One reviewer tried to deceive Amazon customers, and when I called him on it, he deleted his review. I'm not going to let him get away with that. His name was Noetzel and he claimed that none of the previous reviews actually review the book. But you can clearly see that was not the case. Just look. He also claimed "there's nothing here you can't glean for free on the internet," but as far as I've been able to tell, the content of this book far exceeds anything I've yet to find on the internet. It even contains stuff I've never found discussed well anywhere. This Noetzel character then implied that Carrier "believes the end of religion will virtually eliminate human conflict." I can't speak for Mr. Carrier's private beliefs. But I read this book, and I don't recall a single moment in it when Carrier claims the end of religion will eliminate all conflict. Indeed, when Noetzel even when so far as to equate jihadists with soccer hooligans, I felt like I was being played.
The real kicker is this: I'm pretty sure there are no more than five or six sentences in the entire 400+ page book that even mention "space exploration" or "the elimination of income taxes." So when this Noetzel character attacked Carrier's book for these obscure passing references, I spied someone who's trying to sandbag sales. I recently read a piece that Carrier wrote online demonstrating how another Christian reviewer egregiously lies about the content of his book, with the evident aim of trying to fool people into not reading it--apparently, because the Christians are running scared now. They can't dismiss the powerful arguments of this book honestly, so all they can do is lie about its contents. Dare I say this Noetzel character was one of them? His quick disappearing act suggests he was.
Buy the book and see for yourself. Trust me. It's excellent, well-written, and more comprehensive than anything I've ever seen on any secular worldview. This is the closest thing to a secular bible I can think of, since it covers everything we should believe and why, right down to morals and philosophy of government. Most of all, it will make you think. Time and again while reading it I caught myself chuckling in agreement or saying to myself "Ah! I hadn't thought of that!" That, to me, is the sign of a good book, especially in philosophy. The worst I can say about it is that it drags a bit in chapter 2, but never again after that.
Since Amazon for some reason isn't including the publisher's information for this book like it does for other books, I went over to the publisher's website and grabbed that stuff...
The following material comes straight from the publisher:
About the Book: If God does not exist, then what does? Is there good and evil, and should we care? How do we know what's true anyway? And can we make any sense of this universe, or our own lives? Sense and Goodness answers all these questions in lavish detail, without complex jargon. A complete worldview is presented and defended, covering every subject from knowledge to art, from metaphysics to morality, from theology to politics. Topics include free will, the nature of the universe, the meaning of life, and much more, arguing from scientific evidence that there is only a physical, natural world without gods or spirits, but that we can still live a life of love, meaning, and joy.
About the Author: Richard Carrier is a philosopher and historian studying ancient science at Columbia University in New York, where he received a Masters degree and a Master of Philosophy in ancient history and is working on his Ph.D. He previously graduated Phi Beta Kappa at UC Berkeley. Mr. Carrier is also a professional writer, teacher, and speaker and translates four languages. His articles have been published in Biology & Philosophy, The History Teacher, German Studies Review, The Skeptical Inquirer, and the Encylopedia of the Ancient World. He is a veteran of the United States Coast Guard and served as Editor in Chief of the Secular Web for several years, where he has long been one of their most frequently read authors.
Free Preview (from page 411, which the publisher has on its website for all to see, so I don't see anything wrong with repeating it here): There is one thing I have tried to make clear throughout this book. Metaphysical Naturalism is the only worldview that is supported by all the evidence of all the sciences, the only one consistent with all human experience, the established truths of history, and reason itself. No other worldview, including theism generally or Evangelical Christianity in particular, is supported by any evidence of any of the sciences. The only remotely plausible exception, `fine tuning', is not very convincing evidence for the divine, and supports no doctrine of salvation (see III.3, "The Nature and Origin of the Universe"). Science doesn't necessarily contradict alternative worldviews, for one can adjust most of them to be compatible with almost any evidence. But no other worldview is directly and substantially supported by any scientific evidence, whereas all scientific evidence so far does support Metaphysical Naturalism, often directly, sometimes substantially. Though naturalism has not yet been proved, it is the best bet going.
Even the facts explained by Big Bang Theory are solely and entirely physical and natural. None are facts about spirits or gods or supernatural entities or powers, and the theory does not include any reference to such things. Insofar as anything is left unexplained by it (such as matters of cosmic order or first cause), there is only humble ignorance. Theories are never scientifically established on what we don't know or can't yet explain, but always and only on what we do know and can explain. To argue that science has not explained something, therefore our explanation (whatever that is) must be correct, is not a scientific argument. Such an argument might be good and persuasive, but not because it is scientific-though it may be well supported by science. This is the distinction between science, as a database of facts established by a methodologically sound empirical inquiry, and metaphysics, a speculative enterprise of interpretation and plausible hypothesis formation. You can reject all such efforts to go beyond established science, rejecting all worldviews, or you can adopt the most probable hypothesis: Metaphysical Naturalism.
The title of this book is "Sense and Goodness without God," because Metaphysical Naturalism is full of sense, and encourages nothing but good. Reason and acute thinking are its very bedrock, and the love of wisdom its main driving force. To be wise and practical is our motto. And this worldview provides adequate, if not strong reasons to devote yourself and your life to high moral ideals, to compassion and integrity in the pursuit of happiness. It is thus a good philosophy-good for you, good for all humankind. And all this without recourse to a god. Though we have found no evidence for any god, and no reason to believe there is one, the sense and goodness of our worldview stands as it is even if there is. It stands on its own terms, on reason and fact.