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Don't give creationists the attention they crave 
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Post Re: Don't give creationists the attention they crave
ant wrote:
"Those of us who teach English Composition sometimes worry about getting a "tin ear" by having to read so much writing that is frankly almost never very good and frequently terrible. Some of my fellow adjuncts actually worry about how this may effect their own writing and, indeed, apparently there are studies that back them up. (I haven't seen the studies myself)."


Dont you mean "affect"?


Yep.


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Post Re: Don't give creationists the attention they crave
I don't believe science and religion are reconcilable. I believe the reasons you use to harmonize them would fail if investigated in more detail. In fact, I nearly guarantee it. It has been the case countless times in countless discussions. The precedent is quite large. Sorry to doubt you, but I don't think you're any different.

You are being overly presumptuous. My reconciliation of the two has nothing to do with balancing, comparing, or contrasting evidence. It is clear to me (and should be to you too) that the objective of science is to produce evidence provided by the natural world. Matters of theology are based on faith.

A scientist that is compelled to arrive at absolute truth often is inspired by a wondrous awe and reverence for the complexity and order of nature. He is bold enough to say, "There is an explanation for this and I aim to investigate it." That is an admirable quality. However, it holds true that scientists realize immediately after the solution to one of nature's mysteries is solved, there is another immediately available to ponder.

Although religion's objective is not to find a natural explanation for everything, it too has a reverence and respect for the natural world. I choose not to scoff at the religious man who is satisfied with "worshiping" that which he does not claim to understand completely - God/Nature. Leave the work of science to science. Leave things of faith, to a theologian. Neither should feel he has to out do the other.

Here is what Einstein said about the scientist. Perhaps a "true" scientist. Needless to say, I find myself in agreement with it:

"His religious feeling takes the form of a rapturous amazement at the harmony of natural law, which reveals an intelligence of such superiority that, compared with it, all the systematic thinking and acting of human beings is an utterly insignificant reflection.

This feeling is the guiding principle of his life and work, in so far as he succeeds in keeping himself from the shackles of selfish desire. It is beyond question closely akin to that which has possessed the religious geniuses of all ages."



Then Kurt would have a mistaken expectation. The description of our world through math still requires axioms. Which have reliance on induction. Which, while reliable, is not an absolute source of answers. The proofs could all be mathematically perfect, yet false, depending on axiomatic integrity.[/quote]

You amplified the point I was trying to make about science earlier. Thanks
At some point, science must rely on faith about things yet unseen. or that which can never be proven (e.g. quantum physics).


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Post Re: Don't give creationists the attention they crave
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You are being overly presumptuous. My reconciliation of the two has nothing to do with balancing, comparing, or contrasting evidence. It is clear to me (and should be to you too) that the objective of science is to produce evidence provided by the natural world. Matters of theology are based on faith.


To have a belief that you rely upon for psychological health is great. To believe that it can provide answers based on faith that are comparable with answers based on evidence is false. When I consider the comparison of religion versus science, I always get stuck on parts within the bible. The bible, or whichever holy book you prefer, is the source of religious content, even when you choose to modify that content to fit your beliefs. But to harmonize it, you must ignore certain parts of the bible. To me, that isn't harmonization but cherry picking.


You can have a complete understanding of science and also the realization that it's answers are much more reliable than those of religion. At the same time, you can be religious. The only way to truthfully reconcile the two is to ignore a great deal of your chosen religion. There is a point that you draw the line, and everything under that line is re-interpreted in a harmonic way.

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At some point, science must rely on faith about things yet unseen. or that which can never be proven (e.g. quantum physics).


There is faith in each hypothesis. What is great about science is that faith is rightfully understood to only be a temporary bandaid. If a hypothesis is to have any merit, experiments must be performed. Faith is replaced by evidence. Also, science is based on induction, which means there cannot be anything such as proof. Proof implies certainty, and there is no certainty through induction. It is not faith we use to bridge the gap, but doubt. There is a modicum of doubt in every theory, the possibility that it's wrong. To turn the doubt upside down, and have faith in a theory is to blind yourself to it's shortcomings, or to the possibility that it's incorrect or at least not entirely accurate. That would be turning science into religion. A mathematical proof is only certain to the extent of it's axioms. More simple math problems, and some propositions, are analytic thus can be considered absolutely true by virtue of the definitions of the constituent terms.



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Mon Aug 08, 2011 5:22 pm
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Post Re: Don't give creationists the attention they crave
johnson1010 wrote:
Ant,

here's one of those abiogenesis videos i referenced earlier.

http://dotsub.com/view/720518f1-8879-44 ... a75db27591


I looked at it.
This theory goes against the tide of the second law of thermodynamics. Therefore, it is a hopeless theory.


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Post Re: Don't give creationists the attention they crave
ant wrote:
johnson1010 wrote:
Ant,

here's one of those abiogenesis videos i referenced earlier.

http://dotsub.com/view/720518f1-8879-44 ... a75db27591


I looked at it.
This theory goes against the tide of the second law of thermodynamics. Therefore, it is a hopeless theory.


I don't think so, we're talking about an open system. Otherwise, how do you get decreasing entropy anywhere? Examples are all around you (and within you).

And keep in mind these theories are conjectures. Compare them to the alternative -- Yahweh thought DNA was cool so he made some.



Wed Aug 10, 2011 5:46 am
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Post Re: Don't give creationists the attention they crave
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This theory goes against the tide of the second law of thermodynamics. Therefore, it is a hopeless theory.


People LOVE to invoke the second law of thermodynamics.

As pointed out, it does reference a closed system. The earth is no closed system. What would our planet be like without the stupendous input from the sun? Radiationg is flooding over and through the whole planet on a scale that is hard to imagine.

Closed system? No. We are absolutely flooded with energy. The whole solar system is still an open system. Starlight comes in from billions of lightyears. That is input.

The overall net loss of order, though, is the progress of time and expansion of the universe following the big bang. What could be more orderly than a singularity?

Our star is in an ordered state, but is burning off fuel at a tremendous rate, turning matter into energy. There's your slide toward entropy. Life on this planet uses a miniscule amount of that total energy and transforms it into continuous chemical processes. But it doesn't make even a tiny dent in the overall trend toward entropy.

You really only have to think about this for half a second to see where your application of the SLoTD is off base. If it applied as a limiting factor to life, then nothing anywhere would be ABLE to reproduce. We don't need to conduct an experiment to see that happen.

Of course it DOES apply, but not in the way you imagine. Life is a part of that system, but not the entirety of that system. Imagine your body as a closed system. What does that mean? Just you. Nothing, and i mean NOTHING else can be introduced. No air. No liquids. No Food. No heat. What happens to that closed system? It shuts down. It is broken down by the micro-organisms which infest your bowels even now. Degraded, disintegrated, destroyed, entropy.

But our bodies are meant to take input to continue. Just like the planetary system of earth. Without input from the sun, it is a cold husk.

The sun, without input from additional matter, will burn off it's fuel in a few billion years time, and it too will die and take everything with it.


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Science flies you to the moon. Religion flies you into buildings.

Have you tried that? Looking for answers?
Or have you been content to be terrified of a thing you know nothing about?

Is this the virtue of faith? To never change your mind: especially when you should?

Young Earth Creationists take offense at the idea that we have a common heritage with other animals. Why is being the descendant of a mud golem any better?


Wed Aug 10, 2011 9:41 am
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Post Re: Don't give creationists the attention they crave
johnson1010 wrote:
Quote:
This theory goes against the tide of the second law of thermodynamics. Therefore, it is a hopeless theory.


People LOVE to invoke the second law of thermodynamics.

As pointed out, it does reference a closed system. The earth is no closed system. What would our planet be like without the stupendous input from the sun? Radiationg is flooding over and through the whole planet on a scale that is hard to imagine.

Closed system? No. We are absolutely flooded with energy. The whole solar system is still an open system. Starlight comes in from billions of lightyears. That is input.

The overall net loss of order, though, is the progress of time and expansion of the universe following the big bang. What could be more orderly than a singularity?

Our star is in an ordered state, but is burning off fuel at a tremendous rate, turning matter into energy. There's your slide toward entropy. Life on this planet uses a miniscule amount of that total energy and transforms it into continuous chemical processes. But it doesn't make even a tiny dent in the overall trend toward entropy.

You really only have to think about this for half a second to see where your application of the SLoTD is off base. If it applied as a limiting factor to life, then nothing anywhere would be ABLE to reproduce. We don't need to conduct an experiment to see that happen.

Of course it DOES apply, but not in the way you imagine. Life is a part of that system, but not the entirety of that system. Imagine your body as a closed system. What does that mean? Just you. Nothing, and i mean NOTHING else can be introduced. No air. No liquids. No Food. No heat. What happens to that closed system? It shuts down. It is broken down by the micro-organisms which infest your bowels even now. Degraded, disintegrated, destroyed, entropy.

But our bodies are meant to take input to continue. Just like the planetary system of earth. Without input from the sun, it is a cold husk.

The sun, without input from additional matter, will burn off it's fuel in a few billion years time, and it too will die and take everything with it.


You are regurgitating, at a very elementary level, the 2ndLOTD.

At the very heart of all this is much more.

All this theory indicates is that randomness rules. Proteins do not consist of a haphazard chain of peptides. Rather, they are very specific sequences that have special properties needed for life. Arriving at a useful, life giving configuration of amino acids from the bazillion worthless combinations is a monstrous information retrieval problem of which seems ridiculous to dismiss as a "Oh well, what we basically have to say about that is that we are just fortunate that it all fell in to place." That's mailing it in sick to your employer.

Also, the specialized nature of the information content of a protein in it's highly specific amino-acid sequence results in a huge decrease in entropy. A random, uncontrolled injection of energy and information wont do the miraculous job of achieving consciousness.

Where does the information, even at it's most primeval level come from?
What is responsible for the semantic content of the information? Information is meaningless unless it is semantic.

The information comes from the environment, you say? Well, yes, that's a given. That begs the question, how did the information become a part of the environment?

Abiogenises explains nothing, for it fails to address how information in the environment became semantic information.

I say echo the saying, "The universe seems to have known we were coming"

:P


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Post Re: Don't give creationists the attention they crave
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Arriving at a useful, life giving configuration of amino acids from the bazillion worthless combinations is a monstrous information retrieval problem of which seems ridiculous to dismiss as a "Oh well, what we basically have to say about that is that we are just fortunate that it all fell in to place." That's mailing it in sick to your employer.


With the vast number of constituent particles to build from, it's not a matter of If but When. In which case, yes, we are fortunate it happened.

Quote:
Abiogenises explains nothing, for it fails to address how information in the environment became semantic information.


The difference between "information" and "semantic information" is nothing more than complexity. As complexity increases, meaningless or useless proteins are discarded or remain unused. Meaning, they fail to effect replication, or fail to fill the niche of a complementary protein. The "semantic" part arises naturally, an emergent property, but not because of some "phenomenon". It has emerged because the "non-semantic" information is basically useless information, the "error" in trial and error.

You're pulling on strings to find a problem here. I don't see one. If you want a gap into which you can stuff god, the creation of the laws of physics is a much better place to start.



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Post Re: Don't give creationists the attention they crave
Quote:
All this theory indicates is that randomness rules.


The first combinations are random. Their success is definitely not random. They are good at what they do, so they out-perform those that are not so good at what they do. As a result they proliferate.

The random aspect has a very small role to play in comparison to the very deterministic properties of these chemicals which dictate how successfully they operate.

Quote:
Proteins do not consist of a haphazard chain of peptides. Rather, they are very specific sequences that have special properties needed for life.


Or rather, the peptides have qualities that make them the most likely candidate for the reactions that would lead to life. There is a difference in intent here.

Life needs these peptideds. Vs. These peptides enable life. (as we know it)

Quote:
Also, the specialized nature of the information content of a protein in it's highly specific amino-acid sequence results in a huge decrease in entropy. A random, uncontrolled injection of energy and information wont do the miraculous job of achieving consciousness.


First, your valuation of the information in an amino-acid sequence is subjective. What is huge about it? That it enables life? If the earth crashed into the sun it would disappear in an indistinguishable "poof" compared to the roaring blaze that drives that engine. Compared to entropy output of the sun, life's effect is miniscule and un-important.

Second, there's nothing miraculous about it. We are chemical machines with very complex selective abilities.

Take any codon. 3 empty slots that only fit a corresponding set of round or square pegs. There is no magic in the choice of which set of molecules gets to snap into place with that codon to form a protein. It can only go one way. That is a purely mechanical, or chemical selection process.

The exact same thing governs our intellect, but on a much more expansive, adaptive and versatile scale.


Quote:
Where does the information, even at it's most primeval level come from?
What is responsible for the semantic content of the information? Information is meaningless unless it is semantic.


Check out the video again. The most prolific proto-DNA was the one that was just most adept at making copies.

That's it.

That first combination is random, though you have to factor in the natural tendancies of the materials you work with. You wouldn't say that hydrogen bonding with oxygen to make water is random. it is a function of the properties you are working with. The same with the basic chemicals of life. They naturally attrract to one another.

BECAUSE they naturally attract to one another, they are more readily found together, with more variations, which means that if ever a more complex combination of chemical components that was longer than simply A+B ever arrived, it is more likely to simply add one on to that string than to spring up all on it's own. In other words, if you have a ton of A+B's laying around. getting to A+B+C is a lot easier than jumping from Z to X+Y+Z.

But once that random connection is made, then the properties of that group function to determine it's "fitness", or reproductive viability.

THAT is not random. That is competition. Once this reproductive process is set up, carrying nothing with it other than the internal content to be copied (in other words, we don't have any kind of organelles or processes involved at this point, just some combination of pre-life molecules) then the process of random interaction with the environment adds new letters to the proto-dna until some better combination comes along which is more efficient at replicating. This process leads to better combinations which slowly begin to take on the functions of life.

There are lots of random combinations which are non-starters, and those don't re-produce or make copies of themselves very well. But what you are looking at already, though just a chemical compound and not life, is already a slowly emerging step by step process that would not fall together randomly all at once.

Small random variations (or chemically induced connections) are added and they reproduce based on their purely mechanistic, chemical attributes.

Quote:
That begs the question, how did the information become a part of the environment?


The properties of the elements define how they combine, which in turn defines how the resultant chemicals combine. Etc...

Quote:
Abiogenises explains nothing, for it fails to address how information in the environment became semantic information.


It seems to address this very specifically in a very reasonable way.

Quote:
I say echo the saying, "The universe seems to have known we were coming"


No. The universe was not in the right configuration to make US. WE are the products of the universe's configuration.

People are not the end product of existence. We are simply possible in this universe.


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In the absence of God, I found Man.
-Guillermo Del Torro

Science flies you to the moon. Religion flies you into buildings.

Have you tried that? Looking for answers?
Or have you been content to be terrified of a thing you know nothing about?

Is this the virtue of faith? To never change your mind: especially when you should?

Young Earth Creationists take offense at the idea that we have a common heritage with other animals. Why is being the descendant of a mud golem any better?


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Post Re: Don't give creationists the attention they crave
Quote:
You're pulling on strings to find a problem here. I don't see one. If you want a gap into which you can stuff god, the creation of the laws of physics is a much better place to start.


I do think this is god's best life-line.

Though that too seems inordinate.


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In the absence of God, I found Man.
-Guillermo Del Torro

Science flies you to the moon. Religion flies you into buildings.

Have you tried that? Looking for answers?
Or have you been content to be terrified of a thing you know nothing about?

Is this the virtue of faith? To never change your mind: especially when you should?

Young Earth Creationists take offense at the idea that we have a common heritage with other animals. Why is being the descendant of a mud golem any better?


Wed Aug 10, 2011 3:19 pm
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Post Re: Don't give creationists the attention they crave
In which case, yes, we are fortunate it happened.

Oh, I agree, we are "fortunate" consciousness arose from our primordial soup theory :lol:

The difference between "information" and "semantic information" is nothing more than complexity.

Uh, yeah. Try saying ORGANIZED complexity. My guess is that you believe the complexity of a snow flake and the complexity of life are comparable. They are not.

You're pulling on strings to find a problem here. I don't see one. If you want a gap into which you can stuff god, the creation of the laws of physics is a much better place to start.[/

I don't consider it a problem. I consider it miraculous.
Yes, yes, I've read Dawkin's take on the god of the gaps. Call it what you like. To me, it's a mystery that I ponder with a sense of reverence.


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Post Re: Don't give creationists the attention they crave
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Oh, I agree, we are "fortunate" consciousness arose from our primordial soup theory


A theory is a concept. Don't include me in your group if you think a concept gave rise to consciousness. The referrent, on the other hand, the phenomenon in action, is a link in the causal chain that eventually lead to conscious life. In some form it was inevitable. Do you believe the rise of consciousness is the same as abiogenesis?

Quote:
Uh, yeah. Try saying ORGANIZED complexity. My guess is that you believe the complexity of a snow flake and the complexity of life are comparable. They are not.


They are comparable, of course. It depends on the reason you need to compare them. Here, the comparison fails. If we were talking about the timeline of self-organizing matter, a snowflake analogy is useful. If we're talking about categorical differences in complexity, the comparison is useful also, as a method of contrast. If you're talking about the degree of similarity between an organism and a snowflake, I'd agree that the two are worlds apart. Which straw man were you presenting me as?

The point is that useless, or disorganized, or non-semantic complexity arises continuously. It fails before it even starts. Only the winning ticket, an assembly that is sustainable, will last. The difference is a minor alteration of a sustainable assembly. If it is structured correctly to act as a template for other proteins to form, it can then be considered semantic complexity. Which is precisely the same as abiogenesis. I think what you mean is that you don't see how a replicator could have formed. The most simple replicator would be equivalent to the most simple form of semantic complexity. Same thing, different words.

Using concepts such as "semantic" to describe certain things is necessary if we are to understand our reality. But the unfortunate side effect is that we are "cutting nature at the knees", in making distinctions where there is actually only a smooth slope of increasing complexity. This applies to using the word "replicator" as well, since there is likely a spectrum of integrity that could be applied to replication. Starting with "infinitesimal chance to replicate" and making it's way to "sustainably perfect replication". We assign meaning to these things, not the other way around. The change from regular complexity to semantic complexity is as small as a single protein chain. As long as it possesses the ability to transfer information, it is semantic complexity, a replicator.

Quote:
To me, it's a mystery that I ponder with a sense of reverence.


Same here, though the connotation of "reverence" I use is probably different. I don't see abiogenesis as a mystery though. I don't have the answer, but then, I don't have a lot of answers. It's not a dichotomy of "I know" versus "I don't know". It's a spectrum with differing levels of confidence. Nothing is at either extreme end of the spectrum, since absolute certainty(for or against) implies absolute knowledge.

With the vast number of constituents all mixing together, a sustainable assembly is bound to form. If the sustainable assembly allows other proteins to attach piecemeal, then detach as a fully formed "offspring" assembly, you have abiogenesis. Each stage of the process, no matter how rare, is likely given enough constituents and enough time. I find it strange that people reject the idea. Until I realize that people who reject the idea either can't see how simple and probable it is, or they have an ulterior motive.

Quote:
All this theory indicates is that randomness rules.


That's not what it indicates. Randomness is necessary, as it results in randomly interacting matter. What rules, however, is the selection process after matter has interacted. Random combinations of constituent particles produces a massive population of "potential" candidates. An infinite number, if given enough time. Those very few combinations that last through the jostling have singled themselves out as sustainable. The rest are of course not sustainable, so break apart. Of the population of sustainable candidates, all that is needed is one that can replicate. Which is actually a very simple process if you understand what it implies. That is abiogenesis.

If you're truly interested in having a discussion, at least engage in the details. Blanketing entire chunks of the conversation with words like "semantics" forestalls deeper analysis. This reminds me of an argument from Stahrwe. He was always coming up with pseudo-hurdles that sounded good but would break down under critical analysis. The hurdles were endless. I realized it wasn't about the hurdles(they weren't), but that his method of understanding reality relied too much on the words we use to understand it, rather than focusing on what is objective. In his mind, if he could find the words that made it seem he was correct, the words ruled and he truly was correct.



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Oliver Twist - by Charles DickensSense 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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