The Atheist's Guide to Reality: Enjoying Life without Illusions by Alex Rosenberg, Paperback | Barnes & Noble
The Atheist's Guide to Reality: Enjoying Life without Illusions

The Atheist's Guide to Reality: Enjoying Life without Illusions

by Alex Rosenberg
     
 

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“A tough test of the intellectual mettle of the armchair atheists and those teetering between faith and committing to life without it.”—Boston Globe
We can’t avoid the persistent questions about the meaning of life—and the nature of reality. But science is the only means of answering them. So declares philosopher Alex Rosenberg in

Overview

“A tough test of the intellectual mettle of the armchair atheists and those teetering between faith and committing to life without it.”—Boston Globe
We can’t avoid the persistent questions about the meaning of life—and the nature of reality. But science is the only means of answering them. So declares philosopher Alex Rosenberg in this bracing, surprisingly sanguine take on a world without god. The science that makes us nonbelievers, he demonstrates, tells us the nature of reality, the purpose of everything, the difference between right and wrong, how the mind works, even the direction of human history.

Editorial Reviews

Philip Kitcher - New York Times Book Review
“...The Atheist’s Guide is the work of a well-informed and imaginative philosopher.”
New York Times Book Review
...The Atheist’s Guide is the work of a well-informed and imaginative philosopher.— Philip Kitcher
Lawrence Krauss A Universe From Nothing
“The Atheist’s Guide to Reality will, like the best scholarship and science, remove you from your comfort zone. And that is the only way to gain new and better perspectives on our place in the cosmos.”
Rebecca Goldstein 36 Arguments for the Existence of God
“For those of us who have pondered what David Hume might have said, were he to have had the benefit of all the scientific knowledge that succeeded his death, Alex Rosenberg’s wonderful new book perfectly satisfies.”
Publishers Weekly
A wide-ranging if somewhat dry demonstration of how science can explain the workings of the universe. Rosenberg, a professor of philosophy at Duke University, distinguishes his project from that of the so-called New Atheists such as Richard Dawkins by not seeking to prove the nonexistence of God. Instead, he is concerned with providing a materialist description of reality: he outlines a Darwinian picture of human existence whose developmental trajectory is determined by the laws of physics, in particular the second law of thermodynamics. Along the way he attempts to construct a vision of morality with the snappy title of “Nice Nihilism,” one based not on God but on natural selection, as well as debunking a number of ideas he takes to be illusions, such as free will or the notion that humans have a consciousness that actually thinks about things. In all this Rosenberg is competent and occasionally compelling throughout, but it is hard to shake the feeling that his descriptions of human behavior and thought are reductive and simplistic. Still, as an attempt to offer a comprehensive, secular vision of how reality functions in the absence of God, it is fascinating and thought-provoking. (Oct.)
E. O. Wilson The Ants
“I enjoyed The Atheist's Guide to Reality. Full of daring moves, it takes the sin of scientism as the ultimate virtue. Alex Rosenberg has sheared the nature of things down to the bedrock, and exposed our common vanity.”
Village Voice
“This eccentric, funny treatise on "scientism,"...takes a perverse delight in "nice nihilism." Rosenberg doesn't believe in free will, morality, or secular humanism, and apparently you shouldn't either, dummy...this dismemberment of mainstream worldviews abounds with clever barbs and dry one-liners.”
Kirkus Reviews

A cocky, relentlessly arrogant treatise on the true nature of all things human.

Can't sleep nights worrying all life is meaningless? If you haven't got the stones to confront the dictates of science, then Rosenberg (Philosophy/Duke Univ.;Philosophy of Science: A Contemporary Introduction, 2011, etc.) recommends Prozac. Really. That's his advice. Undeniably brilliant, the author may very well be correct about the entire human experience, but that's no reason for him to be so gratingly obnoxious about it. Even Richard Dawkins, the atheist's atheist, gets slammed as something of a weepy-eyed weakling here. Rosenberg is aware that his arguments may be difficult to swallow, yet he does nothing to sway the unconverted.Not only is there no old man with a flowing white beard watching from above, there is noyoubehind your reflection inthemirror. The author provides a painstakingly investigated and expanded repackaging ofthe fully automatic model of the universe. The closest Rosenberg comes to softening admittedly troubling material is dubbing it "nice nihilism." Meanwhile, "blind variation" and "environmental filtration," the Darwinian processes of evolution, are invoked so much that their mention starts to feel like an incantation or a religious article of faith.

Opt instead for the profane sleight-of-hand Penn Jillette weaves in God, No! Signs You May Already Be an Atheist and Other Magical Tales(2011),a decidedly less pretentious and deftly comic look at all things ungodly.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780393344110
Publisher:
Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date:
12/10/2012
Pages:
368
Sales rank:
487,709
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.70(d)

What People are saying about this

E. O. Wilson
I enjoyed The Atheist's Guide to Reality. Full of daring moves, it takes the sin of scientism as the ultimate virtue. Alex Rosenberg has sheared the nature of things down to the bedrock, and exposed our common vanity.
Lawrence Krauss
The Atheist’s Guide to Reality will, like the best scholarship and science, remove you from your comfort zone. And that is the only way to gain new and better perspectives on our place in the cosmos.
Rebecca Goldstein
For those of us who have pondered what David Hume might have said, were he to have had the benefit of all the scientific knowledge that succeeded his death, Alex Rosenberg’s wonderful new book perfectly satisfies.

Meet the Author

Alex Rosenberg is the R. Taylor Cole Professor and chair of the Department of Philosophy at Duke University and the codirector of the Duke Center for Philosophy of Biology. He lives in Durham, North Carolina.

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