Friday, 18 May 2007

A distinct feeling of underwhelmedness

So I finished reading The God Delusion (having unexpectedly found it in paperback in Eason's, at least 3 weeks prior to its paperback release date. Go figure.).

I am left feeling distinctly underwhelmed. Richard Dawkins is a very, very excellent science writer, and some of that skill comes through in the final chapter, but as for the rest... well... it's just not very good, to be honest.

The trains of argument go like this:
Start of journey: 'Here is what I think and I will prove it to you in this chapter'
(*Choo-choo* - train trundles out of station)
Tea-lady appears with trolley of nice things (which you can't afford since you have no way of contacting your bank to remortgage your house while you're on the train): Here is a reasonably plausible argument for why what I think is true
Making headway towards destination: here are some illustrations of why this is true
Announcement: The Enterprise will enter Connolly Station in 5 minutes. Please take all your belongings with you: We'll now throw in some bad things religion has done, just to finish off
Train pulls into station: And now that we've proved that, here's what we'll look at in the next chapter
Announcement: Thank you for travelling with us on The Enterprise today. We apologise for the six and a half hour delay to today's journey, and trust that arriving in Dublin at 11.45pm instead of 5.15pm will not cause you too much inconvenience. We look forward to you travelling with us again.
And that's that.

There were significant chunks that I had to re-read because I thought I'd missed something. But no - there was simply no argument there.

Now, to be fair (oh all right then), there are some arguments in the book, many of which I agreed with. But they just seemed to be arguing against things that religious people don't generally believe in anyway (that the Bible provides a literal moral platform for us to copy, that Pascal's wager is a good bet (Pascal's wager being that if we don't know whether God exists then we might as well believe in Him because we've nothing to lose if we're wrong and everything to gain if we're right), literal 6-day creation, blah blah blah.) I know some Christians believe these things, but not all by any means. And some have simply never been exposed to anything else (I believed in literal 6 day creation when I was a teenager, but then someone explained evolution to me and I thought, ok, fair enough).

Anyway, I've only just finished it, and not really thought about it - hopefully once I compose some constructive thoughts on the matter, I'll blog again and share those.


Anonymous said...

OK, "comments"
PS) By your command, I left it. (My cool humour. :P)

Anonymous said...

I just added another comment. (Don't worry. it's a real. ;))
To be honest, as reading your writing, I'm wondering what you'd like to tell us. Just simlpy, you mentioned how the writer wrote the book and you feeling.. In my foolish case, as reading a book, I tried to find some points what I could or couldn't agree. However, you seemed to mind saying it now.. Maybe that's my silly feeling. Anyway, thanks. :)