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Ch. 1 - Reason in Exile

#26: April - June 2006 & Nov. - Dec. 2010 (Non-Fiction)
JulianTheApostate
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My thoughts

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I agree with some of the author's broader concepts, but those are generally ideas that I've encountered previously. War has been, and continues to be, a net negative in the world, because religious persecution and warfare outweigh its benefits. With so many mutually inconsistent religions out there, it's difficult to comprehend why so many people believe that theirs is the one that's correct. However, Harris often goes too far, oversimplifies things, and makes inaccurate statements. Many of you, especially mal4mac (welcome to the group!), have mentioned my strongest objections. I'll bring up some other points.Harris's attack on religious moderates was rather dubious. People's religious beliefs, and other beliefs for that matter, are generally an incoherent mixture of traditional structures, modern concepts, personal experiences, and gut reactions. It's totally reasonable for someone to accept certain religious dogmas while dismissing others, picking and choosing the portions of the holy books and traditions to accept. Since Harris is such a vigilant atheist, it's surprising when he claims that "there also seems to be a data attesting to the reality of psychic phenomena...". Unlike Harris, I'm as skeptical of the paranormal as I am of religion.
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Re: My thoughts

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Quote:MA said: I need to find a more precise way to search for titles on the topic (suicide bombing), but from the outset this looks like an understudied phenomenon.There is a recent book by an expert on the subject, Dying to Win : The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism by Robert Pape. Haven't read it, but it should slake your thirst...
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Re: My thoughts

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Mad:Quote:Not so much by Jews, though. Most of the contests over the Holy Land have been between gentile and secular Europe and the groups of people loosely referred to as Arab or Levant. Yes, but it is all in the name of the Judeo-Xtian god. Are you denying the underlying idea that those who follow these faiths are really expecting a Rapture? The Jews and Xtians differ on the details, but do you not think that the dogma of the faith over the past 2000+ years are driving factors to control the Holy Land? Do you not think that some of these people who believe this are in positions of power? Do you reject that people can make earth shattering decisions based on a fantasy? Religion, IMO, is the most dangerous of these fantasies because it can move so many people by emotion and claims to ultimate truth and wish fulfillment.Quote:You're right. We, fighting under the rubric of a secular cause, were attacking civilian targets, firebombing populous cities, dropping the first nuclear weapon. And while we're at it, the Japanese were also targetting civilian populations, but mostly in China and the Pacific Islands.Absolutely. People suck. War will always be around unless we learn to realize we are all really the same....do away with what separates us. Religion is just one of those things. That is what we are discussing here, the continuing need for or doing away with religion, not war based on geo-political conflicts.Quote:My point is not that secularism is more apt to allow for atrocity, but that its no protection against those atrocities.I was never arguing against this. Just showing that there is a big difference between terrorism and war. Both suck.Mr. P. The one thing of which I am positive is that there is much of which to be negative - Mr. P.Once you perceive the irrevocable truth, you can no longer justify the irrational denial. - Mr. P.The pain in hell has two sides. The kind you can touch with your hand; the kind you can feel in your heart...Scorsese's "Mean Streets"I came to kick ass and chew Bubble Gum...and I am all out of Bubble Gum - They Live, Roddy PiperEdited by: misterpessimistic  at: 4/11/06 12:52 pm
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Re: My thoughts

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Spoken like someone who thinks humanism cannot work! We are all the same in any way that matters. We are born, we live the best we can, we breed and care for our kids and families and we die.We all face the same trials when it comes down to it. We create the differences between us because of lack of contact with each other or because of not caring about others.We are all the same. The fact that anyone cannot see this disturbs me.Mr. P. The one thing of which I am positive is that there is much of which to be negative - Mr. P.Once you perceive the irrevocable truth, you can no longer justify the irrational denial. - Mr. P.The pain in hell has two sides. The kind you can touch with your hand; the kind you can feel in your heart...Scorsese's "Mean Streets"I came to kick ass and chew Bubble Gum...and I am all out of Bubble Gum - They Live, Roddy PiperEdited by: misterpessimistic  at: 4/11/06 1:07 pm
MadArchitect

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Re: My thoughts

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misterpessimistic: War will always be around unless we learn to realize we are all really the same....do away with what separates us.What if we're not all really the same? What if what separates us is what makes our individual lives worth living?
Tobiahsgirl

good to see criticism

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I'm pleased to see people offering criticism of this book. I read about it on Truthdig, then took it out of the library and just started reading it. I was disconcerted by how shallow much of his thinking seems to be, especially when I've just been thumbing through Bruce Bawer's "Stealing Jesus," which I read a few years ago. Bawer does a thorough analysis of American Christian fundamentalism, and outlines the way religious moderates have permitted fundamentalists to define religion in the U.S. I will keep reading the Harris book, and hope to keep reading insightful comments on this board.
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Re: good to see criticism

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I like the book so far. I agree with Harris on much of what he said through the first chapter. Yes, it is angry and an attack...but, well...you all know me! Does not mean it is not true.Mr. P. The one thing of which I am positive is that there is much of which to be negative - Mr. P.Once you perceive the irrevocable truth, you can no longer justify the irrational denial. - Mr. P.The pain in hell has two sides. The kind you can touch with your hand; the kind you can feel in your heart...Scorsese's "Mean Streets"I came to kick ass and chew Bubble Gum...and I am all out of Bubble Gum - They Live, Roddy Piper
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riverc0il
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Re: good to see criticism

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Quote:Spoken like someone who thinks humanism cannot work!We are all the same in any way that matters. We are born, we live the best we can, we breed and care for our kids and families and we die.We all face the same trials when it comes down to it. We create the differences between us because of lack of contact with each other or because of not caring about others.We are all the same. The fact that anyone cannot see this disturbs me.Mr. P.I have to disagree with you on this Mr. P. I do not think Mad's statement was off base nor does it presuppose that Mad does not think Humanism can "work" (though what exactly is Humanism really "working" on, I am not sure. I think of it more as a moral and philosophical guideline than a call to action).I think Mad raises an important point that we ARE different. Each and every one of us are individuals and we are consistantly reacting to everyone around us. I also think that it is important to consider the possiblity that aggression and fighting is within our nature. If you look around at the rest of the Animal Kingdom, you would be hard pressed to find species that are not consistantly striving and fighting for land, food, breeding rights, etc. I am currently reading Carl Sagan's Demon Haunted World and he makes a similar point that makes a great correlation with this subject in the current chapter. Perhaps we need to acknowledge our differences and our innate tendency to fight and struggle before we can learn to cooperate and grow together. This can all be in existance within the human spirit without religion and faith existing, but I would assert that religion certainly makes worse those other smaller differences normally easily over come in the spirit of cooperation. I do not think we "create" the differences between us, but I do think that we do not work to defuse the differences. And I think the difference is more than a symatic word game.
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Re: good to see criticism

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Welcome, Tobiahsgirl!Obviously, all people are distinct individuals, and that individuality is important. Still, we share a common humanity, which makes the well-being of every person matter.Unfortunately, some people view the world in us-versus-them terms, where 'them' consists of groups with different races, religions, nationalities, etc. That mentality causes a great deal of suffering.
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riverc0il
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Re: good to see criticism

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Tobiahsgirl, I second JulianTheApostate's welcome. We look forward to hearing some of your thoughts as you get into the book!
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