Joined: Oct. 2006
|Quote (Louis @ June 15 2007,18:03)|
|Quote (C.J.O'Brien @ June 15 2007,22:35)|
|I've got one.|
Just finished Dennett's "Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon."
In all the furor over the recent entries of Dawkins Harris and Hitchens (the new infernal trinity), there has not been much talk about Dennett's book. Anybody else read it?
Sorry if I'm OT, Stephen. I've not heard of "The ragged trousered philanthropists." It's a book, yes? By whom?
I've read it and I thought it was brilliant. I also thought it was far more damaging to faith/religion than the other two precisely because of it's comparatively quiet, scholarly tone and academic leanings.
I'm not saying the other two are ill considered, or wrong or unintellectual or anything like it. They are more polemical than the Dennett book in my opinion, and that doesn't detract from them at all but it does garner them the most publicity.
I'm reading three books at the moment: Douglas Hofstader's "Godel, Escher, Bach" which is a bit heavy going in places but very intriguing, Jared Diamond's "Collapse" which is an easy read in terms of technicalities but not in terms of implications, and lastly Stephen Fry's "An Ode Less Travelled" which is very funny and a bit densely poetic for me, but I find it very enjoyable and the exercises are fun. I usually have two or three books on the go at once because sometimes I don't feel like reading the very technical stuff late at night, or I feel more like something technical in the bath or what have you! I'm sure you all know the drill!
I've got a whole swathe of books on the Enlightenment and also on British History coming up on my little personal reading list. Then I have most of Gould's popular offerings to get through and finally The Gouldian Brick to reread properly (as opposed to dipping in and out). I reckon that's my serious reading for the rest of the year! I'll of course add the new Pratchett book when it comes out and a few other trashy novels I fancy for fun. Ooooh I've just had a thought, I'm off to Cyprus for a fortnight in a couple of months, I could build up to Gould's Brick before then and read it on holiday. Nice! Sun, brandy sours, evolutionary biology. If I could work in impertinent imbroglios with a famous atheist and ethologist I'd be almost as enviable as that shimmying siren Kristine!
"Godel, Escher, Bach" created an enormous stir when first published, particularly as it was advanced by Martin Gardner at Scientific American. It proved much less influential in the long run than many expected, however. (Hofstader eventually replaced Gardner in SciAm, supplying his "Metamagical Themas" column in place of Gardner's "Mathematical Games" for a couple years.) I agree with your assessment of "Collapse," human history often being a downer an' all. "Guns, Germs and Steel" is more fun - and renders assertions such as Uncommonly Denyse's recent speculation that "something happened" to the human race 6,000 years ago particularly ridiculous by contrast.
Ah, the Gouldian Brick. I got through 1,000 pages of that thing during late summer and fall of '02, but never did quite finish it. The level of detail is REALLY pathetic. But I think I got the idea.
Myth: Something that never was true, and always will be.
"The truth will set you free. But not until it is finished with you."
- David Foster Wallace
"Hereâ€™s a clue. Snarky banalities are not a substitute for saying something intelligent. Write that down."
- Barry Arrington