Richard Dawkins?

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Richard Dawkins?

Postby Exp. Date, the rat » Mon Sep 27, 2010 7:51 am

I am interested in reading Richard Dawkins, but don't know what book to start with. I have read all of the Science of the Discworld novels and a lot of an authors books who goes by the name of- I think- Larry Hatchett, I think it is. And this author seems to be on the ball about this science and god stuff. So what is a good one to get into this works for a novices point of view?
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Postby poohcarrot » Mon Sep 27, 2010 8:10 am

If you liked Science of Discworld 3, then you must read the God Delusion.
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Postby Willem » Mon Sep 27, 2010 8:54 am

I fully support this recommendation of the God Delusion.
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Postby Dotsie » Mon Sep 27, 2010 9:04 am

If you want his god stuff, then yes. But for his sciencey stuff a much better book is The Ancestor's Tale. Or you could try The Selfish Gene, which started it all for Dawkins (I don't think this is particularly readable myself).

Personally I think a little bit of The God Delusion goes a long way.
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Postby raisindot » Tue Sep 28, 2010 11:54 am

Agree with you there, Dotsie, on The God Delusion. While I agree with him philosophically, his approach, which relies too much on insult and sarcasm, gets annoying after awhile.

Also agree with you on "The Selfish Gene." If there's one 'user friendly' book that explains the mechanisms that drive evolution and behavior, this is it, although I think that "selfish" anthropomorphizes a bit. "The Blind Watchmaker," while not as accessible as TSG, continues this thread and pokes holes in creationists' theories about watchmakers and monkeys typing Shakespeare.


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Postby Danny B » Sat Oct 09, 2010 4:41 am

Maybe try The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution, which is filled with just as much irritation as his other polemic, but has a much wider field of fire than The God Delusion. While he makes some excellent points in TGD, it really could have been a series of essays or articles, instead of a reasonably long (by polemic standards) and quite repetitive book. We get it Richard, you don't believe. There's no need to be prick about it, though. :roll:

As previously recommended, The Blind Watchmaker is far more destructive to creationists and "intelligent design" advocates, though. The God Delusion is Dawkins as demagogue, where he's kind of annoying - almost whiny, in fact. The Blind Watchmaker is Dawkins as scientist, where he's far more coherent, authoritative, knowledgeable and much less exasperating. The Greatest Show on Earth walks a middle ground between the two, although he still stoops to unnecessary insults on occasion. To get a glimpse of what drives Dawkins to such extremes of passionate advocacy, try Unweaving the Rainbow. Genuinely uplifting in places.
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Postby Raz » Sat Oct 09, 2010 12:25 pm

Personally I have read both The God Delusion and The Greatest Show on Earth. I much preferred TGSOE, as it provided a great overview of the different ways evolution takes place. With the God Delusion I found it was a bit heavy on the attitude, but was still a very worthwhile read. Just got Devil's Chaplain, and will be reading it once I have finished a Phillip K. Dick marathon I've been having! :lol:
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Postby CJDobs » Tue Nov 09, 2010 2:57 pm

I didn't enjoy 'The God Delusion'. It started well but then became really self congratulatory with Dawkins heaping praise on his own theories.

I'm an Atheist because I can't see any sense in organised religion (understatement!) and I dont feel anything spiritually for some higher being either . . . .

Can't prove my disbeliefs of course, and therein lies the dilemna on both sides :cry: Not sure Dawkins or Hitchen are the men the put Atheism in the main stream as one is too smug and the other too angry.
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Postby raisindot » Wed Nov 10, 2010 1:10 pm

CJDobs wrote:Can't prove my disbeliefs of course, and therein lies the dilemna on both sides :cry: Not sure Dawkins or Hitchen are the men the put Atheism in the main stream as one is too smug and the other too angry.


If you really want a more reasoned rejection of theism, you might want to search out "36 Arguments for the Existence of God" by Rebecca Goldstein.

It's a work of fiction about about an American professor who was written a book with the said title that goes out to disprove said 36 arguments that have been through history to 'prove' God exists. The fiction part is absolutely awful--totally self-indulgent academic navel-gazing.

But, at the end, Goldstein very thoughtfully provides an appendix where she lists each of the 36 arguments for the existence of God (including Pascal's Wager, the anthropic principle, etc.) and uses logic to totally destroy these arguments. This appendix is the only reason to read the book. I wish she would just package this part separately and sell it only because it's a great tool for athiests and agonistics.

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Postby Dotsie » Wed Nov 10, 2010 1:52 pm

I don't really know if I need a tool though, I don't need proof that God doesn't exist and I don't necessarily agree with Dawkins that religion is always bad. Faith schools though, I'm with him on this one. Why bother with a science class if all you'll be teaching is religion? And how come religious education in these schools isn't regulated by the same body as all other subjects? Bad, very bad.
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Postby deldaisy » Thu Nov 11, 2010 5:10 pm

Dotsie wrote:I don't really know if I need a tool though, I don't need proof that God doesn't exist and I don't necessarily agree with Dawkins that religion is always bad. Faith schools though, I'm with him on this one. Why bother with a science class if all you'll be teaching is religion? And how come religious education in these schools isn't regulated by the same body as all other subjects? Bad, very bad.

Oh I don't know Dotsie... sometimes a tool can be a good thing... having an 18 inch chrome adjustable spanner in one hand when you answer the door to those lovely Morman boys at 6am on a Tuesday morning can be a valuable tool at times. Sometimes they don't even stay long enough to leave a magazine. Though I shouldn't pick on Mormans. A very nice pair of elderly ladies woke me once to tell me of the virtues of the Catholic Church.
Me: :evil: WHAT? :evil:
Them: :D Hello dear. :D We are from the Catholic Church and would like to talk to you about the Lord Our Saviour Jes...
Me: :evil: WHAT? YOU WOKE ME UP TO TELL ME ABOUT JESUS???? :evil: I HAVE A SICK BABY AND HAVEN'T SLEPT FOR THREE, THREE DAYS! :evil: THREE DAYS! :evil: I JUST GOT HER TO SLEEP AN HOUR AGO :evil: (well you get gist of it.....)
No I respect everyones religion. Just don't wake me up to tell me about it.
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Postby Dotsie » Thu Nov 11, 2010 5:37 pm

I'm not saying they're not nice.... just on a different plane of reality to me.
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Postby deldaisy » Thu Nov 11, 2010 5:41 pm

Dotsie wrote:I'm not saying they're not nice.... just on a different plane of reality to me.

Dotsie... You are preaching to the converted hun.
Or would that be the "unconverted" ? :D
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Postby raisindot » Thu Nov 11, 2010 6:32 pm

Dotsie, tools are good if you're going up against someone who tries to create a logical argument that "because of A, God must exist."

I mean, sure you can say, "You're full of it," but that's a bit ad hominem. Using logic to defeat logic has the potential to change minds, or at least to make a believer realize that there is no logic to believe in a deity, only faith itself. Which is absolutely fine. I have nothing against people believing what they want to believe.

Personally, my biggest logical argument against a believer trying to convince me that their God is real would be:

"If there truly is a deity, and your deity is the one true deity (or set of deities) who created the world and shephered your culture according to the stories you believe in, then how do you account for the thousands of other deities and stories that other people and cultures believe in? If there were only one true deity, then everyone would believe in the same creation stories and everyone would worship the same god. This is not so. Explain, other than saying that they're all wrong."

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Postby Dotsie » Fri Nov 12, 2010 10:33 am

raisindot wrote: Using logic to defeat logic has the potential to change minds, or at least to make a believer realize that there is no logic to believe in a deity, only faith itself. Which is absolutely fine. I have nothing against people believing what they want to believe.


You're contradicting yourself there Jeff. I don't need a tool for the job because I don't want the job. Why would you want to change someone's mind about God if you have nothing against their beliefs? You could just end up making them unhappy.

I only have a problem if children are taught religion as science (and terrorism and stuff is pretty bad too, obviously).
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