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Atheist Universe: The Thinking Person's Answer to Christian Fundamentalism

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Author: David Mills

Published: August 4th 2006 by Ulysses Press (first published April 6th 2003)

Format: Paperback , 272 pages

Isbn: 9781569755679

Language: English


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Clear, concise, and persuasive, Atheist Universe details exactly why God is unnecessary to explain the universe and life's diversity, organization, and beauty. The author thoroughly rebuts every argument that claims to "prove" God's existence - arguments based on logic, common sense, philosophy, ethics, history, and science. Atheist Universe avoids the esoteric language use Clear, concise, and persuasive, Atheist Universe details exactly why God is unnecessary to explain the universe and life's diversity, organization, and beauty. The author thoroughly rebuts every argument that claims to "prove" God's existence - arguments based on logic, common sense, philosophy, ethics, history, and science. Atheist Universe avoids the esoteric language used by philosophers and presents its scientific evidence in simple lay terms, making it a richly entertaining and easy-to-read introduction to atheism. A comprehensive primer, it addresses all the historical and scientific questions, including: Is there proof that God does not exist? What evidence is there of Jesus' resurrection? Can creation science reconcile scripture with the latest scientific discoveries? Atheist Universe also answers ethical issues such as: What is the meaning of life without God? It's a spellbinding inquiry that ultimately arrives at a controversial and well-documented conclusion. Other important questions answered in this book: * What, precisely, is atheism, and why is it misunderstood so thoroughly? * If God is a myth, then did the universe appear from nothing? * Does the meticulous clockwork of planetary motion result from mindless random forces? * Do atheists believe that human beings evolved through blind accident from lifeless matter? * Do the splendor and intricacy of life on Earth reveal evidence of intelligent design by a supernatural Creator? * Can atheists prove that God does not exist? * What about Creation Science, and the popular new movement to reconcile Scripture and science? * Have recent scientific discoveries pointed to God's governance of the cosmos? * Did Albert Einstein believe in God? * Does the fact that energy cannot be destroyed lend credibility to a belief in eternal life? * Without God, can there be a valid system of ethics or an objective "right" and "wrong"? * Does religion encourage moral conduct and civilized behavior? Is the Golden Rule really such a bad idea? * What is the meaning of life without God? * When we die, are we simply dead like dogs? * Did atheists suffer a trauma in childhood that warped them into blasphemous rebellion? * Because of ubiquitous injustice on Earth, is an afterlife required to redress the imbalance, where evil is ultimately punished and virtue rewarded? * Is atheism just another crackpot religion? * What's the harm in a person's private spirituality? Does humanity have everything to gain, and nothing to lose, through belief in God (even if He's only imaginary)? * Apart from the Bible, is there secular historical evidence of Jesus' miracles and resurrection? * How do atheists explain "near death" experiences and medical miracles which amaze even skeptical doctors? * Why should a tiny minority of atheists be able to force their opinions on everyone else by banning prayer in public schools? * Since "there are no atheists in foxholes," have famous nonbelievers recanted on their deathbeds? * Did Old and New Testament prophecies correctly predict events which actually unfolded during our own lifetimes? * What about the Shroud of Turin and the discovery of wood fragments from Noah's Ark on Mount Ararat in Turkey? * Does the Law of Entropy (or the "running down" of the universe) contradict evolutionary theory, which asserts that Nature's complexity is increasing? * Is there absolute proof that man evolved from a lower form of life? * Even if you believe that all life evolved from a single cell, how could complex cellular life originate without a Creator? * Is atheism a totally negative philosophy, leading only to cynicism and despair? * Does communism's past embrace of atheism prove that atheism is an evil and failed philosophy? * Was America really founded upon Christian principles by Christian believers? * What is the true, behind-the-scenes relationship between politics and religion in 21st-century America? All of these questions - and hundreds of others - are fully confronted and methodically answered in the riveting pages of Atheist Universe.

30 review for Atheist Universe: The Thinking Person's Answer to Christian Fundamentalism

  1. 5 out of 5

    Ahmad Sharabiani

    Atheist Universe: The Thinking Person's Answer to Christian Fundamentalism, David Mills, Dorion Sagan (Foreword) Clear, concise, and persuasive, Atheist Universe details exactly why God is unnecessary to explain the universe and life's diversity, organization, and beauty. The author thoroughly rebuts every argument that claims to "prove" God's existence - arguments based on logic, common sense, philosophy, ethics, history, and science. تاریخ خوانش روز بیست و چهارم ماه مارس سال 2012 میلادی ا. شربیان Atheist Universe: The Thinking Person's Answer to Christian Fundamentalism, David Mills, Dorion Sagan (Foreword) Clear, concise, and persuasive, Atheist Universe details exactly why God is unnecessary to explain the universe and life's diversity, organization, and beauty. The author thoroughly rebuts every argument that claims to "prove" God's existence - arguments based on logic, common sense, philosophy, ethics, history, and science. تاریخ خوانش روز بیست و چهارم ماه مارس سال 2012 میلادی ا. شربیانی

  2. 4 out of 5

    Marvin

    I came to this book by way of More Than a Theory: Revealing a Testable Model for Creation, astro-physicist / old earth creationist Dr. Hugh Ross' attempt to explain a scientific theory for Creationism. While I was entertained by Ross's love and explanations of astronomy and the universe, it all caem back to the logical fallacy of "it fits so well, God must have done it", a very unscientific conclusion. A friend suggested Atheist Universe as a rebuttal. And an excellent rebuttal it is, David Mills I came to this book by way of More Than a Theory: Revealing a Testable Model for Creation, astro-physicist / old earth creationist Dr. Hugh Ross' attempt to explain a scientific theory for Creationism. While I was entertained by Ross's love and explanations of astronomy and the universe, it all caem back to the logical fallacy of "it fits so well, God must have done it", a very unscientific conclusion. A friend suggested Atheist Universe as a rebuttal. And an excellent rebuttal it is, David Mills presents most of the arguments for a naturalistic explanation of the universe while tearing down many of the straw-man statements that pass as proof of God. And he does it in a way that is perfect for the layman but is never numbed down. When Mills is discussing the universe and the reality of scientific inquiry he is on solid grounds. However the book breaks down when Mills gets off of science oriented ground. Mills reveals a nastiness toward Christians, not just the fundamentalist believers, that weakens his case. He often comes across as inflexible as the ones he accuses. He also confuses his political beliefs with his naturalist leanings. There is a chapter on internet porn that really has no place in a book titled Atheist Universe, not to mention the fact that his odd statement that there is no reason to protect children from pornography or that children have no interest in sexual matters is downright baseless. Certainly there are plenty of atheists, liberal and conservative that will be shaking their heads at this. Another chapter on whether the United States is a Christian nation is on much solider grounds. Yet I have to wonder if it is wise for the author to include either of these two chapters in this particular book. I can recommend this book for its solid arguments on evolution, the naturalistic existence of the universe, and his use of logic for decimating illogical religious beliefs (The chapter on Hell is especially good) but some readers may prefer authors like Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins who know how to keep their political views out of the mix.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Julie

    David Mills is the perfect person to write this book. He was a southern Baptist in his youth, who could no longer ignore the cogent arguments of science and logic against the Bible. Although some reviewers here claim his tone is hostile, I believe it is just his attempt to warn others not to be duped like he was. Actually, I agree with one of the other reviewers that the problem is one of projection. When a reader comes to a work with pre-concieved, strongly-held beliefs, they will automatically David Mills is the perfect person to write this book. He was a southern Baptist in his youth, who could no longer ignore the cogent arguments of science and logic against the Bible. Although some reviewers here claim his tone is hostile, I believe it is just his attempt to warn others not to be duped like he was. Actually, I agree with one of the other reviewers that the problem is one of projection. When a reader comes to a work with pre-concieved, strongly-held beliefs, they will automatically (maybe even subconsciously) become defensive when they realize that what they are reading is disproving those notions. Psychologically, they have two choices 1) change their minds or 2) villify the author, so they can disbelieve him or her. Most preachers wisely avoid the old testament verses about witches, dragons and unicorns - I had no idea the Bible mentioned unicorns NINE TIMES!!! They know very well that in this day and age, people would question such silliness. Mills merely points out that if some of it is wrong, all of it should be examined...and that he does - with scientific and historical evidence, and without rancor. It's true that he focuses specifically on Christian Fundamentalism, because that's what he knows best, and he deftly destroys the arguments that our forefathers founded this as a "Christian" nation. His arguments against intelligent design are good. He points out that Hell is an unprovable concept used to manipulate the living. I agree the chapter on internet porn is questionable, but the rest of the book is well-written. People who believe in a god do so because they need to. They won't admit that to others or to themselves, but it's true. There is an attachment there, from family or culture, or just plain loneliness. They are looking for a person with the ideal qualities they couldn't find in anyone else here on earth. Only when they can let go of that need can they truly open their minds to the argument of this book. Otherwise, no amount of reason or evidence will reach them. I know. I was there.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Kelly

    I read this book about two years ago, and the two things I remember most about it are 1) how completely fascinated and excited I was reading Mills' (extremely easily accessible) chapters on the Geologic Column and the age/creation/function of both the Earth and the universe at large, and 2) my utter bewilderment during the closing chapters, especially during the COMPLETELY RANDOM section on internet porn. Um. What. *sigh* In addition, though interesting, I felt that the chapter on America's sordi I read this book about two years ago, and the two things I remember most about it are 1) how completely fascinated and excited I was reading Mills' (extremely easily accessible) chapters on the Geologic Column and the age/creation/function of both the Earth and the universe at large, and 2) my utter bewilderment during the closing chapters, especially during the COMPLETELY RANDOM section on internet porn. Um. What. *sigh* In addition, though interesting, I felt that the chapter on America's sordid history with Christianity was almost equally out of place in a book whose title has the word "Universe" in it, rather than anything about any specific country. Speaking of the book's name, the author spent way too much time ranting about ALL Christians/religions throughout the book; though it did not fundamentally clash with my own views (since I personally find all organized religion equally ridiculous), it was just unnecessary and inappropriate in a book with "Christian Fundamentalism" listed specifically in its own subtitle. Overall, I found the book an interesting and basically adequate contribution to the genre -- but I would definitely hesitate to recommend it to anyone because of its flaws, which is really unfortunate.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Lee Harmon

    This is a well-written, concise, interesting overview of the argument against Christian fundamentalism … particularly Creationism. How did the universe come into being? We don’t know. But new discoveries in quantum theory, as well as research done by Stephen Hawking and his colleagues, have demonstrated that matter can and does arise quite spontaneously from the vacuum fluctuation energy of “empty” space. Intelligent Design? Mills states that “ID’s greatest triumph … has been in convincing the gen This is a well-written, concise, interesting overview of the argument against Christian fundamentalism … particularly Creationism. How did the universe come into being? We don’t know. But new discoveries in quantum theory, as well as research done by Stephen Hawking and his colleagues, have demonstrated that matter can and does arise quite spontaneously from the vacuum fluctuation energy of “empty” space. Intelligent Design? Mills states that “ID’s greatest triumph … has been in convincing the general public that there is a controversy raging among scientists over Intelligent Design. There is no scientific controversy whatever.” So how did life begin? Well, we know God isn’t necessary. There is no need for spontaneous creation of complex cells; the first cells contained no nucleus at all, consisting mainly of an exterior membrane. Biological membranes form easily and spontaneously from a mixture of water and simple lipids. From there, the evidence for evolution is overwhelming, and Mills carefully refutes argument after argument posed by creationists. Life after death? Forget having science on your side, here. For example, if the law of the conservation of mass/energy necessitates consciousness after death (because mass/energy can be neither destroyed nor created) then the same law requires consciousness before conception. There just isn’t any real debate among scientists in these matters. A study in 1998 revealed that, of the membership of the National Academy of Sciences, only 7 percent believed in a personal God, and even fewer in Creation Science or Intelligent Design. The point I took away from the book is this: Religious beliefs must remain beliefs; no more or less. The Bible’s creationist claims are not and cannot be supported by science.

  6. 4 out of 5

    James

    Outstanding! This is one of the best books I've found yet on this subject. The author doesn't take the caustic tone of some of his peers, but in a calm, pleasant but firm way shreds the arguments offered by creationists, intelligent design "scientists", and others arguing that Christian doctrine, and by extension that of other religions, is logically coherent or has any evidence or science to support it. It's ironic - call it projection - that those spokespersons for religion always characterize Outstanding! This is one of the best books I've found yet on this subject. The author doesn't take the caustic tone of some of his peers, but in a calm, pleasant but firm way shreds the arguments offered by creationists, intelligent design "scientists", and others arguing that Christian doctrine, and by extension that of other religions, is logically coherent or has any evidence or science to support it. It's ironic - call it projection - that those spokespersons for religion always characterize themselves as honest, loving, kind, and humble, and assign the opposite traits to those taking a secular stance, while even a brief examination of their behavior shows that the typical fundamentalist or evangelical uses slippery arguments and outright lies (as in their frequent assertion that the United States was founded as a Christian nation, when the Founders went to great pains to make it clear that it was not) to advance his/her faith, and is intolerant, hateful and vindictive toward all with different beliefs, and do all this with a breathtaking level of arrogant assumption that they're right and everyone else is wrong. At the same time, although some fall short, the best scientists and nonreligious philosophers are open-minded, scrupulously honest, and humbly open to the possibility that they may have to revise their views based on new evidence.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Plamen H.

    God is simply the common word for human ignorance. Let that sink in.

  8. 5 out of 5

    David

    David Mills, a soft-spoken, southern gentleman, Baptist-turned-atheist, seems an unlikely boxer in the heated battle over the existence of God, but his good-natured attitude serves his writing well, the reason for which Atheist Universe: The Thinking Person’s Answer to Christian Fundamentalism may be the most accessible of all atheist literature. Having been a pious, devout religious follower in his youth, Mills is incredibly well-versed in both sides of the “to believe” or “not to believe” argu David Mills, a soft-spoken, southern gentleman, Baptist-turned-atheist, seems an unlikely boxer in the heated battle over the existence of God, but his good-natured attitude serves his writing well, the reason for which Atheist Universe: The Thinking Person’s Answer to Christian Fundamentalism may be the most accessible of all atheist literature. Having been a pious, devout religious follower in his youth, Mills is incredibly well-versed in both sides of the “to believe” or “not to believe” argument. The answers provided by science were ultimately far more compelling for the young Mills, rather than the witches and dragon stories of the Bible (Mills provides over a dozen Biblical references to witches, dragons, unicorns and other L. Ron Hubbard-inspired creatures). This change of worldview has led Mills on a quest to disprove nearly every conceivable argument for the existence of God. Each chapter of Atheist Universe is devoted to a different scientific and religious question – from reconciling Genesis with science and the origins of the universe, to the numerous purported miracles that “prove” God’s meddling in human life – giving Mills a chance to demonstrate his sharp understanding of physics, evolution, astronomy and philosophical reasoning. Mills does an excellent job dismantling the more preposterous claims of Christianity, providing clear, solid logic and supportive evidence for the argument of science. Here are a few of the issues addressed by Mills: • Early Christians, in seeking the establishment of a legal holiday for Christ’s birth, chose December 25 – the pagan celebration of the winter solstice under the Julian calendar. For astronomical reasons, the calendar was eventually revised by Pope Gregory XIII, moving the winter solstice to December 21, but Christians kept December 25 as the day Jesus escaped the virgin birth canal. • The Hebrews adopted many customs and myths from their Babylonian captors. Among the plagiarized myths were Creation Story (i.e., the Babylonian "Adam and Eve") and the Epic of Gilgamesh (i.e., the Babylonian "Noah"). • The Gospels of Matthew and Luke offer glaringly different genealogies of Jesus, starting from his father, Joseph, going back to King David. According to Matthew, there are roughly 26 generations between Christ and David, whereas Luke claims some 41. Besides raising the issue of historical accuracy, this noteworthy discrepancy also begs the question: if Jesus was born of the Virgin Mary, how could He possibly have a paternal lineage through Joseph? Mills loses steam towards the end, starting with the myth of Hell, followed by a brief tangent on the “dangers” of internet porn, but he still manages to posit several solid arguments right up to the book’s conclusion. Sprinkled within Atheist Universe are humorous quotes from (in)famous atheists throughout history, such as A.A. Milne, creator of Winnie the Pooh, saying, “The Old Testament is responsible for more atheism, agnosticism, disbelief – call it what you will – than any book ever written,” and writer Kurt Vonnegut stating, “The study of anthropology confirmed my atheism, which was the faith of my fathers anyway. Religions were exhibited and studied as the Rube Goldberg inventions I’d always thought they were.” Perhaps not a tour-de-force of writing, Atheist Universe will still provide atheists with plenty of ammunition against the arguments made by Christian believers, forcing Christians to re-think their position on many key issues of their faith.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Gary Beauregard Bottomley

    Creationist believe silly things based on nothing but intuition and a belief system based on their revealed religion. Even among themselves they will argue about the placement of a comma and will accept what a book written thousands of years ago says over what science, common sense, reason, empirical data and rational thought processes show to be true. It's incredible that people still reject the fact of evolution (the fossil record exist regardless of what people falsely may believe) and the The Creationist believe silly things based on nothing but intuition and a belief system based on their revealed religion. Even among themselves they will argue about the placement of a comma and will accept what a book written thousands of years ago says over what science, common sense, reason, empirical data and rational thought processes show to be true. It's incredible that people still reject the fact of evolution (the fossil record exist regardless of what people falsely may believe) and the Theory of Evolution provides the narrative for the explanation of the appearance of design around us. I recently went to a fundamentalist church and the church took it as given the literal truth of Noah's flood and how it explained everything the congregation needed to know about evolution. Yes, there are churches where people actually do believe those kind of things, and books like this one are needed to correct those silly beliefs. What the book does mostly is show how much funner it is to rely on complicated thought processes to understand than it is to just assume the truth has been revealed to man through magical means and that the same magic never allowed for errors in the translations through millenniums. Give me a world with doubt any day, over a world with certain knowledge based on 2000 year old books. Science only shows things to be less false, but always fascinates. Certainty leads to no growth because nothing else is needed for understanding. The author goes beyond science and examines what it really means to believe in a holy book such as the bible. He's got a good chapter on "hell" and why it just makes no sense. I would recommend one of my favorite books that dealt with that similar theme and used that as a central character the memoir of Jerry Dewitt "Hope After Faith". It was his non acceptance of hell that led him out of his journey from a Pentecostal Preacher ultimately to an atheist. And does having some one else dying for your sins really make any sense? I would recommend this as the best book I've read for a fundamentalist who is starting to doubt the revealed truths she's been hearing on Sundays and has started to realize that there is such a thing as science which can explain our place in the universe better than a book which documents a world wide flood and claims animals must come from their 'kind' thus completely rejecting the Theory of Evolution before it was proposed. I preferred Richard Carrier's book "Sense and Goodness without God" slightly more than this book, but I would rank this book slightly higher for those who haven't read hundreds of science books because this book is definitely less rigorous and more accessible.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    I'm quite glad I bought this book. I've been a firm believer in evolution since I became intellectually enlightened, but never really knew all that much about it. I've started to see many more creationist ideas in the news and in people around me, so it seemed like a good idea to learn a bit that would help me refute these ideas - if not just for my own sanity. Scientifically, the book addresses whether one needs to posit God for credence of the Universe, the Earth, and the human species. He does I'm quite glad I bought this book. I've been a firm believer in evolution since I became intellectually enlightened, but never really knew all that much about it. I've started to see many more creationist ideas in the news and in people around me, so it seemed like a good idea to learn a bit that would help me refute these ideas - if not just for my own sanity. Scientifically, the book addresses whether one needs to posit God for credence of the Universe, the Earth, and the human species. He does a fairly good job with all of these. I'm quite ashamed with myself for not having picked up on his argument for a Universe that did not need God before this book. I already knew of positions, but not the one that the detailed, which seems quite obvious after-the-fact. One of the best things I picked up in this book was another card in my logic arsenal. He describes the logical fallacy of backwards reasoning, such as thinking that the Earth was fine-tuned to suit humans from its incarnation, rather then think that humans became fine-tuned over time to the already-existing Earth - via evolution! I agree whole-heartedly with Mills's assertions that if Genesis is wrong, then why trust more of the Holy Bible. I think my logic skills have improved a great deal due to this book, and I hope that I never lose the tools I gained from this marvelous book.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Mo

    I found this book really concise and logical in it's argument against religion. The only problem that I had with it was that it did (at times) have that 'religion/God is wrong and stupid and so is anyone that believes in it' kind of a feel, and I just can't appreciate that. I don't think that kind of sentiment enhances any atheists argument any more than it does a religious persons argument. Luckily, that theme was not overly present in the book, most of it was very well thought out and relativel I found this book really concise and logical in it's argument against religion. The only problem that I had with it was that it did (at times) have that 'religion/God is wrong and stupid and so is anyone that believes in it' kind of a feel, and I just can't appreciate that. I don't think that kind of sentiment enhances any atheists argument any more than it does a religious persons argument. Luckily, that theme was not overly present in the book, most of it was very well thought out and relatively free of pointless God-bashing.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Terry Lewis

    From the blurbs on the front, and the ringing endorsement of this work as “an admirable work” by none other than Richard Dawkins himself, I expected a solid, scientifically sound treatise on the best evidence for atheism. Sadly, this is far from what I found. The author suggests in the introduction that the book will be labeled an “outrage” by theists because of the devastating evidence presented against the existence of deity. The outrage, however, is the laughably bad science, innumerable logi From the blurbs on the front, and the ringing endorsement of this work as “an admirable work” by none other than Richard Dawkins himself, I expected a solid, scientifically sound treatise on the best evidence for atheism. Sadly, this is far from what I found. The author suggests in the introduction that the book will be labeled an “outrage” by theists because of the devastating evidence presented against the existence of deity. The outrage, however, is the laughably bad science, innumerable logical fallacies (including some egregious ad hominem attacks), naive philosophy, and avoidance of the primary thesis. Coming to this work ten years after its publication, one can expect some new scientific discoveries to shed new light on his topic. However, most of his scientific evidence had been countered at the time of publication; some of which the author presents himself in a different section of the book. For example, the blurb on the cover asks, “If God is a myth, then how did the universe appear?” [SPOILER WARNING: I’ll be discussing his answer to this and other questions throughout the rest of this review.] Mr. Mills’ answer to this question is that matter has never “appeared”, but has existed eternally. Any other answer he says would violate the first law of thermodynamics. Because the total matter and/or energy in a closed system is always constant and cannot be created or destroyed, then obviously, the matter in our universe must have always existed. According to Mills, the big bang theory holds that spacetime began rapidly expanding at the moment of the big bang, but that the matter and energy was pre-existing. However, this isn’t the entire truth. While the Cyclic theory does espouse this view, the conventional big bang theory says “Space, time and matter all sprang into existence 14 billion years ago…” [...]. While Mills seems to imply that this is at least a possibility, Stephen Hawking himself says about this theory; “Indeed, one might suppose that the universe had oscillated, though that still wouldn't solve the problem with the Second Law of Thermodynamics: one would expect that the universe would become more disordered each oscillation. It is therefore difficult to see how the universe could have been oscillating for an infinite time.” [...] Mills takes a brief detour here to set up a rather blatant ad hominem attack, writing that, “creationists, on a more basic level, do not appear to grasp what modern science means by the term “physical law.” And then he continues to explain that these ignorant creationists “often claim that the laws of physics govern the behavior of the universe.” What he’s actually done is a bit of equivocation. Every serious scholar, whether theist or atheist, knows that what we call physical “laws” are actually descriptions of what normally happens in nature on a regular basis. Yet, he presents the concept as if creationists believe we could just re-write the law of gravity so that objects in a vacuum would fall at 4.5 m/s squared rather than 9.8 m/s squared, and suddenly, gravity would become less powerful! This caricature of creationist thinking is absurd to the point of childishness. Mills writes, “If mass-energy cannot be created or destroyed, and if the universe is entirely composed of mass-energy, then the law of the conservation of mass-energy may be extrapolated to this startling conclusion: the universe, in one form or another, in one density or another, always existed.” So let's assume, for the moment that this is true. Mr. Mills neglects to point out the problem with the *second* law of thermodynamics… that in a closed system, the amount of entropy always increases over time. In other words, the amount of usable energy in a closed system decreases over time. If Mills’ position is correct, then the universe would be like a 9-volt battery that has been discharging for an infinite amount of time, with no external charging mechanism. How then do we still have usable energy? He further appeals to the work of Stephen Hawking (later popularized by Lawrence Krauss) that matter can appear out of “the nothingness of a perfect vacuum in empty space”. This begs the question. Matter cannot appear out of a perfect vacuum in empty space if space itself does not exist! We are attempting to discover the origin of space, time, matter, and energy; all of which were either non-existent or compressed into (as Mills writes) “an infinitely dense theoretical point called a singularity, consisting of no volume whatsoever.” Please note that this is a “theoretical” point. How all of the matter and energy in the universe could be compressed so tightly that it *literally takes up no room at all* has yet to be demonstrated. To his credit, Mills does attempt to answer at least a few objections, starting with Mortimer Adler’s question, “Why is there something, rather than nothing?” His response is a rather glib, “From a scientific perspective, though, the question is: Why *shouldn’t* there be something, rather than nothing? What law of science claims that… nonexistence is the ‘natural’ condition of the universe?” I’ll remind him that the theist could make the same observation. Why *shouldn’t* a timeless, spaceless, immaterial being exist? And to that question (which does, in fact, seem to be the central thesis of a work titled “Atheist Universe”, Mills gives no answer. He spends a lot of time attempting to counter the straw man arguments that he believes to be theistic (and in particular, Christian) positions, but little time defending his own thesis. To point out one other philosophical flaw, Mills attempts to rebut Dr. William Lane Craig’s argument that one cannot traverse an actual infinite number of days. Amusingly, he resorts to Zeno’s paradox. He says that if Dr. Craig’s contention is correct, then one should not be able to walk across a room, because before one gets to the other side, they have to cross half of that difference. But before they can cross to the halfway point, they have to cross half of *that* difference. This sequence can be extended to infinity, so one must cross an actually infinite set in order to cross the room. Because we can obviously cross a room, then it must be possible to cross an actually infinite number of objects. While calculus offers a rigorous refutation of this argument, it is sufficient, I think, to intuitively understand that in crossing the room, we are dividing a finite length into infinitely small parts. When traversing an infinite number of days, the parts are of finite length, which results in an infinitely long span of time. In other words, if we required Mr. Mills to begin walking for an infinite number of finite units (whether they be miles, meters, or microns), he could never traverse that distance. Similarly, the universe could not have traversed an infinite number of past finite units (days, minutes, seconds, etc.) in order to bring us to today. To paraphrase Mills himself, I could continue pointing out every logical fallacy and straw argument that he makes, but by the time I finish, I’d find a lawyer knocking at my door suing me for copyright infringement. The number of quotations I’d have to use to illustrate the absurdity of his positions would go far beyond fair use. All in all, it’s a thoroughly juvenile work. Unfortunately, it is well-written enough to convince someone without knowledge of these issues that the author actually knows what he’s talking about. I can easily see the casual reader with atheistic proclivities reading this book and thoroughly enjoying every word as Mills “sticks it” to theists and Christians. However, in light of the various ad hominem attacks, bad science, and bad philosophy, I cannot recommend this book to anyone who is truly searching for answers to the questions raised on its cover.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Book

    Atheist Universe: The Thinking Person’s Answer to Christian Fundamentalism by David Mills “Atheist Universe" is the excellent book that uses sound logic and concise language to methodically counter well-known Christian arguments and positions. Among the arguments he counters include creationism and Intelligent Design. David Mills has written a very sound thought-provoking book that is a lot of fun to read. This 272-page book is composed of the following eleven chapters: 1. Interview with an Athei Atheist Universe: The Thinking Person’s Answer to Christian Fundamentalism by David Mills “Atheist Universe" is the excellent book that uses sound logic and concise language to methodically counter well-known Christian arguments and positions. Among the arguments he counters include creationism and Intelligent Design. David Mills has written a very sound thought-provoking book that is a lot of fun to read. This 272-page book is composed of the following eleven chapters: 1. Interview with an Atheist, 2. Origin of the Universe: Natural or Supernatural?, 3. God of the Gaps: Does the Universe Show Evidence of Design?, 4. The “Miracle” of Planetary Clockwork, 5. The “Miracle” of Life on Earth, 6. Can Genesis Be Reconciled with Modern Science?, 7. “Miracles” of Christian Perception, 8. The Myth of Hell, 9. Christian Fundamentalists and the “Danger” of Internet P*rn, 10. Was America Really Founded upon Christian Principles?, and 11. “Intelligent Design”: Christianity’s Newest Cult. Positives: 1. A well-written, well-researched book that is characterized by its pleasant tone and conversational prose. 2. Fascinating topic that covers many interesting areas. 3. Great use of sound science and logic that is accessible to the masses. 4. A very quotable book. Great quotes throughout. 5. A great introduction in which the author preps the readers on the contents of the book. 6. An interview that cleverly provides a good overview of atheist philosophy. A lot of good insight into why the author doesn’t believe in gods. 7. A look at the First Cause argument and a thorough debunking of it. 8. Creationism…its views, its flaws. Creationist’s beliefs versus scientific facts. 9. Creationism versus Evolution…here we go again. The author does a wonderful job of establishing creationist misunderstandings. Also responds to creationist objections to evolution. 10. Rock-solid evidence for evolution, the geologic column. Excellent explanation for the layperson and a thorough debunking of creationism. 11. The book of Genesis gets debunked. One of the most comprehensive debunking of Noah’s Ark in just a few pages. Debunks the notion of a “young” Earth. 12. A very helpful section on biblical absurdities. 13. “Miracles” under the microscope. 14. A great rebuttal on the alleged existence of Hell. “The unavoidable conclusion is that the ‘reason’ for Hell’s torture is simply to torture, as a purposeless, vengeful end in itself”. 15. A very interesting look at why internet censorship is unnecessary and counterproductive. One of the most amusing government commissions ever formed let me not ruin it here. 16. Debunking the notion that America was founded on Christian principles. 17. A look at the cult better known as the Intelligent Design (ID) movement. It’s history and how it “evolved”. 18. Debunking the Anthropic Principle and other ID follies. 19. Debunking the Kalam argument. 20. Excellent notes section and bibliography. Negatives: 1. The definition of agnostic was not accurate. 2. Not all atheists are liberals. I agree that the majority is but I would be careful of lumping everyone under the same umbrella. 3. Despite the pleasant overall tone there is some ranting going on... In summary, I really had a lot of fun with this book. Good use of logic is so refreshing. This book really holds up well after a second read. The author’s conversational tone and his command of the topic made this is a treat to read. Many topics within the atheist philosophy is covered while methodically dismantling creationism and Intelligent Design. This book is perfect for anyone interested in the atheist/agnostic philosophy. I highly recommend it! Further recommendations: "The Religion Virus” by James A. Craig, “50 Reasons People Give For Believing in a God” by Guy P. Harrison, “The God Delusion” by Richard Dawkins, The God Virus: How Religion Infects Our Lives and Culture by Darrel W. Ray, “End of Faith” by Sam Harris, “Faith No More: Why People Reject religion” by Phil Zuckerman, “Atheism Advanced” by David Eller, “Why We Believe In God(s): A Concise Guide to the Science of Faith” by J. Anderson Thomson Jr., “The Believing Brain” by Michael Shermer, and “Why I Became An Atheist” John W. Loftus.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    This book was excellent,it was the most thorough critique of evolution and intelligent design that I have ever read. It makes the science behind evolution and the universe so easy to understand, and is very thorough in countering fundamentalist arguments. For a long time I wasn't sure about creation vs. evolution because I kept hearing so much about creation "science" but this book definitely put those doubts to rest. It reinforced my commitment to atheism and gave me a lot of ammunition for fut This book was excellent,it was the most thorough critique of evolution and intelligent design that I have ever read. It makes the science behind evolution and the universe so easy to understand, and is very thorough in countering fundamentalist arguments. For a long time I wasn't sure about creation vs. evolution because I kept hearing so much about creation "science" but this book definitely put those doubts to rest. It reinforced my commitment to atheism and gave me a lot of ammunition for future debates with fundamentalist christians.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Danial Tanvir

    i really liked this book. i actually bought it from a book shop in bangkok,thailand. i read it in one day. it is a 2004 book by david mills, it was a bestseller among other atheist books. it starts off by talking about a paper cut that the person has. talks about various writers who write on this subject. this was another brilliant book on atheism. it is actually a long conversation between a person who is the interviewer and david mills. the author tells us about his views on religion and about how he i i really liked this book. i actually bought it from a book shop in bangkok,thailand. i read it in one day. it is a 2004 book by david mills, it was a bestseller among other atheist books. it starts off by talking about a paper cut that the person has. talks about various writers who write on this subject. this was another brilliant book on atheism. it is actually a long conversation between a person who is the interviewer and david mills. the author tells us about his views on religion and about how he is an atheist and does not believe in god, the rest of the book is actually a long series of questions and answers and this was a great read along with other books on this topic. he talks about religion in general and about god ,christianity and about heaven and hell. it is all about his views on god and on atheism. well done david mills!. this book was worth reading and was a great read!.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Clarke-Smith

    Atheist Universe was exactly the book I hoped it would be. (A quick read with well researched/concise arguments supporting secularism.) However, I did not really love this book. The problem with the book can be summed up in its subtitle—“The Thinking Person’s Answer to Christian Fundamentalism.” Cheeky. I appreciate the shout out for being a “thinking person” for picking the book of such a topic up, but it also seemed pretty condescending to indicate that anyone who holds fundamental Christian b Atheist Universe was exactly the book I hoped it would be. (A quick read with well researched/concise arguments supporting secularism.) However, I did not really love this book. The problem with the book can be summed up in its subtitle—“The Thinking Person’s Answer to Christian Fundamentalism.” Cheeky. I appreciate the shout out for being a “thinking person” for picking the book of such a topic up, but it also seemed pretty condescending to indicate that anyone who holds fundamental Christian beliefs does not think. On the contrary, I think most people do think and find plenty of the teachings in religions contradictory and do their best to reconcile them within themselves, or try to take too many things on “faith.” Mills' preface also suggests that anyone who “thinks” will also be a liberal democrat. Kind of not true. A truly “thinking” person will be able to escape such dichotomous thinking and will be able to see benefits and draw backs of both conservatism and liberalism—though I do tend to think that the liberals are more correct on justice and politics most of the time. ;-) (There is an element to NASCAR, monster trucks, guns, reality television, Applebees, and fake tanning/fingernails that I will never understand.) As much as I enjoy being a “liberal intellectual elitist,” books like this do seem to feed our misunderstanding and intolerance of one another as Americans. “Us vs. Them.” BUT Mills is right. There are many, many beliefs in Christian Fundamentalism that are verifiably false and ridiculous. And the volume at which they are proclaimed to be totally correct is outrageous. So Mills response to the force of Christian Fundamentalism in our country is a needed voice. The Christian Right has gotten a lot out of hand in forming and rejecting laws out of a contrived view of “morality” and propagating the assumption that one cannot have ethics without “God” and “religion.” Anyone who does not subscribe to Christianity is seen as villainous, amoral, and out to destroy society. Points I liked: “There is no greater tonic for true spirituality than science itself. Our connection to the universe may be grounds for religious divorce but it is also a platform for spiritual renewal. We can confront reality AND appreciate it.” “The founders of the United States were not fundamentalists. The phrase “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance and the words “In God we Trust” on U.S. currency were only added during the fear laden Cold War 1950s.” “Fundamentalism is an atavistic human thought structure. It is natural. When threatened, we revert to old patterns that aid in group survival—never mind the epistemological taint nor the abdication of an honest search for truth. The truth may set you free but societies require obedience, hierarchy, and cohesion. The wheels of survival are greased more readily by easy lies than hard truths.” “A God who commands that you love Him and threatens you with eternal torture in Hell if you don’t believe in Him may be an extremely effective ideological scare tactic. But that doesn’t make it true.” The origin of the universe is not supernatural. “Miracles” are not evidence of God. Life on earth is not a “miracle” but can be completely explained by science. The bible cannot be taken as literal fact—it is a story woven of myths, and science has repeatedly disproven its creational chronology. “Modern creationism has little to do with science, and everything to do with human psychology and emotion.” “The religious individual strives to behave “morally” in order to please God and to gain heavenly reward. The science minded individual derives his ethical system form the real-world consequences of his actions upon others and upon himself.” “Whenever human knowledge is incomplete, God is hastily recruited to fill the vacuum. We crave a deeper and more philosophical reason for someone’s death and heart-wrenching losses. We create a God of the Gaps to fill the void in our cause-effect understanding of a universe indifferent to human preference.” “If only one person truly believed in a magical Being, governing the universe from a magical city where our “souls” will fly after death, then this one person would be viewed correctly as indisputably insane. But because a majority believe this tale, the absurdity of the fantasy is undeservedly dissipated.” I experienced a lot of consensus with most of Mills’ arguments in this book. But I did take issue with his chapter handling the supposed dangers of internet porn. This chapter detracted from and was not a cohesive fit with the overall point of his book. His main argument was that Christian fundamentalists say that porn should be censored because it is dangerous to children. (Children are asexual so porn doesn’t affect them.) Not the point Mills and really, too simplistic. I don’t have an issue with porn on a “moral” basis; I think it serves a biological purpose. I don’t even find most of it offensive and I think it can be positive—but I think that Mills’ is pretty clearly offbase to say that it is mostly just teenage boys who use it. Not true. It’s a multi-billion dollar industry with many, many people using it. I wanted Mills to use his ethical argument of “the real-world consequences of his actions upon others and upon himself” against porn because it can be very exploitive of women and children albeit also empowering to women on some level too. But this was more of a book to prove that Christians are pretty silly and their values are not grounded in fact—rather than a book about building ethics and acting justly for other human beings. Tackle this social issue in a more comprehensive manner in another book, Mills.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    I like the first chapter of the book and I wish the remainder of the book stayed on that course but the book droned on and on like a boring college lecture on evolution. I just could not finish it.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Zach

    The best part of this book is the beginning, a transcription of interviews Mills has given. Interviewed by Christian apologists, Mills is defending his beliefs, and in this mode he comes across as reasonable and polite. The actual meat of the book, while successfully dismantling ID through sound logic, nonetheless seems more like a catfight than an intellectual debate. Mills' arguments are backed by science, and he points out clearly that religion is not, cannot be backed by legitimate scientific The best part of this book is the beginning, a transcription of interviews Mills has given. Interviewed by Christian apologists, Mills is defending his beliefs, and in this mode he comes across as reasonable and polite. The actual meat of the book, while successfully dismantling ID through sound logic, nonetheless seems more like a catfight than an intellectual debate. Mills' arguments are backed by science, and he points out clearly that religion is not, cannot be backed by legitimate scientific evidence. But his tone is more vitriolic than informative. He comes across as hateful, even to a "devout" atheist. I have the same problem with Richard Dawkins. Villainizing the opponent in a debate does nothing but increase the rift between the sides. As long as the average religious person considers atheism the enemy, it will be impossible to spread the message of free thought to those who haven't heard it. Mills makes a half-hearted claim at the end of the book that he is tolerant of the religious. It's half-hearted not because it isn't true, but nowhere in the preceding pages did he even hint at this tolerance. This book is a justification of scientific atheism to atheists. It does little to spread the actual positive messages of atheism, and is probably in its tone inaccessible to even people on the fence. Not much positive in the world has been accomplished by angry people.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Wendell Pierson

    This book is an unapologetic critique of christian fundamentalism. It is a point by point analysis of many of the arguments for and against the existence of a God. The focus of this book is mostly on Christianity rather than other modern religions. It is well organized and well thought out. The arguments presented throughout the book by the author are compelling and convincing. Some parts of the book are simple with discussions of many of the traditional arguments against the existence of a God This book is an unapologetic critique of christian fundamentalism. It is a point by point analysis of many of the arguments for and against the existence of a God. The focus of this book is mostly on Christianity rather than other modern religions. It is well organized and well thought out. The arguments presented throughout the book by the author are compelling and convincing. Some parts of the book are simple with discussions of many of the traditional arguments against the existence of a God but other parts are very technical (particularly the chapter on Intelligent Design) and will likely disinterest the casual reader. But the good thing about the book is that all of chapters of the book stand alone and can be read and digested independently of the others. This book clearly stands out as one of the best in the genre and I highly recommend it to anyone who may be interested in this subject. Weather one will like this book or not will clearly depend on ideology. Fundamentalists will call it blasphemous and will likely be offended. However, if the reader is open-minded and impartial, I think that this book will give one a lot to think about and generate a healthy debate.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    I am an atheist mostly because I was brought up without religion or a belief in God. After going through school, I continued this belief. I hold it to be true today, I do not believe in a God. However, I have never really had facts to back it up. This books gives you everything. It pulled together all the things I had thought about why don't believe in God more than just being brought up that way and states it all clearly. All the retorts I would have liked to have had at my brain's finger tips I am an atheist mostly because I was brought up without religion or a belief in God. After going through school, I continued this belief. I hold it to be true today, I do not believe in a God. However, I have never really had facts to back it up. This books gives you everything. It pulled together all the things I had thought about why don't believe in God more than just being brought up that way and states it all clearly. All the retorts I would have liked to have had at my brain's finger tips including: America is a Christian Based Country and how can I be such a good person when I don't believe in god. If you do believe in god, this book will show you my point of view. The one thing that is true is that I live in a country that lets me believe or not believe. I like to think all my friends feel that way to.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Terri

    This book can help anyone understand the illogical thinking that is behind much of the ideas and thoughts within the christian world. Mills uses logic, with easy to understand explanations, to debunk any argument that a person of faith can come up with to defend their beliefs in a non-existant god. He does so in a way that shows the hypocrisy and subjective blindness that affects those that would try to use logic and science to explain any being as complex and unlikely as a god. This should be r This book can help anyone understand the illogical thinking that is behind much of the ideas and thoughts within the christian world. Mills uses logic, with easy to understand explanations, to debunk any argument that a person of faith can come up with to defend their beliefs in a non-existant god. He does so in a way that shows the hypocrisy and subjective blindness that affects those that would try to use logic and science to explain any being as complex and unlikely as a god. This should be required reading in all our schools.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Paul

    This books is great if you have that crazy coworker or facebook friend who is forwarding those wacky e-mails that tell you why evolution is wrong, or god is real, or the end of times is near, or whatever. The author gives some good counter-arguments to all that nonsense, so you can study up and prepare yourself for the inevitable confrontation with Mr. Crazy. On the other hand, if you want a book about atheism or atheist thought, you're better off sticking with the big three: Sagan, Hitchens, or This books is great if you have that crazy coworker or facebook friend who is forwarding those wacky e-mails that tell you why evolution is wrong, or god is real, or the end of times is near, or whatever. The author gives some good counter-arguments to all that nonsense, so you can study up and prepare yourself for the inevitable confrontation with Mr. Crazy. On the other hand, if you want a book about atheism or atheist thought, you're better off sticking with the big three: Sagan, Hitchens, or Dawkins.

  23. 5 out of 5

    David Melbie

    Anyone who quotes Frank Zappa is very cool by me but, that is not why I like this book. I like David Mills because he is funny! The bonus that accompanies these two features is that this book is scientifically accurate and very readable. It shall remain on my shelf. Keep in mind that I am not put off by his sneering tone against Fundamentalism; this is intended, trust me. In between all the jabs and left hooks there is remarkable wisdom presented here. I enthusiastically recommend this book to a Anyone who quotes Frank Zappa is very cool by me but, that is not why I like this book. I like David Mills because he is funny! The bonus that accompanies these two features is that this book is scientifically accurate and very readable. It shall remain on my shelf. Keep in mind that I am not put off by his sneering tone against Fundamentalism; this is intended, trust me. In between all the jabs and left hooks there is remarkable wisdom presented here. I enthusiastically recommend this book to all.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Simo Ibourki

    David Mills is the best. He destroys every creationist argument there all while making it fun and interesting. I learned a lot and enjoyed the analogies he used. Mills is the embodiment of "the thinking person". I was surprised by the chapter on pornography but it was well presented and defended. David uses Logic to destroy Creationism's "logic" and he wins every time. Mills' funny personality shows through the book and it's what make it easy and enjoyable to read.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jeffrey Mark

    This is by now a classic book in atheism. David Mills presents all the usual arguments plus many more in a book that's easy and fun to read. If you're questioning your beliefs, then this book will help you realize that maybe your belifs aren't valid. If you're already an atheist, then you'll enjoy the clarification that this book brings.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Fred

    The first chapter is really interesting and gripping. Unfortunately after that it tapers off slowly. As other reviewers have pointed out, the chapter about online porn is strangely out of place in this book.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Terry Dunn

    Well written arguments. Very clear on creationism, geologic column and ID. Contains a few chapters that seem out of place, but overall a good read.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Kc Giannini

    Very interesting and intelligent book; I found myself trying to remember passages so I could have a conversation with my mother about this.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Ana

    This author throws shade at Creationism in a calm, scientific way.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jimyanni

    Disappointing. First, let it be understood: I AGREE with Mills. I am an atheist, or at least an agnostic, depending on the strictness of your definitions and my mood at the time, and maybe what day of the week it is. And it is true; this book does what the cover blurb says it does: it "makes the case against Intelligent Design", and is "The Thinking Person's Answer to Christian Fundamentalism". What it fails to do, however, is to make the case for atheism. Mills spends his entire book shooting d Disappointing. First, let it be understood: I AGREE with Mills. I am an atheist, or at least an agnostic, depending on the strictness of your definitions and my mood at the time, and maybe what day of the week it is. And it is true; this book does what the cover blurb says it does: it "makes the case against Intelligent Design", and is "The Thinking Person's Answer to Christian Fundamentalism". What it fails to do, however, is to make the case for atheism. Mills spends his entire book shooting down fundamentalist Christianity, which is, frankly, a pretty easy target to shoot down. But at no time does he ever make more than the barest of hand-waving gestures at disputing religion in general. What this book does, it does pretty admirably, but its scope is far more limited than the title would suggest. Because while I am not a follower of any religious belief, am still aware that there are plenty of them that are less obviously flawed and silly than Christian Fundamentalism. What Mills does is essentially the equivalent of a mathematician going to great lengths to prove that x>2, and claiming that by doing so, he has proven that x> 8.

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