‘The God Delusion’, Richard Dawkins’ forthcoming book on religion, is “incurious, dogmatic, rambling and self-contradictory” according to Andrew Brown (author of the Darwin Wars), writing in Prospect magazine.
To a psychologist (or anyone taking a scientific approach to religion), what’s particularly of interest, is not so much whether or not God exists, but why so many people are believers, even today, when evolutionary theory means there’s no longer any need to invoke a designer to explain life’s complexity. But according to Brown’s scathing review, Dawkins utterly fails to offer any fresh insight into this question. “Thinking a bit was once what Dawkins was famous for. It’s a shame to see him reduced to one long argument from professorial incredulity”.
Dawkins is developing a somewhat legendary reputation for being anti-religion, a trend he has encouraged – he titled a collection of his essays published a few years ago ‘The Devil’s Chaplain’. Perhaps his most notable and controversial exposition on the subject was an article he wrote for the Guardian newspaper, just days after 9/11, in which he lamented the devaluing effect of religion on human life, and characterised the terrorists responsible as “testosterone-sodden young men too unattractive to get a woman in this world” but “desperate enough to go for 72 private virgins in the next”.
UPDATE: Andrew Brown debates his review and Dawkins’ book with science writer Dan Jones and others, at Jones’ blog – the proper study of mankind.
Link to review in Prospect magazine.
Link to The God Delusion, on Amazon.
Link to Guardian article.
2 thoughts on “Dawkins’ new book on religion”
I picked up Dawkins’ Book yesterday and must say the first 100 pages are a blast to read. I do agree with Andrew Brown’s criticism in saying that ‘The God Delusion’ only finds fault with the theist crowd. I would also remind him that the human condition is one of fault and Weinberg’s quote (repeated many times by Dawkins) ‘With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.’ provides the much needed context to a nasty review.
For a bit of contrast check out the economist review of this book.
I haven¬¥t had the pleasure to read Dawkins¬¥ book but Dennett¬¥s book (Breaking The Spell) have paved the way to do it as soon as possible. What i want to comment is the rude manners and anti-scholastic symptoms that some authors dysplay. I firmly believe that “ad-hominem” arguments do not work in the scientific business (even scientific journalism), in reference to Brown¬¥s words:”Thinking a bit was once what Dawkins was famous for. It’s a shame to see him reduced to one long argument from professorial incredulity”.
These Brown¬¥s words are lamentable.