Thursday, December 01, 2005

Richard Dawkins says, “Read Sam Harris and wake up.”

Dawkins refers to Sam Harris’s recent book, The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason.

Available in hardcover: Norton, ISBN 0393035158, 336pp
Available in paperback: Norton, ISBN 0393327655, 224pp

Dawkins writes in “The Guardian”: “The End of Faith: Religion, Terror and the Future of Reason by Sam Harris is a genuinely frightening book about terrorism, and the central role played by religion in justifying and rewarding it…Even moderate religion is a menace, because it leads us to respect and "cherish the idea that certain fantastic propositions can be believed without evidence".”

Table Of Contents
1 Reason in Exile 11
2 The Nature of Belief 50
3 In the Shadow of God 80
4 The Problem with Islam 108
5 West of Eden 153
6 A Science of Good and Evil 170
7 Experiments in Consciousness 204
Epilogue 223
Notes 229
Bibliography 293
Acknowledgments 323
Index 325

Winner of the 2005 PEN Award for Nonfiction

About PEN:

“PEN American Center is the largest of the 141 centers of International PEN, the world's oldest human rights organization and the oldest international literary organization. International PEN was founded in 1921 to dispel national, ethnic, and racial hatreds and to promote understanding among all countries…PEN American Center builds upon the achievements of such dedicated past members as W. H. Auden, James Baldwin, Willa Cather, Robert Frost, Langston Hughes, Thomas Mann, Arthur Miller, Marianne Moore, Susan Sontag, and John Steinbeck.”

“The Economist” published an extensive review of Harris’s book. You can read the full review at:

http://www.samharris.org/index.php/samharris/full-text/economist-review/

“The Economist” review begins:

“THIS book will strike a chord with anyone who has ever pondered the irrationality of religious faith and its cruel and murderous consequences—from the Spanish Inquisition to the suicide bombs of devout young Islamists. After noting that a majority of the world's population still believes in some kind of divine creator, Sam Harris goes on to show how one holy book after another promises paradise to believers and damnation to all others. Deuteronomy tells believers to have no mercy on apostates ("You must stone him to death, since he has tried to divert you from Yahweh, your God"); death is the punishment for anyone breaking the Ten Commandments; and "those that deny Our revelations shall be punished for their misdeeds," says the Koran.”

TonySeb: I consider this an important book, both for brights and believers. Because attacks on faith generally strengthen the faith of the faithful, as Dawkins has pointed out, the faithful might want to read this book in an attempt to strengthen their faith. I forewarn them, however, of the insidious power of reason.

Thanks to Robert J. Stephens, PhD, President of the international annual “Darwin Day Celebration”, for introducing me to Harris’s book. Check out:

http://www.darwinday.org/

and join in the 2006 celebration.

P.S. Bob, I’ve started my second read.

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