New Internationalist books and publications

Reviews

We need books like Goodbye God? to help expose both religious and scientific nonsense that can get in the way of sound thinking and to help produce a healthier and happier world with public policies that properly address the challenges of the 21st century. - Professor Lawrence M Krauss, author of A Universe from Nothing.

A unique and innovative primer on Humanism, the importance of science and the evolution vs creationism debate. This illustrated guide deserves to reach a wide audience. - Richy Thompson, British Humanist Association.

A superbly even-handed and open-minded graphic narrative discourse... gripping and genuinely revelatory reading. - Comicsreview.co.uk.

The graphic novel format is ideal for the confused adolescent or adult averse to tedious “learned” polemic, with the inimitable Hunt Emerson’s tableaux and strips complementing the narrative with zest and a measured comic sense. - Morning Star.

With an introduction by Professor Lawrence M Krauss, and published with the active involvement of both the American and British Humanist Associations.

A graphic novel that explores the evolution vs creation debate and calls for an end to the teaching of creationism in schools. It pans out to consider the negative impacts of religion, and with the active support of the American Humanist Association and the British Humanist Association, demonstrates how a concern for humanism, science and reasoned logical thinking is crucial for the development of society.

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BBC Radio Scotland Culture Studio, 31 minutes in.

About the Author:

Sean Michael Wilson is a comic book writer from Scotland, who now lives in Japan. He has had more than a dozen books published with a variety of US, UK and Japanese publishers. His book with War on Want, Iraq :Operation Corporate Takeover was widely reported on by a variety of mainstream agencies. He is also the editor of the critically acclaimed collection AX:alternative manga (one of Publishers Weekly’s Best ten books of 2010). He is co-author of the recent visual history of protest Fight the Power. Visit Sean’s website at www.seanmichaelwilson.weebly.com.

Hear Sean discuss the creationism/ evolution controversy in an Equal Time For Freethought podcast.

About the Illustrator:

Hunt Emerson is a cartoonist living and working in Birmingham, England. He was closely involved with the Birmingham Arts Lab of the mid-to-late 1970s, and with the British underground comics scene of the 1970s and 1980s. The Emerson graphic novels Lady Chatterley’s Lover, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, Casanova’s Last Standand other adaptations of classic novels and tales have been successfully sold in numerous countries, and translated into several different languages. He is co-artist of the recent visual history of protest Fight the Power. Visit Hunt’s website at www.largecow.com.

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Page extent: 120
Dimensions: 240mm x 170mm
ISBN-13: 978-1-78026-226-0
Publication date: April 2015

Date added: October 27, 2014

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  1. #1 Ian Carmichael 02 May 15

    Ah, well the publication is about 6 months old. Still - to typify 'religion' as the beliefs of Young Earth Creationists - which the publicity seems to show is to be be overly narrow on religion. There is a wide spectrum of Christian thinking, and the 'warfare model' is a very recent (and ill-researched) characterisation of the relationships between science and religion.
    Religion too is a far broader term than just Christianity and, again other religions have a spectrum of views on these relations as well.
    At first glance, I'd have expected a far more balanced production from, or through NI. Over the decades I have had the highest respect for the magazine's content and integrity. This foray somwehat diminishes that.

  2. #2 Mark Hathaway 02 May 15

    I agree with Ian. Most people who believe in God or follow a religious path do not believe the Earth was created in six days or that the Earth is only 6,000 years old. Most accept science - and indeed much of the science that shows that the cosmos is 13.7 billion years old, that life evolved gradually on Earth, etc. was done by scientists with some form of religious belief. The ’fundamentalist creationists,’ even within Christianity, are a relatively small minority. Religion and science, in my own experience, have never been in conflict. I see science as a way of understanding the profound beauty and wonder of the cosmos, something that actually nourishes my spirituality.

    The original meaning of religion comes from ’re-ligar,’ to reconnect. As Neil deGrasse Tyson says in his video ’The Most Astounding Fact,’ humans have a deep need to feel connected with the greater mystery and wonder of the universe. At its best, religion can do that. Cerrtainly, that is what authentic spirituality, in my mind, is about.

  3. #3 P F 16 May 15

    Well this is a load of historical bollocks that appears to have been written by someone that doesn't understand religion, philosophy or geo-politics beyond the realm of tumblr .

    Come on New Internationalist, you're not the fucking Guardian. You're meant to fact check this shit.

  4. #4 Sean Michael Wilson 18 May 15

    This is Sean Michael Wilson, the writer of the Goodbye God book. To reply to these various points:

    “Religion too is a far broader term than just Christianity’
    - Indeed, and we look at aspects of Judaism and Islam as well. Though we do not consider Buddhism or Hinduism or several others. Or perhaps you meant religion in the widest sense, of a sense of spirituality? If so, see below.

    “I'd have expected a far more balanced production.”
    - The book is not a balanced account, that is true. It is heavily weighted to be critical of religion. But I’m wondering: Why expect a balanced account? And, what is wrong with books from one point of view? Not every book or film or song has to be balanced. It’s not a basic requirement of any art form. The creators of this book are not journalists working for any organisation that has impartiality in its founding documents. Surely the only requirement we have is to make a GOOD book, an interesting book, well considered, and, in this case, well illustrated - regardless of what point of view it is written from. Of course we may have failed on those points.


    “to typify 'religion' as the beliefs of Young Earth Creationists - which the publicity seems to show is to be be overly narrow on religion.”
    - It specifically says in the book, more than once, that: “SOME forms of creationism hold…” it does not claim that young earth creationism is the only type, or that this view is the only one held by religious people. Page 29 of the book for example.

    “Most people who believe in God or follow a religious path do not believe the Earth was created in six days or that the Earth is only 6,000 years old…The ’fundamentalist creationists,’ even within Christianity, are a relatively small minority. ”
    - Indeed, and is also specifically stated in the book. For example, page 30 of the book shows a priest looking on with annoyance and embarrassment while a young earth creationist rants at him. And notes that most types of creationism are rejected by many religious people.

  5. #5 Sean Michael Wilson 18 May 15

    and more:

    “the 'warfare model' is a very recent (and ill-researched) characterisation of the relationships between science and religion”
    - Actually, the question of to what extent science and religion may be incompatible is not one that takes up most of the book, although the subtitle may give that impression. My apologies if so. It is difficult to come up with titles, subtitles (and even book descriptions) that are both concise and tightly reflective of all the content of a book. Page 42 of the book goes into this topic specifically. Otherwise the general way that aspect is involved is in considering the context of the education of children: there we put over the view of the British and American Humanistic Associations that teaching creationism in schools as something that is equally valid to evolution is a practice that should not be supported. That a good understanding of evolution is key to grasping biology. See especially pages 33 and 40 of the book for that.


    “Religion and science, in my own experience, have never been in conflict. I see science as a way of understanding the profound beauty and wonder of the cosmos, something that actually nourishes my spirituality.”
    - As I noted, only page 42 of the book specifically focuses on the issues of this possible conflict, and even then rather even handedly (despite what I have just said above). It notes: “ …simply being religious does not mean holding beliefs that actively go against scientific evidence…”. However, we do make the point on page 33 that: “Religious thinking does not foster the kind of inquiring minds that go out and make new discoveries or that come up with scientific breakthroughs.”

    “humans have a deep need to feel connected with the greater mystery and wonder of the universe. At its best, religion can do that. Cerrtainly, that is what authentic spirituality, in my mind, is about. “
    - I agree that we lovely humans do seem to have that need. Possibly for evolutionary reasons, as some researchers suggest. However, that need does not mean there IS a god, and it does not mean that the negative aspects of religions are excused. As to Religion providing that connection to wonder, here is Roy Speckhardt of the AHA to give you his view, which I just asked him to do:

    “My take on ‘the good’ that religion does, isn't that it doesn't exist - religion and churches, and especially religious people, do good. One example of that is the sense of awe and wonder and disconnectedness it can provide. But as much as religion can be a force for good, and that could be so much better without the religion part. 

    While churches raise billions for charity, they raise billions more that go to lining the pockets of a huge network of clergy and bureaucrats. While religious spiritualism provides awe and mystery, its one based on unproven, unlikely stories, as compared to the awe and mystery of science and cosmology which is based on the best of what humanity has come to know through reason and analysis. While religion provides contentedness, it's a contentedness that's severely limited by the tribal boundary of their particular faith - Hindus may be well connected to Hindus, but not to Mormons. Humanism offers better solutions to these issues, and seeks to connect all of humanity and remove the us vs them tribalism of religions.”

    I agree with that and it was such ideas that inspired us to work on the Goodbye God illustrated book. We hope the book can contribute towards that, in it’s own way.

    I’m not sure what I can say about the third comment, as it does not seem to relate to anything in the actual book. Please have a look at the book itself before you judge it, folks. Oh, and the Goodbye God book just came out last month actually, this month in the US - not 6 months ago.

    Thanks, Sean

  6. #6 Roy Conolly 22 May 15

    This is a book that ought to be on all public and school library shelves, available to anyone who has an enquiring mind or, come to that, a closed mind. Those of us who don't expect to see the Pearly Gates or to get our hands on a few dozen virgins and are impervious to the carrot and stick inducements may not need to be convinced that there is no God. It is though an enjoyably well-written read and the illustrations by Hunt Emerson are superb. He obviously has a God-given talent, or would have if God existed.

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