Apr 10, 2013

What an atheist learned while writing Atheism For Dummies

Dale McGowan, author of the recently released Atheism For Dummies, on 20 things he learned while writing the book:



No. 17 seems deeply methodologically problematic. And McGowan, in this talk at least, also seems to have a tendency to decontextualize nuanced theological statements from diverse historical periods and construe them as basically like contemporary anglophone atheism. There are important differences between points made in disputes during Islamic golden age philosophy and what the teenage McGowan was saying, which the adult McGowan seems to miss. I worry, too, about the extent to which the field of atheist history is being shaped by atheists' need for a canon and the drive to hagiography.

This is, of course, only the For Dummies series, but these things have a way of shaping popular understanding and public discussions.

The introduction of the book is available at The Friendly Atheist.