Little unknown gem
Religion refuted: debunking the case for god by daniel k. chaney "religion refuted" is a surprisingly good book that debunks religious claims for "god". author, daniel k. chaney takes the reader on a ride through the most popular religious arguments and examines their flaws in a direct and accessible manner. this solid 435-page book includes the following sixteen chapters: 1. first cause argument, 2. design argument, 3. anthropic argument, 4. moral argument, 5. transcendental argument, 6. miracles argument, 7. biblical inerrancy argument, 8. historical argument, 9. pascal's wager, 10. other arguments, 11. counter-arguments, 12. personal experience, 13. religious faith, 14. rational faith, 15. humble faith, and 16. religion refuted. positives: 1. a well-written, well-researched and well-cited book that is accessible to the masses. at times irreverent and times provocatively deep. 2. one of my favorite topics, a look at religion and its claims. "the most reasonable take, as i will argue, is that religion can be refuted." 3. very good format. each chapter covers a popular religious argument. 4. i love the fact that the author went after the most popular arguments by the most well-known apologists. arguments held and tactics used by william lane craig (wlc) are prominently referenced and debunked throughout the book. 5. chaney has great depth of knowledge. great use of philosophy, physics, biology, theology, cosmology and even scripture to converge to logical and sound arguments. references great thinkers and adds unique perspectives to the mix. 6. a look at the three paths to understanding "god. "while each person who finds god has unique experiences along the way, the only methodological paths to god that i have ever heard of are the three just described: natural theology, personal experience, and faith." 7. a thorough look at two of the biggest assumptions made by the cosmological argument and its corollaries. a sound debunking of the kalam cosmological argument popularized by wlc. "most scientists accept that the universe had a beginning and that it was caused by a quantum fluctuation. but that still leaves the quantum fluctuation unexplained. what the promoters of the kalâm cosmological argument want to do is apply their logic to the entire cosmos, not merely to our universe." 8. examines whether it is possible to identify marks of supernatural design in the patterns of nature. "is there something god can achieve through the creation of the universe that he could not achieve otherwise?" "before we can even speculate that the natural was designed by the supernatural, we must demonstrate an ability to distinguish the natural from the supernatural." 9. many great thought-provoking quotes. "the only way to reconcile science with scripture is to rewrite scripture." 10. conviction behind what is stated. "there is no objective evidence that a disembodied mentality or personality exists. every mind ever known has arisen from a brain." 11. explains why both strong anthropic arguments should be rejected. "the astounding proposition that a god or gods made this awesomely massively gigantic universe for the express purpose of manufacturing some itsy-bitsy microscopic naked apes that are loitering, laboring, gobbling, guzzling, fighting, and copulating on the surface of a miniscule dust grain of a planet." "human self-centeredness misleads us to the false conclusion that we are the beneficiaries of fine tuning." 12. the moral argument thoroughly debunked. "all versions of the moral argument can be refuted by showing that our moral sentiments arise from naturally evolved brain structures and that there is no demonstrable need for a divine infusion of values." 13. debunks the often confusing transcendental argument. "let me end with the ultimate stumper of them all. if the law of identity resides as an idea within the mind of god, rather than applying to god himself, then by what rule of logic can we say that god either exists or does not exist?" 14. explores why biblical miracle stories are unworthy. "people pray only for things that have some detectable statistical likelihood. that is, they pray only for things that occasionally happen with or without prayer." "it is a fallacy that we cannot dismiss miracles as improbable. we can. indeed, we inevitably will dismiss them as improbable if we think rationally about nature." 15. hume's irrefutable argument against miracles. "hume's argument tells us that to justify belief in a miracle we must show that the falseness of its alleged proof would be more shocking than the miracle itself." 16. the inerrancy of the bible debunked. "what the biblical authors recorded in the bible is astoundingly remote from the truth. i am not picking on the biblical authors for their lack of astronomical knowledge. my quarrel is with those modern religious zealots who, for ideological reasons, deny inconvenient facts, such as that the bible is a flat earth book." 17. a look at the historical argument. "the religious apologist who tries to historically prove a miracle, such as the virgin birth or the resurrection, forgets that historical methods require the uniformity of nature as surely as do the methods of the physical sciences. the core principles of the doctrinaire christian conflict with those of the historian." 18. an interesting look at the weak argument of pascal's wager. "i suspect that pascal's wager is widely accepted across america for three reasons. first, it makes a crass appeal to the profit motive. that always works in america. second, it urges us to take decisive action. americans pride themselves in taking decisive action. third, it discourages thinking. nobody is better at not thinking than americans. edwin way teale got it right when, in circle of the seasons, he remarked, "it is morally as bad not to care whether a thing is true or not, so long as it makes you feel good, as it is not to care how you got your money so long as you have got it."" 19. the difference between science and faith. "the scientific method is the antithesis of faith. science holds that the prime virtue is adherence to the facts, whereas faith holds that the prime virtue is adherence to sacred beliefs, even (or especially) in the face of contrary evidence." 20. the omnis get debunked. "a preset future leaves no room for free will. omniscience entails predetermination." 21. explains why faith is not a sound basis for belief. "if we had the requisite evidence that god is real, faith would be unnecessary to believe in him." negatives: 1. low production value. the book is not given the post production treatment afforded to better known authors but it's a small price to pay for the overall quality of its research. 2. i disagree with the author's stance on the legalization of drugs. he's against it. 3. there's a lot here to digest, this book will require an investment of your time. there are times when the author belabors a point to a fault. 4. no formal bibliography. in summary, i'm always happy to find little-known books that pleasantly surprise me with its quality of substance. mr. chaney provides curious readers with a very solid reference on religious arguments. it's comprehensive without being unintelligible and it references the best arguments for and against by some of the most well-known philosophers and debaters. great job, this book surprised me with its depth of research and quality rebuttals. i highly recommend it! further recommendations: "" by david mills, "" by peter boghossian, "" by david niose, "" by helen ellerbe, "" by dale mcgowan, "" by john loftus, "" by david fitzgerald, "" by christopher hitchens, "" by a.c. grayling, "" by guy p. harrison, "the moral landscape" by sam harris, "godless" by dan barker, "god is not great" by christopher hitchens, "freethinkers: a history of american secularism" by susan jacoby, "moral combat" by sikivu hutchinson, "the religion virus" craig a. james, "american fascists" by chris hedges, "doubt" by jennifer michael hecht, "society without god" by phil zuckerman, "why i'm not a christian" by richard carrier, and "why are you atheists so angry?" by greta christina.