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The God Delusion [ permalink]
Richard Dawkins (author)
[ Amazon, B&N, Abe, Powell's]
The God Delusion unapologetically criticizes religion (as the title implies, belief in gods is a delusion, on the same level as believing you're Napoleon). First off, he tries to avoid confusion with the way Einstein and Hawking have used religious terms to express their appreciation of contemplating the universe, by invoking what he calls Einsteinian religion (neither Einstein nor Hawking are theists, by the way). In that respect, Dawkins tells us that he's a deeply religious non-believer, but dislikes using the word, instead preferring to reserve it for traditional religion.
Table of Contents
1: A Deeply Religious Non-Believer
2: The God Hypothesis
Secularism, the Founding Fathers and the religion of America
The poverty of agnosticism
The Great Prayer Experiment
The Neville Chamberlain school of evolutionists
Little green men
3: Arguments for God's Existence
Thomas Aquinas' 'proofs'
The ontological argument and other
a priori arguments The argument from beauty
The argument from personal 'experience'
The argument from scripture
The argument from admired religious scientists
4: Why There Almost Certainly is No God
The Ultimate Boeing 747
Natural selection as a consciousness-raiser
The worship of gaps
The anthropic principle: planetary version
The anthropic principle: cosmological version
An interlude at Cambridge
5: The Roots of Religion
The Darwinian imperative
Direct advantages of religion
Religion as a by-product of something else
Psychologically primed for religion
Tread softly, because you tread on my memes
6: The Roots of Morality: Why Are We Good?
Does our moral sense have a Darwinian origin?
A case study in the roots of morality
If there is no God, why be good?
7: The 'Good' Book and the Changing Moral
The Old Testament
Is the New Testament any better?
Love thy neighbour
Zeitgeist What about Hitler and Stalin? Weren't they atheists?
8: What's Wrong With Religion? Why Be So Hostile?
Fundamentalism and the subversion of science
The dark side of absolutism
Faith and homosexuality
Faith and the sanctity of human life
The Great Beethoven Fallacy
How 'moderation' in faith fosters fanaticism
9: Childhood, Abuse and the Escape From Religion
Physical and mental abuse
In defence of children
An educational scandal
Religious education as a part of literary culture
10: A Much Needed Gap?
The mother of all burkas
Appendix: A partial list of friendly addresses, for individuals needing support in escaping from religion
Books cited or recommended
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