Atheism Explained: From Folly to Philosophy

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Open Court Publishing, 2008 - Religion - 318 pages
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Atheism Explained explores the claims made both for and against the existence of God. On the pro side: that the wonders of the world can only be explained by an intelligent creator; that the universe had to start somewhere; telepathy, out-of-body experiences, and other paranormal phenomena demonstrate the existence of a spirit world; and that those who experience God directly provide evidence as real as any physical finding. After disputing these arguments through calm, careful criticism, author David RamsaySteele presents the reasons why God cannot exist: monstrous, appalling evils; the impossibility of omniscience; and the senseless concept that God is a thinking mind without a brain. He also explores controversial topics such as Intelligent Design, the power of prayer, religion without God, and whether a belief in God makes people happier and healthier. Steele’s rational, easy-to-understand prose helps readers form their own conclusions about this eternally thorny topic.
 

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Contents

Gods Ten Qualities
The God of Classical Theism and Other Gods
Alternatives to Classical Theism
Religions Without God
God and Immortality
Can You Prove It?
Three Types of Unbelief
Darwinism and Atheism
Theres No Reason to Suppose theBibleIs Infallible
Did God Dictate theBibleWord for Word?
Puzzles about Inerrantism
There Are No Independent Sources for the Story of Jesus
We Dont Know Who Wrote the Gospels
Attempts to Harmonize the Gospels with History
Gospel Events which Never Happened
A More Skeptical View

What if Paley Were Right?
Young Earth Creationism
The Gap and DayAge Theories
Noahs Flood
Darwins Theory of Natural Selection
There Hasnt Been Sufficient Time
We Dont See Evolution Occurring Today
Dogs Dont Turn into Cats
New Forms Would Be Swamped
Apes Are Still Here
There Are Gaps in the Fossil Record
Irreducible Complexity Cannot Arise by Gradual Stages
Irreducible Complexity Is Not Paleys Argument
Getting Here from There
The Designers Limitations
Did God Create through Evolution?
Where Did the First Life Come From?
Is Life Just Too Improbable?
The Anthropic Coincidences
We Dont Know that Our Universe Is Improbable
The Improbable Conditions May Not Be Independent
The Argument Assumes Existing Laws
There May Be Natural Selection of Universes
Would God Choose to Create Our Universe?
The First Cause Argument
The Kalam Argument
Beginning Without a Cause
The Argument from Contingency
The Ultimate Explanation of What There Is
Does Physics Change the Cosmological Argument?
Why Is There Anything Instead of Nothing at All?
From Rest to Nothingness
A Flaw in the Ontological Argument
Could God Be the Greatest Conceivable Thing?
Is the Greatest Conceivable Thing Conceivable?
God Containing an Infinite Collection of Items
The Divine Command Theory
What Are Gods Commands?
Is Morality Objective?
Morality Is a Natural Feature of Humans
The Dependence of Mind on Brain Doesnt Imply Physiological Determinism
An Argument from Reason
Is Religious Experience a Form of Perception?
Delusional Interpretations of Experiences
The Lesson of Nunez
Arguments from Faith
Blaises Bad Bet
Is Belief in God SelfEvident?
The Evidence for Jesus and Socrates
What If the Gospels Were Roughly Accurate?
Popular and Feeble Arguments from the New Testament Evidence
Biblical Prophecy Is Always Getting Left Behind
God or Muhammad?
TheQuranand Science
The Origin of theQuran
Silliness in theQuran
Is the Standard Story True?
Why Does God Pretend Not to Exist?
The Moral Freedom Defense
The Appeal to Unintelligibility
Evil Is an Illusion
Natural Evils
Evil Outcomes from NonEvil Decisions
Free Will and a Guarantee of Goodness
Different Characters
Different Circumstances
Persuasive Intervention by God
Coercive Intervention by God
Collectivizing Humans
Are Atheists Sissies?
The Biology of Evil
The Free Will Defense Contradicts Religious Orthodoxy
Giving Up Classical Theism
What Gods Qualities Imply
The God of Abraham Isaac and Jacob
Is God Outside Time?
Can Theists Give Up God as a Person?
Things God Cant Do
God Must Be Subject to Natural Law
Could God Limit Himself?
Gods Suicide or Abdication
Things God Cant Know
Gods Knowledge of the Future
NearDeath Experiences
What Are Spirits Like?
Gods Brainless Mind
A Parable of Reflections
Can Science Explain Everything?
Is There a God Gene?
Disbelief in God Has Always Been Endemic
Historical Traces of Grassroots Skepticism
Why Does Classical Theism Rule the World?
Does Belief in God Make Life Better?
Can God Improve Your Health?
Beyond Theism and Atheism
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