After the New Atheist Debate

After the New Atheist Debate

by Phil Ryan


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The first decade of the twenty-first century saw a number of best-selling books which not only challenged the existence of god, but claimed that religious faith was dangerous and immoral. The New Atheists, as writers such as Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris, and Daniel Dennett have become known, sparked a vicious debate over religion’s place in modern society.

In After the New Atheist Debate, Phil Ryan offers both an elegant summary of this controversy and a path out of the cul-de-sac that this argument has become. Drawing on the social sciences, philosophy, and theology, Ryan examines the claims of the New Atheists and of their various religious and secular opponents and finds both sides wanting.

Rather than the mutual demonization that marks the New Atheist debate, Ryan argues that modern society needs respectful ethical dialogue in which citizens present their points of view and seek to understand the positions of others. Lucidly written and clearly argued, After the New Atheist Debate is a book that brings welcome clarity and a solid path to the often contentious conversation about religion in the public sphere.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781442649521
Publisher: University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division
Publication date: 10/29/2014
Series: UTP Insights Series
Pages: 208
Product dimensions: 6.25(w) x 9.25(h) x 0.71(d)

About the Author

Phil Ryan is an associate professor in the School of Public Policy and Administration at Carleton University. His most recent book, Multicultiphobia, was shortlisted for the Canada Prize in the Social Sciences in 2011.

Table of Contents


Part One: The New Atheist Debate

1. Charges and Defence: An Overview

2. Faith, Reason, Radical Evil

3. Clashing Caricatures

4. The Serious and the Wishy-Washy

Part Two: Life Together

5. New Atheist Ethics

6. The Defenders’ Moral Foundations

7. Can We Live without Foundations?

8. Ethical Dialogue

Conclusion: Is This Enough?

What People are Saying About This

Paul Allen

After the New Atheist Debate is a book that needed to be written. Astute and timely, it will serve as a touchstone for those who seek to put the ‘New Atheist’ debates into a broader social and political perspective.”

Paul Bramadat

“Phil Ryan competently and elegantly challenges the caricatures associated with both sides of the New Atheist debate. His book offers insights into the kind of critical conversation we might have despite the shortcomings of each side.”

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