THIS BLOG IS NOW IN STASIS.


PLEASE VISIT MY NEW WEBSITES:


My other projects include:


TrueFreethinker.com


My side projects are:


Worldview and Science Examiner


Fitness Trends Examiner (wherein I review individual exercises and workout routines, diet and nutrition, supplements and healthy snacks)


My YouTube channel

8/21/08

Upcoming Books of Interest

I am a book aficionado. I have a large collection that encircles the room vaguely ordered by topic and author, numerically proportioned by my interest in the topic (who would have guessed?). Along with my "real" job, I work part-time at a bookstore. While not as romantic as it sounds, I do get an inside track to many forthcoming books of relative importance to the topics kicked around here that I would not have otherwise come into contact with before publication. That being said, I'm providing a small list of titles that y'all want to keep a watchful eye on. I may make this a reoccurring entry depending on my vigilance and your interest. So here we go...

To read/Or not to read


Future of Atheism: Alister McGrath and Daniel Dennett in Dialogue (10/1/08)

Love 'em or hate 'em, McGrath and Dennett are two of the most gentlemanly participants in the recent flurry of religious debate. Dennett is an established philosopher, having added significant ideas to philosophy of mind, language and evolution.

McGrath is beginning to make a name for himself as well. He has debated Hitchens and Dawkins, and outside of apologetics has blazed a trail through some sticky areas in theology.

Now, this book is a transcript of a debate that has already taken place, but for the 99.99% of us who aren't familiar with this meeting ought to find this book a great addition to their library.


The Last Superstition: A Refutation of the New Atheism (10/13/08)
by Edward Feser

This book is tentatively making me curious. I had read his stuff on the great libertarian F.A. Hayek way before I knew about this book. I enjoy his writing style, but this appears to be his initiatory foray into the world of atheism. We can be a little skeptical of him until we get our hands on it, but I will remind you that the next great entry in this debate is always around the corner. I am reminded of how little most Americans knew of Christopher Hitchens before that little screed of his hit the bookshelves, and Feser seems witty, enthusiastic and greatest of all, philosophically trained. The little blurb by Beckwith is annoyingly tantalizing--

"There have been largely two types of critics of the `New Atheism.' One type grants the empiricism of the atheists and then tries to show that belief in God is consistent with it. This approach gives away the store by removing God from the realm of the knowable. The second also grants the atheists' empiricism, but argues that it leads to the detection of design in the universe and thus the existence of God. This approach gives away the store as well, by limiting knowledge to the empirically detectable. Professor Feser offers us a third approach, one that is far more effective in defeating the New Atheism. He provides persuasive arguments that show that God is knowable and that what is knowable is larger than the set of that which is empirically detectable. This is a tour de force that should be in the library of every thinking citizen, believer or unbeliever."

Society without God (10/1/08)
by Phil Zuckerman

Normally these kinds of books slide under my nose without the least bit of a whiff from me. A few things stick out, however. It is published by NYU Press which tends to put out absolutely fantastic work. I heard from an insider that their peer-review is devastating, so we ought to at least see unreligion dressed up in a scholarly uniform. Next, this appears to be the only popular level book that delves into the "other" atheistic countries. We all hear loads about theocracies in Iran and America, and atheists in China and Russia, but what of the Danes?

This book will end up being an apology for atheistic socialism/liberalism which I guarantee will oversimplify matters economic and social, but look for this to be a sleeper in the atheists repertoire.

The Character of Consciousness (2008?)
by David Chalmers

Please, David, give us a release date.
I'll stop calling, I promise.

....

Ok, for those of you not in the know, Chalmers is the fellow that changed the way we talk about consciousness. He baptized the "Hard Problem of Consciousness", wrote a wildly successful book...and then didn't write anything for twelve years. He gave us life-changing zingers like:

The process of natural selection cannot distinguish between me and my zombie twin.

Anyway, I really have no idea what this book is going to be about, but his last book gave many of us the motivation to delve into consciousness studies and say maybe consciousness WAS designed.

Even so, David Chalmers, come back soon.

The Blackwell Companion to Natural Theology (4/1/2009)
Ed. by Craig and Moreland

Here it is, the golden grail. This promises to be the ultimate resource of theistic arguments in one volume. The roster is an all-star team of young, emerging scientific and philosophical stars. Let me plug two of the essays that will come in the package- the Argument from Reason by Vic Reppert and the Leibnizian Cosmological Argument by Alexander Pruss. These are thought-provoking arguments that have flown under the radar is standard volumes on philosophy of religion.

Craig really has found the best of the best here. I can't think of better defenders of any of these arguments save the Ontological Argument. It would've been nice to see Plantinga writing on it, but it seems that he is getting to old for this kind of thing and he has found a spiritied disciple. I trust Craig's judgment. Listen to Craig's description of the book here, and add that thing to your wish list (200$ price tag notwithstanding).

27 comments:

  1. Are you guys going to take a whack at Loftus's new book on Why He Is An Atheist? Of course, its not really why he is but its his spin on it.

    Just got it today...it is obviously just a compedium of the latest edition of the same with additions from his blog.

    Amusingly for an author, he takes time to personally attack critics of his book on amazon, actually reponding to individual comments.

    Something to see.

    But seriously, a first rate analysis is in order.

    ReplyDelete
  2. McGrath and Dennett might be interesting. Not that I personally think very highly of MacGrath, but as far as personality goes he is probably well matched with Dennett the strident Santa Claus.

    The cover of Zuckerman looks like August Strindberg taking a stroll in the Arctic...might be interesting—and I'm sure provocative. Thanks for bringing to attention!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Can you get us all discounts?

    ReplyDelete
  4. What, 200$ dollars for a book doesn't sound like fun?

    In all honesty, Amazon is usually cheaper than my discount (which is about 40 percent off) as long as one waits for while.

    I charge atheists more than I do fellow Christians.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hmmmm, $200 should get me 40 books, the way I buy them... used. But I can't ever sell them again because they're marked-up to the hilt. No one would ever want a book previously owned by me.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Chalmers book "The Conscious Mind" was pretty, (*warning*, gross understatement to follow) awesome. I can only imagine how much this new book will stir things up. Good tip Josh!

    However as much as I've enjoyed his work, I've personally found his interactions with critics the likes of Searle, no less, to be refreshing and highly enlightening in themselves. If you've ever made a habit of frequently locking horns with atheist (a la Stan), then I think you could probably appreciate the similarities... Those who do could take his correspondences to be somewhat comforting...

    Well at least I have anyhow...

    Anyways, did someone say something about a discount?

    ReplyDelete
  7. I'd take a look at Loftus's new book but what's the point? Loftus is nothing but a God-hating liar. I think one would get more theologigal worth from a Dr Seuss book. John has been accused of child molestation, has been to jail several times on sexual related charges and is cheating on his wife at this moment. Why would I want to even sully my hands with the thing. Word on the street is that he became an Atheist because he couldn't reconcile his homosexual lifestyle with Gods word so he just made up some stupid reasons for leaving Christianity. Plus the hat is really old. It's a real shame Bill Craig wasted even one minute trying to save this clowns soul.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Don't Bother
    I was looking forward to this book after reading about it on an atheist web site. Unfortunately, it was a big let down. The material in the book is far from new. There are a few "new" biblical passages that prove the Bible is nonsense, but little else is new here. I would recommend Biblical Nonsense by Jason Long if your looking for a concise exposition of Christianity. If you have never read any of these types of books then you will most likely be impressed with this one. But if you have even read one of the latest atheist apologists this one will seem like a rehash of those works. It basically repeats the same arguments that have been better crafted by superior writers.

    Here's a review of Loftus's book on Amazon, you've got to listen to Loftus's whining about it. lets face it he is trash.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I think everyone should send a stern but courteous letter to Chalmers inquiring of the books release date.

    The first to get the date wins a day on the town with Frank Walton.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Josh, please email us.
    aDios,
    Mariano

    ReplyDelete
  11. Daddy Cool:

    Those are inappropriate comments. You cannot smear someone like that with something like child molestation (that's slander).

    I've interacted with him many times on Theologyweb, and I would not be inclined to purchase his books. But there is no need for that kind of talk.

    Mariano:

    I have no idea who "us" is or where to find their email addy.

    :)

    ReplyDelete
  12. In general all atheist and theology books after... Ignersol end to be a simple rehash. Come to think of it, I think most of the origional arguments get ironed out during the Enlightenment, with design being crushed in 1859.

    As for reading... I personally have stopped for now.It might be a dry spell, or the act that I have been exposed to enough word building and other knowledge to find many fictional worlds pointless.
    "sigh"

    ReplyDelete
  13. Josh,
    I definitely hope you that you give us more posts in the future about upcoming books of interest. Although to be honest, there is a part of me that wishes that you won't, namely the part of me that wants to save money. I'm a student who is trying keep his spending to a minimum, and you're not helping!

    If I can make a suggestion, I wouldn't mind seeing some book reviews about some books that the contributors have already read. It would be interesting to see an in-depth review of books from guys like Dennett and Harris to Mackie and Martin. It would also be great to see some recommendations for your favorite books defending theism!

    The McGrath/Dennett book looks good. I thought Dawkins' God by McGrath was quite well done. However, I don't think McGrath is the best debater in the world (from what I've seen anyway).

    And the Blackwell book looks fantastic! I'd be tempted to get it for Pruss's contribution alone, I've heard some impressive things about his book, I believe it's called The Principle of Sufficient Reason, though I'm not sure. Josh, do you by chance know the actual argument (premises and conclusion) of the Leibnizian Cosmological Argument Pruss will be defending? The only Cosmological argument I'm familiar with is the Kalam.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Andrew: If I come across his book somewhere on the cheap I may, but I've spent enough time with him on Theologyweb that I have a hard time getting excited about his book. This coming from the guy who reviewed his own book on Amazon and set up a blog, pretended to be anonymous and supported himself in debate with it.

    Samuel: I disagree with you that the Enlightenment crushed theistic arguments. Have you read Robin Collin's design argument?

    http://home.messiah.edu/~rcollins/finetlay.htm

    Sad to hear that books have worn on you. Perhaps you might switch topics for a while? That seems to help me.

    Logan: If you are going to blow your money on something, it might as well be books.

    That's a good idea about the book reviews, though. I'll mull it over a bit. I don't think I'd do any of the New Atheism books that are out right now because, for the most part, they have been reviewed by some top-notch academics. I hardly think I could do a better job this many years after their publication. I wouldn't mind doing a few reviews on some philosophy of religion books that tend to fly under the radar.

    I am familiar with Alexander's cosmological argument, and it does revolve around the Principle of Sufficient Reason (this was the crux of the debate between Copleston and Bertrand Russell). Have a looksy at this paper:

    http://bearspace.baylor.edu/Alexander_Pruss/www/papers/LCA.html

    ReplyDelete
  15. Daddy Cool:

    I am a Christian, but I must say that your slander of John Loftus is unloving and just plain ad hominem. If you hate the man, thats your business but at least read the book and critique his arguments, not propagate some rumor you heard on the internet (or wherever you heard it, word on what street?)

    I think John is actually usually pretty fair-minded. For instance, in a debate with David Wood he corrected a fellow atheist on their interpretation of God creating evil. Would someone who was simply a 'God hating liar God" bother to give an inch of ground to Christians?

    Don't get me wrong, I disagree with him plenty...but I also respect him as a living, breathing, thinking human being and don't wish to spread unfounded lies about him on the internet.

    ReplyDelete
  16. David, I partially agree, but I don't think Loftus is honest or fair minded.

    I base this on his own writings, where he admits he lied to his congregation and the fact that he posted a fake site regarding J.P. Holding, and that he viciously attacks negative commenters on the Amazon post.

    But I agree that rumours should not be spread.

    Daddy Cool, you should provide verification for your remarks or apologize and withdraw them.

    ReplyDelete
  17. "Daddy Cool" is Frank Walton. You guys should be deleting all of his comments.

    ReplyDelete
  18. We should not slander John Loftus. However, that doesn't mean we shouldn't be aware of his dishonest actions in the past. He is a documented and proven liar (e.g. he has been caught using sock puppets to attack his opponents and/or support himself -- which is deceitful in itself -- and then he lied about it several times until his User ID was posted as evidence, at which point he finally confessed...but then defended the act of lying). He has demonstrated time and time again to be philosophically incompetent and uninformed precisely in areas of philosophy in which he claims expertise (e.g. an agnostic undergraduate had to spoon-feed him during a debate on the variety of arguments from evil, even though Mr. Loftus claims to have "the equivalent of a Ph.D." in these matters). He regularly censors comments on his DC blog in order to give readers the impression that there aren't any solid objections to his entries. He will however allow the weaker objections to pass through. Is that fair-minded? He is totally ignorant on elementary matters of historical theology and philosophy (e.g. he embarrassingly thought that all theistic philosophers in the past believed the universe was small and finite). He claims to have "studied under" Dr. Craig, a phrase commonly used to refer to one's dissertation advisor or academic mentor; the truth is, Mr. Loftus never defended any dissertation (he doesn't actually have a Ph.D) and in reality he took no more than a few courses that Dr. Craig taught to students in general. This is not meant to bash Mr. Loftus, only to point out, in objectivity, how deceitful and incompetent he is.

    ReplyDelete
  19. "Come to think of it, I think most of the origional arguments get ironed out during the Enlightenment, with design being crushed in 1859."

    This guy must not get out much.

    ReplyDelete
  20. There is nothing in my previous posts that contain slander or anything untrue.

    ReplyDelete
  21. The only thing I ever did wrong in my debates on the net is to try to discuss the issues that divide us reasonably. I shouldn't have tried. I shouldn't have expected the people I attempted this with to do likewise. I was maligned at every opportunity and so I fired back. I shouldn't have done that. I've learned from this experience and won't sink to that level ever again.

    As far as Daddy Cool's slanderous accusations, I deny them all. This is an example of what I mean. How many of you posting here could take such false things said about you over and over without getting upset? I now expect it. It's par for the course coming from people like him.

    As far as my arguments go, you can say I don't understand theology all you want to, but Christian apologists and philosophers like Drs. Norm Geisler, James F. Sennett and Mark Linville disagree.

    The books listed in this blog post all sound interesting to me, but wouldn't you think that the one book that has gotten the most attention here should be the one you should engage the most? I mean, after all, if Christians seem to rail against me and my book the most, wouldn't you want to know why they do? May I suggest that it is everything that Geisler, Linville, Sennett and others say it is?

    I truly believe this book of mine will cause somewhat of an upheaval, especially when book review editors for newspapers like Chicago Tribune and LA Times receive their copies and a few of them write about it who are not friends of Christian theism. Then if all you can say is that I'm a liar or that I'm stupid your responses will simply not cut it anymore. Good luck with that.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Another thing. Andrew, thanks for saying that a "a first rate analysis is in order" and for defending me against Daddy Cool.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Provide the proof Daddy Cool.
    Otherwise I am going to start thinking maybe Loftus has a point.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Stiil waiting, Daddy Cool

    But I wonder if you could actually be an atheist in "disinformation" pose to smear theists.

    Your lack of response would seem to indicate this.

    If you simply refuse to answer, and provide the proof, then I can make a legitimate inference that there is none and that YOU are the liar.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Andrew "But I wonder if you could actually be an atheist in "disinformation" pose to smear theists."
    Hey, don't blame us. We're too busy tearing down the moral fabric of America to put agents on this site. Currently, our major project is helping homosexual couples to get married. It's an uphill battle, and is taking most of our time.

    ReplyDelete
  26. John Loftus repeatedly petitioned several christians and atheists around the web, and through personal correspondence, to provide blurbs for his book. The two or so christian philosophers that he managed to recruit did NOT actually endorse his book, and did not endorse John as competent in contemporary philosophy of religion or western analytic theology. John's book deserves a response merely to the extent that responses to it would help theistic laypeople understand how the atheism promulgated by John and his cohorts is intellectually and logically vacuous. John has never actually provided a sound argument for atheism or against theism; neither on his blog nor in his book. His book is another popularistic dose of commercialized athei$m, propped up rhetorically by all the quote mining John did. Having reviewed it, it will have sway on the gullible, but intellectually it is the weakest piece of atheistic nonargument and dogma since Dawkins's TGD.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Charles W.

    Surely in order to honestly say what you just did about my book then you have read it. You HAVE read it, haven't you? If not you're dishonest. If so, then what credentials do you have to dispute what Dr. Mark Linville wrote about it? He wrote a chapter for a book that Bill Craig edited in which Craig said he gathered together the best of the best Christian philosophers to write each chapter.

    At least show some awareness that you've read my book by quoting a paragraph from it, or arguing with something I said.

    Sheesh.

    ReplyDelete