Elbow Room for the Masses

Tom Flynn

Free Will Explained: How Science and Philosophy Converge to Create a Beautiful Illusion. By Dan Barker (New York: Sterling Publishing, 2018, ISBN 978-1-4549-2735-8). 176 pp. Softcover, $9.95.

Former fundamentalist minister, lifelong musician, and longtime freethought activist Dan Barker seems to have found a new niche: reinterpreting the Four Horsemen for broader audiences. His 2016 God: The Most Unpleasant Character in All Fiction collected incriminating biblical passages to justify Richard Dawkins’s application of that unflattering label to God in his epic bestseller, The God Delusion. With Free Will Explained, Barker sets out to decode for nontechnical readers a nuanced position on free will much like the one Daniel C. Dennett expounds in books such as Elbow Room and Freedom Evolves.

Since Christopher Hitchens is no longer with us and, in any event, scarcely needs to be reconstrued for the general reader, I wonder whether Barker’s next work might be Sam Harris’s The End of Faith: The Musical.

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