The new book is IRRELIGION A Mathematician Explains Why the Arguments for God Just Don’t Add Up By John Allen Paulos 158 pages. Hill & Wang. $20. Read the First Chapter: ‘Irreligion’ reviewed by MICHIKO KAKUTANI in tomorrow's Times under the catchy title, "Prime Roller, Prepare to Meet a Wiseacre."Kakutani is not sure why a mathematician is needed for some of the arguments. Example, "As for Mr. Paulos’s discussion of the contradictions involved in a deity being both omnipotent and benevolent, it consists of little more than regurgitation of the Epicurus aphorism to the effect that if God is willing to prevent evil but unable to, then he is not omnipotent; that if he is able to but unwilling, then he is malevolent; and that if he is both able and willing to prevent evil, then there is no explanation for evil’s continued existence."
Kakutani may not be completely enamored by the professor but the Times seems quite smitten with Paulos. They just wrote him up on 1/13/2008.
Now you ask, What does the publication of this book tell us in the wake of other recent best sellers by atheists?
It tells us that publishers believe that the public will buy these anti-religious books. And why would the public do this? As I have said before in this blog, it is evidence of the strong backlash against religious fundamentalism. You can't even talk to the fundamentalists about their religion, let alone argue with them.
Hence, cagey publishers are sufficiently convinced that lots of people out there will take some solace in buying a book called Irreligion to display prominently on their coffee tables. No, I do not think people will read this book. They will buy it but not read it. And religion in all its forms will not be hurt.