Automotive Holiday Deals Up to 50% Off Select Books Shop Men's Athletic Shoes Learn more nav_sap_SWP_6M_fly_beacon Prime Music Sweepstakes egg_2015 All-New Amazon Fire TV Grooming Deals Gifts for Her Amazon Gift Card Offer cm15 cm15 cm15 $30 Off Amazon Echo $30 Off Fire HD 6 Kindle Cyber Monday Deals Indie for the Holidays in Prime Music Shop Now HTL
Atheism Explained: From Folly to Philosophy and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more

Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.

  • List Price: $24.95
  • Save: $7.50 (30%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Only 2 left in stock (more on the way).
Ships from and sold by Gift-wrap available.
Atheism Explained: From F... has been added to your Cart
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: Personally inspected by me to ensure that this copy meets or exceeds the Condition Guideline of Good. Typical amount of shelf wear to the paperback cover. Pages and spine are intact. Eligible for FREE Super Saving Shipping! Or use your Prime Account. Fast Amazon Shipping plus a hassle free return policy mean your satisfaction is guaranteed. International Shipping available.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 2 images

Atheism Explained: From Folly to Philosophy (Ideas Explained) Paperback – January 15, 2008

35 customer reviews

See all 2 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
New from Used from
"Please retry"
"Please retry"
$11.43 $1.14

Take an Extra 30% Off Any Book
$17.45 FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Only 2 left in stock (more on the way). Ships from and sold by Gift-wrap available.

Frequently Bought Together

  • Atheism Explained: From Folly to Philosophy (Ideas Explained)
  • +
  • Answering Atheism: How to Make the Case for God with Logic and Charity
Total price: $29.73
Buy the selected items together

Special Offers and Product Promotions

  • Take an Extra 30% Off Any Book: Use promo code HOLIDAY30 at checkout to get an extra 30% off any book for a limited time. Excludes Kindle eBooks and Audible Audiobooks. Restrictions apply. Learn more | Shop now

Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

"A clear, concise, complete, and convincing presentation of the case for atheism. Covers essentially all the arguments for and against God, in science, philosophy, and theology, with sympathy for the believer's views even as they are shown to be untenable."

—Victor J. Stenger, author of God: The Failed Hypothesis

"Atheism Explained is a gem. It is clear, informative, well-argued, provocative, often witty, and unfailingly interesting. David Ramsay Steele ranges over so many issues that I should be surprised if he were right about everything, but it makes for a most stimulating read. The book is in a different league from Richard Dawkins's The God Delusion, and deserves much greater success."

—Jeremy Shearmur, author of The Political Thought of Karl Popper

"A refreshingly readable introduction to the arguments for and against believing in God, and the implications atheism has—and more importantly does not have—for politics, morality, and even religion itself."

—Susan Blackmore, author of Conversations on Consciousness

"Steele explains atheism with scholarship, cogency, wit, and clarity. He aims at the nonacademic reader, but no professional philosopher I know of could fail to be impressed."

—Jan Narveson, author of This Is Ethical Theory

"Atheism Explained is a much better defense of atheism than the recent works by Dawkins and Hitchens."

—James Sadowsky, S.J., Professor of Philosophy, Fordham University

"Steele defends atheism by a comprehensive analysis of attempts to prove and disprove the existence of God. If you want to refute atheism, then you need to reply to Atheism Explained. It may well become the classic work on the subject. It is as readable as it is rigorous."

—J.C. Lester, author of Escape from Leviathan

David Ramsay Steele is author of From Marx to Mises (1992), co-author (with Michael Edelstein)of Three Minute Therapy (1997), and editor of Genius: In Their Own Words (2002). His articles have appeared in Critical Review, Liberty, National Review, and Ethics. He contributed to The Atkins Diet and Philosophy (2005) and The New Encyclopedia of Unbelief (2007).

Hero Quick Promo
Holiday Deals in Kindle Books
Save up to 85% on more than 1,000 Kindle Books. These deals are valid until November 30, 2015. Learn more

Product Details

  • Series: Ideas Explained (Book 5)
  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Open Court; First Edition edition (January 15, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812696379
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812696370
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #667,753 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

David Ramsay Steele
720 South Dearborn Street, Apt 201, Chicago, Illinois 60605
Phone 630-506-9257

Writer, Public Speaker, Blogger, Debater, Editor
Classical liberal, pro-technology, pro-growth, Darwinist, critical rationalist


A Few of My Recent Talks (Most of these can be seen on YouTube)

Everyone's Rational!
Occupy David Graeber! (critique of the guru of Occupy Wall Street)
Good and Bad in Psychotherapy (for cognitive-behavioral therapy, against psychodynamic therapy)
What Has Happened to American Religion?
The End of the Global Warming Delusion
Why Socialism Won't Work (Ludwig von Mises on Economic Calculation)
The Ideas of George Orwell (the intellectual left in the 1930s)
The Case for Atheism
Karl Marx's Mistakes
Critical Rationalism: The Ideas of Sir Karl Popper


I contribute occasionally to the London Libertarian, blog of the Libertarian Alliance,

My Books

Author. From Marx to Mises: Post-Capitalist Society and the Challenge of Economic Calculation. Chicago: Open Court, 1992.
Co-author with Michael R. Edelstein. Three Minute Therapy: Change Your Thinking, Change Your Life. Aurora: Glenbridge, 1997.
Editor. Genius: In Their Own Words. Chicago: Open Court, 2002.
Author. Atheism Explained: From Folly to Philosophy. Chicago: Open Court, 2008.
Co-author with Michael R. Edelstein and Richard K. Kujoth. Therapy Breakthrough: Why Some Psychotherapies Work Better than Others. Chicago: Open Court, 2013.
Author. Orwell Your Orwell: A Worldview on the Slab. South Bend: St. Augustine's Press, forthcoming in 2016.

A Few of My Articles (some popular, some scholarly; most of these are available online, some at

The Irrationality of Planning. Critical Review (Spring 1987).
Hayek's Theory of Cultural Group Selection. Journal of Libertarian Studies (Summer 1987).
Alice in Wonderland (review essay on Barbara Branden, The Passion of Ayn Rand). Liberty (May 1988).
How We Got Here. Critical Review (Winter 1988).
Partial Recall (on the recovered memory movement). Liberty (March 1994).
Ended Quest (obituary for Sir Karl Popper). Liberty (December 1994).
Flowers for the Underclass (review of Herrnstein and Murray, The Bell Curve). Liberty (May 1995).
A Tale of Two Terrorists (compares Timothy McVeigh and Gerry Adams). Liberty (July 1995).
Why Stop at Term Limits? (advocates selection of political officeholders by lot) National Review (September 11th 1995).
Nozick on Sunk Costs. Ethics (April 1996).
Between Immorality and Unfeasibility: The Market Socialist Predicament. Critical Review (Summer 1996).
Yes, Gambling Is Productive and Rational. Liberty (September 1997).
The Mystery of Fascism (on the socialist roots of Mussolini's ideas). Liberty (November 2001).
Ayn Rand and the Curse of Kant. Liberty (August 2002).
The Sacred Element (carbon, of course). Liberty (March 2003).
My Orwell Right or Wrong (review of Hitchens, Why Orwell Matters). Liberty (May 2003).
Wasn't It a Little Crowded on That Grassy Knoll? (Silly title, not mine; analysis of Kennedy assassination theories.) Liberty (November 2003).
Why and When Should We Rely on Scientific Experts? The Atkins Diet as an Alternative Theory. In Lisa Heldke, Kerri Mommer, and Cynthia Pineo, eds., The Atkins Diet and Philosophy: Chewing the Fat with Kant and Nietzsche. Chicago: Open Court, 2005.
Marxism. In Tom Flynn, ed., The New Encyclopedia of Unbelief. Amherst: Prometheus, 2007.
Marx, Karl Heinrich. In Tom Flynn, ed., The New Encyclopedia of Unbelief. Amherst: Prometheus, 2007.
Orwell, George. In Ronald Hamowy, ed., The Encyclopedia of Libertarianism. Thousand Oaks: Sage, 2008.
Is God Coming or Going? Philosophy Now (April-May, 2010).
Dexter the Busy Bee. In Richard Greene, George A. Reisch, and Rachel Robison-Greene, eds., Dexter and Philosophy: Mind over Spatter. Chicago: Open Court, 2011.
Safe Dex. In Richard Greene, George A. Reisch, and Rachel Robison-Greene, eds., Dexter and Philosophy: Mind over Spatter. Chicago: Open Court, 2011.
Will Emerging Media Create a Collective Mind? In James Katz, ed., Philosophy of Emerging Media (forthcoming in 2015).

My Schooling

1970. B.A. II(i) (Hons.) Sociology and American Studies. University of Hull (England).
1995. Ph.D. Sociology. University of Hull (England).

My Employment

1985 to present. Editorial Director, Open Court Publishing Company, Chicago.

Other Achievements

Wrote the script for the audiotape, Karl Marx--Das Kapital, from Capitalist Exploitation to Communist Revolution (1988), in the Knowledge Products Great Economic Thinkers series.
Conceived and launched the Chicago Libertarian Seminar, a monthly soirée since 1999.
In 2000, conceived and launched the successful and much imitated series of books, Popular Culture and Philosophy, now approaching 100 volumes.

My Personal Life

I am married to Lisa Zimmerman; we have four children: Emma, Allan, Ursula, Duncan.
Part of my life story is told in 'An Unexpected Discovery', Liberty (July 2002).
Interests: music, literature, philosophy, science, economics, poker, chess. My chess is mediocre, but I have twice defeated a grandmaster in a simultaneous exhibition.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

133 of 140 people found the following review helpful By Saganite VINE VOICE on February 4, 2008
Format: Paperback
This book is a marketing nightmare. The title, the subtitle, and the cover art are all uninspired. But this is one of the best books outlining a case for atheism that I've read. It is clear, user-friendly, and logical. The logical evidence against classical theism is treated in a comprehensive presentation that does not feel labored, and manages to dodge some of the excesses of books by Dawkins and Hitchens. If I were told that a Christian friend were experiencing doubts about her faith and she was asking for recommendations for three books explaining atheism as a rational, satisfying alternative, this book might well be among the three. After years of having very few readable books on atheism, the last couple of years have witnessed an explosion of fine, readable texts. Put "Atheism Explained" on the shelf next to "Irreligion," "The Little Book of Atheist Spirituality," "Godless Philosophy," and other such books. The place for "God is Not Great" and "The God Delusion" is important, because they have opened a window. I would argue that what they have opened that window for is gentler, wiser books such as this one.

One of the best contributions the book makes is in an appendix about arguments NOT to use for atheism. Every atheist who feels compelled to convert the religious to atheism should read it. I think reducing the toxic effects of fundamentalism is a noble, necessary aim. But sinking to the tactics that fundamentalists use should play no part in our strategy to combat fanaticism. This appendix outlines "arguments" that toe that line and cautions against their use.
9 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
64 of 66 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey A. Schaler on March 2, 2008
Format: Paperback
Dozens of books for and against atheism are now coming out, and the quality is very mixed on both sides of the debate. Among books of a general and popular nature, Steele's book is by far the best pro-atheist statement.

He covers all the arguments, and the most committed believer would have to agree that he does so with complete fairness. His exposition is crystal clear: he makes the most complex issues easy to understand. The book is so fair-minded and such an easy read that a beginning Christian theology student could read it in a weekend, simply to get a quick outline of philosophy of religion. Steele is also quite critical of some ideas commonly held by atheists: for example he refutes the claim that belief in God leads to atrocities.

Although the author is often witty and ironic, he is sympathetic and without malice. The reader feels that if Steele could find a decent argument for the existence of God, he would gladly accept it, and he actually mentions one such argument that might be developed in the future. Meanwhile, he destroys all the standard arguments quite convincingly. The author is extremely polite, but without mercy when it comes to muddled thinking.
Read more ›
1 Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
75 of 79 people found the following review helpful By Malcolm Greenhill on February 16, 2008
Format: Paperback
There are two kinds of atheist books--the kind that make atheists say "Right on!" and the kind that turn believers or doubters into atheists. This book is in the latter category, and it's hard to imagine any sincere and open-minded theist who could read it and not be converted. It's easy to see why such outstanding thinkers as Victor Stenger and Susan Blackmore have given the book such fulsome praise. (And is this the first ever atheist book to have a cover blurb from a Jesuit priest?) Steele keeps his promise of dealing with every important argument for God's existence, and also presents some surprising arguments against. His discussion is amazingly clear, as well as being witty and thoroughly entertaining. I particularly enjoyed his discussion of "Why is there something instead of nothing?" and of the argument from "religious experience." Unlike some well-known atheists, he doesn't make crude mistakes about Christian theology. He concedes points to theists where he thinks they have a strong argument, and he obviously agrees with Christians on such issues as free will. It's difficult to imagine a better book on atheism than this one. And by the way, I just love the cover!
4 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
67 of 70 people found the following review helpful By Andrew Atkinson on March 6, 2008
Format: Paperback
I have read well over a hundred books on religious criticism; and this book is one of the very best general single volume assessments of the rational merit of Theism and Atheism. The book solely deals with the rational merit of atheism versus theism, not with the social merit or demerit of religion, which many other popular atheist books deal with. The author is skilled at making very complex issues accessible to a general audience. The book covers a surprising amount of ground and deals with a wide variety of subjects; including many issues that other books of this nature often leave out, such as ND E's and even the Koran. The author was especially strong when dealing with the Anthropic Principle and the problem of evil. The author has a way of pinpointing the central issues that underlie many of the issues involved. He is a skilled philosopher and is more adapt then many other popular authors when it comes to analyzing the rational merit of key arguments. I highly recommend this book.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Most Recent Customer Reviews

Set up an Amazon Giveaway

Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. Learn more
Atheism Explained: From Folly to Philosophy (Ideas Explained)
This item: Atheism Explained: From Folly to Philosophy (Ideas Explained)
Price: $17.45
Ships from and sold by

Want to discover more products? Check out this page to see more: best sellers atheism