The Atheist's Primer

The Atheist's Primer
Tags: Michael Palmer

In The Atheist's Primer, a prominent philosopher, Dr Michael Palmer, reinstates the importance of philosophy in the debate about God's existence. The 'new atheism' of Richard Dawkins and others has been driven by largely Darwinian objections to God's existence, limiting the debate to within a principally scientific framework. This has obscured the philosophical tradition of atheism, in which the main intellectual landmarks in atheism's history are to be found.With an analysis of atheistic thought from the Ancient Greeks to the present day, Palmer explains and comments on the philosophical arguments warranting atheism, discussing issues such as evil, morality, miracles, and the motivations for belief. The emphasis placed on materialism and the limitations of our knowledge might seem disheartening to some but Palmer concludes on a positive note, arguing alongside Nietzsche, Marx and Freud and many others that happiness and personal fulfilment are to be found in the very materialism that religious belief rejects.Michael Palmer first addressed these issues in his student-oriented edition, The Atheist's Creed, of which The Atheist's Primer is a revised abridgement for the general reader. Palmer has now stripped out the primary texts and expanded his commentaries into fluent and concise analyses of the arguments. Free of philosophical jargon and assumptions of prior knowledge, this is an important introduction to a major cultural debate.