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The Happy Atheist

3.52  ·  Rating Details ·  638 Ratings  ·  104 Reviews
From the author of one of the web's most popular science blogs, The Happy Atheist takes on religious fanaticism with all the gleeful disrespect it deserves. A small, fearless book that takes aim at big, stupid targets--and nails them.

For the last several years, PZ Myers, writing the blog Pharyngula, has entertained millions of readers every month with his infectious love o
Hardcover, 208 pages
Published August 13th 2013 by Pantheon (first published January 1st 2013)
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Occam's Whetstone
Aug 19, 2013 Occam's Whetstone rated it did not like it
I bought this book as a possible toilet reader, thinking it might be fun to have short essays to dip in and out of on visits to the throne, and to be hyperbolic I'd suggest this book could be put to good use in the water closet, just not for reading.

The essays themselves are poorly written and edited, the sources are minimal, the arguments are straw and there's no theme or consistency. There is nothing additional to the original blog posts in most cases and it just doesn't work in this format. W
Oct 25, 2013 jeremy rated it really liked it
people aren't religious because they're stupid; rather, religion is a parasite of the mind that makes people do stupid things and think stupid thoughts and, worst of all, believe that freeing themselves of superstition would make them less human and less able to cope with reality, when the exact opposite is true. i laugh because they do goofy, foolish things in the name of their god, but also because i hope that a little raucous hilarity will wake a few of them from their surreal lives and show
Sep 08, 2013 Socraticgadfly rated it did not like it
Per my status update, for any non-Gnu Atheists, skeptics, agnostics, etc., who are familiar with PZ, this book is what you'd expect. Basically, it's a collection of edited blog posts.

He has good critiques of religion, and is good at things like rejecting non-overlapping magisteria, at pointing out that liberal-minded believers have the same metaphysical problems as fundamentalists, and more.

But, it's the usual PZ bombast that goes beyond snarkiness to snideness.

And, this made me realize one new
Aug 28, 2013 Joy rated it liked it
Shelves: freethinker
Good points for preaching to the choir (irony intended), but a bit confrontational for non-atheists. I call myself "The Peaceful Atheist," because, after a personal 55-year long Reformation that has taken me from Catholic school pupil to agnostic to atheist, I have attained a peaceful belief in post-death oblivion. I attribute this acceptance to the book THE SWERVE, which seemed to give me permission to be atheist. THE HAPPY ATHEIST seems to tell people what to think, just like many Christians d ...more
Jinx Mchue
Oct 11, 2011 Jinx Mchue marked it as to-read
The fact that PZ is writing a book called "The Happy Atheist" is incredibly ironic. This man is NOT happy.
Jul 02, 2013 David rated it really liked it
PZ Myers is a breath of fresh, godless air. As much as I enjoy reading the works of the "new" atheists (Daniel Dennett, Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, etc), the tone of their efforts is generally of a much more serious, often times combative nature, an urgent call to action against primitive beliefs that hold back the progress of humanity. While Myers does address many serious topics, his humor pervades within The Happy Atheist, offering an alternative, light-hearted perspective on why the belief ...more
Aug 16, 2013 Sara rated it it was ok
This book was a fun read, and I enjoyed reading it, but it didn't really bring up anything that hasn't been brought up before, and I figure is probably preaching the choir. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, and it isn't a bad book. I laughed out loud a few times, and I certainly enjoyed reading this.
I think PZ was just creating a book of whatever he felt like, and he did that. So it's not a good non-fiction book, but it isn't a bad read. I guess if you don't have Wifi and want a bit of PZ's bl
Probably the most difficult thing about this book is that what he spends most of his time with are exact same issues I have with religion today.

I believe in God, but sometimes I wonder what's the point when so many who claim to follow him are silly at best, and evil at worst.

"Lately [God] has become a devotee of football, and players and spectators beg for his divine favor in helping to get a ball from one side of the field to the other."

"Jehovah is the god of sanctimonious killjoys. How else t
The Happy Athiest is a book of essays about the insanity of religions and the religious. Many of the essays were about topics many of us have probably wondered about or thought. Some of the things PZ Myers wrote was worth a good laugh but it was scattered throughout.
Sep 20, 2013 Eugéne rated it did not like it
Easy targets. Little insight. Nothing on the complexity or poetry of religion. Unhappy (a)theist.
Ryan Smith
Aug 21, 2013 Ryan Smith rated it it was ok
While it admittedly sounds harsher than I really intend, what I want to say about this book is that I don't have much to say at all, because neither does PZ Myers. By this I don't mean at all that he is unintelligent or inarticulate in his criticisms and observations; he is obviously both of these things and has a relatively commensurate following in the skeptical community. Arguably worse, this book largely commits the cardinal sin that the late and indelible Christopher Hitchens warned against ...more
Aug 20, 2013 Martin rated it really liked it
This book made me a Happy Atheist. Not that I wasn’t before I read it, but in some small way PZ Myers has made me that much happier. I have already recommended this book to a number of friends and will continue to do so. Unlike many of Myers’ critics, who predictably complain that he broke no new ground here, and that his approach was unrefined and lacked direction, I enjoyed the pace and meandering path the book led me along. In fact, I dare say, this is precisely the point of any book, to allo ...more
Koen Crolla
Sep 17, 2013 Koen Crolla rated it liked it
Shelves: religion
PZ's inevitable and long-awaited book about atheism. He talks about most of the major events that have also made his blog—Crackergate, Terry Jones, Catholic paedophiles and paedophile apologists, Boobquake, &c.; Atheism+ is conspicuously absent—as well as general issues surrounding religion, but each chapter is an independent vignette and the whole thing lacks focus and a directed narrative.
In fact, The Happy Atheist reminds me of nothing so much as Paul Arden's execrable God Explained in a
Tommy Carlson
Aug 25, 2013 Tommy Carlson rated it really liked it
Not an earthshaking work and it suffers from a lack of direction. Despite that, it's a good fun read and I recommend it.

On the negative side, it reminds me of a lot of popular science books in that there's a lot of stuff that any decently well-read atheist already knows. It also reads more as a series of blog posts than as cohesive work. Until the very end, where it then attempts to string some chapters together. Which, at that point, merely illustrates the lack earlier in the book.

On the positi
Sep 30, 2016 Jeff rated it it was amazing
This book spoke to me. This is a collection of essays by PZ Myers, a biology professor at the U of M - Morris. PZ is a nationally known personality in the skeptic and atheist circles, and is very active on Twitter and posts regularly on his blog at scienceblogs.pharyngula. He speaks eloquently of evolution and takes down such things as creationism, biblical literalism, intelligent design, and a number of religious-based beliefs. Each essay is interesting and well written. He mixes a lot of humor ...more
David James
May 17, 2014 David James rated it liked it
I suppose I could complain here that Myers spends this entire book going after the low hanging fruit. But the fact is, religion has never been composed of anything other than low hanging fruit. And in our society, at least, the dominant religion is based on the idea that if you dare pluck that low hanging fruit from the tree, you'll be condemned to hellfire eternal. It's such transparently absurd nonsense that any reasonably intelligent five-year-old could see right through it. So it's always go ...more
Jul 27, 2013 Brian rated it really liked it
Shelves: secularism
Classic PZ Myers, a style very familiar to those who read his blog, where much of the material in the book apparently originated. Many well-done criticisms of religion, many uplifting praises of the godless life. The essays near the end are some of the best in the book. It was good to have the "crackergate" story and the "Courtier's Reply" essay in there, along with several essays decrying accommodationism.
Sep 21, 2013 Suzy rated it it was ok
Yes I am agnostic but this book made me cringe. The sarcasm that is splattered profusely throughout this book is heightened to the level of ridiculous. Myers resorts to rather offensive depictions of a godly figure, (remember I'm agnostic, so for me to be offended....) and enjoys imagining a fallen god. I don't condone following religious beliefs, but to slam other religions in such a poor style of writing shows a lack of respect and shall only fuel anger in religious believers.
Feb 12, 2017 Bini rated it liked it
It was an easy to read book.. Just one point to note though.. When someone is arguing against atheism it would be better to refrain from being emotional.. Using emotional arguments makes it look like you are short of rational facts to support your case against theism... The author, coming from a scientific background could have used more rational arguments in this book..
Hussain Sulais
Feb 15, 2017 Hussain Sulais rated it it was ok
not much to say...a blog posts, random thoughts and get you no where =)

one good point, that religion shouldn't be painted by any bad action one of the believers does.. no religion invite to attack others.

the way he represented religions with HATS was funny.

Tadas Talaikis
Jan 13, 2017 Tadas Talaikis rated it really liked it

I will pray for you, you shitless, uncircumcised heart atheist.


They just can't get that feeling of freedom with their religious hypocritical nonsense. So sad so many people live in self-invented prison of their own mind.

How do I now that? Just watch, everyone who "believe" (in reality there's more economics than belief) are totally humorless. And that compared to the case I'm not pretty normal atheist, I'm an aggressive (more like religious) one. Let's say, if you can be backed by real data,
Nov 20, 2016 Chinook rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science, america
Considering the present situation in the US with regards to the election, reading this was a lot like sitting back and relaxing in a very comfy chair.
Edgar Perez
Jan 12, 2017 Edgar Perez rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 27, 2016 j_ay rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: essays
Nice to see a more outspoken (less tolerant) Atheist coming forth...
Todd Martin
PZ Myers has been a leading force on the web for science and rationality and a staunch opponent of religious superstition (particularly where those beliefs intersect with public policy). He is known for his no-holds-barred style of writing and direct, sometimes confrontational approach … he also has a great sense of humor. His blog may be found at:

With that as an introduction, I very much wanted to like PZ’s book The Happy Atheist. I read his blog regularly
Hugh Coverly
Sep 29, 2014 Hugh Coverly rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I am a graduate of both a Bible College ("advanced Sunday School") and a liberal, multi-denominational ("highly dysfunctional") seminary. In the late 1990s I came out as an atheist, after years of attempting to reconcile religious belief with scientific knowledge; Simply put, I discovered it cannot be done. This is the book I wish I had had access to 20 or 30 years ago. Had it been available then, I would have taken a different direction in my education.

This collection of essays, based on previo
Dec 14, 2013 Andrew rated it liked it
P.Z. Myers is not included in the so-called Four Horsemen of the New Atheism (same as the Old Atheism), but he'd make an excellent wing-man for any of them. His blog Pharyngula, the main act at FreeThoughtBlogs, is commendable for pointing out the daily absurdities of religious thought and practice of people of faith all over the world. An evolutionary biologist and university professor in the American mid-west, Myers is often at the forefront of discussions about evolution and creationism, laug ...more
Gemma Alexander
Feb 05, 2015 Gemma Alexander rated it liked it
Shelves: deep-thoughts
Arguments about the existence of god bore me. I know my own opinion, and I don’t care about yours.

I’m ambivalent about books based on blogs. Part of me feels gypped; it’s just a a bunch of prewritten material lazily recycled. Another part of me thinks, “Way to go fellow writer! Way to build on a platform and add a book to your bio. I wish I was smart enough to do that.”

I often found myself arguing with the book – not with the arguments per se, because Myers pretty much only shoots at targets too
Sep 24, 2013 Frimple rated it did not like it
Shelves: reviewed-badly
I read PZ Myers blog for a long time and largely agreed with his sentiments at the time so my hyperbolically negative review does not come from any animus I brought with me when beginning this book. My main problem is that the book completely fails, in my opinion, to integrate his blog posts into a coherent readable work. They were fine on the blog where there's more context or non sequiturs and extreme changes in tone and lack of resolution are permissible. In the book however it makes for pain ...more
Sep 26, 2013 Alis added it
This is an odd sort of book; a collection of homilies about a bunch of atheism-related topics.

It's definitely no The God Delusion or God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything, lacking the incisive research and driving polemic. In fact, and unusually for Myers, The Happy Atheist could almost be called... cozy?

I guess different people will have different reactions to the various chapters. For me, "So Alone"--about of place in the vast universe--was probably the most effective. Followed by
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Madison Mega-Mara...: #92 The Happy Atheist by PZ Myers 1 4 Aug 30, 2014 05:01PM  
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Paul Zachary Myers is an American biology professor at the University of Minnesota Morris (UMM) and the author of the science blog Pharyngula. He is currently an associate professor of biology at UMM, works with zebrafish in the field of evolutionary developmental biology (evo-devo), and also cultivates an interest in cephalopods. He has published numerous research papers in Nature and other notab ...more
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“What religion has always done is pander to biases, achieving success not by challenging people with something new but by reinforcing what they already believe, no matter how wrong it is. By contrast, science shines by breaking the shackles of our preconceptions and letting us work with what really is. The” 1 likes
“I’m an atheist swimming in a sea of superstition, surrounded by well-meaning, good people with whom I share a culture and similar concerns, and there’s only one thing I can do. I have to laugh. Living” 1 likes
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