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Natural Atheism Paperback – January 1, 2004
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I was familiar with David Eller's esteemed reputation in the atheist community, but I had never read a book by Dr. Eller (which is a sad comment on me, rather than Dr. Eller). This is unquestionably one of the finest books on atheism ever published. If you think this is an overstatement, then you have not yet read the book. Thankfully, there is no dishonest attempt in this book to reconcile religion and science, nor to water down the atheist message into agnosticism or secular humanism. The writing is clear, on-the-mark, and no-nonsense. If you are a person whose mind is at all receptive to reason, then you will benefit from -- and enjoy! -- reading this free-thought title. Your ability to combat creationism will be greatly empowered.
Dr. Eller succinctly summarizes all the traditional arguments for and against God's existence. But, more importantly, he actually introduces a wealth of original material. Many books on atheism (and religion) merely rehash the same old arguments again and again. "Natural Atheism," while discussing all the traditional issues, provides a much needed fresh and updated perspective. My only complaint is that, as the author of a title on atheism myself, Dr. Eller's book will no doubt prove to be tough competition!
Nonetheless, I congratulate Dr. Eller for his exceptional volume, which will certainly become a popular seller when word of its publication becomes widely known. Additionally, Dr. Eller's book is published by American Atheists, who, in my opinion, are the leading and most authoritative voice for atheism in the world today. You will be very pleased with "Natural Atheism."
Author of "Atheist Universe"
In one of my favorite examples, Eller responds in this way when asked if he "believes" in evolution: he states that he doesn't "believe" in evolution but rather "accepts" evolution as the best explanation we have so far based on available evidence; if something more convincing comes along, he is ready to part with his previous views. Would theists be as willing to part with their views in light of hostile new evidence? This is one of many instances where Eller demonstrates his care in avoiding any games associated with "belief." People can hide behind "beliefs" and justify them unfairly, either by using feelings and/ or personal experiences or reason itself--until, of course, reason fails to support their claims. That is, when convenient, logic and reason are allies to the believer. When not, it is time to hide behind the myriad of gods, spiritual experiences, etc.
Eller maintains an open mind and recommends rigorous questioning and skepticism as a way of avoiding hasty conslusions and assumptions. Much explanation is given, and the reader should come away with a lucid understanding of the importance of the "burden of proof." If we are to accept everything at face value without question, we would resort to considering any claim--regardless of how ludicrous--as serious.
This book can reinforce a healthy mentality, challenging readers to examine the integrity of their thinking. From the role of philosophy and logic to the often misrepresented views of the "founding fathers," Eller covers plenty of ground; to oversimplify his discussion of serveral matters with general comments would be unfair. I can hardly represent the depth of his elaborations. Eller delivers impeccable arguments complete with a combination of honesty, sophistication, experience, and wit rarely seen in a work of this nature.