1. Sadly, The God Delusion is a very weak book, and shouldn’t win such an award. Whilst I agree entirely with the aims of the book, I find the arguments weak and often attacking straw men. Dawkins explores lots of irrelevant tangents that do nothing to support his case. It’s also just downright boring in places.In short, The God Delusion would benefit from a good editor and strong use of the blue pencil! I wonder if the editor felt able to stand up to Dawkins to improve his material?However, it doesn’t look like there’s anything better in the category, apart from possibly The Dangerous Book for Boys (detailing the careers of Jonathan King and Gary Glitter, probably).I much preferred Gordon Ramsay’s autobiography: all killer, no filler! But then Gordon Ramsay is pretty much amazing. (And he probably worked with a very good editor too, maybe he can give Dickie Dawkins his or her number.)

  2. The God Delusion is a very weak book, and shouldn’t win such an award

    Well, the fact that it’s on the shortlist means that at least some people disagree with that opinion :-)I think there are some flaws in the book (not least the fact that Dawkins assumes that theists are susceptible to rational arguments) but I don’t see the weak arguments or straw men that you mention. I’d love to hear more details.

  3. Ah, it’s a while since I read it now! :) I wish I’d taken some notes at the time about the things that I didn’t like.Perhaps he could improve the book, alongside deleting things and focussing, by adding a very short chapter, possibly an appendix, briefly summarising his argument. I found it hard to reduce his text in my head to a series of simple premises and conclusions.Mind you, these book awards are a lot about marketing as opposed to quality, and the Dawkins book was one of the publishing highlights of the last 12 months.

  4. What a bizarre shortlist anyway.WINNER – Richard DawkinsMarina LewyckaKate MosseJodi PicoultThis makes no sense – non-fiction versus chick-lit. I wouldn’t get too excited. And that Lewycka novel is one of the worst books I think I’ve ever read.

  5. For Richard Dawkins to win a prize entitled “Author of the Year”, based on The God Delusion, is nothing short of a travesty.Since writing above about how weak I found The God Delusion to be, I found a book in Blackwells bookshop in Oxford yesterday, entitled “The Dawkins Delusion”, by Alister McGrath and Joanna Collicutt McGrath. ISBN 0281059276Ignore the reviews at Amazon (apart from mine, obviously, if I write one!), because they are judging the book against a set of criteria it doesn’t set out to meet. The book is solely an evaluation of The God Delusion, and does not set out to put forth a fully coherent alternative viewpoint. For some reason, a logical evaluation of an argument doesn’t seem to be enough for these reviewers.The main author has a doctorate in molecular biophysics and began life as an atheist. He is now a professor at Oxford University (the same institution as Dawkins).It’s a very short book, around 70 pages excluding notes, but it does a good job of reviewing Dawkins’ work, and I agree with most of the comments in the book (with the exception of a few sections where the authors disappear up their own backsides).The authors present a well-argued savaging of Dawkins’ polemic style, his factual inaccuracies and his convenient bias towards things that support his view and his sidelining of things which do not. Dawkins’ shallow understanding and thus misrepresentation of the philosophical arguments surrounding religion are also revealed.The authors remain charitable towards Dawkins for the most part, giving him credit where it is due, especially for his earlier works before The God Delusion.There are a great many points in this book that will be of interest to anyone who has read The God Delusion or is interested in this topic. It is therefore hard to single out a quotation which sums up the book, and the evaluation of Dawkins’ work. However, here’s an extract from the conclusion:”For the gullible and credulous, it is the confidence with which something is said that persuades, rather than the evidence offered in its support. Yet the fact that Dawkins relies so excessively on rhetoric, rather than the evidence that would otherwise be his natural stock in trade, clearly indicates that something is wrong with his case.”My own conclusion is that whether you are an atheist or a believer, the case for atheism requires a much better-argued dismissal of religion than Dawkins was able to provide.

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