Ok. First of all I have to disclose that I am a kind of religious person (Jewish), so if you think this makes me incapable of reviewing this book, go ahead and stop reading here.
You stayed… good. This means you have an open mind. Just like me, otherwise why would I have read “The God Delusion“? It was recommended the other day by someone I know in Twitter, I had heard about Richard Dawkins more than one time, and since I am reading some philosophy of late (Hofstadter) I decided to give it a try.
Oh, it was awful. I almost never have to fight with a book to finished (I only remember dropping “The God of Small Things” after page 5 because I just couldn’t follow the number of names per line of text and simply gave up). But this one gave a fight. I was expecting a more scientific or philosophical book, and found a book full of hatred, arrogance, and snobbery. The book has many interesting topics and made me think A LOT, but in the end, I was left with a bad taste in my mouth.
First of all, evolution does not contradict the existence of God. To quote my loved writer, Terry Pratchett, “It doesn’t stop being magic just because you know how it works”. Same here, just because we can explain something it doesn’t mean that it was not done by G-d. Another thing that bother me is that while evolution IS the best theory around, nobody can PROVE that evolution occurred. If you learned some math or logic, you know that a proof is something very serious, and that something that has been proven once, cannot be unproven later. How many Scientifical facts (not very different from evolution) have been found to be incorrect 50 years later? Wasn’t Newtonian physics “the truth” until Einstein came? And while Einstein proved that nothing can travel faster than light, it seems that something does travel faster than light. So evolution is not proven. It is just the best explanation we have found, it looks promising, but please, behave like a real scientist and don’t say that evolution has been proven. It hasn’t.
Second, the book attacks Christian fanaticism in the US and Muslim fanaticism in the middle east. But does this mean that there is no G-d? that G-d is a delusion? No, it means that human beings can be crazy, fanatics, nutcases. There are also crazy people who are not religious, but what I think happens is that people who have a tendency for fanaticism are easily lured into religion, because it gives a good “comfort zone” in which they feel they are normal. Do you really think that if there was no religion there wouldn’t be any fanatics? have you heard of the Anarchism movement? I would also call them fanatics, and they also wreak havoc. And they don’t do it because of religion.
Third, and this REALLY ticked me off, Mr. Dawkins comes “In Defence of Children”, quoting that “Children.. have a human right not to have their minds crippled by exposure to other people’s bad ideas”. What? The opposite! I would like my children to learn all the bad ideas that have been in the world so the won’t repeat them! He then goes into a full discussion of what should be taught to children, and specifically that religion (and religious morals) should not be taught to them, and that they should choose them. Having 4 kids of my own, I really don’t think that they are capable of choosing, so this is out of the question. Secondly, who says that the moral of science is more correct that the moral of religion? who is going to decide what parts of science will be taught? there are theories that counter evolution with a lot of success. Will they be taught or will you also censor them because you think they are untrue? Each time someone decides that he is going to be the “guardian” of the children, ask yourself who is going to be his guardian? If religious people are so dumb and delusional, maybe they shouldn’t have children at all! I think you get my point by now.
Lastly, the book proposes that morality is not based on religion but on universal values that are above/below/around/outside of religion. Wouldn’t that be nice? I would really like to believe that humans have some kind of internal morals that guide them “to be good”. But I am a skeptic. In China, a girl was left to die in the middle of the street after having being hit by a car, Italian sunbathers couldn’t care less of the two Roma corpses lying in the beach, and the list can go on and on. I really hope that I am wrong, that we do have some basic, unbreakable, universal morals. But I really doubt it.
So in conclusion, I really hated the book. But it made me think a lot, and that is good. If you plan on reading it, try to ignore the arrogant tone taken by Mr. Dawkins, and you will probably enjoy the book more that I did. I couldn’t ignore it :-(.