Could you recommend some good books on atheism, freethinking, science (nothing too heavy here), etc? I’ve already read God is not Great and I’m currently reading The God Delusion. I know I need to read the Origins of Species but, other than that, what are some great books?
I really like The Atheist’s Bible, it’s a book of quotes on, about, or around religion, atheism, freethought, etc. You might also try Hitchens’ The Portable Atheist, which is a compilation of readings that he edited and commented on.
EDIT: Oop, almost forgot, if you haven’t read it already The Blind Watchmaker is an excellent treatise on evolution.
What is it that interest you, Konsciious? If you want to know about the universe, read Stephen Hawking A Brief History of Time. If you want to know who we are and how we came to be, Richard Dawkins’s The Selfish Gene, The Blind Watchmaker (as cmbf117 already mentioned), or The Ancestor’s Tale (one of my favourite) are all very interesting and very well written books. If you haven’t read any of Carl Sagan’s books, make sure to get a copy of his The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark. And no, you don’t need to read On the Origin of Species — at least not now; Dawkins does a much better job at explaining the theory of evolution.
If you have any specific scientific question, let us know, and I am sure others will be more than happy to point you to an appropriate book.
And don’t forget to read and memorize some poetry; you know, girls like that stuff. This one by Goethe, has never failed me.
EDIT: The poem link doesn’t work. Oh, well. It is called The Little Heath-Rose (Heideröslein), if you are interested…
Goethe for getting girls?! Ha! Try Andrew Marvel or early John DOnne.
To His Coy Mistress
Had we but world enough, and time,
This coyness, Lady, were no crime
We would sit down and think which way
To walk and pass our long love’s day.
Thou by the Indian Ganges’ side
Shouldst rubies find: I by the tide
Of Humber would complain. I would
Love you ten years before the Flood,
And you should, if you please, refuse
Till the conversion of the Jews.
My vegetable love should grow
Vaster than empires, and more slow;
An hundred years should go to praise
Thine eyes and on thy forehead gaze;
Two hundred to adore each breast,
But thirty thousand to the rest;
An age at least to every part,
And the last age should show your heart.
For, Lady, you deserve this state,
Nor would I love at lower rate.
But at my back I always hear
Time’s wingèd chariot hurrying near;
And yonder all before us lie
Deserts of vast eternity.
Thy beauty shall no more be found,
Nor, in thy marble vault, shall sound
My echoing song: then worms shall try
That long preserved virginity,
And your quaint honour turn to dust,
And into ashes all my lust:
The grave’s a fine and private place,
But none, I think, do there embrace.
Now therefore, while the youthful hue
Sits on thy skin like morning dew,
And while thy willing soul transpires
At every pore with instant fires,
Now let us sport us while we may,
And now, like amorous birds of prey,
Rather at once our time devour
Than languish in his slow-chapt power.
Let us roll all our strength and all
Our sweetness up into one ball,
And tear our pleasures with rough strife
Thorough the iron gates of life:
Thus, though we cannot make our sun
Stand still, yet we will make him run.
My favourite authors are Balzac, Moravia, Tolstoy, Camus, Klima — I’ve enjoyed most of their books.
In a package I’ve prepared for my sons—just in case I drop dead tomorrow, and “I won’t there when they need me”—I included a list of books I think they should read. Some of them are:
• The Little Prince, by Antoine de Saint Exupéry;
• The Magic Skin, by Honoré de Balzac;
• L’Assommoir, by Émile Zola;
• Meditations, by Marcus Aurelius; and
• The Picture of Dorian Gray, by Oscar Wilde.
I also liked This Thing of Darkness, by Harry Thompson. It’s a novel about the The Beagle’s voyage and the main character is actually Fitzroy, the captain of The Beagle, not Darwin. But here, I would strongly recommend to read Darwin’s The Voyage of the Beagle first, as it is good to know which parts of Thompson’s novel are based on facts and which are fiction.
Could you recommend some good books on atheism, freethinking, science (nothing too heavy here), etc?
A good book on Humanism is written by Corliss Lamont, it is good for a new person because he spends time arguing for monism and against dualism on a scientific basis, additionally he examines the depth a breath of Humanist philosophy, and takes a look at the anti-humanists of that time. It is an involved read, a thick book.
A light book is Paul Kurtz’ _Affirmations_ that has some insightful sayings about day-to-day life from a secular viewpoint.