You might wonder why I’m reading a book by Richard Dawkins and writing about it here. Well, there are at least three reasons. Firstly, I don’t see a conflict between science and my Christian faith; secondly, my faith is sufficiently robust to engage with other world views; and thirdly, he’s a great scientific academic and writer.
Having said that, I wasn’t impressed with The God Delusion. Not because I’m defensive about my faith, but more to do with Dawkins’ obvious agenda, his poor knowledge of the subject, his lack of research, and flimsy arguments. Often, he puts up a ridiculous ‘straw man’ argument and then knocks it down with an empty victory celebration. He’s best when he sticks to science.*
Dawkins still has an axe to grind in this book. Despite this, it’s an excellent science book intended for the general reader, although aimed primarily at children and young adults. For this latter reason, I found it slightly patronising at times, but would still recommend it.
His last two chapters are especially good, encouraging critical thinking and rational thought. These are so often lacking in today’s world, and qualities I’m keen to encourage in my young children.
*Note: A useful book that challenges and balances Dawkins chapter by chapter in ‘The God Delusion’ is ‘The Dawkins Letters: Challenging Atheist Myths‘.
See also: Darwin Day (12 February)