Category Archives: Religion

Links and Comments: Socialism, Conspiracy Theories, Religion, Rationality, Liberalism, William Barr, Republicans

First, a David Brooks column from back in December: I Was Once a Socialist. Then I Saw How It Worked. I was a socialist in college. I read magazines like The Nation and old issues of The New Masses. I … Continue reading

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John Allen Paulos, IRRELIGION (2008)

John Allen Paulos, Irreligion: A Mathematician Explains Why the Arguments for God Just Don’t Add Up.  Farrar, Straus and Giroux/Hill and Wang, 2008. John Allen Paulos is a professor of mathematics who’s become, over the past three decades, well-known as … Continue reading

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My Religious Upbringing, Such As It Was

My upbringing was not especially religious; my parents attended church, and took their kids to Sunday school, but more out of social habit and propriety, was my impression, rather than from any deep-seated faith. My parents both grew up in … Continue reading

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Sam Harris, THE END OF FAITH (2004)

Sam Harris, The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason. Norton, 2004. In the 2000s, in the aftermath of 9/11, several well-known intellectuals wrote books examining the bases and legitimacy of religion in general. Four of them—Sam … Continue reading

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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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