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A Manual for Creating Atheists Paperback – November 1, 2013

4.2 out of 5 stars 391 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"Up to now, most atheists have simply criticized religion in various ways, but the point is to dispel it.  In A Manual For Creating Atheists, "Peter Boghossian fills that gap, telling the reader how to become a 'street epistemologist' with the skills to attack religion at its weakest point: its reliance on faith rather than evidence. This book is essential for nonbelievers who want to do more than just carp about religion, but want to weaken its odious grasp on the world." --Jerry Coyne, Ph.D., author of Why Evolution is True

"Dr. Peter Boghossian's 'A Manual for Creating Atheists' is a precise, passionate, compassionate and brilliantly reasoned work that will illuminate any and all minds capable of openness and curiosity. This is not a bedtime story to help you fall asleep, but a wakeup call that has the best chance of bringing your rational mind back to 
life."--Stefan Molyneux, host of Freedomain Radio, the largest and most popular philosophy show on the web

"If we want to live in world that is safer and more rational for all, then this is the guidebook we have been waiting for. Relying on extensive experience and a deep concern for humanity, Peter Boghossian has produced a game changer. This is not a book to read while relaxing in a hammock on a sunny afternoon. This is the how-to manual to take into the trenches of everyday life where minds are won and lost in the struggle between reason and madness.--Guy P. Harrison, author of 50 Simple Questions for Every Christian and Race and Reality

"I wouldn't be surprised if ten years from now we realized that this book's publication was a turning point in the decline of Christianity in the West..." Tom Gilson, Christian apologist and author, Thinking Christian

"A 'how to' book for the ages. Boghossian manages to take a library's worth of information and mold it into a concise and practical tome to guide through the murky waters of magical thinking, docking the reader safely on the shores of reason, logic and understanding. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this, and highly recommend it."--Al Stefanelli, author of A Voice of Reason In An Unreasonable Word-The Rise of Atheism On Planet Earth and Free Thoughts-A Collection Of Essays By An American Atheist

"A book so great you can skip it and just read the footnotes. Pure genius."  —Christopher Johnson, cofounder, the Onion

"There is nothing else on the market like this book that helps atheists talk believers out of their faith. Every atheist interested in doing so, or who talks to believers about faith at all, should read it. It's both needed and brilliant!"  —John W. Loftus, author, Why I Became an Atheist and The Outsider Test for Faith

"Boghossian has provided an indispensable chart book for all of us who must navigate the rising sea of magical thinking that is inundating America today."  —Victor Stenger, PhD, author, God: The Failed Hypothesis and God and the Atom

From the Author

"If I started reading A Manual for Creating Atheists as a Christian I would have been an atheist by the time I finished it. Peter Boghossian's book is the perfect companion to Richard Dawkins' The God Delusion. They should be bundled like an atheist software package to reprogram minds into employing reason instead of faith, science instead of superstition."
--Michael Shermer, from the foreword to A Manual for Creating Atheists

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 280 pages
  • Publisher: Pitchstone Publishing; 1St Edition edition (November 1, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1939578094
  • ISBN-13: 978-1939578099
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (391 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #16,386 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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There are a great deal of gems in this book that anyone, no matter your background, can find engaging and useful when talking with someone of a different background. This book gives a practical and logical guideline to analyze a person's epistemology whether its for self-reflection or to help understand others. It is written in such a way that people outside of the philosophy field can easily comprehend the ideas and find ways to apply them to their social life.

Many of the concepts are heavily rooted in the Socratic method but the material has been conveyed in a much more applicable and relevant way for our day in age. Critical thinking and analysis plays a crucial role in accurately understanding the people around us as well as helping to make educated decisions in our daily lives. This subject is unfortunately not taught in many curriculums because of its controversial nature but the skill of being able to assess a person's thought process is priceless.

I have many religious friends whom I tend to shy away from talking with on the subject of religion mostly because I don't want to offend them. This book has given me a look at a completely different approach the way I articulate my questions and comments. I highly suggest this book to anyone that is even remotely interesting in understanding why people think the way they do.
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Peter Boghossian's new brilliant book will change our nomenclature and effectiveness in disabusing believers of their faith. His book will definitely change the religious landscape.

Nomenclature refers to the names we give to phenomena. I love Boghossian's nomenclature. Richard Dawkins coined the word "meme," which is an idea or behavior that spreads from person to person within a society. Daniel Dennett popularized the word "deepity," which is a statement that seems profound but actually asserts a triviality on one level and something meaningless on another. Generally, a deepity has (at least) two meanings: one that is true but trivial, and another that sounds profound, but is essentially false or meaningless and would be "earth-shattering" if true. [From RationalWiki].

Boghossian is changing how we see faith. He defines faith as "pretending to know things you don't know." He says that when we hear the word "faith" we should think of that definition. Why? Because that's exactly what believers are doing. They're playing a childish pretend game. Faith stunts one's intellectual growth. So he talks in terms of the medical and/or psychological professions. Believers are infected with a faith virus. The believer is the host of this virus. And we are in the midst of a faith virus pandemic. Boghossian says, "The pretending-to-know-things-you-don't-know pandemic hurts us all. Believing things on the basis of something other than evidence and reason causes people to misconstrue what's good for them and for their communities." (pp. 31-32).

So he's calling on a potential legion of people who are willing to help cure believers of their faith virus. He calls them "Street Epistemologists" who are equipped with the tactics he presents in his manual.
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Peter Boghossian has advanced a unique and valuable contribution to the project of human emancipation (if I may borrow this turn of phrase from the departed Christopher Hitchens). Faith, Boghossian observes, is nothing more than a flawed reasoning process. A substantial portion of the human population has tried over a period of at least a few thousand years, to use faith as a means by which to learn about the world. The experiments have been run over and over. Faith has proven to be an unreliable method of discovering truths about the universe and ourselves.

Now it's time to admit to ourselves that we are, in fact, our brother's keeper. As Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens observed in slightly different ways, we are rapidly approaching the interaction of apocalyptic weaponry and apocalyptic beliefs. We must help those around us realize that faith is a failed epistemology. If you believe that you owe anything to future generations, then you owe them, at a minimum, the truth.

Boghossian suggests that we become "street epistemologists", taking upon ourselves the moral obligation to help our fellow human emancipate themselves from the cognitive virus of faith.

*My Encounter with kind but deluded "Jesus Freak" Jackie*

Friday night on the streets of Missoula, Montana, I had the opportunity to try, for the first time since reading his book, a few of the techniques. After having dinner in a popular Missoula pub, the Old Post some friends and I walked outside where a "non-religious" proselytizer named Jackie asked if we had submitted to Jesus. With her were two young people in their early 20s and a child of about 8 or 9, all three paying rapt attention to our conversation. My friends proceeded to Charlie B's where I would meet them, later.
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I lost my religion many years ago, but I quickly realized that being an Atheist says little about one's actual thought process. Faulty reasoning leads to many dangerous ideas, from religion, alternative medicine, horoscopes, psychics, anti-vaccination, anti GMO and so on. Teaching people the value of honest, critical thinking is the best way to ensure that they don't just move from one bad idea to the next. Being able to engage in conversations with people suffering from faulty reasoning or the faith virus, can be exhausting because they are very good at pretending to know things that they don't know. A manual for Creating Atheists is essential or anyone wanting to fight bad science, and dangerous ideas. I was on a plane with a Mormon man while finishing the book, and I felt more confident and able to respectfully engage with him. The approach reminds me of the way Socrates talked to Euthyphro. Respectful and welcoming but it's like catching flies with honey, then swatting them with a logic stick. Read this book, you will be a better and more honest person for it.
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