The Devil’s Delusion: Atheism and Its Scientific Pretensions – Book review

This is very enjoyable book that deals with the problems of scientific pretensions amongst New Atheists. These unjustified claims served as facts tend to be too bold and frequently overstated and deliberately twisted “facts” by those who call themselves bright’s. David Berlinski chooses to treat them with ridicule and dishes out plenty of subtle put downs. Book is extremely enjoyable; if you are one of these people who like to read comments on other people’s blogs you will find this book very interesting. It is written in a way that anyone with even a limited knowledge of science could grasp and understand David’s reasons behind his desire to show their ignorance. He demonstrates how incorrect and illogical reasoning is often used when modern anti theists are attempting to make their arguments sound plausible.

Dr Berlinski is an agnostic, but this is exactly what makes his arguments that much more reasonable. He is not advocating religion, what he is doing is using his substantial knowledge of Mathematics, Biology and Philosophy (He holds two PhD’s) to show how irrational modern day aggressive atheist are. He is profound in his understanding of the subject and thoughtful in his approach to the topic of religion and is well loved writer.

I have read this book in 5 days as I have two young children that need entertaining, but with anyone with time to spare these 226 pages will feel very short / quick. The only thing I found disappointing about this book is that, like with any other great book it ended way to soon. It will leave you wanting more, I would not be surprised that once you finish this book like me you will be going back to Amazon looking for more great books by the great David Berlinski.

Kind regards

Defend the Word

Comments by other people:

…David Berlinski is a distinguished academic mathematician and philosopher, who was also a post-doctoral fellow in molecular biology at Columbia University.

… This is an incendiary attack on the New Atheism by a scientist with a quick mind and even quicker wit. Writing from the point of view of a secular Jew, Berlinski exposes the extremely tenuous arguments put up by those who have made fortunes out of selling books which say that science proves God does not exist.

… In this entertaining & thought-provoking work, Berlinski exposes the limitations of science and the pretensions of those who insist that it must be the ultimate basis for understanding the universe. As a secular scientist, he argues from a scientific perspective. Being intellectually honest, he admits ignorance as to the big questions but he does reach conclusions from the available information. With acuity and acerbic wit, he reveals flaws in the scientific theories from the scientific point of view.

The author considers the onslaught on religious belief as an attempt to establish science as the single secular religion in which rational people ought to place their faith. Science has made the world more mysterious than ever before, argues Berlinski, since we now know more about what we do not know & have never understood. As science progressed, so did the mysteries that it cannot explain. To mention a few, the following questions have no naturalistic answers: (a) Where existence came from; (b) The origin of life, consciousness & morality; (c) The fine-tuning of the universe that makes human life possible. No convincing answers exist among the plethora of speculation.

Berlinski values the great physical theories as treasures of knowledge while emphasizing that they cannot answer the questions raised by theology and do not offer a coherent view of the universe. By raising apposite issues, he turns the scientific community’s skepticism on itself. Does a rigid and oppressive orthodoxy of thought dominate the sciences? Are scientists prepared to believe in anything as long as religious thought is avoided? Did the secular ideologies of the terrible 20th century have an overall beneficial or evil effect? The religion of atheism and its detrimental influence in the scientific community are thoroughly dissected.

… He makes his case persuasively. For example, in response to the insistence that “miracles don’t happen” by anti-theists, he points out that whilst we can understand the chemical process by which the eye “sees” something, we don’t have a clue about what perception really is, and just because it is part of our everyday experience doesn’t mean that it is inappropriate to describe it as a miracle. In response to the dogmatic insistence that we are no more than animals, he points out the fact that if that is what we are in biological terms, then it simply demonstrates that biology is telling us nothing useful about what it means to be human at all. He demonstrates that the theories that supposedly prove that God isn’t necessary rarely do what they set out to, and say more about the presuppositions of the proponent than about the nature of the universe.

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3 Responses to The Devil’s Delusion: Atheism and Its Scientific Pretensions – Book review

  1. Tim Habraig says:

    No, science cannot prove that there isn’t a God. It’s actually very difficult prove most things. What science does say is that there is no need to postulate the existence of a divine being or supernatural force to explain how the universe and life came to be. It would also suggest, given that such is not a prerequisite, that it’s actually pretty unlikely that there’s anything there.

    As for the big questions:
    a) Where existence came from
    It just is; before there was nothing and then everything went wrong – the big bang, matter and antimatter coming into being.

    b) The origin of life, consciousness & morality
    Separate things but easily explained by the theory of evolution. As for morality, the Brights have a project entitled Reality about Human morality that is gathering the evidence that morality came to exist as a consequence of natural processes:

    c) The fine-tuning of the universe that makes human life possible
    A bit of a non sequitur this one. If the universe didn’t happen to be the way it is we wouldn’t exist. There may have been many universes and in this one conditions have been found to be just right to support life. Just chance at work I’m afraid.

  2. Hi Tim

    You make me laugh, I applaud your confidence, but all you have ever given me is recitation of Daniel Dennett and much of the atheistic faith dogma. There is nothing absolutely nothing amongst your assertions that wants me to change my mind. To be honest there are millions of people that share my opinion they don’t want to live in the world that has no meaning. Where random mutations will create conditions where we could raise the question of meaning by give the answer of chance.

    Thanks for your desire to share on your project and I appreciate that you are willing to share, but I also note your exclusion and derogatory attitude for us who are not bright enough because we disagree with your conclusions.

    Hey we all need reason to exist, yours is obviously to improve our understanding of atheism. And if that is what keeps you going good for you, but what happens whey you seat alone in the dark, do you ever wonder is this all that there is? If not I’m concerned that you are ready to take someone else’s word and not question the dogma, yes the dogma, whether it be religious or atheistic.

    By the way your dismissal of the argument and wishfully thinking on the multiverse is showing of your readiness to go with anything as long as we can give some kind of answer that debunks possibility of God. Kind of like a child that is prepared to do and say anything as long as his parents will give him his sweats.

    I appreciate your desire to go with the reductionism, but this does not answer any question it only raises many more.


    Defend the word

  3. Mr.Books says:

    I like books review so much, thanks for your post!!

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