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Interestingly, Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion has sold 500,000*** copies in the U.S. and 300,000 copies in the U.K.
When I read of the popularity of Dawkins’ book, first I said: YAY! Because Dawkins’ is my man. Then I said: Wait a minute. The U.S. has a population of roughly 300 million and the U.K. has roughly 60.1 million. That’s one book per 600 people in the U.S. whereas in the U.K. it’s one book per 200 people. One must take into account overall reading habits from both populations–one quarter of British adults don’t read* in comparison to 38 percent in the U.S.** So the British will buy more books as a matter of course.
Still and all, they could be buying rubbish and they choose Dawkins. Either because they’re nontheists or because they’re willing to listen to what someone without their beliefs has to say. [And before anyone says that atheists need to listen to what theists have to say–I assure you, we have. We’ve been listening for the length of our conscious lives. Once you’ve listened to atheists, or really anyone with religious views utterly apposed to yours, for a couple or five decades then we’ll listen to you again. Deal?]
That the U.S. is the only truly free country still worshiping a fictional being is not news, but the numbers to show it are interesting. Most countries still ruled by religion try to control their people right down to their thought processes, what they can do with their bodies and who they date. Oh, wait…
Anyway, that’s the news and some thoughts from this heathen. And now here’s Jim–how’s the weather in the ninth circle of hell there, Jimbo?!
Another article about Dawkins here .
Dawkins’ Foundation for Reason and Science
Dawkins’ Twitter Feed
*2002 ONS Omnibus survey
**2003 National Assessment of Adult Literacy
[*** as of January 2010, the English version had sold 2.5 million copes. (via Wikipedia )]
[This is a repost from a previous blog. Original post date: 15 August, 2007]