Book Review: The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins
Does God Exist?
Evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins makes the case there is no reason to believe in God. An author known for other titles such as The Selfish Gene (1982), and The Blind Watchmaker (1986). Adored by some and detested by others, Dawkins vigorously defends the position that religion has no place in our modern world of science and technology.
Before trekking my way through the pages of his book, I skeptically viewed Dawkins as a militant atheist who often reduced the functions of religion as pointless, meaningless, and of no use. Although my opinion on this matter goes unchanged, I have a much better understanding of his intentions and objectives.
Most atheists and agnostics would probably say something along the lines “There is nothing wrong in letting people believe what they want to believe. If a person finds consolation believing in god/s then why would it concern me. Live and let live right?” I agree with John Stuart Mill and his harm principle when it comes to what people should be allowed to do.
Everyone should be allowed in a free society to make the decision they see fit, as long as one does not harm others.
Towards the end of the book, Dawkins makes the case that religion can cause both physical and psychological harm to disenfranchised groups such as children, women, and gay people.
In the first part of the book, Dawkins uses philosophical arguments to disprove the god hypothesis, while also using his field of expertise evolutionary biology, he proves that all the evidence in evolution by natural selection points in the direction that is extremely likely that there is no god.
Afterward, Dawkins seeks to explain the existence of morality without the need for a god. This is the part of the book that I disagreed with the most as he makes a lot of hypotheses based on claims that have not been scientifically proven. Such as the notion that the need for religion in the human experience has evolved as an accidental by-product of another trait necessary in the survival of our ancestors.
Up until this point, Dawkins has been trying to convince the reader why there is no god and why there is no need for a god. He finishes the back taking the offense instead. Directly attacking a lot of religious practices that abuse and take advantage of children, women, and the un-educated. Retelling heartbreaking stories of people’s lives that have been negatively impacted by religion.
In conclusion, I learned a bit more about the influence that religion has in the world and how one must not stay complacent on the sidelines, instead take an active role advocating for more critical thinking and letting people think for themselves.
In the end, I gave The God Delusion 3 out of 5. Not a bad book by no measure of the imagination but not a work of art I will come back to every year. A valuable piece of contemporary writing that I would recommend to anyone trying to understand the evils of religion in the 21st century.