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53 of 61 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Fresh Approach
As he maintains in the book, Bugliosi is by nature a critical person. He finds and attacks what he precieves to be the weaknesses in atheist and theist arguments, and I really got the sense while reading the book that he's the type of person who strives to be as objective as humanly possible.

I felt that the weakest part of the book was the discussion of...
Published on April 15, 2011 by Smilez

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66 of 74 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars I Should Have Read The Sample
Having an interest in the subject matter of this book - and based on Vince Bugliosi's reputation, I bought the Kindle version of the book without downloading and reading the sample. Bad mistake. In this book, Mr Bugliosi disagrees with everyone who has an opinion different from his own - including experts in fields where he freely admits he has little or no expertise...
Published on May 2, 2011 by W. Roop


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66 of 74 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars I Should Have Read The Sample, May 2, 2011
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Having an interest in the subject matter of this book - and based on Vince Bugliosi's reputation, I bought the Kindle version of the book without downloading and reading the sample. Bad mistake. In this book, Mr Bugliosi disagrees with everyone who has an opinion different from his own - including experts in fields where he freely admits he has little or no expertise. His reason? Common sense. For example, with regard to evolution he states "...every writer I personally have read on the subject clearly has lacked, in my opinion, the ability to communicate his alleged knowledge of Darwin's theory. In other words, as is so often the case in life, these writers are markedly inept in their ability to impart to others what they claim to know." I would suggest that perhaps Mr. Bugliosi doesn't have a fundamental understanding of science that would allow him to comprehend higher concepts - or else he's dumber than a rock. I could give many other examples of his arrogance and his mocking tone of writing, but it's better for the reader to discover them.
I do applaud Mr. Bugliosi for admitting that he doesn't know if God exists; however, I do wonder why he makes that concession - he clearly thinks he knows everything else.
I would highly recommend that the prospective buyer download the sample of this book or browse through it at a local bookstore before purchasing it - or perhaps just ask a stranger on the street what he thinks about the existence of God. I expect his opinion will be just as valuable as Mr. Bugliosi's opinion (and that's ALL he states in this book) - and it will certainly cost less.
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53 of 61 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Fresh Approach, April 15, 2011
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As he maintains in the book, Bugliosi is by nature a critical person. He finds and attacks what he precieves to be the weaknesses in atheist and theist arguments, and I really got the sense while reading the book that he's the type of person who strives to be as objective as humanly possible.

I felt that the weakest part of the book was the discussion of evolution - several times Bugliosi objects that he cannot imagine a bacteria evolving into Mozart, but of course, evolutionists believe the process happened gradually over billions of years, so to phrase the claim in such a way sets up a strawman. Bugliosi errors again by thinking "locally" about cats and dogs (why haven't they changed in the last 10,000 years, he asks?) when they have a great deal, genetically speaking! In fact, the genetic arguments for evolution are completely left undiscussed by Bugliosi.

Despite this flaw, this book is comendable for two reasons. #1, since there is very little hard evidence that points in either direction of "a god's" existence, Bugliosi's common sense objections serve him fairly well here. And #2, his willingness to take on either side of the debate and outright offend those of either viewpoint that he deems as foolish, is a breath of fresh air in a debate where there is often a lot of back slapping and "supporting your own team". Bugliosi is a truth teller (or at least he makes his best attempt to be), and that's about the highest compliment I can give someone when it comes to debate.
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30 of 36 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly and Embarassingly Bad, May 11, 2011
By 
Eric Elliott (O'Neals, CA USA) - See all my reviews
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I've read and enjoyed some of Bugliosi's other works and was looking forward to this one. Now, I am still stunned by how awful and poorly-written it was.

The majority of the book seems to be ad hominem attacks and straw-man arguments. Coupled with Bugliosi's lack of understanding about several of the subjects he brings up, it makes for a very irritating read. The only interesting thing about this book is seeing the sort of tricks a good prosecutor must use in court applied to writing. On the rare occasion when he does make a good point, he repeats it over and over again, literally dozens of times, with barely altered phrasing. If he hadn't said he doesn't use a computer and does all his writing longhand, I would have suspected him of overuse of cut-and-paste.

On of the most annoying facets of the book is that Bugliosi comes up with his own definitions for words and phrases that don't match up with reality. (Anytime you see "common sense" you can safely substitute "popular superstition".) He also claims that anyone calling themselves an Atheist "believes" there is no god... no "probably" or "reasonably certain" about it, thereby setting up one of his many straw-man arguments. He also admits near-complete ignorance about several subjects (computers, biology, evolution, etc.) and then goes on to make absolute judgements about them based on his erroneous assumptions.

I would advise anyone who is well-read and educated, whether believer or not, to avoid wasting their money on this mish-mash of Bugliosi's personal prejudices.
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32 of 39 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not quite the scholar he supposes himself to be., April 15, 2011
Possibly worth a read (or at least a quick scan) if interested in the topic but not worth a purchase at hardcover prices. To me this had the feel of an opportunistic book that was quickly written with an eye to tapping into the recent popularity of works critical of religion. I'm an agnostic so have no philosophical axe to grind with Bugliosi. My complaint is his lazy scholarship combined with an overbearingly obnoxious attitude to anyone who's ever expressed a pro or con opinion on the topic and doesn't happen to be him. On topics he doesn't understand he seems to think he can logic his way through - even though others more knowledgeable could enlighten him where he's confused if he'd done a little more reading before he took to writing. Like a previous reviewer I was also amazed at the "if we're descended from monkeys why are monkeys still here" argument. If a man feels justified in charging the price this book costs he should be willing to do a little more research on the topic. The answer to the monkey question (and many others) that so perplexed Bugliosi has been thoroughly answered and is not beyond the comprehension of any intelligent person provided they do their homework. This is lazy stuff. The other thing I would add is that the tone of this book is remarkably cutting and arrogant given the fact that he hardly has a scholar's knowledge on many of the topics he tries to tackle. I left this book feeling like he was a somewhat unpleasant man I really didn't want to spend any more time with. He rips into people who have a much better grasp of the topics than he does. Still, he is an intelligent man and it is at least somewhat interesting to get these well-worn arguments from a lawyer's perspective, if for no other reason than to see the limitations of his approach.
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30 of 37 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Joke's On You, May 11, 2011
Short and to the point:

1) Gives voice to the obvious, most of which has been iterated and reiterated by both sages and fools on the subject over the ages. Though, Mr. Bugliosi does have an undeniable talent for making a case in the style and manner of a seasoned trial lawyer.
2) Not at all professional and scholarly, which is ay o.k. if you're primarily writing to the masses, but not if you're audience are both the masses and the highly educated and well informed.
3) Unbelievably embarrassing when delving into the sciences, particularly on the subject of evolution. Mr. Bugliosi needs to at least enroll in a few community college starter courses in the life sciences before recklessly spouting off on matters he is almost entirely ignorant of. I couldn't help blushing for him. It's almost as if he lives in a shell, coming out only for experiencing and sampling things that fit his biases and preconceived notions.
4) One can only conclude that Mr. Bugliosi is a vicious, mean spirited, and arrogant human being. Yes, one might say, but believers and defenders of organized religion, especially Christianity, have it coming, when you consider the enormous horrors, suffering, cruelty that have befallen humankind as a result of their blind faith and zeal. But this is not what I am talking about. Scholars know how to make their case in a manner befitting civilized, educated gentleman. Bugliosi's hubris and pointedness is in no way appealing. It is just increasingly annoying and off-putting.
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26 of 32 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Bugliosi should stick to books about law cases, May 6, 2011
As a long time reader of Vincent Bugliosi's works and a person interested in peoples' need to have a religion, I thought this book might be interesting. However, Bugliosi starts almost right off replacing facts with his opinions.

His first flaw that gave me pause was in his description of atheists as people who want to destroy all religion. That is patently not true. Atheists use science and common sense to come to the conclusion that an imaginary, magic person in the sky is not necessary to have formed the earth and all life on it. They just don't want religious people using their clout to infuse government or everyday life with their beliefs.

His second blatant error that made me stop reading the book was in his doubts of the veracity of Darwin's theory of evolution. Unbelievably, he uses the old creationist diatribe of "if we evolved from monkeys, then why are there still monkeys?" With this, I put the book down with no interest in picking it up again.

Mr. Bugliosi has no authority or background to write a book of this kind and should have known better than to use his opinions as stated fact.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars DON'T BUY THIS BOOK, August 2, 2011
I've always considered myself agnostic and thought reading this book might help me better understand my doubts.

1) Anyone that has done at least a remedial study of the Bible and Christianity's history won't learn much from this book. That's not to say that I didn't learn anything, but the time commitment vs. reward (i.e. new knowledge) on this books is not in the reader's favor.

2) While he states that his arguments are based in logic, he makes a lot of assumptions before laying out his argument (oddly enough he lambaste other writers for doing the exact same thing). As long as your dealing with a Fundamental Christian that believes the Bible is the inerrant word of God, then all of Bugliosi's arguments are solid. However, any theologian that studies Process Theology would basically decimate his arguments and make him look silly.

3) Well placed sarcasm can be an immensely powerful tool for a writer. Unfortunately, when your entire book is basically sarcasm then it just seems mean spirited and intellectually weak.

Bottom line, if you want a book that just bashes Christianity then this is your book; otherwise, I would look towards other writers and not waste my money on this book
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57 of 74 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rendering the "common" in Common Sense, April 12, 2011
Many people are familiar with Bugliosi as a brilliant attorney who also wrote about the murderers he prosecuted in court (think Charles Manson: "Helter Skelter;" Lee Harvey Oswald: "Reclaiming History," etc) but this book about the question of God's existence is perhaps his greatest challenge ever. In it he offers an intelligent debate, neither for nor against the verity of God's existence, but for the neutrality of agnosticism as the only logically sound conclusion. Confronting both ends of the "God question" pendulum, from slavish Christian beliefs to trendy spiritual and scientific attitudes, and much in between, he comprehensively demonstrates how common sense isn't really that common. He takes the historical and contemporary "experts" in divine matters to task and reveals how the hard questions have been ignored, brushed aside, or inadequately thought through. There is much to consider within the fruits of this book's cogent abundance, yet the author's consummate use of ordinary language and down-to-earth examples makes this an accessible book, and one that may prompt more than the occasional metaphorical smack on the head in self-abashed agreement.
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25 of 33 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Shows the bankruptcy of religion without glorifying the other extreme, April 13, 2011
By 
Richard A. Rossi (hollywood, california) - See all my reviews
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I am a graduate of Jerry Falwell's fundamentalist Liberty University so I know first-hand the subject of religion and the bible. I met Mr. Bugliosi recently at North Hollywood library and he's always interested me as a lawyer, writer and speaker. When I made my journey from fundamentalism to freedom, and I realized a lot of what I was indoctrinated with by the Religious Right wasn't true, I had to find my footing again. I discovered many of the atheists who saw the pitfalls of religion were just as militant and mocking of those who disagreed as the Falwellian fundamentalists were. They were remarkably similar and strident. Vincent does a good job of showing how both camps, the militant atheists and the militant religious folks, traffic in certainty, demonize their opponents, and cover up their own fallibilities. I heard about this book because readers of my recently released novel "Stick Man," a coming-of-age novel about a young man's deconversion from fundamentalism told me "Bugliosi's book does in non-fiction what your novel Stick Man does in fiction, shows the moral bankruptcy of religion without glorifying the other extreme." In my life, I haven't thrown out the baby with the bathwater, I still have faith, but the God I worship today is a God of universal, unconditional love for everyone.
Amicably, Richard Rossi
Author of the best-selling novel "Stick Man," available at Amazon
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed in Bugliosi, July 25, 2011
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Am only to the middle of Bugliosi's attempt at defining his doubts regarding religion and the existence of God. But far enough along to feel the need to add my comment.

First, for someone to write a book castigating others for "ignorance, laziness, and sloppy writing" and then commit the same sins himself is the height of hypocrisy.

He makes some valid points about the so-called New or Militant Atheists when he criticizes their certainty that God does not exist. Certainty about something for which there is no data is illogical. But for the most part, Bugliosi is basing his premise regarding atheism on the premise that atheists believe that there is no possibility of a god existing. That is of course wrong. While most of us have come to the conclusion that there is no possiblitiy that any of the various tribal gods that have been invented by humans (Yahweh, Allah, Ishtar, Baal, Odin, Zeus etc.) actually exist, I don't think that any thinking person can maintain the certainty that there are no beings that exist outside of our known universe.

Simple fact is that we have no data coming to us from outside of or before the beginning of the universe. Therefore, any and all Wild Ideas, crazy speculations, or thoughts are equally likely and equally unlikely. If you wish to believe or posit a magic being that began it all, most of us atheists (or agnostics if that is what we would be technically) have no argument for or against your belief.

But given that the basic requirement for such a being is simply that the being is capable of starting a universe and has the willingness to do so, there is no other trait or characteristic that is at all necessary. Doesn't need to be "all" anything leta lone, good, just, perfect, powerful, eternal, etc. All of those characteristics have been applied by humans. Certainly, some humans have CLAIMED to have communicated directly with such a being, but I do not believe their claims. Unless they can prove that their "voices" are actually those of a god, I would posit that they are either schizophrenic or con men.

Atheism is simply a disbelief in tribal gods. One might come up with a philosophy or detailed belief that derives from atheism, but atheism alone is neither a religion nor a philosophy. And it really does not offer any sort of certainty about realms for which there is no data!

Evolution:

Vincent: did you really want to ask why monkeys are still around if humans supposedly evolved from them?

Now we have reached the crux of lazy, ignorant, sloppy work. You refer a lot to Darwin in your chapter on evolution. Darwin was the major pioneer of the Theory of Speciation due to Natural Selection, but his book was published in 1859. 152 years ago! The field has expanded and changed dramatically since. And EVERYTHING discovered since then has either modified or confirmed his work. His basic theory has been confirmed to the point that only religious nuts argue about the fact of evolution. Harping on Darwin's own difficulties writing in a pre-DNA, pre-Tectonic Plate theory, pre-Hubble, pre-paleontology time is sort of like asking Daniel Boone to give you a guided tour of modern-day Louisville, Kentucky.

But never mind that. YOU have no excuse for your ignorance. If you are going to write a chapter on evolution, at least make the effort to educate yourself on the subject.

Dawkins has a couple of books that do an excellent job of explaining the process. But if you do not like Dawkins because he is a militant atheist, then try Jerry Coyne's WHY EVOLUTION IS TRUE, or Donald Prothero's WHAT THE FOSSILS SAY. Evalyn Gates EINSTEIN'S TELESCOPE, is an excellent primer on modern cosmology, or David Weintraub's HOW OLD IS THE UNIVERSE.

You do not need to be a scientist in order to understand science, or find out how far science has come since 1859.

You've got a buck or two. Jump on a plane and visit the Field Museum in Chicago, or the Museum of Natural History in Cleveland. Talk to a few people who actually know what the heck they're talking about, THEN think about writing a chapter on evolution or cosmology.

Your chapters on the bible would have been aided immeasurably if you had read some work on comparative mythology or textual criticism. Tim Callahan and Bart Ehrman both bring these subjects into focus for the layman.

Did you really offer New Testament claims of fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies as part-validation of the bible? You aren't aware that the writers of the New Testament, while inventing the many stories about Jesus, had easy access to the stories of the Old Testament? Sort of like taking bets from gamblers on Monday for the games that were already played on Sunday.

Bugliosi makes some good points, but as other reviewers have pointed out, most if not all of his points have been made by other writers. His book does read more like a quickly written series of essays than a well-researched, well-thought out non-fiction.
Tim Campbell
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Divinity of Doubt: The God Question
Divinity of Doubt: The God Question by Vincent Bugliosi (Hardcover - April 12, 2011)
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