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The Devil's Delusion: Atheism and its Scientific Pretensions Paperback – September 22, 2009
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--Tom Bethell, bestselling author of "The Politically Incorrect Guide to Science
"A powerful riposte to atheist mockery and cocksure science, and to the sort of philosophy that surrenders to them. David Berlinski proceeds reasonably and calmly to challenge recent scientific theorizing and to expose the unreason from which it presumes to criticize religion."
--Harvey Mansfield, Professor of Government, Harvard University
"Berlinski's book is everything desirable: it is idiomatic, profound, brilliantly polemical, amusing, and of course vastly learned. I congratulate him."
--William F. Buckley Jr.
"With high style and light-hearted disdain, David Berlinski deflates the intellectual pretensions of the scientific atheist crowd. Maybe they can recite the Periodic Table by heart, but the secular Berlinski shows that this doesn't get them very far in reasoning about much weightier matters."
--Michael J. Behe, Professor of Biological Sciences, Lehigh University, bestselling author of "Darwin's Black Box "and "The Edge of Evolution"
"David Berlinski plus any topic equals an extraordinary book."
"From the Hardcover edition."
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Top Customer Reviews
I wasn't really expecting something as brilliant, challenging, and engaging as this. If you think that the only people who don't believe in evolution are Fundamentalist knuckle-dragging Georgia swamp-dwellers, you're in for a big surprise. Berlinski himself is an agnostic of Jewish descent, an astonishingly erudite man and a brilliant thinker. He also writes frightfully well. And it is often hard to disagree with him. As he notes in the opening pages of this book --- concerning religion, God, and the rest: "I do not know whether any of this is true. I am certain that the scientific community does not know that it is false."
You might want to read those two sentences again, because they form the logical heart and soul of this book. Berlinski is not on a mission to preach religion; his task is to make plain just how little we actually know about the universe, and to try and re-awaken our sense of wonder. In this, he succeeds brilliantly.
The book cannot really be summarized in a brief review, but let me try to show you at least his thoughts about cosmology and the Big Bang.Read more ›
In brief, Berlinski's argument boils down to three main points: there is nothing in science proper that undermines religion (a point that used to be widely recognized and even extolled by writers like SJ Gould), most of the new atheists badly misunderstand even the most rudimentary arguments of theology and are not logically consistent, and finally that much of science has become rather dogmatic, like a new religion. I think Berlinski does an excellent job addressing all three of these points, the first of which should be more or less self evident. Claims, for example, that one "should" only believe in physical or visible evidence are not, in and of themselves, empirical claims. Indeed, I have friends who resolutely insist that materialism is "all there is" while remaining blissfully unaware of the fact that such a statement could not arise from strictly empirical observation.
Regarding the new atheist approach to Aquinas, Berlinski correctly notes that the critics of St. Thomas really do not understand his arguments. Take for example the famous cosmological argument of Thomas Aquinas. In its simplest form, this argument takes the form of a syllogism. Everything that begins to exist has a cause. The universe began at some point. Therefore the universe has a cause.Read more ›
Berlinksi makes it clear that he in no way means to disparage or belittle Science. He is only trying to show how Science has been twisted by The Four Horsemen in an attempt to prove an anti-religious point of view, and how that twisting promises so much and delivers so little.
I have read Dawkins, Hitchens and Harris (I could not force myself through Dennett's doorstop of a book), and I thoroughly enjoyed each one as I read it. Yet, reading David Berlinski's book made me honestly question what I found so thought-provoking or convincing about any of them.
This book is well worth reading if for no other reason than raising some unexpectely challenging questions, and providing you with some innovative and fascinating insights into ideas you might not have considered. I really liked this book !!!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Brilliant. Sure to make atheists write bad reviews and lie through their teeth. David Berlinksi uses logic and common sense gleaned from his decades of studying and teaching... Read morePublished 2 days ago by J. Jaeger
In his most unique fashion, which can only be Berlinski, Dawkins' spurious pretensions concerning origins and their permutations are skillfully debunked and placed in the rubbish... Read morePublished 2 days ago by jeff strahan
Exposes the deceiver and his deceptions. Stop believing the lies. God is real and without Him, there is literally nothing.Published 4 days ago by Blake
Berlinski reigns up there with other great writers/teachers like William Lane Craig, Ravi Zacharias, and LennoxPublished 16 days ago by Deb Possin
First off, Berlinski is NOT a Christian or according to him, even a good JEW. But he does a fantastic job at pointing out the atheistic and scientific pretensions happening and the... Read morePublished 22 days ago by Dr. Dad
I like the way Berlinski uses the words, thoughts, and theories of the proponents of evolution and the origin of the universe to show they really haven't proven their case and--in... Read morePublished 2 months ago by R. Jeffery
Berlinski starts solidly by pointing out that modern man has been led to believe that he should have no other gods than science. Read morePublished 2 months ago by D. Edward Tench
Makes the occasional good point Rè scientism. Openly states he likes to heap abuse on some atheists. Comes across as small minded and nasty. Read morePublished 2 months ago by peter veitch
An in-depth discussion about where science puts its faith--the desire and failure of scientists to explain what they claim theology can't. Read morePublished 2 months ago by third