Book Update

I apologize for it having taken this long, but I have important news to report: I’ve finished editing the complete rough draft of my book, and I think it’s now in a form ready for publication. If you’ve read any of the chapters so far and would like to see the complete draft, e-mail me or leave a comment in this thread.

In its current form, the book is approximately 78,000 words. This compares favorably with the current atheist bestsellers, while still being short enough to be read fairly quickly. (In my experience, religious believers are unlikely to even consider picking up a brick of a book.) There are ten chapters, plus a prologue and epilogue, which address the following topics:

Prologue: Unapologetic: Why write this book, and what I hope to accomplish

Chapter One: Fossil Fuels: The real-world danger posed by religious belief

Chapter Two: A Book of Blood: The argument from scriptural immorality

Chapter Three: All Possible Worlds: The argument from evil

Chapter Four: One More Burning Bush: The argument from reasonable nonbelief

Chapter Five: The Cosmic Shell Game: The argument from religious confusion

Chapter Six: Life Without Superstition: The virtues and benefits of being an atheist

Chapter Seven: Shattering Stereotypes: Debunking popular false conceptions of atheism

Chapter Eight: Universal Utilitarianism: A secular, rational basis for objective morality

Chapter Nine: Stardust: An atheist’s response to death

Chapter Ten: Into the Clear Air: The process of becoming an atheist; the effort to organize atheists politically

Epilogue: Looking Ahead: Is there hope for humanity to free itself from supernatural beliefs?

Most of these chapters are based on the essays of the same titles at Daylight Atheism or Ebon Musings. People who’ve read those essays will recognize the overall argument and layout of the chapter, though each one also has substantial new material that I’ve never previously published. In any case, I intend to make sure the original essays will always be freely available.

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About Adam Lee

Adam Lee is an atheist writer and speaker living in New York City. His new novel, City of Light, is available in paperback and e-book. Read his full bio, or follow him on Twitter.

  • Tim G.

    I haven’t read any of your chapters yet, but I have been following your blog for some time. I would love to read your rough draft.

  • Gene

    Congrats on your hard work, and I’ll be on the lookout for it. Being a fairly regular reader of your, I’ll probably be familiar with a lot of the material, but I’ll be sure to buy a copy anyways, to be lent out vigorously and often.

  • Kaltrosomos

    I haven’t read any of the chapters previously, but I’d be interested in reading them now. If you did let me read them would you like feedback, such as constructive criticism and so on?

  • EKM

    Is there any overlap between your book and the “Must-Read Posts” on the blog?

  • SteveC

    Cool, I’m looking forward to buying your book. If it’s half as good as your blog and website, it’ll be awesome. I thought about your offer to review various pieces of your book as you wrote it, but I selfishly decided I’d rather read your book without having already read the “spoilers” when it comes out. Well, I’ve read nearly all of your web writings, in which there are probably spoilers aplenty, as the arguments don’t really change much, but still, there’s a difference between having read of a particular argument before and having read the precise expression of an argument already. Can’t wait to see your book at my local Barnes and Noble.

    BTW, if you’re looking for fodder for your blog, how about tackling this article by Alvin Plantinga:

    It might be dismissed via “Courtier’s reply”, but a point by point takedown might be worthwhile too. OTOH, it is an awfully tedious task.

  • Petrucio

    I’m in. I’ve already read all the chapters before, but let’s see how that baby turned out all in one, edited and good to go.

    Even if it never gets published (but I’m sure it will), big congratulations man, it’s an awesome accomplishment.

  • Kevin DeGraaf

    As a long-time fan of your writing and frequent “linker-to” of your websites, I would also love to read the draft.

  • Megrim

    I’ve been reading this blog for over a year now, and I couldn’t wait for a book. Although I haven’t read any previous chapters I’m definitely interested to read the draft. I was so excited when you first announced the book, and I still I hope that after I buy it I could get it autographed. Congratulations!

  • DisComforting Ignorance

    I haven’t read any of your chapters yet, but as a fan of your blog, I would love to read the rough draft.

  • BlackSun

    I would love to check out the draft. Congratulations.

  • Prof.V.N.K.Kumar (India)

    Kindly send me the final draft of the book. I am a great admirer of your writings.

  • Steve bowen

    Please send me the draft; I would love to read it. I haven’t read the previous chapters but have been several times through your essays in Ebonmusings. I too will buy the book when it is published (as it surely will be).

  • Alex Weaver

    Since I’ve fallen behind in reading the chapter drafts, at this point I’ll probably wait for the published version. I appreciate the offer, though.

  • Kallan G

    Congrats Mate. As an ongoing fan I’m sure to buy this one once it’s out.

  • Carnife

    When/where can we buy this book? it looks like it is going to be fantastic!

  • yunshui

    I am really looking forward to this. Which publisher are you going with?

  • Dave

    Yes please — I’d love to read a draft.

  • john

    i’ll buy this book when it finally gets printed. maybe your next book could be a collaboration with hitchens and dawkins. that’d be great.

  • cognitive dissident

    Congratulations on your latest milestone! I look forward to your book joining the other atheists (Comte-Sponville, Dawkins, Dennett, Harris, Hitchens, Hume, Mill, Onfray, Russell, Sagan, Shelley, Stenger) in my library.

    I’ve been reading your essays online for some time, and would love the opportunity to read the rough draft.

  • Neural T

    Can I read the draft? You can see my email address.

  • goyo

    Ebon: I also would love a draft of your book. Congratulations!

  • Jason Sexton

    I would love a copy of the draft too. Thanks.

  • Christopher

    Add me to that list – I would very much like to see a draft of your book: let some one with an opposing point of view critique it. You already have my email, so feel free to send it anytime.

  • Ryan Jensen

    I don’t want to see your draft, but sign me up for a first edition copy of your book when it is published, signed by the author if possible.

    Are you shopping around for a publisher or will you self publish? Any idea of a time frame for release?

  • Mr.Pendent

    I haven’t read any chapters yet, but I am consistently awed by your intelligence, style and writing. I’ll definitely be buying it when it comes out.

  • Ebonmuse

    Please note that, as I said in the post, the offer to read the complete draft is limited to people who’ve read and critiqued at least one of the chapters so far.

  • Tozuki

    I would also appreciate a copy of your final draft :]

  • Tommykey

    Ebon, if it gets published, maybe Richard Dawkins will ask for your authograph!

  • Jim Sabiston


    I’d love to see a draft. Ron sent me a copy of the chapter on Universal Utilitarianism. I put together a critique, but Ron tells me he forgot to forward it until fairly recently. Hopefully you received it time to be useful (assuming my comments were useful).

    Congrats either way. Count on me to purchase a copy when it hits the book stores!

  • jack

    Count me in. I’d love to see the complete draft.

  • heliobates

    I’m waiting for the “add to cart” button.

    Good luck with your revisions, Adam.

  • Eric

    I would also like to preview the draft. I’ve been frequently browsing the site but have had trouble with speed issues so much of it would be new to me.

  • Spanish Inquisitor

    Please note that, as I said in the post, the offer to read the complete draft is limited to people who’ve read and critiqued at least one of the chapters so far.

    Oh, damn. I purposely held off offering to read individuals chapters so I could look at the book as a whole.

  • Steve bowen

    Oh, damn. I purposely held off offering to read individuals chapters so I could look at the book as a whole.

    Me too but no sweat, It’s a must-buy anyway.

  • Joffan

    You may already have told us, but do you have a final title for the book?

  • Ebonmuse

    Thanks to everyone who’s expressed interest! I’ll answer questions as best I can:

    EKM: Yes, some of the chapters are based on or incorporate material from previous must-read posts from this site, especially the first chapter, “Fossil Fuels”. The foundational essays from Ebon Musings are a more significant component.

    Carnife, yunshui and Ryan Jensen: I’ll let you know where you can buy it as soon as I know. :) I don’t have a publisher yet, but I’m going to start looking for an agent shortly. I don’t know how long it usually takes from book pitch to publication, but perhaps sometime next year if all goes well?

    Joffan: I think Daylight Atheism is a good title for the finished product, same as this blog. I haven’t decided whether it will have a subtitle or what that will be if so. Suggestions are welcome…

  • Nes

    Daylight Atheism: An Unapologetic. Lynet had already suggested that, but I like it.

    As for reviewing the rest of the book, I’ll just wait for the “add to cart” button as well.

  • Jason Williams

    Having read this blog a fair amount, and having had the exquisite joy of reading through your essays, I am confident in saying this book is going to be far better than Dawkins’ “God Delusion”. The rich language with which you express yourself, the heartfelt honesty of your words…. I’m sure a lot of us have high expectations.

  • Juan Felipe

    Just like the people who posted before, I have read all your essays and think is going to be a wonderful book. I do have something to criticize: regarding the atheist arguments part, I strongly disagree with your choosing of the first argument. I don’t think opening up with an objection concerning an specific religion (I assume you mean the bible) is the best way to show that atheist disbelieve all God’s alike. I would put the argument from evil in the first place if you would ask me.

    Something else: Where is the Ghost in the machine??!!! I understand is a little long and its somehow away from the general topic of the book; but I found it to be a very convincing essay. I think there are two good reasons why you should have included it: Its not very common in the atheist literature and it attacks something common to nearly all the religious traditions in the world, something that cannot quite be said about the rest of your essays.

  • DamienSansBlog

    Ditto on the congratulations. And good luck with the search for an agent!

  • Ebonmuse

    Hi Juan,

    The reason I chose “Fossil Fuels” as the first chapter is that I felt it provides a natural lead-in to the rest of the book. I believe it answers the question, “Why are you writing this book?” in a way that the others don’t. It establishes the importance of discussing the topics that the later chapters will discuss. I did attempt to cast the net more broadly than just Christianity, however.

    I did agonize over including “A Ghost in the Machine,” but ultimately decided against it. While I think it’s possibly my best argument, the others are more fundamental to the debate and affect a wider variety of religions. I wanted to have an equal number of chapters criticizing theism as I did arguing for the positive aspects of atheism, so that one ultimately had to go. But never fear: I’ll just have to include it in the sequel. :)

  • mike

    Just chiming in to agree with Juan. A Ghost in the Machine is my all-time favorite of your essays, and I’m sad to see it not included. Not only is it a thorough and well-constructed argument, but it’s absolutely fascinating. You better have a sequel!

  • heliobates

    I’ll chime in with my admiration for AGITM.

    Aside from the fact that it’s well-argued, I think it’s the killer argument for atheism. Sure, The Problem of Evil has been vexatious for a couple thousand years but without dualism no supernatural presupposition can even make it out of the gate.

  • Joffan

    I like Lynet’s suggestion for a subtitle (An unapologetic), but in pursuit of creativity, I’ll offer a few more:

    Daylight Atheism – Celebrating the dawn of reason
    Daylight Atheism – Morality without gods
    Daylight Atheism – The end of pretence
    Daylight Atheism – How to discard the supernatural
    Daylight Atheism – Goodbye, god
    Daylight Atheism – Time for the human race to grow up and put away childish fancies

    Fashions change on subtitles… I’ll have to go research what the current preference is (oh my, browsing in bookshops, what a chore – not).

  • Nathan

    Is a subtitle even necessary? I think Daylight Atheism is self-explantory and fits the tone of your writing perfectly.

  • Joffan

    That’s another option, of course, Nathan, as Ebonmuse mentioned earlier. Consider it added to the list.

  • Ebonmuse

    That is the option I’m leaning towards at this point. Of course, I may well change my mind if I come across a subtitle I like enough to use.

    I am surprised by the support for Ghost in the Machine. It is one of my favorites as well, but I hadn’t thought it fit well enough into the theme of this book. Perhaps I could include it as an appendix.

  • Joffan

    Of course there’s also and always the subtitle for the blog:

    Daylight Atheism – Nighttime is for dreaming. Daylight is for action.

    But I think it does need something… the regulars here know the phrase “Daylight Atheism” and are comfortable with it, but it might be a little obscure and uninviting to a passing book browser.

  • Juan Felipe

    The reason I chose “Fossil Fuels” as the first chapter is that I felt it provides a natural lead-in to the rest of the book.

    Sorry, I think I failed to make myself clear. I ment to say that I disagree with the first argument (scriptural immorality), not the first chapter.

    The ghost in the machine seems to long as an appendix,specially if you are going to expand it. Its better as a sequel I think

  • Lynet

    I’m with Joffan in thinking that the title might need something extra. I’m also with him in thinking that your blog subtitle is along the right lines (but not perfect). ‘Daylight Atheism’ is a phrase imbued with all sorts of meaning for us regulars here, not least the way it springboards off ‘Ebon Musings’. For outsiders you could definitely make it more meaningful with a subtitle, though.

    Actually, the best part of that slogan is the first half. Nighttime is for Dreaming — okay, it’d be stronger if you switched that around — Dreams are for Nighttime.

    Now that is a snappy phrase. Slightly nasty, actually. The sort of thing to make the casual religious observer swallow nervously before becoming steamed up to the point of not realising that you’re still saying dreams have a place in our lives. Atheists would get that last bit within the first few pages of the book, though.

    Your publisher, if and when you get one, may have opinions on this. I’ve got no idea what they would be.

  • Brad

    “Nighttime is for Dreaming. Daytime is for Action.” – I find this phrase to be a statement towards people who are already atheists. The book, however, follows the main idea of the “Ebon Musings” site through its first half, so I don’t think that fits.

    “Unapologetic” – I like it, but I don’t think it quite fits the mesh either. It may be a bit too boastful of a phrase to slap on the front cover.

    As for the “Ghost in the Machine” essay, I think it’s fine outside of the book. And yes, that essay was one of my favorites too. (Inspired me to read a lot about neuroscience and consciousness.) Obviously, if you wanted to pay it homage, you could give it passing reference if touching on the notion of a soul in the book. But arguing about the soul on secular grounds isn’t as important as arguing religion in the first place, which is the premise of the book.

    What you could do is put in some of the possible ramifications of shedding theism into your chapter “Life Without Superstition.” For example, no souls, the meaning of free will, our view of the universe, down-to-Earth notions of purpose and meaning, etc. Here you could list some ideas that could be inspected more openly with the absence of superstitious religious belief – like abortion, euthanasia, death penalty, marriage (not just the same-sex kind), or anything else that could get a new light shined on it with newfound atheism. You wouldn’t have to make any argumentation on these topics; you are promoting freethought and individual thinking after all, and those topics don’t all have answers determined fully by atheism. But you could give the reader a feeling of how, when the dominoes of religion fall down, you get to start all over again on the field of thought.

  • Joffan

    OK, I’m trying to find some more possibles on the back of this good discussion – plus random extras for creative stimulus…

    Daylight Atheism – Dreams are for darkness
    Daylight Atheism – Turning from dreams to action
    Daylight Atheism – Clear-eyed and conscious in reality
    Daylight Atheism – Down-to-Earth concepts of purpose and meaning
    Daylight Atheism – Good and godless
    Daylight Atheism – A ten-step program to quit talking to the ceiling

    I couldn’t resist turning up the “nasty” dial on Lynet’s train of thought there…;-)
    Any more for any more?