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The Australian Book of Atheism - Comments

Aztek's Avatar Comment 1 by Aztek

I hope Tim Minchin's contribution is like a singing birthday card. You open the book on a blank page playing Storm or The Pope Song or something similarly awesome.

Sat, 23 Oct 2010 14:39:16 UTC | #537709

Mette's Avatar Comment 2 by Mette

Tim Minchin! :D

Sat, 23 Oct 2010 18:15:56 UTC | #537789

Saganic Rites's Avatar Comment 3 by Saganic Rites

Knowing the Australian knack of getting straight to the point, I'm surprised that the book didn't simply consist of;

"There is no God.

The End".

Sat, 23 Oct 2010 23:07:52 UTC | #537888

critica's Avatar Comment 4 by critica

Should be a great read. An eclectic and multifaceted approach. I know a lot of the authors and they provide an enjoyable selection of essays across the board. This is a more topical book than 50 VoD targeted to Australian conditions.

Sun, 24 Oct 2010 00:49:07 UTC | #537915

mmurray's Avatar Comment 5 by mmurray

Comment 3 by Godless But Not Clueless :

Knowing the Australian knack of getting straight to the point, I'm surprised that the book didn't simply consist of;

"There is no God.

The End".

Or

" There is no God, Harden The F*** Up"

Michael

Sun, 24 Oct 2010 04:59:09 UTC | #537945

Bala's Avatar Comment 6 by Bala

hope they didn't leave out Peter Singer.

Sun, 24 Oct 2010 05:52:37 UTC | #537952

JackR's Avatar Comment 7 by JackR

Throw another priest on the barbie, mates.

Sun, 24 Oct 2010 11:57:43 UTC | #538003

Alan4discussion's Avatar Comment 8 by Alan4discussion

Comment 7 by Jack Rawlinson

Throw another priest on the barbie, mates.

Take a ride cobbers. I know the very place!

Here's just the place The Devils barbecue Restaurant - all cooking done by natural HELLFIRE.

  • the surface temperature in the core ranges from 100 to 600 ºC at the depth of 13m, which is demonstrated by pouring water into the ground, resulting in a geyser of steam
  • Sun, 24 Oct 2010 21:11:54 UTC | #538152

    Alan4discussion's Avatar Comment 9 by Alan4discussion

    The 'El Diablo' restaurant provides an impressive backdrop to all of this and serves Canarian food which is cooked using geothermal heat (A cast-iron grill placed over a large hole in the ground). It is advised to arrive here early if you would like to sample the food, since the Kitchen closes at 3.00pm.

    And for seconds a closer look, but don't sit or stand in the wrong place!! Pity they don't show the actual barbecue!

    Sun, 24 Oct 2010 21:37:48 UTC | #538160

    Mr Embiggen's Avatar Comment 10 by Mr Embiggen

    Comment 6 by Bala :

    hope they didn't leave out Peter Singer.

    Unfortunately Peter didn't have the time to contribute also when we asked he had just written for 50 Voices. And although we do have a range of more famous authors in Australia we also have other lesser known but active writers, scientists, philosophers and bloggers that we wanted to give time at the mic.

    We'll be setting up a Pledge campaign in early 2011 to send copies to all our MPs as happened with the God Delusion in the UK.

    There'll be launch events at Readings in Melbourne, Gleebooks in Sydney, a joint humanist, skeptic and atheist meeting in Brisbane and Beaufort Street Books in Perth. The first books go on sale at TAMOz in Sydney at the Embiggen Books stand there.

    Mon, 25 Oct 2010 00:33:40 UTC | #538192

    Chrys Stevenson's Avatar Comment 11 by Chrys Stevenson

    The first review for "The Australian Book of Atheism" has been published and it's a resoundingly enthusiastic five stars! Importantly, it's from Australia's leading book trade magazine - Bookseller + Publisher.

    The book goes on sale in book stores across Australia from tomorrow, Monday, 22 November. US and UK release is planned for early 2011.

    Here's the review:

    "'At 440 pages, with 33 contributors, The Australian Book of Atheism is a weighty no-brainer Christmas gift for argumentative readers. But that’s judging this exceptional book by its cover. Edited by science bookseller, sceptic and blogger Warren Bonett, The Australian Book of Atheism opens with an historical overview of Australian atheism. What follows are exemplary examples of the essay’s stylistic diversity, in tones variably comedic, sincere, enlightened and journalistic. Each expert-speaker holds forth on topics that range from the importance of secularism in education, government and politics; to pork-barrelling the Christian vote; fundamentalism and the new age spiritualism; euthanasia and abortion. Standouts are Tim Minchin’s verse narrative of his encounter with the New Age, Philip Nitschke’s confessional, Jane Caro and Karen Stollznow’s humour, and Graeme Lindenmayer’s patient explication of why intelligent design isn’t a theory, let alone a science. With its broad appeal (just where will this magnificent volume live in the bookstore—essays, current affairs, cultural studies, Australian politics, religion, philosophy, science?), this book promises to have a long shelf life. I recommend suggesting it to bookclubs. Next year, we may see volume two with contributions from Indigenous atheists.' FIVE STARS Michael Kitson (Bookseller & Publisher)"

    http://www.scribepublications.com.au/book/theaustralianbookofatheism

    Sun, 21 Nov 2010 00:28:29 UTC | #550723

    Eureka72's Avatar Comment 12 by Eureka72

    Great news something that is finally Australian not American or United Kingdom.

    Can someone post the link to the review as I am a regular reader of Bookseller and Publisher and was not able to locate it. I have gone over the October issues and there does not seem to be anything in the November one either? There are a few people who may be interested in the book an Australian first. I would be interested in information on what other works Michael Kitson (Bookseller & Publisher) has reviewed. Location of this information has been fruitless thus far.

    Fri, 26 Nov 2010 10:02:21 UTC | #553423

    Eureka72's Avatar Comment 13 by Eureka72

    I have been searching for the review online and in the magazine and it does not come up anywhere at all. Here is the link to the online magazine in the review section: you will have to go to page 37 yourself for the November and December reviews.

    http://www.booksellerandpublisher.com.au/insideBSandP.asp

    Sat, 27 Nov 2010 08:30:32 UTC | #554101

    Chrys Stevenson's Avatar Comment 14 by Chrys Stevenson

    Hi Eureka72 - sorry I've taken so long to respond to your question - I've been away at TAMOz for the past week.

    Here's the review from Bookseller + Publisher on the Scribe website:

    http://www.scribepublications.com.au/book/theaustralianbookofatheism

    'At 440 pages, with 33 contributors, The Australian Book of Atheism is a weighty no-brainer Christmas gift for argumentative readers. But that’s judging this exceptional book by its cover. Edited by science bookseller, sceptic and blogger Warren Bonett, The Australian Book of Atheism opens with an historical overview of Australian atheism. What follows are exemplary examples of the essay’s stylistic diversity, in tones variably comedic, sincere, enlightened and journalistic. Each expert-speaker holds forth on topics that range from the importance of secularism in education, government and politics; to pork-barrelling the Christian vote; fundamentalism and the new age spiritualism; euthanasia and abortion. Standouts are Tim Minchin’s verse narrative of his encounter with the New Age, Philip Nitschke’s confessional, Jane Caro and Karen Stollznow’s humour, and Graeme Lindenmayer’s patient explication of why intelligent design isn’t a theory, let alone a science. With its broad appeal (just where will this magnificent volume live in the bookstore—essays, current affairs, cultural studies, Australian politics, religion, philosophy, science?), this book promises to have a long shelf life. I recommend suggesting it to bookclubs. Next year, we may see volume two with contributions from Indigenous atheists.' FIVE STARS Michael Kitson (Bookseller & Publisher)

    Wed, 01 Dec 2010 02:39:48 UTC | #556364

    Eureka72's Avatar Comment 15 by Eureka72

    Yeah I read that already thanks, it was already posted. I am skeptical over new people who pop up in the "atheist" world especially books that get a 5 star rating. Bookseller and Publisher stated that the review for this book has not been published as yet and that the reviewer is a bookshop owner in Yarravale in Victoria called the Sun. They also explained the 5 star rating system. When a well known author reviews it I may be interested until then I fear it is a book that involves self promotion of people who know each other and it is only small time publication.440 for a paperback book is very small and the price is exorbitant. Best of luck with those who are interested, I will stick to well known authors for the moment.

    Thu, 09 Dec 2010 08:47:14 UTC | #560559

    Mr Embiggen's Avatar Comment 16 by Mr Embiggen

    Hi Eureka72/Tony,

    Seems like strange reasoning to not read a book, but that is your prerogative of course. It highlights a good point we as atheists are frequently chastised for — you only hear the same old voices. This is partly why it was quite useful to mix in some old hands with some new-to-print-blood. I'm hoping that the book sets an example for other countries (An African one, an Indian one etc) to bring together some new voices into country specific volumes so we can start to generate a better picture of the state of affairs in different areas. The Atheist Christmas book last year in the UK was an excellent start in this direction as well.

    Of course everyone in this book has considerable track history in combating the excesses of religion in our country, but you'd probably need to be really tapped into the grassroots level activism here to know some of them. Though others like Leslie Cannold, Jane Caro, Lyn Allison, Max Wallace, Robyn Williams, (Walkley Award Winner) Michael Bachelard, Philip Nitschke, Russell Blackford, Tanya Levin and Colette Livermore are all previously published writers as well as being well known prominent Australians. And most don't know each other personally at all which perhaps is not that strange in a country this size.

    Scribe of course isn't a small time publisher it is one of the top and most respected Australian based publishers as any bookseller knows. The publication price is merely the cost of most trade format paperbacks in Australia — Scribe's prices also reflects Australian based printing and sustainably harvested trees for the paper as opposed to imports. Also the statement that 440pp is small is another odd comment, the majority of paperback are obviously smaller than this but what that has to do with quality I do not know.

    Anyway I'm sure that you'll do just fine with the usual authors (I presume you mean Dawkins, Hitchens, Russell etc) you prefer to read as they are truly excellent writers and cover a wide base of material, and then perhaps once you've spent as much time with them as many of us have you may wish for other voices too.

    Cheers Warren Bonett (editor of The Australian Book of Atheism)

    Sat, 11 Dec 2010 00:02:13 UTC | #561531

    Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 17 by Steve Zara

    There is nothing in the laws of physics which takes a magic marker and draws a loop around a bunch of atoms which you think correspond to information in our brains representing the word "delineate".

    So you type out the word because of non-physical influences?

    Sat, 11 Dec 2010 01:40:42 UTC | #561546

    eccles's Avatar Comment 18 by eccles

    I have just finished reading this excellent book. I think it is one of te best books of it's kind I have read. I have books by Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens, Dan Barker and Daniel Dennett plus books debunking Religion.

    I am Australian. I am a bedragled refugee from the "Holy" Roman Catholic Church now a proud and very active Atheist. I am very well read in the Bible, Ancient History, Ancient Egypt and the history of the Foundation of the Roman Catholic Church.

    I was not sure what I was going to get when I ordered this book. I felt I should support this book and it's author and contributors. I am glad I did. The book is far better than I thought it was going to be. The contributors are excellent and experts in their fields. The book is written as somebody stated for "no-brainers" (I hope that refers to Christians as well). It means that it is a very easy book to read and understand.

    The book tells as it is, and has been in Australia for religion and for non-believers. I am 70 years old and remember a lot of the history, sordid in many cases of Christianity in Australia. The Roman Catholic Church stands out as one that has interferred in Politics and the lives of people. It was responsible in part for the great split in the Labor Party and formation of the DLP at the hands of one of the worst bigots, Dr. Daniel Mannix, Archbishop of Melbourne at the time. I was a Xavier College (Jesuit) at the time.

    I hope this book helps in the further destruction of Religion in Australia. I think the figures now show that only about 60% of Australians believe in "God". (Census figures)and only about 7% of Believers attend Church on a regular basis.

    Sat, 11 Dec 2010 02:33:13 UTC | #561555

    DrJim's Avatar Comment 19 by DrJim

    Religious censorship is often justified by the commentary of people who haven't seen or read the production or work. Eureka72 employs the black art of condemning something he/she hasn't read by building a suggestion that it is written by a bunch of people whose contributions are poorly esoteric. Such a strategy suggests malice that is far worse than opinion masquerading as analysis. No-one who has not read the book is in any position to make a valid contribution to the discussion.

    Sat, 11 Dec 2010 02:59:48 UTC | #561561

    ojlesslar's Avatar Comment 20 by ojlesslar

    I received an advance copy of this book as I head up a rationalist/ atheist group at uni. I'm a junkie for the heavy-hitters' books like "The End of Faith" and "God is Not Great", so wasn't expecting very much when I was told it was written by Australians and to expect it in the mail. To be honest, the movement has been led so far by movers and shakers in the US and the UK and I was skeptical about an Australian book. Really? Who are these people? I recognised some of the names from the Global Rise of Atheism convention in Melbourne in March 2010, but still..

    Boy, was I surprised. And it was a good kick up the bum for only reluctantly reading this Australian book of atheism. (And I'm Aussie too... *shame)

    The minute I opened up the package, I realised that this was the shiz. I don't know about anyone else here, but I'm a sucker for well-printed books. Great typesetting, great cover design... someone's put in a lot of effort into this beautiful book.

    And then the first chapter. It will win me or cause me to flick through the book.

    It won me. And by a mile. After that, every well-written, thoughtful, well-edited, punchy chapter by the 33 different authors made me PROUD to be an Australian. And an atheist. The movement of reason has come to Australia and this is it's manifesto. The Australian Book of Atheism is going to find its rightful place alongside the "The God Delusion" on the shelf entitled: "Books that SERIOUSLY MATTER. Now, do your brain and society a favour, and read these!!"

    6 stars out of 5

    Sat, 11 Dec 2010 03:29:15 UTC | #561566

    Podblack's Avatar Comment 21 by Podblack

    Regarding the charge of 'how much value is this book?':

    The cost of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot in paperback - I got it at $34.99 at 369 pages.

    The cost of 59 Seconds: Think A Little, Change a Lot by Richard Wiseman in paperback - I got it at $37.95 at 357 pages.

    The cost of Jared Diamond's Guns, Germs and Steel - $37.95 with 496 pages.

    What of my copy of Dawkins The God Delusion? I brought it new as a paperback at $35.00 with 464 pages.

    If anything - The Australian Book of Atheism is excellent value for the cost that is below or equivalent to ALL of the above - and well within the range of books of this size (and if people are calling '400' slim, it is in fact about 4cm thick and terrified the hell out of my cat upon it landing on the doormat after prompt delivery from Embiggen Books).

    People could order the Australian Book of Atheism at a discount by ordering early from the site, and since it's supporting an Australian publisher, Australian authors and very Australian content... it's arguably a better bargain than the now-a-year-old Atheist's Guide to Christmas (at a marginally less $29.99, 352 pages and NO Australian content!).

    Sat, 11 Dec 2010 04:47:31 UTC | #561578

    Eureka72's Avatar Comment 22 by Eureka72

    Why defend your edited book Mr Embiggen? I have stated my opinion which is mine alone. I am sure there are people who will read this book, I am just not one of them. Seems a little odd to get a few people here to defend the things that I wrote. I said good luck to your book, I wont read it. What were you gaining from what you wrote you felt the need to defend yourself and even comment. Why not ignore what I wrote? move on and just talk up the book or just allow people to have their own view points for their own reasons. I am sure you meet many people who do not agree with you and ignore what they have said or do you always feel the need to defend. Shows a level of low self esteem.You must already have confidence in your book why else would you write it? Any book that gets 5 stars straight of the mark is dubious to me, this was used as it's selling point. I have read snippets of the chapters the first chapter I must say and no I do not want to go any further."atheists were ‘were overlooked, ignored, or even suppressed by the writers of history textbooks and the teachers who use them’? " I do not agree with this at all. It was not to my taste and that is fine as again I am allowed my opinion like all of us are. I was interested in Tim Minchin as I am a fan of his considering we are from a similar area and background. Continue to defend your book over one persons opinion I find it intriguing to say the least. I am sure the book will sell to those who are into this and it will have nothing to do with my opinion. I was honestly looking forward to this book. I have skimmed through it and read the first chapter and it is not for me. I had different expectations. My suggestions don't get your knickers in a not over one persons view point. It can come over as a little sad. Allow people to make up their own minds with the book. There is a thing of trying to hard.

    Sun, 12 Dec 2010 15:03:15 UTC | #562051

    ojlesslar's Avatar Comment 23 by ojlesslar

    I'm a little annoyed by what's going on here. I don't know what the beef that Eureka72 has with MrEmbiggen (the editor?) (or the book or an author in the book or with the publishers or with Australians) and I don't really care to be honest. I wrote my review because I read it and liked it. End of. And for some complete stranger who clearly has an agenda to a) imply I'm lying b) carry on like this is on RDF.com is grossly inappropriate. Perhaps he is from a religious background? Whatever the case may be, please sir, refrain from pointedly insulting other people in this forum, especially since the editor's reply seemed balanced and measured, and not acidic.

    Sun, 12 Dec 2010 19:00:57 UTC | #562151

    The Watcher's Avatar Comment 24 by The Watcher

    It is curious that Eureka72 hides behind the "I'm entitled to my opinion so there's something wrong with you if you're disputing it?" dodge - then when someone disputes their opinion, writes a long defence of it. Sure, everyone is entitled to their opinion, but when they choose to air it publicly, they are inviting argument - especially when their opinion is based on more prejudice than fact. This is an ironic forum for ex cathedra pronouncements which the rest of us should listen to respectfully and not dare question.

    Eureka72 says their opinion is based on (1) if nobody they've heard of wrote it, it isn't worth reading, and (2) they read about one paragraph of one chapter. I won't even bother with the second-hand thinking behind (1). And as for (2), that might be appropriate for a quick evaluation of the style and thinking of a single-author book, but it is hardly relevant to a book with essays by over 30 independent authors (and having actually, um, read the book - Hey! there's an idea! - I imagine that if they were all thrown together at a party, there would be a lot of robust discussions going on). The chapters cover an impressive range of topics, styles and approaches and if you have an active mind it would be difficult to read it without finding something you didn't care about, something you didn't like - but lots that you found educational, provocative and well worth reading.

    Mon, 13 Dec 2010 23:31:24 UTC | #562836

    alexmccullie's Avatar Comment 25 by alexmccullie

    The diversity of authors and their opinions challenge the common religious response to criticism as simply that of 'atheist fundamentalism'. People who happily subscribe to being atheists and/or agnostics vary in their responses to religious beliefs and religious organisations in our society, and I think this book gives some sense of that diversity within Australia. Hopefully the book is another worthwhile contribution to atheist literature. Alex

    Wed, 22 Dec 2010 21:59:21 UTC | #567609

    Chrys Stevenson's Avatar Comment 26 by Chrys Stevenson

    Some wonderful reviews coming through now - the latest one in The Australian, Australia's major national newspaper, by experienced reviewer and writer, Peter Kirkwood. Among his other qualifications, Kirkwood holds a masters degree in theology.

    Some extracts:

    'I approached this book with some trepidation, but I was pleasantly surprised. It is very readable and, for the most part, reasonable in tone. And it's enlightening both in the content of individual essays and in the wide range of voices and points of view expressed.' Peter Kirkwood (Weekend Australian) http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/arts/reasonable-people-politely-showing-god-the-door/story-e6frg8nf-1225987920422

    'An exceptional book [containing] exemplary examples of the essay’s stylistic diversity, in tones variably comedic, sincere, enlightened and journalistic … With its broad appeal (just where will this magnificent volume live in the bookstore — essays, current affairs, cultural studies, Australian politics, religion, philosophy, science?), this book promises to have a long shelf life.' FIVE STARS Michael Kitson (Bookseller & Publisher)

    'Is intelligent design credible? Should we have prayers in Parliament, and can atheism ever be a meaningful belief system, or is it just the absence of such belief? These are weighty issues, and they are commendably addressed in this authoritative collection.' (Courier Mail)

    Mon, 17 Jan 2011 07:43:42 UTC | #579663