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IS NOTHING SACRED? 
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Post Re: IS NOTHING SACRED?
rongreen5 wrote:
Robert, Sorry to be repetetive, but I stand by my original statement. We CANNOT imagine a universe without humans, since in order to do that we have to be not around in order to do that.

Hi Ron, thanks, I hope we are circling closer to the point. Now you have changed your thesis again. This time you say "We CANNOT imagine a universe without humans". But your original claim was that "we cannot imagine a universe in which we are not present". That is quite different, because we can easily imagine a universe in which humans are in the past or the future, but not the present. That was why I asked you if you were talking about an eternal present, which you said you were not.

We can in fact imagine a universe without humans. That is what the theory of multiverses is about, the idea of multiple universes, like soap bubbles in the bath of God. Perhaps what you mean is that we cannot imagine our universe without humans. I would agree with that.

All I am saying is if you want to talk about nothing, at least get your ducks in a row, even if they are nonexistent ducks.
Quote:
Since you insist on arguing with me without reading what I wrote on the subject, I am finding it tedious to answer every point of yours. So it goes with the issue of Eastern religions. Nothingness (the absence of something) is not Nothing. Tao deals with nothingness, which is something.

You state that "the paradox that to talk of nothing makes nothing into something." You are mixing up the term and the concept. There is no way we can talk about anything without using language. It's all we've got to discuss stuff. You are right, though, that we can't talk about the concept Nothing; the reason is that to touch Nothing in any way would mean that we would not be present. That is Nothing: the absence of everything, including ourselves.

Nothing is not a paradox. A paradox is something. Nothing simply isn't. As hard as that is to comprehend, it is what we have to contend with when we discuss Nothing using the word "nothing."
Specialists know everything about nothing, while generalists know nothing about everything. (At least those are the asymptotic end points of the continuum.) Maybe you are the ultimate specialist?

Heidegger pointed out that the nothing which sits outside logical conversation opens us up to a sense of everything, so has a useful rational purpose in existential ontology. His essay What is Metaphysics? is worth reading.

You haven't convinced me that we can avoid paradox if we wish to talk about nothing. How do you answer when people say the conversation is entirely without content, empty, vacuous, meaningless and absurd? A paradox is not something, it is impossible. Impossible things don't exist. Talking about nothing is a paradox. Even our conversation here is not really about nothing, it is just about how we can talk about nothing. Nothing has an amazing facility to elude all efforts to talk about it.

Tallleyrand said the Bourbons remembered everything and comprehended nothing. It looks like they were expert Taoists.

I will mull over your claim that nothing is the absence of everything.


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Last edited by Robert Tulip on Sat Nov 12, 2011 4:38 am, edited 1 time in total.



Sat Nov 12, 2011 4:20 am
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Post Re: IS NOTHING SACRED?
Robert, I agree that we are circling closer to something. Whether that is Nothing is a moot point. I now have this image of two prize fighters circling closer and closer towards nothing. What will happen when they meet, I wonder.

I understand that my original statement was not understood. That may be my fault, since I am so sure of what I mean that I am surprised when others don't get the same meaning. Regrettably, though, I do not see the difference between "We cannot imagine a universe without humans" and "we cannot imagine a universe in which we are not present". I agree that the first statement lends itself to misunderstanding, but it should have been clear after my later explanation, which is that when we see a universe without humans, it is WE who are doing the seeing. I understand, though, the problem, so I will amend it to the latter statement above.

I accept that I am a specialist on "nothing". That does not mean that I know everything about it. Due to the nature of t6he subject, I feel that I know a lot about "nothingness" (the absence of something) and have theories about Nothing (the absence of everything). I have no idea how much I know about Nothing, since whatever I could know would be countered by the fact of not being able to know about where I am non existent.

Unfortunately, Heidegger does no better with "nothing" than, say, Sartre. Both do not do what I have done: diferentiate betwee the absence of something and the absence of everything. Heidegger's "nothing" to which you refer seems to be "nothingness". That is not good enough, although I do agree that a study of "nothing" (if done properly) opens up interesting possiblilities in existential ontology.

You say that a paradox is not something because it is impossible. I don't accept that. Something that is impossible is not nothing; it is something that is impossible. A paradox is. It may be impossible, but it still exists. If a conversation is meaningless, it is still a conversation - unless you wish to define a conversation as one that has to make sense. Alice had meaningless conversations, didn't she?

If one person finds a conversation meaningless and another person doesn't, would that conversation not be anything?

I agree that "[N]othing has an amazing facility to elude all efforts to talk about it.
But we do talk about it, since we are talking about the word "nothing". The fact that we can't actually do more than use language and not touch upon Nothing is because to do so, we would have to be absent. That is precisely the point.


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Sat Nov 12, 2011 7:20 am
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Post Re: IS NOTHING SACRED?
Interesting site Ron:
Quote:
Does nothing matter? It shouldn’t do. After all, nothing is …well… nothing.
But…if everything started from nothing, so we are told, then nothing must contain the seeds of everything.

How could everything come from nothing?

In fact, how does anything come from nothing?

And if it did, would that mean that nothing is something?

Questions, questions….

That’s what this website is about: questions.

Questions about nothing.


That pretty much summarizes what we've discussed here @ BT so far. The idea of a universe which came from nothing is pretty much out as far as religion goes. It's also pretty much out as far as science goes too because we've experienced the very same problem in that school of thought. The BB likely came as a result from something else previously. It always boils down to something from something which ever way we turn...

So where's nothing?

What's nothing?

The above quote reminds me of "something" I read from the Upanishads where a father is trying to teach his son about the ground of being. Long story short, he points to a great Banyan tree and then analyzes the fruit of the tree with the boy. They see seeds exceedingly small. Then, the father asks the boy to split a seed and the asks the boy what he sees there. The boy replies, "nothing." The father then chimes in and says that which you do not see, from that this great Banyan tree arises. But of course the boy was starring at thin air, which contains properties and so on. It wasn't really "nothing" from which the great banyan tree arises in a literal sense. The point is that existence is grounded in deep mystery. Not that everything including the tree literally came from "nothing" at any point in the history of existence.

The trick to understanding these myths and philosophies is that there has always been a problem when confronting the mystery of mere existence. From where did it arise? When did it arise? There is no fixed answer. There never was and there probably never will be. Myths are addressed to that. And people devised ways of trying to talk about and refer to the mystery of mere existence which is essentially beyond all thinking and therefore beyond what words can describe. Thus ushers in the transcendent doctrines.

Something and Nothing are categories of thought. But the reference is to beyond all categories of thought. It's to that place where thinking shuts down such as when trying to grasp the question of origins and absolute ultimates. And even in science today we have elaborate theories about space without end, multiverses of existence, white holes expelling matter taken in by black holes and causing new universes to come into existence out of the matter sent through a black hole and so on. Everything came from "something" in these newer theories that seek to make sense out of what was previously a paradoxical BB perspective. But even then, the mystery of mere existence is present. It's only "nothing" in the sense that it is no specific thing, but rather the mystery that is the ground of everything. Where did all of the matter that went into a black hole, and came out of a white hole to cause our BB, come from in the first place? Another black / white hole exchange? Perhaps. But the mystery behind the very existence of existence itself is always ultimate. Religion doesn't avoid this either. The mystery of the existence of Brahman or an uncreated creator YHWH is the ultimate factor of those scenarios too.

And so back to "nothing" being considered sacred. It's the mystery, the sense of awe and wonder which is really the sacred factor in the equation. That's how Campbell broke it down anyways. And all of these little plays on words and concepts that hinge around everything coming from nothing are merely aimed at trying to get a person to that experience of deep mystery concerning the ground of their own personal existence and the existence of all they see around them and even within themselves. The mystery of it all unifies everything as one and at the end of the day "nothing" and "nothingness" are place holder terms aimed at an attempt to achieve a type of experience while alive...

We have to die to experience nothing, and, even then we're not experiencing at all so there is no 'experience' of literal nothing or nothingness. Better yet, even while we're dead or before we're born in order to experience the consciousness of what is, the consciousness of something, nonetheless something was always in existence regardless of our observation.

And so does "nothing" matter? If you think so then I wonder why "nothing matters" to you?


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Last edited by tat tvam asi on Mon Nov 14, 2011 8:07 am, edited 2 times in total.



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Post Re: IS NOTHING SACRED?
Tat, thanks for quoting from my site.

I don't know why you state that "The idea of a universe which came from nothing is pretty out as far as religion goes." In fact, I'm amazed. The fundamental issue of Western monotheistic religions is that God created the universe from nothing. This is THE miracle. Without it, God would be no big deal. If God created the world from something, then one would have to ask who created that material. Creation of the universe from nothing is the basic tenet of Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

The idea of God creating the universe from hmself - emanation - is a mysticism espoused by certain elements of those religions, and is somewhat frowned upon by the mainstream. Kabbalah, for example, is big on emanence. Even Eastern Orthodox religions, which have a mystical canon and differentiate between two parts of God, still hold on to the basis of Christian credo that God created the world from nothing.

The idea that God created the universe from himself is, of course, closer to the Eastern mystic ideas that lead to pantheism than to the monotheistic tenet of creation ex nihilo.

I agree with you that the Big Bang theory has smilar problems to those of religion when it comes to something coming from nothing.

I also disagree about dying and nothing. We do not experience nothing when we die. Nothing can't be experienced. And, no, something is not in existence for us when we are dead.

www.nothing-matters.org



Mon Nov 14, 2011 8:09 am
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Post Re: IS NOTHING SACRED?
rongreen5 wrote:
Tat, thanks for quoting from my site.

I don't know why you state that "The idea of a universe which came from nothing is pretty out as far as religion goes." In fact, I'm amazed. The fundamental issue of Western monotheistic religions is that God created the universe from nothing. This is THE miracle. Without it, God would be no big deal. If God created the world from something, then one would have to ask who created that material. Creation of the universe from nothing is the basic tenet of Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

The idea of God creating the universe from hmself - emanation - is a mysticism espoused by certain elements of those religions, and is somewhat frowned upon by the mainstream. Kabbalah, for example, is big on emanence. Even Eastern Orthodox religions, which have a mystical canon and differentiate between two parts of God, still hold on to the basis of Christian credo that God created the world from nothing.

The idea that God created the universe from himself is, of course, closer to the Eastern mystic ideas that lead to pantheism than to the monotheistic tenet of creation ex nihilo.

The mystical answers are in response to the ridiculous and mindless assertions of the orthodoxy. And yes, it does lead to Panentheism and Pantheism the further along one thinks carefully and considers. I'm saying that when broken down and considered very carefully, creation ex nihilo is a creation from something after all, be it creation from God or whatever. The creation from nothing idea is a ploy for the ignorant masses.
Quote:
I also disagree about dying and nothing. We do not experience nothing when we die. Nothing can't be experienced.

You're agreeing with what I just finished saying as if you disagree with something I didn't even say. Look again:
tat tvam asi wrote:
We have to die to experience nothing, and, even then we're not experiencing at all so there is no 'experience' of literal nothing or nothingness.

I was saying that the only way to experience "nothing" is to die, but that's not an 'experience' anyways and so there is no real experience of "nothing" at all in that respect. That means that "nothing" can't be experienced, in short. I typed that fast and it may have been confusing. You also seem to be confused with the next quote as well:
Quote:
Better yet, even while we're dead or before we're born in order to experience the consciousness of what is, the consciousness of something, nonetheless something was always in existence regardless of our observation.

That is a little confusing too, but all I was trying to say is that before we were born existence was around. "Something" was in existence which then gave rise to a series of somethings, and eventually gave rise to our consciousness at some point in time. There was never a "nothing" or "nothingness" but rather "something" and "somethingness" all along because there was always existence and existence is "something." It doesn't matter whether or not we were aware of that "something" and "somethingness", it was still in existence regardless of our awareness or ability to observe it all.

Now also, after we die, there is still "something" and "somethingness" to consider. Our elements are endlessly 'recycled in nature' and it keeps going, and going, and going regardless of whether or not we are living and conscious in order to observe and experience that which always was and will always be. A dead body may not be conscious, but it's still a "something" that doesn't really go anywhere. It remains in various forms and continues to exist in various ways.

Your response to the quote was this:
Quote:
And, no, something is not in existence for us when we are dead.


Yes, something is always in existence even before we're born and even after we're dead. Nature / Cosmos / Existence itself has been and will be in existence without coming from "nothing" or returning to "nothing."

But you were more concerned with throwing up strawman objections and what not then you were in taking interest in answering the main question of the post, which is simply what is it about "nothing" that you think "matters" so much Ron?


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B) The Christmas Nativity

C) The Mythicist Position

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Last edited by tat tvam asi on Mon Nov 14, 2011 12:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Mon Nov 14, 2011 1:07 pm
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Post Re: IS NOTHING SACRED?
"I'm saying that when broken down and considered carefully, creation ex nihilo is a creation from something after all, be it creation from God or whatever."

You are entitled to say whatever you want, Tat, but in this case, you are simply wrong. The whole point of belief in creation ex nihilo is that it is from nothing. If it were from something, it wouldn't be a miracle. Let me be clear here: I, like you, have a problem with the whole concept of something from nothing. But that does not mean that I can change the fundamental belief of western monotheistic religions. Whether you agree with it or not, that is their belief.

You seem to be talking about "existence" in a general, bird's eye view. No, you did not exist before you were born, and neither will you exist after you are dead. Talking about elements continuing after your death is not consciousness, i.e. it is not "I" existing. The "I" that you are now will not be in existence. The fact that elements of you will be rejoined with nature is not "existence" in a way that you will know about.

So there may always be "something" for whoever is alive; for someone who is dead there isn't "something". There isn't even Nothing, since that is the absence of everything, and that is not experienced by the dead.

So I repeat what I stated, this time emphasising the cardinal words: "And, no, something is not in existence *for us* when we are dead.

As to why I think "nothing" matters after I spent 5 years researching it, culminating in a book... well, looking at how much "nothing" has been worried about throughout history, how western civilization was held back by some 600 years in the Middle Ages because of the Church's erroneous belief that zero was "nothing, how important "nothing" is in the arts, in science, in religion and in how worrying about "nothing" has a direct link to our own existence, I suppose that would be enough to get on with. And as we can see from the discussions we are having, "nothing" certainly seems to matter not only me.

www.nothing-matters.org



Mon Nov 14, 2011 3:57 pm
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Post Re: IS NOTHING SACRED?
Quote:
You seem to be talking about "existence" in a general, bird's eye view. No, you did not exist before you were born, and neither will you exist after you are dead. Talking about elements continuing after your death is not consciousness, i.e. it is not "I" existing. The "I" that you are now will not be in existence. The fact that elements of you will be rejoined with nature is not "existence" in a way that you will know about.

It depends on what exactly is saying "I". You are on about consciousness only, not the full scope of exactly who and what we all really are. We're much more than just that. What we are, basically, is simply the fabric and structure of existence itself. The consciousness of the fabric, I assume, rises and falls but the fabric and structure of existence is eternal.

You are correct that we can't experience, consciously experience "nothing." It's beyond experience as it were. You can experience the mystery of trying to contemplate it but that's about it. And if the easterner's are correct and the whole universe is a type consciousness after all, then that makes nonsense out of everything we're speculating about death and pre-birth. In that case there is always and forever consciousness on varying levels. And if they're correct about the scope of consciousness then I suppose no one will be experiencing "nothing" after death, but rather some type of rejoining universal consciousness or something along those lines. So it looks like all in all there's no experience of true "nothing" in the equation either way we approach it - consciousness rising and falling or steady consciousness.

Quote:
As to why I think "nothing" matters after I spent 5 years researching it, culminating in a book... well, looking at how much "nothing" has been worried about throughout history, how western civilization was held back by some 600 years in the Middle Ages because of the Church's erroneous belief that zero was "nothing, how important "nothing" is in the arts, in science, in religion and in how worrying about "nothing" has a direct link to our own existence, I suppose that would be enough to get on with. And as we can see from the discussions we are having, "nothing" certainly seems to matter not only me.

Stop there. Why do you suppose the church was upset about zero being "nothing?"


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Post Re: IS NOTHING SACRED?
I don't "suppose" it. It's what I discovered after quite a bit of research on the subject. The facts and evidence are set out in the first chapter of my book.

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Tue Nov 15, 2011 12:56 am
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Post Re: IS NOTHING SACRED?
I'm sure they did have a problem with zero, what I was asking you is why did they have a problem with the number 0? Just a summary would be fine.


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Post Re: IS NOTHING SACRED?
Because they erroneously associated zero with "nothing", which was a theological no-no. They should have known better, since mathematicians of the day made it clear that zero was not "nothing". The problem was faulty translation from Arabic to Latin.



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Post Re: IS NOTHING SACRED?
There is no year zero either (except for Pol Pot). I discovered the problem with this when I used astronomical records of the position of the sun over the last 6000 years and found that a pattern with period 179 years mysteriously jumps to 180 years at the BC/AD turn of the calendar, where the dates go straight from 1BC to 1AD. Nothing is a frightening abyss. Faith insists God is something, not nothing. This insistence is at the ontological ground of supernatural fantasy, which is preferred by the religious over the logical argument that apart from reality there is nothing.


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Post Re: IS NOTHING SACRED?
Yes, I agree.



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Post Re: IS NOTHING SACRED?
rongreen5 wrote:
Because they erroneously associated zero with "nothing", which was a theological no-no. They should have known better, since mathematicians of the day made it clear that zero was not "nothing". The problem was faulty translation from Arabic to Latin.


Yes, this is what I'm trying to zero in on. Take Roberts post above too. The religious believe that God is something. In otherwords something produced everything as opposed to nothing produced everything. They had a problem with zero because they didn't want to acknowledge "nothing." They like to accuse atheists of believing that everything spontaneously emerged from "nothing", and then the atheists shoot back that no, that's really true, the BB isn't really a theory of "nothing" producing everything.

My point is that the whole creation ex nihilo is merely an assertion that doesn't work out. Not even for the religious. They don't really believe that God created the world from "nothing." Thats just a figure of speech. The miracle has more to do with the spoken word creation, which, doesn't really hinge around true nothing or nothingness. If God was always in existence, then something was always in existence in this scenario. Where does God dwell in the myth? Heaven is the abode of God. So both God and his dwelling are necessarily in existence before the creation of this world. There is a realm of existence before the creation account in Genesis gets going. A realm of existence with no beginning or end.

When or where is this pre-creation "nothing" to be found? You can't find it, not in the context of the Judeo-Christian mythology. And that's why zero was such a "no, no" for the pious. Genesis does not say 'In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth from absolutely nothing.' In the beginning of what? Obviously not the beginning of God or God's layer of the heavens because there is no beginning for that. Those already exist and then the earth is made. It's void and without form. But there are waters of some type. The creation myth concerns the local near eastern cosmology of a multi-level universe. The whole thing hinges on something, coming from something else. Zero, is basically out. And there's a certain contradiction between people promoting the translation of a creation ex nihilo and how the actual mythology is written.


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Post Re: IS NOTHING SACRED?
Believe it or not, but I agree with you, Tat.

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tat tvam asi
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Post Re: IS NOTHING SACRED?
BTW, I personally don't believe the Judeo-Christian mythology (or any other) to be factually or historically true. I'm just trying to reason through the myth as it's written.


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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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