Monday, May 19, 2008

Do Books on Atheism Belong in the Science Section?

Here's a picture of the science section at a bookstore in Trudeau airport in Montreal:



Among the books prominently displayed are


I don't understand why these books aren't in the religion or philosophy section.

11 comments:

ollie said...

In local bookstores, these books are in the religion section under "atheism" .

The stores are Borders and Barnes and Noble in Peoria, IL, USA

paul01 said...

A book on theism, pantheism, panentheism or deism would be in the philosophy section, so the same should be for a book on atheism.

Scientists who write about atheism are writing as philosophers.

Mind you, in the local Chapters I have seen books by Wolpert in both science and philosophy sections, and books like The God Delusion in the science section along with books by Behe, Sagan and others. These are all cases where there is some tangential relationship between the book in question and the author's other works, or to a controversy surrounding an area of study. A whole section on atheism is a different matter. It should be clear that the subject matter is philosophical.

nihal said...

Richard Dawkins deals with the topic with science as his bedrock; it is thus logical for "The God Delusion" to be in the Science section. A plausible marketing reason may be simply that when these books were categorized in the Science section, they sold more copies!

Bayesian Bouffant, FCD said...

My local book stores have sections for "religious fiction" or "Christian fiction." Seems redundant to me.

Larry Moran said...

In my local bookstore "The God Delusion" is stacked under Nature (=Science).

That's not right.

Anonymous said...

Samuel Skinner
Atheism is about the physical existance of Go (strong atheism- science) or the lack of any reason whatsoever to believe (weak atheism- philosophy/logic).

So it depends on the type.

Takis Konstantopoulos said...

Clearly they do not. And that's easy to spot.

The hard thing is to spot books that pretend to be dealing with science whereas, in fact, they don't. Example (I have many...): Fuzzy Thinking: The New Science of Fuzzy Logic. According to the author, fuzzy maths has its roots in Buddhism and Taoism. Still, this book is (was a decade or so ago) in the science section.

Nevyn said...

Unless it's a specialty or academic bookstore, they tend to be pretty clueless about what they put where. The big chains are the worst. Walden is notorious for putting books on Christianity under religion, but books on Hinduism under "New Age." What they put under philosophy is simply embarrassing. FYI booksellers, Depak Chopra is not philosophy.

Bayesian Bouffant, FCD said...

Bible scholarship in Toronto

Anna Frid said...

This is just profitable since people who are interested in atheism are generally interested in science. At least, I would buy these books from the science section more likely than from the philosophy section which I would probably skip at all.

Anonymous said...

They belong in the "self help" section.