Category Archives: Religion

Yuval Noah Harari, HOMO DEUS: A Brief History of Tomorrow (2017; 2015 in Israel)

This is, in effect, a sequel to SAPIENS. Top level summary: It opens with a long prologue: now that humanity has largely overcome famine, plague, and war, what next? Three possibilities: immortality, happiness, divinity. However these are predictions; this book … Continue reading

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Yuval Noah Harari, SAPIENS: A Brief History of Humankind (2015)

Yuval Noah Harari, SAPIENS: A Brief History of Humankind (2015) This is a history of the human species in the context of “Big History” – the first page sketches the history of the entire universe as a backdrop – and … Continue reading

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Peter Watts essay: “Understanding Sarah Palin, or, God Is In the Wattles”: Summary and Comments

From the book Peter Watts Is An Angry Sentient Tumor: Revenge Fantasies and Essays (Tachyon, November 2019), a selection of posts from the blog of Peter Watts, which has been running since 2007. Watts is the noted author of high … Continue reading

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Carel Van Schaik & Kai Michel, THE GOOD BOOK OF HUMAN NATURE: An Evolutionary Reading of the Bible (2016): Introduction

This is a fascinating book because it describes how there really is some rationale (if not reason or logic) to the stories in the Bible. It’s a set of answers to the general question, a sort of meta-question that one … Continue reading

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Richard Dawkins: OUTGROWING GOD: A Beginner’s Guide (2019)

This book, clearly aimed at younger readers, repeats many of themes from his earlier 2006 book THE GOD DELUSION, boiled down and made even more pointed. The first part of the book is structured as a series of “but what … Continue reading

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Links and Comments: Fear and Playing Dirty

Two items from about a month ago, both from The New York Times. Why Republicans Play Dirty. Subtitled: “They fear that if they stick to the rules, they will lose everything. Their behavior is a threat to democratic stability.” The … Continue reading

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Links and Comments: Sapiens; Leaving Religion; Conspiracy Theories; Weather Forecasting

1. From yesterday’s NYT Book Review. Chuck Klosterman likes Harari: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/18/books/review/chuck-klosterman-likes-writers-who-arent-self-absorbed-sociopaths.html What’s the last great book you read? I picked up “Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind,” by Yuval Noah Harari. I thought: “This will probably be O.K. I’ll probably … Continue reading

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Links and Comments: Religious Morality; Natural Law

On the heels of yesterday’s post is this “Jesus ‘n’ Mo” comic, posted by Jerry Coyne, on exactly the subject of deciding what seems right to you first, and looking for scriptural authority to support it second. Jesus ‘n’ Mo … Continue reading

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Links and Comments: Suffering Death without Religion; Fox News; Fundamentalism

New York Times: Surviving the Death of My Son After the Death of My Faith, subtitled, I had lost the one thing that could have numbed my pain. By Amber Scorah. A woman leaves her religion, gets on with her … Continue reading

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Links and Comments: Fiction and Truth, Ignorance and Knowledge, Science Denial and the Scientific Attitude

Three interesting essays this week. In the New York Times Sunday Review section, an essay by Yuval Noah Harari: Why Fiction Trumps Truth, subtitled “We humans know more truths than any species on earth. Yet we also believe the most … Continue reading

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