The End was near, and now it's here!

I wanted to let readers know that my book, The End: What Science and Religion Tell Us About the Apocalypse, comes out today! In it, I argue that the "new atheist" movement’s central claim that faith-based religious belief is both wrong and dangerous, and in fact it's dangerous because it’s wrong, is far more compelling than the new atheists themselves have realized. The reason concerns the novel threat environment of the twenty-first century, which will likely see the rise of advanced biotechnology, synthetic biology, molecular manufacturing, and artificial intelligence. These "dual-use" technologies are not only become exponentially more powerful — thereby enabling humans to manipulate and rearrange the physical world like never before — but some are becoming increasingly accessible to terrorist groups and even single individuals.

This is an unprecedentedly hazardous situation, and it’s why the elimination of faith-based beliefs in propositions privately revealed to ancient prophets claiming to have special access to the supernatural is more important than ever. In The End, I attempt to foment a conversation between the new atheist movement and the burgeoning field of "existential risk studies," which was founded twenty years ago by the philosopher John Leslie and later expanded by Richard Posner, Sir Martin Rees, Nick Bostrom, and many others. My number one goal with this book is to get these two fields to talk to each other, because I think each has a lot to say to the other (yet both are silent right now!).

For more information, check out an article that I just published through the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies, here. It touches on some key issues in the book. The second “strategy” that I list goes into some detail about the “agential risks” posed by religious fanatics in the twenty-first century.

Readers can also listen to Part 1 of a podcast I recorded with Thomas Smith of Atheistically Speaking, here. As Thomas makes clear at the very beginning, our discussion covered a huge range of fascinating topics, from nanotechnology to superintelligence to to supervolcanoes to US foreign policy to the eschatological beliefs of billions of people today.

Finally, I just wanted to say, briefly, thanks so much to the highly intelligent denizens of Debunking Christianity for critically commenting on so many of my posts in the past; some of the (half-baked) ideas in those posts ended up (fully baked) in the book. Thus, your feedback has been invaluable. And thanks to the inimitable John Loftus, who not only has eagerly and generously supported my work over the years but wrote a lovely blurb for The End, as follows:

"This one-of-a-kind-book provides an accessible yet expert education into several global doomsday threats, both secular and religious, both real and possible. Highly enlightening and very highly recommended!" - John W. Loftus, author of Why I Became an Atheist and How to Defend the Christian Faith: Advice from an Atheist