50 Voices of Disbelief out today

Today’s the day, at least in the US, when 50 Voices of Disbelief: Why We Are Atheists, edited by my mate Russell Blackford and Udo Schüklenk, goes on sale in the US. (The Amazon link is here.)

It’s a very good book, and I recommend it for all of us godless ones — or those who are considering abjuring the divine.  I even contributed a cover blurb, “There are many ways to lose one’s faith, but all are enlightening, for a voice of disbelief is a voice of reason.  Blackford and Schükklenk have collected 50 stories that not only present the many arguments for atheism but also show that, contrary to popular belief, atheists are just as moral and humane — if not more so –than the faithful.”

The blurb highlights one of the book’s great virtues: it’s far more than just a collection of stories about “How I came to give up God.” Many of the writers describe the philosophical and empirical considerations that led them to atheism. Indeed, the book can be considered a kind of philosophical handbook for atheists.  And here are some of the people who contributed: Blackford and Schüklenk themselves, Ophelia Benson, Michael Shermer, James Randi, Sean Carroll (the physics one), Victor Stenger, Anthony Grayling, Susan Blackmore, Peter Singer and Marc Hauser (one chapter), and Laura Purdy.  There is a lot of meat here, so buy the book!

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22 Comments

  1. Reginald Selkirk
    Posted October 26, 2009 at 6:50 am | Permalink

    There are many ways to lose one’s faith, but all are enlightening, for a voice of disbelief is a voice of reason…

    Not always. Some people lose their faith in God for irrational reasons. Some atheists I have met do not particularly qualify as reasonable.

    • Posted October 26, 2009 at 7:32 am | Permalink

      But it works for that particular incident. Voice expediency. Prototype Maher, for example.

    • KP
      Posted October 26, 2009 at 10:17 am | Permalink

      Also, on the “voice of disbelief is the voice of reason”: it doesn’t necessarily apply to Holocaust-deniers or climate change “sceptics.” On the latter, check this guy out:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christopher_Monckton,_3rd_Viscount_Monckton_of_Brenchley

      He has gone to great lengths to provide what he thinks is a “reasoned” dismantling of climate science. His arguments have startling parallels to the more clever creationist constructs. However, like the most elaborate creationist canards, data cherry picking, quote mining, and misrepresentation are stock-in-trade. It takes a professional physicist to disentangle all of the “reasoning.”

    • miohippus
      Posted October 26, 2009 at 11:06 am | Permalink

      I couldn’t agree more! I know a guy who swears he’s an atheist, and wrote a book about alien visitors here. A solid believer in UFO’s being visitors form other planets!

      • Cayden
        Posted October 29, 2009 at 9:49 am | Permalink

        An atheist can still believe in aliens. Nothing wrong there.

      • newenglandbob
        Posted October 29, 2009 at 11:26 am | Permalink

        Plenty wrong there Cayden. Since there is no evidence, it just becomes another belief in the supernatural.

  2. Jess Harpur
    Posted October 26, 2009 at 7:27 am | Permalink

    Jerry, it gives me the heebie-jeebies whenever I see the phrase “lose one’s faith”. It has such a negative feel to it. I lose my car keys and am desperate to find them. I lose my way and need help to find my destination. But I don’t lose my faith. I work hard at expunging it from my being, at removing its claws from my mind. Perhaps I’m just over pedantic but “lose one’s faith” seems to imply one is now trying to find it again or at least regrets its loss.

    • Posted October 26, 2009 at 7:52 am | Permalink

      Rather than “losing” my faith, I like to think of replacing it with reason and a respect for evidence.

      I don’t mourn my loss of belief in Santa Claus, either — though I do miss the presents a bit.

    • Your Name's Not Bruce?
      Posted October 26, 2009 at 10:31 am | Permalink

      I wish that the graphic artists who design the covers for such books would use something other than a snuffed (or about to be snuffed) candle for their imagery. The end of faith can (and should be) the dawn of reason, which offers much more light than theistic religion ever could or will. Sure; call me an arrogant atheist. But is it arrogance if you’re right?

    • newenglandbob
      Posted October 26, 2009 at 11:31 am | Permalink

      Its not the loss of faith its the gain of reason and a takeover for running one’s own life.

    • ashling
      Posted November 3, 2009 at 3:17 am | Permalink

      I dunno, some things are fun to lose. Virginity, for example 😉

  3. Posted October 26, 2009 at 7:27 am | Permalink

    Yes, but is is portable?

    • Derek Morr
      Posted October 26, 2009 at 7:50 am | Permalink

      Unfortunately, there’s no Kindle version yet. That impacts portability.

  4. Posted October 26, 2009 at 8:22 am | Permalink

    Is the meat barbecued?

  5. Posted October 26, 2009 at 9:18 am | Permalink

    Any “I hate god” stories out there to feed to the god-believers?

    Sometimes I worry about late giving up god stories, because you really do wonder how meaningful it is to go droning through life for decades, only to suffer a crisis of faith at some point.

    I guess I wouldn’t have much of story, hit my teens and decided I need reasons for any belief. It didn’t hurt that religion never seemed to do what it was supposed to do.

    Glen Davidson
    http://tinyurl.com/mxaa3p

  6. Matt Penfold
    Posted October 26, 2009 at 9:54 am | Permalink

    I ordered the book here in the UK last week, but owing to a series of postal strikes I have no idea when it might arrive.

    I have two of Ophelia’s book’s stuck somewhere within the Royal Mail as well.

    I have sympathy with the postal workers who are striking, but sometimes it is dammed frustrating.

  7. Screechy Monkey
    Posted October 26, 2009 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

    Well, maybe I’ll get the book, but thanks to Lisa Miller’s compelling argument, I’m only going to read the non-white-male entries.

  8. Posted October 26, 2009 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

    I have put a review of 50 Voices of Disbelief: Why We Are Atheists at Why We Are Atheists

    It’s a great book – varied essays but some of them are very interesting and thoughtful

  9. Posted October 29, 2009 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

    Got it in the mail yesterday ;D

    Fits right in after finishing Guy P. Harrison’s book 50 Reasons People Give for Believing in a God, hehe…

    I will make a series out of 50 Voices of Disbelief in my blog, just like I did with Harrison’s book (sorry, only in Norwegian).

    I think I’ll start reading the book tonight! ;D

  10. El Schwalmo
    Posted October 30, 2009 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    Does someone remember Ashton, John F.

    In Six Days: Why 50 scientists choose to believe in Creation

    50 seems to be a magic number ;->

  11. Kevin
    Posted November 8, 2009 at 2:46 am | Permalink

    If I put my trash out on wednesday and some guys in a truck carry it away do I say that I have lost my garbage?

    • Jess Harpur
      Posted November 8, 2009 at 3:44 am | Permalink

      It’s really no laughing matter but your comment made the point and made me laugh too. Thanks Kevin!


2 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. […] a new book called “50 Voices of Disbelief” is out. Though one of my favorite authors and scientists recommends this book, this isn’t the kind of thing that interests me. I really don’t have much patience with […]

  2. […] to WEIT readers, has a piece in the Guardian,  and Russell Blackford and Udo Schuklenk, editors of 50 Voices of Disbelief, with Russell also being well known to WEIT readers, have a piece in the Guardian as well. (Ophelia […]

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