So…I'm writing a book

I asked you guys for a collection of arguments for god’s existence you’d like to see rebutted, and you provided.  Thank you.

As many of you have guessed, and due to pressure from people in my life like Greta Christina (and a healthy number who said they’d buy it), I decided to write a book.  It won’t be anything special, just what I do: here’s an argument for god, and here’s why it sucks written in language that most people can use.

My goal will be to keep all rebuttals as concise as possible so you can actually use them in conversation rather than telling someone to read the book.  Sometimes I’ll manage it, other times I won’t.  I will also focus on the formulations of the argument you hear from normal people at work or at church rather than the word salad of “sophisticated theologians,” except for arguments that frequently get adopted by everyday people.  I might have a section in the back where I go after the arguments you pretty much only see in debates (and then only to muddle the conversation so the theist can escape intact), but I’ll likely just point people to where I feel those arguments get shredded most effectively.

Anyway, I’m 3,000 words in and have only scratched the surface.  I’ll keep you guys up-to-date and even throw you out some of my favorite parts as I write it.  Here’s a bit I was tickled with from the other night on the argument, “Maybe it’s not true for you, but it’s true for me.”

If something is “true for you” but it conflicts with the evidence, then your standard for truth has been set well below the sane standard for “wrong.”

I know that leaking my favorite parts won’t help book sales, but it’s such a weird concept for me to even consider stuff like that.  As many of you know, I don’t even demand someone cites me when using my material.  I write to share, to collect my thoughts.  If someone can use something I’ve written, fill your boots.  Hell, I may even put the book up for free online and just ask people to pay what they think it’s worth (though people close to me may kill me if I try to do that).  We’ll see.

So…I need a title and some cover art.  Title should probably come first.  Something that says, “You don’t need 50 PhDs to think the arguments for god’s existence suck.”

Ideas?

  • neatospiderplant

    I will buy a copy. If you do the “pay what you think it’s worth” idea, I will pay twice what I think it’s worth so stop being all too nice and stuff and take my money!

  • http://www.facebook.com/ben100 benblanchard

    Finally!

  • rikitiki

    Title:

    EVIDENCE
    ——————– = REALITY
    FAITH

    (as in: “evidence over faith equals reality”)

    simple equations for living.

    • sqlrob

      Bad idea, IMHO.

      Evidence = Reality * Faith? Implies too much of the wrong thing.

      • Drakk

        On the other hand, lim(faith -> 0) Reality = infinity. i.e. the less faith you have, the closer you get to reality. Kind of.

    • http://www.atheist-faq.com Jasper T

      I read it as:

      Evidence / Faith = Reality

      Which I don’t really get. Maybe this would be better:

      Evidence * Cos(Faith) = Reality

      • Drakk

        This one I don’t get.

        For faith = 0 then Reality = evidence * cos 0 = evidence, which is true.

        What exactly does tau or tau/2 (or any angle measure of) faith mean, though? Faith is going around in circles?

    • Drakk

      What would make more sense mathematically is

      R` = R*e^-f

      Where

      R` = the person’s conception of reality
      R = Reality
      f = faith

      At f = 0 this reduces to R` = R. As faith -> infinity, R` -> 0

  • rikitiki

    p.s. This is gonna be awesomesauce!

  • https://twitter.com/#!/scthinks scthinks

    Please please please include super-corny-slash-terrible pictures of confused looking people who will later don “Aha!” expressions after you’ve destroyed particularly egregious arguments. If you’ve ever seen one of those terrible “Here’s why God is always right!” books, you know what I’m talking about.

  • PocketWocket

    That Emperor is Naked: A Guide to Stating the Obvious. (Overused reference? Probably.)

    • http://freethoughtblogs.com/crommunist Crommunist

      Or “The Emperor’s Old Clothes: Why the Arguments for God Suck”

      • Ubi Dubium

        I also immediately thought that the title should reference “The Emperor’s New Clothes”. I like both of these, but I prefer Crommunist’s, because it uses the word “suck”, which is a good indication of the no-holds-barred in-your-face kind of rebuttal this book is likely to be full of.

    • Daniel Schealler

      Stating The Obvious.

      Just that.

      Short and to the point.

      I like it.

      ^_^

  • http://www.atheist-faq.com Jasper T

    “Tales from the Wacky World of Apologetics”

    • http://www.atheist-faq.com Jasper T

      And have a starburst on the cover that says something like “Now with 50% more paragraphs!”

  • TV200

    I doubt very much that “leaking” will have any impact. I think Greta’s book could be taken as a case in point. She didn’t “leak” it per se, but everyone knew that is was an expansion of the famous article. I am under the impression that it is doing well for her, and I bought it as soon as it was available. I haven’t taken to e-books yet, so I had to read hers ON MY PHONE. But I really wanted to read the expanded version, as well as support her for her efforts. I know I will get a copy of your book as well, as much for the content as for the fact that I like to support people whose work that I appreciate. And, while I can’t speak for anyone else, I would be surprised many others didn’t feel the same way.

  • H.H.

    “Think It Through”

    “Not Even Wrong”

    “JT’s Handy Guide to Navigating Nonsense”

    • Besomyka

      That reminds me of an image I saw a while back.

      Fractal Wrongness: You’re not just wrong. You are wrong at every scale of resolution. Zooming in on any part of your worldview finds beliefs exactly as wrong as your entire worldview.

  • http://www.christisue.com Christi Chambers

    I’ll buy it!

  • fastlane

    JT’s Survival Guide for the (Christian) Zombie Apocalypse.

    You could riff off ZombieLand and have the bullet points numbered in a similar manner.

    Too Cheesy? =)

  • Carina

    Title: “It’s NOT rocket-science”

    • Daniel Schealler

      +1

  • http://www.facebook.com/apaniagu amandapaniagua

    It’s always fun to adopt mantras of religious institutions and play on words. :D

    Childlike Doubt, The Prodigal Secularist, The Parable of the Two Skeptics, The Skeptic on the Mound, The Freeing of 5,000+

    Pretty cheesy, yes, but fun nonetheless! I’m really excited for a book from the wizard of magic! :D

  • http://talkingtotalk.wordpress.com t2tb

    JT Eberhard’s PRATT Survival Guide.

    “Because there’s always a thousand-and-first time.”

  • http://alysonmiers.wordpress.com Alyson Miers

    Leaking your favorite parts can help book sales. It helps get people talking and generates interest, which leads to sales. Readers want to get a taste so they’ll know what to expect.

  • Rory

    “2,000 Years of Wrong: A Guide to Christian Apologetics”

    • Hibernia86

      Rory’s title is the first one I’ve actually liked out of the suggestions. Maybe I’m just picky…

  • ACN

    I would buy it.

    And if it were “pay what you want” online, I’d still pay for it.

    I suspect lots of your other readers would too!

  • Forbidden Snowflake

    “Apologetics not accepted”

  • rikitiki

    “Argument? That’s not an argument, silly.”

  • Drakk

    Title:

    “Left Behind: With All the Other Bad Ideas”

  • http://anthrozine.com Cubist

    Title: [number] Arguments For the Existence of God
    Subtitle, formatted to be relatively inconspicuous on the front cover: …And Why They ALL Suck

    • Hibernia86

      This one is good too.

  • http://freethoughtblogs.com/wwjtd JT Eberhard

    Hrm…how about “Unapologetic”? :P

    • Forbidden Snowflake

      That is a good one, and the one I should have come up with when I was looking for an apologetics/apology pun.

    • Hibernia86

      This is good, but only to people who know what the word “apologetics” means. The general population may not.

    • Rory

      Similar to what Hibernia said above, I like ‘Unapologetic,’ but the publisher will likely want you to have some kind of descriptive subtitle to go with it. I find the whole ‘Dramatic Noun: Explanation for Dramatic Noun’ title format a little played out.

  • rikitiki

    How about “The Wholey Babble”,
    subtitle “Last Testament version”

  • rikitiki

    …or “Holey Babble” as in apologetics full of holes.

  • https://twitter.com/nicoleintrovert Nicole

    Charge for the book, even if it is something small, YOU are worth it.

    I think it is fantastic that we have more references from/for the common-folk. I cannot wait to read the finished product.

  • http://peternothnagle.com Peter N

    A title that popped into my head:

    “Surely You Jest! — The Top 20 Lame Arguments for God”

    I hope you bring it out in paper form — even if you’re otherwise giving it away on-line. You’ll sell them by the carton wherever you speak, and even wired readers will want to buy it to give as gifts. Print-on-demand is making that process very easy and inexpensive.

  • Parse

    “JT’s Field Guide to the Apologetic Arguments (and how to annihilate them for fun and prophefit)”
    For each argument, you can give their calls (common variations), juvenile coat (oldest known version), and native habitats (who tends to use them, and where). You can also include known sightings (a quote from a well-known apologist using the argument), and what to do if encountered (a bulletted list of common rebuttals).
    After the summary, then you can spool out the full dissection of the argument, its flaws, how to best counter it, and so on.

    • PhilMay

      Parse, I like your concept of a field guide, however, you omitted one of the best advantages to using that format; derisive wordplay in the name you give to each argument: In the example J.T. listed;

      “Maybe it’s not true for you, but it’s true for me.”

      The argument could be given a name such as “The Myopic Ostrich”

  • teh_faust

    Sounds a bit like an atheist DIY or recipe book.
    Instant Atheism? The Antichrist’s recipe book?

  • http://johnnykaje.wordpress.com/store Johnnykaje

    “Apologies NOT Accepted: (X) Arguments for God and Why They’re Wrong.”

    Also I am SO up for designing book covers.

    • teh_faust

      “Why they’re wrong” doesn’t sound quite so powerful as “why they suck”
      That expression at least deserves a place in the subheading.

    • scotlyn

      I second the first part: “Apologies not Accepted”

    • http://www.atheist-faq.com Jasper T

      I like the “Apologies Not Accepted”, or perhaps the shorter “No Apologies”

    • PhilMay

      “Apologies Rejected:…
      “Apologies Denied:…
      “Apologies Suspected:…
      “Apologies Reflected:…
      please somebody tell me to stop

  • Bob Jase

    ‘If God Exists I’m a Psychic Dog’

    But only if you can get Richard Wiseman to write a foreword.

  • Metaphysical Ham Sandwich

    I kinda like “You don’t need 50 PhDs to think the arguments for god’s existence suck”

    But “Unapologetics” works for me as well.

    • Metaphysical Ham Sandwich

      Which apparently already exists, so I don’t know the rules for reuse.

    • https://twitter.com/#!/Erulora Erulóra Maikalambe

      Well, subtitles are popular these day, so maybe both!

  • http://reasonableconversation.wordpress.com Kaoru Negisa

    First of all, +1 to “Unapologetic”. Alternate ideas:

    “Why Would You Believe That?”

    “Ignoring Reality is Immoral”

    “Bad Ideas: Why Arguments for God Make No Sense”

    I just bought Greta’s book last night, finally, but I would totes buy yours as well. Fortunately, I’ll have some time.

  • Metaphysical Ham Sandwich

    Oooh, or

    “Why does God need a logical argument?” a la Captain Kirk

  • Rando

    Can I play the title suggestion game too? How about “42, and a bunch of other stuff that doesn’t answer the ultimate question”

  • http://scotmcshane.com Scott McShane

    “Where is your God now?”

    • http://faehnri.ch/ faehnrich

      I like “Where is your god now?” (sorry if double post, something’s wonky with my posting)

  • http://faehnri.ch/ faehnrich

    I would pay good money for this book, even more if you chose the pay any price route.

    Along the same lines as this book, are there any websites that list common godly arguments with refutations? I mostly look at atheist blogs, but still, haven’t found anything that lists common arguments. Maybe Rational Wiki has something like what I want, but I haven’t seen it. Ones like God is Imaginary are good, but still not exactly what I’m hoping for.

    If there isn’t anything like that, I’d be willing to buy a domain name and some server rack space right now and set something up. It’d be almost trivial to throw up a MediaWiki site and allow people to contribute to it.

    • https://twitter.com/#!/Erulora Erulóra Maikalambe

      Are you familiar with the Iron Chariots Wiki? It’s run by the fine folks over at The Atheist Experience (Freethought Blog neighbors).

      • http://faehnri.ch/ faehnrich

        No, I wasn’t aware of this, but am now. Thanks!

  • https://twitter.com/#!/Erulora Erulóra Maikalambe

    Looking forward to the book, but I’ll leave the name suggestions to others. I’m not to be trusted with names. I once wrote an app for an auto sales client and named it Auto Sales and Service Customer Relationship Analysis Program.

    • Robert B.

      At my retail job we have some ancient computer software for the “point of sale,” i.e. the cash registers. We accurately describe it as the POS system.

  • Robert B.

    Yay! You used mine!

    I thought it wouldn’t get in, because I’ve never seen that argument discussed on FTB. (I guess epistemological relativists don’t spend much time telling people they’re wrong on the internet?)

  • CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain

    If something is “true for you” but it conflicts with the evidence, then your standard for truth has been set well below the sane standard for “wrong.”

    I love the sound of it, but doesn’t that invite the listener to flippantly disregard it as a “you’re insane” ad hominem? As if your take on the sanity of their standards is an opinion that need not be taken seriously.

    • CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain

      Hrm, “conflicts with the evidence” leaves wiggle room. Conflicting with specific evidence isn’t bad if you’re siding with other evidence that was collected more rigorously.
       
      Ignoring large-scale double-blind studies in favor of personal experience: not so good.

      Granted the distinction would be lost on people who’d say “true for me,” likely not knowing what rigor is or why it’s important.

      • CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain

        * Personal experience is evidence, but it’s an uncontrolled sample of one.

  • http://boldquestions.wordpress.com Ubi Dubium

    I’ve been trying to think of other attention grabbing names. Having a list of the “20 top…” sort sees to be popular. And I’ve heard the band “Barenaked Ladies” chose their name because it was attention grabbing. So how about:

    The Barenaked Emperor: Why the 20 Best Arguments for God all Suck”

  • rikitiki

    How bout: “Theisn’t” – ‘Why relgion is wrong’

    Or: “Paying Attention to the Man Behind the Curtain” – ‘Debunking the Greatest Con of all Time’

  • rikitiki

    …or shorter: “Man Behind the Curtain – Why Religion is Anti-Human”

  • cag

    No Faith? No Problem.

  • Alan G. Humphrey

    Here are a couple of titles for your book:

    God does not play dice with the universe, not because dice don’t exist…

    If God doesn’t see evil it’s not because eyes or evil don’t exist.

  • PhilMay

    In line with your desire to keep it simple I would suggest modifying:

    If something is “true for you” but it conflicts with the evidence, then your standard for truth has been set well below the sane standard for “wrong.”

    To read:

    If something is “true for you” but it conflicts with the evidence, then your standard for truth is set too low.

  • Bill Krueger

    Holy Crap I was thinking of doing the exact same thing the day before you posted this. I would love to help you in any way that I can. You name it. well, short of giving you 1 Million Dollars. I’ll gladly preview the book and will definitely buy a copy. I’ve got some ideas of my own I’d love to share, grid willing.

    Bill Krueger


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