Category Archives: book reviews

Booklist gives Faith Versus Fact a starred review

Well, my editor at Viking just emailed me with the astounding news that Booklist, another pre-review site that vets books for libraries, bookstores and other outlets, has given Faith versus Fact not just a good review, but a rare starred review (i.e., they’re specially recommending it)! And in the “adult religion category”, too! The review is below, and […]

My review of “Evolving Ourselves” in WaPo

A while back I wrote a review of a new book by Juan Enriquez and Steve Gullans: Evolving Ourselves: How Unnatural Selection and Nonrandom Mutation Are Changing Life on Earth. That review has just appeared in the Washington Post (free online at the link). For reasons that escape me, it’s in the “opinion” section, though perhaps the Post doesn’t have a […]

“God’s Bankers”: a new book exposing the corruption of the Vatican bank

I’ve criticized Damon Linker’s atheist-bashing before (see here), but in today’s New York Times he shows that he’s an equal-opportunity basher. In the Sunday Book Review, Linker evaluates, favorably, a new book by investigative reporter Gerald Posner, God’s Bankers: A History of Money and Power at the Vatican. Posner’s book, which came out Feb. 3, is doing […]

Francis Crick was a fricking genius—and Matthew’s new book

I am reading a pre-publication copy of Matthew Cobb’s new book about the genetic code, for he asked me if I could provide a blurb. Now, I never tout a book unless I’ve read the whole thing, but in this case it’s a labor of love. His book is called Life’s Greatest Secret: The Story of the Race […]

A new book on the nonexistence of the soul

I wasn’t aware of this new book, but it would seem to be a good complement to The Albatross. It’s by Julien Musolino, a professor of cognitive psychology and psycholinguistics at Rutgers, and is called The Soul Fallacy: What Science Shows We Gain by Letting Go of Our Soul Beliefs. It was published by Prometheus, came out […]

Kirkus Reviews gives Faith vs. Fact a thumbs-up

Kirkus Reviews is one of the review sites that evaluates books before they’re published, with the aim of giving bookstores and book lovers some guidance about what to buy. They just published a pre-review of the Albatross based on the galley proofs they received, and I’m pleased to see that it’s positive. Kirkus is known for being the […]

Which ideas should be killed?

John Brockman has collected his “angels”: all of the many scientists, philosophers, psychologists, techno-geeks, and mathematicians that he either is an agent for or whom he simply knows, and posed to them a provocative question: “What scientific idea is ready for retirement?” The results, in the form of 1-4 page mini-essays, are compiled in a new […]

Alvin Plantinga savages Philip Kitcher’s new book, but makes dumb philosophical errors

My friend Philip Kitcher (a philosophy professor at Columbia who also teaches courses on James Joyce!) has written a new book, Life After Faith: the Case for Secular Humanism, based on his Terry Lectures at Yale. After dismissing religions as fairy tales (not his language. for he’s a gentleman), Kitcher gets down to his real […]

My review of E. O. Wilson’s “The Social Conquest of Earth”

UPDATE: I forgot to add a good piece by Steve Pinker which is required reading if you’re being seduced by the idea of group selection. “The false allure of group selection” is published on the Edge website. It’s followed by an online “discussion” involving 23 Edgies. __________ E. O. Wilson has a new book out, The […]

My take on NOMA: an old book review

Several readers called my attention to a nice essay by biologist David Barash in today’s New York Times, an essay whose theme is the incompatibility of science and religion. In it, Barash takes out after Steve Gould’s accommodationist stance of Non-overlapping Magisteria, or NOMA, adumbrated in detail in Gould’s 1999 book Rocks of Ages. When that […]

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