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Ethics of War 
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Post Ethics of War
From the discussion of To what extent is moral behavior situational?
genarroyo wrote:
I bet that this "situational" thing causes a lot of headaches for the military (with respect to sending our troops to war). On the one hand the military needs to create people who are capable of killing other people and the soldiers have to adapt to a whole new world. BUT-the military can't create complete killing machines devoid of morals. How is that balance found?

Wartime ethics is a tough subject, and deserves its own thread. Are soldiers heroes, villains, or somewhere in-between? What ethical guidelines apply on the battlefield? Zimbardo doesn't really address these issues, despite his lengthy discussion of Abu Ghraib.

Coincidentally, I'm starting this thread on Veteran's Day (or Armistice Day if you're European). Earlier today, my wife and I joined some friends for brunch. We had two minutes of silence for Veteran's and Armistice Day. I thought about the hardships, injuries, and deaths among US soldiers in Iraq. However, I couldn't think of them as heroes or feel gratitude for what they're doing.

Regarding genarroyo's example, I was reminded of an article I read about US military training. Most people have an extreme aversion to killing others, even in wartime, and many soldiers refused to do so during the two world wars. The US military subsequently developed a training regiment to overcome that moral barrier and make all soldiers willing to shoot the enemy, in part by dehumanizing the foe.

Anyway, there's a lot more to discuss on these topics. Any opinions?



Sun Nov 11, 2007 5:38 pm
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For every soldier that kills another human being there is an officer who trained him, an army that armed him, a commander-in-chief who sent him forth into battle, and a culture that taught him that it was the right thing to do. I don't know how we can judge the soldier without judging the culture that produced him or her.



Mon Nov 12, 2007 8:31 pm
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seeker wrote:
I don't know how we can judge the soldier without judging the culture that produced him or her.


Little plug here: That's an issue that Arendt talks about to some length in the first full essay of "Responsibility and Judgment".


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Mon Nov 12, 2007 9:19 pm
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JTA: Are soldiers heroes, villains, or somewhere in-between?


Yes, they are. As are the civilians, elected officials, and military brass.

Quote:
JTA: What ethical guidelines apply on the battlefield?


Soldiers are bound by rules of war and codes of honor. These are taught and explained and permeate the whole of their military service. There is no excuse of ignorance regarding laws of conduct in combat situations. Soldiers are well aware when they are breaking these rules, engaging in war crimes or abandoning their codes of honor.

Quote:
JTA: I thought about the hardships, injuries, and deaths among US soldiers in Iraq. However, I couldn't think of them as heroes or feel gratitude for what they're doing.


Combat related PTSD is a common denominator amongst soldiers who experience enemy or friendly fire, the results of artilery shelling, the ravaged shells, sounds and smells of homes and communities after aerial bombing, and the terrified chaos of civilians seeking protection or revenge. This psychic damage is obviously exacerbated by physical injuries, often requiring two prostethics: one for a missing limb and one for a wounded soul.

The impact of combat PTSD is directly related to how the Soldier is welcomed upon returning home: is he honored and celebrated for his bravery and personal sacrifice; or is he hounded and condemned for his brutality and submission to authority. If the first, then a communal prosthetic is applied; if the latter, then he is traumatized yet again only to increase the damage and deepen the wound.

If the Soldier can justify his violence as a noble act with collateral damage, then he is far better able to quell the demons of PTSD that will hound his sleep, crowded spaces, loud noises, and isolated moments. If not, he will be overcome with terrible memories and shameful recollections that will cripple his interpersonal skills, force him into hiding, and pursue a life of self-laceration and poisoned medication.

I think that only a few sociopaths exist in the military, and they will not be burdened with the guilt of their heinous deeds. The rest are men and women with moral consciences that sting deeply as a result of their deeds in combat.

Still, I think they need to be held accountable and someone must witness to their brutality: as Arendt argues, these deeds must be judged. Because to avoid this unsavory responsibility is to deny their humanity as well as the humanity of their victims, as well as our own humanity as witnesses who share in many ways in the guilt of the crimes they committed while serving in our name.



Tue Nov 13, 2007 12:21 pm
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I'm rather late in joining this thread, but here is something that really interests me.


Julian wrote:
Quote:
Regarding genarroyo's example, I was reminded of an article I read about US military training. Most people have an extreme aversion to killing others, even in wartime, and many soldiers refused to do so during the two world wars.


I'd like to know if similar things happened to soldiers from other countries during the First or Second World Wars, but I think that, even if it was recorded somewhere, it would be very difficult to access.
One source I read was that there were 306 military trials and executions of British soldiers who did not carry out orders during WWI. It seems that most of them were shell-shocked and were just unable to carry out any orders.

The number of executions was probably higher among French soldiers, but what I had read about earlier were often cases of refusing to fight on political grounds in 1916 and 1917-- which led to immediate executions.

In the American army in WWI, no one was executed ( I mean, by their own people!).

I think here we must distinguish between

1- professional armies and conscripted Armies.

2- Then again, within a professional Army:

a- those who joined because of circumstances , because they needed a job.

b- those who joined (mainly past tense here?) because they felt a belonging to a group of warriors who, for historical and cultural reasons, was a source of pride-- pride was invested in the group, or the caste, rather than in belonging to nations: for example Hindu Warriors (warriors were a caste of their own) or Samurais in Japan, or Genghis Kahn's Mongol warriors in the thirteenth century. It seems inconceivable to me that those warriors would have had any diffculty killing an enemy.


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Tue Dec 25, 2007 7:00 am
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Dissident Heart wrote:
Quote:
JTA: What ethical guidelines apply on the battlefield?


Soldiers are bound by rules of war and codes of honor. These are taught and explained and permeate the whole of their military service.

It's not clear to me what those rules and codes should be. In civilian life, I don't view killing as justified, except in cases of clear self-defense. Since that principle doesn't hold during wartime, what takes its place? If some killing is allowed, what is forbidden and why?
Dissident Heart wrote:
The impact of combat PTSD is directly related to how the Soldier is welcomed upon returning home: is he honored and celebrated for his bravery and personal sacrifice; or is he hounded and condemned for his brutality and submission to authority.

Wartime experiences have far more impact than what occurs after the soldiers return home. Though WW II soldiers were glorified after they returned to America, many of them were traumatized by the war. Many Vietnam veterans suffered from PTSD because that kind of guerrilla warfare is tough for soldiers to come to terms with.



Wed Dec 26, 2007 9:34 am
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JTA: Wartime experiences have far more impact than what occurs after the soldiers return home. Though WW II soldiers were glorified after they returned to America, many of them were traumatized by the war. Many Vietnam veterans suffered from PTSD because that kind of guerrilla warfare is tough for soldiers to come to terms with.


I don't disagree that combat trauma has a greater impact than homecoming for the soldier- rarely, if ever, is the soldier forced to kill or risk being killed on the homefront. But the trauma experienced in combat can be exacerbated by how the soldier is received within his family, the workplace, the community, and the larger political climate: a positive, loving and ceremonial embrace of the warrior will work to heal the terrors of war...it confirms his code of honor and seals his contract with the community for whom he suffered his wounds. Conversely, warriors who are rejected upon homecoming will see their wounds as wasted, their sacrifices for naught, their honor is shamed and they are outcast in the community they hoped to serve. In the latter case, the terrors of combat are unleashed yet again: becoming self-lacerating memories, disabling and debilitating.

Combat traumatizes: the soldier often faces feelings of utter powerlessness and threatened with the fear of death and serious injury. The return to home and society (what our military does not do well) is a crucial part of containing the impact of this trauma. If homecoming is not a ceremony of honor, the trauma is internally re-enacted: yet again, the soldier is powerless before the judgment of his community and his place in that society is threatened with rejection and even scapegoating: life as he knew it is over.



Wed Dec 26, 2007 11:44 am
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DH
Soldiers are bound by rules of war and codes of honor. These are taught and explained and permeate the whole of their military service. There is no excuse of ignorance regarding laws of conduct in combat situations. Soldiers are well aware when they are breaking these rules, engaging in war crimes or abandoning their codes of honor.


Being a wartime veteran who saw action I can attest to the truth of the above statement. We were drilled constantly on what was acceptable and what was not, we were even given copies of the Geneva Convention to study.

Furthermore we were regularly reminded that an immoral order was not lawful and if we questioned any such order inaction was acceptable. We had also been given examples of what constituted a lawful order and what did not. The line was clear and the consequences of crossing it well known.

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DH
Combat related PTSD is a common denominator amongst soldiers who experience enemy or friendly fire, the results of artillery shelling, the ravaged shells, sounds and smells of homes and communities after aerial bombing, and the terrified chaos of civilians seeking protection or revenge. This psychic damage is obviously exacerbated by physical injuries, often requiring two prosthetics: one for a missing limb and one for a wounded soul.


These terrible conditions while tragic are relatively rare. I know dozens of combat veterans from both Desert Storm and the current conflict; some were wounded but none suffer from PTSD or have prosthetics.

Most of us have dreadful and sometimes funny stories and interesting scars but that's about it. Most of the guys I talk to about it now actually had a positive experience over there. Many volunteer to return unasked.

If the latest numbers I have seen on the subject are still accurate (it's been a while) those conditions affect well under 1% of soldiers returning from war. In fact right now our total wounded in the four plus years of war are still under 1% of the troops currently in the region. This is an alarmingly low causality rate and is unheard of in war time, even during an occupation.

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DH
If the Soldier can justify his violence as a noble act with collateral damage, then he is far better able to quell the demons of PTSD that will hound his sleep, crowded spaces, loud noises, and isolated moments. If not, he will be overcome with terrible memories and shameful recollections that will cripple his interpersonal skills, force him into hiding, and pursue a life of self-laceration and poisoned medication.


I suppose this is true of some the soldiers that suffer from PTSD but like I said that condition seems to be rather rare. The survey numbers are also exaggerated due to the many pretenders seeking a free ride from the government.

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DH
Still, I think they need to be held accountable and someone must witness to their brutality: as Arndt argues, these deeds must be judged.


I think judging a soldier in the field is problematic. The judgment all too often comes from a group of people who have never seen combat, they spend hours second guessing a decision made in a fraction of a second in the heat of battle.

They have no right to judge a soldier, they are too ignorant.

Later


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Fri Jan 11, 2008 9:14 pm
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Frank: These terrible conditions while tragic are relatively rare. I know dozens of combat veterans from both Desert Storm and the current conflict; some were wounded but none suffer from PTSD or have prosthetics.


I don't think they are as rare as you think. I know there is substantial fear among soldiers to speak out regarding their emotional turmoil and tell the truth about their mental anguish: it labels them as weak, unfit, unstable and not suited to be soldier- thus severely diminishing their chances at promotion or securing their place within the profession. Soliders don't know who to turn to with their symptoms for fear of reprimand and challenge of their character: being deemed a coward by your superiors and peers is a terrifying prospect. I happen to work very closely with the VA and soldiers who have been recently deployed from Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as every war since Korea: military chaplains, counselors, therapists, psychiatrists, medical doctors, chemical dependency specialists, community service agencies....many of which describe a very different picture than yours. I think the numbers you refer to are a result of soldiers not disclosing to other soldiers, and especially not to their superiors....but they are telling their wives, families, therapists and chaplains something much different. Not all, I agree, but far more than you assert above.

Quote:
Frank: The survey numbers are also exaggerated due to the many pretenders seeking a free ride from the government.


No doubt there are a few in every bunch who want to swindle the system for a free ride- no matter the issue. But I think your comment here confirms in no small way just how soliders hesitate to speak openly about this issue: their character is maligned and they are considered cheats or liars, or worse, cowards.

Quote:
Frank: I think judging a soldier in the field is problematic. The judgment all too often comes from a group of people who have never seen combat, they spend hours second guessing a decision made in a fraction of a second in the heat of battle. They have no right to judge a soldier, they are too ignorant.


I agree it's problematic. Judgment of any behavior is complicated. Throw in a system of rigid hierarchy, trained soldiers willing and able to kill or be killed, the terrors of battle, the adrenaline of combat, the confusion of determining combattant from innocent, the mishaps of military technologies...and finding accountability for precise behavior becomes extremely problematic. But I think a citizenry must hold its soldiers accountable, no matter the difficulty in determining what happened and why. A democratic society not only has a right, but an obligation to demand that those who kill in its name be accountable for the mistakes they commit in the process. There must be oversight and evaluation that is not compromised by conflict of interests. The soldier is a citizen first and no warriors' code or soldier's solidarity should, as I see it, compromise that.



Sat Jan 12, 2008 10:17 am
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DH
I don't think they are as rare as you think.


Well I can only go by the soldiers and ex-soldiers that I know (which is more than just a few) and 100% of us are not afflicted by any such problems, nor have I heard of any through friends of friends (which would constitute whole platoons of soldiers). That's quite a few soldiers and ex-soldiers with 0 cases of PTSD.

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DH
I know there is substantial fear among soldiers to speak out regarding their emotional turmoil and tell the truth about their mental anguish: it labels them as weak, unfit, unstable and not suited to be soldier- thus severely diminishing their chances at promotion or securing their place within the profession.


Of course there is fear... we risk (or risked) our lives, but that anxiety is not about talking about our fear. The army I was in had no problems with admitting fear, its how one acted in the face of that fear that made or broke a soldier.

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DH
Soldiers don't know who to turn to with their symptoms for fear of reprimand and challenge of their character:


Sure we do, in the field we turn to each other, we are brothers in arms after all! Later there is family, friends, even the military Chaplin is available if needed.

Quote:
DH
But I think a citizenry must hold its soldiers accountable, no matter the difficulty in determining what happened and why. A democratic society not only has a right, but an obligation to demand that those who kill in its name be accountable for the mistakes they commit in the process. There must be oversight and evaluation that is not compromised by conflict of interests. The soldier is a citizen first and no warriors' code or soldier's solidarity should, as I see it, compromise that.


My only objections are

One... who is doing the Judging? There are scarce few people who I would agree have knowledge or common sense enough to truly understand and evaluate the combat actions of a soldier. Even the justified killing of enemy combatants is loathsome to the average citizen. Furthermore most have never had to make life and death decisions in a fraction of a second. I do not believe that any one who hasn't has the ability give a fair and unbiased judgment over an action of that sort.

Many soldiers who some would put on trial are only able to be tried because of the action they are being condemned for. In other words if they had not taken the "illegal" action they would have been killed.

We have a saying in the military and in law enforcement it has sprung up over the last 10 years or so... it goes "I would rather be judged by 12 then carried by 6" this of course is a reflection of the times and how even actions taken to save life are harshly (and often unfairly) scrutinized.

For many of us the fear of an unjust trial by ignorant civilians is far more intense than anything we feel while in action.

Second... if we are talking about mistakes, they are going to happen, placing blame and demanding punishment is in no way helpful, it will not stop future mistakes from being made (their mistakes for crying out loud!), it just adds to the stress of the soldier.

That sort of stress causes soldiers to second guess their actions, indecision in combat costs lives.

Now if you are talking about malicious action and unprofessional behavior... then yes, by all means punishment is justified after a reasonable investigation exposes such behavior, but exposing the action is the hard part when dealing with a band of brothers isn't it?

Later.


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Sat Jan 12, 2008 4:36 pm
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Frank: who is doing the Judging? There are scarce few people who I would agree have knowledge or common sense enough to truly understand and evaluate the combat actions of a soldier. Even the justified killing of enemy combatants is loathsome to the average citizen. Furthermore most have never had to make life and death decisions in a fraction of a second. I do not believe that any one who hasn't has the ability give a fair and unbiased judgment over an action of that sort.


I don't know what makes another solider any more fair and unbiased than your average citizen. I think the principle of "conflict of interests" is an important one here, and I think collusion among fellow soldiers to minimize, rationalize and explain away difficult situations, to outright lie to save a comrade who has perhaps saved your life or done great acts of heroism in the past...is a serious concern. Allow the solider his day in court, no doubt- but make it a court of citizens.

Furthermore, if we follow your line of reasoning, it seems we can't judge anyone of anything- because none of us fully understands what another person has gone through, nor can we ever really see it from their eyes and totally within their perspective. Since very few, if any of us, really understand the pressures that invade upon, say, a serial killer, then how can we possible judge his behavior...without being a serial killer first? In his eyes there may be a barrage of stressors, constraints, threats, outright assualts against his safety that he feels no choice but to engage his deadly deed...following your reasoning, it seems, unless he is tried by a jury of fellow serial killers, then there is no way for anyone to fairly address his crimes...we can't possible understand what he is up against or why he decided the way he did. Therefore, we can't judge his behavior.

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Mon Jan 14, 2008 4:34 pm
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I don't know what makes another solider any more fair and unbiased than your average citizen.


I never said that they were. I simply stated that the majority of average people are too ignorant about what a soldier faces to make a fair and unbiased judgment on a soldier's actions.

I also never said that soldiers should do the judging, I just said that most citizens do not have the experience necessary to understand the way decisions are made in combat or the complexities that occur which cause unforeseen causalities.

Quote:
DH
Furthermore, if we follow your line of reasoning, it seems we can't judge anyone of anything- because none of us fully understands what another person has gone through, nor can we ever really see it from their eyes and totally within their perspective.


Now you are just taking this to an unreasonable extreme. Your serial killer example is also rather off the point, we do not need to know what the killers background was, or what he was thinking, we are not judging his history, we are judging his actions, so we just need to know what he did. Determinations also need to be made as to weather the killer is a continuing threat to others. In that case guilt and innocence is rather black and white, the serial killer is not supposed to kill anyone.

In the situation of a soldier they are expected to kill, and because they are expected to kill intent becomes more important when the wrong people die, weather it is by mistake or on purpose or even negligent is a real issue in that case.

There are also situational circumstances that must be considered.

Like when soldiers are firing in self defense at someone using civilians as human shields? Should they fire back in those situations or would hitting a civilian unintentionally still be murder? Should they let themselves be killed to keep the civilians safe even though the enemy would shoot through a child to get at them?

How about when a soldier looks around and sees what appears to be a RPG pointed in his direction, he fires at the target killing the man only to discover that it was a journalist with a shoulder mounted camera filming him. Obviously a mistake was it justifiable or was it manslaughter?

A soldier fires a grenade into an insurgent's 2nd story emplacement and ends up collapsing the roof onto an innocent family. Is he now guilty of murder? What if he saved other soldiers by taking such action?

Are these crimes during war? How will punishing these soldiers keep other situations like this from occurring in the future?

Later


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Frank,

When you say that anyone who has never experienced the kind of life and death decision making that a solider must face, is unqualified to judge those decisions...it only makes sense, I think, that this implies only soldiers or those who face what soldiers have faced are qualified to judge.

Quote:
Frank: I just said that most citizens do not have the experience necessary to understand the way decisions are made in combat or the complexities that occur which cause unforeseen causalities.


Again, I don't think you are willing to follow this logic to its dangerous conclusions- at least in the context of citizens holding their soldiers accountable. I think soldiers are citizens first, serving citizen interests as citizen solidiers. No matter how complex or difficult the scenario, citizens can be made to understand the legal obligations and ramifications of soldier behaviors...or any behavior by any citizen- especially citizens acting on behalf of other citizens, given exceptional power and directives to harm and destroy life.

The serial killer example was extreme, as is war. The serial killer is under a barrage of stressors and demands, perhaps hallucinatory commands, and compulsive directives that are in response to threats both real and make believe: perhaps he is waging war and his victims are necessary targets. Maybe he sees a few as collatoral damage, recognizing their demise as unfortunate, but removing them gets him one step closer to the real enemy. My point is that according to your logic, unless we have found ourselves in that same set of stressors and constraints, we are unqualified to judge his crimes.



Tue Jan 15, 2008 12:34 pm
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DH
When you say that anyone who has never experienced the kind of life and death decision making that a solider must face, is unqualified to judge those decisions...it only makes sense, I think, that this implies only soldiers or those who face what soldiers have faced are qualified to judge.


I do see your point but you are leaving out whole groups of civilian occupations that have to make similar (maybe not as intense) types of decisions. They include but are not limited to... cops, firemen, paramedics, emergency room staff, and rescue personal.

Quote:
DH
My point is that according to your logic, unless we have found ourselves in that same set of stressors and constraints, we are unqualified to judge his crimes.


Unless the serial killer was given a pass to kill certain people, what they did was wrong plain and simple. There is a law in place for such behavior. We can judge the actions without being privy to the stressors that caused those actions.

But for a soldier killing is no longer against the law, it is encouraged and necessary if the soldier wants to live, those laws no longer apply. This complicates things if civilians are going to judge soldiers. From the beginning a civilian making a judgment on a soldier has to forget everything they have been taught about legal and illegal, moral and immoral when killing is concerned.

There are other rules in place but they are more flexible due to the chaotic nature of combat and the deadliness of the tools that soldiers use. So now the civilian has to be taught these rules. Some are somewhat obscure like "take any action you feel is necessary to protect your life and those of your fellow soldiers." (This is paraphrased)

Now here is where the real complications begin. Civilians sitting calmly in a court room have to decide if a soldier's actions were reasonable. They will inevitably see other possible responses to danger that the soldier did not have the time to consider during combat, this will (for many) alter their ability to judge the soldier fairly.

Furthermore because many of the civilians will lack military training they will not realize how much of the action will simply be reflex honed from military training.

Sometimes the wrong people get hurt/killed in war that is tragic, but to hold a soldier accountable for every bullet fired in the heat of combat is as ridiculous as it is impossible.

Later


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BOOK FORUMS FOR ALL BOOKS WE HAVE DISCUSSED
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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