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Irreligion: A Mathematician Explains Why the Arguments for God Just Don't Add Up Paperback – June 9, 2009
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“Reasoned, cool and concise--a good-natured primer for infidels.” ―Kirkus Reviews
“[Paulos] is as sure-footed as a tiger as he prowls through the theocratic landscape, pouncing on sloppy thinking. To a large extent he succeeds in demolishing the arguments of believers.” ―Phillip Manning, The News & Observer (Raleigh)
“[Paulos] knocks the props from under the classic arguments for the existence of God . . . The book is written with a charming skepticism that is not off-putting or arrogant.” ―Chuck Warnock, Amicus Dei blog
“Few of the recent books on atheism have been worth reading just for wit and style, but this is one of them: Paulos is truly funny.” ―Publishers Weekly
“Irreligion will, I'm confident, take a distinguished place in what one might call the canonical literature of the New Atheism.” ―Norman Levitt, eSkeptic
About the Author
John Allen Paulos is a professor of mathematics at Temple University. His books include the bestseller Innumeracy: Mathematical Illiteracy and Its Consequences (H&W, 1988), A Mathematician Plays the Stock Market, and A Mathematician Reads the Newspapers.
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I was delighted to find the author is not only funny but brilliantly laconic, explaining how he sees most of the more common arguments seen today for the existence of a god or gods. For those who have taken multi variate, advanced calculus, advanced physics (anything where you are working with "proofs") you will immediately feel right at home. Paulus commonly begins by taking the reader through what he sees as the logical proof an apologist is submitting and then finds the cracks with turn-of-phrase which is as clever as it is humorous.
There is one section where he has a "dreamy instant message conversation with God" that I don't particularly care for but I could see how someone could take some value from it.
This book is not brilliance encapsulated as some may describe a Hitchens, Dennett, or Grayling. But instead it's someone explaining why he is not a theist, rather than why you should not be a theist.
He ends the book with a slightly outdated argument, which I'm sure at the time looked as though it was going to be a bigger deal than it was (the "bright" movement), but I have re-read this book several times and have found the contents enlightening every time.
I would suggest it to anyone. Cheers!
The book would not convince religious people whose minds are closed, even if they read it. It will not convince people who deny the role of reason in the question of God's existence. And it is not a polemic with ivory tower theologians.
This is a gentle book. Paulos does not bring up the horrific facts of the criminal history of religion that Dawkins, Hitchens and others have explored in recent books. He concentrates on a few common arguments for God's existence, and shows how an intelligent person would find them wanting.