What does the second chapter in Richard Dawkins' 2006 book, The God Delusion, say about religion?

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"The God Hypothesis" is the second chapter in Richard Dawkins' 2006 book, The God Delusion. Dawkins is one of the more outspoken members of a movement sometimes termed the "new atheism", a vocal anti-religious movement. Dawkins himself is an evolutionary biologist and takes a Darwinian perspective on religion, seeing it as part of a primitive belief system that is no longer relevant to a modern, scientific world view.

While Dawkins heaps scorn and sarcasm on religion, picking out individual absurdities and distasteful elements in the Bible in this chapter, there doesn't seem to be much of a coherent philosophical argument. Dawkins' construction of religion is at what theologians would consider an extreme of literalism. He assumes that all religions take their narratives as absolute historical fact rather than as parables teaching moral lessons. He also tends to conflate all religions into a single set of naive supernatural beliefs. Oddly, he seems to see religion as a (failed) form of history or science rather than something on a different order, part of a tradition of philosophical understanding of the mysteries of our world and ourselves. Dawkins is not a fan of mysteries.

Dawkins tends to construct religion as a set of self-serving lies by the clergy to preserve their power and wealth or as a set of delusions. In a sense, one can say that Dawkins constructs religion in his own image, as something singular, literal-minded and scientific, albeit wrong, as opposed to ways that diverse thinkers over many cultures and periods have attempted to understand spiritual, mystical, and emotional aspects of humanity and the divine.

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