Friday, July 31, 2009


'A Sceptic's Guide to Atheism' moving up the Amazon rankings

A Sceptic's Guide to Atheism (Paternoster, 2009) has been moving up the sales rankings, and is now in the top twenty books on Agnosticism & Atheism (currently at number 12):

#12 in Books > Mind, Body & Spirit > Other Religious & Spiritual Practices > Agnosticism & Atheism
#29 in Books > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology > Philosophy
#44 in Books > Religion & Spirituality > Religious Studies > Philosophy

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

Sunday, July 26, 2009


Ron Numbers & Paul Nelson in Discussion

Ronald Numbers is an agnostic Historian of Science who writes a lot about young earth creationism
Paul Nelson is a Christian philosopher of science who is both an intelligent design theorist and a ('left wing') young earth creationist. The conversation takes in a discussion of the ground rules of science, the new atheism, theistic evolution and what should be taught in schools.

Sunday, July 19, 2009


Book Worms Review of 'A Sceptic's Guide to Atheism' (Paternoster, 2009)

This from a brief review of A Sceptic's Guide to Atheism @ 'Book Worms - The Online Magazine for Book Worms Everywhere'

"A Sceptic’s Guide to Atheism is a lively and provocative read. Williams offers a robust response to the anti-religious claims of ‘The New Atheists’."

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


Recent Videos on the Historical Reliability of the Gospels

Professor Martin Hengel (Hengel was Professor of New Testament and Early Judaism at Germany's prestigious University of Tübingen from 1972 until, as Professor Emeritus, his death on July 2nd 2009):

Jesus and the Eyewitnesses: The Gospels as Eyewitness Testimony with Professor Richard Bauckham:


On Infinite Division and Codes in DNA

Snippets from the June 2009 edition of BBC Focus magazine...

'In 1924, two Polish mathematicians proved that a solid ball can be cut into pieces, which, when rearranged, form not only the original ball, but an exact copy as well. The proof of this amaizing result, called the Banach-Tarski paradox, assumes it's possible to cut things up indefinitely finely, which isn't really possible.' p. 48.

In other words, the assumption that a concrete object is composed of an actually infinite number of discrete parts leads to the conclusion that you can cut up 1 ball and end up with 2 balls identical to the original ball. Since this is plainly ridiculous, this is a reductio of the assumption of infinite divisibility. This would have application as an counter-example to the actual infinity of the past in discussion of the kalam cosmological argument (in addition to the now standard Hilbert's Hotel example).


'Deinococcus radiodurans, is the most radiation-resistant organism in the world... the fact that its DNA is packed in a tight ring and that the cells contain high levels of manganese seem to be contributing factors... Scientists from the Pacific Northwest national Laboratory in the US have even argued that it could be used to store valuable information in the event of a nuclear catastrophe. To prove it, they encoded the words It's a Small World into its DNA. A hundred bacterial generations later, the words were still there.'

Any post nuclear holocaust scientist who stumbled across this particular organism and discovered that its DNA encoded the sentence It's a Small World in its DNA might be tempted to attribute this fact to intelligent design. But, of course (and note the sarcastic tone here), making such a design inference a) would not be science, b) would explain nothing (because it leaves the origin of the designer unexplained), c) would be unconstitutional in America, d) would mean he was trying to take us back to the dark ages and establish some sort of a theocracy, etc...

Friday, July 10, 2009


'Evangelicals Now' Review of 'A Sceptic's Guide to Atheism'

My book A Sceptic's Guide to Atheism (Paternoster, 2009) - which is now available from and from - is reviewed in this month's edition of Evangelicals Now.

Here's the review in full:

By Peter S. Williams Paternoster. 300 pages. £12.99 ISBN 978-1-84227-617-4

In this book the author aims to apply ‘rigorous critical judgment to contemporary popular defences of … atheism, especially the so called “New Atheism”’.

Many readers of EN will be aware of the bestselling titles by some of the most ardent atheists of the modern era. Richard Dawkins (The God Delusion), Christopher Hitchins (God is not Great), Sam Harris (Letter to a Christian Nation), A.C. Grayling (Against all Gods) and Daniel Dennett (Breaking the Spell) are the most well known evangelists of this atheology. Williams surveys the claims made by these authors such as: ‘Belief in God causes more harm than good’; ‘Religion is only about blind faith and science is the only way to know things’; ‘Science can explain away religion’; ‘There is not enough evidence for the existence of God and the traditional proofs of natural theology are inadequate’.

The strength of Williams’s book comes in his careful and considered analysis of these views and his convincing demonstration of their intellectual inadequacy. His case is strengthened by the judicious use of equally critical comments by atheist and agnostic reviewers, for example, from Jeremy Stangroom (p.95) and Michael Ruse (pp.212-213). This book does use some technical philosophical terms and, in its presentation of some of the material, readers unfamiliar with philosophical arguments and literature may find comprehension difficult. However, for students and teachers in higher education, together with church leaders and others who may have colleagues at work who have been influenced by these polemical atheists, this book is highly commended.

At the end of each chapter there are numerous recommended articles, books, audio-materials and on-line resources to explore this subject further. £12.99 is a bargain price for this strongly recommended book.

- The Rev. Dr. Brian Talbot, minister, Broughty Ferry Baptist Church, Dundee

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