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Descripción de editorial
Should we believe in God? In this brisk introduction to modern atheism, one of the world’s greatest science writers tells us why we shouldn’t.
Richard Dawkins was fifteen when he stopped believing in God.
Deeply impressed by the beauty and complexity of living things, he’d felt certain they must have had a designer. Learning about evolution changed his mind. Now one of the world’s best and bestselling science communicators, Dawkins has given readers, young and old, the same opportunity to rethink the big questions.
In twelve fiercely funny, mind-expanding chapters, Dawkins explains how the natural world arose without a designer—the improbability and beauty of the “bottom-up programming” that engineers an embryo or a flock of starlings—and challenges head-on some of the most basic assumptions made by the world’s religions: Do you believe in God? Which one? Is the Bible a “Good Book”? Is adhering to a religion necessary, or even likely, to make people good to one another? Dissecting everything from Abraham’s abuse of Isaac to the construction of a snowflake, Outgrowing God is a concise, provocative guide to thinking for yourself.
Praise for Outgrowing God
“My son came home from his first day in the sixth grade with arms outstretched plaintively demanding to know: ‘Have you ever heard of Jesus?’ We burst out laughing. Maybe not our finest parenting moment, given that he was genuinely distraught. He felt that he had woken up one day to a world in which his peers were expressing beliefs he found frighteningly unreasonable. He began devouring books like The God Delusion, books that helped him formulate his own arguments and helped him stand his ground. Dawkins’s new book is special in the terrain of atheists’ pleas for humanism and rationalism precisely since it speaks to those most vulnerable to the coercive tactics of religion. As Dawkins himself says in the dedication, this book is for ‘all young people when they’re old enough to decide for themselves.’ It is also, I must add, for their parents.”—Janna Levin, author of Black Hole Blues
“When someone is considering atheism I tell them to read the Bible first and then Dawkins. Outgrowing God—second only to the Bible!”—Penn Jillette, author of God, No!
Dawkins (The God Delusion) purports to guide his readers through letting go of belief in God in this underwhelming repackaging of ideas from his previous works. For the first half of the book, Dawkins argues that the Bible is a faulty foundation for belief that lacks any basis in historical reality and advances a cruel, inconsistent set of values. He then proceeds with a thorough explanation of evolution and critique of intelligent design. As this progression makes clear, the book primarily concerns itself with Bible-based Protestantism. Dawkins avoids seriously considering non-Western religions, Judaism, Islam, and Roman Catholicism; they appear when they bolster his claims, and are curiously absent when they might undermine them (for instance, he frames religious opposition to abortion as a conflict between "absolutists and consequentialists" without mentioning religions that don't fit his paradigm, such as Judaism). Dawkins's glib analysis is paralleled by his slipshod engagement with the ideas and methods of the humanities. Historical evidence from the times of the Bible's creation, for instance, is deemed wholly unreliable unless it undermines biblical narratives. By starting with the assumption that religious belief is too ridiculous for serious and sustained engagement, Dawkins is preaching to the converted. Readers interested in the rationale for atheism will be disappointed in this underdeveloped argument that never takes spiritual belief seriously.