Pharyngula

The bookstores have noticed us

Minnesota Atheists notes a new policy at Borders Books — they’ve put up a small display section dedicated to books about atheism.

If you’ve ever been frustrated in a search for books on nonbelief in your local bookstore or annoyed by their inclusion in the comparative religion section, Borders Books has remedied the situation. “Atheism and Agnosticism” has been added as a new section for the works of Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens, and many others. We hope other bookstores will follow this example, and encourage our members to suggest they do.

A reader actually sent me a photo of this miracle.

i-9d1ebb9d308a084153e8f3ea035df25b-borders_atheism.jpg

Of course, compare the size of that to the “New Age” or “Religion” section of your typical bookstore, and you can see we’ve got a ways to go yet. I’m going to have to insist that everyone go out and buy these books. After you’ve finished reading them, I expect you to write a book of your own, so we can fill up a wide rack of our own.

If you have doubts that you can write a book … have you read any of the books in the New Age or Self-Help or Pop Psych or Religion sections? Lobotomized monkeys could do better.

Comments

  1. #1 Tyler DiPietro
    July 30, 2007

    I’d love to write a book. Only problem is I have nothing in the way of a track record, no notoriety and thus no credibility with book publishers for whatever marketability I may have. Oh well.

  2. #2 LisaS
    July 30, 2007

    I’d buy your book Tyler!

  3. #3 anonymous
    July 30, 2007

    I used to work at a Borders. This display is called an End-Cap. I’m totally surprised that they have an atheism End-Cap now. Good for them. Atheism is entering the mainstream. I’m happy.

  4. #4 Hexxenhammer
    July 30, 2007

    What’s that book in the lower left? I’m judging it by it’s cover. She’s hot and I’ll read it.

  5. #5 K. Engels
    July 30, 2007

    What I’d really like to know is how Infidel, a word of LATIN origin, got associated with Islam… Especially since, historically, the Muslims were the infidels, at least according to the Christian west. Well I know the answer, Infidel being used as a questionable translation of kafirun, mushrikun, etc., but it still doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.

  6. #6 Hank Fox
    July 30, 2007

    Whoo-hoo!

  7. #7 Steve Fisher
    July 30, 2007

    Now if they would just move the books by Behe, Wells, etc out of the science section and put them in the astrology and new age section I’d really be impressed.

  8. #8 shrimplate
    July 30, 2007

    A few months ago I noticed that our local Borders was doing that. Not so at the other chain place. They do, however, have a section for “religious fiction” and following the suggestion of another blogger whenever I go there I put some bibles on that same shelf.

    Heheheh.

  9. #9 mndarwinist
    July 30, 2007

    PZ, are you gonna write something? I’ll be the first to buy it. Incidentally, I am a little disappointed that Vic Stenger’s “God: the failed hypothesis” didn’t do as well as Dawkins’s and Hitchens’ books.

  10. #10 BT Murtagh
    July 30, 2007

    What Tyler said.

    PZ, have you written a book on atheism? It would be a slam-dunk for you, you could start by collecting some of your Pharyngular essays such as “Proper Respect” and “Awed At Our Accomplishments” and the like.

    I’d buy that in a heartbeat. If I’m the slow kid on the bus and you already have, then gimme advertize, pleaz!

  11. #11 Joshua
    July 30, 2007

    If I may: w00t! We’ve hit the big time now.

    It won’t be long before somebody writes Diogenes of Melos, Superstar and turns it into a Broadway smash.

  12. #12 Christian Burnham
    July 30, 2007

    There’s one good reason why there will always be more books on religion.

    Atheism ain’t that complicated. You don’t need to read 10 books to work it out. A 10 page pamphlet would do.

  13. #13 Jon H
    July 30, 2007

    PZ – Here’s something that’ll drive you nuts.

    Last night WGBH broadcast a show produced by Wisconsin Public Radio, called ‘Electrons to Enlightenment’, with last night’s show about Darwin vs. Creationism. The show is funded by the Templeton organization, which ought to give a hint about its leanings.

    The last person featured is a woman, apparently a former biologist, who has gone deep into the woo. She was talking about her theory that Consciousness pervades the universe, and that’s where life came from. Or something. It was pretty hazy, as woo will be.

    She even said that if science adopted her pet woo, they’d never have to worry about the question of where consciousness comes from. Apparently, she thinks there’s no need to question where the supposed universe-pervading consciousness comes from.

    She claims her theory isn’t ‘Creationism’ because it is influenced by Eastern religions rather than what she termed the ‘desert religions’.

    Her name is Elisabet Sahtouris, and her book is (groan) EarthDance (eyeroll).

  14. #14 Joshua
    July 30, 2007

    I meant Diagoras, obviously. Duh.

    (Although it helps that one of the Diogeneses was an atheist as well. Though I don’t think he was from Melos.)

  15. #15 Kellan Stec
    July 30, 2007

    PZ, where’s your book? Slacker.

    Also, where’s Hemant Mehta, Victor Stenger, etc?

    We could actually fill a nice rack.

  16. #16 Jon H
    July 30, 2007

    “What I’d really like to know is how Infidel, a word of LATIN origin, got associated with Islam…”

    Considering that the Muslims (and their Jewish subjects) preserved and translated Classical texts, I suppose it’s not inconceivable that infidel came to the West from the Latin via the Muslims.

  17. #17 The Pacifier
    July 30, 2007

    Yeah!!! Great news. Another half-baked ideology trounces out onto the playing field. Now available at Borders!!!

    I personally have no issue with the almost religious expansion of the reason-based, thus more accepted, ‘secular / atheist’ institutions of academia and science. Theologians, scientists, psychiatrists and philosophers have strictly divided, compartmentalized, and further ‘bamboozled’ the whole of our life experience through their self-defined (thus self-proven) analysis, abstractions, and symbology. Body, brain, conscious, dreams, ego, emotion, feeling, heart, imagination, instinct, intellect, intuition, knowledge, memory, mind, personality, psyche, reason, senses, subconscious, superego, third eyes, thought, unconscious, wisdom, dare I say ‘soul’ even a godspot are offered as fundamental, discrete components of a once whole being. And with each division comes a potent entry point for control. The divide and conquer strategy begins within.

    Well, good luck with all that! I guess time will tell.

  18. #18 Devoted Pharyngula Fan
    July 30, 2007

    PZ- I agree with some of the earlier comments. I’d love to read a book written by you too.

  19. #19 Steve_C
    July 30, 2007

    Yeah! Because a god that would let his “son” get nailed to a cross for sins committed by his own creation under rules he set up is so much more preferrable to the world that actually exist without one.

    Nitwit.

  20. #20 the great and powerful oz
    July 30, 2007

    Back when Danish embassies were being torched over a cartoon, Borders pulled “Free Inquiry”, the only publication to reprint the cartoon, from their shelves.

    Christopher Hitchens, who writes for the magazine, is boycotting the chain.

  21. #21 Apikoros
    July 30, 2007

    Body, brain, conscious, dreams, ego, emotion, feeling, heart, imagination, instinct, intellect, intuition, knowledge, memory, mind, personality, psyche, reason, senses, subconscious, superego, third eyes, thought, unconscious, wisdom, dare I say ‘soul’ even a godspot are offered as fundamental, discrete components of a once whole being.

    Huh? Wanna take the pacifier out so we can understand you?

  22. #22 Tulse
    July 30, 2007

    No no no! This “Angry Atheist” approach is completely the wrong Frame?! We’ll never make any progress or get any attention by being strident!

  23. #23 Eamon Knight
    July 30, 2007

    The bookstores have noticed us

    When I read that title, I thought it was that, in reference to earlier postings, B&N, Chapters, etc. were now banning anyone wearing a big “A” T-shirt from their stores, as probable shelf-shufflers.

  24. #24 bacopa
    July 30, 2007

    I think all the Houston Borders stores have this display, including even the one in the People’s Republic of The Woodlands. The Woodlands is one of the most heavily zoned and regulated communities in the US. It’s where coservatives who pretend to hate government regulation and high taxes move to experience the benefits that careful land-use planning and effective government services supported by high taxes provide. Hypocrits.

    They had Stenger’s book on the endcap there. I’ve always ejoyed Stenger, but he’s a second stringer with a third-tier publisher. He was lucky to get the space did.

  25. #25 LisaS
    July 30, 2007

    Does anyone know who we would need to contact about Barnes and Noble making an atheist/agnostic section? Do we just go to our local store and talk to the manager? Is there some corporate office that makes these sorts of policy decisions that we would need to contact?

  26. #26 Brian
    July 30, 2007

    I’d love to write a book about knowledge, belief and the ethics of believing in something only when it is highly probable and showing that faithheads are lying when they claim knowledge, and that belief in god is dishonest, as it is belief in an extremely improbable event. Even if it is a true belief (less probable than throwing a stone in Melbourne and knocking out the eye of a chosen person in Perth except a lot more difficult; aussie reference sorry, just think throwing a stone from New York and taking out a chosen person’s eye in San Francisco and you’ll have the idea), they have no right to believe it because it’s not based on any reasonable basis (like evidence)….I’m reading lots of philosophy to see if there’s any objections that aren’t dogmatic… Got the idea from William Clifford’s ethics of belief. Anyway, it’s not a new idea, and I’m not an writers leftovers, but I think it needs to be written so that religiousites can have there “virtuous” faith shown to be infact dishonest……
    Thoughts? Any flaws in my logic?

  27. #27 coathangrrr
    July 30, 2007

    I’d imagine they have plenty of agnostic/atheist books already, they just put them in the philosophy section where few will look for them.

  28. #28 coathangrrr
    July 30, 2007

    What I’d really like to know is how Infidel, a word of LATIN origin, got associated with Islam… Especially since, historically, the Muslims were the infidels, at least according to the Christian west. Well I know the answer, Infidel being used as a questionable translation of kafirun, mushrikun, etc., but it still doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.

    There are two reasons I see for this. First, infidel is the best broad term to translate the words into. Kafirun can be more accurately translated as apostates, and mushrikun as polytheists, but the connotation is more of a negative and thus infidel is used. Really, it is because translation is inexact and often it is easier to use a general word when translating for general consumption.

  29. #29 RedMolly
    July 30, 2007

    I wonder how long it will be until some knucklehead Bible-whacker starts “bookstore evangelizing” by sticking copies of Strobel’s Case for a Creator, etc., into the atheism endcap. (Reasoning: these books are about atheism… really, they are… just as The Turner Diaries is about race and hence belongs in the African-American studies section.)

  30. #30 Tom @Thoughtsic.com
    July 30, 2007

    We do need more books. I’d like to see a book outline theism’s negative influence on science throughout history and how, should theism continue, it will continue to crap all over the new and exciting fields of science.

  31. #31 skblllzzzz
    July 30, 2007

    @ Hexxenhammer

    It is probably “Infedel” by Ayaan Hirshi Ali:
    http://www.aei.org/books/filter.all,bookID.870/book_detail.asp
    Her Blog:
    http://ayaanhirsiali.web-log.nl/ayaanhirsiali/english/index.html

    Ayaan is indeed HOT, and some psychologists have speculated that a major part of the Dutch female population were pleased to see her go because of that, especially the Dutch cabinet minister who caused the scandal, Rita Verdonk, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rita_Verdonk .

  32. #32 Lulu
    July 30, 2007

    Hmm… perhaps my Borders is relatively advanced. They don’t currently have an Atheism endcap, but I remember them having some sort of display, whether endcap or otherwise, round about the time when god Is Not Great came out. Also, they’ve had an Atheism shelf for… at least a year (when I first started checking). It’s between Catholic/Gospel Theology/Analysis (that’s not what it’s called, but it’s the books most seriously studying the gospels and Christian (well, mostly Catholic) doctrines) and Judaism. I suppose that’s about right.

    We do have a relatively low percentage of churchgoers, according to that (probably inaccurate) map (McLean County, IL). It seems that many of the non-believers stay relatively quiet, though – many of the aldermen and city council I recognize from my old church.

  33. #33 Odonata
    July 30, 2007

    For those of you outside of the US, where do your bookstores put the atheist books? Do they get an endcap or section of their own?

  34. #34 Tulse
    July 30, 2007

    I wonder how long it will be until some knucklehead Bible-whacker starts “bookstore evangelizing” by sticking copies of Strobel’s Case for a Creator, etc., into the atheism endcap.

    Yeah, it would be really obnoxious and childish to move books around in a bookstore…oh…wait…

  35. #35 Stephen
    July 30, 2007

    I live near Chicago and they have something similar to this at my Borders.

    They have The God Delusion, The End of Faith, and God: The Failed Hypothesis all next to The Dawkins Delusion, The Case for a Creator and Mere Christianity.

    I can’t complain though. For a red county, it’s still pretty good attention.

  36. #36 Caledonian
    July 30, 2007

    Please do not move books from their assigned locations. It makes it difficult for the people who wish to find them to do so, and is simply rude.

  37. #37 ryan
    July 31, 2007

    Powell’s here in Portland has has an Atheism section for years.

    You can even see it online: http://www.powells.com/subsection/PhilosophyAtheismandHumanism.html

  38. #38 Tom @Thoughtsic.com
    July 31, 2007

    Caledonian wrote:

    Please do not move books from their assigned locations. It makes it difficult for the people who wish to find them to do so, and is simply rude.

    Actually, I’d argue this makes it easier for them to find. And it accurately portrays what the contents are. People who are looking for science don’t want to see this junk; likewise, people who are looking for religion do. We’re just putting it in the correct spot.

  39. #39 Caledonian
    July 31, 2007

    Actually, I’d argue this makes it easier for them to find.

    Then you’re an idiot.

    When people trying to find a particular book look at its reference in the store’s listings, they will find that it is supposed to be in a location where it no longer is.

  40. #40 Tom @Thoughtsic.com
    July 31, 2007

    Ad hominem. Very nice. Works for theists, so it must be the best form of argument!

    When’s the last time you used a store’s listings to find a book? I think I’ve used it once.

    Generally if you’re looking for a specific book, you know where to find it. Thus, if I’m looking for a book on intelligent design, I will first appropriately look for it in the religion section, as that’s what it is. If I don’t find it there, I would use the store listing to be disgusted when I find it’s in the science section.

  41. #41 Mark Plus
    July 31, 2007

    I’ve always ejoyed Stenger, but he’s a second stringer with a third-tier publisher.

    Prometheus Books often publishes good stuff, but its titles usually fall dead-born from the press. The alpha atheographers (Harris, Dawkins, Hitchens) have demonstrated that mainstream publishers can make money with anti-religion books.

  42. #42 Caledonian
    July 31, 2007

    When’s the last time you used a store’s listings to find a book?

    That would be yesterday.

    And for the sake of accuracy: that wasn’t an ad hominem, moron. That was an insult.

  43. #43 Pete
    July 31, 2007

    @9:

    PZ, are you gonna write something?

    Hello, we’re in the 21st century now. PZ has written something. (So have we, by the way.)

    But yes, I hear he’s planning on stamping a portion of his writing onto dead trees and shipping it on trucks to megabookstores where people holding lattes can get exposed to it.
    Yes, I’ll be one of them, but I’ll grin knowingly when I see it.

  44. #44 Lulu
    July 31, 2007

    > When’s the last time you used a store’s listings to find a book? I
    > think I’ve used it once.

    As amusing as I find the relocation idea, I use the listings all the time. They’re useful, and they’re what store employees go by. As a bookstore employee (not Borders, a local textbook store, but all the same), I’d be pretty pissed off if people consistently came into my store and “ironically” relocated the Mammalogy books into the English – Topics in Religion class section.

    If you didn’t know a bookstore employee before who would tell you to piss off, now you do. We’re usually underpaid, we work long hours, and no, dammit, we don’t get to read on shift! D:<

  45. #45 Sam
    July 31, 2007

    I’m in Wichita, Kansas, where being an atheist is only a little less stigmatized than being a sex criminal. So I was pretty surprised to find an atheism display in my local Borders. Happily surprised!

  46. #46 Darren
    July 31, 2007

    I saw the same display in a Kentucky store, and it made me proud. I wanted to email the store to express my delight, but I couldn’t find an address.

    The display is also at the front of the religion section, not tucked away anywhere, so you can’t help but see it if you’re heading for the fairytales for some reason.

  47. #47 David
    July 31, 2007

    A good book to add to the list: The Ghost in the Universe: God in the Light of Modern Science, by Taner Edis. Well-written, compelling, and offers a different perspective than the philosophers and biologists (Edis is a physicist, and also grew up in a Muslim country).

  48. #48 Richard
    July 31, 2007

    I work in a bookshop in the UK, and used my position as science buyer to create an atheism section of my own. It has quite a big table to itself and a shelf next to popular science, and I spend most days hoping the religious people (and priests!) that have a look at it will kick off angrily. Hasn’t happened yet, though…

  49. #49 Dave Brooks
    July 31, 2007

    As much as it is a good sign that more people are “becoming” atheists. Isn’t the whole idea to not be involved with religion and not write books and promote this, dare I say, “movement”. As far as I’m concerned we should just be an invisible society of people not involved with an ideology. Because every movement of this type always becomes power hungry and wants to wage war against others that are not like them…i.e. every other religion. I’m sure people will have plenty of responses to this, but my main point is to be careful as to how you go about not believing in something. I’ve chosen a transparent position on it, maybe you should to.

  50. #50 Russell Blackford
    July 31, 2007

    I don’t know the Joshi book. Has anyone here read it?

  51. #51 Greta Christina
    July 31, 2007

    “Powell’s here in Portland has has an Atheism section for years.”

    A really good one, too. (We were up there visiting family, and took advantage of our Powell’s pilgrimage to stock up.) They don’t just have the usual suspects — they have lots of interesting-looking atheism books that we’d never heard of.

    I do wonder a bit to what degree we’re the flavor of the month. But I’m not going to argue. If it gets these ideas into people’s heads — especially young people’s — then it’s a Good Thing, fad or no.

  52. #52 Rey Fox
    July 31, 2007

    Christian @ #12:

    That’s why I try not to get too annoyed at the size of the religion section in bookstores. Because there’s so many flavors of religion and there’s really no end to the stuff that you can just make up.

    As far as reshelving, since the other thread’s a bit too long, I’ll just chime in against it, though a couple months after God Delusion came out, I did helpfully place one copy on the bestseller rack at Borders. For visibility’s sake. I never could find the danged thing at B&N until they had a stack of them discounted near the science shelves. This is in West Mormonia, you see.

  53. #53 Rey Fox
    July 31, 2007

    As an additional note, while it’s nice to have a whole end cap, I must say that those end caps get changed around all the time, so it likely won’t last forever. Also, I would sort of like to see a more positive title up there. Something like “We Can Make It On Our Own.” I’m not much of a writer, someone else will have to take that one.

  54. #54 BT Murtagh
    July 31, 2007

    Dave Brooks quoth:

    As far as I’m concerned we should just be an invisible society of people not involved with an ideology.

    Dave, we’ve done that, and all it ever got us was shat upon by the religious majority, who certainly do not keep their views to themselves.

    Yes, in the future I would love to see “atheist” become an unnecessary word, but that future is not going to come about unless we level the playing field a bit – specifically, unless talking about being nonreligious is as repectable as talking about being religious.

    Right now the religites are a very imposing and noisy majority and need to be pushed back; this is not a time when being a shrinking violet aids us, if indeed there ever was such a time.

  55. #55 Steven
    July 31, 2007

    Many many more books on atheism exist than are on display here.

  56. #56 Jeff D
    July 31, 2007

    In the Borders bookstore I visit most often, the end-cap display of atheism and non-belief books is conveniently located at the end of one of the religious-studies aisles.

    I was perturbed to learn via C. Hitchens that when Free Inquiry magazine republished the Danish cartoons of the prophet Muhammad, Borders bookstores pulled those issues of the magazine (but not before I bought my copy).

  57. #57 Will D.
    July 31, 2007

    This could not make me happier. Way to go Borders, I’ll shop in your town over B&N any day. Keep it up!

  58. #58 windy
    July 31, 2007

    Body, brain, conscious, dreams, ego, emotion, feeling, heart, imagination, instinct, intellect, intuition, knowledge, memory, mind, personality, psyche, reason, senses, subconscious, superego, third eyes, thought, unconscious, wisdom, dare I say ‘soul’ even a godspot are offered as fundamental, discrete components of a once whole being. And with each division comes a potent entry point for control. The divide and conquer strategy begins within.

    Yes, everything was so much simpler and better when we were made up of four humors. Less entry points to invade the body and control “diseases” that science has probably made up in the first place. Do enlighten us: what whole-being, non-divisive treatment would you recommend for appendicitis?

  59. #59 Heathen Dan
    July 31, 2007

    I have all but two of the books in that pic. I must remedy the situation post-haste! 🙂

    Russell @ #50: I haven’t read it myself, although I hear it’s an anthology of atheist essays and literature.

  60. #60 Andrew Riddles
    July 31, 2007

    I petitioned my local library to create an atheist fiction display, pointing out that they had a christian fiction display*. They were really nice about it and have created a successful atheism selection opposite the christian one. I provided them with a bibiliography which I got by surveying members of the local Humanist Society who were really helpful and supportive.

    This is here in Ottawa, Canada, however, I am not sure how easy it would be if we were in Crawford, Tx for example. I am also disappointed that they have a christian section at all, and am surprised that they have not faced any criticism from the large muslim community that uses the library.

    Meanwhile I noticed the local branch of Chapters has all its atheism books under “Religion”. Open up a dictionary and a picture of this appears next to “irony”. I don’t actually shop at Chapters because the owners do a lot to financially support Israel and its occupation forces in the West Bank and Gaza; otherwise I would complain to them and get something done. I only go in there to look at books and magazines before ordering them online or buying them from my local independent bookstore.

    *And yet the Bible doesn’t appear in the christian fiction section where it belongs.

  61. #61 John C. Randolph
    July 31, 2007

    I don’t even have to get as far as the crucifixion to dismiss Abrahamic mythology as a depraved fantasy. The story of Abraham and Isaac is enough for me to say “WTF”?

    The idea that Abraham is supposed to be ADMIRED for showing his willingness to murder his own child at the behest of his hallucination is easily one of the most repulsive ideas ever to be promulgated by the woo-woos.

    Oh, and Andrew: maybe it escaped your notice that Israel pulled out of Gaza, and the result has been a never-ending barrage of rockets aimed at Israeli civilians. Perhaps you would do well to investigate why so many Arabs in Gaza are frantic to get into Israel. Seems like the Hamas thugs they voted for don’t care nearly as much about keeping their own people alive as Israel does.

    -jcr

  62. #62 Martin07
    July 31, 2007

    We already have our own section. Cf. Science and Nature.

  63. #63 Chris
    July 31, 2007

    of course the atheism section is never going to be as big as the religion section! there are many different kinds of religion, with many different kinds of god. how many times can you say “i don’t believe” interestingly enough to write hundreds of books about it?

    and before you start… i’m an agnostic, or am i atheist? depends on your view, not mine – look up bertrand russell

  64. #64 Unstable Isotope
    July 31, 2007

    I can confirm that my Borders, in Newark, DE has an atheism end-cap.

  65. #65 Basement Activist
    July 31, 2007

    This is simply additional proof that the atheism “wave” is publisher driven, as a rep told me back in December.

    Who ya kiddin?

  66. #66 nicole
    July 31, 2007

    My Borders, in Wilton, CT, doesn’t have an atheism end-cap, but for at least the past year and a bit they’ve had a small atheism section in the religion department (small, and yet about four times the size of the linguistics section, which is with philosophy, chain bookstores suck). They’ve got all of the above there plus, last time I was in, The Reason-Driven Life, The Atheist Bible, one of those A Very Short Introduction to Atheism…some other stuff too that I don’t know as well.

    I have the Joshi book and it’s good, though it is just an anthology of essays (and maybe letters). I like it because it’s not only got things by Bertrand Russell, John Stuart Mill, David Hume, etc (i.e., things you would already have if you were into philosophy), but also by Shelley, George Eliot, Gore Vidal, Anatole France, etc. Not so much the kind of thing you would just read cover to cover though.

  67. #67 Bob Russell
    July 31, 2007

    Isn’t Borders one of the chains that removed Salman Rushdie’s books? Or was it another?

    I recommend “All in the Mind – A Farewell to God” by British broadcaster and author Ludovic Kennedy, published in 1999. It pre-dates the books by Dawkins, Hitchens, Harris, etc….while these books are excellent it was Kennedy who was the first that made me seriously consider atheism as opposed to the fence that I was sitting on. By the time I read Dawkins et al I was a militant atheist. Sadly it seems he is forgotten when people speak of the “new atheists.” Kennedy is a very well known author and broadcaster in the UK. He should be read.

  68. #68 Bob Russell
    July 31, 2007

    Thats it! It was Free Inquiry that Borders banned after it published the Danish cartoons….small brain fart early in the morning..thanks Jeff

    I was perturbed to learn via C. Hitchens that when Free Inquiry magazine republished the Danish cartoons of the prophet Muhammad, Borders bookstores pulled those issues of the magazine (but not before I bought my copy).

    Posted by: Jeff D | July 31, 2007 05:06 AM

  69. #69 John Marley
    July 31, 2007

    Tom,

    “Then you’re an idiot.” is an insult.

    Insults are not the same as ad hominem.

  70. #70 Torbjrn Larsson, OM
    July 31, 2007

    Unholy moly!

    “One Shelf to rule them all, One Shelf to find them, One Shelf to bring them all, And in the Bright-ness bind them.”

    And when did we start to have saints? (Besides Dawkins, that is, he is pretty mild-mannered.) That St Joshi there, what did he/she do? Read one of Dembski’s mind-dulling pseudomathematics tracts or listened to his other scatological productions?

    Other than such unpleasant associations I get whenever I see a dedicated space for free thinking, I think its great.

    Write our own books?! Now, that is a thought. There is a lot of individual ideas in in free thinking obviously …

  71. #71 Torbjrn Larsson, OM
    July 31, 2007

    Unholy moly!

    “One Shelf to rule them all, One Shelf to find them, One Shelf to bring them all, And in the Bright-ness bind them.”

    And when did we start to have saints? (Besides Dawkins, that is, he is pretty mild-mannered.) That St Joshi there, what did he/she do? Read one of Dembski’s mind-dulling pseudomathematics tracts or listened to his other scatological productions?

    Other than such unpleasant associations I get whenever I see a dedicated space for free thinking, I think its great.

    Write our own books?! Now, that is a thought. There is a lot of individual ideas in in free thinking obviously …

  72. #72 Dave Fymbo
    July 31, 2007

    I have no doubts I could write a book, I already did. It’s getting people to read it that’s the hard part.

  73. #73 Aaron Baker
    July 31, 2007

    It’s nice to see my old friend S.T. Joshi getting some much-deserved exposure. In addition to a number of books about, and promoting, atheism, he (not she) is the foremost living authority on H.P. Lovecraft. I’d like to take the opportunity here to plug another one of his books: THE ANGRY RIGHT, a very witty and entertaining takedown of Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh, and the like.

  74. #74 jeremy
    July 31, 2007

    Years ago when I worked for PBS we actually aired a pretty cool show relating to atheism, in it there were a bunch of people (intellectuals, doctors, scientists, etc.) arguing for and against the existence of god. I think what was so striking about it was that they came to an understanding of eachother, and it wasn’t one big slug fest.

  75. #75 Connor Riley
    July 31, 2007

    I was actually miffed when I saw this at my local Borders, since the staff had stuck several books on Darwin and evolution on the Atheism endcap. Last I checked, the two do not equate. I’ve found most bookstore employees to be pretty savvy, so I bet if we were to mention that a) Putting science books in the atheism endcap cuts down on the number of great book on atheism on display and b) Looks designed to fuel some ridiculous ‘Only atheists believe in evolution’ controversy-mongering, they’d agree and do something.

  76. #76 Reginald Selkirk
    July 31, 2007

    We do need more books. I’d like to see a book outline theism’s negative influence on science throughout history

    A History of the Warfare of Science with Theology in Christendom by Andrew Dickson White does a reasonable job of that. It is available both online and in print. Or there is History of the Conflict Between Religion and Science by John William Draper, M.D., LL.D.

    I don’t know the Joshi book. Has anyone here read it?

    It’s an anthology, so quality varies from piece to piece, but there’s some good stuff in there.

    One of my favorite books on atheism is What is Atheism? A Short Introduction by Douglas E. Krueger.

  77. #77 Reginald Selkirk
    July 31, 2007

    And when did we start to have saints? (Besides Dawkins, that is, he is pretty mild-mannered.) That St Joshi there, what did he/she do?

    Sunand Tryambak Joshi does not roll easily off the American tongue. You can look up his books at any of the usual places. Here’s an interview with Joshi from Acid Logic in 2002.

  78. #78 truth machine
    July 31, 2007

    Oh, and Andrew: maybe it escaped your notice that Israel pulled out of Gaza, and the result has been a never-ending barrage of rockets aimed at Israeli civilians. Perhaps you would do well to investigate why so many Arabs in Gaza are frantic to get into Israel. Seems like the Hamas thugs they voted for don’t care nearly as much about keeping their own people alive as Israel does.

    Zionists are so predictable.

  79. #79 Andrew Riddles
    July 31, 2007

    JCR, Israel still controls border crossings into Gaza from Egypt and has executed incursions since handing over control. Anyway, I think we are splitting hairs – what I was getting at is that to reward Israeli soldiers as the owners of Chapters does is repugnant. Perhaps if they invested the money in trying to persuade the Israeli army not to destroy books and computers and schools then the world would be a better place.

    I agree with you about the Hamas regime – I am opposed to all forms of religious involvement in government. But do I understand why Hamas has supporters in Palestine? Yes, of course I do. If you take away all justice in a place, any sense of hope, meritocracy or future – as Israel and its fundamentalist christian nutcase US government sponsors do, then extremism is the reaction.

    So, I would rather give my money to independent bookstores than a corporation that backs this kind of tyranny.

  80. #80 coathangrrr
    July 31, 2007

    What I’d really like to know is how Infidel, a word of LATIN origin, got associated with Islam… Especially since, historically, the Muslims were the infidels, at least according to the Christian west. Well I know the answer, Infidel being used as a questionable translation of kafirun, mushrikun, etc., but it still doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.

    There are two reasons I see for this. First, infidel is the best broad term to translate the words into. Kafirun can be more accurately translated as apostates, and mushrikun as polytheists, but the connotation is more of a negative and thus infidel is used. Really, it is because translation is inexact and often it is easier to use a general word when translating for general consumption.

  81. #81 DSM
    July 31, 2007

    Hey, can I go to Borders and reshelve these books?

  82. #82 Jon H
    July 31, 2007

    nicole wrote: “small, and yet about four times the size of the linguistics section, which is with philosophy, chain bookstores suck”

    Having grown up in Connecticut, I can only assume you’re too young to have experienced the days when the only bookstores available to most people were tiny Waldenbooks and B. Dalton stores in the malls, and the likelihood of them carrying any linguistics books was approximately 0.

    Compared to them, Borders and Barnes and Noble are the friggin Library of Alexandria.

  83. #12
    Atheism ain’t that complicated. You don’t need to read 10 books to work it out. A 10 page pamphlet would do.

    You could probably get by with a sentence: “I don’t believe in extremely unlikely things presented as true when there is no supporting evidence for these things.”

    And even that might be a bit long …

  84. #84 Greg Peterson
    July 31, 2007

    When I saw this endcap, I asked to see the manager and thanked her, and I went home and wrote a note to Borders saying this is the sort of thing that will make me loyal to them versus Barnes & Noble. The B&N near my place does not even carry Free Inquiry magazine and has a pathetic science section. Borders were total wusses not carrying the Free Inquiry that had the Danish cartoons that “insulted Islam,” and they got a letter from me then, too, but they might just be redeeming themselves with this move. It’s a start.

  85. #85 jeff
    July 31, 2007

    This is a bit off-topic but I was hoping you all could help me identify a book. Several months ago I browsed a new popular book on evolution but I can’t remember the title or author. The chapter I looked at talked about the idea of replaying the tape of evolution, and argued that many things would come out the same, as evidenced by convergent evolution. I may not be remembering this part correctly, but the author discussed blind fish in a cave in Mexico, and described a protein that has evolved independently in different species of fish that have lost their vision in similar environments. Thanks for any help.

  86. #86 Tracy P. Hamilton
    July 31, 2007

    DSM said: “Hey, can I go to Borders and reshelve these books?”

    Do you think they shouldn’t be in an atheism section?

  87. #87 Thadd
    July 31, 2007

    A bunch of the Borders stores near me don’t just have the end sections, they have shelves specifically for these books, with the little end of shelf section labels.

  88. #88 twincats
    July 31, 2007

    Does anyone know who we would need to contact about Barnes and Noble making an atheist/agnostic section? Do we just go to our local store and talk to the manager? Is there some corporate office that makes these sorts of policy decisions that we would need to contact?

    Don’t talk to the store people if the store is part of a nationwide chain because the managers have no say in the policies. Try sending an email. If you get a canned response/no response, try snail mail.

    If you didn’t know a bookstore employee before who would tell you to piss off, now you do. We’re usually underpaid, we work long hours, and no, dammit, we don’t get to read on shift! D:

    I can relate; I’ve worked in retail and you see the same stuff over and over. We were lucky to be able to get the go-backs done. I hated to close and my mantra was: “If people don’t want to act right, they should JUST STAY HOME!”

    Hey, can I go to Borders and reshelve these books?

    Sure, if us retail-worker types can come to your workplace and mess up your stuff! Seriously, if you wouldn’t do it at your friend’s house, don’t do it at the store, ‘kay?

    Sorry this is OT, but it’s a pet peeve.

  89. #89 Andrew Riddles
    July 31, 2007

    If we are going to start moving books around bookstores can’t we start by moving the religious books to the children’s fiction department where they all belong?

  90. #90 AlanWCan
    July 31, 2007

    Suggestion: Don’t buy from these chains, support local independent bookstores. Might cost a dollar/euro/shekel more but it will be worth it in the long run to support diversity. Although, I’m lucky to live in a rural area with a very nice progressive local bookstore…

    Oh, and Caledonian goes back on the kill file, moron 😉

  91. #91 Sue
    July 31, 2007

    I don’t know if anyone suggested this yet as I didn’t have time to read through all the comments, but maybe someone could compile a book of ex-testimonies from exchristian.net.

  92. #92 RedMolly
    July 31, 2007

    If we are going to start moving books around bookstores can’t we start by moving the religious books to the children’s fiction department where they all belong?

    Hey, I don’t want my kids exposed to all that snuffporn garbage.

  93. #93 nattisfaction
    July 31, 2007

    I’ve worked at a Borders for 3 years and for at least that long there has been an atheism section. It usually hovers around a couple of shelves in size and is located in the religion section after the Christian religions.

    This endcap is actually just a new piece of marketing that went up about 4 months ago. All Borders stores are actually required by corporate to place this endcap, so if you don’t see it up call your local store and ask for the name and number of the district manager (this speeds things up dramatically). You’ll be amazed how fast it will go up then.

  94. #94 One Man
    July 31, 2007

    Maybe the reason there’s no section is that it’s not a religion. It’s the absence of religion. Don’t see a lot of
    “No Computer” or “No Nationality” sections in the bookstore. Usually they have a computer section or a section about a specific country.

    One Man. One Year. $100,000 online. The “No Poverty” section.
    http://www.oneyeargoal.com

  95. #95 henryb
    July 31, 2007

    After wandering thru several Border’s, I found two atheist configurations. One was the end-shelf like the one shown and another Border’s had an actual Atheist section on the shelves that contained a whole five books.

    At the Barne’s and Noble down the street, of course there was no atheist section, but a friend of mine and I did move a bunch of books from the giant and overwhelming Christian section over into “Mythology.”

  96. #96 Fred
    July 31, 2007

    It took me having to ask at a Barnes & Noble in Miami Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins books. In Miami Beach, however, they were right in the front display table at a Books & Books. I guess the beach is a more progressive place!

  97. #97 Kman75
    July 31, 2007

    Borders has had an Atheism section for years. It’s actually located in the Religion section of the store.

    I’m an atheist, but I never saw the point of reading books about being atheist. I’m also vegetarian, but the only vegetarian book I want to read is a cookbook.

  98. #98 Aaron Kinney
    July 31, 2007

    Holy crap!

    Thats awesome. And whats even cooler, is that of the 7 books in that picture, I already own 5!!!!! 😀

  99. #99 Aaron Kinney
    July 31, 2007

    @ #50,

    I own the ST Joshi book. Its a great book, but ST Joshi is merely the editor. He collected essays and excerpts from the likes of Paine, Russel, Sagan, etc…

    Basically all the highlights and best parts of the best atheistic writers of the last 100 years. Its a very quotable and eqasy to reference collection. It was my first atheist book purchase and I still crack it open once in a while.

    The introduction from Joshi at the beginning fo the book is not bad either.

  100. #100 Rajeef Sanjay
    July 31, 2007

    Tyler, I used to work at a book publishing company so let me see if I can shed some insight — book publishing companies are like hot dog stands: they have to make more money than they spend, otherwise they go out of business.

    How do they make money? Never, never, never do they make money on one author’s book. They make money on building brands — whether it is an author’s brand (Rowling) or a series brand (Harry Potter).

    What does that mean about publishing new writers? It means that if you haven’t demonstrated that you love writing so much that you will write them not one book, but 10 future books, you’re going to cost them money.

    How do you demonstrate that you will write for the next 10 years? Publisher use the 1 to 1 rule. That is, 1 year to 1 year. If you have been writing for 10 years, they feel comfortable assuming you will write for another 10.

    This is partly why being under the age of 40 is a BIG bonus.

    You might ask — how can I write for 10 years if no one will publish? By writing to low-compensation or no-compensation journals, magazines and websites. That’s it.

    That said, I will read what you have to say, especially if it relates to one of my favorite subjects: atheism, or the absutdity of the Bible!

  101. #101 Rajeef Sanjay
    July 31, 2007

    Tyler, a sidenote: publishers make money off of branding authors or book series, and pumping out 10 or more books under that brand. That’s why they want you to have writing credits — if you have haven’t been writing for 10 years, why should they expect you to write for the next 15, after the initial book of yours does ok on the market.

    That said, I would love to read anything you have to say on Atheism! Or just the absurdity of the bible, one of my favorite topics.

    Maybe that will be featured next at Borders?

  102. #102 Rajeef Sanjay
    July 31, 2007

    hexxenhammer, that’s Ayaan Hirsi Ali, an Atheist, a democrat (small d), and an incredible woman who already has a pretty remarkable life story. Hitchens writes her up in Slate: http://www.slate.com/id/2161171/

  103. #103 Me
    July 31, 2007

    Another sign of constant decline.It’s great for getting rid of books that people don’t want to buy or a way to shove something down your throat.
    don’t bother to reply,I’ll never see it.

  104. #104 tim
    July 31, 2007

    A) Atheism is a faith. The faith in no god.
    B) When crusading against religion, please note that religion in its true sense is a manual to life for which science will never substitute. Christianity and other religions are perversions of true religion because people end up believing the mythologies and do not apply the spiritual teachings.
    C) Agnosticism is an intellectual approach which demands proof of a God before it can be said to exist. But belief in God is not a prerequisite for searching one’s soul and learning the self, or engaging in “religious” practices such as meditation and ritual.

  105. #105 Shiloh
    July 31, 2007

    Romans 1:25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever.

  106. #106 bemp
    July 31, 2007

    As a bookseller at an average-sized Borders I have to tell you that we’ve had the Atheism/Agnosticism section for quite a while now..so old news here. However there was not much in the way of the ‘blockbusters’ that have popped up in recent past – so that might be why people think this is a new thing & yes people are buying these books like you wouldn’t believe…..Thanks, B

  107. #107 rudyz
    July 31, 2007

    So, when are they going to put Schopenhauer, Iris Murdoch
    and George Eliot in the atheism section? You know, the
    *good* atheist writers?

    I’m sorry, I couldn’t resist after PZ’s sarcasm about the
    bad writers in the religion section… there *are* a lot of
    bad writers there (as in every other section in the store,
    including the “atheism” endcap). But
    Ann Lamott is there, Brian McLaren, and many other
    quite good writers. I’m not familiar with the New Age
    section but some of the Buddhist writers in the
    Eastern Religion section (shouldn’t they
    elgible for the atheism end cap too?) are good.

    Check out the Year’s Best Spiritual Writing series, edited by Zaleski, for some terrific writing in a spiritual vein,
    including the occasional explicitly atheist/agnostic
    essay. I don’t read them regularly but I’ve read one year’s
    Best Christian Writing that had a couple of very good
    essays.

  108. #108 Sastra
    July 31, 2007

    Tim:
    A. Atheism is not a faith. For most atheists, it’s a working theory and/or a pragmatic reliance.
    B. Religion in its true, unique sense consists of claims about the supernatural. The other term for “manual to life” is “life philosophy” — which can be religious or not.
    C. Whether belief in God (or other forms of the supernatural) is necessary for “searching one’s soul” depends on how one is defining “soul.”

  109. #109 chips
    July 31, 2007

    Yes there are books on lots of things. Religion helps people and causes war. But religion can not be labeled by the handful of indivuals (in ratio to the population of the whole earth) who war using religion as a reason. Perhaps with no religion, most war could be avoided, but understandly the world does not work like that. Becuase the answer to life and death and creation is not known. And now this is not even about the athiest books at borders.

  110. #110 tim
    August 1, 2007

    A) Atheism is a belief in no god with no evidence to prove so. Therefore, it is a faith.

    B) Religion is applied philosophy. The word religion contains negative connotations because of human misdeeds and mythologies, but it is exactly that.

    C) By soul i mean essence. The self. The true will. Science will provide details, but it never provides a true purpose. People group together as supposed intellectuals and condemn the esoteric without ever truly understanding its purpose or anything about it.

  111. #111 Ken Cope
    August 1, 2007

    Please do not move books from their assigned locations. It makes it difficult for the people who wish to find them to do so, and is simply rude. — Caledonian

    Pharyngula’s Miss Manners has spoken. The more readily non-science books can be ignored by the those who frequent the science section for the purpose of buying science books, the more rapidly the pretenders will be remaindered and pulped.

  112. #112 CalGeorge
    August 1, 2007

    A) Atheism is a belief in no god with no evidence to prove so. Therefore, it is a faith.

    Atheists do not acknowledge the existence of a being for which there is no evidence. That’s common sense, not belief. If you want every idea to be some form of belief, go ahead, but your world is going to get mighty blurry mighty fast. Rather than collapsing everything into belief, try making better and finer distinctions. Smeary generalities get tiresome quickly.

    B) Religion is applied philosophy. The word religion contains negative connotations because of human misdeeds and mythologies, but it is exactly that.

    Calling religion something else is a common tactic by those who want to elevate it into something more respectable. Western forms of religion are based on extremely silly notions of immortality and other physics- and biology-defying b.s.

    C) By soul i mean essence. The self. The true will. Science will provide details, but it never provides a true purpose. People group together as supposed intellectuals and condemn the esoteric without ever truly understanding its purpose or anything about it.

    True will? Is it really necessary to be an essentialist? Can you discover my true essence?

    “Esoteric” sounds like code for hanging out in wooland making stuff up out of whole cloth. The stuff that Chopra is good at.

  113. #113 Arnosium Upinarum
    August 1, 2007

    Steve Fisher #7: “Now if they would just move the books by Behe, Wells, etc out of the science section and put them in the astrology and new age section I’d really be impressed.”

    PRECISELY my thought.

    Its gotten worse over the last 4 decades. The bookmongers (publishers as well as managers of sales outlets) have long since adopted the idea that they know what people want to read based almost exclusively on their own promotional criteria. Its like determining whether people find the flavor of one turd better than another.

  114. #114 C. L. Hanson
    August 1, 2007

    Wow, that’s cool!!!

    The last time we went to an English bookstore (in Switzerland) the atheist books made a good showing on the religion shelf (especially Hitchens’), but there wasn’t a special display.

    I’m happy to take your challenge. ;^)

    Honestly, I think there should be more entertaining atheist-interest novels on the shelf with all that non-fiction. And as usual I have a good suggestion of where to begin: here.

  115. #115 Arnosium Upinarum
    August 1, 2007

    Mr. Tim, #109 – for your information:

    A. Concluding that atheism is a faith is like suggesting that not collecting stamps is a hobby.

    B. Religion may well be an example of “applied philosophy” but any negative connotations are exceedingly well-earned. Not all philosophies are positive or desirable, let alone correct, nor are human misdeeds and myths always associated with anti-religious sentiment. In fact, quite the opposite is true, with religion much more properly categorized squarely within the superstitious/mystical realm of human conception, one that is very often drafted by political power-hungry individuals to get “believers” to perform all manner of discraces upon their fellow humans, just because the believers have accepted the idea that an authority for moral behavior is better than their own (if you like, as GOD supposedly fashioned them in the FIRST place).

    People who embrace superstition are, by and large, more gullible than other people, and those who adopt such superstitions are far more likely to misconstrue the difference between “right and wrong” as well as “good and bad”. The confusion is automatically built in, within any culture that promotes or cultivates the sort of irrational thinking required to accept the adopted mythos/dogma to begin with. In religious terms, ethical and moral behavior is dictated to them by their leaders, who also profit enormously by posing as middleman agents allegedly connecting them “directly” to “God”. But if you can’t or won’t understand moral principles without their guidance, you deny what they supposedly teach you about your supposedly “God-given” attributes. Such glaring inconsistencies within religions are a dime a dozen…an ENCYCLOPEDIA of the historical inconsistencies to the present time would take decades to assemble, and need upgrading every year.

    C. There is no “purpose” in nature other than what exists as a mental notion construed within that exceedingly tiny subset of material entities that exist in the form of the human brain, which is quite capable of harboring an endless list of other mistaken notions, along with the hefty sense of stubborness required to retain and defend such a bounty of nonsense.

    “Purpose” is a conceit wholly harbored within the human mind, the ONLY place where its actualization may perform either good or harm. Nature is entirely absolved and has nothing to do with it other than having tinkered up the less-than-perfect information processors we are pleased to called our brains which gives existence to the concept. The “self” needs no extraneous qualification such as “soul” or “spirit”, and is entirely an artifact of minds obsessed with personal worth and mortality. There is absolutely no evidence for such absurd attributes. Understanding the actuality does not require any such preposterous presuppositions cooked up by human traditions.

    BTW: any “God” that puts together an entire universe that nevertheless behaves as if its all happened and continues to happen without the slightest evidence for any such divine intervention whatsoever is an earsplitting pronouncement of how ridiculously impotent and incompetent both the CHARACTER AND CONCEPT of “God” is. Religious fanatics are obviously not only very pleased with a stunningly poor imagination, they don’t even have the balls to admit whenever they have been shown to be wrong. EVER. Where does that certitude come from? From their concept of “God”?

  116. #116 Keith Douglas
    August 1, 2007

    Brian: A good distilliation of what is worth while from the philosophical literature for the layman might be good if it isn’t dumbed down too much. Mind you, I always find that a lot of epistemology is not in contact with science enough; my own prefered strains interact vigorously with the philosophy of science.

    Odonata: In my experience, to the limited extent that they are carried, Canadian bookstores would probably shelve them as “philosophy” and so occupy whatever shelving devoted to that. Alas, most philosophy sections are pretty crappy, with endless French bafflegabbers and the local overrated heroes like Charles Taylor. Oh, and more Nietzsche than one can throw a stick at and endless editions of Plato and Aristotle.

    Steven: Indeed, but Flew, Martin, Bunge, Grnbaum, etc. and others have hardly gotten much publicity, for better or for worse.

    I for one have no problem with many religious positions being labeled philosophical; I merely object that that they are very often bad philosophy since they are not consistent with science, technology, etc.

  117. #117 rudyz
    August 1, 2007

    Keith, in what sense could the positions of
    philosophers like Elizabeth Anscombe, or religious
    thinkers like Simone Weil or Dietrich Bonhoeffer, be
    “bad philosophy” inconsistent with science, technology?

    Do you just mean that particular religious claims such
    as theism, or revelation, or miracles, are bad philosophy?
    Miracles are clearly not consistent with science.

    It is
    not clear to me that science is consistent or inconsistent
    with the possibility of revelation (as opposed to scientific
    proof of a particular revelation).

    Say that I belong to a religious group that believes in continuing revelation (as I in fact do); on Sunday I get a mental message that I should, say, be more compassionate towards
    a coworker. That this thought has no causal chain that
    can be traced by *anyone*, including myself, is a fact at
    this moment. Is it really a revelation? I don’t see an
    easy answer to this.

    I don’t see how any
    philosophy could be inconsistent with “technology”. That’s
    like saying a philosophy is inconsistent with “knitting”.
    There are philosophical takes on technology,
    say Heidegger’s, but an attitude towards technology
    or interpretation of technology would have to be really
    way out there, for particular technological
    inventions to be relevant.

    I picked up a copy of Derek Parfit’s “Reasons and Persons” at a Barnes and Noble chanin store. I can’t explain how
    it got in there with “The Simpsons and Philosophy”.

  118. #118 little homunculus
    August 1, 2007

    how ’bout two newly designated sections, and just scrap the old ones. ‘Right’ and ‘Wrong’. you all can fill in the blanks. as far as atheism having it’s own section, it appears, to me, that as a non-belief ‘system’ it clearly belongs with philosophy, secular humanism and the like. From what i’ve been reading in these comments what folks are craving is an “anti-(capital R)religion’ section in answer to the overwhelming dogmatism and self-righteous malarky that we face everyday- from Kansas to the White House in the west and in the east – from sexual mutilation(oppression) to fundamentalist jihad. To me atheism is not the antidote. Just a general sense of common ‘mutual’ respect wold be fine by me. really, i don’t give a fiddler’s damn what anyone else thinks, until they try to impose their rules in my house. My atheism is irrelevant. ‘cogito ergo nihil’ (feel free to correct me on my latin sarcasm)

  119. #119 JJR
    August 2, 2007

    The Atheism books in most stores is tacked on to the philosophy section, I’ve found. I’d rather look for them there than have to wade into the Religion section.

  120. #120 Eric
    August 2, 2007

    I dont believe In Santa or the Easter Bunny

    But Im not going to go out of my way to show everyone how big of a dick I am by saying how much they are not real.

    If You believe believing is stupid why work so hard to write about how stupid it is?

    I dont believe people actually like Superman OVER Batman
    But It’s not worth my time to write about it because if people want to be wrong they can..

    Writing against God
    is all about anger, stubborness and personal childish vendettas

    An ant can’t understand how a superior human being thinks and reasons
    God is a completely different thing
    So much more vast and superior in everyway compared to us pesky humans

    He sees what we dont.

    what he does is always good

    but hes not afraid to let us do bad things to one another as a result of our own stupidity and flesh

    we all need to grow up and realize
    that if we had everything we wanted we would have no place to put it
    things of this earth never satisfy..EVER

    And it may take a couple pages to explain evolution
    but it would take 1 page to prove creation

    its so much easier to think that he created the earth,
    he created us
    and loves us.

    why make things so difficult?

  121. #121 Geri
    August 4, 2007

    Not all Borders seem to have an atheist/agnostic section.

    Today I went to a Borders Express in a mall in St. Cloud, MN. The clerk asked me if she could help. I said I was looking for the atheist/agnostic books. She thought they’d be in the New Age section. I told her they wouldn’t belong there. My companion found Hitchens’ book and Harris’ book in the section next to the New Age section – the religion section. I asked why they didn’t have them in an atheist/agnostic section and she said they didn’t have enough books for that section. By the way, a second clerk asked what I was looking for and I said The God Delusion. The clerk said they didn’t have it.

  122. #122 Steve_C
    August 5, 2007

    Eric. You’re a nitwit.

  123. #123 Keith Douglas
    August 5, 2007

    rudyz: Well, depends on the specific positions. Obviously there are specific works of many religious thinkers which are completely secular. But to the extent that the positions are incompatible with science, they are to that extent unfortunate. To take your example: revelation is inconsistent with science since it presupposes a communication channel of a nonmaterial nature. (A lot of these inconsistencies actually are metaphysical, or can be put that way.) Or, epistemologically: that there’s no evidence for any sensory organs that do not receive information from the world rather than something else. Remember that I said that the positions are such. Technology: well, take a position that denies any difference between science and technology. As for finding Parfit’s book near The Simpsons and Philosophy, well, good! Lucky you. I once found Causality and Modern Science (Bunge) in a Chapters, but in the MATH section – I had gone looking for a math book but took home the often cited philosophy book.

  124. #124 Jorg
    August 6, 2007

    Here in Portland, Or, Powell’s has a rather large atheism section. But then again, I am in Portland.

  125. #125 Randy
    August 9, 2007

    I would posit that those of us who are atheists “believe that there is no god” rather than saying that “they do not believe in god.” This is a subtle linguistic difference that gives a more positive perspective to atheism. Personally, I became an atheist when I was eight years old. I had an epiphany. I do not prosylatize because I do not care what fairy tales folks choose to believe.

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