By Andy Norman
“The Four Horsemen: The Conversation That Sparked an Atheist Revolution” is a transcript of a 2007 conversation among four prominent public intellectuals, each the author of a best-selling book challenging the intellectual and moral credentials of religion.
Its participants were the celebrated evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins (“The God Delusion”), the grandfatherly philosopher Daniel Dennett (“Breaking the Spell”), the brash neuroscientist Sam Harris (“The End of Faith” and “Letter to a Christian Nation”) and the late crusading journalist Christopher Hitchens (“God Is Not Great”). Their conversation was an invigorating example of what happens when astute, inquisitive minds engage together on deep questions.
We’re fortunate that the exchange was captured on film, and the video has since been viewed millions of times online. Why then do we also need the book?
I find that the print volume adds something new to the public record: Not only do the surviving members of the foursome — Mr. Dawkins, Mr. Dennett and Mr. Harris — but also each weighs in with fresh thoughts on the subjects they discussed, the text affords a different, more reflective way of processing the truly vital exchange of ideas. This slim volume (130 pages) is chock-full of observations that secular readers will find thrilling and believers will find challenging. Those concerned to understand religion as a natural phenomenon will derive special benefit from ruminating over its pages.
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