I don't care for his Zarafsky voice, but the content was solid. There was just so much information that I couldn't retain hardly any of it. OccasionalI don't care for his Zarafsky voice, but the content was solid. There was just so much information that I couldn't retain hardly any of it. Occasionally I would take notes while I listened which helped. In my logic textbook, there are an absurd amount of exercises and no wonder--without regular exercises and engaging ways to actually practice argumentation, all this information is sure to just slide off the brain like water off a tin roof. My favorite parts of the series was when he evaluated arguments from speeches. Hmm...one thing I didn't care for. The lecturer had a thing for how pro-lifers managed to get "intact dilation and evacuation"called "partial birth abortion". One gets the impression that Zarafsky is a pro-choice, and sees the prolifers success in renaming this grizzly form of infantile, was an underhanded way of keeping of it illegal, and stealing from woman their private "right" to have their baby dismember, or its brain sucked out off its head, or burned alive in saline. Ugg... Getting the feeling the lecture was all for"intact dilation and evacuation" makes me feel sick. Oh... I can't conceive of how anyone could approve of this barbarism. But I suppose many cultures throughout history have practiced infanticide, setting unwanted babies out to die from exposure or to be eating by the beast. They somehow not only saw it as their right but as their duty and did it without the pangs of conscience, condemning those who didn't follow suit. It is no surprise many have found a way to continue infantile, just under a different name, at a slightly early time. Evil has a way of regrowing a new head after the last one was cut off. And labeling the killing of an innocent growing babies as a "right" of the mother and her doctor, is just so twisted....more
The subtitle is misleading, it should have been "The stories of leftist who eventually left the left"the whole "And Reshaped the American Century" wasThe subtitle is misleading, it should have been "The stories of leftist who eventually left the left"the whole "And Reshaped the American Century" wasn't touched on at all, unless the author meant how they Leftist reshaped the American Century while still on the Left. The book gives well written biographies of individuals who were on the Left and shares about the factors which led them to reconsider and exit Right, and then abruptly stops and moves on to the next person. The book only really covers their thinking and lives while on the Left. It did give a fascinating look at some of the inter workings of American communism during the 20th century. I couldn't confidently say what Oppenheimers political position is, though I'd guess he is a little more left of center, judging from comments here and there, especially during his treatment of Reagen and Hitchens. ...more
This is a book about different kinds of questions in different situations.. The one thing that Pyle successfully pounded into my head was to ask "WhatThis is a book about different kinds of questions in different situations.. The one thing that Pyle successfully pounded into my head was to ask "What else?" after someone answers your question. This was reinforced throughout the book. So yeah, What else? Well, the use of why, who, what, where questions, and open ended questions that encourage narrative response....more
A fascinating book. Many other reviews gave a good overview of its content so I'll just share a couple of reflections this book brought to mind. In lA fascinating book. Many other reviews gave a good overview of its content so I'll just share a couple of reflections this book brought to mind. In light of working in a Christian missionary organization with a focus on unreached people groups--mainly those in the 10/40 window, it was interesting to say the least to learn of the golden age of Christianity in these very regions. It was also so tragic to hear of the ethnic cleaning that Islam later engaged in--slaughtering millions of Christians in the area. Plenty of missionaries who have the whole great commission in mind, are determined to get the gospel to these people groups, so Jesus can finally come back, and yet here we learn many of these areas were once predominantly Christian! Wouldn't it be interesting if, say 500 years in the future, a thoroughly Christian China, in hopes of completely the great commission, was sending missionaries to the unreached people groups in Europe after secularist succeeded in completely scrubbing every hint of its Christian past?. It all also brings up the whole topic of Divine Sovereignty or the seeming lack thereof. To learn of the annihilation of Christianity in the East, makes the advance of Christianity in the west seem more like a series of fortunate accidents. Christianity as a whole seems much more fragile when one learns of this history. Sometimes it seems the "blood of the martyrs" is not quite the seed of the church. If Rome was a little more thorough and consistent in their persecution of the early church, they could have stomped out Christianity in its infancy throughout the empire. Islam proved that if a regime is relentlessly vicious and persistent, they can completely stamp out an idea. Crazy to think how different history would have been if Rome had thrown Christians to the lions until there was no more to dispose off. Also, if the Muslims had succeeded in their conquest to conquer all of Europe, Catholic and Orthodox faith might have been erased even after it became the dominate faith. It was so close, Islam almost won, it is freaky to consider. ...more
White seemed to take the polemical tone of Hitchens and Dawkins and sought turn it against the New Atheist in this screed. On one hand, considering thWhite seemed to take the polemical tone of Hitchens and Dawkins and sought turn it against the New Atheist in this screed. On one hand, considering the many issues I have with the fashionable scientism of our age, I am glad White wrote the book. I wish more folks would comment on the dogmas, prejudice, assumptions and the absurd presuppositions that are so credulously embraced by those indoctrinated into the Materialistic creed. On the other hand, Whites (who appears to be an atheist himself) attacks scientism from the perspective of Romanticism, a philosophy of which I am not a subscriber too. Also, he rails against science from the assumption that Capitalism is diabolically evil. The fact that so many scientist buddy up with the free market system, simply stains the whole scientific institution. That capitalism is pure evil is simply assumed to be absolute fact, something for which no argument is needed. I suppose I didn't much care for the empty rhetoric against the "Free-market fairy tale" as he called it towards the end of his book.
My word, White had quite a bone to pick with Jonah Lehrer's book on creativity. In his rant, White did make a point which I thought was good. He argued that a brain region lighting up when we have a creative insight doesn't go to explain much at all. It cannot yet prove any causative link, it only demonstrates a correlation. It definitely doesn't give us any basis to say creativity is nothing but... this or that. "Brainwashed: The Seductive Appeal of Mindless Neuroscience" by Sally Satel is an excellent book that shows how WAY to much is currently claimed by science writers. The jumping to conclusions by those over-eager to use neuroscience to prove we have no free-will or what have you, could go to discredit a science that is still in its infancy.
In his little discussions on origins, White got so close but... I don't think the argument should be about a "first cause" if all that is meant that is a cause that got the ball moving so it could evolve from there. Instead, I think it is best framed a matter of contingency and necessity. Even if the universe is eternal, it still is contingent and has no basis for its existence. If there is rain, there are clouds. Even if we couldn't look up at the overcast sky, merely understanding that rain is contingent upon clouds, one can deduce the existence of the clouds. Existence itself is contingent like that rain, unable to account for itself, therefore, we can deduce that there is something that is logical and metaphysical Necessary, something that Actual and Eternal which is the ultimate grounding-the source of all that is contingent. Even if Krause and Hawkins can "prove" that gravity or what have you, caused a big bang, they are not one step closer to explaining the mystery of existence itself. For them it just seems to be contingencies all the way down, like turtles stacked upon turtles stacked upon turtles.
I know there were number of good points the author made throughout the book, but it is hard for me to remember much after reading, so I'll just stop here. ...more
Hamiliton did a splendid job conveying his theodicy in a concise manner. He showed the absurdity of some Christian cliches' that fly about in light ofHamiliton did a splendid job conveying his theodicy in a concise manner. He showed the absurdity of some Christian cliches' that fly about in light of evil and suffering. It is good to read someone who realizes that if everything happens for a reason and that reason is God's will, then God therefore is utterly diabolic, twisted and evil
I appreciated that he pointed out the obvious (though overlooked) fact that throughout scripture--God works through people to accomplish his will and hardly ever acts directly. Because of God's choice to work through inefficient, finite, fickle and fallible individuals, when some actually walk in relationship with God and bring about his will on the earth, the results will be a very mixed bag to say the least. Sadly, more often then not, individuals disobey, pay no mind or openly rebel and His will isn't accomplished on earth at all. ...more
I cannot handle listening to Trump on TV; I find his voice and style of discourse unbearable to say the least. He made the Republican debates seem morI cannot handle listening to Trump on TV; I find his voice and style of discourse unbearable to say the least. He made the Republican debates seem more like the Jerry Springer show than a professional event. I feel embarrassed and uncomfortable every time he opens his mouth and I've been unable to take him seriously. His running all seemed like a big joke that took a terrifying life of its own. As a result, I've never actually listened to a full speech from Trump, so I've been ignorant concerning what he actually stands for, other than himself and making a Wall. I figured a book would be a good medium by which I could give him a chance. And as a friend wrote "You should know your enemy", I suppose this means I have to read a book by Hillary Clinton too.
Unsurprisingly there was plenty of self-aggrandizing throughout this little book, yet it wasn't as over the top as it could have been; I almost think the stock-definition-of-pride-and-arrogance was holding back. The book did cause me to wonder if some of the more outrageous soundbites I've heard from Trump have been taken out of context by both Republican and Liberal media sources. Since I haven't liked Trump in the least, I never took it upon myself to actually look into any of it, and have been quick to believe the negative press. If Trump is to be believed here, the overtly Nationalist Hitlerish rhetoric that seemed to flow from his lips was more a fabrication from the Media who cherry picking his statements away from their context. Either Trump really is the caricature incarnate of every bad thing Liberals claim Republicans are, or the press has done a freaking phenomenal judge presenting him to be the great strawman.
When it came down to some policies he claims to stand for, I found myself in agreement with his statement that legal immigration should become easier and increase, while illegal immigration should be reduced. His tax-reform ideas sounded excellent. His suggestions to remove the top down control over public education is something I can support. His promise to put in constitutionalist judges in the Supreme court would be good. Making it more possible for business to remain in the states is something I am good with. I am pleased to learn that he wants to repeal Obamacare, even if unsure what it should be replaced with.
I don't know if he is to be trust and I don't know if he would be able to really implement what he wants to do for Congress is extreme slow and doesn't allow for much, which is a good thing. But I definitely, when considering the better of "two evils" have become a little more comfortable with this evil when compared to the other, of course, I've yet to read her book.
Now, I must say like the large portion of stuff Trump didn't say in this book and some of the areas he scooted by are telling. ...more
I remember Temple Grandin's fascinating book “Animals in translation” and was simply amazed to learn how remarkably brilliant birds and other animalsI remember Temple Grandin's fascinating book “Animals in translation” and was simply amazed to learn how remarkably brilliant birds and other animals can be. I figured I'd enjoy this book as well and for the most part, I did. It was interesting to hear more about the intelligence, self-awareness, memory, creative problem solving, planning, altruism, self-control, reconciliation and cultural behavior of other creatures.
Albert Einstein wrote "Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid" Waal demonstrated that some of the ways scientist previously studied animals, served only to confirm their prejudice, it was like they were demanding a fish to climb a tree. But as some insightful scientist modified and reworked their experiments animals begin to shine.
This book contained some history of the fierce scientific opposition and condemnation of the author and others who study animal cognition. The author even compared these scientist to creationist who wouldn't listen to evidence that don't like! Haha. Again and again, from science books that talk about the history of scientific ideas, it seems like the scientific community is in some regards like the Roman catholic church in the middle ages. During the medieval period philosophers and scientist had freedom of inquiry; to innovate and from new ideas within certain boundaries. But there was hell to pay if you dared questioned, challenged or rethought certain sacred doctrines and dogmas. Similarly in science, there is so much freedom to research, test and form new hypotheses, but only within the reigning paradigm. Evidently, animal cognition transgressed it, so along came the ruthless scientific inquisition. But kind of like the reformers, he and others persisted under persecution and now have established their own respectable sect.
I'll finish the review in mentioned a theme within the book that I didn't care for. It is a oft-repeated secular dogma that mankind once believed the earth was the center of the universe, but Copernicus displaced and proved the earth and its inhabitance were completely insignificant in a meaningless cosmos.* They then interpret further scientific discoveries like evolution and the insidious rule of the subconscious to have achieved the same kind of thing--knocking mankind down another notch. Much of this book was in this vain; arrogant man once thought they were special, but monkeys and even those with bird brains can do what we do too, therefore, we are not special. It all occasionally struck me like railing how our estimation of Albert Einstein should be radically lowered, because 5 years olds can understand some rudimentary scientific ideas too. But then I'd remember again that the author's main beef is against those who insist that man differs from other animals in kind, rather than degree. Yet, even if mankind is fully similar in kind to other animals, mankind, at least in some regards is obviously so superior in degree that I don't think there is grounds for the guilt trip being placed on man for having the audacity to think themselves special in comparison to other species. If apes someday are doing scientific test on humans and writing books about our cognitive abilities and speculating on whether we are conscious, I'll change my opinion.
*I would like to note, concerning the whole Copernicus displacing the earth thing, which the author mentions. The ancients did once believe the earth to be the center of the universe, but it wasn't because of a belief that the earth that humanity occupied the center of all reality, but rather it was quite the opposite. In the Ptolemaic system, people believed the earth was the least perfect, subject to change, decay and change, in sphere above however, eventually there was the unchanging heavens. As David Hart wrote “To many, what was most starling about the new cosmology was not that humanity had been expelled from the heart of reality, but that change and disorder had been introduced into the beautiful harmonies above.”...more
Treat yourself to "Willpower instinct" by Kelly McGonigal or "Willpower" by Roy Baumeister, they are MUCH better treatments of the subject, are more eTreat yourself to "Willpower instinct" by Kelly McGonigal or "Willpower" by Roy Baumeister, they are MUCH better treatments of the subject, are more engaging and containing far more practical ways for people to practice and grow in self-control. DeWall, primarily goes and on about why we don't have self-control; how we can't resist when the self-control muscle is drained, or persist when will-power is spent. He talks about studies in a very simplistic manner, using exaggerative language which got old. Definitely not the greatest among the Great Courses...more
I absolutely loved this book, my only beef was that it was just too short. I want more--i want the next book already!
I sure wish Sullivan, who wrote tI absolutely loved this book, my only beef was that it was just too short. I want more--i want the next book already!
I sure wish Sullivan, who wrote the whole series before releasing, combined some together to make 800 pagers. With 8 more books still to come out, I have to wait another 8 freaking years before I get to enjoy the conclusion, if combined into larger books it would be much sooner. The next book in the series, though already written, isn't to be released until the summer of 2017! Gee... with them being so short, why not produce two a year, instead only one a year? How does waiting a whole year really help anything for the publishers? Surely 6 months between each book enough time to maximize profit and make fans happier. Maybe knowing all the books are already written, but knowing one is forced to wait 8 years, is the downside of Sullivan already having all the books written. Typically with first book in the series, knowing the author is in the process of writing the next book, one expects the wait. But knowing it already exist however but they're being held back by publishers is a bit galling. 8 years, 8 freaking years.... I'll be in my 40s before getting to finish a series that already exist! ...more
In writing a review I often find it most difficult to be verbose concerning books that I agree with and thus most of my favorite books don't contain rIn writing a review I often find it most difficult to be verbose concerning books that I agree with and thus most of my favorite books don't contain reviews. But when I differ with an author, boy, my fingers get to typing. Please forgive me as I pontificate.
I am quite put off by religious fundamentalist who assume they and their own alone have a perfectly objective grasp of Truth, and yet at the same time are utterly oblivious to their unsupported presuppositions, assumptions and circular reasoning. They are completely unaware that they interpret (what they assumed to be the inerrant) bible through certain cognitive filters and biases. In their fundamentalist little world, all that doesn't coincide with what they already believe is nonsense, insidious propaganda, lies and misinformation. Though on the complete opposite end of the spectrum, Buonomano a staunch materialist, seemed just as much a fundamentalist as, say the pastor of Westboro baptist church. The author appeared completely dogmatic and unaware of his presuppositions, assumptions and circular reasoning. He seemed to assume that science, a wonderful method for discovering one aspect of reality can speak about all reality and all science can speak about isn't knowledge. It is like taking a microscope and claiming all that he cannot see through its lens doesn't exist and is nonsense. So now, science explains everything and anything science can't explain doesn't exist, which is obvious because we know everything that exist can be explained by science and this is known because science alone can explain everything. Now with this presuppositions in place, it is obviously true that science can only discover material and efficient causes--so only material and efficient causes exist. Materialism is therefore the ONLY rational world-view and only truths that are consistent with materialism are true. If you believe otherwise, you are delusional, irrational or inflicted by brain bugs. Now with the discovery that the universe had a beginning and that science proves there is no necessary Being who is the source of all being, this means we must blindly accept that the natural laws just somehow came into existence of their own accord and all matter banged into being from nothing. After several billion years life formed from inanimate matter, complex information formed from randomness and noise and consciousness derived from non-conscious matter. We must just accept that the brain which evolved merely for survival and to propagate ones genes can in a purely deterministic universe just so happen come upon the Truth that we are all accidents in a completely meaningless and purposely universe destined for extinction. None of this is science, its philosophy and purely blind assertions. The author believes the irrationality of everyone who doesn't reason from these absurd presuppositions. It has been said that the game determines the rules and the rules determine the game. The author seems to think that religious people don't have ANY evidence AT ALL, all belief in God is completely irrational, a result of brain bugs. Of course, this is because, as we already know, only that which fits in his nice and tidy materialist world-view counts as evidence. He has stacked the deck.
Though not stated, I imagine he'd claim with other materialist that there is absolutely no evidence of design or purpose in the universe. So it was interesting the author repeatedly talked about evolution programming this and designing that, while sharing many of his unfalsifiable just-so stories. He also wrote like this evolution evolved some X for some purpose Y. I suppose it is just a useful metaphors.... He wrote how there is no evidence of a intelligent designer because creature out their could have been better engineered, hell, my truck could have been better engineered, is this proof of the same thing? Also, my truck cannot fly, surely this too is proof it had no intelligent designer. I am not arguing for intelligent design, but I just think it is silly to look at some function of an animal that in could be better in some other context, and confidently claim it as proof that it blindly and mindlessly designed and programmed itself on the fly for some unpurposeful purpose. I also feel the author made light of the phenomenal design we do find, sure, our eye cannot see a penny five miles away, but it is truly remarkable in what it does.
Of course, since the author is a hard-line fundamentalist, there is no shadow of doubt in his mind, that all religious beliefs are due to brain bugs. He then goes on to provide some explanations for these insidious bugs which keep people from seeing how obvious it is that nothing exist but the universe (or maybe a billion of other universes that popping in and out of existence). Horrible brain bugs infect all children, causing them to irrationally believe in brain/body dualism and in a non-existent God, tragically many never escape the delusions even as they grow into adulthood. Fortunately a thoroughly materialistic indoctrination hopefully will cure them. I was surprise the author didn't discuss how maybe operations or medications might be developed that could kill these bugs, so finally we might live in a secular utopia and eradicate all religion once and for all.
So finally, I will address an example that was either disingenuous or a sign of ignorance in the author, hopefully the latter. He was talking about how religion might have evolved because it resulted in people treating those in their in group better, which results in that group utter hating those outside of their group. His example its truth was from the bible, he mentioned some verse that commanded good treatment of their fellow Israelite and then to contrast this with how Israelites supposedly considered all foreigners, he mentioned the horrendous passage about killing all the Canaanites. I despise this passage demanding the slaughter of men, woman and children, but it was context oriented and only was for those in the land of Canaan. There were MANY other commands in the Old Testament that demanded the Israelites to show kindness to the foreigner, sadly the Canaanites were not included among them.
An essay in which Arthur mentions that the dialectic is like intellectual fencing, it doesn't matter who is actually right, all that matters is winninAn essay in which Arthur mentions that the dialectic is like intellectual fencing, it doesn't matter who is actually right, all that matters is winning by whatever means possible. The rest of the essay contains instructions on the use of logical fallacies to best ones opponent. It almost makes one think the book is satire. I've read Schopenhauer in the past, and I really liked his writing, but I wasn't as impressed here. He'd state something and then gave an example that didn't seem to relate with what he just stated.
If the essay was meant to be humorous, it is a grand idea, but it needed to be executed better. ...more