Over the last decade, "New Atheists" such as Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, and Christopher Hitchens have pushed the issue of atheism to the forefront of public discussion. Yet very few of the ensuing debates and discussions have managed to provide a full and objective treatment of the subject.
Atheism: What Everyone Needs to Know provides a balanced look at the topic, considering atheism historically, philosophically, theologically, sociologically and psychologically. Written in an easily accessible style, the book uses a question and answer format to examine the history of atheism, arguments for and against atheism, the relationship between religion and science, and the issue of the meaning of life-and whether or not one can be a happy and satisfied atheist. Above all, the author stresses that the atheism controversy is not just a matter of the facts, but a matter of burning moral concern, both about the stand one should take on the issues and the consequences of one's commitment.
About the Author
Michael Ruse was born in 1940 in England. Raised in a Quaker family, he went to Bootham School in York and then to the University of Bristol, where he majored in mathematics and philosophy. In 1962 he emigrated to Canada and did graduate work at McMaster University in Ontario. He returned to Bristol to do his doctoral degree in philosophy. He taught at the University of Guelph from 1965 to 2000, and then to avoid compulsory retirement moved south to Florida State University. He is the author or editor of over fifty books, the founding editor of Biology and Philosophy, the recipient of four honorary degrees, a Guggenheim Fellow, a Gifford Lecturer, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. His academic interests are in the history and philosophy of the biological sciences and he is an expert on the work and influence of Charles Darwin. In recent years, his attention has been turned increasingly towards the relationships between science and religion. He is not a believer, but thinks that the two can exist together harmoniously.
Table of Contents
Chapter One: From the Greeks to the Enlightenment
Chapter Two: From the Enlightenment to the Present
Chapter Three: Statistics
Chapter Four: God and Humans
Chapter Five: Belief
Chapter Six: The Matter of Science
Chapter Seven: Questions for the Christian
Chapter Eight: Are there Good Reasons to Believe?
Chapter Nine: Alternative Religions
Chapter Ten: Naturalistic Explanations
Chapter Eleven: Is Religion Evil?
Chapter Twelve: The Meaningful Life