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The New Atheism: Taking a Stand for Science and Reason

3.87  ·  Rating Details ·  698 Ratings  ·  40 Reviews
In recent years a number of bestselling books have forcefully argued that belief in God can no longer be defended on rational or empirical grounds, and that the scientific worldview has rendered obsolete the traditional beliefs held by Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. The authors of these books—Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens, and Victor ...more
Paperback, 282 pages
Published September 22nd 2009 by Prometheus Books (first published 2009)
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The God Delusion by Richard DawkinsGod Is Not Great by Christopher HitchensThe End of Faith by Sam HarrisThe Demon-Haunted World by Carl SaganLetter to a Christian Nation by Sam Harris
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,025)
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David Melbie
May 13, 2013 David Melbie rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Both sides of the argument!
Recommended to David by: Richard Dawkins
I read this book twice. The first time was back in the summer and I skimmed through it pretty fast. This time, I read it much slower and made notations throughout. I think it is sad that the "new atheists" are not taken seriously, especially by themselves! It sort of reminds me of how wimpy the Democratic Party was during (and after) the 2010 elections, but that's another matter.

I totally agree with Stenger that atheists are not about eradicating religion, we just want to co-exist without being
Dec 31, 2009 Michael rated it it was ok
Shelves: nonfiction-read
While the book provides a survey of the ideas comprising "the new atheism" and the relevant publications which gave rise to the movement (if one could call it that), it is poorly written and is not in the same class with the books by Harris, Dawkins, Dennett, and Hitchens. Stenger comes across as a shameless self promoter and drops the names of other books he has written at every opportunity. His unique contribution to the new atheism (according to Stenger) is his assertion that "the absence of ...more
Aug 27, 2012 Sarah rated it it was amazing
I think this book was an excellent summary of the arguments against a personal God in the universe. The author uses science and philosophy to argue against the presence of God. He also discusses some of the atrocities committed by religions, and explains why the new atheists oppose religion so strenuously. Also interesting was his analysis of how less religious societies have fewer social problems and religious societies, fewer murders, less poverty, less violence and crime, etc. This neatly deb ...more
Mar 17, 2014 Paul rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Victor Stenger reviews the efforts of the New Atheists.

There is nothing more to say. Read it!!
Andrew Ramos
Oct 04, 2010 Andrew Ramos rated it it was amazing
This is an awesome book provided you already have a coherent knowledge of metaphysics, religion, and history. He wrote this book as a response to criticisms of the New Atheism movement and without a sound base, much of what he discusses would go over the casual readers head. This is not the first book to read if you're curious what New Atheism is about. But, if you are already well versed in the literature; this is a MUST read. I loved this book and devoured it.
Bob Anderson
Apr 09, 2015 Bob Anderson rated it really liked it
Stenger’s survey of the literature produced for and against the new atheistic revival is a quick read; he makes his points made concisely and clearly. He begins with a short recap of the recent history of atheism, and moves into chapters that discuss particular aspects of atheistic though, including evolution, the nature of the mind, and whether a god can be disproved. In each of these he accurately captures a particular point of view on the issue, though this volume’s slim size means he must le ...more
Feb 15, 2016 Jc rated it really liked it
Stenger has written a number of important works (e.g., God: The Failed Hypothesis), and certainly has been described as part of the "New Atheism" movement himself. Here, he examines what the "movement" is, discusses the views of its main proponents and opponents, and looks at how society has been affected by and responded to the movement. Important is a discussion of h0w "new" the "New Atheism" really is, and how it fits in with um..., old [?] atheism. At some points, this may read a bit too tec ...more
Joshua Nomen-Mutatio
Read the whole thing while sitting in Borders. Very well done. Amply sums up the last five or so years of a type of cultural criticism that I'm in strong support of.
Julie Ellis
Mar 24, 2010 Julie Ellis rated it liked it
Stenger is not the most exciting writer, but he gives a clear and concise description and defense of the New Atheist position.
Aug 16, 2010 Hp rated it it was amazing
Mostly a rehash of his other books but still a good read. Great overview of all his Atheist ideas.
Timothy Finucane
May 23, 2010 Timothy Finucane rated it it was amazing
An excellent review and summary of the latest thoughts in modern atheism.
Chris Pederson
Mar 28, 2013 Chris Pederson rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
A look at the evidence against the existence for god. A great book!
Todd Martin
In “The New Atheism”, physicist Victor Stenger performs a literary review of his own books of atheism as well as the works of Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens, Daniel Dennet. As such, the book mainly consists of summaries of arguments that are already in the public sphere, rather than any new information.

The book provides a good overview of the thoughts and positions of the new atheists, and is written in an highly readable style. It also covers many of the common charges heard
Paul Fidalgo
Aug 25, 2010 Paul Fidalgo rated it it was ok
Excerpt: Part of what makes this book less compelling is its lack of unity of purpose. There are chapters focused on debunking attacks from religionists and theologians, then sections summarizing some of the more influential religious and philosophical movements, all peppered with a surprising amount of synopses of his previous works as well as other people's. Though when tackling a subject, Stenger can be refreshingly succinct and sharp, the book as an experience lacks a flow that leads the rea ...more
Moses Operandi
Oct 25, 2011 Moses Operandi rated it it was ok
There are a few interesting segments in The New Atheism: one is a strangely riveting tale of the sordid origins of Mormonism. Another is a rather weak segment criticizing the Old Testament which nevertheless seems to grasp a bit more of that book than most such passages.

Aside from these, this book is amorphous and doddering. Stenger summarizes arguments that he and others make elsewhere. Little new is contributed, certainly I was not left asking myself hard questions as I was after reading Hitch
Jul 27, 2011 Tucker added it
Shelves: finished
Victor Stenger is one of the "New Atheists." In terms of name-recognition, he's a distant fifth to the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse -- Dawkins, Dennett, Harris, and Hitchens -- so in his introduction he makes the case that he, too, had a concurrent bestselling book.

I read Stenger's God: The Failed Hypothesis last year. It relies on scientific arguments, especially physics, to arrive at an atheist conclusion.

This book, The New Atheism: Taking a Stand for Science and Reason also contains some s
Oct 22, 2012 Mark rated it really liked it
Less physics and more philosophical and debate tactics are included in this book. The goal of the book, according to Stenger (and the title), is to help "accelerate the trend away from religion...", and I think that any honest and intelligent reader will agree that it is a step in the right direction. The book, compared to past reads of Stenger's, is a quick read albeit not necessarily an easy one. It includes subtle arguments and references to numerous texts that both strengthen and clarify the ...more
Aug 03, 2010 Tom rated it did not like it
Reading this book is like listening to Rush Limbaugh. You wonder what the next ridiculous thing is going to be said.

New atheism is in-your-face atheism. It claims that because so many people were killed in the name of God/Allah/YHWH, etc., then religion must be bad. We must attack religion as being not supported by any evidence.

Stenger reaches the wrong conclusions. Religion and belief in the supernatural has also had a very positive influence on humankind. It has inspired great works of art. Ea
Dec 26, 2010 Drchak rated it liked it
Stenger is a slightly overshadowed member of the "New Atheists" - he doesnt have the charisma of Hitchens or Dawkins, but he is a valuable addition to that gang - especially strong when he demolishes theistic arguments from a physics/origin of universe perspective. He is a good complement to the biology prof. Dawkinfs. This is a typical Stenger style book - parts of it are very well written and the book overall is engaging with some minor quibbles (I cringed when he says all Hindus he met have t ...more
John Gordon
Nov 11, 2011 John Gordon rated it really liked it
Shelves: free-thought
• The twin towers in 2001 inspired Sam Harris to write "The end of faith" which was followed by a number of other works. The logical and consistent arguments within have been countered in turn by output from the religious side of the fence. In this book by Victor J. Stenger gathers together the material to date and discusses each topic and theme in detail. He provides solid rebuttals to the theist arguments while reviewing and the atheist position to date. While he may not be as entertaining to ...more
Jul 07, 2012 Adam rated it liked it
Pros: Stenger (on the coattails of Dawkins, Hitchens, Harris, et al) makes a hard-line case not just for atheism, but for the promotion of atheism. The general idea is akin to a civil rights movement with a lot of explanation and science talk to back up his claims.

Cons: Having a fellow non-believer preach to me is almost as bad as a believer spouting off all the time.

Overall: It would be interesting to see how "casual" Christians would react to this book. I might not have an appropriate way to
Oct 23, 2010 Christian rated it really liked it
Shelves: exploring-ideas
Clearly this book isn't written to convert, but to inform, debunk and perhaps to challenge those who are already atheists or nearly so. I wouldn't figure it would appeal to the religiously minded, except in the rare case where they are willing to be open to hearing alternate ideas. I enjoyed reading the book, and I picked up a few new discussion points and new perspectives, but there were few "wow" moments. For those who want to further explore the "spirituality" side of atheism, I recommend And ...more
Stan Fleetwood
Jan 19, 2016 Stan Fleetwood rated it really liked it
Makes a lot of really persuasive points. However, I thought he doesn't quite have the writing flair of Dawkins, Harries and Hitchens, so I could see the credulists picking holes in some of his points.
Oct 24, 2012 DragonRider rated it really liked it
Shelves: secular-studies
Victor Stenger's book, The New Atheism, is one of the best overviews of the subject I've read. His approach is somewhat unique in that he is both a scientist (physics) and a philosopher, and I like what he has to say about both. His cosmology allows for an infinite universe without beginning or end; and his philosophy of mind recognizes the reality of both self and free will. This is one I will recommend to anyone who wants to understand reality from a realistic, secular perspective.
Mar 28, 2011 David rated it really liked it
The United States is one of the most religious “first world” nations. This is a nation where the question of God’s role in the human endeavor has become a basis of many political and social discussions. So why do books on atheism flow to the top of the reading list? It may have something to do with our continued search for reason and the growth of the atheist/agnostic movement.

Read more:
Dec 01, 2009 Rich rated it liked it
Although I find little to disagree with in Stenger's books (and occasional insights and perspectives lacking in other New Atheists writings), they seem haphazardly written - lacking clear structure, filled with frequent digressions, sporadic commentary on other author's works, and frequent suggestions to read his other books. He's worth reading for what he says, but not particularly elegant or inspiring in how he says it.
Tracy Black
Oct 19, 2009 Tracy Black rated it liked it
Parts of this books were excellent and other parts were boring. It was still worth reading because he goes through the history of the new atheism movement, concentrating mostly on the books published, and then discusses the rebuttals (i.e. The Dawkins' Delusion). The boring parts were tangents that didn't fit the theme of the book, like a Newtonian physics lesson that didn't go anywhere.
Jan 31, 2011 Raymond rated it liked it
Not as thorough or focused as Stenger's earlier works. He is defending the new athiests against rebutal from various apologists but doesn't want to rehash his earlier arguments. Those were pretty clear, and it is obvious the apologists understand neither the old nor the new arguments against their mythologies. Still, Stenger's arguments are clear, lucid, and well grounded in modern physics.
Oct 31, 2012 Mark rated it liked it
A decent read on the subject, but not as compelling as more well-known works by "the four horsemen": Dawkins, Hitchens, Dennett and Harris. If you've read THE GOD DELUSION, GOD IS NOT GREAT, BREAKING THE SPELL, and THE END OF FAITH, and are looking for more, I'd recommend this.
Aug 03, 2010 Emma rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: people who want to read more about atheism and have already read The God Delusion
Recommended to Emma by: Dick
Shelves: science, non-fiction
In which Stenger quotes Dawkins, Harris and even Hitchens extensively and fails to contribute anything new to atheist literature.

Read my full review at my book review blog.
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Victor John Stenger is an American particle physicist, outspoken atheist and author, now active in philosophy and popular religious skepticism.

As of June 2010, he has published nine books for general audiences on physics, quantum mechanics, cosmology, philosophy, religion, atheism, and pseudoscience, the latest of which include The New Atheism: Taking a Stand for Science and Reason, which was rele
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