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Showing posts from March, 2020

The Black Swan- A Book Review by Sutton

THE BLACK SWAN:      THE IMPACT OF THE HIGHLY    IMPROBABLE By  Nassim Nicholas Taleb Reviewed by    Geoffrey W. Sutton Currently, we are experiencing a Black Swan event. Covid-19, a coronavirus, is raging from nation to nation knowing people down with flu symptoms and sending others to hospitals or to their grave. All of a sudden, when the virus began to spread, world financial markets plunged wiping out trillions of dollars worth of savings and financial assets. Black Swan events are those unpredictable events that are so unique that they cannot be predicted using traditional statistical modeling. Black Swan events are statistical outliers that most scientists would remove from a dataset to avoid skewed distributions. But you do not need to understand statistics to know, that scientists and business leaders can miss events that are so rare. Nassim Nicholas Taleb published The Black Swan in 2007 and my academic review was published the next year. The book was as

Why Darwin Matters- A Book Review by Sutton

WHY DARWIN MATTERS:  THE CASE AGAINST INTELLIGENT DESIGN By    Michael Shermer Reviewed by    Geoffrey W. Sutton My answer to Shermer's book title framed as a question, Why Darwin Matters? , is that it matters a great deal. Psychological scientists often refer to evolutionary theory in their articles and textbooks thus psychologists, and those in similar professions, need to know the basics of evolutionary theory to understand and critique the way the theory is employed in the understanding of human behaviour. Shermer begins his work with a biographical event. "I became a creationist shortly after I became a born-again evangelical Christian in high school ..." (p. xx).  Those interested in the integration of Christian faith and science will find this book a quick and useful review of the major points involved in the evolution-intelligent design (ID) controversy that has primarily involved biologists perhaps because the evolutionary psychology section

The End of Faith-A Book Review by Sutton

THE END OF FAITH:  RELIGION, TERROR, AND THE FUTURE OF REASON      By      Sam Harris Reviewed by      Geoffrey W. Sutton The 9/11 Islamic terrorists emblazoned the psychological truism of the path from belief to behavior on the minds of millions. The world saw the lethiferous power of religious belief. We witnessed the purpose driven death. Sam Harris pummels readers with invidious images of destruction associated with religious belief. We may well dispute many of his conclusions but the ineluctable truth is that beliefs matter. At times acerbic, Harris has prepared a puissant polemic focused primarily upon the terror of Islam with ample scathing visited upon Christianity and Judaism.  His thesis is that the beliefs of religious people have become unhinged from reason to the point that meaningful conversations cannot take place.  He asserts that reason is in exile (chapter 1) and that survival requires a return from unproven beliefs to evidenced-based reason when makin

Breaking the Spell-A Book Review by Sutton

Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon     By    Daniel C. Dennett Reviewed by   Geoffrey S. Sutton One Sunday I had the occasion to view both spells in action. A Christian scholar was presenting various theological perspectives on the apocalypse when an attorney interrupted with challenges to the speaker’s shifting from literal to metaphorical interpretations and to textual problems with the doctrine of the trinity. At one point, the theologian, notably frustrated with the challenger, raised his hands, and decried that he did not know the answers to all the questions, noting that humans are ‘‘peanut-brained’’ (repeated twice for emphasis), and that anyone who pretended to understand such mysteries was arrogant.  And that is the problem in discussing religion. It is notably hard to analyze using logic and any questioner is cursed (though I suspect the lawyer had been called worse than "peanut-brained").In this blog, I will summarize and

When Religion Becomes Evil- A book review by Sutton

Church afire 2023 Geoffrey W Sutton & Bing AI When Religion Becomes Evil:      Five Warning Signs:  Revised and Updated By  Charles Kimball Reviewed by   Geoffrey W. Sutton   In the aftermath of 9/11 and during the onslaught of religion-damning missives from the ‘‘evangelical atheists’’ Dawkins (2006), Hitchens (2007), and Harris (2004), Kimball provides a ‘‘gentle introduction to the critical study of comparative religion’’ (p. vi). In seven chapters, he outlines five  critical ways that religion can lead to tragic, even violent outcomes, and offers suggestions that may promote better relationships between people of different religious traditions. In the end, he argues for respect for diverse faiths and traditions. Kimball is uniquely qualified to write this informative  work. He is an ordained Baptist minister and a professor of comparative religion at Wake Forest University. He obtained his doctorate from Harvard University in comparative religion where he specialized in

God is Not Great-A Book Review by Sutton

GOD IS NOT GREAT:  HOW RELIGION POISONS      EVERYTHING By    Christopher Hitchens Reviewed by    Geoffrey W. Sutton Hitchens begins his pungent polemic against religion by explaining how he came to question religious teaching as a child (chapter 1). Following a  deconversion experience  associated with a teacher's simplistic description  of reality covered with a simple religious gloss,  Hitchens reflects upon perceived oddities in scripture and child-abusing clergy. Next,  Hitchens adumbrates his thesis as:  four irreducible objections to religious faith: 1. that it wholly misrepresents the origins of man and the cosmos, that because of this original 2. error it manages to combine the maximum of servility with the maximum of solipsism, 3. that it is both the result and the cause of dangerous sexual repression, and 4. that is ultimately grounded on with-thinking. (p. 4) Hitchens covers familiar grounds in his attack of religious faith with each chapter a blow