A Concise Review of a Clump of Matter

August 25, 2012

Just read the book, The Atheist’s Guide to Reality. It is a clump of matter. The author, Alex Rosenberg, assures it is. Further, as a clump of matter it cannot be about anything, because “one clump of matter can’t be about another clump of matter,” and clumps of matter (or more precisely, fermions and bosons) are all there is (emphasis in original).

This poses a problem for the reviewer. Because the book is about nothing, no statement in it can be said to be true or false.

Perhaps this is good for Rosenberg—if “good” or “bad” had any meaning. But they don’t. Evaluative terms have no meaning. Rosenberg argues for nihilism in a chapter entitled “The Good News: Nice Nihilism.” According to Rosenberg, “Nice nihilism undermines all values.”

One might be tempted to argue that Rosenberg contradicts himself by characterizing nihilism as “good news” and declaring it’s “nice,” as these are blatantly evaluative terms. Nihilism would seem to undermine its own niceness. But as nothing is true or false, perhaps Rosenberg is not worried about contradiction. Or perhaps he has taken some Prozac, a therapy he recommends more often than a pharmaceutical sales agent.

For those of you who think this review is unfair, that’s just your fermions and bosons talking.

This particular clump of matter retails for $25.95.