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Wiley-Blackwell Dawkins' God: Genes, Memes, and the Meaning of Life

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."

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