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Posted by on Jan 23, 2013 in Uncategorized | 17 comments

The Atheist’s Guide to Reality

Just plugging Alex Rosenberg’s brave, unabashedly scientistic book, The Atheist’s Guide to Reality.  It’s a refreshing read by a serious philosopher for real atheists.  Many of us spend a lot of time rebutting religious apologists, as if we’re still fighting the war.  This book accepts that we have already won, then joyously sums up what the new regime looks like, what he calls ‘nice nihilism’:


Is there a God?

What is the nature of reality?
What physics says it is.

What is the purpose of the universe?
There is none.

What is the meaning of life?

Why am I here?
Just dumb luck.

Does prayer work?
Of course not.

Is there a soul? Is it immortal?
Are you kidding?

Is there free will?
Not a chance!

What happens when we die?
Everything pretty much goes on as before, except us.

What is the difference between right and wrong, good and bad?
There is no moral difference between them.

Why should I be moral?
Because it makes you feel better than being immoral.

Is abortion, euthanasia, suicide, paying taxes, foreign aid, or anything else you don’t like forbidden, permissible, or sometimes obligatory?
Anything goes.

What is love, and how can I find it?
Love is the solution to a strategic interaction problem. Don’t look for it; it will find you when you need it.

Does history have any meaning or purpose?
It’s full of sound and fury, but signifies nothing.

Does the human past have any lessons for our future?
Fewer and fewer, if it ever had any to begin with.


Rosenberg has taken some flak for this book.  Here’s the best critical review I’ve found, by Philip Kitcher: