Fire Weather A True Story from a Hotter World
In the course of his work, the evolutionary theorist Richard Dawkins has long asserted that belief in God is both irrational and profoundly harmful to society. In his latest book, published by Bantam Press, he tackles the subject head on, exposing both religion's faulty logic and the widespread suffering it causes.
Dawkins’s case against religion follows an outline that goes back to Bertrand Russell’s classic 1927 essay “Why I Am Not a Christian.” First, discredit the traditional reasons for supposing that God exists. (“God” is here taken to denote the Judeo-Christian deity, presumed to be eternal, all-powerful, all-good and the creator of the world.) Second, produce an argument or two supporting the contrary hypothesis, that God does not exist. Third, cast doubt on the transcendent origins of religion by showing that it has a purely natural explanation. Finally, show that we can have happy and meaningful lives without worshiping a deity, and that religion, far from being a necessary prop for morality, actually produces more evil than good. The first three steps are meant to undermine the truth of religion; the last goes to its pragmatic value.
Richard Dawkins is the Charles Simonyi Professor for the Public Understanding of Science at Oxford University and a fellow of New College.
The Selfish Gene catapulted Richard Dawkins to fame, and remains his most famous and widely read work. It was followed by a string of bestselling books: The Extended Phenotype; The Blind Watchmaker; River Out of Eden; Climbing Mount Improbable; Unweaving the Rainbow; The Ancestor’s Tale and a collection of his shorter writings, A Devil’s Chaplain. Dawkins is a Fellow of both the Royal Society and the Royal Society of Literature. He is the recipient of numerous honours and awards, including the 1987 Royal Society of Literature Award, the 1990 Michael Faraday Award of the Royal Society, the 1997 International Cosmos Prize for Achievement in Human Science, the Kistler Prize in 2001, and the Shakespeare Prize in 2005. In February 2006, Channel 4 broadcast two documentaries called Root of All Evil?, written and presented by Richard Dawkins, which explored some of the arguments developed in this book.
Chris van Tulleken