Book review: ‘The Happy Atheist’ by PZ Myers

Relentlessly unsubtle wholesome fun.

The Happy AtheistI tend not to read books about atheism, as I consider myself a fully paid-up member who doesn't need converting. But the scientist and blogger PZ Myers is usually excellent entertainment value, so I ended up enjoying The Happy Atheist far more than I thought I was going to.

What I particularly liked about this book is its relentless unsubtlety. Myers isn't interested in the academic arguments of theologians who might accuse him of setting up straw men parodies of the beliefs of religious adherents; his response is that these aren't parodies: the vast majority of religious believers aren't academic theologians, and really do believe in all that bullshit. Perhaps the theologians ought to be putting their own embarrassing allies straight, instead of pooh-poohing us ill-informed, naive atheists. An excellent point.

As we might expect from a veteran (and natural) blogger, the chapters in The Happy Atheist are short and snappy. Each comprises a standalone essay (in effect, an extended blog post). I enjoyed this approach. It made the book into a real page-turner. It's also quite a fun book—especially if you're a non-believer. Or, as I put it on Twitter, ‘good, wholesome fun’. How could anyone possibly take exception to that?

Writer and photographer Richard Carter, FCD is the founder of the Friends of Charles Darwin. He lives in Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire.WebsiteFacebookTwitterNewsletterBooks
Buy my book: On the Moor: Science, History and Nature on a Country Walk
…wonderful. Science and history and geography and evolution and culture all tangled up in musings while walking about the moors around Hebden Bridge.”—PZ Myers
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