The Bonobo and the Atheist: In Search of Humanism Among the Primates by Frans De Waal.
The critique of the current secular movement, the lack of vitriol that Dawkins and Hitchens put forth, the light-bulb conclusion of our genetic capacity to reach beyond selfish concerns (empathy, altruism is WIRED IN! and if you don't believe him, just look at the science behind a Sociopath) and how what separates us from the Great Apes is not a matter of genetic structures, but a matter of degrees in behavior, and how all of this relates to current religious movements, it made me want to shout from the rooftops--I LOVE THIS BOOK! SOMEONE PLEASE READ IT SO I CAN DISCUSS!--and not stop until I found others in the world who had read it. It was a game-changer with my views on the current atheist movement. We need to replace religion with something. We need to go into the community and gain rights by doing altruistic works and challenging when people won't let us into the public square. This book started my journey on the genetics of altruism and empathy. It led to the "Moral Lives of Animals" by Dale Peterson, another page-turner. It led to re-evaluating the ape that is man int the animal kingdom organized in my brain.Why is it ok to eat pigs, but not rats? Fish, but not Dogs? Lettuce but not meat? It led to some serious thinking and a challenge to everything I thought.
It dispelled the notion that we were the King of Creation, the basic drive behind most philosophy and science dealing with the human mind. Philosophy is trying to explain our "greatness" while our greatness has not been established as a fact. This is my conclusion, not De Waal's. The Ape has declared his way of thinking superior to the dog when the dog never communicated his greatness for comparison. We know he has a greater sense of smell than a human. Why is that less important than manipulating tools? All these thoughts started with Frans De Waal's book. Pick it up, please. If for no other reason than I need someone to share it with. Surrounded by neo-atheists and Christians. Need pragmatic atheists.
current weight: 420.0
Fitness Minutes: (235) Posts: 19 11/7/13 6:05 P
Rats, Lice, and History, by Hans Zinsser - it's a book from the 1930s about epidemiology, and it's funny and over-educated and shows exactly what the plodding process of doing science is like, and it just made me think, I want to think that clearly, and lay out my arguments that logically, and be that certain that human effort can solve problems, as Zinsser is. No, I didn't become a scientist, but I still reread the book every decade, to remind me to think clearly and write well. Also, the Meditations of Marcus Aurelius, the Stoic Roman emperor, which gives me the motive to keep on doing what a person is supposed to do, even when depressed, even when bad things happen, just keep on doing what a mature human being is supposed to be doing.
Fitness Minutes: (51,174) Posts: 447 10/27/13 9:58 P
In thinking about it, I'd have to also say that Johnny Tremain changed my life. After reading that in Jr. High, I FREAKED at the thought of being unable to use my right, dominant, hand. So I taught myself to use my left hand as well.
I read "The God Delusion" by Richard Dawkins and it really helped spur me on to atheism. Also, "The True Believer" by Eric Hoffer helped me understand how I got to the mindset that I was in. It's all about fanatics of different kinds. I used to be in a cult, and so reading this book made me see that I was just another fanatic and I didn't want to be that. I didn't want to be manipulated, I wanted to make my own decisions.
"Learning to love yourself is the greatest love of all" Whitney Houston
current weight: 235.4
Fitness Minutes: (18,356) Posts: 1,458 9/26/12 6:13 A
A book that, at the very least helped put you on your current path/opened up your mind. "God is Not Great, How Religion Destroys Everything" by Christopher Hitchens.
It really impacted how I thought. Instead of looking at the world as Christian, non Christian, and atheist/agnostic - I began to see Christianity as just another religion...if that makes sense? I am not sure I could even begin to adequately describe how this book changed how I see the world.
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