This is tough to get through, and I'm not sure if it's because I don't want it to be true or because it's reasoning seems dubious or both. Done. Throu...moreThis is tough to get through, and I'm not sure if it's because I don't want it to be true or because it's reasoning seems dubious or both. Done. Throughout I found that for whatever reason I might wish Christianity to not be true and God to not exist, without regard to the evidence. The book is very one-sided, and apparently a small proportion of the scientific community shares these beliefs (not too surprising), and the author doesn't question his interviewees arguments too critically.
Too often the book's argument is a criticism of evolution - I don't know or really care if these are valid - accompanied with a tenuous argument for ID as if evidence against evolution leads to a default argument for ID. Like: evolution can't explain the development of DNA; DNA is information, and information in our experience comes from intelligence, so a greater intelligence must have created DNA.
Some of the arguments are intriguing, such as questions about the source of the Big Bang, but the arguments are frequently faulty and are often based on shaky analogies. The biggest flaw is that Strobel's thesis is that science supports belief in God, yet arguments for ID are outside of today's definition of science and proponents for ID generally attempt to expand the definition of science to include arguments that support the movement. The one argument from an interviewee that ID is in fact falsifiable is convoluted and illogical. (less)
This book is crazy. Bonus points for creativity and experimentation. The last chapter has a story within a story told by a cheerleader to the Devil wi...moreThis book is crazy. Bonus points for creativity and experimentation. The last chapter has a story within a story told by a cheerleader to the Devil within a story within a story. The Cannon is a 7-page story in Q&A format. Once I decided to enjoy the craziness without trying to interpret it too seriously I liked it a lot more. Because it really doesn't make sense most of the time.(less)
I read 90 pages in the last couple of hours and am giving it five stars for now. Excellent. What was I doing junior year of high school instead of rea...moreI read 90 pages in the last couple of hours and am giving it five stars for now. Excellent. What was I doing junior year of high school instead of reading this for class? (less)
Interesting so far. He sadly has overlooked any benefits religion could have, instead focusing on its negative consequences (which indeed are many and...moreInteresting so far. He sadly has overlooked any benefits religion could have, instead focusing on its negative consequences (which indeed are many and significant), and he assumes that religion is inherently bad and should be eliminated. Sure, religion has caused a lot of harm to the world, but I can conceive of a world with beneficial religion. And I hate to see him use insulting terms towards religion and the religious. On the other hand, his argument on agnosticism makes me think my consideration of my beliefs as agnostic to perhaps stem from (not completely rational) reluctance to let go completely of religion in my past and to be considered in the stigmatic, extreme position of atheist. His reference to Russell's teapot makes me think about the power of personal experience in shaping beliefs and the power of perceived number of believers to impose validity on a belief.
Update: Dawkins has become more annoying. He introduces a concept of "consciousness raising," which initially argues that embracing new ideas such as natural selection can change our perspective about the world and illuminate new truths, but his references to this concept increasingly come off as "as an atheist, I'm smarter than people who aren't." Also, despite his purpose in the book to convert non-atheists, whom he frequently condescends, to atheism, he uses a lot of pedantic diction. He just seems really smug when he uses phrases like coupe de foudre.
Update 2: I just read the section on abortion. He, like many others, almost completely equates anti-abortion beliefs with a religious mindset. I resent this perceived connection that assumes those who oppose abortion automatically belong to the most ignorant, closed-minded realm of religion (or to religion at all). After noting that embryos lack human intelligence and capacity for suffering, Dawkins criticizes the argument that abortion deprives the embryo of "the opportunity for a full human life in the future" and denounces the Great Beethoven Fallacy as this failed line of reasoning. "The logical conclusion to the 'human potential' argument is that we potentially deprive a human soul of the gift of existence every time we fail to seize any opportunity for sexual intercourse;" "this dopey pro-life logic" means it is murder to refuse any opportunity to procreate. But I believe 'human potential' is more like 'human inevitability' here. A woman learns she is pregnant and immediately thinks of the baby; a couple trying to have a baby rejoice when the woman becomes pregnant, usually (I imagine) without assuming much of a possibility of stillbirth, whereas the opportunity to procreate is almost never inevitable for anyone. (less)