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The God Delusion

Updated on August 22, 2014
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Nerd, cinephile, TV-junky, research-loving, left-leaning, science-fiending, atheist from the gutter. Follow me on Twitter @TheGutterMonkey.

The Author - Richard Dawkins "Darwin's Rottweiler"

"I am against religion because it teaches us to be satisfied with not understanding the world." --Richard Dawkins

Clinton Richard Dawkins (born 26 March 1941) is a British ethologist, evolutionary biologist, and author. He is an emeritus fellow of New College, Oxford, and was the University of Oxford's Professor for Public Understanding of Science from 1995 until 2008.

Dawkins is an atheist and humanist, a Vice President of the British Humanist Association and supporter of the Brights movement. He is well known for his criticism of creationism and intelligent design. In his 1986 book The Blind Watchmaker, he argued against the watchmaker analogy, an argument for the existence of a supernatural creator based upon the complexity of living organisms. Instead, he described evolutionary processes as analogous to a blind watchmaker. He has since written several popular science books, and makes regular television and radio appearances, predominantly discussing these topics. He has been referred to in the media as "Darwin's Rottweiler," a reference to English biologist T. H. Huxley, who was known as "Darwin's Bulldog" for his advocacy of Charles Darwin's evolutionary ideas. In his 2006 book The God Delusion, Dawkins contends that a supernatural creator almost certainly does not exist and that religious faith is a delusion -- a fixed false belief. As of January 2010, the English-language version had sold more than two million copies and had been translated into 31 languages, making it his most popular book to date.

"When one person suffers from a delusion it is called insanity. When many people suffer from a delusion it is called religion."
--Robert Pirsig

From the moment of its publication, The God Delusion has gained widespread attention from all arenas of religious and anti religious beliefs. In the book, Richard Dawkins contends that a supernatural creator almost certainly does not exist and that belief in a personal god qualifies as a delusion.

As of January 2010, the English version of The God Delusion had sold over 2 million copies. It was ranked #2 on the Amazon.com bestsellers' list in November 2006. In early December 2006, it reached #4 in the New York Times Hardcover Nonfiction Best Seller list after nine weeks on the list. It remained on the list for 51 weeks until 30 September 2007. The German version, entitled Der Gotteswahn, had sold over 260,000 copies as of January 28, 2010.

The book has attracted widespread commentary, with many books written in response.

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The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse - Books by Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris and Daniel Dennett

In a time when atheism, agnosticism, and rational thinking is on the rise, there have been four men leading the way: Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris and Daniel Dennett. They have duly been given the title of The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.

Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon
Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon

Few forces in the world are as potent as religion: it comforts people in their suffering and inspires them to both magnificent and terrible deeds. This book seeks to uncover the origins of religion and discusses how and why different faiths have shaped so many lives, whether religion is an addiction or a genuine human need.

 
The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason
The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason

This important and timely book delivers a startling analysis of the clash of faith and reason in today's world. Sam Harris offers a vivid historical tour of mankind's willingness to suspend reason in favour of religious beliefs, even when those beliefs are used to justify harmful behaviour and sometimes heinous crimes. He asserts that in the shadow of weapons of mass destruction, we can no longer tolerate views that pit one true god against another. Most controversially, he argues that we cannot afford moderate lip service to religion - an accommodation that only blinds us to the real perils of fundamentalism. While warning against the encroachment of organised religion into world politics, Harris also draws on new evidence from neuroscience and insights from philosophy to explore spirituality as a biological, brain-based need. He calls on us to invoke that need in taking a secular humanistic approach to solving the problems of this world.

 
Letter to a Christian Nation
Letter to a Christian Nation

In a thought-provoking and impassioned new study, the author of The End of Faith continues his battle against rigid adherence to the Christian religious literalism that is transforming America, refuting the essential beliefs, tenets, and certainties of fundamentalist Christianity in terms of sexual morality, intelligent design, and other key topics. 150,000 first printing.

 
God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything
God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything

Essayist and contrarian Christopher Hitchens takes on all the world's major and minor religions (and, perhaps, God himself) in this well-argued, though controversial, summa theologica. Hitchens considers religion to be a primitive response to the world, cites the harm done through history in the name of religion, and argues in favor of science and reason. He is less than hagiographic on Gandhi, Billy Graham, the Dalai Lama, and, of course, Mother Teresa, who got the full Hitchens in his earlier work, THE MISSIONARY POSITION. As always, Hitchens is erudite, acerbic, and eminently readable. And he can quote scripture to illustrate his points!

 
The Portable Atheist: Essential Readings for the Nonbeliever
The Portable Atheist: Essential Readings for the Nonbeliever

From the #1 New York Times best-selling author of God Is Not Great, a provocative and entertaining guided tour of atheist and agnostic thought through the ages--with never-before-published pieces by Salman Rushdie, Ian McEwan, and Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Christopher Hitchens continues to make the case for a splendidly godless universe in this first-ever gathering of the influential voices--past and present--that have shaped his side of the current (and raging) God/no-god debate. With Hitchens as your erudite and witty guide, youll be led through a wealth of philosophy, literature, and scientific inquiry, including generous portions of the words of Lucretius, Benedict de Spinoza, Charles Darwin, Karl Marx, Mark Twain, George Eliot, Bertrand Russell, Emma Goldman, H. L. Mencken, Albert Einstein, Daniel Dennett, Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, and many others well-known and lesser known. And theyre all set in context and commented upon as only Christopher Hitchens--political and literary journalist extraordinaire (Los Angeles Times)--can. Atheist? Believer? Uncertain? No matter: The Portable Atheist will speak to you and engage you every step of the way.

 

Richard Dawkins Debates Religion - Videos of Richard Dawkins debating religion

 

Other Books by Richard Dawkins

The Selfish Gene: 30th Anniversary Edition--with a new Introduction by the Author
The Selfish Gene: 30th Anniversary Edition--with a new Introduction by the Author

Richard Dawkins' brilliant reformulation of the theory of natural selection has the rare distinction of having provoked as much excitement and interest outside the scientific community as within it. His theories have helped change the whole nature of the study of social biology, and have forced thousands of readers to rethink their beliefs about life.

In his internationally bestselling, now classic volume, The Selfish Gene, Dawkins explains how the selfish gene can also be a subtle gene. The world of the selfish gene revolves around savage competition, ruthless exploitation, and deceit, and yet, Dawkins argues, acts of apparent altruism do exist in nature. Bees, for example, will commit suicide when they sting to protect the hive, and birds will risk their lives to warn the flock of an approaching hawk.

This 30th anniversary edition of Dawkins' fascinating book retains all original material, including the two enlightening chapters added in the second edition. In a new Introduction the author presents his thoughts thirty years after the publication of his first and most famous book, while the inclusion of the two-page original Foreword by brilliant American scientist Robert Trivers shows the enthusiastic reaction of the scientific community at that time. This edition is a celebration of a remarkable exposition of evolutionary thought, a work that has been widely hailed for its stylistic brilliance and deep scientific insights, and that continues to stimulate whole new areas of research today.

 
The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution
The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution

Charles Darwin's masterpiece, "On the Origin of Species", shook society to its core on publication in 1859. Darwin was only too aware of the storm his theory of evolution would provoke but he would surely have raised an incredulous eyebrow at the controversy still raging a century and a half later. Evolution is accepted as scientific fact by all reputable scientists and indeed theologians, yet millions of people continue to question its veracity. In "The Greatest Show on Earth" Richard Dawkins takes on creationists, including followers of 'Intelligent Design' and all those who question the fact of evolution through natural selection. Like a detective arriving on the scene of a crime, he sifts through fascinating layers of scientific facts and disciplines to build a cast-iron case: from the living examples of natural selection in birds and insects; the 'time clocks' of trees and radioactive dating that calibrate a timescale for evolution; the fossil record and the traces of our earliest ancestors; to confirmation from molecular biology and genetics. All of this, and much more, bears witness to the truth of evolution. "The Greatest Show on Earth" comes at a critical time: systematic opposition to the fact of evolution is now flourishing as never before, especially in America. In Britain and elsewhere in the world, teachers witness insidious attempts to undermine the status of science in their classrooms. Richard Dawkins provides unequivocal evidence that boldly and comprehensively rebuts such nonsense. At the same time he shares with us his palpable love of the natural world and the essential role that science plays in its interpretation. Written with elegance, wit and passion, it is hard-hitting, absorbing and totally convincing.

 
The Blind Watchmaker: Why the Evidence of Evolution Reveals a Universe without Design (Reissued in 2006 and 1996)
The Blind Watchmaker: Why the Evidence of Evolution Reveals a Universe without Design (Reissued in 2006 and 1996)

Acclaimed as the most influential work on evolution written in the last hundred years, "The Blind Watchmaker" offers an inspiring and accessible introduction to one of the most important scientific discoveries of all time. A brilliant and controversial book, which demonstrates that evolution by natural selection - the unconscious, automatic, blind, yet essentially non-random process discovered by Darwin - is the only answer to the biggest question of all: why do we exist?

 
Unweaving the Rainbow: Science, Delusion and the Appetite for Wonder
Unweaving the Rainbow: Science, Delusion and the Appetite for Wonder

Did Newton "unweave the rainbow" by reducing it to its prismatic colors, as Keats contended? Did he, in other words, diminish beauty? Far from it, says acclaimed scientist Richard Dawkins; Newton's unweaving is the key to much of modern astronomy and to the breathtaking poetry of modern cosmology. Mysteries don't lose their poetry because they are solved: the solution often is more beautiful than the puzzle, uncovering deeper mysteries.

With the wit, insight, and spellbinding prose that have made him a best-selling author, Dawkins takes up the most important and compelling topics in modern science, from astronomy and genetics to language and virtual reality, combining them in a landmark statement of the human appetite for wonder.

This is the book Richard Dawkins was meant to write: a brilliant assessment of what science is (and isn't), a tribute to science not because it is useful but because it is uplifting.

 
Climbing Mount Improbable
Climbing Mount Improbable

How could such an intricate object as the human eye - so complex and so precise - have come about by chance? In this masterful piece of popular science, Richard Dawkins builds a powerful and carefully reasoned argument for evolutionary adaptation as the force behind all life on earth. The metaphor of 'Mount Improbable' represents the combination of perfection and improbability that we find in the seemingly 'designed' complexity of living things. And through it all runs the thread of DNA, the molecule of life, responsible for its own destiny on an unending pilgrimage through time. Evocative illustrations accompany Dawkins' eloquent descriptions of astonishing adaptations in the living world.

 

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    • goldenrulecomics profile image

      goldenrulecomics 3 years ago

      Fascinating. Thanks for sharing

    • profile image

      Colin323 3 years ago

      Very interesting lens; thanks

    • paperfacets profile image

      Sherry Venegas 3 years ago from La Verne, CA

      Haeckel was Darwin's first promoter and is still labeled a fraud by creationist groups today. He extensively lectured on Darwin's work in the year's after the Origin of the Species was written. I may give Mr. Dawkins a read. And thank you, since I was not aware of his books before.

    • MelaniePaige13 profile image

      Melanie Paige 4 years ago from Adelaide, South Australia

      Good lens. I think I've heard of Richard Dawkins, though can't really recall.

      I'm not an atheist, though I don't believe there is one creator of the human race...if we supposedly came from 2 people, why are there so many races and languages? I question these things.

      Anyway, I'm Spiritual, but that doesn't mean I'm religious :)

      Thanks for sharing this interesting lens :)

    • gregoryolney lm profile image

      gregoryolney lm 5 years ago

      Nice to know I'm not alone in my atheism ! I'm 75 and ever since I learned not to let others think for me, I've been convinced that religion is (a) a load of superstitious nonsense and (b) a threat to humanity. Time we learned to tolerate and respect others whatever they believe or don't believe.

    • oxfordian profile image

      oxfordian 5 years ago

      Nice job. I've been a big fan of his for years. I love to hear him in interviews as he is so articulate; a voice of reason and intelligence so rare in the media today. Thanks. Oxymoronic, but here's an angel blessing for you (just think of it as a 'squid really, REALLY like -- with a boost" :)