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The new atheism

summer 2010

From triple helix - summer 2010 - The new atheism [p18]

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10 arguments that don't hold water
Michael Pole
  • Lion Hudson 2009
  • £3.99 Pb 96pp
  • ISBN 978 0 74595 393 0
This excellent little book tackles ten assertions made by Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens and others in recent polemics against God. Each chapter considers a different topic, convincingly demonstrating the limitations of atheist arguments about faith, memes, evidence, types of explanations and the nature of science.

Sometimes, the illustrating stories are not so relevant or useful.The first chapter seems addressed to a 'Straw Man' as Dawkins and others argue that religion is evil because it is the cause of evil actions by believers, not simply because believers do evil things. More frustratingly, arguments are examined too briefly. In a book this length, it's perhaps to be expected. But sometimes unwarranted assumptions are made of the reader's knowledge of the concepts involved, especially concerning the anthropic principle and infinite regress. One is often left itching for more explanation to flesh out important ideas raised so tantalisingly. This would be good if it pushed us to read further, but although the book is thoroughly referenced, there is no recommended 'next level' reading list.

Overall, though, I strongly recommend this as introduction or quick revision. It's reliable, easy to read and understand - great value.

Article written by Giles Cattermole

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