The God Delusion Discussion. TTA Book Club #2
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10-06-2013, 06:42 PM
RE: The God Delusion Discussion. TTA Book Club #2
(09-06-2013 12:22 PM)kim Wrote:  I have to admit… after Hitch, it was difficult to get into Dawkins. It's like going from a superhero with a flack jacket to just some science guy with a pocket protector. It's always good to be reminded one can love to eat apples and still enjoy oranges just as much. Wink

At first I thought I was just needing to switch minds, the way one sometimes has to when going from novel to textbook but I think Dawkins did well to ease his readers into the material about to be tackled. He begins by stating that if one is looking for X, then pay close attention to chapter so and so. Oddly, this little buffer really helped put me into a more comfortable mind frame, even though around the fifth chapter, I still wasn't sure that there was going to be a point to this book. However, those first few quick chapters did help get me to a point where I would be able to process what came later… and there is quite a bit of material covered in this book.

This being only the second "atheist related" book I've ever read, I noticed that there were very few bits of overlapping materials and anecdotes from Christopher Hitchens' works and that he generally relied a great deal on other material from friends, colleagues, acquaintances, clergy and fellow scientists. This book seemed less to focus on a single or main point but rather, widen those prevailing viewpoints to include a full range of perspectives, all gathered and surrounding the main subject. It broadened the perspective considerably.

I love my audio books but at first, I was not comfortable at all with Dawkins voice. Yes of course, he's no flack jacket-superhero Hitch, he's pocket protector-science-guy Dawkins but my discomfort was a little more complex. In the beginning, I felt that he was addressing his audience(me) as if speaking to a ten year old; WTF?! Nearly offended, I tried to rationalize; well, he had to appeal to a wide range of people… BUT shit, if one is even picking up a book by a scientist, one kind of expects it not to be dummied down! However, because of the additional voice of Lalla Ward, I soon realized that this is how this guy is and subsequently, he came across as very honest and very sincere. Now, I can't wait to hear him read his other books with or without Lalla - even though I do hope he includes her; I enjoyed hearing her characterize the variety of spoken parts - she's really quite good.

Before this book, I'd only seen a few speaking engagements with Dawkins and a few one-on-one interviews; I'd never felt entirely comfortable with him. I felt he was somehow a bit aloof and certainly too authoritative… I don't mind aloof but uh, I do not care for authoritative. Now, having heard him personally relate his own work, I see him as just a regular guy who also happens to be a scientist. It may have even helped me relate to the common sense of his reasoning; his ideas are quite sound and down to earth.

*** Shy
Before I say more, I want to know what others thought of it, stylistically or otherwise.
Any favorite parts?
Any parts you didn't think came off well?
Anything anyone didn't get? I might need to quickly reread a couple of chapters again - a lot of info covered here.

I listened to it too. I liked her voice because it reminded me of a woman I dated. Blush

Like TBD, it was a confirming moment of my own atheism. I hadn't yet identified myself as such until I read the book and agreed pretty much with the majority of the material. The things that stand out to me two years next month since I read it:

* Some of his points about many Christians not having read the bible don't apply to the brand of Christianity I was raised in. I grew up around Bible readers and scholars. His contradictions are not seen as so by people steeped in apologetic acrobatics. A lot of what he said applied to Catholics and Anglicans and nominal Christians, but has little impact on Evangelicals.

* His chapter on prayer and the lack of studies showing its efficacy.

* The section on Cargo Cults gave me deep insight on how easy it is for religion and myth to develop based upon wishful thinking.

* The section on the death helped me transition from a certainty that I would live forever with Jesus to a peaceful acceptance that death truly is the end. He quoted Mark Twain, and I'll roughly paraphrase from memory, "I wasn't bothered by the fact that I didn't exist for billions of years before I was born so I can't imagine being troubled by not existing after this life has ended."

Lastly, for now, the book also opened my eyes to the fact that science doesn't have all the answers yet: what sparked the Big Bang and Biogenesis. Not having much science education, I had thought "smart" people like Richard Dawkins must have it all figured out. It was one of those, "oh, duh" moments where that clicked into place for me.

I'm not ready to read it again, but could certainly see doing so in the future. Thumbsup

"All that is necessary for the triumph of Calvinism is that good Atheists do nothing." ~Eric Oh My
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15-06-2013, 10:41 AM
RE: The God Delusion Discussion. TTA Book Club #2
(10-06-2013 06:42 PM)Erxomai Wrote:  
(09-06-2013 12:22 PM)kim Wrote:  I have to admit… after Hitch, it was difficult to get into Dawkins. It's like going from a superhero with a flack jacket to just some science guy with a pocket protector. It's always good to be reminded one can love to eat apples and still enjoy oranges just as much. Wink

At first I thought I was just needing to switch minds, the way one sometimes has to when going from novel to textbook but I think Dawkins did well to ease his readers into the material about to be tackled. He begins by stating that if one is looking for X, then pay close attention to chapter so and so. Oddly, this little buffer really helped put me into a more comfortable mind frame, even though around the fifth chapter, I still wasn't sure that there was going to be a point to this book. However, those first few quick chapters did help get me to a point where I would be able to process what came later… and there is quite a bit of material covered in this book.

This being only the second "atheist related" book I've ever read, I noticed that there were very few bits of overlapping materials and anecdotes from Christopher Hitchens' works and that he generally relied a great deal on other material from friends, colleagues, acquaintances, clergy and fellow scientists. This book seemed less to focus on a single or main point but rather, widen those prevailing viewpoints to include a full range of perspectives, all gathered and surrounding the main subject. It broadened the perspective considerably.

I love my audio books but at first, I was not comfortable at all with Dawkins voice. Yes of course, he's no flack jacket-superhero Hitch, he's pocket protector-science-guy Dawkins but my discomfort was a little more complex. In the beginning, I felt that he was addressing his audience(me) as if speaking to a ten year old; WTF?! Nearly offended, I tried to rationalize; well, he had to appeal to a wide range of people… BUT shit, if one is even picking up a book by a scientist, one kind of expects it not to be dummied down! However, because of the additional voice of Lalla Ward, I soon realized that this is how this guy is and subsequently, he came across as very honest and very sincere. Now, I can't wait to hear him read his other books with or without Lalla - even though I do hope he includes her; I enjoyed hearing her characterize the variety of spoken parts - she's really quite good.

Before this book, I'd only seen a few speaking engagements with Dawkins and a few one-on-one interviews; I'd never felt entirely comfortable with him. I felt he was somehow a bit aloof and certainly too authoritative… I don't mind aloof but uh, I do not care for authoritative. Now, having heard him personally relate his own work, I see him as just a regular guy who also happens to be a scientist. It may have even helped me relate to the common sense of his reasoning; his ideas are quite sound and down to earth.

*** Shy
Before I say more, I want to know what others thought of it, stylistically or otherwise.
Any favorite parts?
Any parts you didn't think came off well?
Anything anyone didn't get? I might need to quickly reread a couple of chapters again - a lot of info covered here.

I listened to it too. I liked her voice because it reminded me of a woman I dated. Blush

Like TBD, it was a confirming moment of my own atheism. I hadn't yet identified myself as such until I read the book and agreed pretty much with the majority of the material. The things that stand out to me two years next month since I read it:

* Some of his points about many Christians not having read the bible don't apply to the brand of Christianity I was raised in. I grew up around Bible readers and scholars. His contradictions are not seen as so by people steeped in apologetic acrobatics. A lot of what he said applied to Catholics and Anglicans and nominal Christians, but has little impact on Evangelicals.

* His chapter on prayer and the lack of studies showing its efficacy.

* The section on Cargo Cults gave me deep insight on how easy it is for religion and myth to develop based upon wishful thinking.

* The section on the death helped me transition from a certainty that I would live forever with Jesus to a peaceful acceptance that death truly is the end. He quoted Mark Twain, and I'll roughly paraphrase from memory, "I wasn't bothered by the fact that I didn't exist for billions of years before I was born so I can't imagine being troubled by not existing after this life has ended."

Lastly, for now, the book also opened my eyes to the fact that science doesn't have all the answers yet: what sparked the Big Bang and Biogenesis. Not having much science education, I had thought "smart" people like Richard Dawkins must have it all figured out. It was one of those, "oh, duh" moments where that clicked into place for me.

I'm not ready to read it again, but could certainly see doing so in the future. Thumbsup

I also liked the sections exploring the scientific answers to how the universe began etc, and he admitted there weren't absolute answers yet. This sort of strike a blow to the silly "U ATHEISTS R SO ARROGANT" argument.

I think, though apologist acrobatics doesn't deal with contradictions really. There simply is no way to get around blatant contradictions in the Bible without suspending rational faculties. So I think contradictions still stick, but acrobats just literally make up shit and twist things to try and squirm away from it. I also think it's still the case that most Christians aren't clued up on the Bible, and many atheists know it better.

This reminds me of a rather embarrassing episode lately with Dawkins, where he was talking about this...he said Christians were ignorant of the Bible and was asked the full title of The Origin of Species, which he couldn't recall. Rather funny, but irrelevant to the argument, though it'll be trotted out one day or another. I say irrelevant because Dawkins didn't say Christians should know the Bible word for word, he was just saying they don't know what's in it well, whereas many atheists do- and many atheists know about books such as The Origin of Species as well, though they don't know it word for word.

I do hope that makes sense, I just went off on a tangent...

Anyway, yeah. I've lost my train of thought now...

Umm, yeah, again I liked the book.

"Seek out argument and disputation for their own sake; the grave will supply plenty of time for silence."

-Christoper Hitchens, "Letters to a Young Contrarian."
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15-06-2013, 11:48 AM
RE: The God Delusion Discussion. TTA Book Club #2
(10-06-2013 06:42 PM)Erxomai Wrote:  * The section on Cargo Cults gave me deep insight on how easy it is for religion and myth to develop based upon wishful thinking.

Oh - I always forget about the Cargo Cults - I loved this part! The in-depth descriptions were fantastic. It presents it in such a simple form that it's easy to see how they were created. It's practically proof that humans create their own god.

The similarities between "the return of John From" and "the return of Jesus" are all too familiar. I wish he would have addressed the influence of missionaries fucking up the natural world by spreading their disturbing, useless crap. It proves that religion only helps people waste time and resources worshiping something not there, instead of striving to be self reliant and appreciative of the universe as it really is.

Also, using this information and the information provided by Scientology ... I just might form my own religion. Thumbsup

(15-06-2013 10:41 AM)TheAmazingAustralopithecus Wrote:  This reminds me of a rather embarrassing episode lately with Dawkins, where he was talking about this...he said Christians were ignorant of the Bible and was asked the full title of The Origin of Species, which he couldn't recall.

Ha! That's great - because - On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life ... really trips off the tongue. Blink

I usually refer to it as On the Origin of Species - I've usually cut it short right there. However, lately I've noticed many creationists referring to the mechanism behind evolution as being "chance" or "random chance" and this just reinforces their inaccuracy. So, I've now begun to refer to it more fully as, On the Origin of Species by Natural Selection - leaving out the "Means" directly addresses the mechanism most accurately - it is natural selection, not chance.

I've been guilty of assuming that when I use words like "chance" or "random", I assume others to understand that I refer to natural selection, when the subject concerns evolution. I have learned the hard way, that nothing can be assumed when discussing evolution with a creationist. They have to be shoehorned, word by word, into a concept, otherwise they will immediately twist the facts into an unrecognizable pretzel designed by a puny god.

I always leave off the last part because one time, I actually argued with a fundamentalist who accusingly tried to say that Darwin was a racist. What a fucking moron. Rolleyes

I think in the end, I just feel like I'm a secular person who has a skeptical eye toward any extraordinary claim, carefully examining any extraordinary evidence before jumping to conclusions. ~ Eric ~ My friend ... who figured it out.
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