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Posts Tagged ‘creationism’

Why Evolution is True by Jerry A. Coyne

In Nonfiction on January 21, 2010 at 6:30 pm
Why Evolution is True by Jerry A. Coyne

Why Evolution is True by Jerry A. Coyne

Title: Why Evolution is True

Author: Jerry A. Coyne

Genre: Nonfiction/Evolution/Anti-Intelligent Design

Rating: ****/****

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So, we’re in the twenty-first century now, but most polls indicate that less than half of the US believes that evolution is true.  The rest tend to believe that we were created by a being & that evolution is an outright lie.  No doubt motivated through lack of adequate science education, this growing ignorance is being promoted by religious fundamentalists usually in the form of intelligent design AKA creationism.  Though it was settled in Dover, PA in 2005 that intelligent design is merely a religious hypothesis & not a scientific theory, its supporters continue to delude the naive into thinking there is no evidence for the theory of evolution.

Coyne’s book presents all the arguments for evolution: fossil evidence, DNA, vestigal organs, geological column, etc. It’s all gathered from many fields & peer-reviewed, something which ID supporters have never been able to accomplish.  Even to the most reluctant reader, if they truly had an open mind in weighing the evidence, expands on the topic to include articles & information at the back of the book for reference.  There is no possible way that someone could come away from this book without having a basic understanding of the theory of evolution, what it is, how it works, its evidence, & what many scientists are researching today on the topic, etc.

Also, Coyne emphasizes that religious people need not be threatened by it in the least.  Plenty of major religions recognize evolution as solid scientific fact, but others are struggling to drive the wedge between science & religion even further.  Evolution isn’t a moral or religious doctrine & we aren’t controlled by our genes.  Something I rather liked a lot was how Coyne used examples of how people have misused evolution in the past & how certain specialists in many fields today are trying to find a biological reason for every human action, even violent ones.  Sure, we could have our tendency for behaviors encoded, but we are not bound to it & without control of our lives.

What people will be surprised at learning from this book:

1. They probably didn’t know what evolution was exactly.

2. They didn’t know what made it work.

3. They didn’t know so many fields of study provided evidence for the theory.

4. Humans have tails & hair in the womb. Eeek.

5. IT’S REAL!

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Check out Dr. Coyne’s blog:

http://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/

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Letter to a Christian Nation by Sam Harris

In Nonfiction, Religious Studies on January 21, 2010 at 12:06 pm
Letter to a Christian Nation by Sam Harris

Letter to a Christian Nation by Sam Harris

Title: Letter to a Christian Nation

Author: Sam Harris

Genre: Nonfiction/Atheism/Religion/Christianity

Rating: ****/****

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I read this last year, but was tempted to read it again after seeing it in my e-book folder yesterday.  I read it in one sitting, because Harris’s words ring so true to me as an atheist & because it’s rather short.  As such, it’s a book that I wish more Christians & religious people would read, with an open mind of course,  & evaluate its arguments.  Harris is basically making the case that religion is irrational & even in its mildest form helps to spread dissension & cause needless suffering to others.  Why is it that we accept that religion need be a part of our lives?  That we should tolerate it being forced upon society?

One argument that is often made is that society as a whole needs religion to keep us from destroying civilization itself.  As we can see in the US, the most religious states ‘red’ tend to be heavy in crime, but in the more secular blue states we see a drop in crime by comparison.  According to many Christians (et al.), atheists are supposed to be completely immoral, evil people, yet evidence shows that there is a correlation between high rates of secularism & a higher standard of living.

Though it is offensive to some people to even question the importance of religion, it is a stunning example of religion’s tyrannical hold on people, that most overlook.  All of our other beliefs e.g. environmental, political, etc. are questioned & we are expected to give reason for why we believe the way we do about them, but religion has an exemption.  Because faith has been made into a virtue & honestly, no evidence has been collected in religion’s favor, that we’ve neglected or been forced away from criticizing it or holding it to the same standards that other systems of beliefs endure.

PS: For a laugh, read the one star ‘reviews’ on Amazon.com

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http://www.samharris.org/