Hey, guess what – Richard Dawkins is an atheist. Who’d have thunked it. Actually pretty much everyone these days, since it’s all he really talks about. I remember the old days, when he used to explain Darwin’s theories of evolution, and genetics with such popular appeal that we all started to understand it. Now, all everyone talks about it how Dawkins doesn’t like God, or gods for that matter, which means that many people around the world have now linked teaching evolution to being godless heathens. Such is life.
Dawkins tries to explain his stance in The God Delusion, a book that is now at the ‘you have to read this’ level of popular acceptance. It doesn’t matter if you believe in God or not, the book will come up in conversation at some point so best read it now to save later hassle. That said, I don’t think it’s such a ‘must read’ as everyone makes out. Dawkins makes a lot of good points and tackles the defenses that most religious people put up to his arguments with aplomb, as well as re-polarising some mis-used quotes. This is all interesting stuff, but it ends up being a bit too much about Dawkins rather than about religion in general and its social impact. In the last chapter, Dawkins rushes along pointing out key observations of human evolution that might even indicate why we believe in something bigger – but this point is not adequately expounded upon to my mind. Perhaps if Dawkin’s detractors had focussed more on the quality of his writing, rather than kicking up a fuss and drawing more attention to his book they might have had more success. Either way, I leave the last word to XKCD.