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Saturday, February 03, 2007

A Day at the Bookstore

Just about every Saturday, I head over to books a million with my 9 year old son. He likes to play in the Yu-Gi-Oh tournament and I like to read new books. Today, I began reading Dawkins new book "The God Delusion". I'd heard a lot about the book, both positive and negative. the negative comments fall into two groups. Religious zealots accuse Dawkins of radical atheism and make comments along the lines of

What a sad joke this book is. If you get only one tome to prove that intelligence and wisdom are mutually exclusive, this one will do the trick! Dawkins is clearly an intelligent man, yet so lacking in wisdom it is nauseatingly pathetic. Who holds the worst body count of people murdered for ideological reasons? Not Christianity...not Islam...it's "atheistic" Marxism! In what way are the "politically correct" lunatics different than the priests of the Inquisition? The only delusion Dawkins should be pondering is the delusion that he is an opponent of religion. Oh so obviously he is a high priest of the religion of "science," with its steadfast true-belief in theories and blind faith in ridiculous extrapolations of probability. It takes a lot more faith to believe the Universe came about by random chance than it does to believe a Creative Being or Force designed things this way.


See, here is the point. Maybe God does not exist. But Dawkins is so bitter and angry, and argues in such a wrong-headed fashion, that a reader is left wondering where the smart atheists are, who can make a real case against the existence of God, where to turn for an intelligent debunking of faith... I would not say that Dawkins is so bad as to back a reader into faith, but he is just bad enough to back any intelligent reader out of atheism, especially out of rabid evangelical atheism. At the very least, readers will be bound over to ennui and disgust over their $27 miss-spent dollars. (JM: Heh, heh nothing spent so far)
Such a stupid bright man, such a dishonest clever book.

Others are highly critical of Dawkins' public persona. I'm admittedly not finished with the book, but the reviews I've read on Amazon and the multiple discussions of his book from a religious and non-religious perspective caused me to be in no hurry to read the book. Then I opened the book and started reading. So far, and I'm about half way through, Dawkins does not seem militant in his discussion. He makes his points solidly and thoughtfully. Yes, some of the book is a rehash of earlier books, but mainly to emphasize a point. I guess that my reaction so far is "What's the big deal about this book?". Dawkins is known as an atheist and he is laying out a cogent case for his atheism. Others may take him to task for doing so, but it's one mans opinion based on a lifetime of thought and inquiry. I disagree with Dawkins on some of what he wrote (more on that later--when I'm finished with the book), but also appreciate his willingness to lay out his case. So many theists don't ever lay out their case in a rational manner. Their faith simply 'is' and 'is not' to be questioned. So, I know what book I'm going to pick up next weekend and continue to read (yes, I am a cheap bastard!).


Joe Meert


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