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The Transcendental Temptation

4.42  ·  Rating Details  ·  38 Ratings  ·  7 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)
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Jun 03, 2009 David rated it it was amazing
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
Aug 23, 2015 Adam rated it it was ok
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 really liked it
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
William Nist
Nov 11, 2015 William Nist rated it it was amazing
Shelves: religious
This formidable work is a basic primer on Skepticism of religion and the paranormal. Kurtz covers the basic philosophical issues regarding true justified belief, the various religious traditions in the history of humanity, the classic arguments for the existence of a supernatural god, the paranormal parallels that are based on similar thinking, and the causes for the enduring quality and quantity of religious thought throughout the ages.

This book is a complete deconstruction of the religious ph
Jun 12, 2015 Troy rated it really liked it
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
Steven Williams
Dec 30, 2015 Steven Williams rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
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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.
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