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Featured Book: The Four Horsemen: The Conversation that Sparked an Atheist Revolution


Fifteen years ago, Wired magazine dubbed them a “band of intellectual brothers”, aka The Four Horsemen—biologist Richard Dawkins, philosopher Daniel Dennett, neurologist Sam Harris, and the late essayist and provocateur Christopher Hitchens. Each wrote one or more bestsellers that pointed up atheism; the media quickly heralded their version, “the New Atheism”. And look: “They won,” if UnHeard’s senior editor Ed West is to be believed. Writing in April, he reckons, “Atheism is making headway everywhere.”

Still, for The Guardian, Steven Poole, with the bit between his teeth, warrants, “In its messianic conviction that it alone serves the cause of truth, this too is a faith as noxious as any other.” In his review for The Scotsman of this new Featured Book, Stuart Kelly records the words of a 16th-century Calvinist theologian, Theodore Beza: “‘The Church is an anvil that has worn out many hammers.’”

This book is the transcript of the one and only conversation the four gadflies had together. In it, they “try to figure out what they’re collectively trying to accomplish,” Kirkus Review explains, “and what the best outcome might be.” Their musings, as a Financial Times critique has it, “prickle with the resentment of misunderstood genius.”

 

The Four Horsemen: The Conversation that Sparked an Atheist Revolution
By Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennet, Sam Harris, & Christopher Hitchens
Random House, 2019