Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Transcendental Temptation” as Want to Read:
The Transcendental Temptation
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Transcendental Temptation

4.38 of 5 stars 4.38  ·  rating details  ·  32 ratings  ·  6 reviews
A landmark work. Mandatory reading for anyone who wants to learn to be a good skeptic.

In this widely acclaimed and highly controversial book, Paul Kurtz examines the reasons why people accept supernatural and paranormal belief systems in spite of substantial evidence to the contrary. According to the author, it is because there is within the human species a deeply rooted t
Paperback, A Critique of Religion and the Paranormal, 516 pages
Published March 1st 1991 by Prometheus Books (first published December 1st 1986)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Transcendental Temptation, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Transcendental Temptation

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 118)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Make no mistake: this is a college textbook. I borrowed a copy from the Furman University library. Having said that, it is one of the most well-written texts I have read in quite a while. The author is a writer of the highest caliber. Yet while the subject matter is profound, the style and syntax of this book are easily handled by the average reader. One would not need to read the entire text to gain insight from it, and it is well organized, footnoted, and in no way dense or ponderous. The only ...more
When compared to the work of dunces (Sam Harris) and raving ideologues (Hitchens, Dawkins) that constitutes the new atheism, Paul Kurtz's The Transcendental Temptation, which predates the work of the new atheists by a couple of decades or so, is rather good. It covers much of the same ground, but actually provides much reasonable and detailed argumentation in doing so.

The major fault of the book emerges from the fact that it is not merely a critique of religion and new agey woo-woo stuff. It is
Paul Kurtz was largely responsible for the secularization of humanism. Indeed, Pat Robertson’s and other fundamentalist’s ravings about the evils of secular humanism have been largely directed toward the movement started by Paul Kurtz. Kurtz, in addition to being a widely recognized professor of philosophy and author of 50 books and 800 articles, founded:

-the publishing house Prometheus Books
- the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry
- the Council for Secular Humanism
- the Center for Inquiry

He also s
David Tan
Jul 30, 2010 David Tan rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Everyone with a Brain
An excellent primer in rational thought, and the application of critical thinking toward religious objects. Good presentation on a skeptical view on many western religious myths, Jesus, Mohammad, Moses, and a good presentation on of the application of said critical thought on modern religiopathologies such as Paranormal research, spiritualism, UFOs, prophecy in Adventism, Mormonism, Armstrongs group, and psychic claims. It obviously cannot cover every questionable sect, but it gets the ball roll ...more
Steven Williams
The book provided the reasons for being skeptical, as well as providing arguments against irrational belief. It made a fairly comprehensive case against religious belief, spiritualism, the paranormal, astrology and UFOology. I found the book endorsed a good way of looking at the world. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. And belief Kurtz is a very good writer and would consider reading other books from him.
Is there some underlying need to believe in myths, to accept illusions as truth and defend them despite reason? What are the origins of this need, this temptation for the irrational and unproven, even patently false? Paul Kurtz examines the great religions in the Abrahamic traditions, sects formed in the 19th and 20th centuries that last to this day, in framing the questions and offering hypotheses that may with further knowledge answer them. Also dealt with are the secular alternatives to syste ...more
Chuck Britt
Chuck Britt is currently reading it
Oct 02, 2015
Achiocho marked it as to-read
Aug 20, 2015
Emma Stocker
Emma Stocker marked it as to-read
Aug 13, 2015
Parroting marked it as to-read
May 27, 2015
Eddie King
Eddie King marked it as to-read
May 16, 2015
Kevin Wall
Kevin Wall marked it as to-read
Apr 13, 2015
Tyler Gass
Tyler Gass marked it as to-read
Mar 15, 2015
Doug Sirutis
Doug Sirutis marked it as to-read
Feb 12, 2015
Ahmad Muhammad
Ahmad Muhammad marked it as to-read
Feb 01, 2015
Saad Saad
Saad Saad marked it as to-read
Jan 18, 2015
Steve Dustcircle
Steve Dustcircle marked it as to-read
Nov 21, 2014
Kelly Stubbart
Kelly Stubbart marked it as to-read
Sep 18, 2014
Pratap marked it as to-read
Aug 23, 2014
Kieren marked it as to-read
May 15, 2014
« previous 1 3 4 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
Paul Kurtz (born December 21, 1925 in Newark, New Jersey) is a prominent American skeptic and secular humanist. He is Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at the State University of New York at Buffalo, having previously also taught at Vassar, Trinity, and Union colleges, and the New School for Social Research.
More about Paul Kurtz...
Science and Religion: Are They Compatible? الفاكهة المحرمة : أخلاقيات الإنسانية Humanist Manifesto 2000: A Call for a New Planetary Humanism What Is Secular Humanism? In Defense of Secular Humanism

Share This Book