The Black Sun Humanist-Atheist Bookshelf


The book list is finally posted. I’ve been intending to update this since the BSJ 3.0 launch on February 12, 2007. But like many of my best-intentioned projects, this one fell far down the priority list.

So please enjoy the updated list and don’t forget the Humanist Symposium #4 now posted at nullifidian.

Comments (10 comments)

Andrew Marks / June 30th, 2007, 6:36 pm / #1


I was surprised that you didn’t have Robert Wright’s book,
The Moral Animal, listed. I strongly recommend it.


BlackSun / June 30th, 2007, 8:00 pm / #2

Andrew, thanks! I always like recommendations, I’ll definitely check it out. If any other readers have any–don’t be shy.

nullifidian / July 1st, 2007, 2:57 am / #3

Great list! :-)

Sorry I couldn’t shoehorn this post in in time, it would have been a good one to include. Thankfully Ebonmuse is keeping it on ice for the next one edition.

I have The Moral Animal but haven’t yet read it. To echo Andrew, it does come with some strong recommendations.

BlackSun / July 1st, 2007, 11:11 pm / #4


Cool, I’ll be adding to the list, so it will be even better by then. Great Symposium, by the way.

nullifidian / July 2nd, 2007, 6:06 am / #5

Fantastic I’m always on the lookout for new books (even if I can’t afford them all!)

And thanks for the compliment, too. :-)

cragar / July 2nd, 2007, 10:54 am / #6

I saw you have the Bill Hicks autobiography in there. He was one of my favorite comedians of all time. I saw him in the early 90’s, it was his last show of the week on a Sat night and he stayed up for 90 minutes just ranting.

I will have to check that one out.

Andrew Marks / July 5th, 2007, 9:04 pm / #7


You will love this… :-)


BlackSun / July 6th, 2007, 8:34 am / #8

Andrew, thanks. Mary Baker Eddy was one of my mom’s heroes. She actually had pictures of this woman up in the house where I grew up!

Bernie / August 8th, 2007, 8:25 pm / #9

An interesting list…many of which I have read.

A recent look at atheology which i would recommend is Atheist Manifesto by Michel Onfray.

John B. / August 8th, 2007, 9:00 pm / #10

I’ve read the top 3, but not 4 or 5. I would have all 3 in any Top 10 list and (at least) The Blank would be in the Top 5. I’m kind of surprised at the omission from the larger list of (no particular order):

The Origin of Species, Charles Darwin – Where might we be without it? Probably close to where we are, but he certainly gave us a head start. What’s amazing about the book is not that so much has been updated by better science, but that so much of it is still fundamentally correct. As Dawkins has said, the central point of life evolving by a process of natural selection operating in the background of variation is still absolutely true. No one knew about genes, so he couldn’t outline EXACTLY how that happened, but he was right none the less. Additionally it’s just a great read – science written for scientists and laypersons in incredible prose. Beautiful book. If, like me, you haven’t read it in 20 years or more, it’s definitely time to read it once again.

On Human Nature, E.O. Wilson – again, a guy so far ahead of his time. Reviled at the time, most of what he said about human nature is now just routinely accepted. Where would folks like Steven Pinker be without him? The guy is a hero and an incredibly soft-spoken and well-reasoned one at that. Today everyone recognizes (or ALMOST everyone) that there are differences in groups of people including men and women. In the late 70’s they called him a Nazi and tried to run him out of science.

Darwin’s Dangerous Idea, Dan Dennett – a book that throws an absolute knock-out punch, in an exceptionally beautiful and literate masterpiece, against the anti-evolution forces – be they YEC or ID or Islam. First read Origins, then read about the Dangerous Idea.

The Ancestor’s Tale, R. Dawkins – my personal favorite Dawkins book – even ahead of The Selfish Gene, The Blind Watchmaker and A Devil’s Chaplain. After reading The first two “D”s (Darwin, Dennett), finish the task with the third – Dawkins, as he takes you from the present day, back through the millennia, retracing our evolutionary roots to the beginning of life as best as possible based on the Neo-Darwinian Modern Synthesis. Each chapter goes back one branch point on the evolutionary tree by focusing on one particular modern life-form that traces it own roots to that point – the very branch point that separates them from us. Each tale is an incredibly enlightening look at species and what makes them different – and similar- from us.

I will read the Kurzweil book you suggest (did you ever see the video “Surviving The Singularity”? I blogged on it some time back. Here’s the link to the video). I’m off of the atheists books for now and back to science so I’ll have to skip Dennett. I enjoyed both Dawkins’ God Delusion and Harris’ End of Faith. But you really are preaching to the choir (horrible, I know) when you give books like these to a guy who’s been an avowed atheist since 1972!

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