IN THE MAIL: The Devil’s Delusion

The Devil's Delusion: Atheism and Its Scientific Pretensions by David Berlinski

Just got The Devil’s Delusion: Atheism and Its Scientific Pretensions by David Berlinski. Here’s the blurb:

Militant atheism is on the rise. Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Daniel Dennett, and Christopher Hitchens have dominated bestseller lists with books denigrating religious belief as dangerous foolishness. And these authors are merely the leading edge of a far larger movement–one that now includes much of the scientific community.

–The attack on traditional religious thought,” writes David Berlinski in The Devil’s Delusion, –marks the consolidation in our time of science as the single system of belief in which rational men and women might place their faith, and if not their faith, then certainly their devotion.”

A secular Jew, Berlinski nonetheless delivers a biting defense of religious thought. An acclaimed author who has spent his career writing about mathematics and the sciences, he turns the scientific community’s cherished skepticism back on itself, daring to ask and answer some rather embarrassing questions.

Berlinski does not dismiss the achievements of western science. The great physical theories, he observes, are among the treasures of the human race. But they do nothing to answer the questions that religion asks, and they fail to offer a coherent description of the cosmos or the methods by which it might be investigated.

This brilliant, incisive, and funny book explores the limits of science and the pretensions of those who insist it can be–indeed must be–the ultimate touchstone for understanding our world and ourselves.

It looks decent. I’m going to try to make room for it on my reading list if I can get past my bitterness.


  1. Militant atheism is on the rise. Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Daniel Dennett, and Christopher Hitchens have dominated bestseller lists with books denigrating religious belief as dangerous foolishness. But Hitchens is good on the war.

  2. I guess it all boils down to the question: Did God create man or did man create God? I guess everyone is entitled to his/her opinion regarding religion as long as they don’t try to force their ideology on others. AND, I can’t only think of ONE belief, whose members are currently active in doing that!

  3. Toejam, That’s a religious position question. I recommend starting with Metaphysics and Epistemology.

  4. I highly recommend Ben Stein’s new movie ‘Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed’. Richard Dawkins has a major part in the movie. The whole audience clapped at the end of the movie.

  5. Heh, Reminds me of the dead atheist. There he was, lying in his coffin, all dressed up and no place to go… 🙂

  6. Traditional religious thought is under attack, eh? Interesting to frame it in martial terms, because off the top of my head I’m pretty sure that atheists haven’t traditionally killed tremendous numbers of people over their (non) belief. Just sayin’, is all.

  7. What are you saying, GL? Don’t you know that those dastardly scientists are launching a vicious attack even as we sit here casually glancing at our computer monitors? Yeah, sure, they look small and geeky, but behind that milk-toast facade lurks an insidious evil bent on the destruction of religious people everywhere. Why I saw a scientist the other day who looked at a person who couldn’t do a simple math problem and I swear if he could have done the Dearth Vader crushing of the windpipe without touching that person he would have. Once those meanies perfect the mastery of the ‘Force’ by capturing miticloriates and putting them into their blood stream, religious people everywhere will be in serious danger. You know, stupid should hurt, at least a little. Surely the idiot who wrote this book would be in serious pain. Instead ignorance is bliss. Go figure. At least the truly insipid still have Darwin to deal with, one way or another.

  8. ‘That’s a religious position question. I recommend starting with Metaphysics and Epistemology.’ I don’t need that stuff, Sam. My bowels are working just fime

  9. Yeah, you’re right; who needs philosophy and independent thinking, when you can rely on someone else to tell you what to believe and know.

  10. But Sam these militant atheists don’t believe in philosophy or independent thinking either. Guys like Richard Dawkins are their ‘priests’ who they believe will lead them to a perfect society. Just like the Communists were supposed to. Hopefully this new brand of militant atheism will end up in the trash-bin of history along with forced Communist atheism. I relly cannot tolerate people who go around telling others there is no higher power and there is nothing after this life.

  11. Yeah, so go out and kill a bunch of scientists. Call them witches and burn them. That will make it all better. Remember how I said you’d have to deal with Darwin one way or another? I hope a thinking country shoves thier high tech weapons right up the ass of the morons that believe this bs.

  12. ReconTeam, I am going to disagree. My personal experience has been that most secular/athiest individuals tend to keep quiet about it for fear of being persecuted/ostracized by the religious; and they are largely content to let everyone else believe what they want. Recent case in point: Known as ‘the atheist guy,’ Hall has been called immoral, a devil worshipper and — just as severe to some soldiers — gay, none of which, he says, is true. Hall even drove fellow soldiers to church in Iraq and paused while they prayed before meals. Some atheists (from personal experience) are jerks too, but much the same can be said of some self-described christians (also personal experience). The trick is not to let any incident combine with whatever bias we ourselves have, Spiral Out-of-ControlG

  13. Dfens: You did not even read the damn book and your already calling the author an idiot. Hell it already looks better than Dawkin’s trash. Perhaps you are the one that ‘Darwin needs to deal with.’ Hopefully a thinking country will kick the asses of the morons who fall for Dawkins atheist society BS.

  14. A ‘thinking country’ does not use force or fraud to have it’s way. So no ‘kicking of asses’ is allowed against those who think differently, if at all (assuming they are otherwise non-violent).