Book recommendations for a young skeptic?
Posted: 10 January 2011 04:30 PM   [ Ignore ]
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Hello everyone,

I am a college student and have recently become an atheist (I guess I don’t believe that there is no God… I just lack a belief that there is one.) after being raised in an strongly evangelical Christian home. I’m looking for material to read. Does anyone have suggestion for good books about religion, reason, atheism, etc?

Thank you!

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Posted: 10 January 2011 05:07 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Carl Sagan’s A Demon Haunted World.

Anything by James Randi or Michael Shermer.

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Posted: 10 January 2011 05:43 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Rocinante - 10 January 2011 05:07 PM

Carl Sagan’s A Demon Haunted World.

Anything by James Randi or Michael Shermer.

+ 1

Take care,

Derek

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Posted: 10 January 2011 07:17 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Besides those two, I also recommend Robert Price’s Reason Driven Life, Marlene Winell’s Leaving the Fold (check the author, because there are two books by that name), Valerie Tarico’s Trusting Doubt, and Darrel Ray’s The God Virus.  All very good books, IMO.

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Mriana
“Sometimes in order to see the light, you have to risk the dark.” ~ Iris Hineman (Lois Smith) The Minority Report

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Posted: 10 January 2011 08:43 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Tho it may seem a strange choice at first, Christopher McDougall’s book ‘Born to Run’ tells how the osteologists, anthropologists, paleontologists?, and anatomists are telling us that we were “persistent hunters” for the last 2 million years (less the last 40,000)... For me anyway, there’s something about that 2 million year thing that tears away some of the veils. Our birthright is distance running, we can outrun any other animal, a man 55 should be able to run as well as a 19 year old, and other good stuff…. Fewer than a couple dozen people still hunt that way..

I believe that by whatever you deem to be morally good behavior,, the healthier you are the more ‘good’ you can do,,, therefor, I think it’s damn near a moral imperitive to be healthy.  This should be part of any secular ethic. The world would be a much better place.

At any rate, I wished I’d read this when I was much younger.

The authour seems to be big on exploring ‘barefoot’ running, and a barefoot running foot placement/stride.. I can’t see why not use that stride with shoes…

Books, movies, running can be as/more ‘mind expanding’ as any drug.

[ Edited: 10 January 2011 09:19 PM by tirebiter4659 ]
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Posted: 10 January 2011 10:39 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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I guess,,, to mine own sweetself I would not be true if I did not suggest reading about Near Death Experiences. I do believe they are valid and just because they can be mechanicaly and pharmacologically induced does not invalidate them. Put me in a machine and spin me around in circles a hundred miles an hour,, I’m going to have some valid near death experiences, I don’t care that I didn’t actually die…

If the physicists can talk freely of there being anti universes, parallel universes, static universes, etc.,,and now they think there are 13 dimensions. I think that leaves the door open for an afterlife.

If you believe the thousands of people who claim to have seen alien spaceships, then you have to allow for faster than light travel or space-time manipulation.

Possibility itself, just like the eternal, and the infinite are all somehow ‘contained’ in some manner by some dimension but,, ‘possibility’ is still huge. If something is possible it is therefor likely…........?...

Strangely,, I believe there’s an afterlife but not a god… What’s that called? I think most discussions about god, especially as prime mover, are actually discussions about a dimension. Certainly amoral. No moral god would have allowed the inquisition to be done in his name. No personal god stands by whilel your wife dies in childbirth.

If there is an afterlife, therefor the torturers will relive the lives of those they tortured,,,,, justice?

If there is an afterlife, therefor we chose to come to this mortal world to experience ignorance and suffering.

I dare you to read about the inquisition. The only christianity in town was an abomination.

I say you can believe what you want but, keep religion out of government, schools, courts, and the hospitals.

What we the world need desparately is a compelling secular ethic based on humanity’s survival.

[ Edited: 11 January 2011 09:20 AM by tirebiter4659 ]
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Posted: 11 January 2011 12:28 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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I will check those out- thanks for the help, everyone!

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Posted: 11 January 2011 09:53 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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tirebiter4659 - 10 January 2011 08:43 PM

we can outrun any other animal . . .

Just a minor point, but this should be most other animals.  Kangaroos can still outdistance a fit human, and if memory serves, one of the African herd runners (I’m blanking on the name).  But that’s about it.

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Posted: 11 January 2011 11:53 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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The Tarahumara people have 200+ mile running games. Ultrathons are 100 miles+. I was going to say that one of our many running advantages is the ability to sweat (most animals will overheat relatively quickly), but kangaroos can go for months without water…. But I will guess that we humans can go further quicker,,, our 70 hours nonstop is better than their 70 hours nonstop.  Please send me a $700,000 grant to further study this question.

One other interesting human physiology advantage for us being runners is that we can pant where other animals breath with their strides. This is also a pretty good explanation of the ageold question ‘why do we walk upright?’.

I like to wonder why are deer lucky to live 7 years when they are perfectly adapted to their enviroment,,,, no snickers bars… It wouldn’t surprise that there’s a lot of death by childbirth?

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Posted: 11 January 2011 12:06 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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mouton789 - 10 January 2011 04:30 PM

Hello everyone,

I am a college student and have recently become an atheist (I guess I don’t believe that there is no God… I just lack a belief that there is one.) after being raised in an strongly evangelical Christian home. I’m looking for material to read. Does anyone have suggestion for good books about religion, reason, atheism, etc?

Thank you!

Daniel C Dennett Breaking the Spell - Religion as a Natural Phenomen

[ Edited: 17 January 2011 05:57 PM by garythehuman ]
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Gary the Human

All the Gods and all religions are created by humans, to meet human needs and accomplish human ends.

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Posted: 11 January 2011 12:20 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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As for reading, I think it goes without saying that you might want to subscribe to The Skeptical Inquirer and Skeptic magazine.  Besides their great articles they have book reviews so that you can find books tailored to your own personal interests. 

For your skeptical viewing, several seasons of Penn & Teller’s Bullshit are out on DVD.  They do plenty of skeptical stuff on there. 

For those long car trips or time at the gym, there are plenty of audio podcasts out there.  Point of Inquiry and Skeptics Guide to the Universe are some very good ones.

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There are more instances of the abridgement of the freedom of the people by the gradual and silent encroachment of those in power, than by violent and sudden usurpation.

—James Madison

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Posted: 11 January 2011 01:45 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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For atheism I’m surprised nobody has yet mentioned Dawkins’s God Delusion, Harris’s End of Faith and Letter to a Christian Nation, Hitchens’s God is Not Great. On the same topic there’s also Sagan’s Varieties of Scientific Experience. Dawkins, Harris and Hitchens are blunter and shriller, and there are pluses and minuses to each book, though their arguments are generally quite good. (They are also the central books in the so-called “new atheist movement”).

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Posted: 16 January 2011 05:22 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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I was just about to say Richard Dawkins, he gave me a lot of perspective.

Hey, check these out, they are really great,

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=9002284641446868316#  “the god delusion” PART 1

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=9002284641446868316#docid=-8210522903232438954 “the virus of faith” PART 2

There is also another one….. the 5th ape I believe, but I couldnt find it,  he also has another 3 part series called “the genius of Charles Darwin” a really great documentary on evolution.

Hope you like these as much as I did smile

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Posted: 18 January 2011 10:40 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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As for general Skepticism, I forgot to mention Martin Gardner.  Anything by him, but I will suggest Science: Good, Bad and Bogus

As for the hypocrisy of religion, a couple of older books that are still good because the players are still around try Don’t Call Me Brother: A Ringmaster’s Escape from the Pentecostal Church by Austin Miles and Salvation for Sale: An Insider’s View of Pat Robertson’s Ministry by Gerard Thomas Straub. 

These and many others can be found at Prometheus Books.

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There are more instances of the abridgement of the freedom of the people by the gradual and silent encroachment of those in power, than by violent and sudden usurpation.

—James Madison

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Posted: 19 January 2011 04:25 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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I recommend “The Book of Nod, Chronicle of Caine Chronicle of Shadows.” It’s a good book about Cain, but something you won’t be able to read in a Bible.

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