Good books to read?

by thedepressedsoul 61 Replies latest watchtower bible

  • Northern Star
    Northern Star
    Listen to the free lectures of Christine Hayes from Yale. She is very professional and engaging. You will have a better understanding of the Bible without feeling that faith is being attacked.

    That is an excellent course, indeed!

  • slimboyfat

    Ha I don't believe there is any truth, apart from what I just said. So am I qualified to respond here?

    But I got recommendations!

    So I would recommend books on those lines. A primer on Foucault, Rory or Nietzsche. Or The Order of Things itself. Or something by Rorty on pragmatism.

    One of my favourite short books on theory is How to Read Derrida. Absolutely fantastic mind bending life altering stuff. Forget Dawkins, Harris, Ehrman, Pinker, blah blah nonsense. Child's play. I've read dozens of such "truth" books, including The Selfish Gene, The Blind Watchmaker, The God Delusion, Misquotng Jesus, God's Problem, Better Angels of our Nature (gave up on that one actually - extremely long book), End of Faith. Good interesting reads most of them. Although Harris has got to be the worst. Bu the "truth"?

    You want the straight dope here it is.

  • cofty
    Forget Dawkins, Harris, Ehrman, Pinker, blah blah nonsense. Child's play - SBF

    Your arrogance is astonishing.

  • 2+2=5

    Probably because of my childish ways, I do enjoy reading Sam Harris.

    The Koran might be worth a look, quite a few million people are finding refreshing truths therein.

  • slimboyfat

    Cofty I've read both types of books and draw my conclusion. You've only read the one side and draw your conclusion. So who displays arrogance? I also said some of them were good reads. The Blind Watchmaker was a very eye opening book to me at the time. But not as much as reading Foucault, Rorty and Derrida later. It is a different level.

    I read a book by Sam Harris on free will. It was honestly probably the worst book I've ever read, ever. The last sentence was an insult to your intelligence. Like making fun of you for enduring that far. And he thinks he's a serious philosopher. It's terrible.

  • cofty

    To dismiss Dawkins, Harris, Ehrman and Pinker as "blah blah nonsense. Child's play" is astonishing hubris.

    This from the man who has ended up believing in pantheism, asserting that rocks are conscious and can't decide if just maybe the earth might be flat after all.

    Is this what passes for grown-up thinking?

    Pinker's book was one of the most interesting works I have ever read and should be tackled by every ex-JW since it destroys the very core of apocalyptic cult mentality. Shame it was too long for you.

    Harris on secular ethics and on the corrosive effects of theism is outstanding. Dawkins ability to explain biological evolution is unmatched.

  • slimboyfat

    Dawkins was great for me because he explained evolution in a way I could understand. I found The Blind Watchtmaker utterly convincing. Then I read The Selfish Gene and other books too. Also good. But The God Delusion was a poor book. Dawkins has contempt for philosophy and it shows. It's okay to disagree but he clearly doesn't understand what he's disagreeing with. On top of that, I've since found out that some of what Dawkins pushes as evolutionary orthodoxy are his own eccentricities. Centrally the idea that gene selection is the be all and end all of evolutionary change. More and more it seems Lamarck was not completely wrong, group selection does play a role in evolution and so on. So even in his own narrow specialism there are problems with Dawkins. Even the "meme" concept he came up with is problematic. At best it is simply an unnecessary substitute for "concept" and at worst it attempts to hide social construction by subsuming it within a quasi-scientific framework.

    Pinker also argues that science and materialism can explain everything in books like The Blank Slate that allows virtually no place for social construction and blames all our characteristics on our genetic makeup. Pinker has an easy to read style and much of what he says is common sense. So you don't notice the nonsense he sneaks in along the way. Better Angels of Our Nature seems to argue that because humans have got less violent therefore humans get less violent as time goes on. That's a fatal leap in the dark. Fact is humanity could easily destroy itself entirely tomorrow. What happens to all his charts and pictures and graphs proving that humans become less violent then?

    Sam Harris's idea of ethics is we should nuke Muslims and feel good about it. Then when you criticise him he is offended because you misunderstand what he's saying. He says religion is bad but Buddhism's alright. We don't have free will even though he doesn't seem to understand the arguments involved. Ben Carson understands foreign policy better than Chomsky. Materialism leads to such right wing nuttery. Atheists and Christians aligned to bomb the barbarians. Oh Lordy.

    You say shame Pinker's book was too long for me. I say shame you dismiss poststructuralism and theory without reading ANY of it. Why not try the short book on Derrida linked above? It's transformative.

    By the way I am intrigued more by panpsychism than pantheism as such. I think.

  • azor

    I am listening to the "better angels of our nature" again as it is data heavy in parts. I think everyone should read/listen to this book. A tremendous accounting of humanities progress through millenia.

    How do we know who we are without knowing where and who we came from.

  • azor
    Slimboyfat are you a regressive liberal?
  • cofty

    So many factual errors in your last post SBF I could write pages refuting it. But I'm busy and can't find any reason to exert the energy required to do so.

    You have significantly misrepresented Pinker, Dawkins and especially Harris.

    Is that because you only pretend you have actually read what you carelessly and ignorantly criticise?

    You don't care because according to you they are "nonsense and child's play."

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