A Manual for Making More of a Mess

by Mac Deaver

Peter Boghossian has written A Manual For Creating Atheists, a book published in 2013. On the back cover a note from Richard Dawkins says, “PETER BOGHOSSIAN’S TECHNIQUES OF FRIENDLY PERSUASION ARE NOT MINE, AND MAYBE I’D BE MORE EFFECTIVE IF THEY WERE. THEY ARE UNDOUBTEDLY VERY PERSUASIVE—AND VERY MUCH NEEDED.” And on the same back cover as well as on the final page of the book we are informed that “Dr. Peter Boghossian is a full-time faculty member in Portland State University’s philosophy department. He was thrown out of the doctoral program in the University of New Mexico’s philosophy department.” The publisher and Boghossian evidently do not mind the readers knowing about his dismissal and, in fact, it looks like that they actually want the news circulated to the credit of Boghossian and to the discredit of the University of New Mexico. Given the title of the book, I would think that Boghossian and those who endorse his book actually fail to see where credit and discredit may belong.

Brazen (at least in print) Sam Harris, after having made a mess of things himself in his very confused book, The Moral Landscape, interviewed Boghossian and placed the interview on his web site. Harris notes that Boghossian not only is on the faculty at Portland State but also is “a national speaker for the Center for Inquiry, the Secular Student Alliance, and the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science.” On an inside page near the front of the book, we have the note that the book is “To Michael Shermer and Sam Harris.” Shermer writes the FORWARD. Let me make a few comments about Sam’s interview with Peter.  The interview consisted of a mere six questions to Peter and Peter’s answers.

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One, Sam asked Peter what his goal was in writing the book. Peter said, “My primary goal was to give readers the tools to talk people out of faith and into reason.”  Peter thinks that people evidently need help in becoming atheists. I think that is correct. If they would become such at all, something has got to affect them in the wrong way. A man who is true to his own nature can never be an atheist since both his body and mind necessitate a creator, and his mind informs him of his own immortality.  A man cannot deny himself without at the same affirming himself as Sam Harris did without realizing his serious self-contradiction when he wrote The Moral Landscape. A man cannot deny God without implying that his own nature is other than it actually is. There is too much superficiality entailed in modern atheistic attempts to dislodge the truth about God’s existence from the minds of people who see more clearly than Boghossian currently does.  It is another effort at calling good evil and evil good to think that in helping to make atheists, a person is bringing them from faith to reason.  That is impossible, since faith comes by proper reason. It is an unproven, unprovable, and disprovable contention that reason is opposed to faith. The fact of the matter is that reason leads to faith. Reason finds faith. Reason supports and defends faith, and reason and faith oppose atheism. Boghossian’s whole book is based on a false concept regarding the relationship of human reason to faith…

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A Manual for Making More of a Mess


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