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What Book are you reading now? (Other than Star Wars)
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 PostPosted: Tue Mar 19, 2013 12:12 pm Reply with quote  
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  Dancelittleewok
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Alone Together by Sherry Turkle, which is a commentary on how technology affects our interactions and what we expect from it. Very deep so far.
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 PostPosted: Tue Apr 02, 2013 4:04 am Reply with quote  
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  Life Is The Path
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Finished The Origin Of Species. In regards to the use of the word 'evolution', I only found it used three times in the book, in the conclusion. My copy, however, appears to be a much later edition, so it may not have been in the original document. Here's what etymonline has to say on the word:

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1620s, "an opening of what was rolled up," from Latin evolutionem (nominative evolutio) "unrolling (of a book)," noun of action from evolvere (see evolve).

Used in various senses in medicine, mathematics, and general use, including "growth to maturity and development of an individual living thing" (1660s). Modern use in biology, of species, first attested 1832 by Scottish geologist Charles Lyell. Charles Darwin used the word only once, in the closing paragraph of "The Origin of Species" (1859), and preferred descent with modification, in part because evolution already had been used in the 18c. homunculus theory of embryological development (first proposed under this name by Bonnet, 1762), in part because it carried a sense of "progress" not found in Darwin's idea. But Victorian belief in progress prevailed (along with brevity), and Herbert Spencer and other biologists popularized evolution.


The only problem I had with the book, and it was only a minor nuisance, is that it occasionally referenced several diagrams, which were missing from my copy.

At some point I'd like to read The Descent Of Man, as Reep has pointed out, but since my list of unread books is already fairly long, I think it might be a while. I also think I'm going to take a break from reading. Maybe play a few games. I'm still a little under the weather.
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I am a Star Wars fan. That doesn't mean that I hate or love Jar Jar. That doesn't mean I hate or love Lucas, or agree or disagree 100% with him. That doesn't mean I prefer the PT over the OT, or vice versa. That doesn't mean I hate the EU, or even love all of it. These are not prerequisites. Being a man is not a prerequisite. Being a geek is not a prerequisite. The only prerequisite is that I love something about Star Wars. I am a Star Wars fan.


Last edited by Life Is The Path on Wed Apr 03, 2013 4:10 am; edited 1 time in total


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 PostPosted: Tue Apr 02, 2013 6:52 am Reply with quote  
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  Dog-Poop_Walker
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I've been reading stuff about Jack The Ripper lately. Despite how it seems on here, since I've talked about it a few times; I am really not that into the case.

Anyway, I read the essay Dear Boss: Hoax as Collective Narrative in the Case of the Jack the Ripper Letters by Ted Remington

I would highly recommend it to anyone interested in that sort of thing. Besides being insightful to JTR in particular it's one of the best things that I've read in general to the social phenomenon of violent crime and media.

The author has also written about conspiracy theory as a historical metaphor, tying into the hoax phenomenon here, which is something that I've been really into for a while now, so I was excited to find someone talking about two of my main interests.
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 PostPosted: Tue Apr 02, 2013 10:50 am Reply with quote  
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  Reepicheep
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I'm re-reading A Tale of Two Cities to coincide with the "Enlightenment/Revolution" unit in history class.
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 PostPosted: Fri Apr 05, 2013 4:04 am Reply with quote  
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  Life Is The Path
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Well, it turns out that I can't go too long without reading something, without going insane. Now reading The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins.
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I am a Star Wars fan. That doesn't mean that I hate or love Jar Jar. That doesn't mean I hate or love Lucas, or agree or disagree 100% with him. That doesn't mean I prefer the PT over the OT, or vice versa. That doesn't mean I hate the EU, or even love all of it. These are not prerequisites. Being a man is not a prerequisite. Being a geek is not a prerequisite. The only prerequisite is that I love something about Star Wars. I am a Star Wars fan.


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 PostPosted: Fri Apr 05, 2013 8:06 am Reply with quote  
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  Taral-DLOS
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See, I can't do Richard Dawkins. He takes the anti-religion view too far. Good scientists, and good atheists, don't disparage those whose world-view includes a religious or spiritual side, as long as the scientific realities of the world are also taken into account (read: you need to be respectful and tolerant of those who believe in evolution AND religion, but Young-Earth Creationists are fair game).

I listen to a lot of media that's produced by people who are scientists or who are otherwise Left-of-Centre, and the good ones don't talk crap about religion in general. They talk crap about when people deny science. So I can listen to Science...Sort Of and Neil DeGrasse Tyson and Dan Savage any day, but Bill Maher is a bridge too far, and I think Richard Dawkins might be too.

But maybe I'm wrong; I'll be honest I haven't read any Dawkins, just the book descriptions. If it's not as bad as I think, let me know.
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 PostPosted: Fri Apr 05, 2013 10:32 am Reply with quote  
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  Proudfoot
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Taral-DLOS wrote:
See, I can't do Richard Dawkins. He takes the anti-religion view too far. Good scientists, and good atheists, don't disparage those whose world-view includes a religious or spiritual side, as long as the scientific realities of the world are also taken into account (read: you need to be respectful and tolerant of those who believe in evolution AND religion, but Young-Earth Creationists are fair game).

I listen to a lot of media that's produced by people who are scientists or who are otherwise Left-of-Centre, and the good ones don't talk crap about religion in general. They talk crap about when people deny science. So I can listen to Science...Sort Of and Neil DeGrasse Tyson and Dan Savage any day, but Bill Maher is a bridge too far, and I think Richard Dawkins might be too.

But maybe I'm wrong; I'll be honest I haven't read any Dawkins, just the book descriptions. If it's not as bad as I think, let me know.


Completely agree with you regarding Richard Dawkins, I watched about ten minutes of one of his TV shows and had to turn it off. I find him completely condescending and unwilling to even listen to any opinions or arguments that align with his own.
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 PostPosted: Fri Apr 05, 2013 10:46 am Reply with quote  
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  Reepicheep
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I've watched a couple of Dawkins' lectures and a bunch of short clips on YouTube. I find him entertaining, but he's never caused me serious thought.
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 PostPosted: Fri Apr 05, 2013 5:05 pm Reply with quote  
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  Queen Padmè Skywalker
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Rereading The Great Gatsby in order to defend to my friend why I hate it.
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 PostPosted: Sat Apr 06, 2013 2:08 am Reply with quote  
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  Dog-Poop_Walker
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Quote:
This essay will attempt to put this self-destructive and absurd superstition to rest once and for all, and to demonstrate that a truly scientific mind must eliminate these counter-intuitive contrivances if we are to ever progress as a society. I will prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that there is not now, nor has there ever been, a Richard Dawkins.


http://www.threeminutephilosophy.com/art_dawkins.html
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They have taken the hearts and minds of our leaders. They have recruited the rich and the powerful, and they have blinded us to the truth! Our human spirit is corrupted. Why do we worship greed? Because, outside the limit of our sight, feeding off us, perched on top of us from birth to death are OUR OWNERS. They have us! They control us! They are our masters! Wake up! They’re all about you, all around you!


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 PostPosted: Sat Apr 06, 2013 4:46 am Reply with quote  
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  Life Is The Path
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Taral-DLOS wrote:
See, I can't do Richard Dawkins. He takes the anti-religion view too far. Good scientists, and good atheists, don't disparage those whose world-view includes a religious or spiritual side, as long as the scientific realities of the world are also taken into account (read: you need to be respectful and tolerant of those who believe in evolution AND religion, but Young-Earth Creationists are fair game).

I listen to a lot of media that's produced by people who are scientists or who are otherwise Left-of-Centre, and the good ones don't talk crap about religion in general. They talk crap about when people deny science. So I can listen to Science...Sort Of and Neil DeGrasse Tyson and Dan Savage any day, but Bill Maher is a bridge too far, and I think Richard Dawkins might be too.

But maybe I'm wrong; I'll be honest I haven't read any Dawkins, just the book descriptions. If it's not as bad as I think, let me know.


I've only seen a few interviews with Dawkins, and this is the first book of his that I've read - though I'm familiar with a lot of the arguments he puts forth from my time on the internet. So far he hasn't really attacked a religion, merely the belief in the existence of God - and by that he means all gods, not just the Christian one. That being said, the later chapters, which I haven't yet read, do sound like he'll be tackling Christianity specifically. So far, though, he's provided quite cogent arguments and I'd recommend it simply on that.

However, there is one distinction I'd like to make.

Quote:
... good atheists, don't disparage those whose world-view includes a religious or spiritual side, as long as the scientific realities of the world are also taken into account


I can't put my finger on it, but there's something not quite right about this sentiment. Give me a moment to puzzle this out. In the mean time, maybe if I ramble on a bit about something which might be close to the mark? Hopefully it may answer this.

From what I've read - and again I might be wrong, since I've not read the latter chapters - Dawkins makes the point to be able to question everything, including religion, and disparage accordingly. On this, I am in complete agreement. If an idea (in this case, a belief), is so closely held, and is obviously popular, then it should be open to criticism. The more accepted an idea, no matter what the idea, the more analysis it should receive. If it is found wanting, then it should be disparaged. I've found this to hold true for Dawkins' writing. Dawkins has obviously found religion to be wanting, and so criticizes it.

Okay, so I think I've got it. I think what you're saying, in terms of 'includes a religious or spiritual side', is those who believe in God. Dawkins, from my own reading and watching of his videos, attacks specific religion and religious practices which are certainly quite harmful to individual peoples and to the society at large and also logical fallacies for the assertion that a personal God exists. This is not exactly the same as attacking the belief in a higher power. According to wikipedia: 'Dawkins said that, although he would not accept it, a reasonably respectable case could be made for "a deistic god, a sort of god of the physicist, a god of somebody like Paul Davies, who devised the laws of physics, god the mathematician, god who put together the cosmos in the first place and then sat back and watched everything happen" but not for a theistic god.'
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I am a Star Wars fan. That doesn't mean that I hate or love Jar Jar. That doesn't mean I hate or love Lucas, or agree or disagree 100% with him. That doesn't mean I prefer the PT over the OT, or vice versa. That doesn't mean I hate the EU, or even love all of it. These are not prerequisites. Being a man is not a prerequisite. Being a geek is not a prerequisite. The only prerequisite is that I love something about Star Wars. I am a Star Wars fan.


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 PostPosted: Sat Apr 06, 2013 3:10 pm Reply with quote  
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  Reepicheep
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^ To be honest, I can be quite sympatheic with Dawkins at times. I totally understand where he's coming from wanting to protect women and children from abuse, his insistence on people questioning their beliefs, and even his irritation with Creationists. I haven't read any of his books, but judging by what I've seen on YouTube, my main problem with him is that he almost exclusively targets religious nuts and/or (shall we say) people with less than desirable brain power. There have been plenty of great religious thinkers throughout the ages, but Dawkins just ignores them and picks on people who have never read another book other than the Bible, Quran etc. in their lives. It gives the reader/viewer a very skewed image of religion.
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 PostPosted: Sat Apr 06, 2013 9:30 pm Reply with quote  
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  Hogy
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 PostPosted: Mon Apr 08, 2013 3:05 am Reply with quote  
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  Life Is The Path
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Reepicheep wrote:
^ To be honest, I can be quite sympatheic with Dawkins at times. I totally understand where he's coming from wanting to protect women and children from abuse, his insistence on people questioning their beliefs, and even his irritation with Creationists. I haven't read any of his books, but judging by what I've seen on YouTube, my main problem with him is that he almost exclusively targets religious nuts and/or (shall we say) people with less than desirable brain power. There have been plenty of great religious thinkers throughout the ages, but Dawkins just ignores them and picks on people who have never read another book other than the Bible, Quran etc. in their lives. It gives the reader/viewer a very skewed image of religion.


Actually, he has done so a fair few times in this book alone. I can't speak for his video appearances, though.

EDIT: I figured out what bugged me about Taral's comment. It was a variation of the No Good Scotsman fallacy. I'd never heard it applied to atheists before.
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I am a Star Wars fan. That doesn't mean that I hate or love Jar Jar. That doesn't mean I hate or love Lucas, or agree or disagree 100% with him. That doesn't mean I prefer the PT over the OT, or vice versa. That doesn't mean I hate the EU, or even love all of it. These are not prerequisites. Being a man is not a prerequisite. Being a geek is not a prerequisite. The only prerequisite is that I love something about Star Wars. I am a Star Wars fan.


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 PostPosted: Mon Apr 08, 2013 7:35 am Reply with quote  
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  Taral-DLOS
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My apologies if I offended, Life. I was trying to convey that it's important for all sides to be respectful of the other side's argument, but at the same time I said that a religious belief must include a scientific belief (which, while I do believe that, is somewhat counter to my "be respectful" argument above).

And I also want to point out that my grievance with Dawkins isn't Christian-specific. My problem lies with arguing his point so vehemently that he outright rejects and even ridicules any other viewpoint. The non-religious may believe what they will, but should not be shouting to the world that god, regardless of how he/she/it/them may be described, does not exist. Similarly, the religious may believe what they will, but should not be trying to ban evolution from classrooms, or otherwise impose a religion-based will on the masses.

I feel Dawkins is one of those extremes that I do not like. There are middle-grounds that can be taken, which he tends to reject.
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-Bene Gesserit Litany Against Fear


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