A great beginners guide to understanding, recognizing and (unfortunately) using some of the most common types of logical fallacies.
The book is essent...moreA great beginners guide to understanding, recognizing and (unfortunately) using some of the most common types of logical fallacies.
The book is essentially an alphabetical list of common fallacies with definitions, explanations, and examples. A generous helping of dry wit is used extensively throughout the book, injecting puns and the like into the examples, which helps to liven the relatively dry material - something I appreciated, though others may find annoying.
I found it unfortunate that the author structured the writing in a way that encourages the strategic use of the fallacies, rather than how to avoid and counter them when presented by an opponent in a debate. Although you can still take it any way you'd like, I would have liked a more encouraging message of "How to Win Every Argument [by avoiding logical fallacies]". (less)
LYING is Harris's latest short-book / long-essay, much in the style of his previous "Letter to a Christian Nation". I found that he was able to cover...moreLYING is Harris's latest short-book / long-essay, much in the style of his previous "Letter to a Christian Nation". I found that he was able to cover nearly all the major aspects to the subject matter while maintaining a very short read, which can be done in a single sitting. I read it entirely in one day's public transit commute, and it came across much as one of Harris's longer blog posts.
Due to the short length of the ebook, it did leave me wanting more at the end of each chapter. Though, because of Harris's concise writing style, I can't imagine what else there is to say without becoming wordy or redundant. LYING is very well written, something I have come to expect from Harris, and I highly recommend it.
It is my hope that Harris will follow up LYING with another ebook that broadens the scope to include collective misrepresentations, opposed to the individual lies that were addressed in this one. (less)
A wonderfully concise and straightforward address to theists in general and traditional Christians in specific. The arguments brought forward in this...moreA wonderfully concise and straightforward address to theists in general and traditional Christians in specific. The arguments brought forward in this short letter should be more than enough to convince anyone capable of rational thought of the dangerous and misguided superstitions that permeate our society. If humans expect to thrive and become more than the sum of our parts, we must shed these self-induced or inherited delusions. This work has been the first of Sam Harris's that I have read, and it will definitely not be the last. (less)
The God Delusion, by Richard Dawkins, is aptly named. It illustrates how the concept of a personal god (specifically the Abrahamic god of Judaism, Chr...moreThe God Delusion, by Richard Dawkins, is aptly named. It illustrates how the concept of a personal god (specifically the Abrahamic god of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam) is one of complete fiction, and yet has so many convinced of His existence, despite the mounting evidence that the world is not as described in ancient scripture.
Dawkins's approach to his arguments against theistic belief in the supernatural is an obvious extension from his career in evolutionary biology. Dawkins is very careful to take the time to define each term that he uses, sorting out the different meanings, so that his specific use of the term is clearly understood. This goes a long way to avoid confusion, especially when talking about the polytheistic, monotheistic, pantheistic, and panentheistic uses of the word 'god'. Dawkins is also very good at presenting a much more complete picture of commonly misrepresented & quote mined historical figures such as Einstein, the American founding fathers, Hitler, etc., and shows how their uses of the word 'god' rarely meets today's Christian definition.
Dawkins's 'The God Delusion' is a scientific approach, in methodology if not evidentiality, to the arguments against the beliefs in gods, and is much more reserved and soft-spoken than Christopher Hitchen's rather abrasive book, 'God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything'. These two books have a stark contrast in their delivery, but share the same sound reasoning and logic. I highly recommend both of them.(less)