Online reading group and book discussion forum
  HOME FORUMS BOOKS LINKS DONATE ADVERTISE CONTACT  
View unanswered posts | View active topics It is currently Thu Apr 24, 2014 9:09 am




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 8 posts ] • Topic evaluate: Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average. 
Ch. 20 - Well, Aren't We Special? 
Author Message
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
BookTalk.org Hall of Fame

BookTalk.org Owner
Diamond Contributor 3

Joined: May 2002
Posts: 13725
Location: Florida
Thanks: 1810
Thanked: 704 times in 558 posts
Gender: Male
Country: United States (us)
Highscores: 8

Post Ch. 20 - Well, Aren't We Special?
Ch. 20 - Well, Aren't We Special?



Sun Aug 15, 2010 11:01 pm
Profile Email YIM WWW
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
pets endangered by possible book avalanche

Gold Contributor 2

Joined: Jan 2008
Posts: 4902
Location: Berryville, Virginia
Thanks: 1071
Thanked: 1025 times in 798 posts
Gender: Male
Country: United States (us)

Post Re: Ch. 20 - Well, Aren't We Special?
This post is a reaction to a mix of what Wright said in this chapter and the final one, "Afterword."

First, let's get out of the way the possible charge of moral relativism. Wright states that the great liability of the three monotheistic faiths is that each believes it is special, meaning uniquely the true faith. This conviction has to end if social salvation is to be achieved, Wright says. But (says I) this implies no moral relativism, only a relativism of theology. None of these theologies have either higher or lower standing than the others. Theology is just the local color of a religion. The elements of morality are what matter, and each of the religions have this core, although by no means is their scripture a consistent testament to it. So how likely is it that the Abrahamic religions would drop their claim to exclusiveness and bond over what they have in common--which is, Wright says, a reasonable faith that there is a purpose acting in history? He doesn't commit here, but the important point he brings out is the one unequivocal assertion in the book, that history shows directionality toward greater moral inclusion.

Okay, but even if it does, is this fact the same as showing purpose in the universe, as well as a higher or unseen order? That would be in line with each of the Abrahamic faiths, minus the distinct theological coloring of each. Does it, in other words, commit one to a religious view? Here Wright backs off, declining to say that this is his own view. But he does conduct a lengthy and even exhausting debate with an imaginary atheist in order to show that it is [i]possible[/]to posit an unseen moral order that could even be called God, or at least "God," and just as valid to do that as it is for the physicist to posit the existence of electrons, which have never been seen and whose very existence is not considered a certainty.

Wright clearly loves the back-and-forth of debate for its own sake. I grew a little weary of it, though, I think because it didn't seem all that necessary. For one thing, I'm not sure that atheists would all tend to deny that there could be a moral order that was not a function of a governing deity. What Wright proposes is to me not a theism but just a theory about a force that somehow operates. Even if the atheist would indeed deny belief in such a "God," it's not my impression that he or she would care much whether others did. Neither Dawkins not Hitchens, for example, have a beef about these non-dogmatic, mystically-tinged beliefs, though clearly they don't share them. These ideas are a good example of what Hitchens calls "optional and private" religion. They makes no demands that others accept them, which is why Hitchens lets them go unmolested. So Wright might be whacking at a straw man in thinking that atheists are eager to take him on.

Another criticism, made by Stephen Prothero in his review of the book, is that after all that arguing, what Wright ends up with isn't something that would be particularly useful, either to a nonbeliever or to a believer who is falling away from faith. What can you do with this faith that there is a moral purpose in the universe? Would you worship it, tell stories about it? Would it make you moral? No to this last question. What makes us moral doesn't depend on belief but on mental equipment formed during our gestation as a species. Religion was a device to codify morality once we passed the simple communality of hunter-gatherer society, with its in-built regulation of behavior. All of that Wright says in the book. So we don't need God to be moral, and we don't need "God," either.


_________________
Man is an animal suspended in webs of significance that he himself has spun.

Clifford Geertz


Last edited by DWill on Thu Oct 28, 2010 9:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.



The following user would like to thank DWill for this post:
geo
Thu Oct 28, 2010 9:36 pm
Profile Email
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
Easy Reader

Gold Contributor 2

Joined: Aug 2008
Posts: 2937
Location: NC
Thanks: 950
Thanked: 1017 times in 758 posts
Gender: Male
Country: United States (us)

Post Re: Ch. 20 - Well, Aren't We Special?
Hey DWill, great job as usual. I started writing up a few of my thoughts, but I don't think I'm going to finish tonight. We have another baseball tournament this weekend, so I just wanted to let you know it might be a day or two. Thanks again. You've been a most excellent discussion leader.


_________________
-Geo
Question everything


Fri Oct 29, 2010 7:48 pm
Profile
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
Easy Reader

Gold Contributor 2

Joined: Aug 2008
Posts: 2937
Location: NC
Thanks: 950
Thanked: 1017 times in 758 posts
Gender: Male
Country: United States (us)

Post Re: Ch. 20 - Well, Aren't We Special?
DWill wrote:
This post is a reaction to a mix of what Wright said in this chapter and the final one, "Afterword."

First, let's get out of the way the possible charge of moral relativism. Wright states that the great liability of the three monotheistic faiths is that each believes it is special, meaning uniquely the true faith. This conviction has to end if social salvation is to be achieved, Wright says. But (says I) this implies no moral relativism, only a relativism of theology. None of these theologies have either higher or lower standing than the others. Theology is just the local color of a religion. The elements of morality are what matter, and each of the religions have this core, although by no means is their scripture a consistent testament to it. So how likely is it that the Abrahamic religions would drop their claim to exclusiveness and bond over what they have in common--which is, Wright says, a reasonable faith that there is a purpose acting in history? He doesn't commit here, but the important point he brings out is the one unequivocal assertion in the book, that history shows directionality toward greater moral inclusion.


This chapter is titled: "Well, aren't we special?" At first I thought Wright was going to address the silly notion that we humans have that we're somehow special in the cosmos. This is at the heart of most religions, the idea that someone up there cares for us and that we're special. But Wright isn't talking about that at all. He's talking about claims by the major religions of the world that each is more special than the other. That God picked them first and that gives them a leg up. Wright says that for us to be able to expand the boundaries of non-zero-sumness, the major religions have to let go of their claims to have an exclusive relationship with God.

I felt that in these last two chapters, Wright is pushing his point a bit too far. And one of my biggest problems with Wright's analysis is his over-generalization of the three major religions. For example, we see in the U.S. that the word "Christian" describes a huge range of beliefs, from the very casual "creasters" who only go to mass every Christmas and Easter, to Fundamentalists who believe in the literal truth of the Bible. In this day and age, I'm not really sure how helpful it is to make these sweeping generalizations about Christianity, especially at a time when an increasing percentage of Americans and Europeans are identifying themselves as having no religious affiliation. The story is much more complex than Wright makes it out to be.

As DWill has already pointed out, another thing we see in these last couple of chapters is Wright trying very hard to allow for the existence of God, even while he conducts a rational "materialistic" study of religion. (This is probably the gist of Prothero's review which I haven't read yet.) So far, Wright has done a pretty thorough job of hammering home his "materialistic" point that non-zero-sum scenarios are a prerequisite for humans getting along with each other and that moral advancement has occurred as a result of "conditions on the ground." In the introduction, Wright talks about how science is endlessly changing, revising theories, tossing out old ideas, but always moving towards the truth. And he suggests that maybe the same thing is happening to religion. He doesn't really develop this theory very far and, in fact, ignores it for most of the book (except perhaps the chapter about Logos: The Divine Algorithm). Though he rehashes it rather unconvincingly in the Afterword.

Wright had previously said that one premise of his book is that "the story of religion, beginning back in the Stone Age, is to some extent a movement from Mencken to James." (28) But I would argue that Wright only paints himself in a corner. My theory is that Wright is trying too hard to distinguish himself from people like Dawkins and Hitchens. He wants to be the more likable atheist by allowing for the existence of God, which comes across rather patronizing, I think, and also requires whole new definitions of "divine" and "God."

Though I'm criticizing Wright, I still think this was a great book. I really think applying game theory to cultural evolution yields a lot of interesting stuff. There's much to be explored here, and Wright does a great deal of it in his book.

I'll have more later.


_________________
-Geo
Question everything


The following user would like to thank geo for this post:
DWill
Sat Oct 30, 2010 9:32 pm
Profile
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
pets endangered by possible book avalanche

Gold Contributor 2

Joined: Jan 2008
Posts: 4902
Location: Berryville, Virginia
Thanks: 1071
Thanked: 1025 times in 798 posts
Gender: Male
Country: United States (us)

Post Re: Ch. 20 - Well, Aren't We Special?
geo wrote:
He's talking about the notion that each of the major religions in the world tends to make claims that each is more special than the other. That God picked them first and that gives them a leg up on the other. As Wright describes it, a kind of sibling rivalry amongst religions. Wright says that for us to be able to expand the boundaries of non-zero-sumness, the major religions have to let go of their claims to have an exclusive relationship with God.

Or at least be very polite about the matter! Though I might question whether exclusivity isn't essential, unfortunately, to the three majors. They might not be able to admit relativism, as least the varieties of each religion that are the most devout won't. It would be really tough to fervently believe in a god and its theology while at the same time allowing that other gods and theologies can be just as good. That's why I think less devoutness is probably also a prerequisite for expansion of non-zero-sumness.

Wright asserts that the situation vis-a-vis Muslims and Christians is non-zero-sum, but of course this is only in his eyes. In the eyes of adherents the situation is about as zero-sum as it can be. If there is only once truth, then sorry, there won't be a coming together anytime soon.
Quote:
I felt that in these last two chapters, Wright is pushing his point a bit too far. And one of my biggest problems with Wright's analysis is his over-generalization of the three major religions. For example, we see in the U.S. that the word "Christian" describes a huge range of beliefs, from the very casual "creasters" who only go to mass every Christmas and Easter, to Fundamentalists who believe in the literal truth of the Bible. In this day and age, I'm not really sure how helpful it is to make these sweeping generalizations about Christianity, especially at a time when an increasing percentage of Americans and Europeans are identifying themselves as having no religious affiliation. The story is much more complex than Wright makes it out to be.

It's true, I think, that there are a good number of Christians (at least a sizable minority) who are already at the place where Wright says they need to be. They've done the necessary adjustments with the scripture and are not inclined to lord their religion over anyone. Too bad that these are seen by many others as not "real" Christians. It doesn't look as though this very liberal set of Christians is going to expand much. However, the set that doesn't identify as belonging to any religion is growing as you say, so overall there is reason to think that the movement is in the direction of less religious devotion.
Quote:
And he suggests that maybe the same thing is happening to religion. He doesn't really develop this theory very far and, in fact, ignores it for most of the book (except perhaps the chapter about Logos: The Divine Algorithm). Though he rehashes it rather unconvincingly in the Afterword.

Yeah, but the progress is not so startling, is it? He doesn't seem to have anything major to point to as a development in non-zero-sumness for the past 2,000 years. This may sound harsh, but in spite of that I too tend to think there has been progress, even though it's hard to point out specifics.
Quote:
Wright had previously said that one premise of his book is that "the story of religion, beginning back in the Stone Age, is to some extent a movement from Mencken to James." (28) But I would argue that Wright only paints himself in a corner. My theory is that Wright is trying too hard to distinguish himself from people like Dawkins and Hitchens. He wants to be the more likable atheist by allowing for the existence of God, which comes across rather patronizing, I think, and also requires whole new definitions of "divine" and "God."

Another author whom I've mentioned a number of times, Stuart Kauffman, also sees himself as a reconciler, just like Wright. That appeals to me, because I tend to be the same way. But reading Wright's book hasn't necessarily strengthened my hopes that religion and humanism can be reconciled in a satisfactory way. I think Wright may underplay the importance to religious people of individual salvation, for one matter. Belief in individual salvation can shut off the wider concern with social salvation that Wright says is an essential step toward greater non-zero-sumness. Giving that up would be a major obstacle for at least Islam and Christianity, if not for Judaism. I also agree with you, geo, that rejiggering "divine" and "God" is a bit of a forced way to go about reconciliation.
Quote:
Though I'm criticizing Wright, I still think this was a great book. I really think applying game theory to cultural evolution yields a lot of interesting stuff. There's much to be explored here, and Wright does a great deal of it in his book.

I think he did a bang-up job, too, and I can believe the book was 10 years in the making. I don't agree with everything, either, but sometimes those books are the ones that you feel you got most out of in the end.

I think I'll have more to say, too, but thanks so much for your participation throughout this book discussion. Although more participants would have been nice, I think it still worked.


_________________
Man is an animal suspended in webs of significance that he himself has spun.

Clifford Geertz


Sat Oct 30, 2010 10:21 pm
Profile Email
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
Easy Reader

Gold Contributor 2

Joined: Aug 2008
Posts: 2937
Location: NC
Thanks: 950
Thanked: 1017 times in 758 posts
Gender: Male
Country: United States (us)

Post Re: Ch. 20 - Well, Aren't We Special?
DWill wrote:
. . . Wright asserts that the situation vis-a-vis Muslims and Christians is non-zero-sum, but of course this is only in his eyes. In the eyes of adherents the situation is about as zero-sum as it can be.


If there is another terror attack on U.S soil, watch the zero-sum meter go way up. And probably it would need to. We can only expand our moral circle so far. Sometimes the only appropriate response to violence is to give it right back. But that's not to say efforts should not be made to build on non-zero-sum opportunities. I've always thought that the War on Terror would have worked far better if it had been engaged primarily in constructing schools.

DWill wrote:
. . . It's true, I think, that there are a good number of Christians (at least a sizable minority) who are already at the place where Wright says they need to be. They've done the necessary adjustments with the scripture and are not inclined to lord their religion over anyone. Too bad that these are seen by many others as not "real" Christians. It doesn't look as though this very liberal set of Christians is going to expand much. However, the set that doesn't identify as belonging to any religion is growing as you say, so overall there is reason to think that the movement is in the direction of less religious devotion.


I would agree with you there. We have discussed here the concept of rigidity of belief. Fundamentalists are very black and white in their thinking, while agnostics have the ability to see in shades of gray. Agnostics can be theists or atheists. They both recognize that there is no direct evidence for God, only the agnostic theist chooses to believe in God anyway (faith) and the agnostic atheist chooses not to. On the other opposite extreme would be atheists who believe definitely that there is no God.

Anyway, someone who is sure of his own beliefs is not open to other perspectives and is less likely to see the benefits of non-zero-sum relationship, or so I would argue. The same concept of rigidity of belief applies to politics. We have hard right conservatives and hard left liberals, but in the middle are moderates. Maybe the world needs more moderates.

DWill wrote:
Yeah, but the progress is not so startling, is it? He doesn't seem to have anything major to point to as a development in non-zero-sumness for the past 2,000 years. This may sound harsh, but in spite of that I too tend to think there has been progress, even though it's hard to point out specifics.


Cultural change is pretty dramatic if you consider that women in our country were only given the right to vote about 90 years ago and (legal) slavery was pretty widespread when our country was founded. Those probably qualify as some kind of moral progress.

In the Afterword, Wright refers to morality as a kind of universal or external truth. We've already discussed that if anything, he has done an excellent job of convincing us that morality seems fairly dictated by conditions on the ground. I wonder why humans always looking outside of ourselves for the answers? It seems to me that technology and a shrinking world has created, perhaps forced, the kinds of non-zero-sum opportunities that allow for Wright's widening moral circle. But let's imagine some catastrophe. Let's say some horrible virus wiped out 90 percent of the human race and the survivors had to live much as our ancestors did, with no electricity, no cell phones, no internet, no grocery stores, and living in small groups that have to roam about foraging for food. Would there be much of a moral difference between these "modern" humans and our ancestors that lived 5,000 years ago? I rather doubt it. I would suggest that our sense of morality is internally wired and that religion is just a cultural extension of us. Culture in that sense is almost an extended phenotype, like the nests that birds build or the dams that beavers build. Granted, there's nothing quite like our culture in the animal kingdom.

By the way, I've started reading Wright's "Appendix" which is really just a bonus chapter exploring the idea of whether or not religion is something in our genes. Wright actually agrees with Stephen Jay Gould's spandrel theory that religion is incidental to the way our brains developed. This surprised me since Dawkins seems inclined towards the genetic theory. Anyway, this might be an interesting topic to explore in a separate thread?


_________________
-Geo
Question everything


Tue Nov 02, 2010 7:34 am
Profile
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
pets endangered by possible book avalanche

Gold Contributor 2

Joined: Jan 2008
Posts: 4902
Location: Berryville, Virginia
Thanks: 1071
Thanked: 1025 times in 798 posts
Gender: Male
Country: United States (us)

Post Re: Ch. 20 - Well, Aren't We Special?
geo wrote:
If there is another terror attack on U.S soil, watch the zero-sum meter go way up. And probably it would need to. We can only expand our moral circle so far. Sometimes the only appropriate response to violence is to give it right back. But that's not to say efforts should not be made to build on non-zero-sum opportunities. I've always thought that the War on Terror would have worked far better if it had been engaged primarily in constructing schools.

That's exactly the thinking of the former mountaineer Greg Mortenson, who wrote Three Cups of Tea and now another book on his remarkable efforts to build schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan to educate the children, especially the girls. It's a very inspiring book, a heroic effort on his part, though I'm not sure that what he did could be duplicated by government action, unfortunately.
Quote:
I would agree with you there. We have discussed here the concept of rigidity of belief. Fundamentalists are very black and white in their thinking, while agnostics have the ability to see in shades of gray. Agnostics can be theists or atheists. They both recognize that there is no direct evidence for God, only the agnostic theist chooses to believe in God anyway (faith) and the agnostic atheist chooses not to. On the other opposite extreme would be atheists who believe definitely that there is no God.

It's interesting that when Wright comes up against the question of whether God (traditional one) exists, he says he's not qualified to say. Is that a diplomatic answer? Probably not, because he'd have no qualms about saying God didn't exist to the audience reading his book. It must be that he is an agnostic atheist, not confident that he can make a ruling that would strike down the beliefs of others. This is more or less what I do, that is I say that God doesn't exist for me. Some atheists might call that wimpy. A good related point that Wright makes is that it is somewhat surprising that so many people can act with just as much moral wisdom as the religious. It's surprising because back when everyone had religion, morality had to be framed as emanating from an authority figure, usually a father. But we find that this is not, after all, necessary for everyone. Wright says that it apparently is, however, for many still. There is nothing inherently wrong with conceiving morality as a commandment from God, though I think a problem can arise with God's morality becoming outdated and the believers refusing to admit that.
Quote:
Anyway, someone who is sure of his own beliefs is not open to other perspectives and is less likely to see the benefits of non-zero-sum relationship, or so I would argue. The same concept of rigidity of belief applies to politics. We have hard right conservatives and hard left liberals, but in the middle are moderates. Maybe the world needs more moderates.

Hurray for the middle of the road. I think you're right that a moderate view is likely to be most compatible with seeking to increase n-z-s relationships. I come back to Greg Mortenson. If he had been repelled by certain obvious features of the Muslim faith, he never would have been able to bring himself to form the close personal relationships with those people, especially the leaders with whom he had to curry favor. He did not become a Muslim, but he succeeded in showing that he had a deep respect for core Muslim traditions and values. But above all what he did was to show a deep desire to help the people of the mountains. This made the local people believe that he had the heart of a true Muslim without being one. Other Muslims who had power and tried to thwart Mortenson were seen as being less Muslim than he was.
Quote:
Cultural change is pretty dramatic if you consider that women in our country were only given the right to vote about 90 years ago and (legal) slavery was pretty widespread when our country was founded. Those probably qualify as some kind of moral progress.

That's true. I was thinking of Wright's thesis regarding religion specifically. But I suppose that as society becomes more secular, growth in non-zero-sumness would have to appear to come more from the secular side. We would no longer need to see religion changing in order for non-zero-sumness to increase, because religion assumes a lesser role. As an aside, I think the slavery issue shows the Janus-like quality of religion, in that some manifestations of it appear to be bad, others good. Slavery was instituted and continued to be upheld by Christians. Yet abolitionism had a very significant Christian base.
Quote:
In the Afterword, Wright refers to morality as a kind of universal or external truth. We've already discussed that if anything, he has done an excellent job of convincing us that morality seems fairly dictated by conditions on the ground. I wonder why humans always looking outside of ourselves for the answers? It seems to me that technology and a shrinking world has created, perhaps forced, the kinds of non-zero-sum opportunities that allow for Wright's widening moral circle. But let's imagine some catastrophe. Let's say some horrible virus wiped out 90 percent of the human race and the survivors had to live much as our ancestors did, with no electricity, no cell phones, no internet, no grocery stores, living in small groups that have to roam about foraging for food. Would there be much of a moral difference between these "modern" humans and our ancestors that lived 5,000 years ago? I rather doubt it. I would suggest that our sense of morality is internally wired and that religion is just a cultural extension of us. Culture in that sense is almost an extended phenotype like the nests that birds build or the dams that beavers build. Only there's nothing quite like our culture in the animal kingdom.

You've identified what seems to be a conundrum in Wright's theory. If it is the way of all species to increase their numbers, and if humans have done this by inventing technology, and if these expanding numbers have brought us into ever-closer contact with one another, thereby increasing non-zero-sumness, what need is there to posit that the universe has to it a moral dimension and the human race a moral destination? It's a nice belief, but is it at bottom a simple result of our species becoming more and more numerous? I agree that in your scenario we might lose a lot of the progress we've made toward non-zero-sumness, but it depends on how much cultural memory would be left. We wouldn't probably revert to slavery or taking away women's rights, for example. In the end, Wright's argument is of course teleological. He says that at any given point in history, the progress that we note being made toward moral inclusiveness is simply a result of a purpose, a predestined end, built into the circuits of the universe. At least, that's what I see him as saying. He is saying more than, "If we look at history, we can see that it is partly a record of increasing non-zero-sumness." He is also saying that that progress can be evidence of God, or at least "God," and that all the rather extreme stuff of religion that he reviewed was at bottom all about this simple end or purpose.
Quote:
By the way, I've started reading Wright's "Appendix" which is really just a separate chapter exploring the idea of whether or not religion is something in our genes. Wright actually agrees with Stephen Jay Gould's spandrel theory that religion is incidental to the way our brains developed. This surprised me since Dawkins seems inclined towards the genetic theory. Anyway, this might be an interesting topic to explore in a separate thread?

I recall Dawkins in The God Delusion shaking his head over the Darwnian purpose of religion, not understanding how something that appeared to cause so many people to die could be in the interest of the species' success. But maybe I'm not aware of all he said on this matter. Wright himself says that of course, in the end, everything we do is genetic, but he does side with Gould in thinking that so complex and varied a thing as religion probably doesn't have any kind of specific composition or location on our chromosomes (in other words, it is a creation of culture). He goes along with James, who says that in religion we repurpose our basic emotions for certain other ends.

Wright seems to cover pretty well the reasons that natural selection would dispose us toward having beliefs that aren't true but that serve a purpose, which might be an adequate summary of what religion is.


_________________
Man is an animal suspended in webs of significance that he himself has spun.

Clifford Geertz


Last edited by DWill on Tue Nov 02, 2010 8:34 am, edited 1 time in total.



The following user would like to thank DWill for this post:
geo
Tue Nov 02, 2010 8:24 am
Profile Email
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
Easy Reader

Gold Contributor 2

Joined: Aug 2008
Posts: 2937
Location: NC
Thanks: 950
Thanked: 1017 times in 758 posts
Gender: Male
Country: United States (us)

Post Re: Ch. 20 - Well, Aren't We Special?
I forgot to thank you for this post, DWill.

I also want to thank you once more for your exceptional job in leading this discussion. I would nominate you for best moderator or something if there were such a thing.


_________________
-Geo
Question everything


Sat Nov 06, 2010 1:46 pm
Profile
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 8 posts ] • Topic evaluate: Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average. 



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:

BookTalk.org Links 
Forum Rules & Tips
Frequently Asked Questions
BBCode Explained
Info for Authors & Publishers
Featured Book Suggestions
Author Interview Transcripts
Be a Book Discussion Leader!
    

Love to talk about books but don't have time for our book discussion forums? For casual book talk join us on Facebook.

Featured Books






BookTalk.org is a free book discussion group or online reading group or book club. We read and talk about both fiction and non-fiction books as a group. We host live author chats where booktalk members can interact with and interview authors. We give away free books to our members in book giveaway contests. Our booktalks are open to everybody who enjoys talking about books. Our book forums include book reviews, author interviews and book resources for readers and book lovers. Discussing books is our passion. We're a literature forum, or reading forum. Register a free book club account today! Suggest nonfiction and fiction books. Authors and publishers are welcome to advertise their books or ask for an author chat or author interview.


Navigation 
MAIN NAVIGATION

HOMEFORUMSBOOKSTRANSCRIPTSOLD FORUMSADVERTISELINKSFAQDONATETERMS OF USEPRIVACY POLICY

BOOK FORUMS FOR ALL BOOKS WE HAVE DISCUSSED
Science 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

OTHER PAGES WORTH EXPLORING
Banned Book ListOur Amazon.com SalesMassimo Pigliucci Rationally SpeakingOnline Reading GroupTop 10 Atheism BooksFACTS Book Selections

cron
Copyright © BookTalk.org 2002-2011. All rights reserved.
Website developed by MidnightCoder.ca
Display Pagerank