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Ch. 16: Is Religion Child Abuse? 
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my desire for truth, for seeking out answers to the unknowns are what caused me to lose faith.

I sought truth and found only pale lies in religion.

There are always answers, but perhaps the questions should be re-phrased.

"What is the meaning of life?"

Wrong question. Meaning is a human construct that works in concert with language and symbolism. Life has no "Meaning". What is the meaning of a volcano? what is the meaning of air? Useless questions.

Broadly speaking, you could say the replication of DNA is the "Meaning" of life. That may be an un-fulfilling answer, but it is probably not far off the mark.

Sometimes we become confused by the limitations of our language and common uses of words. There may be no clear answer at hand, but there are always correct answers. We might just be looking for them the wrong way.

Better questions are "What is that? How does it do what it does? How can we make ourselves better with this?" and others.

I am an atheist, and I'm ravenous for knowledge. I will not, however, accept fairy-tales as a substitute for a world view.



Sun May 17, 2009 12:43 pm
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Post The meaning of life?
Frank wrote:
Quote:
Atheists (at least none that I know) do not claim that there cannot be some sort of god, or prime mover of some sort. But we do not believe in those things with no evidence to support them.


My confusion of atheism lies in the above statement. If evidence can never be found to support the belief in a higher power than humans, how can an atheist claim that there may be one? I don't mean to be flippant Frank, I really don't. But to claim there may be some sort of a power opens a crack for belief. For belief to occur in that power requires faith. It is my understanding that atheists do not have faith.


Johnson1010 wrote:

Quote:
my desire for truth, for seeking out answers to the unknowns are what caused me to lose faith.


I also, do not believe in fairy tales and I do not blindly follow the concepts and practices of religion. However, without faith, there is no possiblity that a god exists. This is my confusion Frank! I consider myself an agnostic. I do have faith, but, I do not go looking for answers to the unknown in a structured religion, I agree, that will lead to disapointment. You need to look within yourself for answers and prove them to your satisfaction, we are in agreement here too.

To ask what is a volcano, or how does a TV work requires evidence for satisfaction. But when a loved one dies and you ask yourself why, emotionally or spiritually, there is no evidence to rely upon for satisfaction, but asking it can be provocative.

Johnson1010 wrote:
Quote:
"What is the meaning of life?"

Wrong question.


Who asked this stupid question?



Sun May 17, 2009 7:12 pm
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Suzanne
My confusion of atheism lies in the above statement. If evidence can never be found to support the belief in a higher power than humans, how can an atheist claim that there may be one?


Atheists make no claim that there may or may not be a higher power, we simply admit that we cannot know everything and in that gap the possibility remains, however slight the chances may be.

Quote:
Suzanne
I don't mean to be flippant Frank, I really don't. But to claim there may be some sort of a power opens a crack for belief. For belief to occur in that power requires faith. It is my understanding that atheists do not have faith.


Again we are not making any sort of claim we simply do not accept any of the claims brought before us to date.

But you are correct, we do not have religious faith and we do not believe, because that “power” has never been established to exist in the first place.

Quote:
Suzanne
I also, do not believe in fairy tales and I do not blindly follow the concepts and practices of religion. However, without faith, there is no possibility that a god exists.


I do not understand this comment… logically a person has to admit that in the vastness of the universe (of which we see very little) there are possibilities that we have not even considered. Some sort of god could be one of them, I have zero problem admitting this. However the defined gods made up by men fall very short when looked at logically, historically and scientifically and there is no evidene to suggest that a god of any sort exists.

From what we see of the universe so far it appears to be self regulating following specific rules and laws… these laws do not waver for the faithful, we are clearly in charge of our own destiny, from my point of view no god is needed to clarify any of what we see or try to explain.

Suzanne let me ask you this… do you believe that Zeus exists and helps and punishes mortals based on their faith and behavior?

Assuming that you do not; can you prove absolutely that he doesn’t exist and do those things?

If you again say no, than you are an atheist as far as Zeus is concerned. I simply apply this standard to all gods in light of there being no evidence to support their existence.

Later


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Sun May 17, 2009 7:44 pm
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Suzanne: "It is my understanding that atheists do not have faith."

Everyone has faith. But simple faith and the Faith of religion aren't the same. For anything we believe, there must be sufficient reasoning or evidence. Some beliefs can have sufficient, but incomplete evidence or reasoning, so faith bridges the gap. The problem is that religion lacks sufficient evidence or reasoning. I have faith, but not in things that are likely untrue.



Sun May 17, 2009 8:51 pm
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Post Atheism
Hello Frank and Interbane and Johnson1010:

Frank013 wrote:
Quote:
From what we see of the universe so far it appears to be self regulating following specific rules and laws… these laws do not waver for the faithful, we are clearly in charge of our own destiny, from my point of view no god is needed to clarify any of what we see or try to explain.


I wrote:
Quote:
I do have faith, but, I do not go looking for answers to the unknown in a structured religion, I agree, that will lead to disapointment. You need to look within yourself for answers and prove them to your satisfaction,


Frank103 wrote:
Quote:
logically a person has to admit that in the vastness of the universe (of which we see very little) there are possibilities that we have not even considered. Some sort of god could be one of them, I have zero problem admitting this. However the defined gods made up by men fall very short when looked at logically, historically and scientifically and there is no evidene to suggest that a god of any sort exists.


I wrote:
Quote:
It’s understandable that eventually, man starting asking questions outside the realm of its existence and knowledge. With those questions, creativity was born. With creativity, comes art, and dance, and stories, and with stories, religion was born.


Interbane wrote:
Quote:
Everyone has faith. But simple faith and the Faith of religion aren't the same. For anything we believe, there must be sufficient reasoning or evidence. Some beliefs can have sufficient, but incomplete evidence or reasoning, so faith bridges the gap. The problem is that religion lacks sufficient evidence or reasoning. I have faith, but not in things that are likely untrue.


Frank103 wrote:
Quote:
Atheists (at least none that I know) do not claim that there cannot be some sort of god, or prime mover of some sort. But we do not believe in those things with no evidence to support them.


Frank103 wrote:
Quote:
Similarly no belief in gods is necessary even while accepting the unlikely possibility that they might exist.


Johnson1010 wrote:

Quote:
my desire for truth, for seeking out answers to the unknowns are what caused me to lose faith.

I sought truth and found only pale lies in religion.

There are always answers, but perhaps the questions should be re-phrased.

"What is the meaning of life?"

Wrong question. Meaning is a human construct that works in concert with language and symbolism. Life has no "Meaning". What is the meaning of a volcano? what is the meaning of air? Useless questions.

Broadly speaking, you could say the replication of DNA is the "Meaning" of life. That may be an un-fulfilling answer, but it is probably not far off the mark.

Sometimes we become confused by the limitations of our language and common uses of words. There may be no clear answer at hand, but there are always correct answers. We might just be looking for them the wrong way.

Better questions are "What is that? How does it do what it does? How can we make ourselves better with this?" and others.

I am an atheist, and I'm ravenous for knowledge. I will not, however, accept fairy-tales as a substitute for a world view.


I wrote:
Quote:
Does the true atheist stop asking questions when there is no true answer? Do atheists still wonder about the unknown? Is it humanly possible? I need to wonder more about this.

It is my opinion that the basis of religion stems with the capability to ask creative questions. It is my opinion, that religion originated with the ability for creativity.“Why”, will never be answered, my opinion will never be justified. "Question everything", that is human nature, that is encoded into our genetic makeup.


I feel the need to apologize, Frank and Interbane, for including Johnson1010 in my salutation. I quoted him, the god inside me told me that is was the polite thing to do. His cloak of percieved intelligence remains untorn upon his head. Where you do not accept a concept without proof, I do not accept a concept riddled with contradictions.

The evidence of God will prove the invalidity of God.
To seek evidence of God will prove to be fruitless unless you are faithful.
To be faithful, you must submit to that which has no evidence.
If evidence is required, you have no faith
Without faith, God does not exist.
If God does not exist, you can not claim to believe



Mon May 18, 2009 11:43 am
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Suzanne: "Where you do not accept a concept without proof, I do not accept a concept riddled with contradictions."

I'm don't believe that it's possible to prove concepts, be careful with assuming to know what I believe. I accept concepts based on evidence and reasoning. I don't accept concepts riddled with contradictions, the same as yourself.

Did you see something in those quotes that comes across as contradictory to you? If so, you'll have to spell it out clearly for me since I'm missing it.


"The evidence of God will prove the invalidity of God."

No, the evidence would potentially validate his existence, but it must be evidence and not wishful thinking.

"To seek evidence of God will prove to be fruitless unless you are faithful."

This assumes a definition of evidence that relies too heavily on subjective perception and inference. Even that which the faithful call evidence falls apart under critical analysis.

"To be faithful, you must submit to that which has no evidence."

Which type of faith are you talking about? The blind dogmatic faith of religion? All of us have faith in things of which there is only a small amount(yet still sufficient) of evidence. To be 'blindly faithful' is to submit to that which has no evidence, and that is irrational.

"If evidence is required, you have no faith."

How much evidence? Are you envisioning a dichotomy of no evidence vs full evidence? Reality isn't so accomodating. There should be sufficient evidence and reasoning for your beliefs. Sufficient doesn't mean complete, and some things are taken with a modicum of faith. There isn't sufficient evidence or reasoning to believe in a god.

"Without faith, God does not exist."

Actually, he doesn't exist with or without faith, but with faith people believe all the same.



Mon May 18, 2009 2:29 pm
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Post Concept
Suzanne wrote:
Quote:
"Without faith, God does not exist."


Interbane wrote:
Quote:
Actually, he doesn't exist with or without faith, but with faith people believe all the same.


Actually, he doesn't exist, because he is man made, and to find truth I must look inside myself and have faith in myself which enables me to choose how I live without written scripture or a structured religion and I do not blindly follow because I question everything.

This is a summary of my recent statements in one sentance. I do not assume to know how you feel, or what you believe. I am sorry if I gave that impression. You are correct, a concept can not be proved. But I must say that I am dissapointed, and I boldly make the assumption that my words have not been comprehended.

To conclude and to avoid any further assumptions, it is my belief that if a "something" other than ourselves has the sufficient evidence and reasoning to support belief, that "something" would be named specie not god.

Quote:
If God does not exist, you can not claim to believe


You missed this one.



Mon May 18, 2009 6:24 pm
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Suzanne: "But I must say that I am dissapointed, and I boldly make the assumption that my words have not been comprehended."

Wouldn't the proper thing be to explain? Your words were meant to be taken in context, as a whole? Sorry if commenting on each sentence in turn missed your point, but the whole is not good if the parts are faulty. Why not get at what you're trying to get at without being cryptic? :razz2:

Suzanne: "...it is my belief that if a "something" other than ourselves has the sufficient evidence and reasoning to support belief, that "something" would be named specie not god."

When you say "the sufficient evidence and reasoning to support belief", do you mean this in the sense of an entity leaving the residue of his existence as "evidence" that he exists, or as the agent of discovery? At first I thought you were talking of money, but then you'd be guilty of being truly cryptic! Belief can buy money, but can money buy belief?

Suzanne: "If God does not exist, you can not claim to believe."

Yes, sorry. The contingency the "if" rests on is currently insoluble. But if I were to play along, I'd say you can still believe. Just because a concept is false doesn't mean people stop claiming in it's truthfulness.



Mon May 18, 2009 8:14 pm
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The following quotes are often used by the religious to validate their position by making blind faith seem like a virtue. I will address them one by one as Interbane did.


Quote:
The evidence of God will prove the invalidity of God.


As Interbane said actual evidence would only validate a god’s existence, but since the churches know that there is no evidence they make it sound like looking for evidence is a bad thing.

On the other hand the empirical evidence uncovered so far has done a good job of invalidating god. But that is not evidence of god, it is our better understanding of nature.

Quote:
To seek evidence of God will prove to be fruitless unless you are faithful.


Again you must have that blind faith first or no evidence is attainable… in other words unless you already believe, the things that the faithful say are evidence of god are simply easily explainable random events. Only the faithful see them as the “miracles” that they are. :no:

Quote:
To be faithful, you must submit to that which has no evidence.


This means exactly what it says, but is it a good idea… is it even possible for someone who already has a sense of the workings of the world? I could no more believe in the Christian god than I could believe that there was a full grown rouge elephant in the trunk of my car, I need evidence. That’s why it’s so important that the church indoctrinates the very young, before they gain critical analytical thinking skills.

Quote:
If evidence is required, you have no faith.


Assuming that this means religious faith that is somewhat true, but some people have faith but need a little support, that’s why the minor “miracles” claimed by believers are so popular… they reinforce the delusion and is the evidence needed to keep the faith alive... even if it is bogus nonsense.

Besides the alternative is irrational belief without evidence and I don’t see that as a good thing and neither do most other people, it only seems acceptable to accept such claims with religion... in most other walks of life it is a bad idea to put that much belief into something without supporting evidence.

Quote:
Without faith, God does not exist.


This is only true if your definition of god is the man made idea. If an actual god exists that being is independent of any one person’s faith or lack thereof.

I don’t think there is a god, but if there is it would exist regardless of my lack of belief.

Quote:
If God does not exist, you can not claim to believe.


Many people have believed in things that were or are not true. The world being flat is one example… Vampires Witches and gods are some others.

A person can believe in non-real entities and anyone can claim anything.

Later


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Mon May 18, 2009 11:45 pm
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Post 
Quote:
I don’t think there is a god, but if there is it would exist regardless of my lack of belief.


Exactly. Belief in something doesn't make it exist. Lack of belief doesn't make it not exist.



Tue May 19, 2009 12:07 am
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Post around the block again
Interbane wrote:
Quote:
Wouldn't the proper thing be to explain? Your words were meant to be taken in context, as a whole? Sorry if commenting on each sentence in turn missed your point, but the whole is not good if the parts are faulty. Why not get at what you're trying to get at without being cryptic?


Suzanne wrote:
Quote:
Actually, he doesn't exist, because he is man made, and to find truth I must look inside myself and have faith in myself which enables me to choose how I live without written scripture or a structured religion and I do not blindly follow because I question everything.


I thought I was being pretty straight forward here

Frank013 wrote:
Quote:
I don’t think there is a god, but if there is it would exist regardless of my lack of belief.


Frank, are you an attorney? :laugh:

I am of the opinion that god is man made. I believe god is a by product of creativity and curiousity that emerged through evolution. However, for me, god is a synonym of love, tollerance, sympathy and empathy, and I do have faith that these qualities live inside of me. And if you need to look for evidence, you need to look within yourself. And if that evidence is lacking, you do not have faith in yourself. And if you do not have faith in yourself, god does not exist. And if god does not exist, you can not believe to have love, tollerance, sympathy and empathy.

Interbane, is this more clear?

Maybe it's not, I fear my plain and simple language may be hard for Interbane to understand. :laugh:

I must say, I have never expressed my feelings so openly before. And I thank you Frank, and Interbane for the opportunity to discuss such a delicate subject. My god of understanding has been working overtime these last few days.



Tue May 19, 2009 8:36 pm
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Suzanne: "Interbane, is this more clear?"

Yes, thank you. What seems simply put to you may change if you let the writing sit for a few days. You've clarified your position though it may not seem like it to you.

Suzanne: "And if you need to look for evidence, you need to look within yourself. "

That evidence you speak of, it is only evidence of human emotion and characteristics. Whatever more you think they infer is because you have certain beliefs. I'd question if those human characteristics you mention are evidence of anything at all, aside from use in an evolutionary perspective.

Suzanne: "And if that evidence is lacking, you do not have faith in yourself."

I see this evidence within myself, but I disagree that it is evidence of anything metaphysical. I do have faith in myself also, but the blues clues of my insides lead me to a different conclusion of what they mean and why they're there.

Suzanne: "And if god does not exist, you can not believe to have love, tollerance, sympathy and empathy."

God does not exist, and I still believe in and have these characteristics. So, your reasoning must be wrong I'm afraid. I think the problem lies in your interpretation of the evidence. Thanks for discussing this and sorry if I come across brash, I'm simply stating what I think.



Wed May 20, 2009 1:45 am
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Post Interbane likes to argue
:laugh:



Wed May 20, 2009 6:12 am
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It's better to debate and improve your mind than to equivocate and stagnate.



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I am of the opinion that god is man made. I believe god is a by product of creativity and curiousity that emerged through evolution. However, for me, god is a synonym of love, tollerance, sympathy and empathy, and I do have faith that these qualities live inside of me. And if you need to look for evidence, you need to look within yourself. And if that evidence is lacking, you do not have faith in yourself. And if you do not have faith in yourself, god does not exist. And if god does not exist, you can not believe to have love, tollerance, sympathy and empathy.

God is man-made. Agreed.

I believe you are speaking about a different thing than what we commonly mean atheists refuse to believe. You are speaking of "god as love" not the literal interpretation espoused by religious thought.

I wonder what purpose it serves for you to include god in your statement? You are really talking about a set of empirically verifiable emotional states that require no mysticism to function.

Confusion enters the picture when you use the term god to refer to states of mind. It seems from this paragraph that you say if we can agree that we feel love, tolerance, sympathy and empathy then we are experiencing god in some way.

I dont think Frank or Interbane are saying that they do not have these qualities, or fear that they lack them as a result of disbelief.

I personally can assert that Interbane certainly has confidence in himself, and i think he would say the same of me and these states of self-confidence were reached with no god in sight. A refusal to believe in god does not equate, in any way, to a lack of compassion or empathy for others.

Love and compassion do exist without god (they always have, since there never was a god) and by forcing god into this equation you mystify what is, as i said, an empirically verifiable set of emotional responses.



Thu May 21, 2009 12:38 pm
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Atheist Mind, Humanist Heart - by Lex Bayer and John FigdorSense and Goodness Without God - by Richard CarrierFrankenstein - by Mary ShelleyThe Big Questions - by Simon BlackburnScience Was Born of Christianity - by Stacy TrasancosThe Happiness Hypothesis - by Jonathan HaidtA Game of Thrones - by George R. R. MartinTempesta's Dream - by Vincent LoCocoWhy Nations Fail - by Daron Acemoglu and James RobinsonThe Drowning Girl - Caitlin R. KiernanThe Consolations of the Forest - by Sylvain TessonThe Complete Heretic's Guide to Western Religion: The Mormons - by David FitzgeraldA Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man - by James JoyceThe Divine Comedy - by Dante AlighieriThe Magic of Reality - by Richard DawkinsDubliners - by James JoyceMy Name Is Red - by Orhan PamukThe World Until Yesterday - by Jared DiamondThe Man Who Was Thursday - by by G. K. ChestertonThe Better Angels of Our Nature by Steven PinkerLord Jim by Joseph ConradThe Hobbit by J. R. R. TolkienThe Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas AdamsAtlas Shrugged by Ayn RandThinking, Fast and Slow - by Daniel KahnemanThe Righteous Mind - by Jonathan HaidtWorld War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max BrooksMoby Dick: or, the Whale by Herman MelvilleA Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer EganLost Memory of Skin: A Novel by Russell BanksThe Structure of Scientific Revolutions by Thomas S. KuhnHobbes: Leviathan by Thomas HobbesThe House of the Spirits - by Isabel AllendeArguably: Essays by Christopher HitchensThe Falls: A Novel (P.S.) by Joyce Carol OatesChrist in Egypt by D.M. MurdockThe Glass Bead Game: A Novel by Hermann HesseA Devil's Chaplain by Richard DawkinsThe Hero with a Thousand Faces by Joseph CampbellThe Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor DostoyevskyThe Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark TwainThe Moral Landscape by Sam HarrisThe Decameron by Giovanni BoccaccioThe Road by Cormac McCarthyThe Grand Design by Stephen HawkingThe Evolution of God by Robert WrightThe Tin Drum by Gunter GrassGood Omens by Neil GaimanPredictably Irrational by Dan ArielyThe Wind-Up Bird Chronicle: A Novel by Haruki MurakamiALONE: Orphaned on the Ocean by Richard Logan & Tere Duperrault FassbenderDon Quixote by Miguel De CervantesMusicophilia by Oliver SacksDiary of a Madman and Other Stories by Nikolai GogolThe Passion of the Western Mind by Richard TarnasThe Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le GuinThe Genius of the Beast by Howard BloomAlice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll Empire of Illusion by Chris HedgesThe Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner The Extended Phenotype by Richard DawkinsSmoke and Mirrors by Neil GaimanThe Selfish Gene by Richard DawkinsWhen Good Thinking Goes Bad by Todd C. RinioloHouse of Leaves by Mark Z. DanielewskiAmerican Gods: A Novel by Neil GaimanPrimates and Philosophers by Frans de WaalThe Enormous Room by E.E. CummingsThe Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar WildeGod Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything by Christopher HitchensThe Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco Dreams From My Father by Barack Obama Paradise Lost by John Milton Bad Money by Kevin PhillipsThe Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson BurnettGodless: How an Evangelical Preacher Became One of America's Leading Atheists by Dan BarkerThe Things They Carried by Tim O'BrienThe Limits of Power by Andrew BacevichLolita by Vladimir NabokovOrlando by Virginia Woolf On Being Certain by Robert A. Burton50 reasons people give for believing in a god by Guy P. HarrisonWalden: Or, Life in the Woods by Henry David ThoreauExile and the Kingdom by Albert CamusOur Inner Ape by Frans de WaalYour Inner Fish by Neil ShubinNo Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthyThe Age of American Unreason by Susan JacobyTen Theories of Human Nature by Leslie Stevenson & David HabermanHeart of Darkness by Joseph ConradThe Stuff of Thought by Stephen PinkerA Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled HosseiniThe Lucifer Effect by Philip ZimbardoResponsibility and Judgment by Hannah ArendtInterventions by Noam ChomskyGodless in America by George A. RickerReligious Expression and the American Constitution by Franklyn S. HaimanDeep Economy by Phil McKibbenThe God Delusion by Richard DawkinsThe Third Chimpanzee by Jared DiamondThe Woman in the Dunes by Abe KoboEvolution vs. Creationism by Eugenie C. ScottThe Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael PollanI, Claudius by Robert GravesBreaking The Spell by Daniel C. DennettA Peace to End All Peace by David FromkinThe Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey NiffeneggerThe End of Faith by Sam HarrisEnder's Game by Orson Scott CardThe Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark HaddonValue and Virtue in a Godless Universe by Erik J. WielenbergThe March by E. L DoctorowThe Ethical Brain by Michael GazzanigaFreethinkers: A History of American Secularism by Susan JacobyCollapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed by Jared DiamondThe Battle for God by Karen ArmstrongThe Future of Life by Edward O. WilsonWhat is Good? by A. C. GraylingCivilization and Its Enemies by Lee HarrisPale Blue Dot by Carl SaganHow We Believe: Science, Skepticism, and the Search for God by Michael ShermerLooking for Spinoza by Antonio DamasioLies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them by Al FrankenThe Red Queen by Matt RidleyThe Blank Slate by Stephen PinkerUnweaving the Rainbow by Richard DawkinsAtheism: A Reader edited by S.T. JoshiGlobal Brain by Howard BloomThe Lucifer Principle by Howard BloomGuns, Germs and Steel by Jared DiamondThe Demon-Haunted World by Carl SaganBury My Heart at Wounded Knee by Dee BrownFuture Shock by Alvin Toffler

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