Book Review: 50 Voices of Disbelief: Why We Are Atheists by Russell Blackford and Udo Schuklenk
Paperback: 360 pages
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell (October, 2009)
Wow! A book about atheism and it’s not written by Dawkins, Hitchens, Dennett or Harris! That might be how some people react given the media linking of atheism with these names.
So this book is welcome partly because it helps break that knee-jerk reaction. Atheism is far more widespread than that. But it’s also welcome because many of its contributors advance interesting ideas.
50 Voices of Disbelief: Why We Are Atheists includes contributions mainly from philosophers, but also from scientists, science fiction writers, political activists and public intellectuals. They all responded to the request for “your explanation of why you do not subscribe to the view that there exists an all-powerful, omniscient, good entity running the universe.” Inevitably, they all answer the question differently. Readers will also react differently and will select different essays as their favourites. There’s plenty to choose from. And one advantage of a collection like this is that you can dip into it wherever you want.
Posted in agnostic, agnosticism, atheism, belief, book review, Christianity, diversity, faith, god, human rights, religion, Science and Society, Shermer, supernatural, superstition
Tagged atheism, book review, Dinesh D'Souza, religion, Religion and Spirituality, William Lane Craig
Many people try to keep science and religion separate. Even believers will compartmentalise their religious beliefs separately from their scientific knowledge. In fact, some theologians see attempts to justify religious beliefs with scientific evidence as a slippery slope. Father George Coyne, for example, warned that scientific knowledge is relative. Conclusions alter as more evidence produces better knowledge of reality. Therefore a theology which justifies itself in scientific terms lays itself open to being proven wrong (see “Scientism” in the eyes of the beholder). Specifically this warning has been made when religious leaders have tried to justify their beliefs using “big bang” cosmology (see Bad science, bad theology).
Mind you – religious apologists who get started on this slippery slope have a solution. Just ignore, or deny, new scientific knowledge. Victor Stenger describes an example of this in his contribution, Godless Cosmology, to the new book 50 Voices of Disbelief: Why We Are Atheists.
He refers to the claim made by some apologists like Dinesh D’Souza and William Lane Craig that “big bang” cosmology shows that the universe, including space and time, started as a singularity. That this must have had an external cause – and you can guess what (or who) they claim for the cause.
Posted in agnostic, agnosticism, atheism, creationism, faith, god, intelligent design, philosophy, religion, science, Science and Society, supernatural, superstition
Tagged big bang, Brief History of Time, cosmology, Dinesh D'Souza, General relativity, physics, singularity, Stephen Hawking, Victor Stenger, William Lane Craig