The 'New' Atheism: 10 Arguments That Don't Hold Water? Paperback – 23 Oct 2009
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"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.
Top Customer Reviews
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."
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.
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.
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.
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!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
More of an emotional religious rant than a serious appraisal of atheism. I expected a more rigorous analysis from an author who claims that Atheism is defective.Published on 22 May 2014 by Dr. Keith W. Darlington
Although brief, as others have commented too, Poole does outline some good arguments against an aggressive atheist ideology that uses science as a political tool to use against... Read morePublished on 2 Nov. 2013 by Mr. Daren Brown
I feel much, much worse off for having read any part of this book.
Please never, ever write on any topic again, it's insulting to the paper it's printed on to be wasted... Read more
In this short volume Michael Poole examines whether ten basic assertions by the "New Atheists" (Dawkins, Hitchens and Dennett) are individually and collectively defective. Read morePublished on 1 Sept. 2011 by Neutral
This book is arrant nonsense.
The author does not achieve what he says he sets out to do, and indeed seems confused about his objectives during the course of the book. Read more
A careful rebuttal of all the arguments put forward by loud-mouth Richard Dawkins and his atheist friends. Let us hope it is as widely read as their violent diatribes.Published on 3 Aug. 2011 by Peter I. Robbins
Let's face it, the arguments of the New Atheists are very poor, and it only needs a short book to refute them. Read morePublished on 11 Jan. 2011 by rossuk
I had never heard of Michael Poole when I read this book. As a "Visiting Research Fellow in Science and Religion at King's College" I guessed he would have something insightful to... Read morePublished on 21 Nov. 2010 by Tsuchan