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Editorial Reviews


"Deep wisdom and patient explanations fill this excellent book."
--James A. Haught, author of Honest Doubt and Science in a Nanosecond

"Engaging and enlightening . . . Read this book to explore the many and diverse reasons for belief."
--Michael Shermer, founding publisher of Skeptic magazine

". . . doesn't bully or condescend. Reading Harrison's book is like having an amiable chat with a wise old friend."
--Cameron M. Smith and Charles Sullivan, authors of The Top-Ten Myths of Evolution

About the Author

GUY P. HARRISON (San Diego, CA) is an award-winning journalist and the author of Think50 Simple Questions for Every Christian50 Popular Beliefs That People Think Are True50 Reasons People Give for Believing in a God, and Race and Reality: What Everyone Should Know about Our Biological Diversity. Find him on online at www.guypharrison.com, www.facebook.com/guypharrisonauthor, and on Twitter @Harrisonauthor.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 354 pages
  • Publisher: Prometheus Books (June 5, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1591025672
  • ISBN-13: 978-1591025672
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (136 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #452,849 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I write about many things but my primary focus is on science and skepticism. I believe that our world could be a little better - and a lot less crazy - if more people simply understood how science works and appreciated the protective value of skeptical thinking in everyday life.

I've held numerous positions in the news industry, including editorial writer, world news editor, sports editor, photographer, page designer, and columnist. I'm a veteran travel writer, having visited and written about more than 25 countries on five continents. I have also had some very rewarding jobs teaching history and science to bright kids. My degree is in history and anthropology (University of South Florida). I've won some big awards for my writing, including the WHO (World Health Organization) Award for Health Reporting and the Commonwealth Media Award for Excellence in Journalism, but doubt anyone really cares about that stuff other than my sweet mother.

What I am most proud of in relation to my work is that my writing has touched many people. I receive messages from around the world and it's always rewarding to learn that my words have inspired one more person to think in new ways and become a good skeptic. This is what all my books to date are about: encouraging readers to turn away from the madness in order to live more sensible and honest lives, both for themselves and for the world.

When I'm not staring at a blank computer screen hoping that words will appear, I'm likely to be running, hiking, reading a science or history book, working out at a gym, or teaching critical life lessons to my children via repeated viewings of Star Trek. When normal people are consumed with thoughts about politics, economics, and the Kardashian family, I'm likely to be daydreaming about time travel, the singularity (nerd rapture) ancient Greece, extremophiles, the possibility of extraterrestrial life, and robots.



One of the biggest mistakes we can make in life is to ignore or reject the possibility that we might be dead wrong about something that is very important to us.

Don't do this!

Question everything. Embrace doubt. Second guess conclusions. Be humble; after all you could be wrong. You might be the first perfect person in all of history and prehistory who is incapable of being fooled by the mistakes, lies and delusions of others. But I doubt it. You might be the first ever to rise above and see through all the deceptive quirks, traps and biases that come standard with a human brain. But I doubt it.

What good is it to hold tight to a position against every challenge if that position is in error? The goal is not to avoid ever changing your mind. The goal is to be right, or as close to it as you can be. If you value wisdom and honesty then you ought to value skepticism. Wisdom is recognizing that you don't know everything and can be fooled just like every other human who has ever lived. Wise people change their minds when evidence demands it. Honest people don't pretend to know things that they don't know.

This fundamental error in thinking crops up most often in politics and religion, of course. These two fertile fields of human thought, passion and silliness encourage if not demand that participants sacrifice their ability to think independently. This treasure is given away freely as rigid lines are drawn and feet set in cement. How can something of such value--the ability and the courage to think freely--be sacrificed by so many people with so little reluctance? Why the haste to become one more zombie in the mob? Why no remorse for the loss of so much humanity?

Please do not undervalue your ability to think independently, to grow intellectually over a lifetime, and to always do your best to move closer to truth and reality. The warmth of mindless membership may be appealing at a glance but it's fool's gold.

Change. Grow. Improve. Think and be fully human.

--Guy P. Harrison


Think: Why You Should Question Everything (2013), is a fresh and exciting approach to science, skepticism, and critical thinking. My aim is to enlighten and inspire readers of all ages. This book challenges everyone to think like a scientist and embrace the skeptical life. If you want to improve your critical thinking skills, see through most scams at first glance, and learn how your own brain can trip you up, this is the book for you. Think shows you how to better navigate through the maze of biases and traps that are standard features of every human brain. These innate pitfalls threaten to trick us into seeing, hearing, thinking, remembering, and believing things that are not real or true. It will help you trim away the nonsense, deflect bad ideas, and keep both feet firmly planted in reality. It really is in everyone's best interest to question everything. My brand of skepticism is constructive and optimistic. It's a way of life that anyone can embrace. An antidote to nonsense, quackery, and delusion, this accessible guide to critical thinking is the perfect book for anyone seeking a jolt of inspiration. It also includes great illustration by worldclass artist Kevin Hand.


My book, 50 Popular Beliefs that People Think are True (2013), is a skeptical grand tour of extraordinary claims such as ESP, ghosts, gods, psychics, astrology, UFOs, doomsday prophecies, Roswell, faith healing, Bigfoot, homeopathic medicine, and many more. Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson says of the book: "What would it take to create a world in which fantasy is not confused for fact and public policy is based on objective reality? I don't know for sure. But a good place to start would be for everyone on Earth to read this book." I'm not preachy or condescending and strive to show how we are all vulnerable to falling for unproven and unlikely claims simply because of the way our brains work. We all believe silly things. What matters is how many and how silly.


50 Simple Questions for Every Christian (2013) is written in a respectful and conversational style. It's designed to promote constructive dialogue and foster mutual understanding between Christians and non-Christians. I ask basic questions about Christian belief, not to argue but to stimulate deeper thinking about this religion. What is the born-again experience? Why would God want or need to sacrifice his only son for us? Does this sacrifice makes sense in light of the Holy Trinity doctrine? Do miracles really happen? How reliable is the Bible? What is the rapture? Why isn't everyone a Christian? Each question is followed by commentary and analysis that is skeptical and tough but never condescending. Christians will find the book useful as a basis for developing their apologetics, while skeptics should appreciate my rational analysis of religious claims.


My book Race and Reality: What Everyone Should Know about Our Biological Diversity (2010) is a wide-ranging exploration of the idea of biological races, written for the layperson. I show that these categories are inconsistent and illogical. Groups such as "blacks" and "whites" do exist, but they are cultural groups, rather than something that nature imposed on us. Races change according to time period and culture, for example, and do not represent a sensible and accurate picture of humankind's real biological diversity. Professor of sociology at Stanford University, Dr. David B. Grusky, says the book is, "a tour de force that conveys the current science on racial classification in a rigorous yet readable way. Even those who think they know it all about race and racial classification will come away changed."


50 Reasons People Give for Believing in a God (2008) is my skeptical analysis of various religious claims that I have encountered at home and abroad. Each chapter presents a common reason for belief espoused by followers of various religions and then explains why there is reason for doubt. Michael Shermer, publisher of Skeptic magazine, calls the book "engaging and enlightening." I wrote this book in a way that respects believers, if not always their beliefs. I have no interest in winning arguments. I only want to inspire people to think more deeply about what they believe and why.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

291 of 301 people found the following review helpful By Erik Olson VINE VOICE on October 25, 2008
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In 2007 I left evangelical Christianity after twenty-four years of deep involvement. Early that year I'd read a number of the "new atheist" books on the market with the intent of challenging and strengthening my walk with God. Instead, I ended up realizing I was on the wrong track, that what I'd heard and saw in church all those years didn't gel with my experiences away from the pulpit. Many of the reasons why I parted from my faith are in this excellent and necessary book.

"50 Reasons People Give for Believing in a God" is exactly that. Each chapter's title is a common statement made by a religious person to justify his or her belief, such as "I want eternal life," "some very smart people believe in God," and "atheism is a negative and empty philosophy." The author responds to these and forty-seven other faith-based pronouncements in a reasonable, logical, and easy-to-read manner. The chapters are fairly short, so you won't be overwhelmed by minutiae, and they end with a bibliography and recommended reading list that enables further topical exploration.

Many folks are turned off by the polemic tone displayed by atheist authors such as Dawkins, Hitchens, and Harris. I think that their books should be read by everyone, but they are probably too harsh for most people of faith to start with. Guy Harrison rebuts religion and makes his case for atheism in a much more gentle and respectful fashion. Yes, one can tell that Mr. Harrison prefers rationality over faith, and sometimes his frustration with the latter shows. But on the whole his attitude is much easier to swallow than the aforementioned trio, so believers or people on the fence should feel more comfortable exploring atheist thought with this book.
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166 of 180 people found the following review helpful By The Spinozanator VINE VOICE on June 21, 2008
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Harrison is an anthropologist. He studies Man's cultures, including the thousands of religions that have been invented. Yes, he is of the mind that Man made it all up without even knowing it, but he does not discriminate, insult, or otherwise abuse believers. He likes them and frequently attends religious services with them. Harrison has made it a habit to ask believers why they believe in their god or gods. In this book he has compiled essays built around the fifty most common answers to that question.

His essays are not formally philosophical and are not about splitting theological hairs. Instead, each essay is conversational common sense with statistics about religion thrown in. He does not capitalize god or gods, since he rarely talks about any specific deity, among the thousands that have existed. Several themes recur: He emphasizes that every believer is an atheist about every god other than their own preferred god. Which god a person believes in is almost always an accident of birth. Atheists don't choose to be atheists - they just end up not believing. They are the fourth most plentiful group, after Christians, Muslims, and Hindus - and that only counts the ones out of the closet. The fifth most plentiful group is animism. Various religions make irreconcilable claims that can't all be right, despite the zeal of their believers. This most likely suggests that none of them are true and that humans are good at inventing gods. The countries highest in atheism are the most peaceful and the countries highest in religiosity are the most violent. The same picture shows up in blue versus red states in the US. Although religions are capable of good things, on balance, they are bad for society.
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87 of 95 people found the following review helpful By Mark J. O'Leary on July 27, 2008
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We are living in a golden age for books about freethought, atheism, agnosticism and the like. Guy Harrison's book stands out for a couple of reasons.

The minor characteristic that makes this book a standout is its organization. You can dip into it anywhere, no need to read it straight through. Each chapter deals with one of the fifty questions, but the content in #50 is not built on anything in #5. Each discussion is a discreet stand-alone.

The advantage of this may not be immediately apparent. Because it deals with some of our most deeply cherished beliefs, this is a book to be pondered and considered carefully. It's not a good idea to whip through it on the beach between naps. The ability to read a single chapter and digest it for a while, and consider the relative strength of the argument, is the way to get the most out of the book.

But the major characteristic upon which this book is recommended is its tone. Having had the opportunity to compare many such works on atheism and its related -isms, I find the absence of anger or impatience in the author refreshing. He is very kind to believers. One could certainly never say this about another atheist luminary like Christopher Hitchens or Richard Dawkins, both of whom I admire enormously, and both of whom probably have alienated more believers already than they can ever hope to persuade. %0 Reasons is a book that will engage both the freethinker and the theist, without boring the one or insulting the other.
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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful By CuJoe on December 3, 2010
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I have to confess that when I finished reading this book, I felt this inner freedom and joy. I actually started crying and I felt like this is what I've been looking for all my life. It was a weird feeling that is hard to explain and put in words. It was like seeing a born again Christian when they claim they feel the "holy ghost"...which I honestly tried, but never experienced in my life. I think this book has a passive tone and it should be read by all, especially those that have a passionate thirst for wonder, reason, and what I feel is common sense. I heard about this book one morning while listening to NPR, and I am so glad I decided to buy it. I usually carry the book in my car...it's like a bible to me. I also bought Dan Barker's "Godless"...which was also an awesome book.

Being labeled as an atheist in our American society isn't always peachy...I know I get judged alot. I tell people that I am a realist before an atheist. My wife told me that she feels sorry for me...probably because she thinks I'm not going to be there in heaven with her. I sure hope that future generations will part from this primitive way of thinking...but we can only hope. I think that our worst enemies is ourselves, our minds, and our ignorance. Are we truly the most intelligent animals on earth? Sometimes we don't act that way. I wonder what the rest of the animal kingdom thinks of us humans...especially when they see us talking to imaginary gods, and killing each other to please these gods. If all living things were created by some intelligent designer, why are humans the ONLY species that are required to believe, praise, worship, obey, and be judged by this creator? I use to feel that being human was more of a curse than a gift.
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