Thursday, July 30, 2009


'Philosophy Now' reviews 'A Sceptic's Guide to Atheism'

Writing in the current edition of Philosophy Now (July/August 2009), Luke Pollard provides a generally positive review to A Sceptic's Guide to Atheism (Paternoster, 2009). Here are the edited highlights:

'Peter S. Williams’ new book A Sceptic’s Guide to Atheism seeks to challenge the popular conception that the New Atheist movement has a monopoly on the rational… In popular culture the philosophical extremists from both religious and anti-religious groups have shouted down the rest. Williams’ book is an attempt to redress this – promoting thinking, and lending logic to the debate. He helps us to see that the question of God can be addressed with care and precision… A Sceptic’s Guide to Atheism acts, first and foremost, as a thorough account of the God debate in contemporary circles… A Sceptic’s Guide to Atheism is a wonderful resource if one’s main aim is to study the history of the New Atheists, or if one wants to save time: the book is a good substitute for reading every popular New Atheist tome – most of their arguments, and best quotes on the God debate are contained within… However, the book’s real attraction is not its history lessons. Instead, it is the logical assessment of the atheist arguments… Evidence and reason is allowed to rule above rhetoric and emotive gut-reactions. Williams doesn’t hammer his point across – you don’t finish reading with the sense that you’ve been intellectually mugged. Instead you feel enriched by a plethora of new information… Williams… interacts with the New Atheist arguments, evaluating them logically, thus giving us a well-thought-out perspective. This is relatively uncommon at the popularist level. And whilst we have plenty of deep books on both sides (which are, unfortunately, rarely the popular ones), it is unusual to have them interacting with the alternative perspective in such a compelling way… Although it is written from a Christian perspective, Williams’ precise, logical style makes it fascinating reading for the rest of us. Thus it is an essential resource, helping the reader to get to grips with every angle of the God debate. As such, it will probably be burned as heretical teaching.'

Read the full review here

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