Maybe it goes without saying that reflections on building a meaningful secular life are absent from Outgrowing God, Richard Dawkins’s latest fulmination against religion, this time aimed at a young adult audience. Like other luminaries of what we should probably now be calling the nearly new atheism, Dawkins’s goals are demolitionary. And so a familiar liturgy, recited in a familiar tone of exasperation, fills the book’s first half...the book’s (vastly better) second half, on the evolutionary origins of life, vividly demonstrates the spirit of scientific discovery that has made life meaningful for Dawkins himself. His contagious enthusiasm renders the basics of natural selection newly astonishing; triumphs of evolution such as the way humans gestate other humans, or how starlings manage to co‑ordinate themselves in thousand-strong flocks, strike the reader as mind-blowing, as do other truths of biology and physics
An Elephant in Rome
" January 1, 2021 Read this issue IN THIS REVIEW AN ELEPHANT IN ROME Bernini, the Pope and the making of the Eternal City 224pp. Pallas Athene. £19.99. Loyd Grossman Acheerful bricolage of biography, art history, trivia and travelogue..."
— Times Literary Supplement
Seeing it all together, it’s almost impossible not to notice how very different the second half of this book is from the first, and also how much better. Frankly, Dawkins is a far better advocate for atheism when he leaves God alone and contents himself with offering us the other, better story instead. It is as though he has become a literal God-botherer; a There’s-No-Jehovah Witness who feels compelled to bang on your door and rant about the way that Jesus isn’t risen and you aren’t going to be saved. For plenty of his fans, I suppose, this is just what they will have wanted. For most readers, though, if anybody needs to outgrow God, it’s him.