Dead trees

One of the great things about the Xmas holiday is that it gives you the chance to catch up on your reading. I finally got round to reading two books I’ve been meaning to get for ages: Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion and Michael Bywater’s Big Babies.

The former is an intemperate rant against religion, and while it’s biased – Dawkins doesn’t give religion any credit for anything – it contains some great argument fuel. Dawkins’ demolition of Intelligent Design is superb, and he does a great job of lambasting the stupidity of people who believe that every word of the Bible is true while cherry-picking the bits that suit them and ignoring the bits that don’t.

My favourite one, though, was Big Babies. Subtitled “Why Can’t We Just Grow Up?”, Bywater’s book has been billed as humourous but struck me as deadly serious. His argument is that our culture is utterly infantile, largely because Baby Boomers rule the world and won’t accept that they’re not teenagers any more. Where the Grumpy Old Men shows and books cover fairly predictable irritants (Young people can be ignorant! Celebrities are vacuous!), Big Babies does a much better job of nailing the various idiocies of our age from nanny-state legislation to iPods, shell suits, CCTV and quackery.