Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The God Delusion

The God DelusionThe God Delusion by Richard Dawkins

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I can't praise a book any higher than to call it life changing. That is what The God Delusion means to me. It opened vistas of intellectual exploration to me. It taught me that atheism need not lead to nihilism.

The key argument in this book turns the tables on a deist argument best expressed by theologian William Paley. The argument is called 'Paley's Watch' and its central idea is that only complexity can account for complexity. Dawkin's simple but devastating argument against the existence of God as an answer to anything can be crudely summed up as follows: Complexity is improbable, yet to solve the problem of complexity by positing greater complexity just restates the problem on a larger scale. And we thought that Charles Darwin handled this over 150 years ago.

Richard Dawkins is for evolutionary biology what Carl Sagan was for astrophysics. Both crush the stereotypical view of science with poetic eloquence that evokes a childlike sense of wonder at the edge of reality. As Dawkins asks, "Isn't it enough to admire a garden without having to imagine fairies in it?" With Dawkins and Sagan as guides, the answer for me is a resounding yes.

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