Category Archives: book reviews

“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 […]

A positive review of Karen Armstrong’s book: frantic osculation by Ferdinand Mount

A negative review in the Telegraph of Karen Armstrong’s new book—Fields of Blood: Religion and the History of Violence—has been balanced by a very positive review in the Spectator, “Religion does not poison everything—everything poisons religion.” The reviewer is Ferdinand Mount—Baronet Mount to you—who was editor of the Times Literary Supplement for 11 years. As you know if […]

Keeping the faith: an apologist argues that religion isn’t responsible for anything bad

Guess who said this? In the past, many of the most influential Jewish, Christian and Muslim thinkers understood that what we call “God” is merely a symbol that points beyond itself to an indescribable transcendence, whose existence cannot be proved but is only intuited by means of spiritual exercises and a compassionate lifestyle that enable […]


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