Reddit reviews The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark
We found 239 Reddit comments about The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark. Here are the top ones, ranked by their Reddit score.
We found 239 Reddit comments about The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark. Here are the top ones, ranked by their Reddit score.
The Demon Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark, by Carl Sagan.
This book talks down pseudoscience respectably, and first gets the reader agreeing with him before switching over to the topic of religion. I highly recommend it.
I know trees loves to praise Sagan for his pro-cannabis stance (and they should, Mr. X is a great read), but really, watch/read Cosmos, read his other books (Demon Haunted World is great. Highly recommended). His love of cannabis is an afterthought compared to his love of science and critical thinking.
I'll stick to recommending science communication books (those that don't require a deep background on biological concepts):
For books that everyone studying biology ends up reading, my candidate would be Lehninger's Principles of Biochemistry, by Nelson & Cox but that's a textbook.
It's not a book but is instead a series of videos, but might be really useful. Why I am no longer a Christian. It's long, but worth it. Covers a lot of bases.
A good book not on atheism per se but a book on critical thinking and skepticism: The Demon-Haunted World by Carl Sagan. There are some chapters that touch on religion specifically but it treats religion and superstition more or less equally, and provides a really good foundation for people who care that their beliefs are true - it's the sort of thing you'll want to read if you want to be better-equipped to determine whether something is bullshit or not. You can usually find this at most used bookstores.
A lot of atheists would tell you though: the bible. Really! Read it cover to cover, like you would any other book. There's probably a lot of stuff in there you'll never see in church or Sunday school.
Edit: I have to plug The Sagan Series. Some of the videos touch on religion but most are more in a humanistic vein. They are really well-put-together by /u/rgower and there are some ideas in there that might give you things to think about.
"We live in a society exquisitely dependent on science and technology, in which hardly anyone knows anything about science and technology." - Carl Sagan
Do Stephen a solid and read A Brief History of Time. And never forget the importance of knowledge. The Demon Haunted World by Carl Sagan is another great one.
RIP Stephen Hawking, one of the truest niggas who ever walked the face of the earth.
Read all of his books.
The Demon Haunted World
Varieties of the Scientific Experience
Pale Blue Dot
The Dragons of Eden
Billions and Billions
I cannot recommend Carl Sagan's The Demon Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark enough. Some parts of it may be a bit dated, but the chapter entitled "The Fine Art of Baloney Detection" is timeless and it may be exactly what you're looking for.
Presents she received
>Who the fuck do you think you are addressing, you moronic bastards? I didn't ask for a thing, I expected nothing, a lovely postcard of where they are from would have been nice or a homemade card - I have to deal with death in some form every fucking day, I do not need demons and zombies and reminders of inhumanity in my goddamned presence - Perhaps some prepubescent little boy would have wet dreams over this package but given that you call someone a "twat", I am guessing you are a boy anyway - I was completely approproiate, I didn't want the effort to just be trashed, I want the sender to have it and enjoy it and that is why I am trying to get his correct info so I know where to send it - Otherwise it goes in the incinerator, are you too fucking dense to get that, you motherfucking cocksucking dickwad - I got your manners right here, little.... and I do mean "little" in the most generous sense of proportions, "man".
This is probably a long shot, but if you can convince them to thoughtfully read an entire book, buy them a copy of The Demon-Haunted World.
Don't suggest a book you haven't read. If you pick your books you should read them first then give them to your mom. I recommend two books in this order. First, Second.
Will believers see the value of a position that starts off with "of course there is no God!" (1:15 or so) and then just uses church as a community center, or a place with decent art and music? Are believers willing to move beyond doctrine and dogma?
I like de Botton's work in general, though I haven't read this particular book. But in this Ted talk I think he's arguing against a straw man version of atheism. Very few atheists rail against every single thing from religion.
Many atheists like cathedrals and religious art, music, and literature. I'm fine with engaging the KJV as literature. But how many believers are? I've had believers actually repudiate even the moral content of the New Testament, if it is to be divorced from the supernatural authority of God.
What's interesting too is the mindset he's trying to persuade atheists to embrace is the one believers frequently accuse us of already having. They already think we follow Dawkins or Harris like secular popes. They think we believe in evolution or materialism as a secular dogma that we can't question.
Looking at the dictionary definition of sermon, "a talk on a religious or moral subject," we already have those. There are many great talks by Christopher Hitchens, Neil deGrasse Tyson and many others, entreating listeners to embrace a secular worldview. Look up "Skepticon" on Youtube. Talk after talk advocating for the superiority, even the moral superiority, of a secular worldview. Those are sermons. We already hand out copies of Sagan's Demon-Haunted World with hushed assurances of "read this--it changed my life." Sagan called science "informed worship."
We already have this stuff. What believers actually want is basically for non-believers to stop being critical of religion. Believers want atheists to be more "moderate" (by which they mean, respectful of religion, or just silent) but they themselves would reject almost every remedy de Botton offers. Most prominently, starting off with the position of "of course there's no God." Is that really the truce being offered?
Can't go wrong with Carl Sagan:
How about Carl Sagan's Demon Haunted World. It's a good primer on skepticism. He debunks various pseudoscience, offers a skeptic's toolkit to help differentiate what is probably true from what is probably false, has his famous "dragon in my garage" analogy.
I was fully intent on going to college at Cornell solely to follow this man... and then he died.. :.(
That sounds lke alot of material that he put in "The Demon Haunted World"
I'd recommend The Demon-Haunted World by Carl Sagan. It's not a book about atheism per se, more a work about how to approach life from a position of skeptical inquiry... and examines at what happens when people don't take a skeptical approach to the things they're taught in life and the problems that can raise.
Demon Haunted World and The Varieties of Scientific Experience both by Carl Sagan. You're going to need something softly softly that at the same time packs a punch. Anything by the 'new atheists' will be deemed offensive to their sensibilities not to mention the mere name of Dawkins or Hitch may turn them off before you've even gotten a chance in. Sagan is a fucking poet. You'll do more damage with him than anyone else.
If you can, have a look through the reading / video lists from the resources on the right of this sub.
Two I'd recommend are:
Whatever happens I'd encourage you to explore what you believe and why, but bear in mind it's a process that can take a while. This isn't a bad thing, so don't be discouraged if you don't find answers straight away.
Lots of love for you, here are some thoughts of mine...
Here are some resources that I have been really grateful for on my journey, which I am 12 months into...
The Obstacle is the Way
The Daily Stoic this is my new "daily bible" I read a page every morning
Secular Buddhism podcast
Waking Up podcast
End of Faith
The Demon Haunted World
Philosophize This! podcast OR Partially Examined Life podcast
I wish you the very best in your journey, be patient with yourself, you have EVERY reason to be! Start filling your mind with powerful positive ideas, keep the ones that help you find your way, set aside the ones that don't.
And remember, you are young and free and the possibilities of what your life can become are boundless!
Oh I should have mentioned, this story comes from his book "The Demon Haunted World - Science as a Candle in the Dark".
I often say it is the best book I've ever read. http://www.amazon.com/Demon-Haunted-World-Science-Candle-Dark/dp/0345409469
I applaud your skepticism! I do take issue with a few statements:
>My younger brother (19), however, is a hardcore skeptic. He claims to have seen a cup levitate and move in front of him in the bathroom one night, and [...] I know that he is definitely not the type of person to do any investigating whatsoever and will just automatically assume that it was a ghost.
Your brother is not a skeptic.
>I always ridicule him for his insane belief.
That's not very nice.
>As an atheist, I can't help but look down upon people who hold religious beliefs because it all seems so absurd to me.
That doesn't help foster communication. I think you might benefit greatly from this half-hour talk from "bad astronomer" Phil Plait. The general idea behind the talk is: when have you ever changed your beliefs just because someone told you that they were stupid? Instead of helping your case, you are hurting it. You'll only cause them to reinforce their beliefs, even if your confirmed evidence directly disproves their beliefs.
>me being the logical person I am, I choose the side of "you're crazy and you imagined it", while he takes the "it was definitely a ghost" side.
You two should work on your communication, because this approach is going to go nowhere.
>It took my brother a little longer to come around to the fact that there is no god.
It is not a fact that there is no god.
>I consider myself atheist while I consider him to be agnostic.
It's a common misconception, but that's not how it works.
If you found confirmation bias [edit: interesting] (and all of the other names we have for the ways our brains will innately fool us), I'd highly recommend that you read Carl Sagan's The Demon-Haunted World: Science As A Candle In The Dark. I would suggest that you read it first, in private. Then I would suggest lending it to your brother to read, and asking him to recommend that you read a book of his recommendation. Afterwards, talk about your thoughts together.
Don't be mean to him, or dismissive. Sometimes, critical thinking has to be taught, or self-learned after experience. It's not a slight on my aunt's intelligence, for instance, that she believes that some forms of homeopathy is effective. I could tell her all day that we know that homeopathy doesn't work. I could give her thousands of pages of scientific journals explaining, in great and meticulous detail, why this is the case. She would likely dismiss "mainstream science," though, because it isn't supporting her worldview and/or belief system. That doesn't mean my aunt is a moron. It means, more than anything else, that she doesn't understand what a useful standard of evidence is in order to determine truths about our world.
>I don't believe in ghosts. Please tell me some experiences, give insight and opinions. Try to help me understand.
I've made similar posts searching for similar truths, like:
From my own observations, what it really seems to come down to is a combination of: the person's standards of evidence, their relationship with their pre-existing beliefs, their upbringing, and a near-complete misunderstanding of what science is and how science works. I see examples of these four issues every day on /r/Paranormal, as well as /r/UFOs, which I've also probed for truths:
The bottom line is: there is no proof of ghosts like what you are looking for. The best thing we have, so far, isn't from a digital photograph or an EVP. We've got neuroscience. We're getting better and better at watching the brain work. We can watch brain activity related to our consciousness happen, and we can do it all the time, every time. We've also noticed that once a human body is dead, there is no activity related to our consciousness or anything else occurring within our brains. So, based on the evidence so far, consciousness seems to die with the body. This, more than anything else, speaks to the existence of ghosts, if the belief is, in fact, that ghosts are the souls/consciousness/manifestation of dead people.
But that says nothing about the experience a person goes through when they believe that they've seen a ghost. The experience is real, even if self-deception is involved. That includes your brother. I wish you the very best of luck. Try to be more tolerant of him!
Have you read The Ethics of Belief by William K. Clifford? You would probably really enjoy it.
EDIT: This is a debate that could go in variety of directions, by the way. Here is some literature and key points on the subject. William James famously responded to Clifford's essay above with a piece titled The Will to Believe. This really is an incredibly interesting topic of discussion that usually ends up getting down to the questions: "What is justified belief?" and "What constitutes a basic belief?"
EDIT 2: You should read Carl Sagan's The Demon-Haunted World if you're interested in this sort of discussion as well. That book changed my life.
I know /r/atheism has a bad reputation on reddit, although people who don't come by to troll typically find that reputation undeserved. But the reason I mention it is because they list some really good resources in their sidebar:
Two resources I strongly recommend include Carl Sagan's book "A Demon-Haunted World" as a gentle primer on skeptical thinking and Evid3nc3's Youtube playlist on "Why I Am No Longer A Christian."
It sounds like you two are discussing the basics of epistemology.
>I told her that I would have to think about it, but that you can't be scared to learn about things that disagree with your beliefs. I told her that a lot of times it feels bad to have your beliefs challenged, and that this can cause you to avoid learning things that you don't like or immediately discounting them.
That's a very good place to start.
>At this point she basically said "Yeah you have to make sure you aren't just accepting something because it agrees with what you already think."
She seems to have discovered confirmation bias on her own. Well done her!
Maybe introduce her to some information on critical thinking.
Given her parents and your desire not to ruffle their feathers too muck, I'd avoid The Magic of Reality: How We Know What's Really True for now. Maybe have a copy at your place that she might accidentally find on your bookshelf?
Perhaps The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark would be a good choice?
You need to give your mom a copy of Carl Sagan's The Demon-Haunted World.
The scientifically literate get tired.
If you are actually interested in the study of consciousness and not just trolling watch this or any psychology text book (NCBI bookshelf is free).
If you want to know why people believe in weird shit like flat earth, bigfoot, atlantis, or the that entire mental health establishment is in a conspiracy against the pineal gland and DMT "spirit mollicule"check out Demon Haunted World world by Carl Sagan.
I first "woke up" when I saw a video called Pentagon Strike. I woke up.
I was mad, real mad. How could they do this to us? I began to research. I read... and I read... and I read... and slowly all the pieces of the "conspiracy" slipped away. I wondered how I could be so gullible by a flashy presentation.
Then I rubbed my eyes. Now I consider myself to be a skeptic.
I am no longer groggy from just being woken up and the world looks a lot clearer.
I can think of a few
>This is the silly idea that skepticism is about being open minded. It is not. Being open minded in scientific matters is not a good thing.
Carl Sagan disagrees:
"If you're only skeptical, then no new ideas make it through to you. You never learn anything. You become a crotchety misanthrope convinced that nonsense is ruling the world. (There is, of course, much data to support you.) Since major discoveries at the borderlines of science are rare, experience will tend to confirm your grumpiness. But every now and then a new idea turns out to be on the mark, valid and wonderful. If you're too resolutely and uncompromisingly skeptical, you're going to miss (or resent) the transforming discoveries in science, and either way you will be obstructing understanding and progress. Mere skepticism is not enough." Source
The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark by Carl Sagan. It's a primer in critical thinking. Reading the bible cover-to-cover is useless if they don't have some basic understanding of or an ability for critical thinking. It's also very non-threatening for a religious person.
Jehovah's Witnesses don't really believe in the concept of human nature. From dealings simple to complex, they refuse to believe that they are primates with millions of years of evolution behind them and that this legacy creates predispositions which cannot be denied. For example, they believe that expressions of sexuality are not encoded in our DNA, but a matter of righteous choice. They believe that as a brotherhood they have a bond which transcends human nature and that in "God's organization" you will find people who are more uniformly honest than "worldly" people.
This is pure unadulterated delusion.
Similarly, because of our evolutionary heritage, all humans - members of the Watchtower Society or not - are subject to the experiences that you describe here. People see weird shit, experience weird shit - all the fucking time. The Witnesses believe that all of it is demons, misleading the lost and attempting to frighten the flock, but that is simply their eschatological spin used to describe the same phenomenon everybody experiences.
Me, I'm with Carl Sagan on this one, whether the experience is JW or otherwise: we used to live in a world where we needed demons to explain the things we didn't understand. We no longer live in that world. All things have an explanation - even if we haven't discovered it yet.
By the way, drugs like Psilocybin and LSD allow you to understand just how much your reality is constructed by your mind. Personally, I think that once you really understand this, "paranormal" shit doesn't seem quite so out there anymore.
Try The Demon-Haunted World By Carl Sagan
This is eloquently put. To add to the point of learning from freethinkers I would like to recommend some reading material. First, I would advise becoming familiar with skepticism. The ideal text for this is The Demon-Haunted World by Carl Sagan. In order to educate yourself on comparative religion (as far as monotheism is concerned) I would recommend A History of God by Karen Armstrong. Third, specifically regarding Christianity and more specifically the NT I would go to Bart Ehrman. Jesus: Apocalyptic Prophet of the New Millennium. Hope this helps anyone trying to inoculate themselves to misinformation.
I was trapped in a cult called Mormonism. This magazine taught me much about critical thinking and I escaped :
And this :
Why People Believe Weird Things: Pseudoscience, Superstition, and Other Confusions of Our Time https://www.amazon.com/dp/0805070893/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_XHXIAbHYPT1YR
The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark https://www.amazon.com/dp/0345409469/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_7JXIAbH1KZTJH
Random selection of some of my favorites to help you expand your horizons:
The Demon-Haunted World by Carl Sagan is a great introduction to scientific skepticism.
Letter to a Christian Nation by Sam Harris is a succinct refutation of Christianity as it's generally practiced in the US employing crystal-clear logic.
Augustus: The Life of Rome's First Emperor by Anthony Everitt is the best biography of one of the most interesting men in history, in my personal opinion.
Travels with Herodotus by Ryszard Kapuscinski is a jaw-dropping book on history, journalism, travel, contemporary events, philosophy.
A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson is a great tome about... everything. Physics, history, biology, art... Plus he's funny as hell. (Check out his In a Sunburned Country for a side-splitting account of his trip to Australia).
The Annotated Mona Lisa by Carol Strickland is a thorough primer on art history. Get it before going to any major museum (Met, Louvre, Tate Modern, Prado, etc).
Not the Impossible Faith by Richard Carrier is a detailed refutation of the whole 'Christianity could not have survived the early years if it weren't for god's providence' argument.
Six Easy Pieces by Richard Feynman are six of the easier chapters from his '63 Lectures on Physics delivered at CalTech. If you like it and really want to be mind-fucked with science, his QED is a great book on quantum electrodynamics direct from the master.
Lucy's Legacy by Donald Johanson will give you a really great understanding of our family history (homo, australopithecus, ardipithecus, etc). Equally good are Before the Dawn: Recovering the Lost History of Our Ancestors by Nicholas Wade and Mapping Human History by Steve Olson, though I personally enjoyed Before the Dawn slightly more.
Memory and the Mediterranean by Fernand Braudel gives you context for all the Bible stories by detailing contemporaneous events from the Levant, Italy, Greece, Egypt, etc.
After the Prophet by Lesley Hazleton is an awesome read if you don't know much about Islam and its early history.
edit: Also, check out the Reasonable Doubts podcast.
There are two Carl Sagan books which I believe are more important than all of the others. The first, details how to look at the world skeptically, and the second, how to look at the world with all the wonder that Nature deserves.
I really don't have anything to say that's going to make you feel better immediately. I'd recommend
I grew up as a Catholic including catholic school through 12th grade. It's all lies. You're in the painful process of realizing it. It's not fun, especially when you realize people you love share in the lie and are happy to be lied to. There is no such thing as magic.
The Demon Haunted World, by Carl Sagan
Apologies if it's been referenced already, I think I read the whole thread but am on mobile and didn't see it mentioned.
Carl Sagan wrote a superb book on this topic, This Demon Haunted World, Science as a candle in the dark. He talks about the perception of witches being a mass psychosis and gets into the corruption and politics of it. A superb book.
The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/0345409469/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_i_5eXACbBCC82C2
Why don't you study http://www.amazon.com/Demon-Haunted-World-Science-Candle-Dark/dp/0345409469
> After observing that the dowsing test errors didn't convince the dowsers that they were wrong, I wondered if Dawkins learned something from a scientific rational perspective about human nature. Perhaps his desire to see humans use rational thinking as their main, and maybe even only way of relating to the world is irrational given what this episode shows about human nature.
Humans are very prone to irrationality. This is no secret; reading through Carl Sagan's excellent book The Demon-Haunted World is enough to convince anyone. There are loads of ways that we can draw faulty conclusions, and the ways to guard against them -- the ways that have been empirically shown to maximize your chance of being right -- are not very intuitive to people who haven't heard about them.
But simply because rationality is very difficult for people does not make it a bad goal. Caring about people in some other country is difficult for almost everybody, as a consequence of human nature -- but wouldn't it be nice if more people gave a damn about, say, poor sanitation in rural India?
> If strict adherence to reason is essential to human survival, how did the species survive until the modern age?
Who said that strict adherence to reason is essential to human survival? I don't think I've ever heard Dawkins say something as blatantly indefensible as that without immediately retracting it.
> Dawkins finds superstition inimical to civilization. If so why have there been no superstitionless civilizations?
Because, while superstition harms civilization, it is not the absolute civilization killer you seem to think Dawkins believes it to be. And as mentioned above, superstition is very hard for most people to get rid of; is it any wonder that we've had a bunch of civilizations with loads of superstitious people in them?
It's telling that the more civilized areas tend to have less harmful superstitions. There are many things wrong with dousing and astrology, but I don't think either of them have said that you can gaim magical power by cutting off and eating someone's labia. That's a real superstition from northeast Congo.
> From my knowledge of history it seems that civilization and superstition may be two sides of the same coin. It may not be possible to have one without the other. At least to this date no one has succeeded in divorcing the two.
How does that follow? The fact that nobody has succeeded in divorcing superstition from civilization can easily be explained by the fact that nobody has succeeded in divorcing superstition from entire populations.
> Reason hasn't yet been shown to be the safe and effective red pill releasing people from the matrix of superstition. I think the dowsing test is a case in point.
Reason is the only really reliable prophylactic against superstition. Find me one person who has really embraced reason and is also superstitious, and I'll show you someone who will immediately disappear in a puff of logic.
Those dowsers weren't thinking reasonably. They were falling into classic patterns of irrational thinking, the kind that basic rationality training teaches people to recognize and guard against.
> Just for the record, I'm an atheist that tries to be free of superstition.
Cool, we may be able to come to an agreement at some point in this discussion!
My sister is easily fooled by stuff like this, so when I took her to Shakers, she wanted a reading. I got to sit in and listen. The "psychic" said that we were very lucky to find each other and that we make a great couple and will be very happy together. We never told her that we were brother & sister, and tried pretty hard to not laugh out loud. It was a good time, but please, do yourself a favor and read this book:
I remember reading a section in Carl Sagen's book The Demon Haunted World where he described it as a natural brain glitch that people often mistake as supernatural
Edit: please read this masterpiece and how “jinn” concept is taken advantage of in every primitive society to fool and milk the people : https://www.amazon.com/Demon-Haunted-World-Science-Candle-Dark/dp/0345409469
These are cheap tricks, lool.
Your mum has been talking to him for years probably. So he knows what she is doing on a daily basis, so he blurted it to gain your mother’s trust and, hence her money.
Even if he doesn’t know her daily habits, going out and cutting flowers is a common routine in your neighborhood, so he made an educated guess.
Here, I make one for you : “ did you feel a special feelings while you were masturbating today, it was because a jinn was observing behind you. I can stop him but you must send me money first”. See, I also have psychics powers!
So, that is a cheap trick, but what do you call this?
Besides, if he has so stong psychic powers, he had better apply for this 1 million dollar award, nobody managed to claim for the last 50 years though:
While you're at it, Demon Haunted World is incredible.
This is sort of like linking to the Flat Earth Society as credible proof that the earth is flat. The fact that those people believe SRA is a real thing does not actually mean it is.
The evidence against SRA as a real, widespread phenomena is overwhelmingly against.
> Initial publicity came via the book Michelle Remembers (1980), and was sustained and popularized throughout the decade by the McMartin preschool trial. Testimonials, symptom lists, rumors and techniques to investigate or uncover memories of SRA were disseminated through professional, popular and religious conferences, as well as through the attention of talk shows, sustaining and further spreading the moral panic throughout the United States and beyond. In some cases, allegations resulted in criminal trials with varying results; after seven years in court, the McMartin trial resulted in no convictions for any of the accused, while other cases resulted in lengthy sentences, some of which were later reversed. Scholarly interest in the topic slowly built, eventually resulting in the conclusion that the phenomenon was a moral panic, with little or no validity.
> Official investigations produced no evidence of widespread conspiracies or of the slaughter of thousands; only a small number of verified crimes have even remote similarities to tales of SRA. In the latter half of the 1990s, interest in SRA declined and skepticism became the default position, with very few researchers giving any credence to the existence of SRA.
Carl Sagan's outstanding book The Demon Haunted World also spends some time focusing on SRA and related theories, and shows how people can genuinely believe the memories are real, all while actually having no basis at all in reality. If you consider yourself a skeptic, I cannot recommend this book enough. If you don't consider yourself a skeptic I recommend it even more.
what? That will help you become an independent person, and probably a functional human being. It will not help your critical thinking. How many americans are out on their own, but still accept everything Fox News and the bible tell them?
Carl Sagan wrote an excellent book about critical thinking and skepticism. It's called The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark. He talks a bit in general about why we need critical thinking and science, then goes on to discuss a variety of amazing science and pseudoscience, applying critical thinking to each. It's an excellent introduction to critical thought, easy and interesting to read.
also.. here is my own list of things I've actually personally read and recommend.
There are no demons. I think at some point I want to make a freakin' documentary on the 1980s (which really started in the 70s) and this bullshit. The entire Western fundamentalist world was suffering from mass delusion in the 70s fueled by popular entertainment which led to even regular people, the court system, police, etc. to get caught up in the Satanic Panic of the 80s.
There were endless stories in the 70s/80s fueled by accounts not only in the main magazines, but the freaky ones were published in the Yearbooks. (Dress 'provocatively?' You'll be a target for the demons. Have rosary beads? One woman received 'apparitions and beatings' from the demons every Thursday night. (??!) Accounts of sorcerers sending demons to attack people studying, but shook with fear when he found out Jehovah was involved. This nonsense is from the 1970 Yearbook alone.)
Please read The Demon Haunted World by Carl Sagan. https://www.amazon.com/Demon-Haunted-World-Science-Candle-Dark/dp/0345409469
Some here will disagree, yet I think your cause is a noble one.
My suggestion would be to keep encouraging her to be a freethinker, question everything, and learn all she can about science. If she can be at a point where she understands that "science is more than a body of knowledge, it is a way of thinking" (Carl Sagan), if she can fall in love with the wonders of the creation of the universe and the evolution of life on this world, then you'll be done, as those things will show any thinking person the absurdity of religion as a moral compass.
If she likes to read, here are some books you might consider getting for her:
Carl Sagan - The Demon-Haunted World
With a statement like I recommend reading Carl Sagan's book Demon Haunted World as soon as possible. It goes into some detail about patterns and coincidences like those, along with debunking pseudoscience in general.
Start with Carl Sagan's -- " A Demon haunted world :Science as a Candle in the Dark"
a VERY good book
and a good start to learning
HOW TO THINK FOR ONES SELF
You need to understand that this is fundamentally a role-playing game and most players adopt an in-depth multi-layered approach to their character and take on belief flaws for extra points else where in their build. In short much of what a character says to you is BS. So something like The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark might have been good.
It also sounds like they would benefit from Sagan's book, The Demon Haunted World
If you are looking for a book, I'd recommend Demon Haunted World by Carl Sagan.
Also, get out in nature. There is something incredibly healthy and fulfilling by being quiet in nature.
I have been bothered by this kind of thing for years. I finally started to understand the mentality of these people when I read the amazing book, "The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark" by Carl Sagan. It looks at the history of this kind of irrational thinking, and shows in very interesting ways how reports of witches, demons, extraterrestrials, and so on are reflections of a similar way of thinking that apparently has occurred in various forms as far back as we have historical records. If you're bothered by these crazies like I am, you might want to check out this book.
Alright then, how about Carl Sagan’s Demon Haunted World. The focus of the book is on a skeptical worldview. As examples of skepticism, it gently but thoroughly debunks a number of looney ideas, but doesn’t tackle religion head on.
Read the madness of crowds. Author really goes into depth on incidents in history. The section on inside jokes is funny as hell, amazing to see how long memes have been around for.
This book is also good: Demon Haunted world
>Because you sound like a middle schooler who tried weed for the first time, and gets the million dollar idea that all mind-altering drugs are good because you dissociated for an hour.
I'm actually sharing second-hand the scholarship of Timothy Leary, as well as Carl Sagan's writing in Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark, which is a phenomenal book. The ideas are certainly not mine, though I do agree with them. I came across them because I was formerly a professor of rhetoric and composition and used counterculture as a topic of study for some of my classes and thus became interested in the psychedelic movement.
I've also never dissociated. Some people depersonalize while taking psychedelics, but I've never experienced that, either. Dissociation is more something you might expect from Ketamine or large doses of DXM. If anything, used responsibly by psychologically healthy people with fully formed brains, psychedelics connect you further with yourself and the world around you, not the other way around.
>Slowing down your synapses and making yourself see things in slow motion or fancy colors isn't going to make you or the population as a whole more enlightened.
This is just not how psychedelics work. Visuals are a very small aspect of the experience. They're also, by far, the most underwhelming aspect. Ideally, if you're doing psychedelics right, you never see anything that isn't there or doesn't really exist, you just notice details and patterns in things that are there everyday, but you usually don't notice.
But that's beside the point. The true value of the psychedelic experience is in the cognitive and emotional component.
Take the work or neuroscientist Andrew Newberg, for example, which demonstrates that brain activity in people tripping on psilocybin is roughly the same as that of mystics and religious clerics engaged in deep meditation or prayer. Or you could look at the various peer reviewed, scholarly studies that demonstrate the dramatic effects of psychedelics on prosocial behavior and psychological function.
If you think psychedelics are still fodder for basement dwelling hippie hangers-on who can't let go of the good old Haight-Ashbury days, you're just kind of behind the times. A lot has happened since then. You should catch up. It's interesting stuff.
>There have already been places where drugs were decriminalized entirely, like Portugal, where people actually started weaning themselves off of them and overall using psychedelics less because, believe it or not, constantly altering your mind with substances is unhealthy. As far as I understand the "euphoria" that was liberated there didn't cause a cultural renaissance either.
Portugal decriminalized drugs as a radical solution to their rampant issues with opioid addiction, but mostly to curb the country's HIV epidemic due to rampant IV drug use. It had basically nothing to do with psychedelics.
Simply put, psychedelics have never been particularly available or popular in Portugal, so to use them as your measuring stick is an odd choice. Portugal is better suited for an argument about relaxing drug laws to reduce overdoses and IV drug related diseases, as well as create better access to treatment options.
The example you're looking for would likely be the Haight-Ashbury in the 1960's, which was an absolute mess. But honestly, psychedelics weren't as much to blame for that as stimulants, opioids, PTSD, other forms mental illness, and the fact that most of the people in the Haight at the time were teenagers. Speaking contemporarily, San Francisco is the highest-ranking American city in terms of overall quality of life according to the Mercer Quality of Living Survey, so do with that what you will.
>All you're doing is highlighting how different attitudes towards substances here are, and how people could get hurt.
Look, I've studied this shit, both experientially and academically. You may not agree with me, and that's fine, but I really don't think I'm the one of the two of us who has weird, misguided ideas about psychedelics and how they work.
Psychedelics are not addictive, have incredibly high overdose thresholds that are nearly impossible to meet, and when used responsibly, have seriously positive applications in the psychological and social sciences, namely when used in conjunction with cognitive behavioral therapy in the care of trained professionals. The fact that you think this is middle-school philosophizing really says more about you than it does about me or psychedelics, namely that you don't know very much about psychedelics.
Lastly, here's a pro-tip for your cake day: when you go ad-hominem against someone with no substantive argument to follow, and they say, "Go on...", probably don't actually go on.
Demon Haunted World by Carl Sagan.
It really does a good job of explaining why science and critical thinking are important to society and why it is dangerous to reject them or to be ignorant of them.
Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman! by Richard Feynman.
It is a very witty and entertaining collection of Dr. Feynman's personal anecdotes and reminds us that scientists are people just like everyone else.
This question comes up a lot. Start with these. But you must understand that atheism IS NOT a religion. It's not LIKE religion. It's the absense of religion. As is famously bandied about, atheism is a "religion" as much as "off" is a channel on your TV.
The Demon Haunted World by Carl Sagan.
He wrote a whole book explaining why things like ghosts, witches, UFO's, etc, are more or less just in the persons mind and not based on any real evidence. I'd trust his literal word over hearsay.
If you're not already familiar, I suggest you start with the Wikipedia article on a priori and a posteriori knowledge.
> I understand what he means by the love example in that, while love is a series of chemical reactions, you can't really scientifically measure how "in love someone is" or the nuances of those feelings. Does this apply to the concept of God also?
Not exactly. The closest analogy to the claim that a god exists would be the claim that love exists. How would you prove that love exists? First, you would have to clearly define what you mean by love.
If you define it such that it's an unfalsifiable proposition, then the search is over before it begins; unfalsifiable claims are effectively indistinguishable from false claims and are only treated as true (or possible) by the exercise of wishful thinking.
On the other hand, if you define love in a way that is testable then run your tests etc. Note that in this scenario, how "in love someone is" may well be measurable.
This is why it's important to address someone's god claim first by insisting that they provide a testable definition. Obviously theists reject this approach, as it lays bare the weakness of their reasoning. You typically get deflective responses like "Well how would you test for happiness, or love, or whatever (immaterial concept they grasp at)." Of course anything that exists, even if it only has a subjective existence in the mind of one individual, can (theoretically) be tested if it is defined properly. Another common response is "Everything is evidence for (their) god." This is basically presuppositionalism, or circular reasoning. Circular reasoning proves nothing. And then there's "My god can't be defined, because that would set limits on him and he's too awesome for limitations." This makes the claim incoherent, because the god's attributes are incoherent. Incoherence is nonsense, by definition.
If you haven't read it, Carl Sagan's "The Demon Haunted World" is highly rated. I'm giving a copy to my youngest daughter.
The Dragon in My Garage is an excerpt from a book called Demon Haunted World by Carl Sagan. Its probably my favorite book.
I don't mean any disrespect, but I think Sagan is a gatekeeper. In "The Demon Haunted World', he tries to debunk almost every big conspiracy theory. His narrative is similar to the modern post-Campbell interpretation of myth. He also sites the discredited False Memory Syndrome Foundation in this book.
a citation on the FMSF wikipedia page
This book was used as a debunkers manual in the 90s, so I might have a chip on my shoulder. But I can't take Sagan any more seriously than Chomsky, Hitchens, Hawkings, or Oprah.
Recommended reading (though I understand if you don't... it's extremely counter to your point of view and you sound very set in it): http://www.amazon.com/The-Demon-Haunted-World-Science-Candle/dp/0345409469
I cannot recommend "Demon Haunted World" by Sagan enough for this.
The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark by Carl Sagan. Its a very good book that mostly focuses on skepticism.
Sagan's book The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark is excellent reading. Although it's more pro-science than anti-religion, that's what's important anyway and it makes the atheist viewpoint clear.
>Rural Zanzibaris’ descriptions of the leopard and its habits are coloured by the widespread belief that a large number of these carnivores are kept by witches and sent by them to harm or otherwise harass villagers.
What kind of world?
Why, a demon-haunted one, of course.
I just echo what etherias said 100%. Also, a great book that addresses a lot of that is The Demon Haunted World by Carl Sagan. It gets into that kind of superstitious stuff, conspiracy theories, etc. Not that they'd read it, most likely, but it'd probably resonate a lot with you!
The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark should be compulsory reading.
Godless: How an Evangelical Preacher Became One of America's Leading Atheists by Dan Barker
Letter to a Christian Nation by Sam Harris
The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins
The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark by Carl Sagan
Perhaps it's time to move away from LDS specific arguments, and start questioning the God concept in general; especially as it relates to morality.
One argument I've always liked, is that even if there is a god, by far the strongest test of morality it could ask for is if a person will be moral while believing there is no such being, and no promise of reward or punishment.
If she is willing to read, I recommend the following:
YouTube is also a fantastic resource. Here are some of the video series that I found particularly convincing as I was going through my own transition:
I think it's also important to remember that there is are alternative worldviews out there which are not based on religion, which are just as rewarding and fulfilling, if not more so. Here are a few videos that have sparked that sense of wonder and that I used to associate with the spirit. Most of these are not direct attacks on religion, but rather are just inspiring ideas from a secular\scientific worldview. I recognize that these may not have universal appeal, but they spoke to me, and may do so for you and your wife as well:
A very good book that deals with this issue is The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark by Carl Sagan.
Here's the blurb:
How can we make intelligent decisions about our increasingly technology-driven lives if we don’t understand the difference between the myths of pseudoscience and the testable hypotheses of science? Pulitzer Prize-winning author and distinguished astronomer Carl Sagan argues that scientific thinking is critical not only to the pursuit of truth but to the very well-being of our democratic institutions.
Casting a wide net through history and culture, Sagan examines and authoritatively debunks such celebrated fallacies of the past as witchcraft, faith healing, demons, and UFOs. And yet, disturbingly, in today's so-called information age, pseudoscience is burgeoning with stories of alien abduction, channeling past lives, and communal hallucinations commanding growing attention and respect. As Sagan demonstrates with lucid eloquence, the siren song of unreason is not just a cultural wrong turn but a dangerous plunge into darkness that threatens our most basic freedoms.
Former Methodist, that explored many other religions, then read The Demon-Haunted World and never looked back.
Check out the 1 star reviews for this book on Amazon!
This sort of false memory ("recovered") has been on my mind a bit lately. I'm finally getting around to reading Demon Haunted World and it brought back a bunch of stuff from my school days. There were chapel speakers (Christian school) that talked about Satanic cults sacrificing babies. I probably went through a big chunk of my life thinking that there really was a massive outbreak of Satanic rape happening.
> seems like what my friend says is not based in reality.
I concur with your assessment.
Your friend is trapped in their own hall of mirrors.
Usually I don't agree with the perspective that "you can't argue someone out of a position they didn't reason themselves into," but it seems valid in this case. They're going to have to have some sort of experience that changes the way they think at least a little bit before they're going to listen to anything you have to say. As of right now, as one might say in a martial arts movie, they are "not ready."
The two things that came to my mind when I read this were Richard Carrier's essay on Why I am Not a Christian, and Carl Sagan's book The Demon-Haunted World. I actually recommend these as reading for you and not your friend. They would in all likelihood dismiss the texts out of hand, but I think you would really benefit from the material and be able to pull out ideas from them that will help you better communicate to your friend the problems with their way of thinking.
Yes you can. $11.56 and worth every penny. Check out Pale Blue Dot by Sagan as well. Here is an audiobook sample of Pale Blue Dot, read by Carl himself.
I would either say A General Theory of Love or The Demon-Haunted World are books that I always recommend to people who want to expand themselves.
A General Theory of Love is the perfect message for those who think intelligence and self-mastery means an absence of emotions. For those of us who think being rational means not letting emotions into the decision making process, this book elucidates on why that is not healthy and also why you're probably lying to yourself if you think you are incapable of feeling emotions like "normal" people.
The Demon-Haunted World is a book for everybody. It is a philosophical book written by an astrophysicist using everyday language so nearly anybody can grasp its concepts. It brings the major philosophical question of why within the average person's conceptual grasp, without using any spiritual reasoning. I feel that when more people can contemplate that question, why, without immediately turning to the supernatural and shutting down the mundane, we will be a more level-headed species.
Eh, my two cents. ;-)
You're confusing certainty with evidence. Stop it.
I can have evidence that says it's unlikely a deity exists or that I have a soul, and this is indeed the case with most everything. Bringing up the fact that it's not a proven certainty is a misrepresentation about what science and knowledge in general represents.
Anyway, you've clearly already made up your mind so I'll just stop now, but will point you in a direction if you want to know more. Goodbye:
If you like the article, read the whole book.
Bad Science by Ben Goldacre, Demon Haunted World by Carl Sagan for general science.
Stuff by James Randi, Michael Shermer for general stuff about new age crap.
The Panic Virus by Seth Mnookin and Deadly Choices by Paul Offit on the Anti-Vaccination movement.
Damned Lies and Statistics by Joel Best and How to Lie with Statistics by Darrell Huff (Also see How to Lie with Maps by Mark Monomonier for a similar subject) for questioning stats and graphics used in the news.
Is there anything specifically you're interested in?
Congratulations! I know what a big step that is, as I've been in the same boat. Books are the best way to become informed. Check out books by:
Also check out the video series Why I am no longer a creationist.
The more you know, the more confident you will be.
Support her. Offer her advice you wish you had at the time. Be there for her, and if necessary give her caution about telling your parents if that would be a problem. Encourage her to think critically, to ask questions.
I highly recommend the book Demon Haunted World by Carl Sagan even though it isn't explicitly atheist.
> As scientists, theories should always be called into question if there are doubts about their validity, surely?
Sure, but that goes both ways - well-verified science can also call results into doubt. As Carl Sagan put it, "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence." (On that note, if you're interested in an excellent book that deals with evaluating claims rationally and scientifically, I highly recommend Carl Sagan's The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark.)
In this case, there's nothing raising doubts about the validity of fundamental principles and theories like the conservation of momentum, special relativity, or quantum field theory, which are the theories which would have to be violated for these engines to work.
One of the consequences of the scientific advances of the past century or so is that science is now much more able to not only predict things accurately, but rule also rule things out with a high degree of certainty. The latter point often isn't well understood, so I'll give a very relevant example.
In 1915, Emmy Noether developed a very important mathematical theorem, now known as Noether's theorem, which has been called "one of the most important mathematical theorems ever proved in guiding the development of modern physics." What Noether's theorem
does is prove that conservation laws, like conservation of energy and conservation of momentum, necessarily arise from the existence of certain kinds of symmetry.
For example, our universe has a property called translational symmetry which we all take for granted: it's simply that when an object moves through space, it retains its shape - so e.g. a ball won't turn into a cube just because you move it a foot to the left. We can imagine universes where something like this happens, e.g. where the shape of space varies such that objects in space change shape as they move - but observation indicates that our universe doesn't work like that. Even under the most extreme circumstances that we've observed, our universe appears to respect translational symmetry. Noether's theorem tells us, with the certainty of a mathematical proof, that in any universe with this property, translational symmetry implies that a law of conservation of momentum exists.
So if someone says that they've found a way to get around conservation of momentum, there's one of three possibilities: (1) they've found a way to break translational symmetry; (2) something is wrong with mathematics itself, because it has produced incorrect results in the case of Noether's theorem, which has an easy to verify proof; or (3) the claimants are mistaken or lying.
(1) and (2) are both extraordinary claims, and certainly if there were any evidence that they were true, scientists would be all over it, because it would imply a major shift in the fundamentals of science and even mathematics. But there's no evidence that anything like this has happened. Instead, we have people making claims that simply don't add up when these fundamental physical theories are taken into account.
Of course, because of the above, even many purveyors of crank science know that violating conservation of momentum is a big no-no, which is why they've tried to claim that relativity and quantum theory somehow allows them to avoid this violation. The problem is, I could provide exactly the same sort of description for relativity as I have above, and it would similarly end up leaving us with a few extremely unlikely options followed by the option that the claimants are mistaken.
In each case, "claimants are mistaken" is not just the most likely option, it's almost certainly the correct one - and if it's not, it would imply that we're just terribly wrong about some of the most basic features of physics, a situation which up until now hasn't even been hinted at.
> I just like to keep an open mind about these things.
What if they were saying "our engine is powered by invisible fairies", would you still keep an open mind then? From the perspective of a scientist, what they're actually saying is little different from that.
Anything particular that you're looking for? Here are three of my favorites outside of the usual recommendations.
The Unique and Its Property (aka The Ego and His Own) by Max Stirner. Updated translation of the OG book on Egoism
The Demon-Haunted World by Carl Sagan. Great read on the the scientific method, skepticism and developing a baloney detection kit.
Captivate by Vanessa van Edwards. The best guide for lesser magic out there.
Edit: fixed links. I was posting from my cell phone which caused a lot of issues.
> If not, I've been lied to and held to impossible expectations my whole life and that's hard to swallow.
You must realize that when you believed without question, you also "lied" to everybody else about the same thing. You are not a single person being lied to, you are part of a group in which likely no one is lying to anyone else, they just don't know any better (than you do), and everybody else is just confirming to the others that "of course we are right".
Read some books about the history of the religion (The Bible Unearthed or Who Wrote the Bible for the OT and the Jesus Wars for the NT are a good and rather entertaining overview), and maybe read Sagan's The Demon Haunted World to clear up some things about who believes what and why it's not necessarily a lie, but might still not be the truth. Seriously, it's about UFOs, lol.
r/academicbiblical is also good (and free), but it's sort of short answers to specific questions about the Bible. Their wiki is the best though!
Sounds like you'd find interesting, and benefit from, learning 'critical thinking'. It helps tremendously with questions like yours.
Google it. And a good book, off the top of my head, is Carl Sagan's 'The Demon Haunted World'.
Congrats from a former Catholic. Be out and open about it. We need more people to not be afraid to identify themselves in public and to their families as atheists. People have no clue how many there are around them.
For book recommendations, I like The Demon Haunted World by Carl Sagan and The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins.
Demon Haunted World, by Carl Sagan
It won't prove the church is wrong directly, but it gives a good guide to scepticism and how to think logically. It is probably the most important book I have ever read.
only problem is that it is 497 pages at least in the 1997 paperback version.
I'd like to suggest The Demon Haunted World by Carl Sagan, it talks about the UFO phenomena in great detail.
If you are trying to take a scientifically acceptable approach to it, you should try to apply some skepticism to your hypothesis.
In my opinion, the world is just getting a lot smaller with the sky rocketing advances in technology and media.
Just for example. A lot of people said in the last decades that earthquakes had increased in exponential numbers. It was just crazy about how many earth quakes they had been hearing about.
Hearing about was the key part. There was no increase in earth quakes. But there was an increase the speed at which people can communicate information, and the amount of people who have recording devices. Technology was giving voices to people who didn't have it before. It's not that there were more earthquakes. It was that earthquakes were being reported on much more.
It's also my very strongly held belief that what happens out in space has nothing, and I mean absolutely nothing to do with what happens here on earth (in a day to day sense). Horoscopes, which claim to be able to outline people's lives based on the planets is just not true. The only force Mars could have on you at the time of your birth was it's gravity. But the gravity of the doctor delivering you was more influential on you than Mars was.
If you truly are trying to take a scientific approach to it, maybe try to find some factors which are a bit more... concrete. Bad juju, karma, omens etc.... have no evidence to back up that they actually exist.
Remember Le Gentil that I mentioned? He had some pretty darn serious "bad karma". He lost his entire life because he tried to participate in a never before tried scientific endeavor. But that was in 1769. Not 2011. Bad times happen to all of us.
For me personally, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014 were the best years of my life. 2015 is when things turned to utter crap where I lost the woman I was going to marry and fell in to a deep depression and some alchoholism.
Not trying to dissuade you. When things start to go sour it's only natural to try and find the cause. But again, if you're trying to be scientific, include a healthy dose of skepticism.
And just to nitpick, everything you described happened on earth. So it's not really "universal". Thinking that earth and humans essentially make up the entire universe is mistake.
Maybe some book suggestions: Demon Haunted World, Science As A Candle In The Dark
The Better Angels of Our Nature, Why Violence Has Declined
That is not remotely what this article says, nor what the concept is.
Again man, enjoy your conspiratorial thinking where science is a lie and you are being scammed by a global cabal millions of people strong to destroy america and conservatism, with the elaborate lies of climate change, and the insane idea that if you want the rise to be kept to a reasonable minimum, you've got twleve years left to do it.
You could just ask Exxon. They knew in 1982.
Liberal exxon. With their insanity that CO2 is a greenhouse gas.
I feel sorry for you, bud. I really, really do. Like I said, I doubt you have done well for yourself.
The Demon Haunted World is Carl Sagan’s book, but great recommendation regardless 👍
I used to love all those new age books! Why not head down to the used bookstore and pick up half a dozen books that look fun out of that section? There's always something entertaining there. If she's a true believer, avoid anything that suggests people can survive by eating nothing but air.
Or, if she's not a true believer but just interested in the subject, have you considered getting her some non-fiction books that delve into the psychology behind ghost sightings and such? Like Investigating the Paranormal (less skeptical) or Demon-Haunted World (much more skeptical)?
Cows, Pigs, Wars, and Witches was a fascinating read and IIRC largely historical. She might also enjoy branching out into a book like The Predictioneer's Game, which is about game theory and how to use it effectively in modern life.
If she likes mysteries at all, I suggest Josephine Tey's The Daughter of Time. It's about a police officer who is laid up in hospital and decides to use the time to solve a famous historical mystery. You could also consider biographies of strong and active women who inspire -- Princess Diana, maybe, or Martha Stewart?
(Edited to add links)
Baby steps. Enjoy the book, and definitely read this one next.
Iron chariots wiki
Talk origins index to creationist claims
As far as actual books on logic?
Demon Haunted World
How to win every argument
Books on atheism? Apart from the obvious ones by the four horsemen (Dawkins, Dennit, Harris, Hitchens).
Nuke the pope keeps a list.
Hope that helps
Start here : The Demon Haunted World: Science as a candle in the dark by Carl Sagan.
There's no reason for your parents to object to this; it's not about religion at all. It's about what science can tell us about reality, and how to know things.
You are on a quest for truth. This book describes a 'skeptical toolkit' that will help you identify truth.
Get started here. http://mormonthink.com/ Then check out this book. http://www.amazon.com/No-Man-Knows-My-History/dp/0679730540 Next I'd move onto http://www.amazon.com/History-God-000-Year-Judaism-Christianity/dp/0345384563
and This is a big help for developing some critical thinking skills: http://www.amazon.com/Demon-Haunted-World-Science-Candle-Dark/dp/0345409469
Carl Sagan: The Demon Haunted World
Carl Sagan's The Demon-Haunted World.
The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark By Carl Sagan.
Demon Haunted World by Carl Sagan
>Many of you appear to have been raised non-atheist. What do you wish your parents would have told you?
In all seriousness, what religion really deprives children of, is critical reasoning and independence. I was slowly and implicitly discouraged from questioning things, anything I was told by a person I was supposed to respect was not to be doubted, ever, or it was an insult to that person. This is wrong. I was also made to be emotionally and psychologically dependent on faith. By convincing me that I would see my loved ones again in the afterlife, I was suddenly saddled with the need to continually reaffirm my faith or else I might have to deal with the pain of loss and actually complete the grieving process.
The truth is, dealing with death in a realistic way is what really gives this life meaning and is very imperative to becoming an independent, grounded adult.
If you haven't read "The Demon Haunted World" by Carl Sagan, I'd highly recommend it. Having a firm foundation in thinking skeptically will help you avoid relapse into faith.
The Demon-Haunted World by Carl Sagan. Also, learn about other religions and their histories (not the most comprehensive, but you could start here). History of early Christianity was enlightening for me, as well.
I'll have to send him a copy of The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark by Carl Sagan.
Even in these modern times people still believe in demons. Just think about that for a second. If that fact alone doesn't scream for more education, I don't know what does.
Endorse the one-star review by Daniel Morrow.
>Or if you don't believe in these things, how would you use your INTP characteristics to understand them?
By being able to self analyze. Use cold emotionless calculation.
I'll argue that the "spiritual" is not necessarily stupid, but a lot of people's take on the supernatural is.
Recommended reading: The Demon Haunted World, Science as a Candle in the Dark
Carl Sagan addresses this in his book titled The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark. He deals not with the neurology behind it, but rather the psychology and history behind it. A good read.
Agreed looks like the OP just needs general skeptics resources and community. I would also recommend Sagan's The Demon-Haunted World. You may also find /r/skeptic here on reddit useful.
All I can say is please read this, then come back and do an "I recently learnt the difference between pseudo-science and actual science AMA".
Weston's A Rulebook for Arguments is clear and concise.
Heinrichs' Thank You for Arguing is more informal with lots of pop culture references.
Sagan's Demon Haunted World is a paean to science & critical thinking and Whyte's Crimes Against Logic is good as well
My favorites... the first two are not even talking about religion, but simply pure science and fascinating.... the second starts off about UFOs but then goes into being critical of religion (while barely... it's sagan after all, it's enough to turn off a non-questioning christian).
Beyond that, all of Malcom Gladwell's stuff is interesting and about science/sociology so it's a great read and a lot of is down to earth and so will pick at the fundamentalist belief some... eg:
Whether or not this particular article is sensationalistic fear-mongering, witch-mania and superstitious fervor are endemic to the human condition. I recommend reading the book The Demon-Haunted World.
Debunk what? A story being told on a show about ghosts and demons? Have you ever read the book The Demon Haunted World - Science as a Candle in the Dark? I really recommend that you do if you haven't.
A Short History of Nearly Everything
The Selfish Gene
The Demon Haunted World
Don't stop dealing with him. Be valuable to him as a friend and confidant, but not as a potential convert.
For reading material, if it comes to that, a go to book is alway Carl Sagan. Read if yourself, if you haven't.
Watch The Rubin Report on YouTube. Dave Rubin interviewed both Ben Shapiro and Jordan Peterson, as well as MANY of the other names I see posted by others here. He interviews people from different political, social, and economic philosophies. I even fund him on Patreon because his channel is great (and important).
If I had to pick three people that made the most dramatic impact on my life in terms of how I think, seek and evaluate evidence, and use reason, these people would be at the top. While the people on my list did not always agree on everything, I do believe that they are/were intellectually honest:
Carl Sagan (Science-related things aside, he wrote a bit on Philosophy of thought)
I hope that helps! :)
For a good starter into critical analysis and the scientific method, along with general topics on not getting suckered into things, I recommend Demon Haunted World by Carl Sagan:
To help start thinking about balanced critical awareness you can try some little workbooks like this: https://www.amazon.com/Do-You-Think-What-Philosophical/dp/0452288657
That book isn't very in depth but I found it a good way to start exercising skepticism and logic.
To learn how to step back and pay attention to what is happening, including thought patterns, emotions and body states with a critical but calm eye, I recommend mindfulness practice in the insight meditation tradition, it is quite secular, rational and will be useful for anyone.
6 part introduction to mindfulness:
To dampen the irrational negativity I recommend the practice of metta which is something like purposefully practicing compassion, forgiveness and support.
For specific info on Metta(loving kindness) practice just ctrl+f on "metta" on this page: http://www.audiodharma.org/recommended_talks/
Then, I recommend two practical philosophies that both teach how to deal with internal dialogue and experience in rational and practical methods.
You should start with the oldest episodes.
On the Stoicism side it would be helpful to read through Epictetus Enchiridion and Marcus Aurelius Meditations as starters. Try to find some modern translations to make it a bit easier unless you like the old language stuff.
I know that is a lot, I'd say start with either the mindfulness practice or Carl Sagan's book. Keep it simple and take your time.
Carl Sagan's book "The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in The Dark" directly addresses this. He even references crystals.
Buy it, and give it to her. I hope that helps.
There are excellent books out there that explain this phenomena. Unfortunately, I have no titles to give you, but I've definitely read a few. I think that Sagan's Demon Haunted World is one of them.
IIRC from when I read them, the scientists point out that, before aliens, people often reported seeing religious figures/demons/angels. In other cultures, they report seeing the 'commonly viewed' figures of those cultures, from religious figures, to elves, to fairies, etc. At the turn of the century and before, many respectable adults reported seeing fairies, which was why that faked fairy photograph was so widely believed.
Our brains aren't perfect machines which accurately record the world and notice every detail. We actually interpret everything we see, adding things in and ignoring things deemed inconsequential. Since we, as a culture, share similar ideas, it makes sense that we would interpret odd shapes and things have glimpsed through the cultural lenses of what we would expect to be there when something is there that's not supposed to be. Before 'little green men' were aliens, they were goblins and other creatures. From wikipedia These examples illustrate that use of little green men was already deeply engrained in English vernacular long before the flying saucer era, used for a variety of supernatural, imaginary, or mythical beings.
Also, as an Evolutionary Anthropologist, I find it very telling about the human psyche that the physiology of these supposed advanced aliens is so strikingly similar to our own, with the changes in shapes like an overdeveloped human. The first time I saw a Homo sapiens skeleton placed next to a Neanderthal skeleton, I was struck by how we must have looked like aliens to them. It's very interesting that our 'enemy' is a more advanced version of ourselves.
>Carl Sagan - The Demon Haunted World
Definitely. Here's a convenient link to purchase.
NukeThePope often suggests this book:
Not exactly 'how to be successful' but it is about morality
some other suggestions:
(not about morality, but it will help you to avoid being gullible, which would help with the success thing)
The Demon Haunted World by Carl Sagan
Letter to a Christian Nation by Sam Harris
The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins
I suggest reading Demond Haunted World by Carl Sagan. This should pretty much clear up anything you've ever been told about UFOs and bad science in general.
Check out Carl Sagan's book ' The Demon Haunted World', which
explains how and why these concepts still exist.
Handbook to Higher Consciousness by Ken Keyes.
The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark by Carl Sagan.
The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins.
Endurance by Alfred Lansing.
Carl Sagan's The Demon Haunted World is a good place to start. Moore and Parker's Critical Thinking starts to formalize things a bit. Getting a little more technical there is Choice and Chance.
>>Finally! do you have any good book recommendations? Again, thanks!
Ooh goody, I always love it when people ask for book recommendations. :)
Here's just the tip of the iceberg:
Get through these books, and you'll be better armed against Christianity than many. Have fun!
EDIT: Use the smile.amazon links that the bot posted below if you're going to buy any books. Lol.
>maybe higher iq correlates to being right
You have the right idea. Having a solid foundation in logic correlates to "being right", and thankfully using logic is a learnable skill.
When it comes to understanding the world, you have two practical choices. You can rely on emotion and follow only what "feels good" (like you said, wanting to feel special and having the world make sense to you exclusively rather than learning how to make sense of the world, big difference). Here you risk being manipulated and fooled by emotionally controlling groups or individuals. You also risk being very wrong about how things in the world work.
Or, you can rely on reason and follow the path that corresponds logically with what you already know. It's not easy or fun at times, but if you really want to be able to understand how the world works then it's the only option. The best thing is that, once you establish a good system of logical checks, you develop a sense of true pride and confidence knowing that you can see past bullshit and even anticipate how things will happen. You become a better informed person, and that in itself is special.
If you're serious about this, I would recommend reading this book. It's a great introduction into analysing the world from a logical perspective.
Truly surprised that no-one's recommended Carl Sagan's The Demon Haunted World yet. That's almost literally and exactly about this topic and it's a classic.
Hopped on Amazon to check it out: http://www.amazon.com/The-Demon-Haunted-World-Science-Candle/dp/0345409469
The kindle version costs more than a brand new paperback version... wtf is this &#3232;_&#3232;
I'd love to hijack this ad and recommend people check out The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark by Carl Sagan
Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan's The Demon Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark
A descent selection so far from the other comments. I'll throw in a few, as well:
Some of the above is specifically related to atheism, while others I've used to help shape and inform my understanding and my worldview. Out of the entire list, the Carl Sagan book and the Sean Carroll book rank highest, for me, in level of importance. Those books didn't just change what I think, they changed how I think, and I am forever indebted to them.
"The God Delusion" by Richard Dawkins. Dawkins doesn't really go into anything new or original, but the strength of the book is that is a great, concise summary of all the beginning arguments for atheism.
I'd follow it with Daniel Dennett's "Breaking the Spell", also a good recommendation. Same goes for Carl Sagan's "A Demon Haunted World"
Christopher Hitchens is a bit vitriolic for some, but "God is not Great" has some nuggets in it.
I personally didn't like Sam Harris' "End of Faith" but I did like his "Letter to a Christian Nation".
For the topic of evolution, Talk Origins is great (and free) http://toarchive.org/
Dawkin's "The Selfish Gene" is also a good read (and short). Not so short but also good are Dawkins' "Blind Watchmaker", "Climbing Mount Improbable" and "Unweaving the Rainbow"
I think the most important one for understanding the essense of science and of Sagan's philosophy is
The Demon Haunted World
Seriously, I can't recommend it strongly enough it might change your life in some small, or perhaps large, way.
> A Demon Haunted House
Sorry, I'm usually not that nit-picky, but it is The Demon-Haunted World.
Now go forth and get yourself a copy of The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark.
He would say "I told you so." He has written many a word decrying falsehoods and lamenting the possibility of the decline of our ability to think critically. https://smile.amazon.com/Demon-Haunted-World-Science-Candle-Dark/dp/0345409469?sa-no-redirect=1 Check that book out, Demon Haunted World.
You should read this book.
Demon Haunted World is great for teaching skeptical critical thinking skills.
When I was around his age I loved Redwall. They're great books that really appeal to a young boys sense of wonder and adventure, all while teaching great life lessons along the way.
learn how to think critically
Book on Amazon
Try reading The Demon Haunted World by Sagan. He breaks down why people believe things without evidence far better than I ever could.
Pale Blue Dot should be a suggested reading for American High Schools. This video makes want to start a campaign championing it.
> Take a deeper look at a lot of the stuff used to "contact" ghosts and spirits in hauntings.
I don't believe in ghosts. Why would I want to waste time hunting around the internet for the ramblings of paranormal fanatics?
> Same thing for the alien "contactees" there's all sorts of occult stuff there.
The people who usually get visited by aliens turn out to be village idiots and/or drunks. Why do aliens, in their powerful ships, always visit out of the way farms to rectally probe some innocent divorced farmer?
> "Channeling" messages from "aliens" who consistently lie about their origins and deny the Gospel every chance they get while proclaiming that man can be like God.
Aliens who lie about their origins and deny the Gospel? So aliens have come to earth and blurted out "Jesus doesn't exist"? And they also proclaim that humans can be like God?
Listen to me carefully. STOP DRINKING THE TURPENTINE. It's not helping you.
> Sounds like the same tune Satans been singing for years just cleverly repackaged.
Yup. That nasty Satan pretending to be an alien in a beautiful spaceship, experimenting on cows and telling farmers, with a probe up their anus, that Jesus doesn't exist. Damn that Satan to hell, along with his rectal probing device of deception!
This is the perfect book for you.
The Case for God and The Bible: A Biography by Karen Armstrong are both good. The God Delusion is a simple breakdown and explanation of most major religious claims. Beyond Religion: Ethics for a Whole World by the Dalai Llama is an interesting book on ethics. The Koran: A Very Short Introduction by Michael Cook is 150 funny and insightful pages on Islam. Under the Banner of Heaven is a shocking and fascinating account of fundamentalist Mormonism. The Demon Haunted World by Carl Sagan discusses religion, and Cosmos and Pale Blue Dot are my secular versions of holy books. And of course given the occasion, I can't leave out God is Not Great.
I recommend avoiding authors like Lee Strobel and Deepak Chopra. Both are essentially liars for their causes, either inventing evidence, or deliberately being incredibly misleading in how they use terms. Popularity in those cases definitely doesn't indicate quality.
Another favorite source is The Demon Haunted World By Carl Sagan.
Don't sell yourself short. 16 is definitely old enough to begin thinking for yourself. It takes a lot of time and thought to become a good critical thinker, but anyone can take necessary steps. Here are a few starting points I recommend:
Here be Dragons It's about 40 min long.
The Demon Haunted World, by Carl Sagan
Also the TV series "Penn & Teller: Bullshit" is pretty good, although they use a little too much name calling in my opinion, but it's entertaining and they get the point across.
The Demon Haunted World
I would highly recommend this book by Carl Sagan:
The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark
here is a clip from a review by Amazon user "My Uncle Stu" that does a amazing job of explaining what the book is about:
>In Demon Haunted World, he writes about science, about what science is and what science isn't. Whenever you get in debates with religious types, or with those self-appointed geniuses, the philosophy majors, they will always hit you with the fact that science is just another belief system, just like any religion or philosophy. They will tell you science can't answer all the questions and is often wrong. Of course that is true, if you look at science strictly as a body of knowledge. But that is not what science really is. Science is a process. It is a way of approaching the world, a way of formulating and testing hypotheses. If it is just another belief system, then it is a belief system that grows by virtue of challenging its adherents to challenge and disprove the current state of knowledge. It's the only belief system where you have to be a skeptic to be a zealot.
I think understanding how the scientific method works is greatly helpful, since a lot of religious people think science is just a collection of ideas that are believed on faith, similar to religion, when really it is a method for finding out the truth.
Don't trust everything you read online, either. Books are still generally your best bet, because people who might not know what they're talking about can't edit them while you're reading them.
Obviously I'm not saying all books are better than all internets, but find some credible ones and you're much better off.
I'm not a scientist by training, but I can suggest a few books that will provide a pretty good counterbalance to what your mom will be teaching you. (A few of them have quasi-religious-sounding titles, too, so if she happened to find them lying around she might not get too angry.)
The Chosen Species: The Long March of Human Evolution
The Dragons of Eden: Speculations on the Evolution of Human Intelligence
The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark
A Brief History of Time
I can recommend more if you'd like. These ones are pretty broad surveys of the topics of (in order) evolution, more evolution, the role of science in society, and the physical nature of the universe. If you're homeschooled, I'm assuming high school-level? None of these books is technical - they're all 'popular science', intended to explain broad concepts to non-scientists. They're very, highly interesting, though, and it's easy to find recommended reading lists once you discover some specific topics that interest you. The Chosen Species itself has a lengthy and detailed bibliography and recommended reading section at the end.
I hope I've been able to help! Good luck!
For a more thorough analogy, read the very brief chapter entitled The Dragon in My Garage, from Carl Sagan's The Demon-Haunted World, a book which should be required reading
for anyone wishing to be an advocate for critical thinking.
Demon Haunted World by Carl Sagan
This shit should be mandatory reading...ESPECIALLY for politicians and policy makers.
Was going to mention Omnivore's Dilemma but a few others already have. And as for anything else, you should at least read "The Baloney Detection Kit" from The Demon-Haunted World, if not the whole book. That will make your discussions that much more interesting.
Catholicism is pretty interesting how they don't push the JUST BELIEVE down your throat. I grew up like that too, and the emphasis was just a lot more on the community, tradition and ritual. Then I went to an Evangelical church where the emphasis was on BELIEVE, BELIEVE, BELIEVE.
Anyway, just musing to myself. You said you're all good on science (Catholicism is good like that), but I would still highly recommend Demon-Haunted World, by Carl Sagan.
I'd also suggest some of Stephen Law's Philosophy Books.
I'd also suggest reading the Bible for yourself, if you haven't already :)
I guess you have to ask yourself what exactly it is that your belief depends on, then go after that yourself to find what other explanations are out there.
I always recommend this book to anyone who's interested in skepticism, and that includes skepticism of religious claims.
Sagan is the man.
I wanted to respond to this for a few days now. Sorry for the late reaction ;-).
It makes sense to be terrified at doom days predictions. We're all human and nobody is bulletproof to nonsensical ideas. You will find that even the smartest around us, believe in really silly things. This goes much further than religion. Alternative medicine (homeopathy, reiki, acupuncture), religion, conspiracy theories (911, Elvis still lives, we didn't land on the moon).
Wouldn't it be wonderful if we had a systematic way of knowing if 'things we know' (or ideas) were true or false. It would have to be testable and repeatable. and no matter what your origin was: American, African, Asian, European, you would have to come objectively to the same conclusion.
Science (from Latin scientia, meaning "knowledge") is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe.
I would argue that most people don't want to become disassociated with JWs anymore, because it's the most logic step, but because they don't feel that way anymore. In the end humans are guided much more by their feelings than logic. We consider ourself a logic bunch, but when it comes to reality, most people take the decision with their feelings and then rationalize them self right using logic. Then what happens, is that although this person is not a JW anymore, they are still susceptible to other ideas, like alternative medicine, conspiracies or other religions. And this is really where scientific literacy comes into play.
Since you said you're a techy, I think you will like the following recommendations. I really encourage you to google and watch the following people on youtube:
Neil degrasse Tyson
And read: http://www.amazon.com/The-Demon-Haunted-World-Science-Candle/dp/0345409469
I would actually recommend these two books:
I'm not trying to be condescending, but these will really steer you in the right direction on sourcing. I still use both in my daily life all the time.
For a thriller treatment of infections diseases, the following are a nice read
I'm inclined to also suggest the works of Simon Singh, to whom I was introduced by his book on math and cryptography - The Code Book. But he has also written about cosmology and "alternative" medicine. The later got him involved in a landmark libel lawsuit in the UK. For that reason, there is probably more than the usual bit of politics you'd expect in a popular science book. However, in the post-truth era of Donald Trump and company, that maybe fitting if bitter medicine.
Edit: As someone who may not have the best scientific background, one might be prone to confuse science with pseudoscience. Even today, there is no shortage of low quality literature on UFOs and parapsychology. As such, Carl Sagan's The Demon Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark is highly recommended.
Thank you. I feel for that professor too.
Hopefully some scientists are studying this. I want to reread that Carl Sagan book
I believe it's worsening too, and have seen a change in my life time. The anti-science affected me negatively while in my brain the writings of Carl Sagan were buried, and maybe helped me out later. There's a lot of people who have given up reading and thinking and religion tells people to let others do their thinking.
Thank you for admitting that about the libertarian party. Corporate money is buying off our government. Government power can be misused, that much is sure from the other end.
Yes a lot is fake in TV shows, reality TV etc. I have the kind of mind where I notice too. I think many have improved in their understanding in how cognitive dissonance works, and are using it to many people's detriment. We are in the days where things have moved far beyond propaganda and into controlling and using biases. I think of how my own mind was manipulated in religion and elsewhere.
Book: The Demon Haunted World by Carl Sagan. It presents a strong case for a secular view and discusses the basic underpinnings of a skeptical mindset with a bit more subtlety than can be found in works by other famous atheist authors.
Book: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. This book has nothing to do with atheism or agnosticism; in fact is was written by a Mormon. But it does provide some principle centered practices that are useful to people, particularly if you are feeling rudderless in the absence of a religious moral code.
Everyone who still needs help overcoming these fears needs to read this: https://www.amazon.com/Demon-Haunted-World-Science-Candle-Dark/dp/0345409469 AMAZING!
24 years ago was a better time for me as well.
"The Prince" [Niccolò Machiavelli]
"The Demon-Haunted World [Carl Sagan]
"Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid" [Douglas Hofstadter]
"On War" [Carl von Clausewitz]
"Intuition Pumps And Other Tools For Thinking" [Daniel C. Dennett]
Why Evolution is True
The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark
Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality (free online!)
Guns, Germs, Steel
The God Delusion
Misquoting Jesus (Conceptional this is very compatible with Mormonism--the Bible not being translated correctly so we need the BoM!--but the specifics about what got mistranslated are devastating as Mormonism doubled down on the mistranslated parts. oops.)
Don't even both learning anything more about Mormonism. Just be widely read and you'll soon see that the Mormon version of history is in incongruent with reality. This will cause cognitive dissonance and when you're ready to resolve it, go back and read independent sources about Mormonism and it will be very obvious that the narrative they indoctrinated into you as a child doesn't stand up to scrutiny.
Carl Sagan book recommendation, if I may?
"Lightning is Zeus hurling his thunderbolts. Leave it at that." As they have in the past, some people still prefer the demon-haunted world.
Carl Sagan - The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark + Cosmos (I haven't read it, just watched the show, so I don't know how it compares)
Brian Cox - Wonders Of... book series (again, haven't read them but watched the mini-series)
Just keep thinking, and consider whether moral claims seem reasonable, and whether factual ones match with reality. You'll figure out what to believe in eventually. It might help to read some Bertrand Russell (the first few sentences might be some of my favorite words of all time) or Carl Sagan on your way there. If you aspire to a rational worldview, Eliezer Yudkowsky's Sequences at LessWrong are a good start (and his Harry Potter fanfiction is great, too). I can also recommend QualiaSoup for "outside" views of religious beliefs and a good introduction to critical thinking, science, and morality without authority (this seems to be a difficult point for the religious).
In addition to Guns, Germs, and Steel:
Visible Saints, which is about the early history of my hometown from the early colonists up through the end of the American Revolution.
I'm planning to start The Demon Haunted World next.
Life Everywhere (Darling, David) is a primer on exobiology - the study of the possibilities of non-terrestrial life. A bit outdated but informative and very funny.
A Demon-Haunted World (Sagan, Carl) outlines epistemology, the nature of knowledge.
I'm sorry, and I'm sure you're a good person, but if you're a muslim you're subscribing to, and therefore enabling, an ideology which encourages the murder and rape of people who don't subscribe to it.
You don't need to follow my advice if you don't want to but I highly advise picking up atheism. Start with these books:
>Where do I start?
Please read the FAQ.
>Where can I read why the big bang is the closest theory or idea of rightness. Where can I read about ideas of the particles that made up every atom or whatnot smaller spec to create the big bang?*
No atheist bible exists. However many atheists arrive at their position from skepticism. A sort of mental filter used to make sure our beliefs align with reality and not some sort of snake-oil. The same filter you yourself use to avoid being scammed by "Nigerian Princes".
You can consult the classic book
Or if you want a fast version from youtube.
>Atheist, do you even acknowledge the idea of a God?
Of course the question remains, which god? It's too easy to have a vague god with no definable attributes.
I acknowledge the idea. But an idea can still be imaginary. If a friend told me dragons existed, and each time I said that was impossible, and then they changed the goalposts until "dragon" meant something entirely too vague to disprove, then we aren't getting anywhere in terms of actually proving my friend isn't mistaken, and just wants dragons to exist.
See more here: [The Dragon in my Garage*](http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jJRy3Kl_z5E). (4 min on youtube)
If you are at a university with a good engineering program, you probably have access to other science courses that will really open up your eyes on these topics. I was already an atheist, but after taking a biology course, I really understood evolution. Similarly, taking an astronomy course would teach you about the big bang and the formation of the universe. Keep up the work on your own, but enroll in a couple extra classes outside your major that will expand your view. Any science classes will strengthen your critical thinking skills and you will be able to explore so much more on your own.
I also recommend Demon Haunted World by Carl Sagan as being one of the most influential books to me in shaping how I think and view the world. It's a very easy to read book and it's beautifully written.
Keep your eyes open and enjoy exploring science on your own!
The Demon-Haunted World. It's ~500 pages of a passionate plea for people to think about what they believe. I'm sad I waited until I was 24 to read it.
I went to Alpha when I was still a Christian, but when doubts were starting to form. They invite you in by sharing a meal together, watching Gumbel's presentation, and having discussion. The video segments are made up of the same old arguments stating that people are basically bad and need to be made right by the blood of Jesus. It's an effective tool on those who aren't able to or aren't trained in logical/cognitive fallacies.
> I've tried to respectfully challenge her on a couple of things, but she feels that I'm attacking her new found faith.
IMO this is a red flag. Being defensive usually doesn't allow for an open mind. Be wary.
> Are there any good books which help explain non-literalist Christian beliefs to someone who came from a literalist background?
I wouldn't keep pointing in the direction of belief, but rather point in the direction of truth (Plus, we were taught to hate Rob Bell in church):
Pointing in the direction of religion, yields more bad philosophy.
I was raised Jewish, but both my parents are scientists and I was taught to question and investigate the world and figure out how things work. The more I learned about the world, the less sense Judaism made (indeed, the less sense any form of supernatural thinking made). Eventually, I had to admit that to the best of my knowledge, the world appeared to function without anything supernatural, there was no evidence that any miracle had ever happened, and indeed there was mounting evidence that my religion was untrue. I stopped being Jewish, and found that the phrase agnostic atheism fit my (lack of) beliefs perfectly: I have never seen decent evidence that a god exists, and I don't believe in anything without evidence.
If you've got some time to spend, I suggest watching the Why I am No Longer a Christian series. It's very long, but the audio is much more important than the video, so feel free to listen to it while you're folding laundry or something.
If you want a book, I highly recommend The Demon-Haunted World by Carl Sagan. Rather than being about atheism, it's about critical thinking. However, most atheists arrive at their conclusions because of critical thinking. Rather than explaining what to think, focus on how to think. The rest will follow.
A few that came to mind:
The Great Influenza
Autism's False Prophets
The Greatest Show On Earth
The Demon-Haunted World
For the beginner I would recommend this from a perennial favorite.
Seeing that you have questions about demons, I suggest reading Carl Sagan's The Demon Haunted World.
If obtaining a copy is difficult let me know, I can help you look.
Why People Believe Weird Things - Michael Shermer
The Demon Haunted World - Sagan
Try This One Next.
Did you know Amazon will donate a portion of every purchase if you shop by going to smile.amazon.com instead? Over $50,000,000 has been raised for charity - all you need to do is change the URL!
Here are your smile-ified links:
The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark
Why Evolution Is True
The Skeptic's Annotated Bible
Why There Is No God
The God Argument
Deconverted: A Journey from Religion to Reason
^^i'm ^^a ^^friendly&nbsp;bot
If you haven't already, check out Carl Sagan's The Demon-Haunted World. Essential bullshit detection manual.
Awesome, it's great you're so proud of her!
Haha knowledge that leads to everlasting boredom! Book studies were the worst, I always felt super obligated to study extra hard because there were so few people that often nobody would answer!
Don't be so sure that your family will keep abandoning you, it's possible sure, but there's always hope! Often they're surprised that you can leave the witnesses and live a normal, or even better than normal life (of course there's always the "blessed by satan" get out clause) but they do expect people who leave to get aids and die from a heroin overdose.
It's easy to prove them wrong! Either way though, you have your own family to look out for and you can learn what not to do!
On to the suggested reading. I've mentioned many on here before but I don't expect everyone to be aware of it all so here goes:
Reading (I have a kindle and love reading, but they're all available for ebook and in paperback)
(all on iTunes etc, i like them because I can listen at work or download to my phone)
That's about it for now, if you soak all that in / want more / have suggestions let me know, and I'd love to hear what you think! :)
Wonder what she thought of The Demon-Haunted World by Carl Sagan
>>or you have the equivalent of an online degree from the "college of creation"
from your abysmal analogies of DNA to computer code
you mean browsing the internet for anything that seems to confirm your pre-conceived notions
This is how I know you've never had a science class
your laughable comparison of computer code to DNA
You've been reading too many unscientific creationist websites.
Where you get your information, and whether or not you have constructed poor analogies, is not an appeal to your character or your emotions. Where you get your information, and how relevant your analogies of computers to biology are - is a pertinent criticism of your arguments and your line of reasoning. I think you would do well to re-visit the definition of an ad hominem.
In terms of whether or not you have ever had a science class, well, I apologize, but you have left me no choice but to conclude you know nothing of the scientific method if you think that IC is a perfectly acceptable hypothesis until it is "defeated". No, buster. That's not how science works. Either you were absent from science class those years, you didn't pay attention, you forgot, or you never enrolled. My statements are a relevant criticism (not an ad hominem) of your pseudo-scientific synopsis of the heartiness of IC as a hypothesis.
If you were using the DNA-code analogy in the same way Craig Venter uses it, I wouldn't have a problem. If you had said, "DNA is a lot like computer code except it wasn't demonstrably designed like code was", or "DNA has pieces of data that string along in sections to give instructions just like code does", or "DNA and code are similar, except code does not give complete instructions for the manufacture of 3D biomolecules that go on to make copies of themselves without any apparent intervention at all" - we wouldn't be having this conversation about how abysmally lacking your analogies are. Again, it's not an attack on you. It's an attack on the way you understand biology. It's the same with your car homology example. Those analogies fail and I have told you why.
>But my point is that you're arguing from an every-decreasing gap. Yes, it's still a gap for my side, but we continue to discover more purposes for what originally seemed pure evil. Yet the gap of evolutionary theory is ever-increasing as we continue to find more function and overlapping layers of complexity in genomes, while the models and observed evolution still accomplish very little.
I'm not sure what you mean here. The biologic theory of evolution gets more and more robust with every passing day. It's been criticized and thwarted for centuries and remains the only explanation. If your particular criticisms are so convincing to you, why aren't they causing more of a stir in universities? Do you happen to think you're the only person who ever thought the way you think? Oh sure, science and evolutionary theory are continually revised to fit the evidence, because that's what science does. It follows the evidence. The theory gets more accurate as time goes on. I think it's time you face that fact.
>You're losing the context of our discussion. Ken Miller claimed that any instance of homology refuted IC and showed common descent. Cars have homology but not common descent. It's irrelevant whether they reproduce.
You can't be this dense! It's very relevant whether cars reproduce, because common descent in biology involves REPRODUCTION TO GIVE RISE TO A SUBSEQUENT GENERATION. Cars don't manufacture themselves. Cars don't evolve. Organisms do. Your analogy fails... again. I'm fine with you comparing homology in, say, oysters, to homology in primates. That's apples to apples. Homology in cars? Gimme a break, dude. That's so incredibly immature.
Evolutionary theory has an avalanche of practical utility. Design does not. In order to be a working model a theory has to ANSWER more questions than it raises. Design cannot. There isn't a study you have cited yet that doesn't rely on the multi-faceted, highly tested, highly contested, highly predictive biologic theory of evolution. If you want to challenge it, you're gonna need a better audience than reddit. You're gonna need more than a B.S. in computer science. You're gonna need a model that explains biodiversity, genetics, ecology, limnology, zoology, botany, phylogeny, cellular, molecular, biochem, comparative anatomy, and everything else in biology just as well as evolution does, except better.
By developing this "better model" of yours, you're also simultaneously overturning the research of thousands of scientists from all over the world who are smarter than you, more diligent than you, who worked for a century and a half, many of whom are now deceased, who all vehemently accepted biologic evolution, whom the vast majority of which were also atheist - presumably because there is no need for a creator once there is a mechanism. So I wish you luck with that.
> I was raised agnostic and grew up reading Carl Sagan.
Every honest person in the world is admittedly angostic - so that doesn't really tell me anything. If you said you were gnostic it would just be an exemplification of intellectual dishonesty or stupifying ignorance. Agnosticism is also uninteresting because it makes no mention of your beliefs. Knowledge is a subset of belief, anyways. And it's belief that's interesting.
You used to read Carl Sagan? What the hell went wrong? The garbage you're quoting from now is awful. You should go pick this up. I think it would correct whatever problems you might be having with the fruits and labors of the true scientific community.
On to David Hume:
Point #1: The snowflake or the crystal may not pass your design criteria - but there are many other places where we see order in nature: Accretion disks in nebulae, growth rings in a tree trunk, the layering of scales on a fish, the shape of a drop of pure water (never really changes, does it?), ants marching into an anthill, the sound of a rooster crowing at dawn, the water cycle, the life cycle, the pattern of seeds on a strawberry, the golden ratio inside a snail shell, calmness before a storm, the shape of magnetic fields, and many, many others. There is plenty of order and purpose that has naturally arisen in the world.
>Likewise the crystaline structure of snowflakes is emergent from simple laws of chemistry.
That's sort of true, but...
>There are no such laws that make biology emergent in such a way.
...is dead wrong. Biology is also emergent from the laws of chemistry. For example: Oxidative phosphorylation in trees is almost the same as it is in humans because of convergent evolution. The biology of the MHC (major histocompatibility complex) is totally governed by chemistry and physics. That chemistry governing biologic processes is emergent from the laws of physics. Physics is emergent from 1st principles. 1st principles are nothing more than the predictive models we have created in science to describe the ways in which the universe works, all by itself.
On point #2: No. You misunderstand. Read it again: "But in order to point to a designed Universe, we would need to have an experience of a range of different universes. As we only experience one (universe), the analogy cannot be applied." (empahsis mine) Just because we suspect that its possible there are other universes, does not mean we have other universes to compare ours to. The design inference fails completely on just this point alone.
Point #3. No, that isn't outdated. Even if it were shown (somehow) that the world was designed, that can't get you to theism. Deism at best. You quoted Dawkins when he said the "illusion of design..." - I think you missed a word in there. The complexity of life is, indeed, fascinating, but it's had over 3 billion years to get that way.
>Any conceivable agent, even of unimaginable intelligence, would still be simpler than that.
How can it be conceivable and unimaginable at the same time? That's a contradiction.
Actually, it was Max Planck who was paraphrased to have said, "Science advances one funeral at a time" but I'm not sure if you understand the meaning behind that. the actual quote is "A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is more familiar with it." You and Michael Behe will be dead soon. But the principles of evolutionary biology will live on forever.
Stenger's legacy is that the fallacy of fine-tuning has been exemplified with heavy physics as well as a careful philosophical application of the anthropic principle. You can disagree all you like but that doesn't change the fact that you are here in this universe asking questions. Of course the universe seems fine-tuned for you! Your kind has been allowed by the laws of physics to exist in your current form. I rather like Douglas Adams on the subject of anthropics. "This is rather as if you imagine a puddle waking up one morning and thinking, 'This is an interesting world I find myself in — an interesting hole I find myself in — fits me rather neatly, doesn't it? In fact it fits me staggeringly well, must have been made to have me in it!' This is such a powerful idea that as the sun rises in the sky and the air heats up and as, gradually, the puddle gets smaller and smaller, frantically hanging on to the notion that everything's going to be alright, because this world was meant to have him in it, was built to have him in it; so the moment he disappears catches him rather by surprise."
To be honest I don't really advocate for books with a [specifically] atheistic perspective, such as God Delusion or god is not Great, because to me it doesn't really matter. Those books, just like Lewis', do more for solidifying whichever way you're already leaning more than they do give you support for deciding which you think is more true.
It shouldn't matter too much what "atheists think" or what "Christians think" when one is exploring their belief about things because you can get hundreds of different perspectives within those groups. I think what matters most is what you think. How do you in your life come to the conclusion on whether something is true or not. I think the key to being able to firmly and confidently decide one's belief is a solid foundation and establishment of your own epistemology. Where do you draw your boundaries? From there you can then start really analyzing what other people are thinking and apply your standards to what they're claiming.
I recommend Sagan's The Demon Haunted World because it does a good job of going into details about what I talked about. Understanding how you think, process claims, and come to the conclusion on whether something is true or not is super important. Yes, Sagan is an atheist and has a naturalistic/materialist perspective on the world but this book isn't really about that.
Hopefully my rambling mess makes sense.
If you, perchance, liked the Harry Potter series, you might enjoy Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality, as a fairly pain free and enjoyable introduction to cognitive biases, logical fallacies, and other useful tools to better thinking. Elizer Yudkowsky, the author of HPatMoR maintains several resources that can also be useful in training your mind to be more rational, and a better critical thinker.
The Demon-haunted world: science as a candle in the dark by Carl Sagan is a fantastic book in praise of science, a primer for the scientific method, and a decent guide to why and how science works. Further, it covers the nature of conspiracy thinking and pseudoscience, how to identify these things, and why they are harmful to society. Available in audiobook, ebook, and paper formats.
Algorithms to Live by is a bit off to the side of your requested topic, but it's an interesting treatise on how computer science can teach you some of the optimal ways one can make certain types of decisions. It's a bit counterintuitive, in the advice given, for example: messiness is often more efficient than spending a lot of time organizing everything, humans can't really multitask, and hunches are sometimes your best tool for deciding a course of action. I've read the book and posses the audiobook, both are great.
Almost anything written by Richard Feynman is accessible, humorous, and wise, in an askew sort of way. He's good at approaching topics from odd angles.
The Great Courses offers many resources on Audible: I've read and enjoyed Your Deceptive Mind, Skepticism 101, and Your Best Brain, which cover cognitive biases, and logical fallacies in detail, how to think more clearly without false, misleading thought, and how to take care of you mind through better lifestyle choices.
This has been my curse since college. In college I truly blossomed, it was a community college and the profs truly cared and were passionate about teaching. I was fascinated by every course I took, I read books related to the course material because I couldn't get enough. I was blessed by having not grown up religious, and I easily shed the sort of pseudo therapeutic deism I had in favor of physicalism, lifism, and humanism. Humans beings and life on Earth are the things of the most value we have ever experienced. However with the knowledge I gained, I realized the nature of social reality that we all do here: we live in a humanity-destroying doomsday device called capitalism, politics was utter bullshit, and nothing was there to prevent the apocalypse. My greatest fear was and is humanity destroying itself via its own stupidity. This became my Focus, my core query, and the essential dilemma between what I valued most and its utter negation destroyed me. And so I went under, and how I went under. Imagine everyone you love dying at the same time, over and over, with you helpless to stop it; I felt this for years. I tried distractions, to "simply be happy" and seek escapism in video games and the internet (which led me to Second Life and my business there which made me $9000 a month at my peak) and to hide myself from the world. I became a hermit in my own apartment, (later a room in my Mother's house) and have been ever since, until now.
It was also during college (2001-2004, broken up due to life circumstances) that I discovered Richard Dawkins' phenomenal work, along with many others in philosophy and science. I envisioned a science of creativity, of a way to augment people's innate creativity instead of the shitty definition of "memetic engineering" which is essentially engineering propaganda. I imagined an explosion of human creative experience known as the Memetic Singularity. I didn't realize it, but after making this my Focus I subconsciously sought it, and to the solution of my core query of how to prevent the death of humanity. Eventually, this led me here. And so here I am.
There are many that share my core queries of an expanding fractal of human experience / life-as-art and art-as life, and to prevent the destruction of humanity. Our synchronicity is us working along separate lines of inquiry that converge in very precise ways, the precision having increased until the memetic singularity was realized sometime in the last few months. The War on Nihilism, the War on Zero is over, we are in a post-war period of reconstruction. A really awesome Christmas (metaphorically) is coming where many gifts will be revealed that will allow humanity to reach its true potential that we all know deep down is our birthright.
I like your diagram and it is a good way to visualize and organize your mental schema on these topics. I'm not sure what sort of diagram I would make, but it would probably involve bubbles with topics with sub-bubbles branching off with sub-topics and a whole lot of cross-crossing lines of relations between them.
If you haven't already, I strongly recommend watching my special blends in order, without skipping anything (the whole is other than the sum of their parts.) The true message is in the interrelationships of the media used, both between blends and within them.
Carl Sagan is also one of my biggest role models, in the midst of the total chaos (parents, family, high school) of my teenage years I discovered amateur astronomy. I learned to love the cosmos, I built my own 10" Dobsonian Newtonian reflector, the night sky became a home to me. I had previously had a deep fear of the dark which vanished from this, which is why this book is so meaningful to me. What initiated my interest in astronomy was the movie Contact based on his book I had previously read. This scene in the movie describes the holy experience of astronomy that I felt many times just as strongly as the movie depicts. The scene isn't about aliens, it's about humanity and the universe, which has a sort of intrinsic quality of love to it, which it must to have created something as wonderful as life, love, and consciousness. We truly are the means by which the universe experiences itself.
Materialism isn't the problem, it's incomplete materialism that is Cartesian Dualism in disguise. The perception and not mere belief of holistic physicalism gives a sense of interconnectedness and wonder to all existence.
> The fact that you haven't bothered to even Google "scientific arguments against Evolution" is not proof that there's no evidence.
But google isn't really scientific evidence, and the article you linked to fails the credibility test. It isn't hard to find all sorts of conspiracy nutjob theories on google. Just because a website says something, doesn't mean it's true. I'm a scientist. Speaking as someone very well acquainted with what type of evidence and arguments are needed, you need to understand that in order for these arguments to be taken seriously, they need to satisfy rigorous scrutiny by the vast majority of scientists around the world, like you pointed out earlier. That is, you need to find arguments published in Journals like Nature, Science or Cell, which have undergone the review process, and have been independently verified.
If you're more interesed in this way of thinking, I highly recommend Carl Sagan's excellent book, "The Demon Haunted World", that introduces how the scientific method works to the layperson, and how any theory and idea should be critically verified, doubted and analyzed.
This typically involves data and evidence published in peer-reviewed journals, and independently corroborated across many groups. The new theories/arguments should also fit in with the consilience of scientific knowledge.
Evolution is the unifying scientific theory that ties in every single field of biology, from microbiology to developmental biology. The "evidence" against evolution should held to a similarly high standard, which it fails and quite miserably so as well.
I repeat again, intelligent design is just Christian propaganda, doesn't have a shred of scientific evidence, and is a classic example of the right-wing trying to push a Christian law.
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Here, I recommend this book instead: Carl Sagan's The Demon-Haunted World.
From the wiki entry on it: "Sagan's book aims to explain the scientific method to laypeople, and to encourage people to learn critical or skeptical thinking. It explains methods to help distinguish between ideas that are considered valid science, and ideas that can be considered pseudoscience."
If you enjoyed Cosmos, I would also recommend Demon-Haunted World. Excellent for cutting through some of the bullshit that surrounds our day to day lives.
I would recommend reading some Richard Feynman too. Surely You're Joking is one of the favorites. He doesn't talk about lofty subjects or anything. He was just a down to earth guy from a working class family in Queens who happened to be a Nobel-prize winning physicist and a great storyteller. He was a genius without the facetious smartypants attitude.
This is a famous lecture of his if you want to get a feel for what his writing is like.
I highly recommend anything Carl Sagan has written. The book Contact is a good start since it's fiction. It's basically Sagan's love note to science. I also enjoy many of his non-fictions since he has a way of explaining things so that even an ignoramus like myself can understand.
My favorite is The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark, but the first one I read was The Varieties of Scientific Experience: A Personal view of the Search for God. I really attribute this book with making me want to learn more about science. It's the first non-fiction book I ever enjoyed.
Oh yeah, and watch any interview you can find with Richard Feynman. He has such a great way of looking at everything!
In addition to watching the series that sleepyj910 posted, I would advise reading The Demon Haunted World.
My younger brother believed like you do, that he lived in haunted houses and saw spirits in the corner of his eye. After reading Demon Haunted World, he realized just how much his 'supernatural' experiences were really just his mind filling in gaps and reacting in a purely instinctual way. He hasn't lived in a haunted house since.
don't forget this one!
The Demon Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark by Carl Sagan.
An inspiring push for the idea of scientific thinking as a mental tool set for everyone, filled with examples of what can go wrong when it is not applied.
Let me get this straight. Nations have been keeping track of unindentified flying objects and that proves... what exactly? Aliens? Ancient aliens?
Homeopathy is not "partially correct", you are confusing it with placebo, and homeopathy claims to be a lot more than that. Homepathic so-called medicine has an effect identical to placebo, but their claims are much grander and are simply false, not "partially correct".
We seem to be getting a little off track here, and I feel I'm not getting through. I want to recommend a book to you that deals with these issues. The author is much better suited than me and certainly more persuasive. It's very accessible and quite a pleasant read. I hope you find the time to read it.
The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark, by Carl Sagan
You might want to give this a read. Or, read the original.
The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark by Carl Sagan
Might I suggest Mars by Ben Bova, The Gunslinger By Stephen King, The Plague Of The Dead by Z.A. Recht, Neuromancer by William Gibson and Demon Haunted World by Carl Sagan. I wanted to keep going, but I was getting too excited recommending books.
Logged comment posted by /u/ThisIsMyRedditLogin at 06/10/13 15:28:17:
> > Take a deeper look at a lot of the stuff used to "contact" ghosts and spirits in hauntings.
> I don't believe in ghosts. Why would I want to waste time hunting around the internet for the ramblings of paranormal fanatics?
> > Same thing for the alien "contactees" there's all sorts of occult stuff there.
> The people who usually get visited by aliens turn out to be village idiots and/or drunks. Why do aliens, in their powerful ships, always visit out of the way farms to rectally probe some innocent divorced farmer?
> > "Channeling" messages from "aliens" who consistently lie about their origins and deny the Gospel every chance they get while proclaiming that man can be like God.
> Aliens who lie about their origins and deny the Gospel? So aliens have come to earth and blurted out "Jesus doesn't exist"? And they also proclaim that humans can be like God?
> Listen to me carefully. STOP DRINKING THE TURPENTINE. It's not helping you.
> > Sounds like the same tune Satans been singing for years just cleverly repackaged.
> Yup. That nasty Satan pretending to be an alien in a beautiful spaceship, experimenting on cows and telling farmers, with a probe up their anus, that Jesus doesn't exist. Damn that Satan to hell, along with his rectal probing device of deception!
> This is the perfect book for you.
That's a good bunch of books! I'd additionally recommend the following two:
Buy this and read it... it's wonderful.
This honestly reminds me much of Carl Sagans book Demon Haunted World—Science as a Candle in the Dark
it deals with how to differentiate pseudoscience from science. how to apply skeptical inquiry to be able to distinguish the two.
I suspect (im willing to be wrong) that people who do not apply skepticism to claims are more likely to be convinced by faulty reasoning.
here is a link that has several of his quotes from the book and elsewhere, that describes some of the concept. If you have not read the book, I do highly recommend it.
Several good books, God Delusion I like. Demon Haunted World, Science as a Candle in the Dark by Carl Sagan is also a very good one. Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon is another good one.
It all depends on the goal. If OP wants to send a message, then choosing The God Delusion or God Is Not Great would certainly send that message. If OP wants a book that's a good read, both are still good choices, but now there're other books that are equally good choices.
The Little Book of Atheist Spirituality, The Portable Atheist, On Bullshit, On Truth, The Good Book: A Humanist Bible, The Moral Landscape, The Demon Haunted World, Religion and Science, and many others are excellent reads, but don't send that little (possibly unnecessary) jab.
Visitation by angels has been replaced with visitation by aliens. In his book The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark, Carl Sagan drew parallels between historical belief in angels, demons, succubi, etc. and the modern 'alien abduction' mythos. Fascinating stuff.
Exactly! That's the exact point. If there is no difference between something you cant test and something that doesn't exist, I'll go with Occam's razor and take the doesn't exist option. And if you can't even define something beyond the word used to name it. Again, the simpler explanation is probably the correct one. To come full circle and quote Carl Sagan, "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence." And read about the invisible dragon in his book Demon Haunted World. It explains it better than I just did.
EDIT : What you said about science not being able to measure. Science can measure a hell of a lot. From the furthest depths of the universe, billions of light years away, scientists can tell you the chemical makeup of a star. To the minutest particles in existence. They can find and measure. But there needs to be something in order to measure it. When looking for ghosts there is nothing. Each new wave of ghost hunters use newer and better technology to examine ghosts. But they find nothing beyond the known. IMO, your suggestion that science cannot measure is just another belief in order to hold on to your initial belief of their being ghosts. But serioulsly do read Demon haunted World. It is an eye opener.
Here's a real shit-sifter for only $11.55. Or as worded by the author, a "bullshit detection kit".
It's all about the karma.
From the Pew Research Center, 2008: http://www.pewforum.org/2008/05/05/how-our-brains-are-wired-for-belief/
This link refers initially to sensationalistic journalism claims that "science" found religion to be pathological, but then discusses the evolutionary advantages of beliefs in religions: http://www.apa.org/monitor/2010/12/believe.aspx
[edit to add] Please note that for most of humanity's existence we believed in many deities, or animism. The concept of a single god is relatively recent, first being tried in ancient Egypt when Akhenaten attempted to switch the polytheistic Egyptians from their multiple gods to the worship of one single god, the Sun. That effort took place only 3,350 years ago, followed by the Israelites' gradual evolution from Canaanite polytheism into a sort of monotheism around 2,700 to 3,000 years ago.
So the "monotheistic" god of the bible - isn't. The bible is only around 3,000 years old, & it still contains references to the earlier Canaanite polytheism which strongly influenced its origins.
Carl Sagan wrote a popular book on the effects of belief titled "The Demon-Haunted World". This Amazon link has a small preview:
That is probably enough for now.
> this discussion has been nothing but hostility and ad hominem attacks
The irony is that all the ad hominem attacks have come from you.
This will come as a surprise to you, because you don't understand logical fallacies, but it's true.
Note: an insult is not ad hominem. Ad hominem is when you attempt to rebut an argument by attacking your opponent's character/motivations.
You've done that to me several times. I've not done it to you even once.
> the three waves of volunteers and the new earth by Dolores Cannon. Expand my mind a bit
Reading pseudoscience doesn't expand your mind, it closes it to reality. If you can't be bothered to learn actual science, you should at least read A Demon Haunted World, by Carl Sagan, and learn something about critical thinking and what "evidence" even means.
> Its still theoretical mumbo jumbo without a shred of evidence.
Please just read this book..
Ok, I want you to read what I am writing closely, not because I am trying to belittle your view or your beliefs in ghosts (which are yours to hold and I don't know your experience) but because we are talking about a way of knowing the world and I think it's important to think this through. First I will define some terms to make sure we know we are talking about the same thing:
Double blind: The person doing the experiment (the person on-site doing the testing) does not know exactly what the goal is. The people being studied also do not know what the goal is. This prevents the experimenter from fudging the data with his/her biases (e.g. not taking it seriously because he or she doubts the process, or looking for patterns in what is essentially random because he/she wants ghosts to be real.) It also prevents the people being studied from telling the experimenter what they think he/she wants to hear.
Experimental design: This means, among other things, randomization. You don't have people who already 100% believe in ghosts as part of your experiment, but nor do you fill it with a bunch of skeptics. You have as much as possible random sampling. You also
have more than one person you are experimenting on. The results of one experiment could be a function of coincidence, luck, whatever. Random chance. So you do it again. Multiple measures. Multiple participants. Different times of day or night, if this is relevant. This also means you control as many things as possible that could be effecting the outcome. If you wanted to do a longitudinal study you'd test the same things over a longer period of time.
You have two groups being experimented on differently--one group uses the Ouiji Board in the way you want it to be tested. The other group does not use the Ouiji Board properly but just sits with it in the room talking about whatever (or however you design this). Then you look at results and see: Are they all later having spooky experiences? If so then it's not because of how the Ouiji board was used (You still don't know why, and you'd have to explore this further.) Or you could have one group use the Ouiji board and another group just sit in a room watching a scary movie. Then see: Are they all having spooky experiences? Then it wasn't the Ouiji board that caused it. Again, you still don't know why. Occam's razor would suggest the easiest answer is probably the right answer: I.e. It's just emotions, it's just imagination. Again, you could explore as long as you wanted.
There are all kinds of ways to design studies, and each design is used to fit the question of interest (in this case, do Ouiji boards do anything?) But you have a question, and you have ways in which you can answer that question using your brain. If Joe uses the Ouiji Board at the same time as Sue, and Sue has no ill effects but Joe does, does this mean Sue is magically immune? Or does it mean Joe is imagining things? You can use experiments to test exactly this!
This doesn't even get into testing physical manifestations, a la Ghostbusters where you are looking at whatever ways you have of measuring sounds or what we see or whatever. Scientific thinking in the way I am describing it is meant to test whether any of this is in the imagination only or if something is actually going on. If it is, then you will need relevant people to explore what that something is.
IF you found something was actually going on, then breakthrough! you have done what no one else has done. Now it is time to analyze using physical measures.
If you do NOT accept this kind of analysis then that's up to you, but realize this lack of willingness to doubt yourself, to hold your assumptions and beliefs up to the light of scientific analysis, is equivalent to washing your hands of reason. It's what allows charlatans of all types to peddle mystic woo and rake in the cash from the gullible wishing for contact with the spirit world, for healing from crystals, for whatever. And it's dangerous and not good for a society to have people unwilling to make these connections.
Science, meanwhile, is not a religion. It is precisely science to say "We don't have all the answers." What science doesn't do is say "Well, we don't have all the answers, so I will assume demons are following me around." Science is about questioning, about exploration, about testing.
I highly recommend Carl Sagan's book The Demon-Haunted World. In it, he writes about his own life and his hopes, for years, this is Carl Sagan's hopes, that the weird supernatural shit we all read about as kids was actually real. And he is amazingly well-balanced and refreshingly unjudgmental in the book.
I hope this doesn't come off as me being an ass. The fact is 300 years ago if anyone had been doing well-designed studies they certainly would not have concluded that infection was jus random chance. They may not have known it was bacteria--just like if the Ouiji board did in fact do something you don't know that the thing being done is being done by a demon--but they would have known it was something. Again, as a result of scrupulous and rigorous testing, not quick assumption that conveniently confirmed their own beliefs (that's actually what often did happen, with unfortunate results.)
Edit: TL;DR: Whether or to what degree Ouiji boards are "real" and work can be tested by anyone with the time and willingness.
The Demon Haunted World
Tell her to netflix the cosmos. He makes many subtle stabs at superstitious beliefs in the series. If must have Carl Sagan, I have not read it but it but there are tons of good reviews for Demon Haunted World. However for the purposes you're describing you should recommend The God Delusion. I have read it and its a flawless victory defeat over believers.
My advice to you is to read a book. The ones I pointed out would be a good start, but if you can't handle actual scholarly works yet, the Bible and Doctor Seuss aren't going to get you terribly far. So try finding a library. Pick up Heinlein, Asimov and Clarke. Then maybe you can graduate on to Jack Diamond and Graeber before tackling Pinker, Sagan and Krauss.
Read a book.
It is fallacious to state an argument with facts that are not directly pertinent to the case. There are many things (by far not all) on both sides of the coin that have merit. Arguing against the character is as bad as appealing to a character. Try to use logical and objective evaluations of things. Here are some good reads to learn more about fallacious arguments:
http://www.amazon.com/Demon-Haunted-World-Science-Candle-Dark/dp/0345409469 (A book with parts that deal with the subject)
I would not dismiss everything he says based on a track record because there is a chance that he may say something right and I would be at risk of missing out on that info because of my bias. Understand?
>spurred an interest in science and the paranormal
Those two areas of endeavor are mutually exclusive and shouldn't be uttered outside of an imaginary movie review in the same sentence. In the words of the genius Carl Sagan (who wrote a book debunking a litany a paranormal hogwash): "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence." [The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark] (https://www.amazon.com/Demon-Haunted-World-Science-Candle-Dark/dp/0345409469)
Honestly, get into STEM. Get everybody into stem. The reason people fall for psuedo-science so much is a fundamental lack of scientific literacy.
Even though the war that's being fought is cultural, it's only been made possible by the dynamics today by scientific literacy. Jordan Peterson himself has a background in clinical psychology and has years of Academic experience behind him, so he knows how to structure his talks to hit the right notes of the audience he has. The platforms that's enabling us to have these discussions are built by HTML, CSS, PSP and Python programmers. Mathematicians and statisticians structure and analyse the data that's used to gauge voter preferences and target impressionable people with propaganda and advertisements. If you're not extremely educated in this landscape, you're going to lose. It's easy to shit on people like Zucc as being an emotionless lizard man now but he created the platform that arguably controls a good amount of the public discourse.
We have computers in our pockets, and the majority of the people that use them don't even know how they work. If you haven't the privilege to get into a science or technology field then at least start reading books like Carl Sagan's Demon Haunted World and some Thomas Gilovich.