Book 5 – The God Delusion – Richard Dawkins

Book 5 is British biologist Richard Dawkins’ 2006 bestseller The God Delusion. I will not get into any long discussion of what I believe or don’t believe, that is for everyone to decide on their own, but if you want to read a book that opens your eyes to religion and science read this book. From Wikipedia:

Dawkins writes that The God Delusion contains four “consciousness-raising” messages:

Atheists can be happy, balanced, moral, and intellectually fulfilled.

Natural selection and similar scientific theories are superior to a “God hypothesis” —the illusion of intelligent design— in explaining the living world and the cosmos.

Children should not be labeled by their parents’ religion. Terms like “Catholic child” or “Muslim child” should make people cringe.

Atheists should be proud, not apologetic, because atheism is evidence of a healthy, independent mind.[4]’

and from Douglas Adams to whom Dawkins dedicates the book:

And I thought and thought and thought. But I just didn’t have enough to go on, so I didn’t really come to any resolution. I was extremely doubtful about the idea of god, but I just didn’t know enough about anything to have a good working model of any other explanation for, well, life, the universe, and everything to put in its place. But I kept at it, and I kept reading and I kept thinking. Sometime around my early thirties I stumbled upon evolutionary biology, particularly in the form of Richard Dawkins’s books The Selfish Gene and then The Blind Watchmaker, and suddenly (on, I think the second reading of The Selfish Gene) it all fell into place. It was a concept of such stunning simplicity, but it gave rise, naturally, to all of the infinite and baffling complexity of life. The awe it inspired in me made the awe that people talk about in respect of religious experience seem, frankly, silly beside it. I’d take the awe of understanding over the awe of ignorance any day.

Douglas Adams The Salmon of Doubt, p 99.

One of the most interesting aspects of the book was the discussion of the meme (rhymes with cream). The meme is the basic unit of cultural transmission, or imitation. A term coined by Dawkins in his book The Selfish Gene. This has led to memetics which is the study of the working of memes: how they interact, replicate and evolve. From the book I am reading now Virus of the Mind  The New Science of the Meme by Richard Brodie:

The meme is the secret code of human behavior, a Rosetta Stone finally giving us the key to understanding religion, politics, psychology and cultural evolution……….

A very interesting book about an intriguing subject! I’ll tell you more when I’m done!