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The Atheist's Guide to Reality: Enjoying Life without Illusions Hardcover – October 3, 2011
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“For those of us who have pondered what David Hume might have said, were he to have had the benefit of all the scientific knowledge that succeeded his death, Alex Rosenberg’s wonderful new book perfectly satisfies.” (Rebecca Goldstein 36 Arguments for the Existence of God)
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Top Customer Reviews
But, as the author says, it turns out that atheism is more just one big No!
It was science that made me an atheist, that and the problem of evil, for course. And this is where the Atheist's Guide comes in.
What it shows is that by driving to atheism science drives us to a lot of other powerful, unexpected, and important insights about reality too: For example, there's the fact that what Darwin discovered comes right out of physics. The book explains why there isn't even any room for stupid design, let alone intelligent design in the process that makes things look like God put them together.
I wasn't sure I'd be able to live with the author's Nice Nihilism till I got to the last chapter and realized that science makes my politics unavoidable. The road from the biology to the politics goes right through neuroscience, history, economics and the humanities. What a ride!
I was really surprised, as an atheist, after reading The Atheist's Guide I really do end up enjoying life more.
More problematic, perhaps, is his view that if something cannot be explained in terms of biology (chemistry, physics), then it isn't real. What I found disappointing here isn't that view itself, but the absence of arguments for it. For example, he advocates eliminativism about intentionality: that there isn't really any such thing as intentionality or 'aboutness'. But he doesn't argue for this view, from what I could tell. He just stipulates that intentionality cannot be naturalized, and that all the various attempts to naturalize intentionality (or normativity, or autonomy) have failed. He doesn't demonstrate (at least not to this reader's satisfaction) that they have failed. Speaking as someone who favors naturalizing intentionality and agency, rather than doing away with them or endorsing non-naturalism, I was frustrated by the absence of clear rebuttals of the approaches that I favor.
There are, moreover, certain problems in his account of scientism that I would have liked to have seen taken more seriously. For one thing, Rosenberg doesn't distinguish between scientism and reductive physicalism. But presumably one could take one's metaphysics from natural science, and so be scientistic in a broad sense, without taking any position on the reducibility of biology to physics.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
If you know something about the history of philosophy, then you’re probably aware that there are many conceptions about the true nature of reality. Read morePublished 26 days ago by Bliv
Had this writer footnoted his grand statements he would have demonstrated respect for his readership. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Mounthell
If I was allowed to take one book to a desert island this would be the one I'd take. For someone with a physics background like myself and one who has been a life-long atheist... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
It's the hard cold truth, even harder than I thought. Can't take life or myself too seriously after this book!Published 5 months ago by Monty Vonn
Philosophy has received much abuse in recent years. Neil deGrasse Tyson described it as a useless enterprise and advised intelligent students to pursue other studies. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Jason Bowden
Thoughtful explanation of science and religion. He articulated what I believe in a telling way. He is right: it's no sense prosetilsing - the religionists won't listen anyway.Published 9 months ago by GD 71
A poor title, but provocative text. Rosenberg addresses the committed atheist with a treatise on radical scientism as only valid epistemology in pursuit of truth and 'nice... Read morePublished 9 months ago by John Verster
As a low-excitement atheist (apatheist, I should say), I found this book interesting, exciting, and eye-opening. Read morePublished 12 months ago by booker_t