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Books on Atheism


daniton
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I know there are as many Atheists here as Theists in this forum. Anyway I'm here to ask what's your favourite Atheism Book?

mine - "The God Delusion" by Richard Dawkins and "A Manuel for Creating Atheists" by Peter Boghossian

Edited by daniton
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Richard Dawkins is terrific but I don't really have a favorite book on Atheism. God is a fairy tale and I am mildly annoyed by all the hard work that is put into being an atheist. Somehow our society twists the burden of proof on those who don't believe in fair tales while allowing a lack of evidence to be its own form on evidence in defense of fairy tales. I don't believe in God because there simply isn't anything to believe in. All major religions can be disproven by a variety of disciplines be it historical record, biology, or cosmology. All other forms of mysticism are so loosely defined they don't deserve consideration as they are merely ideas of their creators still in their infancy.

God does not exist. As such the study of God not existing should not be necessary. Atheism isn't a type of movement any more than people who don't believe in the Lochness Monster are.

Edited by Ten oz
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Richard Dawkins is terrific but I don't really have a favorite book on Atheism. God is a fairy tale and I am mildly annoyed by all the hard work that is put into being an atheist.

 

This is my reaction as well. I don't need a book to tell me how not to believe in something, I don't need it to justify my stance, and I don't need it to feel kinship with other "non-believers".

 

Belief in god(s) isn't an issue with a fence and people on both sides. It's an issue where some people have developed a belief system and others see no reason for it. Atheism isn't the opposite of belief in god(s), it's the absence of belief in god(s). It's not a religion, any more than not-collecting dolls is a hobby.

 

I don't have to put a lot of effort into not-collecting dolls, and I don't have to put a lot into not-believing in god(s) either. If nobody mentioned religion to me, I'd hardly have to work at all.

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Atheism isn't the opposite of belief in god(s), it's the absence of belief in god(s). It's not a religion, any more than not-collecting dolls is a hobby.

 

 

You stated better than I did. :lol: great post.
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Dawkins is a self-satisfied pain in the ass, who gives atheism a bad name by treating it as if it were a religion, complete with all the trappings of dogma.

 

Books promoting, or explaining atheism are, to my mind, no more useful than a smear of blue paint on a white wall. .......... Exactly, no use at all, so to have a favourite is simply silly.

 

 

I do think books attacking fundamentalist nonsense on evolution are valuable. Here is a partial list of some I have. I heartily recommend them all.

 

Eugenie C. Scott 'Evolution vs. Creationism' ISBN:0-520-24650-0

Mark Perakh 'Unintelligent Design' ISBN:1-51902-084-0

David R. Montgomery 'The Rock's Don't Lie' ISBN:978-0-393-08239-5

Robert T. Pennock 'Tower of Babel' ISBN:0-262-16180-X

Michael Brant Shermer 'Why Darwin Matters' ISBN:0-8050-8121-6

Mark Perakh 'Unintelligent Design' ISBN:1-51902-084-0

Jill S. Schneiderman, Warren D. Allmon 'For the Rock Record ' ISBN:978-0-520-25759-7

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I do think books attacking fundamentalist nonsense on evolution are valuable. Here is a partial list of some I have. I heartily recommend them all.

 

Eugenie C. Scott 'Evolution vs. Creationism' ISBN:0-520-24650-0

Mark Perakh 'Unintelligent Design' ISBN:1-51902-084-0

David R. Montgomery 'The Rock's Don't Lie' ISBN:978-0-393-08239-5

Robert T. Pennock 'Tower of Babel' ISBN:0-262-16180-X

Michael Brant Shermer 'Why Darwin Matters' ISBN:0-8050-8121-6

Mark Perakh 'Unintelligent Design' ISBN:1-51902-084-0

Jill S. Schneiderman, Warren D. Allmon 'For the Rock Record ' ISBN:978-0-520-25759-7

 

And this is a very good distinction to make. Personally, I don't consider creationism to be a religious stance at all. Literal fundamentalism and Bible inerrancy cross the line into scientific inquiry and are easily refuted. Most religious claims fall outside of observable phenomena and aren't falsifiable, but creationism makes claims we know are false.

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God is a fairy tale and I am mildly annoyed by all the hard work that is put into being an atheist. Somehow our society twists the burden of proof on those who don't believe in fair tales while allowing a lack of evidence to be its own form on evidence in defense of fairy tales.

By society you mean US society? Can the lack of being Christian be a problem at times, with jobs and so on?

 

In Europe, although maybe offically Catholic as a rule, thing are quite secular. I don't ever remember having to defend my lack of belief to anyone. That said, it is wise to simply avoid topics like religion, ethics, sexuality and politics unless you know the person well and would not fall out over a disagreement.

 

In short, I put no effeort into being atheist and it is not somthing I spend much time thinking about.

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By society you mean US society? Can the lack of being Christian be a problem at times, with jobs and so on?In Europe, although maybe offically Catholic as a rule, thing are quite secular. I don't ever remember having to defend my lack of belief to anyone. That said, it is wise to simply avoid topics like religion, ethics, sexuality and politics unless you know the person well and would not fall out over a disagreement.In short, I put no effeort into being atheist and it is not somthing I spend much time thinking about.

In typical American society religion is a constant. Whether it is political debates regarding abortion, gay rights, or foriegn policy the concept of the united states as a Christian nation is prominent. Outside of the political stuff everyone is expected to participate in things like Christmas and Easter. Not to do so makes a person abnormal.

 

My post was not directed at that though. My point was that Athiests don't have a mission statement. There is not an agenda to Atheism. Atheism in not a theory, type of faith, or a discipline. One doesnt need to study it or learn how to be an athiest. When people find out I am an atheist they generally asked "why". Seems strange that I should need a reason. That I would need to explain myself. Seldom are religious people challenged as to why they believe. No one ever demands a politician who campaigns on faith to explain why they believe in god. No one questions athletes who thank god for good performances "why".

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I haven't read any atheist books yet, and I probably won't.

 

Whether theism is probable or testable is a boring, stale subject. Counter-apologetics, a slightly broader subject, may be relevant on occasion.

 

Secular ethics, religion in politics and science, history of religion, the functions of religious beliefs, the psychology of religion, these are all fruitful topics.

Edited by MonDie
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Outside of the political stuff everyone is expected to participate in things like Christmas and Easter. Not to do so makes a person abnormal.

In the UK for example, just about everyone celebrates Christmas and Easter in some way, but many do not really know the roots of why these days are celebrated. I celebrate these events, but as an atheist it is a family focused tradition and not a religous event.

 

When people find out I am an atheist they generally asked "why". Seems strange that I should need a reason. That I would need to explain myself.

I know that some parts of the US are quite strict on religion. Can it get hostile when you say yoru are an atheist? And then of course, why bring it up at all? I don't ever recall telling many people I am atheist face-to-face.

 

Anywway, the OP asked about atheist book. I don't really know of any, but I know a man that might. I'll ask for his recomendations and post here.

Edited by ajb
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  • 2 weeks later...

The BBC has reported on the launch of a new TV programme to help support those in the US who are coming out as atheists.

 

 

"Sometimes things need to be said, and fights need to be fought even if they are unpopular. To the closeted atheists, you are not alone, and you deserve equality."

David Silverman, president of the American Atheists.

 

You can read the BBC report here.

 

It seems that if you admit you are atheists in the US then your life may become more difficult. People will not associate with you.

 

 

Astonishingly, a previous poll by Pew suggested respondents in the US regarded atheists as less trustworthy than rapists.

Aleem Maqbool, BBC news.

 

No wonder people want suggestions for books, comming out is difficult and could change your life!

 

Is this really what modern day America is like?

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Is this really what modern day America is like?

It clearly depends on where you reside and with whom you interact, but I believe tolerance and understanding are the exception, not the rule. It's not always blatant, but it is every present, IMO.
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Atheism book? Nah most atheists just look at religion and say they have no proof of anything they say.

 

They say the fastest way to make an atheist is to have them read the Bible.

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God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything, Christopher Hitchens (2007) is one that has been suggested to me and not already listed.

 

I've just finished reading 'God is not great' It's very good. I can also recommend watching 'Atheism: A brief history of disbelief ' It's available on youtube in three, one-hour episodes.

 

It would be nice to live in a world where people didn't feel the need to write books about their non-belief in God(s)

But when groups of people start acting in ways which are unacceptable and harmfull, It is neccesary for people like Dennet, Dawkins and Hitchens to stand up and say "No! this is unacceptable, and here's why."

I'm sure Dawkins would prefer to just be a biologist, but when people who don't know any better start rubbishing his work, he quite rightly gets annoyed.

The same would go or Hitchens. he would have been quite happy writing for vanity fair, but, like me, when he sees people dong horrid, wicked things to their fellow humans, he made quite a fuss about it.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Regrettably, despite all his bluster, Richard Dawkins knows almost nothing about religion, His ignorance is astonishing. As Ophiolite says, he brings both science and atheism into disrepute. For a final and definitive argument against theism I would recommend The Fundamental Wisdom of the Middle Way by the 2nd century Buddhist sage Nagarjuna. There is no waffle, just logical argument. Dawkins refuses to see that all the best arguments against God come from within religion, presumable because it would be inconvenient.

 

His book has no index entry for mysticism, which tells us about all we need to know about its value. It is a naïve rant against a naïve doctrine. It is like a book arguing that Father Christmas doesn't exist. I don't why he wastes his time or ours with such unscholarly stuff.

 

Another good one would be Bradley's metaphysical essay Appearance and Reality, which dismisses commonplace theism as easily as materialism.

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I'm sure Dawkins would prefer to just be a biologist, but when people who don't know any better start rubbishing his work, he quite rightly gets annoyed.

If I know anything about people - and I have evidence that I do - then you are mistaken. Dawkins relishes his confrontation with theists. He gets a buzz out of it. I do not deny that his intellectual goal in the matter is worthy, but do not underestimate the huge emotional satisfaction he gets from these debates.

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We're getting far off-topic, but if we're going to acknowledge the satisfaction received from the debates then we should concurrently acknowledge the disheartening sadness and frustration such "rubbishing of the work" generates, as well.

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It would be wonderful if the man himself realised that he is just a biologist. There are some excellent books arguing for atheism, many mentioned here, but there are also some really dire and shallow attempts that are best avoided. Still, even the bad ones stimulate debate.

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We're getting far off-topic, but if we're going to acknowledge the satisfaction received from the debates then we should concurrently acknowledge the disheartening sadness and frustration such "rubbishing of the work" generates, as well.

If one talks shit the blame lies with you (or Dawkins in this case) not the person who points out the failings, or have I missed the thrust of your post?

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It was not so much an attempt to assign or displace blame, but instead to recognize that reactions like those from Dawkins you seem to admonish may be about other things. I think it's too simplistic to assume this is mainly about a burning desire or need to "feel dominant" or a tendency to "relish the confrontation." There's another side to that coin, IMO.

 

The concept I'm thinking of here is like sound or pressure waves, or even more simply... like throwing a basketball against a wall. I see much of the reaction (like those you note from Dawkins and similar atheist notables) being more of a reflection, or a rebound, or even an elastic recovery to use a physics term.

 

In my own experience anyway, responses like these are less about a desire to crush or primal need to experience joy at the expense of others... less about some pleasure taken from debunking others and is instead motivated more by a natural psychological need to "bounce back" from the negative emotions... the disheartening feelings... the general disappointment in humanity... the anxiety this irrationality makes me feel about our collective future... that these nonsensical "attacks" on evolution (or climate change, for that matter) tend to trigger within me. Dawkins is human, too, and may have a similar psychological need for elastic recovery to negative or disappointing emotions.

 

I guess what I'm suggesting is that this may just be the basketball bouncing off the wall after someone else threw it, and not some inherent evil within the basketball causing it to randomly lash out at those nearby nor some primal need to be viscous or cruel as seems implicit in your points.

 

I'm not sure that makes much sense. The idea is that there's more than one side to these reactions and I think over-simplifying it by suggesting he "relishes confrontation" while ignoring the peripheral factors takes away from your point.

Edited by iNow
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