By S. T. Joshi

Within the opinion of many critics and philosophers, we're coming into an age of atheism marked through the waning of Christian fundamentalism and the flourishing of secular notion. via alphabetically prepared entries written via professional participants, this e-book profiles 27 iconic figures of unbelief whose principles have formed American society during the last two hundred years. incorporated are entries on influential figures of the previous, akin to Albert Einstein and Voltaire, in addition to on such modern figures as Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris. each one access discusses the tips and lasting value of every individual or staff, offers sidebars of fascinating details and illuminating quotations, and cites works for additional interpreting. the quantity closes with a specific, common bibliography. scholars in social reviews and background sessions will welcome this reference as a consultant to the guidelines primary to the yankee separation of Church and country and to the various political debates on the middle of society today.Each access discusses the information and lasting value of the individual or crew, presents sidebars of fascinating details and quotations, and closes with an inventory of works for extra examining. the quantity ends with a specific, common bibliography. scholars in background and social stories periods will welcome this reference as a advisor to the yankee separation of Church and country and to the guidelines relevant to modern political debates.

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Extra info for Icons of Unbelief: Atheists, Agnostics, and Secularists (Greenwood Icons)

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His Laws Relating to Blasphemy and Heresy proclaimed: Laws to punish differences of opinion are as useless as they are monstrous. Differences of opinion on politics are denounced and punished as seditious, on religious topics as blasphemous, and on social questions as immoral and obscene. Yet the sedition, blasphemy, and immorality published in one age are often found to be the accepted, and sometimes the admired, political, religious, and social teaching of a more educated period. (3) BIBLIOGRAPHY A.

There is a transitional period of instability, terminating in a new evolutionarily stable set—a little bit of evolution has occurred” (SG, 86). Richard Dawkins Not only does life evolve, but culture does as well. Dawkins introduced the concept of the meme, a sort of genelike unit of conceptual replication that arises not out of the “primeval soup” but out of “the soup of human culture”—as, for example, “tunes, ideas, catch-phrases, clothes fashions, ways of making pots or building arches”—in such a way that if an idea is destined to be successful in the “meme pool,” it will manage “to propagate itself, spreading from brain to brain” (SG, 192).

With regard to religions based upon this traditional concept of God, Dawkins has a great deal to say, by way of many examples, about the disproportionate consideration and respect that governments and private citizens alike afford religion. S. Supreme Court decision in 2006 allowing celebrants of a church in New Mexico to use an otherwise illegal hallucinogenic drug to enhance their understanding of God, the point being that such a privilege was allowed only because of religious assertions bearing no trace of evidence.

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