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A message from the Middle World,
Rezension bezieht sich auf: The God Delusion (Taschenbuch)
There is a challenge in reviewing a book of this sort - being "objective". Customers want reviewers to stand aside from prejudices when they assess an item's value as a purchase. It's a stance nearly impossible with this book - few people are indifferent to their perceived gods.
That is the point of this effort - most people are "religious", some violently so in its name. Why should either circumstance hold among Homo sapiens - "wise man"? "Wise" men figure prominently in this book, even when their wisdom - whether through ignorance or manipulation - is misunderstood by others. Einstein's words about "playing dice" are trotted out and examined. The famous "Pascal's Wager" about the usefulness of "denying God" is scrutinised [was Pascal making a joke?]. Scientists of many stripes, particularly three in Dawkins' own Britain, are cited with their logic, if any, carefully dissected. Religion and the idea of a god permeate our society and Dawkins wants to examine the real roots of that phenomenon. In this stimulating study, which will fail to reach those who need it most, the author of "The Blind Watchmaker" and other fine works spells out why the notion of "God" is untenable. He accepts the capitalised version because it's the one his readership accepts.
After explaining why the many and various arguments supporting the idea of "God" are based on false or illogical premises - the author must explain why the notion persists. One reason, he insists, is the "hands-off" approach to the subject that has been so widely accepted. "It's bad form to question religion". Dawkins dismisses such timidity as unworthy of the scientific enterprise. If we can investigate an unseen force that can be measured, such as gravity, why must we pass over one that cannot manifest itself? If this god is "everywhere", why weren't the Ten Commandments engraved on the Moon? There must be another answer, and Dawkins, as an evolutionary biologist, supplies one. However, readers are here cautioned by Dawkins that an understanding of natural selection is the prerequisite.
Having already disposed of the "traditional" [in the Western world, at least] arguments such as "it's just there" or the "argument from design", about the existence of a deity, Dawkins provides a two-pronged evolutionary basis. The first, and most compelling, is the training of children. "Honour thy parents" makes no distinction about whether parental advice and direction is valid. Our primate heritage ties the young to their parents longer than other species. There's a vast span of time to provide both valuable and worthless material for their retention. What is retained, is due to the second of his two reasons, the "meme". The meme, units of information retained by the mind and passed on have featured largely in Dawkins' views on religion. Cognitive studies have shown that information planted early tends to remain in place and guide later behaviour. Religion is far more often "passed down" than it is "picked up" in later life.
The "faithful" are often quick to point out that in religion rests "morality", "comfort" and the roots of what we consider "beauty". Dawkins skilfully demolishes each of these contentions. "Morality", already a vague term, is hardly exemplified by what religion sources provide. Intemperate and massive slaughters, hypocrisies at wholesale rates and misogynist examples that make the reader shudder with disgust. "Beauty" is a topic at which Dawkins shines best. Long an advocate of the beauties in Nature science has revealed, he extols the wonders science has demonstrated to us. We often have difficulty dealing with those fascinating, if normally hidden, aspects of nature because we didn't evolve to perceive them. We live in a narrow zone of perception, which Dawkins calls the "Middle World". We see only a small set of light frequencies. We hear in a limited range of sounds. We can't detect "colours" by smell or see the magnetic fields used by porpoises.
To those who already accept the idea that lack of evidence for any deity renders the concept implausible at best [such as this reviewer], there won't be much new in this book. People consider it sufficient to "declare" there are gods without feeling the need to "demonstrate" them. All of the phenomena attributed to a god have been examined and shown to have natural causes. Even the beginnings of life are well enough understood to forecast confidently that "life" will emerge from some laboratory, as Dawkins points out cogently. The zoologist is even able to handle questions of cosmology with better than layman's skills, as he outlines the various concepts currently under investigation. None of these theories needs a deity to either start the universe or regulate it. This is a formidable examination, redundant aspects or not, deserving the widest possible audience. [stephen a. haines - Ottawa, Canada]