Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Review: The God Delusion

Finished TGD yesterday evening in an epic session at desk... Previously I had been reading it piecemeal, in bed. Much more satisfying to read in proper light, in a solid chair.

The chapter "The Roots of Morality: Why Are We Good?" I found edifying, as it provides a collection of reasonable non-religious explanations for human morality via an evolutionary mechanism. (I apparently fit neatly into the 'Tit for Tat' category... Give everyone the benefit of a doubt once, but avenge the bad stuff.)

"Childhood, Abuse and the Escape From Religion" was a painful chapter to read because it documents the emotional damage that indoctrination can do to kids.

But overall, I got the most out of the chapter "Why There Almost Certainly Is No God", which contains the "God-as-Ultimate-747" argument: A pre-existing being capable of creating an entire universe would be more complex than the complex thing it supposedly "explains".

However, I see no reason that we can't one day evolve into gods. Hey, I'll sign up for that. ;-)

Welcome to RJ's Book Blog!

On behalf of RJ-45, the lovely little black cat pictured in the corner, welcome to Astreja's list of books... Ones I'm reading, have read, or intend to read Real Soon Now.

Just as soon as I get this *oof* cat off this page...

Now Playing as of 2008-03-25:
Origin of Species - Charles Darwin
A Game of Thrones - George R.R. Martin
Breaking the Spell - Daniel C. Dennett
The Selfish Gene - Richard Dawkins
The Blind Watchmaker - Richard Dawkins
Principia - Isaac Newton (Stephen Hawking, editor)
The Mists of Avalon - Marion Zimmer Bradley
Think and Grow Rich - Napoleon Hill
This is Your Brain on Music - Daniel Levitkin
Sydney's Comet - Brian Herbert
The Dragons of Eden - Carl Sagan
Completed in the not-too-distant past:
The End of Faith - Sam Harris
Letter to a Christian Nation
- Sam Harris
The God Delusion
- Richard Dawkins
Dragons of the Highlord Skies - Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman
The Belgariad - David Eddings
Paddling South - Rick Ranson
Water - H.E. Taylor
Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Salinger
The Demon-Haunted World - Carl Sagan
Turning the Mind Into an Ally - Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche
Flow - Mihály Csíkszentmihályi
Insight Meditation - Joseph Goldstein
Why Christianity Must Change or Die - John Shelby Spong
Neuromancer - William Gibson
Common Sense, Rights of Man and Other Essential Writings - Thomas Paine
No Plot? No Problem! - Chris Baty
Not yet published, or not yet procured (but near the top of the list, and liable to pre-empting all other reads when they do show up):
Dragons of the Hourglass Mage - Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman
Losing Faith in Faith - Dan Barker
The Function of the Orgasm - Wilhelm Reich
As you can see, there's a bit of a pattern to this list. Some science fiction, some epic/serial fantasy, a bit of psychology, a few Zen and Vipassana how-to guides, a couple of books related to writing and music, and a lot of stuff related to secularism, religious criticism, and science.

This list, and this blog, will hopefully provide some much-needed focus and get more of those books into the "completed" category. Because unread books just take up shelf space.