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Dawkins' God: Genes, Memes, and the Meaning of Life

3.62  ·  Rating details ·  261 ratings  ·  27 reviews

Alister E. McGrath is one of the world’s leading theologians, with a doctorate in the sciences. Richard Dawkins is one of the bestselling popular science writers, with outspoken and controversial views on religion. This fascinating and provoking work is the first book-length response to Dawkins’ ideas, and offers an ideal introduction to the topical issues of science and r

Paperback, 208 pages
Published November 30th 2004 by Wiley-Blackwell (first published November 1st 2004)
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Timothy Bertolet
This book is a helpful response to much of Dawkins' earlier work before his massively popular 'The God Delusion'. This book was originally published before 'The God Delusion' came out and does not interact with it. However, one will find it a beneficial critique of Dawkins as a whole.

First, McGrath is both a scientist and a theologian. He is an expert on the history of idea and the history of both theological and scientific development. He respects Dawkins as a scientist where Dawkins makes rea
Note: This review was written a long time ago which was when I read the book. It may not totally reflect my modern opinions, which have changed drastically since 2007 (in the realm of politics at least).

Dawkins' God: A Critical Look

This essay is a critical look at the ideas of Alister McGrath, who argues against some of Richard Dawkins' ideas. I will deal with the arguments that he uses against Dawkins.

Chapter Two: The Blind Watchmaker

McGrath portrays Dawkins' ideas as being:

--Darwinism is neca
Jay Batson
Apr 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
Richard Dawkins is a compelling author with serious chops. Any book claiming to take on Dawkins must be similarly compelling & from an author with similar chops. Alister McGrath has written, and is, one.

McGrath adopts the right approach here, IMO. He does three things skillfully:
+ Accepts science. By endorsing the core of evolution and showing his excellent scientific depth in other domains, McGrath creates credibility for himself and avoids dismissal of his rebuttal.
+ Puts Dawkins in context. S
Mar 28, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: religion
This was a fantastic book! Alister McGrath is a good writer and enjoyable to read. In this book he dissects and rips apart Richard Dawkins piece by piece. It's a fair treatment of the data and arguments and I would highly recommend it to anyone interested in the relationship between science and faith. ...more
Jul 13, 2007 rated it did not like it
Shelves: finished
A part of science vs religion controversy. It critizes the anti religion school led by Dawkins and its idea of evolution biologically (dna) and spiritually (meme). Not so very convincing, as expected. And rather boring.
Jan 29, 2017 rated it liked it
Too much biology focused. I was hoping for a more philosophical theme.
I really enjoyed this book because it is a really good response to Richard Dawkins and his arguments against god. Let me mention somethings in this like it tells you on how Richard Dawkins refutation on the watchmaker argument doesn't refute God's existence, how a scientific method can prove or disprove god and on thing I realised while reading this book is that all those people that credit god for evolution , an agnostic choice on whenever god caused or didn't evolution and an atheist saying ev ...more
Ahmad A Karim
Oct 23, 2015 rated it did not like it
Some decent comments and criticisms of Dawkins' work. I think he rightly attacks Dawkins for infusing more certainty into his claims than is warranted by the evidence (inferring atheism from Darwinism for instance, or not being sufficiently mindful of the possibility of radical change within science given past scientific revolutions). McGrath is correct I think, in stating that the obvious implication of Darwinism is agnosticism and not atheism, particularly not the excessively confident atheism ...more
David Bird
Aug 14, 2014 rated it liked it
One of the challenges that I find in reading the works of Richard Dawkins critically is that so much seems intuitively right to me. So for me this book was an attempt to see the weaknesses perceived by others.

I think McGrath is fair in some of his points, especially a broad division of the Dawkins corpus into more empirical, and more rhetorical piles, with greater merit in the former. But I think fairness to Dawkins requires recognition that McGrath's highly educated strain of Christianity is b
James Ridgers
Jan 08, 2015 rated it it was ok
It's difficult to for me to accept any theological positioning on our realities when one is an agnostic atheist who used to be a Christian. I read this book because I believe in giving myself a balanced input of perspectives when it comes to matters of existence, purpose, meanings of life, etc. But, I guess, because of the difficulty I have in accepting theological positioning, I found it hard to not say "this is just ridiculous".

I will grant that McGrath made a solid effort to be scientific in
Oct 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
A-Mac is among my favorite authors. The Blind Watchmaker is one of my favorite books. So I was excited to see McGrath engage Dawkins on the book. Unfortunately, other than on the question of "Does evolution eliminate God?" there wasn't much of an engagement. McGrath accepts most of the science in Blind Watchmaker (as do I).

McGrath does pick apart The Selfish Gene quite rigorously. Unfortunately, I did not read The Selfish Gene, because I thought "Memes" are unscientific woo-woo. The chapter-leng
R.P. Bosman
Apr 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: theologie
Alister McGrath gives with this book a good inside into Darwinism and the thinking of Dawkins. McGrath is filleting the thinking from Dawkins. The book is easy to read and shows that there is no ‘war’ between sciences and believe. McGrath shows us that meems are not scientific at all and that cultural evolution does need the faith and believe like believers have in a God.

For everybody who like the debate about science, evolution, faith etc. the little book from Alister McGrath is a must to read.
Dec 29, 2008 rated it it was ok
It took me a really long time to finish this book. That's never a good sign that I'm enjoying a book. McGrath spends a lot of time rehashing different points in an attempt to debunk Richard Dawkins meme theory. Dawkins used that theory to "prove" there was no God.

Really, really dry stuff.

Neither Dawkins nor McGrath has changed my opinion on the subject of the existence of a supreme being. I think it's really an individual thought process and, unless you're wavering, outside influences aren't goi
Bill Wessner
Oct 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Dawkins Dogma

This is an interesting work from a theologian who has followed Dawkins career since the 70s. He engages deeply with The selfish Gene and the God delusion and the rest of Dawkins works. McGrath pulverizes The theory of the meme on Scientific grounds. McGrath clearly shows that Dawkins dogmatic pronouncements on atheism are not scientific but ideological presuppositions. This book is very well-documented.
Terrol Williams
Dec 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: religion, library
Gets pretty technical in places, but fascinating not just for McGrath's dismantling of Dawkins' weaker assumptions, but for the perspectives gained on science and religion, both now and in the past. It's been interesting to read this at the same time as Stephen Greenblatt's The Swerve, which unfortunately falls into some of the same false assumptions and decontextualizations as some of Dawkins' work. ...more
Anthony Faber
Jun 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I basically agree with the author that Dawkins goes beyond the evidence, but am not sure what he thinks we're supposed to use to decide things outside of evidence. He, like Dawkins, is too polemical and too interested in scoring points, rather than getting down to brass tacks and figuring out just what we know. It's well worth your time if you're interested in this sort of stuff, though.
It's short, but it probably would have benefited from fleshing some things out a bit more.
Jun 14, 2014 rated it liked it
Dit boek lag al een tijdje op mn nachtkastje - ooit was ik tot halverwege gekomen maar nooit tot het einde. Prima boek dat maar weer ns onder de aandacht brengt dat darwinisme en het christendom elkaar niet uitsluiten, niet alleen omdat McGrath dat vindt maar gestaafd met een boel historische bronnen. Dawkins is tegen een soort geloof waar toch al niemand in gelooft.
Toch maar drie sterren omdat McGrath af en toe behoorlijk in herhaling valt.
Billy Young
Jan 06, 2010 rated it really liked it
McGrath does a great job of describing the belief system of Charles Darwin and how Richard Dawkins developed his evolution based on Darwinian thought. McGrath then goes through evolution with a fine-tooth comb from a Biblical worldview. Excellent read for those interested in how Christians can counter the theory of evolution.
Apr 10, 2012 added it
”Sorry this is not a great book. lets stop wasting time on this issue and get back to the important stuff.” this is what I wrote, but I have had a relook at it recently and there are some interesting points made. The book is certainly not against evolution. It is an argument against the kind of fundamentalist atheism that Dawkins writes about.
Trevor Lloyd
Oct 24, 2013 rated it liked it
Good and helpful for me to understand the debate over Dawkins' ideas and challenges to faith. But got a little too knotty for me with some of the science! Not my strength. ...more
Serge Boucher
Oct 19, 2011 rated it really liked it
Somewhat long-winded, but interesting, especially if you've read Dawkins' recent books. ...more
Aug 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
McGrath is so right. New atheism's foundations are shown to be built on sand. ...more
Jul 31, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Good review

This book reviews the totalist orientation of Dawkins in his hatred of religion. The book identifies the logical flaws in Dawkins' arguments.
Leo Africanus
Jan 05, 2010 rated it liked it
A dry yet well-reasoned demolition of the flimsy logic of Dawkins' passionately believed world view. ...more
Jean-michel Pigeon
Feb 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
Comment démolir l'idée que le meme est scientifique. ...more
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Jan 05, 2013
Michael Jenkins
rated it it was amazing
Jan 19, 2008
Dalton Beard
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Mar 14, 2018
Trevor Schaefer
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Nov 14, 2019
Hunter Baker
rated it it was ok
Feb 26, 2010
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Alister Edgar McGrath is a Northern Irish theologian, priest, intellectual historian, scientist, and Christian apologist. He currently holds the Andreas Idreos Professorship in Science and Religion in the Faculty of Theology and Religion at the University of Oxford, and is Professor of Divinity at Gresham College. He was previously Professor of Theology, Ministry, and Education at King's College L ...more

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