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Recent Reading

  • Susan Jacoby: Freethinkers: A History of American Secularism

    Susan Jacoby: Freethinkers: A History of American Secularism
    Excellent overview of the prominent role that freethinkers (atheists, agnostics, and deists) played in America's past, including the founding of our country, the abolition of slavery, and giving women the vote. (*****)

  • Sam Harris: The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason

    Sam Harris: The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason
    One of the most frightening books I've ever read. Among numerous other topics, Harris argues that it is almost inevitable that atomic weapons will fall into the hands of religious radicals -- if not terrorist, then perhaps a nation with religious radicals in charge. (****)

  • Richard Dawkins: The God Delusion

    Richard Dawkins: The God Delusion
    Highly recommended. Despite what you might have heard, Richard Dawkins does not spew venom in this book. Flames do not shoot out when you open it, nor does bile drip from the pages. Far from being an hysterical, rabid diatribe against religion, it is a quite measured, logical explanation of the evidence against God and why religion should not be treated with such reverence. (*****)

  • Daniel C. Dennett: Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon

    Daniel C. Dennett: Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon
    I highly recommend this book for anyone who is about to embark on studying religion and atheism. Why do people enjoy music? Why do we like to socialize? Why do we sometimes become violent? Science has attempted to answer each of these questions. Dennett proposes that science attempt to answer another: Why are people religious? Even if one of the religions is true, that still means that billions of people believe religions that are not true. Why? What is it about our evolutionary past that makes us willing to believe? (*****)

  • Jared Diamond: Guns, Germs and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies

    Jared Diamond: Guns, Germs and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies
    Why wasn't Europe invaded by ships carrying gun-wielding Native Americans or Africans, rather than the other way around? This is an excellent explanation of why some societies became quite advanced, while others remained primitive. (*****)

  • Richard P. Feynman: "Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!": Adventures of a Curious Character

    Richard P. Feynman: "Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!": Adventures of a Curious Character
    Very entertaining and thought-provoking collection of anecdates from the life of perhaps the best-known physicist of the 20th century. (****)

  • Terry Pratchett, Ian Stewart, Jack S. Cohen: The Science of Discworld
    You'll have to visit Amazon UK to locate this one. This book explains science concepts by comparing them to the decidedly different physical laws of the Discworld series. (****)
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August 25, 2007

Some Recent Reading

It's been months since I posted anything here. What can I say? I've been busy. Our local skeptics group, REALL, hosted a stop on Victor J. Stenger's book tour in June, which was cool.

My recent reading has included:

I highly recommend all three books, particularly the two by Jared Diamond.

Currently I'm reading Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community, by Robert D. Putnam. So far I'm only about halfway through it, but it's been very interesting, so I recommend it, too. However, it came out in 2000, so for the full story I'll need to read his followup book, Better Together: Restoring the American Community.

Well, I'll try to write more later. I just wanted to confirm that I'm not dead yet!

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It's good to know that you are not dead. I really liked those books. I think that Guns, Germs, and Steel in particular was one of the all-time great answers to the claim that Western civilization came to rule the world because "God is on our side".


Well, its been a quarter of a year now!

Whazza matta? You can't find chumps to write about? I see that Ernest Angeley is back in the saddle!

Not to mention some other moron who is going on and on about the Middle East.

frank sheehan

to the guys who own the blog "Please run a story on the following article

Evolution and intelligent design are set for a showdown in Texas.

Just weeks after Florida education officials approved an evolution-heavy curriculum over the objections of religious conservatives, two pro-intelligent design candidates will vie for seats on the Texas Board of Education.

The board selects textbooks and decides what Texas children are taught. Later this year, the state will review its science curriculum; observers fear that creationist explanations of life's origins will be presented as scientifically valid alternatives to evolution.

There's ample reason to think intelligent design -- a theory that views so-called irreducible complexities to be proof of divine intervention, and was discredited legally and scientifically two years ago during the Kitzmiller v. Dover case -- could mount a comeback in Texas.

State science education official Chris Comer was fired last November after telling friends and colleagues about a lecture critical of intelligent design. The 15-member Board of Education is roughly balanced between supporters and opponents of evolution -- but the March 4 board election features two pro-ID candidates, both running against pro-evolution incumbents.

The Associated Press reports that would-be board member Lupe Gonzalez, a retired school administrator, wants intelligent design given "equal weight" with evolution in school textbooks. The second challenger, retired urologist Barney Maddox, considers the state's current science curriculum an attempt to "brainwash our children into believing evolution."

Concerned about the situation? Then email your friends in District 2 and District 11 and tell them to vote for incumbents Mary Helen Berlanga and Pat Hardy, both of whom have a long track record of voting in favor of scientifically accurate evolution education.

Berlanga is a Democrat and Hardy a Republican, but that shouldn't matter. Reason and intellectual coherency transcend party affiliation.

Only in texas i guess sad but true


good article

thank you for informations.

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