A Review of the 10th anniversary edition of The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins

By Michael Lee

In the best seller The God Delusion, evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins outlines his case against religion. There has been a history in modern thought of influential anti-clerical, anti-church and anti-theological writings,[1] from Voltaire and Nietzsche to Marx and, more recently, The Zeitgeist Movement (known by its acronym, TZM). In its most extreme form, attacks on churches and priests have occurred, most notably during, and after, the French Revolution. And the Soviet Empire became a militant atheistic regime inherently hostile to religion. However, I cannot think of a single text (outside of Satanist literature, that is) which is more ferocious in its attacks on God than The God Delusion. Restraint, respect and objectivity are all abandoned in Dawkins’s pages as he gives in to what appears to be an obsessive distaste for religion.

The first difficulty for the reviewer, after getting used to the barrage of religiophobic antagonism, that is, lies in ascribing a genre to this book. Dawkins describes himself in the book as a scientist not a philosopher,[2] but there is neither good science nor philosophy of any substance in The God Delusion. The text contains no significant scientific evidence, extended scientific discourse or sustained philosophical argumentation. At the same time, Dawkins clearly does not have knowledge of systematic theology or biblical exegesis. Nor does he seem especially insightful about any of the social sciences.

[1] http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Anti-clericalism

[2] Dawkins, p.107: “I am a scientist rather than a philosopher.”

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