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The 'New' Atheism: 10 Arguments That Don't Hold Water? Paperback – 23 Oct 2009

2.7 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Lion Books (23 Oct. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 074595393X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0745953939
  • Product Dimensions: 10.8 x 1 x 17.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 962,378 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"Helpful and accessible . . . highly recommended." --Alister McGrath, author, "In the Beginning"

About the Author

Michael Poole is Visiting Research Fellow in Science and Religion at King's College, London. For Lion, he has also written The User's Guide to Science and Belief.

Customer Reviews

2.7 out of 5 stars
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To his credit, Michael Poole makes his points clearly and with minimal pre-amble. Unfortunately, brevity leaves his arguments with nowhere to hide.

Chapter 1 is sub-titled "Down with sex!" Gosh, what sort of challenging journey is Mr Poole going to take us on? Umm .. Dawkins, Hitchens and Dennett write that religious people sometimes do wicked things. Hitler, of course, was an atheist. And as for the promised sex, the single paragraph on the subject concludes:

"Both religion and sex involve powerful feelings and, where these are abused, the results can be outstandingly vile. But, equally well, they can be outstandingly good."

Outstanding, indeed.

My favourite moment comes in Chapter 3. There's a passionate denial that Christians indoctrinate their children. To cement this concept in the reader's mind, Mr Poole tells the story of a family who mislay some shopping. The 9 year old son is encouraged to seek guidance by praying in the middle of the street. Eventually they find the missing groceries in one of the shops they had visited. Obviously, this proves both that God exists and that young children are not encouraged to believe crazy things by their religious parents.

It gets interesting later when the author promises 7 "pieces of cumulative evidence" to show God's existence. Two of these caught my eye: "Revelation of things that we could not otherwise know" and "The evidential value of religious experience, including answered prayer". Yes!! Show me this and I'll convert. Sadly .. predictably .. nothing more is said on the subject. What Mr Poole counts as "cumulative evidence" is just empty rhetoric.

I wanted a robust critique which challenged my own beliefs and prejudices. But I guess you get what you pay for. This is a cheap thin volume, and so are its contents.
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If your looking for a reasonable argument against Atheism this is not it. A hero against the "Evil Doctor an Friends" they are not. Even their explanation of what an argument is, is wrong. The chapter, "Explaining Explaining" has no coherence or logic, it is the biggest hole in the bucket, the top. Its a shame, I really wanted to know what these Ten Arguments were, but am seriously disappointed. The water in their bucket is mainly hot air, Mr Poole joust's with no pole.
If, however, you want an example of how 'Not' to challenge Atheism, then you should definitely read this book. Anyone wishing to see where not to step in this debate may profit from the weakness of this books ten gusts of wind against Atheism. Perhaps the author was trying too hard, or being too impatient to form a serious argument that "Holds Water". I realize it must be frustrating to battle against an overwhelming amount of scientific literature in order to defend God (or encourage 'Pro-Anti-Atheism'), but, I am really looking for a respectable challenge to it. I did not find it here. Perhaps a second attempt from this author would provide a much clearer Anti-Atheist argument. Mud slinging gets us nowhere.
An expert on memes Mr Poole unfortunately is not. He shoots himself in the foot many times. "No God" Is not a meme mr Poole, Anti-Atheism Is a meme.
In Summary and replying in metaphor, this book is cheap and thin, as thin as the anti-argument it provides. Cheap shots that do not break the skin even though a few sound as if they could be appropriately aimed at center(an understanding of the sciences involved proves these to be off target). A person fishing for answers on this debate (reading this book) will catch a bucket full of red herrings with holes plugged with mud. Sorry Mr Poole, try again please.
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Dawkins, Hitchin and latterly Stephen Hawking have prompted religious academics everywhere to put pen to paper to try to pick holes in their arguments and by inference, substantiate their beliefs. The size of many of these resulting books says much about the strength of their responses. This one is as brief as any and completely fails to make any substantial challenge. I would pick out two typical examples of glaring weaknesses. In considering 'Evidence against God', Poole actually states the definitive argument against God. 'The problem of reconciling pain and suffering with a loving God has often been cited as counter-evidence for God'. Very true. The genocide in earthquakes and tsunamis throw the notion of a loving, creator God clear out of the window. Presumably because he realises this, Poole goes off to discuss something else - the resurrection! Harder to prove the resurrection didn't occur than that earthquakes and tsunamis didn't occur!

The second seems trivial but goes to the heart of the religiosity which so insenses Dawkins et al. The little boy whose prayer to find the family shopping bag left at the supermarket is answered. So we are to believe that an all-powerful, loving God answers the boy's trivial prayer but didn't raise a finger to help the 250,000 innocent men women and helpless children who perished in the most horrific way in the Asian tsunami? Such stories, beloved of many Christians, merely underline the nonsense that forms the foundation of Christian belief.
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I'd urge you not to waste your money on this book.

It has nothing new or interesting to say and falls way short of doing what it sets out to achieve.

The quality of the argument goes like this; Indoctrination is not as dangerous as Dawkins says because 'anyone who will not receive the kingdom of god like a little child will never enter it' (Mark 10:15 and Luke 18:17)

I could go on page by page, but life is too short!
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