Book picks similar to
God and the Folly of Faith: The Incompatibility of Science and Religion by Victor J. Stenger
Faith Versus Fact: Why Science and Religion are Incompatible
Jerry A. Coyne - 2015
The sheer fact that over half of Americans don't believe in evolution (to say nothing of the number of Congressmen who don't believe in climate change) and the resurgence of religious prejudices and strictures as factors in politics, education, medicine, and social policy make the need for this book urgent.Religion and science compete in many ways to describe reality - they both make "existence claims" about what is real - but they use different tools to meet this goal. In his elegant, provocative, and direct argument, leading evolutionary biologist and bestselling author Jerry Coyne lays out in clear, patient, dispassionate details why the toolkit of science, based on reason and empirical study, is reliable, while that of religion - including faith, dogma and revelation - is unreliable and leads to incorrect, untestable, or conflicting conclusions. Indeed, by relying on faith, religion renders itself incapable of finding truth.
Atheism: The Case Against God
George H. Smith - 1979
. . Thousands of volumes have been written on the subject of a god, and the vast majority have answered the questions with a resounding 'Yes!' ""You are about to read a minority viewpoint."With this intriguing introduction, George H. Smith sets out to demolish what he considers the most widespread and destructive of all the myths devised by man - the concept of a supreme being. With painstaking scholarship and rigorous arguments, Mr. Smith examines, dissects, and refutes the myriad "proofs" offered by theists - the defenses of sophisticated, professional theologians, as well as the average religious layman. He explores the historical and psychological havoc wrought by religion in general - and concludes that religious belief cannot have any place in the life of modern, rational man."It is not my purpose to convert people to atheism . . . (but to) demonstrate that the belief in God is irrational to the point of absurdity. If a person wishes to continue believing in a god, that is his prerogative, but he can no longer excuse his belief in the name of reason and moral necessity.
Atheist Universe: The Thinking Person's Answer to Christian Fundamentalism
David Mills - 2003
The author thoroughly rebuts every argument that claims to "prove" God's existence - arguments based on logic, common sense, philosophy, ethics, history, and science.Atheist Universe avoids the esoteric language used by philosophers and presents its scientific evidence in simple lay terms, making it a richly entertaining and easy-to-read introduction to atheism. A comprehensive primer, it addresses all the historical and scientific questions, including: Is there proof that God does not exist? What evidence is there of Jesus' resurrection? Can creation science reconcile scripture with the latest scientific discoveries?Atheist Universe also answers ethical issues such as: What is the meaning of life without God? It's a spellbinding inquiry that ultimately arrives at a controversial and well-documented conclusion.Other important questions answered in this book:* What, precisely, is atheism, and why is it misunderstood so thoroughly? * If God is a myth, then did the universe appear from nothing? * Does the meticulous clockwork of planetary motion result from mindless random forces? * Do atheists believe that human beings evolved through blind accident from lifeless matter? * Do the splendor and intricacy of life on Earth reveal evidence of intelligent design by a supernatural Creator? * Can atheists prove that God does not exist? * What about Creation Science, and the popular new movement to reconcile Scripture and science? * Have recent scientific discoveries pointed to God's governance of the cosmos? * Did Albert Einstein believe in God? * Does the fact that energy cannot be destroyed lend credibility to a belief in eternal life? * Without God, can there be a valid system of ethics or an objective "right" and "wrong"? * Does religion encourage moral conduct and civilized behavior? Is the Golden Rule really such a bad idea? * What is the meaning of life without God? * When we die, are we simply dead like dogs? * Did atheists suffer a trauma in childhood that warped them into blasphemous rebellion? * Because of ubiquitous injustice on Earth, is an afterlife required to redress the imbalance, where evil is ultimately punished and virtue rewarded? * Is atheism just another crackpot religion? * What's the harm in a person's private spirituality? Does humanity have everything to gain, and nothing to lose, through belief in God (even if He's only imaginary)? * Apart from the Bible, is there secular historical evidence of Jesus' miracles and resurrection? * How do atheists explain "near death" experiences and medical miracles which amaze even skeptical doctors? * Why should a tiny minority of atheists be able to force their opinions on everyone else by banning prayer in public schools?* Since "there are no atheists in foxholes," have famous nonbelievers recanted on their deathbeds? * Did Old and New Testament prophecies correctly predict events which actually unfolded during our own lifetimes? * What about the Shroud of Turin and the discovery of wood fragments from Noah's Ark on Mount Ararat in Turkey? * Does the Law of Entropy (or the "running down" of the universe) contradict evolutionary theory, which asserts that Nature's complexity is increasing? * Is there absolute proof that man evolved from a lower form of life? * Even if you believe that all life evolved from a single cell, how could complex cellular life originate without a Creator? * Is atheism a totally negative philosophy, leading only to cynicism and despair? * Does communism's past embrace of atheism prove that atheism is an evil and failed philosophy? * Was America really founded upon Christian principles by Christian believers? * What is the true, behind-the-scenes relationship between politics and religion in 21st-century America? All of these questions - and hundreds of others - are fully confronted and methodically answered in the riveting pages of Atheist Universe.
The God Virus: How Religion Infects Our Lives and Culture
Darrel Ray - 2009
Darrel Ray, psychologist and lifelong student of religion, discusses religious infection from the inside out. How does guilt play into religious infection? Why is sexual control so important to so many religions? What causes the anxiety and neuroticism around death and dying? How does religion inject itself into so many areas of life, culture, and politics? The author explores this and much more in his book The God Virus: How Religion Infects Our Lives and Culture. This second-generation book takes the reader several steps beyond previous offerings and into the realm of the personal and emotional mechanisms that affect anyone who lives in a culture steeped in religion. Examples are used that anyone can relate to and the author gives real-world guidance in how to deal with and respond to people who are religious in our families, and among our friends and coworkers.
The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason
Sam Harris - 2004
He offers a vivid, historical tour of our willingness to suspend reason in favor of religious beliefs—even when these beliefs inspire the worst human atrocities. While warning against the encroachment of organized religion into world politics, Harris draws on insights from neuroscience, philosophy, and Eastern mysticism to deliver a call for a truly modern foundation for ethics and spirituality that is both secular and humanistic.Winner of the 2005 PEN/Martha Albrand Award for Nonfiction.
God: The Most Unpleasant Character in All Fiction
Dan Barker - 2016
Barker combs through both the Old and New Testament (as well as thirteen different editions of the “Good Book”), presenting powerful evidence for why the Scripture shouldn’t govern our everyday lives. This witty, well-researched book suggests that we should move past the Bible and clear a path to a kinder and more thoughtful world.
The Atheist's Guide to Reality: Enjoying Life without Illusions
Alex Rosenberg - 2011
Philosopher Alex Rosenberg maintains that science is the only thing that can really answer them—all of them. His bracing and ultimately upbeat book takes physics seriously as the complete description of reality and accepts all its consequences. He shows how physics makes Darwinian natural selection the only way life can emerge, and how that deprives nature of purpose, and human action of meaning, while it exposes conscious illusions such as free will and the self. The science that makes us nonbelievers provides the insight into the real difference between right and wrong, the nature of the mind, even the direction of human history. The Atheist's Guide to Reality draws powerful implications for the ethical and political issues that roil contemporary life. The result is nice nihilism, a surprisingly sanguine perspective atheists can happily embrace.
How We Believe: Science, Skepticism, and the Search for God
Michael Shermer - 1999
Why is this? Why, despite the rise of science, technology, and secular education, are people turning to religion in greater numbers than ever before? Why do people believe in God at all?These provocative questions lie at the heart of How We Believe , an illuminating study of God, faith, and religion. Bestselling author Michael Shermer offers fresh and often startling insights into age-old questions, including how and why humans put their faith in a higher power, even in the face of scientific skepticism. Shermer has updated the book to explore the latest research and theories of psychiatrists, neuroscientists, epidemiologists, and philosophers, as well as the role of faith in our increasingly diverse modern world.Whether believers or nonbelievers, we are all driven by the need to understand the universe and our place in it. How We Believe is a brilliant scientific tour of this ancient and mysterious desire.
The God Delusion
Richard Dawkins - 2006
He eviscerates the major arguments for religion, and demonstrates the supreme improbability of a supreme being. He shows how religion fuels war, foments bigotry, and abuses children, buttressing his points with historical and contemporary evidence.The God Delusion makes a compelling case that belief in God is not just wrong, but potentially deadly. It also offers exhilarating insight into the advantages of atheism to the individual and society, not the least of which is a clearer, truer appreciation of the universe's wonders than any faith could ever muster.
The Christian Delusion: Why Faith Fails
John W. LoftusValerie Tarico - 2010
Central is a defense of his "outsider test of faith," arguing that believers should test their faith with the same skeptical standards they use to evaluate the other faiths they reject, as if they were outsiders. Experts in medicine, psychology, and anthropology join Loftus to show why, when this test is applied to Christianity, it becomes very difficult to rationally defend. Collectively, these articles reveal that popular Christian beliefs tend to rely on ignorance of the facts. Drawing together experts in diverse fields, including Hector Avalos, Richard Carrier, David Eller, and Robert Price, this book deals a powerful blow against Christian faith.
Irreligion: A Mathematician Explains Why the Arguments for God Just Don't Add Up
John Allen Paulos - 2007
In Irreligion he presents the case for his own worldview, organizing his book into twelve chapters that refute the twelve arguments most often put forward for believing in God's existence. The latter arguments, Paulos relates in his characteristically lighthearted style, "range from what might be called golden oldies to those with a more contemporary beat. On the playlist are the firstcause argument, the argument from design, the ontological argument, arguments from faith and biblical codes, the argument from the anthropic principle, the moral universality argument, and others." Interspersed among his twelve counterarguments are remarks on a variety of irreligious themes, ranging from the nature of miracles and creationist probability to cognitive illusions and prudential wagers. Special attention is paid to topics, arguments, and questions that spring from his incredulity "not only about religion but also about others' credulity." Despite the strong influence of his day job, Paulos says, there isn't a single mathematical formula in the book.
God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything
Christopher Hitchens - 2007
"God did not make us," he says. "We made God." He explains the ways in which religion is immoral: We damage our children by indoctrinating them. It is a cause of sexual repression, violence, and ignorance. It is a distortion of our origins and the cosmos. In the place of religion, Hitchens offers the promise of a new enlightenment through science and reason, a realm in which hope and wonder can be found through a strand of DNA or a gaze through the Hubble Telescope. As Hitchens sees it, you needn't get the blues once you discover the heavens are empty.
A Manual for Creating Atheists
Peter Boghossian - 2013
Indeed, the faithful often view converting others as an obligation of their faith—and are trained from an early age to spread their unique brand of religion. The result is a world broken in large part by unquestioned faith. As an urgently needed counter to this tried-and-true tradition of religious evangelism, A Manual for Creating Atheists offers the first-ever guide not for talking people into faith—but for talking them out of it. Peter Boghossian draws on the tools he has developed and used for more than twenty years as a philosopher and educator to teach how to engage the faithful in conversations that will help them value reason and rationality, cast doubt on their religious beliefs, mistrust their faith, abandon superstition, and irrationality, and ultimately embrace reason.
Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon
Daniel C. Dennett - 2006
It is an integral part of their marriage, child rearing, and community. In this daring new book, distinguished philosopher Daniel C. Dennett takes a hard look at this phenomenon and asks why. Where does our devotion to God come from and what purpose does it serve? Is religion a blind evolutionary compulsion or a rational choice? In "Breaking the Spell," Dennett argues that the time has come to shed the light of science on the fundamental questions of faith. In a spirited narrative that ranges widely through history, philosophy, and psychology, Dennett explores how organized religion evolved from folk beliefs and why it is such a potent force today. Deftly and lucidly, he contends that the "belief in belief" has fogged any attempt to rationally consider the existence of God and the relationship between divinity and human need."Breaking the Spell" is not an antireligious screed but rather an eyeopening exploration of the role that belief plays in our lives, our interactions, and our country. With the gulf between rationalists and adherents of "intelligent design" widening daily, Dennett has written a timely and provocative book that will be read and passionately debated by believers and nonbelievers alike.