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The Dallas-Plano Atheists Meetup Group Message Board › Reading Selections

Reading Selections

A former member
Post #: 15
At one of the meetups someone suggested we pool our book recommendations, so this is the place. If you have read or heard of a good book post it here. Feel free to post your reviews too.

Here are some links for places to purchase atheist related books (if you know of others list them too):

http://www.atheists.o...­
http://www.prometheus...­
http://www.ffrf.org/b...­
http://www.atheistall...­

Also, locally you can borrow books from the Metroplex Atheists library. Most are listed here:

http://www.metroplexa...­
A former member
Post #: 17
The following book recommendation and comment was added by user 825209 on Feb 28, 2006 as a separate post but I am moving it here to keep the message board user friendly.

LEAVING THE FOLD- Marlene Winell

Despite the apparent end of the Cold War, the world continues to be a dangerous place partly because fanatics under various banners- political, ethnic, or religious- stridently proclaim the superiority of their beliefs. This book by Marlene Winell provides valuable insights into the dangers of certain forms of of religious indoctrination and outlines what therapists and victims can do to reclaim a healthier human spirit.
From my work on the public TV series MEETING OF THE MINDS to my books on freedom of thought and religion, I have stressed the need to comingle discussions of of reason and faith. Thinking and spirituality should not be put in opposition to each other, otherwise claims of inerancy can easily lead to fanatical efforts at mind control. Much of my energy over the past 50 years has been expended on championing reason and science. In my own writings, I have touched on much of the same territory Dr Winell
covers in this book. For that matter, countless volumes have been written on the destructive effects of uncritical acceptance of philosophical claims and the irrational behavior it often leads to.
History is tragicly full of examples where well-
intentiones spiritual convictions led directly to suppression of contrary views, oppression, torture, war, and other atrocities, all in the name of what was supposedly holy. Today the human race is forced to react to an increasingly complex and fast changing
world. Often the response is an opposite pull, toward a simpler model- one which seems to offer clear rules, explanations, and assurances for the future, if not on Earth, then in an afterlife. Such systems of belief, of which extreme Christian and Moslem fundamentalism are examples, superimpose structure over the chaos of our times. This book suggests that, by virtue of their simplicity and rigidity these systems are inherently flawed.
What sets Ms. Winell's book apart is that it takes the further step of examining the issue on a personal level, exploring the ways in which dogmatic, unquestioning faith can impair the individuals ability
to think. Both former believers searching for a new beginning and those just starting to subject their faith to the requirements of simple common sense, if not analytical reason, may find valuable assistance in these pages. - 1994 Intro. by Steve Allen
A former member
Post #: 5
One of the best books I've ever read was Carl Sagan's Demon-Haunted World. Dr. Sagan addressed a myriad of topics from global warming to pseudo-science, creationism to alien abductions. In between he offers tidbits of history, insights from personal experience and solid scientific thinking. He also aids in putting things into perspective through the use of effective analogies and has a knack for taking complex issues and making them readable for anyone. Carl was not just a great scientist and skeptic but a talent author as well. The book is very hard to put down and flows very smoothly. The read is never boring at any moment and there's a sense of sadness when you reach the end.

One of the better analogies Carl had in this book is in reference to an invisible dragon in his garage. I found the analogy to be very powerful in many discussions on philosophy and religion. There have been many instances where I have envoked Sagan's Dragon to illustrate my point clearly and it has helped each and every time.

The Demon Haunted World
Carl Sagan
1996
Ballantine Books
ISDN: 0345409469

At Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0345409469/104-1608943-3300752?v=glance&n=283155­
A former member
Post #: 18
This was originally posted as an individual entry on 2/19/06.


On Tues, Aug, 16, I attended a presentation of Robert Ingersoll's works at Borders Book store in downtown DC.

Tim Page, Washington Post's Music Critic, did a good job in presenting Robert Ingersoll's works. He described Robert Ingersoll as an Agnostic Preacher who denounced the antisocial aspects of the Bible. The book is a short read, but depicts the dynamic personality of Robert Ingersoll and many of the same issues that we are facing today concerning the separation of religion from gov't.

Norm
A former member
Post #: 19
This was originally posted by Michael individually on 2/22/06:


At the last meetup we had questions about the publishing of C.S. Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia.
Original publish date of The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe : 1950
Original publish date of The Last Battle (last book written in the series): 1956

Also, the other book i had mentioned is The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster. (c) 1961. I would highly recommend it.

Michael
A former member
Post #: 7
A short review I did for Robert Pennock's book The Tower of Babel at my site (http://www.atheistcoa...­

Pennock's book, published in 1999 is still very pertinent today. It addresses the Intelligent Design movement. Pennock uses the evolution of language as an analogy which might seem quite awkward at first but works out nicely. He takes on the works of Michael Behe, William Dembski and Phillip Johnson and does a wonderful job exposing their weak arguments against evolution and the sad attempt to propose ID as an alternative.

This is a must read for anyone interested in the ID vs. Evolution debate now raging for dominance in our public high schools.

The Tower of Babel: The Evidence Against the New Creationism
Robert T. Pennock
1999
MIT Press
ISBN 0-262-16180-X
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