Atheism: The Case Against God

Atheism: The Case Against God - George H. Smith This book gives a devastating take on theism and a brilliant defense for atheism and was published in 1979. For the most part he presents a more coherent and consistent set of arguments than the more recent books defending atheism do.

The author is not a philosopher (he seems to be more of a political writer than anything else) but he's very clever in his logical constructions and what words really mean. He starts off by discussing what an atheist really is, shows how definitions of God usually are inconsistent, how the natural can't be used to describe the supernatural, and how faith precludes reason. Faith is the belief without support (or how I like to say "faith is pretending to know something you don't know"). Science is based on reason, but it is never certain. This uncertainty allows for doubt and can lead to belief systems based on whims and authority.

I like the first two thirds of the book very much and there are many great points the author lays out. It can make a difference for anyone who has thought that atheist are atheist because they must hate God but now realize their faith just doesn't make sense (thinking atheist hate God also doesn't make sense either) and are starting to question their faith.

The last third of the book has a lot to be desired. His cosmological and design arguments were sparse; he's clearly not a scientist and a lot has happened since 1979. His discussion on ethics seemed absurd. He seems to be an Objectivist of some type and thinks that the right moral value truths have been derived through the writings of Ayn Rand and Nathaniel Branden. I'm not an objectivist so I don't really know if he accurately states their views, but if that's what they believe in they need to be more coherent and systematic. Moreover, I had no idea why he wrote those sections in this book, because you don't need to develop your own system of ethics from a pseudo philosophical system in order to refute God is required for morality to exist.

I highly recommend this book if you find it at the used bookstore for 2$ (as I did), and it is a great read (but can be difficult because the author is logically precise), but he unnecessarily damages his story by needlessly worshipping at the temple of Ayn Rand.