What Are You Currently Reading?
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30-04-2013, 03:17 PM
RE: What Are You Currently Reading?
* The Tick: The Complete Edlund (New Edition, 2011)

This has all 12 of the original Tick comic books, plus a new 8 page story.
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01-05-2013, 02:17 AM
RE: What Are You Currently Reading?
(30-04-2013 03:17 PM)ghostexorcist Wrote:  * The Tick: The Complete Edlund (New Edition, 2011)

This has all 12 of the original Tick comic books, plus a new 8 page story.

Spoon! Big Grin

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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02-05-2013, 07:04 PM
RE: What Are You Currently Reading?
I am most of the way through The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution. I knew most of the stuff in the book, but it was good to have the methods and ideas and the reasons why they are such effective evidence laid out.

If something can be destroyed by the truth, it might be worth destroying.

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05-05-2013, 02:12 PM
RE: What Are You Currently Reading?
I like to alternate between serious reading, and "just for fun" bullshit. About to finish up Asser's account of King Alfred, and Stephen King's The Stand has been sitting there staring at me. I only vaguely remember some of the TV mini-series as not so good, but my criteria have changed since, and am wondering if the book's worth a read! "The Stand" worth my time?

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13-05-2013, 06:21 PM
RE: What Are You Currently Reading?
O.K. so I'm almost finished with Stephen King's The Stand, right. You could compare the Dark Man over the Rockie's like Sauron of Morder, or the Free Zone people sent over the mountains like the Fellowship of The Ring, so it's got it's entertainment value, it's not a bad story, but....Anybody else wish there was an author who specialized in re-writing books like this one and changing just one thing? I've heard about the X-tian God my whole damn life, and, obviously, I'm sick of it. Just make the characters from The Stand hindu, or muslim, or fricken scientologists for all I give a damn, and change the underlying mythology of the book up a bit. You don't have to burn The Stand, there'd just be a Shinto version of it, or whatever, available to enjoy. Replace god with Shiva, and the devil with Khali, and a few other things around to fit those god's/goddess'. I'm just so tired of frickin Jesus!! Sad

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13-05-2013, 08:05 PM
RE: What Are You Currently Reading?
Just finished Defying Hitler by Sebastian Haffner.
Some very interesting personal insights into 30s and post fascist develoments of German fascism.
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13-05-2013, 08:05 PM
RE: What Are You Currently Reading?
Just finished Defying Hitler by Sebastian Haffner.
Some very interesting personal insights into 30s and post fascist develoments of German fascism.
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13-05-2013, 08:09 PM
RE: What Are You Currently Reading?
Have made a slow start on 'A Storm of Swords' because of school, but now I look forward to the break to read what I want to read. Hope to get much deeper into the book before the next episode.

Then I have a stack to choose from for the next book. Probably 'Hatteras Island, Keeper of the Outer Banks'.

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19-05-2013, 12:00 PM (This post was last modified: 19-05-2013 12:04 PM by ghostexorcist.)
RE: What Are You Currently Reading?
The Bonobo and the Atheist (2013) by Frans de Waal

2/5 (so far)

A recent thread on animal empathy influenced me to finally start reading my copy. I'm a little over halfway through it. If you don't know, the book is on empathy, altruism, and morality in the animal kingdom and how humans have tried to prop themselves up as moral beings in order to reenforce the barrier between man and beast. It is definitely written for members of the general public with no prior knowledge in the subject. I think this is why I don't like it so far. I already know a great deal concerning the stuff he writes about. I was expecting a lot more from this author because I've read 4 previous books by him (all wonderful). Another problem is the way the author harps on the "New Atheist" movement so much. De Waal is an atheist himself, but he finds fault with the way the likes of Dawkins, Harris, and Hitchens are (were) so critical of religion. He spends page after page talking about how the New Atheists are just as bad as creationists and how he can't understand why they don't have the same respect for religion like he does. The author says that his positive view of religion comes from living in a very secular part of the southern area of the Netherlands. However, he explains that those who live in the north tend to be more critical of religion after becoming atheists since they had strict religious upbringings. This should then help de Waal understand why atheists feel the need to speak out. If you live under the heavy boot of religious dogma, you should be able to publicly kick it in the balls.

I'll tell you if I still have the same opinion when I finish the rest of the book.
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23-05-2013, 01:57 PM (This post was last modified: 23-05-2013 02:08 PM by ghostexorcist.)
RE: What Are You Currently Reading?
(19-05-2013 12:00 PM)ghostexorcist Wrote:  The Bonobo and the Atheist (2013) by Frans de Waal

2/5 (so far)

A recent thread on animal empathy influenced me to finally start reading my copy. I'm a little over halfway through it. If you don't know, the book is on empathy, altruism, and morality in the animal kingdom and how humans have tried to prop themselves up as moral beings in order to reenforce the barrier between man and beast. It is definitely written for members of the general public with no prior knowledge in the subject. I think this is why I don't like it so far. I already know a great deal concerning the stuff he writes about. I was expecting a lot more from this author because I've read 4 previous books by him (all wonderful). Another problem is the way the author harps on the "New Atheist" movement so much. De Waal is an atheist himself, but he finds fault with the way the likes of Dawkins, Harris, and Hitchens are (were) so critical of religion. He spends page after page talking about how the New Atheists are just as bad as creationists and how he can't understand why they don't have the same respect for religion like he does. The author says that his positive view of religion comes from living in a very secular part of the southern area of the Netherlands. However, he explains that those who live in the north tend to be more critical of religion after becoming atheists since they had strict religious upbringings. This should then help de Waal understand why atheists feel the need to speak out. If you live under the heavy boot of religious dogma, you should be able to publicly kick it in the balls.

I'll tell you if I still have the same opinion when I finish the rest of the book.

The Bonobo and The Atheist (2013) by Frans de Waal

3/5 (amended rating)

The second half of the book was much better than the first. He does a good job of laying out the biological foundations for morality. He provides evidence that morality issues forth from naturally arising hierarchy in social animals. Any group of social animals will compete to be the “alpha.” Ranks from “beta” on down are decided in the same manner. Transgression of this hierarchy is punished, followed by reconciliation, such as hugging, kissing, and grooming in apes. If warring parties are reluctant to make up, females often step in to bring the two together to bury the hatchet. Thus, there is a natural system of checks and balances. Resource competition drives morality since a sense of fairness is well developed in our ape cousins. They exhibit first- and second-order fairness—i.e. recognizing inequity and sharing. Those who take more than their share are punished according to the social hierarchy. Components of the brain help reinforce this peace. For instance, research has shown more empathic animals like bonobos have larger amygdalas, anterior insulas, and areas of spindle cells (which are present in large amounts in humans and cetaceans). The existence of “mirror neurons” help individuals tap into and copy the feelings and posture of community members. This leads to a more harmonious existence. In addition, just like orgasms make sex enjoyable and the smell and taste of food makes eating enjoyable, the release of endorphins makes doing good things enjoyable. This explains altruistic acts done for non-blood related individuals. De Waal believes that religion as we know it developed when the population literally outgrew the limits of the natural hierarchical system of checks and balances. Some type of supernatural “alpha” was developed to help enforce social and cultural norms. He thinks this occurred at some point after 10,000 years ago.

People who are not knowledgeable on ape culture would probably give the book a higher rating. I realize my original rating was not fair since me already knowing a lot of the material discussed in the first half doesn’t mean it isn’t still pertinent and important to the subject. However, I just can’t overlook the author’s objections to outspoken atheists. As I stated before, people who have lived in oppressive religious societies have the right to speak out against it. Having grown up in a more secular society, de Waal just doesn’t understand why. If he had at least reached out to Dawkins and Harris for their side of the story, I think it would have helped him understand their need to publically defame religion. It certainly would have made the book more balanced. I also can’t overlook the part in the second half where he tries to portray so-called “atheist societies” in a negative light. He uses communist regimes as negative examples of what happens when you try to get rid of religion. Suppression of mainstream religion in favor of state worship is not my definition of an atheist society. An atheist or, more precisely, secular society would be one in which religion does not influence public policy. Another problem I had was that he didn’t even discuss the research/polls that show atheism is on the rise and that there is a correlation between access and level of education and the level of someone’s religiosity. De Waal believes that religion is just too big to ever go away. I agree that it will never completely disappear; however, some experts have projected that it will at least shrink from the mainstream by 2040.

In short, this book could have been so much better.
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