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The New Atheism: Taking a Stand for Science and Reasonby Victor J Stenger
Synopses & Reviews
In recent years a number of bestselling books have forcefully argued that belief in God can no longer be defended on rational or empirical grounds, and that the scientific worldview has rendered obsolete the traditional beliefs held by Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. The authors of these books—Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens, and Victor J. Stenger—have come to be known as the "New Atheists." Predictably, their works have been controversial and attracted a good deal of critical reaction.
In this new book, Victor J. Stenger, whose God: The Failed Hypothesis was on the New York Times bestseller list in 2007, reviews and expands upon the principles of New Atheism and answers many of its critics. He demonstrates in detail that naturalism—the view that all of reality is reducible to matter and nothing else—is sufficient to explain everything we observe in the universe, from the most distant galaxies to the inner workings of the brain that result in the phenomenon of mind.
Stenger disputes the claim of many critics that the question of whether God exists is beyond the ken of science. On the contrary, he argues that absence of evidence for God is, indeed, evidence of absence when the evidence should be there and is not.
Turning from scientific to historical evidence, Stenger then points out the many examples of evil perpetrated in the name of religion. He also notes that the Bible, which is still taken to be divine revelation by millions, fails as a basis for morality and is unable to account for the problem of unnecessary suffering throughout the world.
Finally, he discusses the teachings of ancient nontheist sages such as Buddha, Lao Tzu, and Confucius, whose guidelines for coping with the problems of life and death did not depend upon a supernatural metaphysics. Stenger argues that this "way of nature" is far superior to the traditional supernatural monotheisms, which history shows can lead to a host of evils.
The New Atheism is a well-argued defense of the atheist position and a strong rebuttal of its critics.
Book News Annotation:
Stenger (philosophy, U. of Colorado and emeritus physics and astronomy, U. of Hawaii) describes how secularists have jumped on the anti-Islam hysteria generated after September 11 to take the offensive against religion generally, most often the Abrahamic monotheistic religions of the West. He discusses the folly faith, the sword of science, the design delusion, holy smoke, suffering and morality, the nature of nature, the nature of mind, the way of nature, and the future of atheism. Annotation ©2009 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Expands upon New Atheism and argues that naturalismall of reality is reducible to matter and nothing elseis sufficient to explain everything we observe in the universe and this way of nature is superior to the traditional supernatural monotheisms.
In this new book, Stenger ("God: The Failed Hypothesis") reviews and expands upon the principles of New Atheism and answers many of its critics. He demonstrates in detail that naturalism--the view that all of reality is reducible to matter and nothing else--is sufficient to explain everything we observe in the universe.
About the Author
Victor J. Stenger (Lafayette, CO) is adjunct professor of philosophy at the University of Colorado and emeritus professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Hawaii. He is the author of the New York Times bestseller God: The Failed Hypothesis, God and the Folly of Faith, and many other books.
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