most Christian scholars don t think this Hartung points out many verses that seem to argue this Yet in bringing up Leviticus 19 18 love your neighbor as yourself , and then arguing this means only other Jews even though there was no such thing as Judaism when this book was written , he seems to forget Leviticus 19 32 33 There, aliens are to be considered as citizens , or natives In addition, please tell me what example Jesus uses to illustrate what neighbor means The good Samaritan who were of course considered inferior by the Jews This is just a smattering of his ignorance Would you think that Dawkins MIGHT have consulted someone scholar in religious studies for this work Ehrman is about the only one He quotes Douglas Adamsthan any specialists in the field There are other annoying things about the book Like the fact that he basically treats the most violent and fanatical of the religious as the standard Of course, does he treat Nazi Eugenics as standard science Of course not and for anyone who thinks science is self correcting well, that s just naive Another thing he gives T.H Huxley a free pass on his eugenic racism his statements that blacks in the south might not be evolved enough to have democratic rights which by the way, he made at the same time Christian abolishionists were establishing universities and cities in the mid west that were race inclusive , because it was a part of the Zeitgeist , yet using the violence of the Old Testament against religion Another thing are you sick of this yet in arguing that there most likely was no religious conviction in anyone who did anything good he said that Martin Luther King Jr basically just got his ideas from Ghandi, who of course everyone knows wasn t really religious Well, if you read Dr King, and believe him which Dawkins, by the way, doesn t like doing he d rather foist his own intelligent interpretation of what they were doing on them , King actually got much of his social justice vision from the theologian Walter Rauschenbauch He got his notion of non violent resistance from Ghandi, which is much different Anyway, if anyone out there is really looking for atheistic resources, do NOT read Dawkins He ll just make you look like a fool in any educated person s view Instead, read an intelligent atheist, who understands religion, like Nietzsche Start with Beyond Good and Evil, go to the Genealogy of Morals, and then finish with Twilight of the Idols and the Antichrist They will give you a better perspective I am not an atheist, but neither am I a true believer I borderon agnostic , that is to say I believe there is some force beyond this Earth and that I don t know what it is, but I don t subscribe to any particular set of beliefs, per se.Until I come across books like this one Then, I get an irrational urge to defend spiritual beliefs but not religion, and that s another discussion.What I mean is, I am generally docile and private about my spirituality and my beliefs until someone goe I am not an atheist, but neither am I a true believer I borderon agnostic , that is to say I believe there is some force beyond this Earth and that I don t know what it is, but I don t subscribe to any particular set of beliefs, per se.Until I come across books like this one Then, I get an irrational urge to defend spiritual beliefs but not religion, and that s another discussion.What I mean is, I am generally docile and private about my spirituality and my beliefs until someone goes out of their way to make inflammatory comments designed to browbeat me into supporting a point of view That is true for prosthelytizing believers of any religion, as well No one ever persuaded me to become a Christian by telling me I was going to Hell if I didn t But Dawkins manages the atheists equivalent, and its my main quibble with atheists and their arguments It s all condescension and ridicule, moral superiority and incredulity Followers of Dawkins mantra are the evangelicals they despise without the religion Its quite entertaining to watch a conversation between these two groups devolve, but very rarely is any substantive progress made in making one group better understand the other And I believe we will need that reconciliation, as a society, sooner than later.Which is what annoys me about this book It s well written, and somewhat well argued though Dawkins does engage in some sophistry, but not as bad as Sam Harris did in his book , but the tone of it is all wrong He clearly isn t trying too hard to engage the people he should be, in favor of those who already believe or are sympathetic to his views Because of that, I consider this book largely a masturbatory enterprise and not something that seeks to seriously put forth real arguments, or to promote understanding It merely serves as a platform for Dawkins to illustrate his views