Customer Review

12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Short - and sharp, 4 Feb 2007
This review is from: Atheism: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) (Paperback)
In "Atheism: A Very Short Introduction" Julian Baggini has done his job with impressive efficiency. There is neat and clear coverage of the critical topics: morality and purpose with and without God, the nature of knowledge, and the relationship of atheism and science, amongst others. More technical philosophical concepts (defeasibility, consequentialism) aren't avoided but are brought in with a minimum of fuss and crisp explanation.

While the book is principally aiming to describe and explain some venerable arguments, Baggini also introduces his own perspective. There is a heartening emphasis throughout on the positive nature of atheism; on living a reflective life based on best evidence, rationality, and an ethics rooted in human realities. Some excellent material argues why agnosticism is unsatisfactory. This centres on the notion of abduction, or "argument to the best explanation": there are no knock-down reasons for or against belief in God; the case against is not absolute, but it is absolutely overwhelming for anyone whose standards are evidence and rational argument.

This lack of an absolute case against the existence of God leads Baggini to reject what he terms militant atheism - that is an active hostility to even moderate religion. He thinks religion is false and has the potential, at least, for harm, but takes the principled stance that in the absence of absolute evidence, an aggressive assertion of the truth of atheism is dogmatic, and contrary to the spirit of open enquiry. This is impressive, right and can make some of his text a bit timid. However, it is a well-made definition of a recognisable position, especially as it is contrasted with "fundamentalist atheism", the latter being restricted to violence against the religious. This is a useful separation given the increasingly frequent rhetorical move to call any atheism asserting its better claim to truth "fundamentalist".
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No

Be the first person to comment on this review.

[Add comment]
Post a comment
To insert a product link use the format: [[ASIN:ASIN product-title]] (What's this?)
Amazon will display this name with all your submissions, including reviews and discussion posts. (Learn more)
Name:
Badge:
This badge will be assigned to you and will appear along with your name.
There was an error. Please try again.
Please see the full guidelines ">here.

Official Comment

As a representative of this product you can post one Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
The following name and badge will be shown with this comment:
 (edit name)
After clicking on the Post button you will be asked to create your public name, which will be shown with all your contributions.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.  Learn more
Otherwise, you can still post a regular comment on this review.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
 
System timed out

We were unable to verify whether you represent the product. Please try again later, or retry now. Otherwise you can post a regular comment.

Since you previously posted an Official Comment, this comment will appear in the comment section below. You also have the option to edit your Official Comment.   Learn more
The maximum number of Official Comments have been posted. This comment will appear in the comment section below.   Learn more
Prompts for sign-in
 


Review Details

Item

Reviewer


Top Reviewer Ranking: 4,124,800