Dawkins' God: Genes, Memes, and the Meaning of Life   -     By: Alister E. McGrath
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Dawkins' God: Genes, Memes, and the Meaning of Life

Wiley-Blackwell / Paperback

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Richard Dawkins, proponent of secular humanism, evolution and cultural Darwinism, gets a book-length response to many of the theories he champions. Alister McGrath, Oxford professor of Historic Theology, brings a vast wealth of information to bear in his delving into the mindset, foundations and worldview of the outspoken scientist and author. Opening windows into prior theories - both for and against natural selection - McGrath follows the path that many have trod on their journey away from faith.

Giving vent to thinkers and ideas such as Thomas Huxley, who coined the term "agnosticism" to describe his religious tendencies, William Paley (the popularizer of the teleological "watchmaker" analogy), Gregor Mendel (the "father of genetics"), Lamarckism (basically, the theory that traits that have changed during the lifetime of an organism can be directly passed on to the organism's offspring) and the concept of awe, McGrath covers much territory. His coverage of memes (cultural replicators) and mimetics (a theory of cultural change) is intriguing, as it illustrates in Dawkin's own terms the types of problems Dawkins dismisses from theologians but has no problem believing outside of the religious sphere.

While not a full refutation of Dawkins' material and influence (which would take volumes), Dawkins' God serves to redress the questions raised in that material and demand better answers than those already put forth. The inadequacies of his existing answers should spark the seeking mind to question the words of Hawkins'; among them: "Evolution has been observed. It's just that it hasn't been observed while it's happening."

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 208
Vendor: Wiley-Blackwell
Dimensions: 8.5 X 5.5 (inches)
ISBN: 1405125381
ISBN-13: 9781405125383
Availability: In Stock

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Author Bio

Alister McGrath is Professor of Historical Theology at Oxford University. He is a world-renowned theologian, with a strong research background in molecular biophysics, making him uniquely qualified to write this book. He is acclaimed as a highly lucid writer, capable of explaining difficult ideas to lay audiences, and is the author of numerous titles available through Blackwell Publishing including Theology: The Basics, A Brief History of Heaven, Christian Theology: An Introduction 3rd edition, The Christian Theology Reader 2nd edition, and Science and Religion: An Introduction. He is also the author of In the Beginning: The Story of the King James Bible, and The Re-enchantment of Nature.

Editorial Reviews

“In this book McGrath does a good job of condemningaspects of Dawkins’ zealotry but in the process does much tocondemn his own arguments as well.”  (Journal ofReligious History, 20 January 2014)

"The book is important for a number of reasons ... Dawkins' Godends with a valuable and more general chapter on science andreligion, emphasising the limitations of the human mind." (TheJournal of SJT, 2012)

"In Dawkins' God, McGrath has written a brilliant book,and it is difficult to think that the exposition of Dawkins'writings and their religious implications, will ever be betterstated, explored and criticised... at once dispassionate, robustand readable." Richard Harries, Times Higher EducationSupplement

"Alister McGrath's book Dawkins' God: Genes, Memes andthe Meaning of Life does a fair and sophisticated job ofsummarising my position." Richard Dawkins, Times HigherEducation Supplement

"Dawkins is disposed of with panache, and with McGrath's ususalclarity and conciseness." Theology

"Lucid and brief, without being perfunctory or dismissive, andfulfils the role of guide to the educated layperson withouteliciting boredom from the academic familiar with the field ... Theend result of this effort by McGrath is that, once again, I wouldhave no hesitation in recommending the book as a basic text forA-level or first-year undergraduate students looking for theirappetite to be whetted for a number of connected fields ofscholarship, or indeed for the 'educated layperson' seeking a graspof the issues without having to wade through hundreds of pages ofscience and theology ... A very finely judged piece of writing."Kaleidoscope

"With clear and incisive argumentation, McGrath takes Dawkins onand exposes many of the weaknesses in his case for atheism."Reformed Theological Journal

"Wielding evolutionary arguments and carefully chosen metaphorslike sharp swords, Richard Dawkins has emerged over three decadesas this generation's most aggressive promoter of atheism. In hisview, science, and science alone, provides the only rock worthstanding on. In this remarkable book, Alister McGrath challengesDawkins on the very ground he holds most sacred - rational argument- and McGrath disarms the master. It becomes readily apparent thatDawkins has aimed his attack at a naive version of faith that mostserious believers would not recognize. After reading this carefullyconstructed and eloquently written book, Dawkins' choice of atheismemerges as the most irrational of the available choices about God'sexistence."
Francis Collins, Director of the Human Genome Project


In this tour-de-force Alister McGrath approachesthe edifice of self-confident, breezy atheism so effectivelypromoted by Richard Dawkins, and by deft dissection and argumentreveals the shallowness, special-pleading and inconsistencies ofhis world-picture. Here is a book which helps to rejoin themagnificence of science to the magnificence of God’s goodCreation.”
Simon Conway Morris, Professor of Evolutionary Palaeobiology,Cambridge University




“This is a wonderful book. One of the world’sleading Christian contributors to the science/religion dialoguetakes on Richard Dawkins, Darwinism’s arch-atheist, andwrestles him to the ground! This is scholarship as it should be– informed, feisty, and terrific fun. I cannot wait to seeDawkins’s review of Alister McGrath’scritique.”
Michael Ruse, Lucyle T. Werkmeister Professor of Philosophy,Florida State University




A timely and accessible contribution to the debateover Richard Dawkins’s cosmology which exposes philosophicalnaivety, the abuse of metaphor, and sheer bluster, left, right andcentre. Here Alister McGrath announces what every DarwinianFundamentalist needs to hear: that science is and always has been acultural practice that is provisional, fallible, and sociallyshaped – an enterprise to be cultivated and fostered, buthardly worshipped or idolised. A devastating critique.”
David N. Livingstone, Professor of Geography and IntellectualHistory, Queen’s University, Belfast



“Alister McGrath critically examines the places whereRichard Dawkins’ well-established biological science changesinto the speculations which undergird Dawkins’ ownanti-religious faith. In his appreciative examination and ruthlessanalysis of Dawkins writings and the polemics associated with them,McGrath has done a marvellous apologetic job, as well as providinga particular service for those daunted by scientificauthoritarianism. We are all in his debt for rigorously identifyingand exposing the weaknesses of some of the commonly used argumentsagainst the Christian faith.”
R. J. Berry, formerly Professor of Genetics, University College,London and President of the Linnean Society




“Alister McGrath subjects the atheistic world-view ofRichard Dawkins to critical analysis and finds it severely lackingin intellectual rigour. As a former atheist himself, and abiochemist turned theologian and philosopher, the author is wellplaced to appreciate Dawkins’ well-deserved reputation as apopulariser of evolutionary theory, but equally well qualified toassess his stratagem of using a biological theory for ideologicalpurposes. This book is essential reading for those interested inthe traffic of ideas between science, philosophy andreligion.”
Dr Denis Alexander, Chairman, Molecular Immunology Programme,The Babraham Institute and Fellow of St. Edmund’s College,Cambridge

Product Reviews

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  1. Age: 35-44
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    4 Stars Out Of 5
    Dawkins' God is clear and comelling.
    August 30, 2012
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: male
    Quality: 4
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 4
    McGrath clearly and concisely dismantles Dawkins' assumptions about faith, logic, science, and the Scriptures. Moreover, he demonstrates how Dawkins' fallacious reasoning self-defeats his own discourse in pertinent works. MCGrath writes with firmness and fairness in his assessment of Dawkins. This book would benefit both collegiate and graduate school students.
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