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

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 ...

See more details below
Paperback
$10.30
BN.com price
(Save 39%)$16.95 List Price

Pick Up In Store

Reserve and pick up in 60 minutes at your local store

Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (39) from $5.73   
  • New (17) from $9.00   
  • Used (22) from $5.73   
The Atheist's Guide to Reality: Enjoying Life without Illusions

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK
  • NOOK HD/HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$10.49
BN.com price
(Save 38%)$16.95 List Price

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.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Philip Kitcher - New York Times Book Review
“...The Atheist’s Guide is the work of a well-informed and imaginative philosopher.”
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.”
New York Times Book Review
...The Atheist’s Guide is the work of a well-informed and imaginative philosopher.— Philip Kitcher
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.

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393344110
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 12/10/2012
  • Pages: 368
  • Sales rank: 577,144
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.70 (d)

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.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Preface vii

Chapter 1 Answering Life's Persistent Questions: Do You Want Stories or Reality? 1

Chapter 2 The Nature of Reality: The Physical Facts Fix All the Facts 20

Chapter 3 How Physics Fakes Design 45

Chapter 4 IKEA Didn't Make Natural History: Good Design Is Rare, Expensive, and Accidental 71

Chapter 5 Morality: The Bad News 94

Chapter 6 The Good News: Nice Nihilism 115

Chapter 7 Never Let Your Conscious Be Your Guide 146

Chapter 8 The Brain Does Everything without Thinking about Anything at All 164

Chapter 9 Farewell to the Purpose-Driven Life 194

Chapter 10 You've Got to Stop Taking Yourself So Seriously 220

Chapter 11 History Debunked 242

Chapter 12 LIVING with Scientism: Ethics, Politics, the Humanities, and Prozac as Needed 275

The Atheist's Guide to Reality: The Backstory 316

Index 333

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 7, 2011

    funny, deep, and wise

    This book really made me comfortable with atheism. It is also simply the easiest to read real science book I have ever picked up and really learned something from. It's funny too.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 27, 2012

    I Also Recommend:

    I loved it

    when I was first questioning my religion, thinking about becoming an atheist, my friend showed me this book. I am now confidant and proud to say I am an atheist because of the scientific facts to back up our beliefs. You don't have to have read multiple philosophy books to understand it, considering I read it in middle school. Easy and good scientific read that will make you better understand Atheism.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 5, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 12, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)