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Thread: A Review of Dawkins by Prof. John Cottingham

  1. #1 A Review of Dawkins by Prof. John Cottingham 
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    A Review of Dawkins by Prof. John Cottingham


    A Review of Richard Dawkins' book “The God Delusion.”

    Though not exactly "the book of the movie", this latest offering from the Professor for the Public Understanding of Science at Oxford, and self-appointed scourge of religious faith, is reminiscent, in tone and content, of the two-part television documentary The Root of All Evil?, which he presented on British television for Channel 4 earlier this year. The book begins with a magnanimous concession: Dawkins is prepared to allow that "religion is not the root of all evil". But it is still, we quickly learn, a Very Bad Thing.

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    (Professor John Cottingham M.A. D. Phil is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Reading

    Post edited to include a link to the original author's review. Please do not post large copy/paste text and please provide some commentary for that text you *do* copy/paste in a post -SkinWalker


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    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    The thing that most people appear to reject is the notion that the behaviour of an individual is based upon their nature. (Gosh! A tautology as pregnant with significance as survival of the fittest.) Their nature determines whether they are pacifist, or belligerent; social, or reclusive; tolerant, or prejudiced. And it determines whether they are theists, or atheists; fundamentalists; or liberals. Religion is not a cause of human behaviour, but a consequence.


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    Forum Cosmic Wizard SkinWalker's Avatar
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    It's important to note, as well, that Dr. Dawkins was against the title of the BBC 4 show The Root of All Evil?, and lost the battle against BBC for a different title. His concession was the inclusion of a "?" at the end, so he isn't saying that religion *is* the root of all evil, indeed he's been on record many times saying that no one thing is the root of all evil.

    I've read many reviews of Dawkins' book, some good and some bad. I even nearly wrote one of my own, since there were a few things about the book that I found both good and bad.

    Most of his critics, however, haven't nailed down specifics that they found objectionable but have stuck to some general criticisms about his "tone" or his "emotion" or other subjective points.

    I'd be interested in seeing what specific points in The God Delusion members of this forum found either objectionable or spot on.
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    Quote Originally Posted by SkinWalker
    It's important to note, as well, that Dr. Dawkins was against the title of the BBC 4 show The Root of All Evil?, and lost the battle against BBC for a different title. His concession was the inclusion of a "?" at the end, so he isn't saying that religion *is* the root of all evil, indeed he's been on record many times saying that no one thing is the root of all evil.

    I've read many reviews of Dawkins' book, some good and some bad. I even nearly wrote one of my own, since there were a few things about the book that I found both good and bad.

    Most of his critics, however, haven't nailed down specifics that they found objectionable but have stuck to some general criticisms about his "tone" or his "emotion" or other subjective points.

    I'd be interested in seeing what specific points in The God Delusion members of this forum found either objectionable or spot on.
    Well stated. As a scientist and atheist there isn't much I disagree with Dawkins as far as his analysis of religion as a mythology. I'm less inclined to agree with him as you rightly put it 'in tone'. Most of science isn't all that influenced by religion. In 2007 there are sciences nudged here and there but they are a minutia and the 'nudge is often overstated....more an influence on 'popular' science than scientific research. Nobody I know of in my field, geology, gives two hoots about some religion-science debate when doing basin log analysis, etc. Atheists and whacko fundies rely on the same facts to determine oil production potential.

    What I do find amusing about the attacks on Dawkins are that he is 'too pushy'. This is from folks who watch 'one' program or read a couple of books by Dawkins....these same people can turn on the radio or TV and listen to 24/7 broadcasts by religious fundies. The ratio advocating atheism to the preaching of Christianity in the media is perhaps 1 to a million...yet it is Dawkins who is 'too pushy'? A hundred preachers in in a hundred media markets are pushing their mythology with fervent gusto and threats of eternal damnation.

    There is a Dawkins discussion forum and, yes, sometimes Dawkins is the subject of discussion:

    http://richarddawkins.net/forum/sear...ch_id=newposts
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