Atheism Explained: From Folly to Philosophy and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
  • List Price: $24.95
  • Save: $7.50 (30%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Temporarily out of stock.
Order now and we'll deliver when available.
Order now and we'll deliver when available. We'll e-mail you with an estimated delivery date as soon as we have more information. Your account will only be charged when we ship the item.
Ships from and sold by
Gift-wrap available.
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Condition: Used: Very Good
Comment: Eligible for FREE Super Saving Shipping! Fast Amazon shipping plus a hassle free return policy mean your satisfaction is guaranteed! Tracking number provided with every order. Slight wear on edges and covers; otherwise item is in very good condition.
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 this image

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

See all 2 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
"Please retry"
"Please retry"
$9.50 $1.98

Frequently Bought Together

Atheism Explained: From Folly to Philosophy (Ideas Explained) + The Portable Atheist: Essential Readings for the Nonbeliever
Price for both: $28.75

One of these items ships sooner than the other.

Buy the selected items together

Holiday Deals in Books
Holiday Deals in Books
Find deals for every reader in the Holiday Deals in Books store, featuring savings of up to 50% on cookbooks, children's books, literature & fiction, and more.

Product Details

  • Series: Ideas Explained (Book 5)
  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Open Court (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: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #503,619 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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).

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

In this sense the title of the book is an appropriate one.
Hande Z
Steele does a very thorough job of laying out all the arguments for and against belief in God.
Marc Joffe
His exposition is crystal clear: he makes the most complex issues easy to understand.
Jeffrey A. Schaler

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

131 of 138 people found the following review helpful By Kindle Customer 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. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
62 of 64 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. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
66 of 69 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. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
57 of 59 people found the following review helpful By P. S. Turnbloom on May 8, 2008
Format: Paperback
...this book converts.

I am currently an undergraduate philosophy student that was looking for a book that truly gave solid, adequate, epistemological, metaphysical, cosmological, and psychological arguments for the case for atheism. This book was precisely that. After reading Dawkins' "The God Delusion" in its entirety and skimming through Hitchens' "Portable Atheist", I was disappointed to find that these authors are more interested in pointing out the dangers of religion than really rolling up their sleeves and making strong arguments against theism (Dawkins' attempt to point out the "fallacies" in the uncaused cause is insulting to most modern educated theologians; he gives no recognition to transcendentalist theory at all). Don't get me wrong, these are brilliant men, but David Ramsay Steele, I think, puts their efforts to shame.

I can honestly say that because of Steele, I am no longer a theist. His arguments are so exhaustive and thorough that you couldn't ask for more. He really satisfies the readers that want explanation in extensive detail while still managing not to bore them. He is quite the gifted scientist, philosopher, and persuasive writer.

So, If you're scanning through the atheist books and wondering which to read, put Dawkins, Hitchens, Harris, and Dennett back on the shelf for now and pick up this overlooked and underappreciated gem.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Recent Customer Reviews

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?