January 21, 2009

Guest Blogger: Russell Blackford: Update on Voices of Disbelief

While I'm here, allow me to fill you in on the current state of play with Voices of Disbelief (working title), the book that Udo Schuklenk and I are co-editing.

We provided the complete manuscript to the publisher, Wiley-Blackwell, in early December 2008. There are long lead times in publishing ... as books go through various phases of copyediting, proofing, indexing (a surprisingly difficult and time-consuming job that I'm not looking forward to), and organising pre-publication publicity. A book like this will keep me occupied, one way or another, all through 2009, with publication currently planned for September.

Udo and I think we have a winner here. We have wonderful contributors and a great diversity of essays. The fifty-odd high-profile non-believers who have contributed to the book have tackled varied subject matter, written at anything from about 500 words to about 6000 words, and taken a range of stances towards religion: from uncompromising hostility to the wish that religion might adapt to modern ways of thinking, to willingness to find common ground with liberal theologians. From the viewpoint of the editors, all of these "voices" provide reasonable alternatives to traditional religious belief.

Without further ado, here's what the table of contents looks like:

Introduction: Now More Important than Ever – Voices of Reason — Russell Blackford and Udo Schuklenk

Unbelievable! — Russell Blackford

My "Bye Bull" Story — Margaret Downey

How benevolent is God? – An argument from suffering to atheism — Nicholas Everitt

A Deal-breaker — Ophelia Benson

Why Am I a Nonbeliever? – I Wonder... — J. L. Schellenberg

Wicked or Dead? Reflections on the moral character and existential status of God — John Harris

Religious Belief and Self-Deception — Adèle Mercier

The Coming of Disbelief — J.J.C. Smart

What I Believe — Graham Oppy

Too Good to Be True, Too Obscure to Explain: The Cognitive Shortcomings of Belief in God — Thomas W. Clark

How to Think About God: Theism, Atheism, and Science — Michael Shermer

A Magician Looks at Religion — James Randi

Confessions of a Kindergarten Leper — Emma Tom

Beyond Disbelief — Philip Kitcher

An ambivalent nonbelief — Taner Edis

Why Not? — Sean M. Carroll

Godless Cosmology — Victor J. Stenger

Unanswered Prayers — Christine Overall

Beyond Faith and Opinion — Damien Broderick

Could it be pretty obvious there’s no God? — Stephen Law

Atheist, obviously — Julian Baggini

Why I am Not a Believer — A.C. Grayling

Evil and Me — Gregory Benford

Who’s Unhappy? — Lori Lipman Brown

Reasons to be Faithless — Sheila A.M. McLean

Three Stages of Disbelief — Julian Savulescu

Born Again, Briefly — Greg Egan

Cold Comfort — Ross Upshur

The Accidental Exorcist — Austin Dacey

Atheist Out of the Foxhole — Joe Haldeman

The Unconditional Love of Reality — Dale McGowan

Antinomies — Jack Dann

Giving up ghosts and gods — Susan Blackmore

Some thoughts on why I am an atheist — Tamas Pataki

No Gods, Please! — Laura Purdy

Welcome Me Back to the World of the Thinking — Kelly O'Connor

Kicking Religion Goodbye … — Peter Adegoke

On credenda — Miguel Kottow

"Not even start to ignore those questions!" A voice of disbelief in a different key — Frieder Otto Wolf

Imagine No Religion — Edgar Dahl

Humanism as Religion: An Indian Alternative — Sumitra Padmanabhan

Why I am NOT a theist — Prabir Ghosh

When the Hezbollah came to my school — Maryam Namazie

Evolutionary Noise, not Signal from Above — Athena Andreadis

Gods Inside — Michael R. Rose and John P. Phelan

Why Morality Doesn’t Need Religion — Peter Singer and Marc Hauser

Doctor Who and the Legacy of Rationalism — Sean Williams

My non-religious life: A journey from superstition to rationalism — Peter Tatchell

Helping People to Think Critically About Their Religious Beliefs — Michael Tooley

Human Self-Determination, Biomedical Progress, and God — Udo Schuklenk

Russell Blackford is an Australian philosopher. He has published extensively (novels, short stories, academic monographs and articles, and book reviews) and is editor-in-chief of The Journal of Evolution and Technology. His home blog is Metamagician and the Hellfire Club.


Blake Stacey said...

Oooh, tasty! I expect I'll be able to argue with several of the essays — I mean, if I agreed with them all, what sort of unbeliever would I be?

(I note that manuscripts can be made into book-like form quickly, if you don't care about quality control or good, professional publicity. Some of us have lower expectations of ourselves and have to work up to grander things slowly.)

George said...

Russell, that is one impressive list of contributors.

Brian said...

I gots to get me a copy of this. I've read something on Stephen Law's blog that I think is similar to his essay. But that list of authors and essays is mouth watering. September you say? Cool. I think I'm allowed to buy books again then. :)