Russell Blackford, one of the many superb writers we have here at SIN (over at The Hellfire Club) is going through a prolific writing period, a right purple patch. One of his recent titles just hitting the bookshelves and online retail listings is 50 Great Myths of Atheism.
Here is the book description from the back cover:
Engaging, good-humored, and brilliantly argued, this volume confronts head-on many of the myths, slanders, misconceptions, and half-truths about atheism and its adherents. The crisply articulate authors, both respected philosophers, tackle allegations that range from the claim that atheism is just another religion, to the familiar slur about atrocities having been committed in its name. They counter religionists’ hubristic prediction that atheism has no future, and engage with important themes including the relationship between atheism and ethics, where they demonstrate that belief in a deity is not the only foundation for moral probity.
As well as getting to the heart of one of today’s most hotly contested debates, the authors present a brief history of modern atheism, and explain why the empiricism of modern science makes the intellectual appeal of atheism irresistible. In doing so, they provide a dazzling tutorial on critical thinking, and conclude that atheism is now the only truly reasonable response to ‘the God question’.
And from the Amazon description:
Tackling a host of myths and prejudices commonly leveled at atheism, this captivating volume bursts with sparkling, eloquent arguments on every page. The authors rebut claims that range from atheism being just another religion to the alleged atrocities committed in its name.
An accessible yet scholarly commentary on hot-button issues in the debate over religious belief
Teaches critical thinking skills through detailed, rational argument
Objectively considers each myth on its merits
Includes a history of atheism and its advocates, an appendix detailing atheist organizations, and an extensive bibliography
Explains the differences between atheism and related concepts such as agnosticism and naturalism
Here are some of the endorsements that the book has received:
“It has been my lot to have encountered all but three of the 50 Great Myths about Atheism listed by Blackford and Schüklenk, most of them many times. It is useful to have them all listed in one book – and so readably and authoritatively refuted. The long final chapter treats theological arguments with more respect than I would have bothered with, but the refutation is all the more convincing for that. The whole book builds inexorably to its conclusion: the Reasonableness of Atheism.”
—Richard Dawkins, author of The God Delusion
“With humor, wisdom and sound philosophy, Blackford and Schüklenk dismantle 50 important myths about atheism. In doing so, they have done atheists and religious believers a great service, for putting aside the myths enables us to see where real differences remain.”
—Peter Singer, Princeton University
“Atheists are routinely called ‘aggressive,’ but their strong values include a tolerance rarely shown them by the religious. This book’s calm ripostes defend atheists everywhere against unreasoned assaults from the dwindling faithful. ”
—Polly Toynbee, The Guardian
“Busted! Fifty times over! So say Blackford and Schüklenk — the New Mythbusters—with reason, conviction and style. I enjoyed this book immensely.”
—Graham Oppy, Monash University
“A brilliantly wide-ranging exploration of misconceptions about atheism and their relationship to our ideas about minds, human nature, morality – for pretty much everything we care about.”
—Ophelia Benson, co-author of Does God Hate Women?
“This is a book that’s as enjoyable to read as it is informative. Sharp, clever, and witty, it systematically dismantles misconceptions about atheism. Even God could learn something from it!”
—Ronald A. Lindsay, President, Center for Inquiry
There seems a lot to gain from a book like this. Whether it be to arm yourself against oft cited misconceptions, or whether you are an oft-citer yourself, this looks like a really useful resource. Buy it!