Sunday, October 29, 2006
A book review by Kevin Baldeosingh (homepage) writing in Newsday (Trinidad and Tobago):
Bantam Press, 2006
ISBN 0-618-68000-4, 406 pages.
This is an excellent polemic from Britain's leading atheist. Dawkins, a biologist, is a also a top-flight science writer, best known for his books The Blind Watchmaker (UK | US) and The Selfish Gene (UK | US). But he is also known as a staunch defender of evolutionary theory against creationists and their latter-day incarnation as "Intelligent Design" proponents. It is this which has led him to become a critic of religion in general a role he has played more vociferously since the 9/11 attack.
The God Delusion is a comprehensive collection of arguments against religious belief. The book is divided into ten sections. The first is titled, with seeming paradox, "A deeply religious non-believer". In this section, Dawkins explains why the scientific world-view should be respected, while the respect given to religious opinions is baseless and even harmful. The third section examines the various classical arguments for God's existence, all of which Dawkins dismisses in so succinct and precise a manner as to make one pity theologians who have wasted their intellects on such questions. Section five provides a Darwinian explanation for religious belief, with Dawkins arguing that religion is a misfiring of brain modules which evolved for entirely different evolutionary purposes (most specifically, a "mind-reading" module which allows us to discern other people's intentions). Other sections show why we can be moral without religion; explain why religion causes evil acts; and argue that science can be a substitute for the wonder and comfort provided by religious belief. [Continued at the title link] [Creationism, Atheism]
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