Alex Rosenberg

 

On his book The Atheist's Guide to Reality

Cover Interview of November 07, 2011

The wide angle

If science made you an atheist, you are ready for serious scientific answers to the rest of life’s persistent questions.

Here is a list of most of these questions and their short answers. Given what we know, they are all pretty obvious. The interesting thing is to recognize how totally unavoidable these answers really are. The book explains them in more detail.

Is there a God?

No.

What is the nature of reality?

What physics says it is.

What is the purpose of the universe?

There is none.

What is the meaning of life?

Ditto.

Why am I here?

Just dumb luck.

Does prayer work?

Of course not.

Is there a soul? Is it immortal?

Are you kidding?

Is there free will?

Not a chance!

What happens when we die?

Everything pretty much goes on as before, except us.

What is the difference between right and wrong, good and bad?

There is no moral difference between them.

Why should I be moral?

Because it makes you feel better than being immoral.

Is abortion, euthanasia, suicide, paying taxes, foreign aid, or anything else you don’t like forbidden, permissible, or sometimes obligatory?

Anything goes.

What is love, and how can I find it?

Love is the solution to a strategic interaction problem. Don’t look for it; it will find you when you need it.

Does history have any meaning or purpose?

It’s full of sound and fury, but signifies nothing.

Does the human past have any lessons for our future?

Fewer and fewer, if it ever had any to begin with.

The Atheist’s Guide to Reality is a tour through the science—mainly physics, evolutionary biology, and cognitive neuroscience—that shows why these short answers to the persistent questions are the right answers.