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Reddit reviews: The best christian theology books

We found 4,168 Reddit comments discussing the best christian theology books. We ran sentiment analysis on each of these comments to determine how redditors feel about different products. We found 1,297 products and ranked them based on the amount of positive reactions they received. Here are the top 20.

Top Reddit comments about Christian Theology:

u/WorkingMouse · 2 pointsr/Christianity

>Not familiar as I probably ought to be. I know that there were other homo species -possibly at the same time as humans. I think I heard something about interbreeding at some point, but maybe that was just speculation?

To be honest, I'm not exactly an expert on the specifics. However, Wikipedia provides as always - If the article and the numerous citations are to be believed, they're considered separate species as mitochondria genetic data (that I could explain further if you like) shows little significant breeding. However, there is indeed some evidence of limited interbreeding.

>This is fascinating stuff!

I'm glad you like it!

>To clarify: do all the primates share the same mutation which is different from the mutation in other creatures, ex. guinea pigs?'

Precisely! Mind you, I believe there are a few changes which have accumulated since divergence (since if they don't need the gene once it's "off", further mutations won't be selected against), but the crucial changes are indeed the same within primates - and those within guinea pigs are the same within guinea pigs and their nearby relatives (I believe), but different from those from simians. Amusingly, because mutations occur at a generally steady rate, the number of further divergences between the pseudogenes (no-longer-functional genes which resemble working copies in other organisms) in different species will give hints at how long ago those species had a common ancestor (this, and related calculations, are termed the "genetic clock").

Nifty, isn't it?

>I guess I don't see why it would be demeaning to be patterned after other homo species which were adapted to the environment we would inhabit. Maybe I'm way off here, but it seems like the case for common ancestry could also point to a common creator. (obviously it is outside the bounds of science to consider that possibility, but philosophically, it might have merit?)

I have indeed heard that before; the suggestion of a common creator as opposed to common descent is a fairly common suggestion, pardon the pun. The typical arguments against fall first to traits which can be considered "poor design" in pure engineering terms, even if they're traits that are now needed. I can point to the genetic baggage of the human eye compared to that of the cephelopod (nerve fibers over vs. under the retina), or the human back (not great for walking upright), or further traits along those lines which suggest that we're still closer to our origins. Indeed, we can also look at things like the pseudogene involved with vitamin C above as unnecessary addons; genetic artifacts which hint at our descent.

While this additional argument, I will grant, is better at addressing general creation then special human creation, we can also look at repeated motifs. For example, the same bones that form our hand also form a bird's wing, a whale's flipper, a dog's paw, a horse's hoof, and all the other mammalian, reptile, and avian forelimbs - though sometimes you need to go to the embryo before you see the similarity. When taken alone, that may suggest either evolution or design; it would make sense for a creator to reuse traits. It becomes more stark when you consider examples that should be similar - for example, the wings of the bat, bird, and pterodactyl, despite using the same bones, have vastly different structures, despite all being used for the same purpose (that is, flight).

The way that my evolutionary biology professor phrased this is that "design can explain this, but cannot predict it; evolution both explains and predicts." This idea - that natural observations may be explained or excused (begging your pardon) in a creation model, but are what are expected from an evolutionary model - is the major point I wish to make in this regard. And, I shall admit, perhaps as close as I can get to "disproving" special creation; it tends to approach unfalsifiability, if I understand it correctly.

>If I recall correctly, this is the position of Francis Collins / BioLogos. It's possible, but I have a few concerns. The first being that I think animals do have souls. If that's correct, ensoulment doesn't help make sense of the theology.

Yup; ensoulment as special is less compatible in that case.

>It would also mean that (at least at some point) there were other creatures who were genetically equal to human beings, but didn't have souls. Cue slave trade and nazi propaganda -they're human, but they aren't people. It would have been possible (probable?) that ensouled humans would breed with the soulless humans -and that just seems . . . squicky.

Point taken; even if you were to claim ensoulment for all humans existing at a specific point and thereafter, there can be...negative connotations.

>So, for now, it's a possibility, but it seems to be more problematic than special creation.

To be perfectly frank, I'm not really equipped to argue otherwise. As an atheist, my tendency is to end up arguing against ensoulment, as it's not something we can really draw a line at either. Still, I figured I'd put it out there; I'm a little delighted at your dissection of it honestly, as you brought up things I'd not yet considered.

>Like I said, the genetics is fascinating, and I am naive to much of it. Short of becoming a geneticist, could you recommend a good book on the subject of human genetics and common descent? I took basic genetics in college, so I was able to follow the discussion about chromosomes, telomeres, etc. But I would like to know more about the discoveries that have been made.

Oooh, that's a rough question. Don't get me wrong, it's a wonderful question, but I rarely read books aimed at laymen dealing with my specialty; most of my information comes from text books, papers, and profs, if you take my meaning. Which in the end is a way for me to provide my disclaimer: I can provide recommendations, but I've generally not read them myself; sorry.

Having said that, I'm not about to discourage your curiosity - indeed, I cannot laud it highly enough! - and so I shall do what I can:

  • Why Evolution is True is the one I generally hear the best things about; due to the possible audience, it is partially written as a refutation of intelligent design, but it also gives a lovely primer on evolutionary science - and compared to some of Dawkins's texts, it's more focused on the evidence.
  • I have a copy of Genome: The Autobiography of a Species in 23 Chapters on my bedside table right now - largely unread, I'm afraid. Basically, it takes a peek at one gene from each of our chromosomes and explores its relevance and its evolutionary history. It's by no means comprehensive; we have hundreds of thousands of genes, and it looks at twenty-three. None the less, It's been an interesting read thus far.
  • Similarly, Your Inner Fish explores the human form, and where it comes from; it looks at various structures in the human body and draws evolutionary parallels; this one is more heavily focused on common descent in relation to humans.

    I think I'll hold off there for the moment. The latter two are focused more on humans, while the former is about evolution in general. I'm sure there are more books I could recommend - Dawkin's The Greatest Show on Earth has been lauded, for example. I tried to stick with texts which were at a slightly higher level, not merely addressing the basics but delving a little deeper, as you noted you have a measure of familiarity already, and those which were related to humans. I hope they help!

    It's not an alternative to books, but Wikipedia does have a fair article on the topic (which I linked near the very top as well). And believe it or not, I do enjoy this sort of thing; you are more then welcome to ask more questions if and when they occur to you.
u/versorverbi · 8 pointsr/Catholicism

This is a long post, so I'm putting this up front; if you read nothing else I've said, read this: Not talking about this with him is the wrong response. You absolutely must talk to him about this. Clear communication is crucial to a healthy marriage, much less a good sexual relationship.

Now, from what you say, there are probably issues for both of you here. I can't talk too much about his motivations, because we haven't heard from him, only from you--but I'll make an effort from my perspective as a husband in a moment.

First, let's take a quick look at what you've said: you find sex with your husband tedious and dirty. "Dirty" is a problem--a significant one--because marital sex is anything but dirty. To live chastely within marriage is to have marital sex. Marital sex is a reflection of Christ's love for the Church, and the love within the Godhead. It's a sacramental act of unity and life. You absolutely must abandon this notion that sex with your husband is dirty, but it won't be easy. Labeling sex as "dirty" is an easy way we repel our sexual desire when embracing it is sinful (e.g., as teenagers and when we're engaged). Forget that label. Sex isn't dirty. Extramarital sex is sinful; sex within marriage is a gift from God to express love and intimacy with our entire selves (body and soul).

The tedium of sex may be tied to several different issues. I do want to ask about the frequency of your intercourse: from what you say, it sounds like you're having sex regularly (daily a few months ago, several times per week now). Does that mean that you are not practicing NFP and periodic abstinence? Are you instead trying to have children now, or are you using artificial contraceptives?

I ask because artificial contraceptives, aside from being sinful, are known to have detrimental side effects in your sex life. Condoms reduce sensation for both parties. Hormonal contraceptives reduce your sex drive and (based on studies in other primates) may reduce your natural desirability to your mate. If this is the situation, it could contribute to his disinterest and your boredom.

Are you experiencing painful intercourse? My wife struggled with intercourse for our first year of marriage because she had conditions called vaginismus and vestibulodynia, which caused the whole experience to be excruciating rather than pleasant. We made a joint, sincere effort using multiple methods to reduce those conditions and improve her experience for months before we saw any real progress. That can be another factor.

What is your general attitude toward sex? Have you ever found it remotely pleasurable? If not, have you spoken to your husband about your experience in the bedroom? Or are you treating sex like a solemn duty you must perform so that he feels fulfilled? The entire process of human marital sex is for both husband and wife to enjoy it. In a technical sense, neither one of you "must" enjoy it in order for the other to do so, but it is more enjoyable for both of you if you both enjoy it. If you have ever felt pleasure during intercourse, talk to your husband about that--ask him to pursue that before satisfying himself. Satisfying him sexually is easy; satisfying you sexually probably takes a little work, and that should be a worthwhile pursuit.

Now, on to him for a moment. My guess is that he loves you. If he was unchaste before dating you, then he didn't marry you just to have sex with you (because he didn't have to get married to have sex); from what you have said, he remained chaste while dating you and engaged to you, too. Which means he does love you, but he may not know quite what that means (or should mean). Again, talk to him about his actions, about how you feel, about how he feels. Talk to him about your marriage, about your future together.

On the pornography: it almost definitely predates your marriage and your relationship and is absolutely never your fault. That's on him. You didn't hold a gun to his head and force him to do it, and even if you had, he still shouldn't have done it. Never blame yourself for this. I know that's difficult to accept, but it's the truth. He, and only he, is responsible for his sins. If you're the coldest wife in the world who refuses sex for twenty years straight, watching pornography and masturbating would still be his sins.

The most important thing here is for both of you to come to a real, clear understanding of what married life within the Church is. You need to read about the Theology of the Body. Here is a short, relatively easy book on the subject. Here is the longer book behind that book. Here is a tome with the religious and philosophical underpinnings of it all. Here is a short video and here is a long one. Others will hopefully post other resources (podcasts, videos, books, etc.). This is critical. It sounds like you and your husband both are lacking important information about how marriage works in the Catholic Church.

The second most important thing is for you to improve your communication with your husband. Here is a box set of short books that can help with that (these significantly improved communication between my wife and I). I've also seen these at a local library.

Your husband needs to commit to improving your marriage as much as you do. You must talk to him as soon as possible. Don't put it off. He should know that something is wrong, especially if he's choosing pornography over you.

More details will enable us to help you more, but nothing will help as much as clear communication with your husband and a dedication to building the best marriage possible.

u/otiac1 · 39 pointsr/space

To answer the question, one must consider all three components of the morality of the act: object, intent, circumstances. Object and intent alone can render an act morally good or evil, whereas the circumstances can only increase or diminish the goodness or evil of an act.

Placing all three components together and considering first a set of circumstances, then intent, and then object, will be particularly edifying as these last two are elements going to vary and what the question concerns.

As an example, consider a couple having sex in wedlock; these will be the circumstances, and the circumstances are certainly good.

Next, consider the couple wants to, for good reasons (more on this later), delay the onset of children; this is the intent, one which is good by itself without any other qualifiers.

Finally, there are two means to delay the onset of children, as previously discussed. These will be the object chosen. The first is chemical/barrier contraception, and the second is NFP.

Use of chemical/barrier contraception in this way is always objectively disordered. As a result, even a couple in wedlock (which is good) intending to delay the onset of children for good reasons (which is good) is doing wrong by using contraceptives (which is bad). Bl. Pope John Paul II's encyclical Familiaris Consortio aids in explaining why:

> When couples, by means of recourse to contraception, separate these two meanings that God the Creator has inscribed in the being of man and woman and in the dynamism of their sexual communion, they act as "arbiters" of the divine plan and they "manipulate" and degrade human sexuality-and with it themselves and their married partner-by altering its value of "total" self-giving. Thus the innate language that expresses the total reciprocal self-giving of husband and wife is overlaid, through contraception, by an objectively contradictory language, namely, that of not giving oneself totally to the other. This leads not only to a positive refusal to be open to life but also to a falsification of the inner truth of conjugal love, which is called upon to give itself in personal totality. emphasis ours

Use of NFP in this way is not objectively disordered. Why? He tells us in the very next paragraph:

> When, instead, by means of recourse to periods of infertility, the couple respect the inseparable connection between the unitive and procreative meanings of human sexuality, they are acting as "ministers" of God's plan and they "benefit from" their sexuality according to the original dynamism of "total" selfgiving, without manipulation or alteration.
emphasis ours

Self-giving can be literally understood as the transmission of seed from the male to the woman and her reception of the seed in the procreative process into her, or the accepting of fertility by the male and the giving of fertility by the female. As the female's fertility naturally includes periods of infertility, there is no frustration in this process (the acceptance and giving of one's fertility) due to periods of natural infertility.

However, a barrier method of contracepting frustrates this in an obvious way. A chemical method of contraception frustrates it in a less obvious but still substantial way, effecting the transmission/reception of seed or frustrating the natural cycle of egg implantation. Bl. John Paul II understands this type of self-giving in light of our being created in the Imago Dei; he saw the body as an expression of God's creation, and the relation between husband and wife mirroring the nature of the Trinity and the act of creation. This is a deep mystery and one better explored through a careful reading of his life's work, Man and Woman He Created Them. These works merit attention on their own accord, and can't be done "true" justice on reddit (not only because of reddit's space constraints, but given Bl. John Paul II's deep theology and philosophy rooted as they are in the Christian understanding). In this way, the sexual self-giving of the spouses utilizing contraception is a literal lie, as there is no self-giving; one or both spouses is withholding of themselves.

In bullet points, use of contraceptives:

  • places a barrier (physical or chemical) between the spouses, whereby total self-giving is impossible

  • refuses cooperation in the natural cycles of fertility which God has ordained

  • abuses the sexual faculty, treating that which is healthy as diseased

  • makes an object one or both of the spouses for use as a tool of carnal satisfaction

  • weakens the bonds of charity by abandoning chastity

    Whereas NFP:

  • unites the spouses in total self-giving

  • preserves the natural moral order of creation

  • treats the sexual faculty and human body as good

  • emphasizes the dignity of the person through education and understanding of their bodies

  • strengthens the bonds of charity by embracing chastity

    So, when does NFP become sinful? Very simply, when the process is abused; when the intent is no longer to delay the onset of children for good reasons, but selfish ones. Altering that aspect of the act flips many of the above bullet points and renders the action subjectively disordered.

    It is true that the intent of an individual is so hard to gauge; for this reason certain persons would attempt to set NFP as "equal" to chemical/barrier contraceptives as a result of this objective vs subjective component to morality. They are correct that intent is, largely, an interior motivation which we are unable to gauge; however, they are incorrect to assign as equals contraceptives and NFP given the substantive differences in application. The couple using NFP is just as accountable to God as the couple using contraceptives. Further, with recourse to the pastoral care of the Church in regards to the subjective intent of practitioners, this objection is eliminated.

    As to the specific "modes" of NFP, there are many natural methods of regulating conception and birth whose "success rate" rivals or surpasses that of artificial contraceptives, without the disastrous "side" effects of chemically-induced periods of infertility, which include cancer. They include the Billings Ovulation Method, Creighton Model FertilityCare System, and others. These systems were pioneered by health care professionals and scientists, are minimally invasive, very low-cost, and involve both spouses in monitoring periods of fertility. To learn more about which system may work best for you, please consult some of the links listed below.

    ---

    Additional resources:

    Casti Connubii - "On Christian Marriage," Pope Pius XI, 1930 - an encyclical responding to doctrinal innovations by the Anglican communion concerning Christian marriage and the regulation of birth using artificial means

    Humanae Vitae - "Of Human Life," Pope Paul VI, 1968 - an encyclical reaffirming ancient Christian doctrine concerning the regulation of birth using artificial means and natural means

    Familiaris Consortio - "Of Family Partnership," Bl Pope John Paul II, 1981 - an encyclical concerning the Christian family, which addresses in part the harm contraceptives do to the marital union

    Pope Paul VI Institute for the Study of Human Reproduction - a health institute focused on Catholic teaching concerning the transmission of human life that provides an abundance of resources (educational material, points of contact, etc.) for couples interested in NFP

    Contraception: Why Not? - an informational talk given concerning the underlying reasons for our society's current acceptance of contraceptive use and the Catholic understanding and advantages of embracing Church teaching

    National Catholics Bioethics Center - a scientific institute dedicated to answering questions related to health, science, and the dignity of the human person, with additional resources concerning the Church's teaching on NFP and artificial contraceptives

    Learn NFP Online - online resource endorsed by the USCCB for instruction in some of the methods of NFP
u/spike00 · 2 pointsr/Christianity

Hello Aeronautico! I'll answer as best as I can.

1.) I believe my faith comes from God. He is the one who has softened my heart towards the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He is the reason I believe. When did I start believing? It wasnt because I was raised to believe. I made the conscious choice to believe as a teenager. This started with a blind leap of faith, to pray to God, and to follow Jesus, despite my own desire to remain sinful and disconnected to God. The good reasons for my belief came later, as I learned more about God and Jesus. I discovered that there are many good reasons to believe in God and Jesus, and my blind leap of faith was later vindicated.

2.) Only God himself can change my mind now. Nothing else. No argument, or piece of evidence will convince me that God does not exists or that Jesus is not his only son.

3.) You're not a good person, sorry to burst your bubble. You may do good things from time to time, but you are not good. Even one minor sin is enough to seperate you from God, and put you in Jeopardy of hell. No amount of alms giving and good deeds can ever reconcile you to God. For this is why he sent is Son, not to condemn us but through him we might be saved.

4.) Science and the bible rarely conflict. It is only when we talk about evolution versus creation that conflict arises. As far as I'm concerned, there are many problems with evolutionary theory, and the bible is my authority on creation. I wont get into it here, but there are lots of books and material covering just why evolution is wrong and creationism is the more sound doctrine. I'm reading one right now, although I havent gotten very far yet. Its called "the greatest hoax on earth? Refuting dawkins on evolution" by Jonathan Sarfati.

4.) The old testament relies heavily on Gods law, because the Christ had not yet come. I wont debate old testament morality here, because it is a big topic and I'm no expert, but as far as the 10 commandments go...well, its easy to see why thou shalt not steal or murder. If you will recall, Jesus, when asked which of the commandments were the greatest, said to love God above all else, and to love your neighbor as yourself. For if you keep these two commandments, you keep them all.

5.) The holy spirit allows us to know with confidence that Christianity is right and true. Imagine you are stuck with the problem of what does 2+2 equal? You have an infinite number of numbers to choose from for the answer, but only one of them can be right.

In truth, part of knowing that Jesus is truly the son of God is a leap of faith. I wont know 100% for sure that Christianity is true until I die, or Jesus comes. But there are good reasons to believe what we Christians believe. If you are looking for reasons to believe Christianity over some other religion, you should look into some Christian apologetics. William Lane Craig covers this in detail in his book "Reasonable Faith"

6.) Death is antithetical to life. Your question begs another question. If heaven is so great, why dont all Christians kill themselves? The answer is, to the best of my knowledge, that we are put on this earth for a reason. We are put on this earth, if nothing else, to tell others about Jesus so that they might be saved. Now if we welcomed death, we wouldnt be able to do our duty as Christians here on earth, and our reward would be little in heaven.

7.) Neither. I would vote for someone like Ron Paul, who is a Christian, yet does not believe in forcing others to be Christian by law. I believe in the constitutional freedom of religion.

8.) Assuming the God of the bible exists, he would be the ultimate source of all the talent that allows surgeons and doctors to perform their duties. God is the source of all life. Without him, no one would live. And God is the source of all wealth and resources. Without God, how could one pay their astronomical health care bill? Indeed, if the God of the bible exists, he is most certainly due all the thanks when someone is healed, by miracle, or by doctor.

9.) It is my belief that all changes and alterations made to the documents of the bible have been ordained by God, to arrive at what we know today as the holy bible. Its not as though we dont have many original ancient manuscripts still preserved to this day that confirm and corroborate much of the bible. Take the dead sea scrolls for example. I'm not saying all translations are good. I personally prefer the KJV as a foundation and the ESV as a companion translation. But the holy bible is unique. There is a whole field of research dedicated to the accurate translation and maintenance of the bible, that has existed for as long as the bible itself has. Think of the scrutiny placed on the bible throughout history. Any major changes in translation can be traced and verified through objective historical research. If some major change was made to the bible, I would have to appeal to the Christian authorities and bible scholars to know what to believe.



u/Repentant_Revenant · 4 pointsr/TrueChristian

The "problem" you seem to have is something that every Christian on earth struggles with - the disconnection between knowing something in your head and knowing it in your heart.

This is something I struggle with - there's a stark difference between being intellectually convinced of the existence of God and actually feeling like He exists.

There's a difference between knowing "Yeah, yeah, God loves me." And actually feeling the incalculable, unrestrained love of God.

There's a difference between knowing theologically that you're forgiven and actually feeling forgiven.

It's a difficult hurdle. Fortunately, God is there to help you.

God sends the Holy Spirit to us so that we can experience the presence of God, so that our knowledge of Him can drop down from our head to our heart.

For a long time, I sought an experience. I'm an extreme skeptic, so I'm always incredibly doubtful of any of the miraculous stories I hear from others. At the same time, it's because of this doubt that I so desperately wanted to experience God for myself.

I decided that, if I were to take God seriously, I would need to do whatever I could on my end to "press into" God and leave the rest up to Him. This meant that I would go to the front of the church during worship, or ask people lay hands on me and pray for me. As a skeptic and an introvert, these were huge steps for me. And many times, I wouldn't have a tangible experience with God, and I would get disheartened.

However, there have been a number of times now when I really did have experiences with God.

God lives in you. You have the Holy Spirit inside you; Christ Himself lives in you. However, for whatever reason, God sometimes gives us strong, palpable experiences and awareness of His presence, whereas most of the time we're not aware.

As someone who was originally skeptical of the "charismas," or of personal encounters with God and His Holy Spirit, I now urge you to pursue relationship with God.

That means spending time in prayer. I grew up always praying in my head with my eyes open, because I knew that God could still hear my prayers. However, I've discovered more and more that the act of going in my room, closing the door, kneeling, and praying out loud is richly rewarding. That's how people prayed throughout the Bible. I think that it helps me to connect that I'm praying the God of the universe, rather than just thinking to myself and projecting my desires.

For me, personally, walks alone and in nature have brought me closer to God. I'm someone who's always been deeply affected by nature - even in my doubt, I see the hand of the Creator in His Creation. And some of my encounters with God have been when I've been on a walk alone, not in a church.

Nonetheless, Christian community is extremely important. The Bible affirms repeatedly the importance of the church. If you're not already, try to attend church regularly and get involved with a youth group. I'm incredibly introverted, and in high school I would have thought I'd never be involved in a social group like that. However, our desire to know God should be higher than our desire for personal comfort. We need Christian friends and community surrounding us - people who will love and encourage us, people we can confide our sins and struggles to, people who will pray for us.

Worship is also incredibly important. I didn't used to sing in church. In fact, I went to a Christian school, and I would often remain seated during chapel worship. I was a Christian, but I thought that worship just "wasn't the way I connected with God." I thought that other people who are into praise music can connect with Him that way, whereas I connect with Him in other ways. While it's true that some people connect to God through certain channels more than others, we are all called to worship. I was making worship about myself - What can I get out of it? - instead of it being about God. Ironically, the more you make worship about God and not about yourself, the more you're bound to actually get out of it. This is one of the radical truths of Christianity - the more you give up of yourself, the more you truly are yourself. The more you live for others and for God, the more you're truly alive. It is more blessed to give than to receive.

Lastly, I must mention that good sermons and good books are really helpful, especially if your mind works similarly to mine. I mentioned in another comment Mere Christianity and The Reason for God - I consider them both must-reads for any Christian, but especially the one struggling with doubt. There are other good books, some specific to a particular doubt. (For instance, if your doubt has to do with the relationship between Christianity and science, then The Language of God is a must read.)

As far as sermons go, I really recommend Timothy Keller. If you have a smartphone or mp3 player, you can easily get podcasts for free.

I'll be praying for you. Feel free to PM me with any additional questions, or any particular doubts.

u/Jaagsiekte · 1 pointr/NoStupidQuestions

Humans are different in many respects but we also share a lot of conserved traits. For example, humans being mammals we, like all other mammals, produce milk to sustain our young, we also have hair/fur like other animals, and we also have internal reproductive organs including the uterus that we use to gestate out young. If you go back a little further you see that humans share a lot of characteristics with other animals - we all seem to have four limbs, two eyes, two nostrils, one heart, two kidneys, lungs, a liver, etc. We share all these things because all animals share a single common ancestor. That ancestor was a tetrapod species. Go back even further and you see that we share some pretty interesting and old traits that date back to our earliest common ancestor that was a vertebrate aquatic animal - thats why humans and fish both have backbones (vertebrae). You may be interested in the book Your inner fish, which was also made into a PBS documentary. "Why do we look the way we do? Neil Shubin, the paleontologist and professor of anatomy who co-discovered Tiktaalik, the “fish with hands,” tells the story of our bodies as you've never heard it before. By examining fossils and DNA, he shows us that our hands actually resemble fish fins, our heads are organized like long-extinct jawless fish, and major parts of our genomes look and function like those of worms and bacteria. Your Inner Fish makes us look at ourselves and our world in an illuminating new light. This is science writing at its finest—enlightening, accessible and told with irresistible enthusiasm."

But you are correct in your observation humans have a lot of unique characteristics, even among the primates. First we share a few of the traits that primates have - opposable thumbs, forward facing eyes, good colour vision, long gestations, few offspring per litter, and it takes a long time for us to reach sexual maturity. But we do know why we have some of our unique traits.

  1. Loss of hair: either hypothesized to be a adaptation to living in hot environments which enables use to cool or hypothesized to be a part of sexual selection (individuals with less hair were more likely to mate and so over generations humans became less hairy simply because thats what we thought was 'sexy') or it could be some combination therein.
  2. Bipedal stance: this one is a bit more tricky since the first bipedal apes evolved about 3-4 million years ago. Lucy is an australopithecine hominid that lived just over 3 million years ago and would walk on two legs. We also know that the upright stance preceded an increase in brain size by about 2 million years. So what drove Lucy, or Lucy's recent ancestors to become upright bipedal apes? It could be because the forests were receding and tall grasslands were taking over. Walking on two legs enabled us to see over the grass. It could be that walking upright freed our hands for other tasks like carrying, using, or making objects. Maybe there is a reason we just don't know about because this change occurred so many million years ago.

    Finally, our big brains even though they may seem like a single trait have enabled us to do things that no other species has been able to accomplish. It enabled us to diversify in a way that no other species could. Other species might have a few unique combinations that allow them to be really great at a few things but humans have taken another approach, be ok at a lot of things. We decided to take the "jack-of-all-trades" route...and there are a few other species that have taken this strategy as well. Most of these species are the ones that live right along side us as "pests" - rats, mice, racoons, pigeons, and crows are some great examples of species that have learned to do things a bit differently. Instead of focusing on one single skill or trait be good at a bunch of different things. This is especially important skill to have when you live in an environment that is rapidly changing. Species that live in stable environments are more likely to become very selective in what they do, what they eat, or how they live. But if you live in an environment where your food sources change rapidly, or the environment changes quickly then you best be able to deal with a bunch of different problems. Humans quickly became that species. The species that was able to exploit any habitat, the species that was able to eat just about any kind of food, the species that no longer was constrained by any particular ecosystem. We could go anywhere and do anything and we would survive. This comes at the cost of being very good at one thing, like swimming or flying.

    Finally one of the reasons why a single species can't be good at everything (e.g. why we can swim like a tuna, fly like a bird, dig like a vole, or run like a cheetah) is because each trait is a trade off and comes at some kind of cost. For example, in order to attain the mass of an elephant you need to able to eat tons of food each day, which simply isn't possible for an animal living in the Arctic where food is scarce. There is no single best species and you can't really create a super species either.
u/seagoonie · 11 pointsr/spirituality

Here's a list of books I've read that have had a big impact on my journey.

First and foremost tho, you should learn to meditate. That's the most instrumental part of any spiritual path.

 Ram Dass – “Be Here Now” - https://www.amazon.com/Be-Here-Now-Ram-Dass/dp/0517543052 - Possibly the most important book in the list – was the biggest impact in my life.  Fuses Western and Eastern religions/ideas. Kinda whacky to read, but definitely #1

Ram Dass - “Journey Of Awakening” - https://www.amazon.com/dp/B006L7R2EI - Another Ram Dass book - once I got more into Transcendental Meditation and wanted to learn other ways/types of meditation, this helped out.

 Clifford Pickover – “Sex, Drugs, Einstein & Elves…” - https://www.amazon.com/Sex-Drugs-Einstein-Elves-Transcendence/dp/1890572179/ - Somewhat random, frantic book – explores lots of ideas – planted a lot of seeds in my head that I followed up on in most of the books below

 Daniel Pinchbeck – “Breaking Open the Head” - https://www.amazon.com/Breaking-Open-Head-Psychedelic-Contemporary/dp/0767907434 - First book I read to explore impact of psychedelics on our brains

 Jeremy Narby – “Cosmic Serpent” - https://www.amazon.com/Cosmic-Serpent-DNA-Origins-Knowledge/dp/0874779642/ - Got into this book from the above, explores Ayahuasca deeper and relevancy of serpent symbolism in our society and DNA

 Robert Forte – “Entheogens and the Future of Religion” - https://www.amazon.com/Entheogens-Future-Religion-Robert-Forte/dp/1594774382 - Collection of essays and speeches from scientists, religious leaders, etc., about the use of psychedelics (referred to as Entheogens) as the catalyst for religion/spirituality

 Clark Strand – “Waking up to the Dark” - https://www.amazon.com/Waking-Up-Dark-Ancient-Sleepless/dp/0812997727 - Explores human’s addiction to artificial light, also gets into femininity of religion as balance to masculine ideas in our society

 Lee Bolman – “Leading with Soul” - https://www.amazon.com/Leading-Soul-Uncommon-Journey-Spirit/dp/0470619007 - Discusses using spirituality to foster a better, more supportive and creative workplace – pivotal in my honesty/openness approach when chatting about life with coworkers

 Eben Alexander – “Proof of Heaven” - https://www.amazon.com/Proof-Heaven-Neurosurgeons-Journey-Afterlife/dp/1451695195 - A neurophysicist discusses his near death experience and his transformation from non-believer to believer (title is a little click-baity, but very insightful book.  His descriptions of his experience align very similarly to deep meditations I’ve had)

 Indries Shah – “Thinkers of the East” - https://www.amazon.com/Thinkers-East-Idries-Shah/dp/178479063X/ - A collection of parables and stories from Islamic scholars.  Got turned onto Islamic writings after my trip through Pakistan, this book is great for structure around our whole spiritual “journey”

 Whitley Strieber – “The Key: A True Encounter” - https://www.amazon.com/Key-True-Encounter-Whitley-Strieber/dp/1585428698 - A man’s recollection of a conversation with a spiritual creature visiting him in a hotel room.  Sort of out there, easy to dismiss, but the topics are pretty solid

 Mary Scott – “Kundalini in the Physical World” - https://www.amazon.com/Kundalini-Physical-World-Mary-Scott/dp/0710094175/ - Very dense, very difficult scientific book exploring Hinduism and metaphysics (wouldn’t recommend this for light reading, definitely something you’d want to save for later in your “journey”)

 Hermann Hesse – “Siddartha” - https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/siddhartha-hermann-hesse/1116718450? – Short novel about a spiritual journey, coming of age type book.  Beautifully written, very enjoyable.

Reza Aslan - “Zealot” - https://www.amazon.com/ZEALOT-Life-Times-Jesus-Nazareth/dp/140006922X - Talks about the historical Jesus - helped me reconnect with Christianity in a way I didn’t have before

Reza Aslan - “No god but God” - https://www.amazon.com/god-but-God-Updated-Evolution/dp/0812982444 - Same as above, but in terms of Mohammad and Islam.  I’m starting to try to integrate the “truths” of our religions to try and form my own understanding

Thich Nhat Hanh - “Silence” - https://www.amazon.com/Silence-Power-Quiet-World-Noise-ebook/dp/B00MEIMCVG - Hanh’s a Vietnamese Buddhist monk - in this book he writes a lot about finding the beauty in silence, turning off the voice in our heads and lives, and living in peace.

Paulo Coelho - “The Alchemist” - https://www.amazon.com/Alchemist-Paulo-Coelho/dp/0062315005/ - Sort of a modern day exploration of “the path” similar to “Siddhartha.”  Very easy and a joy to read, good concepts of what it means to be on a “path”

Carlos Castaneda - "The Teachings of Don Juan" - The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge https://www.amazon.com/dp/0671600419 - Started exploring more into shamanism and indigenous spiritual work; this book was a great intro and written in an entertaining and accessible way. 

Jean-Yves Leloup - “The Gospel of Mary” - https://www.amazon.com/Gospel-Mary-Magdalene-Jean-Yves-Leloup/dp/0892819111/ - The book that finally opened my eyes to the potentiality of the teachings of Christ.  This book, combined with the one below, have been truly transformative in my belief system and accepting humanity and the power of love beyond what I’ve found so far in my journey.

Jean-Yves Leloup - “The Gospel of Philip” - https://www.amazon.com/Gospel-Philip-Magdalene-Gnosis-Sacred/dp/1594770220 - Really begins to dissect and dive into the metaphysical teachings of Christ, exploring the concept of marriage, human union and sexuality, and the power contained within.  This book, combined with the one above, have radically changed my perception of The Church as dissimilar and antithetical to what Christ actually taught.

Ram Dass - “Be Love Now” - https://www.amazon.com/Be-Love-Now-Path-Heart/dp/0061961388 - A follow-up to “Be Here Now” - gets more into the esoteric side of things, his relationship with his Guru, enlightenment, enlightened beings, etc.

Riane Eisler - “The Chalice and the Blade” - https://www.amazon.com/Chalice-Blade-Our-History-Future/dp/0062502891 - An anthropoligical book analyzing the dominative vs cooperative models in the history and pre-history of society and how our roots have been co-opted and rewritten by the dominative model to entrap society into accepting a false truth of violence and dominance as “the way it is”

u/Optimal_Joy · 1 pointr/DebateAChristian

Love is the single most important Universal Truth that is common to all of humanity. Everybody is born innocent and pure, with the capacity to Love. We are NOT born as sinners. We only become sinners once we develop an ego. Children are NOT sinners. The whole purpose in life is to learn to suppress the Ego and become like an innocent child again. This is the whole point of the example that Jesus gave us. The new testament presents God as Love.

The most important thing in the Bible, the main message of the Bible is this:

Matthew 22:36-40
New International Version (NIV)
36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’
38 This is the first and greatest commandment.
39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’
40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

The very fact that I'm writing this message to you and you are reading this message of Love, is all the proof you need that God exists and is real. "God" wants you to know, that all that matters is Love. Keep Love in your heart, make every decision in your life based on Love. Agnosticism is based upon fear, the polar opposite of Love. Choose Love, man, just choose Love!!! This message of Love, has been brought to you directly for you, from God. This is not a joke. In this very moment, as you are reading this, God has touched you and wants you to know that God is within your heart at this very moment, with you, right now and always is there, no matter what, all you have to do is remember that God is Love. So any time you feel Love for another person, be it your parents, relatives, friends or anybody, that is God shining through YOU. Any time you receive Love from another person, that is God. That is all that God is, it's very simple and pure. This is the basis of Christianity, if you have Love in your heart, then you are being like Jesus Christ. Don't let other people over-complicate it for you with religious dogma, traditions and other fundamentalist nonsense.

Just as you have no doubt that Love is Truth, believe that God is Truth, because they are One and the same exact thing. If you have Love in your heart, then you have God in your heart. "God" is just another word for "Love". Don't get stuck on the semantics.

What is the absolute proof of Love? Can science detect Love? If so, then it can detect God.

Alcohol is only "evil" if used to an excess. Lots of things can be evil. Ethanol has lots of valuable and useful purposes. You can use it to disinfect a wound (painful, but effective), mouthwash, gargle, soothes a sore throat, in small, infrequent quantities there are health benefits. "Evil" is merely an intention to do harm. Anything can be used for "evil". A screwdriver is just a tool, you can use it for good or you can stab someone in the neck with it, if the intention is to be evil, then it's evil, if you are defending your life, then even killing another person isn't evil. So you need to be aware of the context, and the intention behind things and actions.

Why Christianity? Because Jesus gave us a perfect example of how we should live our lives, full of Love and compassion towards others. That is not to say that all other religions are wrong. In fact, there is much spiritual Truth, knowledge, and wisdom to be learned from other religions. For an intelligent person such as yourself, you can find a lot of valuable answers from the teachings of Buddhism, for example, which is NOT in any way in conflict with being a Christian. Buddha was a very enlightened master and you will find great peace in reading about him.

The Old Testament is loaded with crap, throw most of it out if you want. That's not at all representative of what God is according to Jesus Christ.

As a Biomedical Engineering major it is CRUCIAL that you read this book:

The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief by Francis S. Collins
If you don't know who the author is, check this out:

Francis Sellers Collins (born April 14, 1950), is an American physician-geneticist, noted for his discoveries of disease genes and his leadership of the Human Genome Project (HGP). He currently serves as Director of the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland. Prior to being appointed Director, he founded and was president of the BioLogos Foundation.

Here is another book:

The God Theory: Universes, Zero-point Fields, And What's Behind It All

[Video] The God Theory

Now do you believe that if you ask God for answers, they will be given to you? Is this not the proof you wanted? How can you deny that you've asked and now you've received? You can't deny it. You asked God to prove that he is real to you and this is it, right here, right NOW.

u/[deleted] · 15 pointsr/exjw

It's a bunch of gobbledygook about the generations and the kingdom and all of that. It's all nonsense. In my humble opinion, you need to de-indoctrinate yourself to fully remove these types of fears. Not sure if I've shared this post with you before, but here's what I did personally:

Take some time to learn about the history of the bible. For example, you can take the Open Yale Courses on Religious Studies for free.

Read Who Wrote the Bible by Richard Elliott Friedman

Also read A History of God by Karen Armstrong

Next, learn some actual science. For example - spoiler alert: evolution is true. Visit Berkeley's excellent Understanding Evolution Website.. Or, if you're pressed for time, watch this cartoon.

Read Why Evolution is True by Jerry Coyne

Read The Greatest Show on Earth by Richard Dawkins

Learn about the origin of the universe. For example, you could read works by Stephen Hawking

Read A Briefer History of Time by Stephen Hawking

Learn about critical thinking from people like Michael Shermer, and how to spot logical fallacies.


For good measure, use actual data and facts to learn the we are NOT living in some biblical "last days". Things have gotten remarkably better as man has progressed in knowledge. For example, watch this cartoon explaining how war is on the decline..

Read The Better Angels of Our Nature by Steven Pinker

Another great source is the youtube series debunking 1914 being the start of the last days.

Another way to clear out the cobwebs is to read and listen to exiting stories. Here are some resources:

https://leavingjw.org

Here is a post with links to a bunch of podcasts interviewing JWs who've left

Here's another bunch of podcasts about JWs

Here is a great book from Psychotherapist and former JW Bonnie Zieman - Exiting the JW Cult: A Helping Handbook

I wish you the best. There is a whole world of legitimate information out there based on actual evidence that you can use to become a more knowledgeable person.

You may still wonder how you can be a good human without "the truth." Here is a good discussion on how one can be good without god. --Replace where he talks about hell with armageddon, and heaven with paradise--

To go further down the rabbit hole, watch this series.

Here's a nice series debunking most creationist "logic".

Start to help yourself begin to live a life where, as Matt Dillahunty puts it, you'll "believe as many true things, and as few false things as possible."

u/porscheguy19 · 4 pointsr/atheism

On science and evolution:

Genetics is where it's at. There is a ton of good fossil evidence, but genetics actually proves it on paper. Most books you can get through your local library (even by interlibrary loan) so you don't have to shell out for them just to read them.

Books:

The Making of the Fittest outlines many new forensic proofs of evolution. Fossil genes are an important aspect... they prove common ancestry. Did you know that humans have the gene for Vitamin C synthesis? (which would allow us to synthesize Vitamin C from our food instead of having to ingest it directly from fruit?) Many mammals have the same gene, but through a mutation, we lost the functionality, but it still hangs around.

Deep Ancestry proves the "out of Africa" hypothesis of human origins. It's no longer even a debate. MtDNA and Y-Chromosome DNA can be traced back directly to where our species began.

To give more rounded arguments, Hitchens can't be beat: God Is Not Great and The Portable Atheist (which is an overview of the best atheist writings in history, and one which I cannot recommend highly enough). Also, Dawkin's book The Greatest Show on Earth is a good overview of evolution.

General science: Stephen Hawking's books The Grand Design and A Briefer History of Time are excellent for laying the groundwork from Newtonian physics to Einstein's relativity through to the modern discovery of Quantum Mechanics.

Bertrand Russell and Thomas Paine are also excellent sources for philosophical, humanist, atheist thought; but they are included in the aforementioned Portable Atheist... but I have read much of their writings otherwise, and they are very good.

Also a subscription to a good peer-reviewed journal such as Nature is awesome, but can be expensive and very in depth.

Steven Pinker's The Blank Slate is also an excellent look at the human mind and genetics. To understand how the mind works, is almost your most important tool. If you know why people say the horrible things they do, you can see their words for what they are... you can see past what they say and see the mechanisms behind the words.

I've also been studying Zen for about a year. It's non-theistic and classed as "eastern philosophy". The Way of Zen kept me from losing my mind after deconverting and then struggling with the thought of a purposeless life and no future. I found it absolutely necessary to root out the remainder of the harmful indoctrination that still existed in my mind; and finally allowed me to see reality as it is instead of overlaying an ideology or worldview on everything.

Also, learn about the universe. Astronomy has been a useful tool for me. I can point my telescope at a galaxy that is more than 20 million light years away and say to someone, "See that galaxy? It took over 20 million years for the light from that galaxy to reach your eye." Creationists scoff at millions of years and say that it's a fantasy; but the universe provides real proof of "deep time" you can see with your own eyes.

Videos:

I recommend books first, because they are the best way to learn, but there are also very good video series out there.

BestofScience has an amazing series on evolution.

AronRa's Foundational Falsehoods of Creationism is awesome.

Thunderfoot's Why do people laugh at creationists is good.

Atheistcoffee's Why I am no longer a creationist is also good.

Also check out TheraminTrees for more on the psychology of religion; Potholer54 on The Big Bang to Us Made Easy; and Evid3nc3's series on deconversion.

Also check out the Evolution Documentary Youtube Channel for some of the world's best documentary series on evolution and science.

I'm sure I've overlooked something here... but that's some stuff off the top of my head. If you have any questions about anything, or just need to talk, send me a message!

u/BranCerddorion · 3 pointsr/pagan

> Is this really offensive? If it is, please explain it to me. It's not enough to tell me it is, I've got to know why.

For some it will be, for others not so much.

If you asked me if you could approach paganism, but dropping the "supernatural" stuff from it, I'd say "Hell yeah!" because I do just that. I don't really have much use for divination or crystals or anything like that, so I just don't use them in my practice. I can see why some would use it and I understand how some use them practically, but I just don't feel the need for it.

For me, Paganism is really about the Natural world. The Earth is my Mother (My goddess, if you might like to say so), and the Sun is my Father (My god, if you will). I know a lot of other pagans do this do, but not all. Some pagans use pantheons for deity, but deity is not a necessity in paganism.

I still like ritual, though I don't do much pagan ritual in my personal practice, because the symbols used in it represent natural forces and things going on in the world. A "supernatural non-believer" could find use and spiritual meaning in ritual (as well as gods and crystals and magic), because to me (and surely others out there) they're just symbols, but symbols have a lot of personal power. They can help you change your mindset, help you understand things better.

Some will find calling things "supernatural" offensive, because some pagans do believe "supernatural" things exist, and don't view them as "supernatural." This is perfectly okay, to me, it's just not my way of approaching things.

TL;DR It will vary from person to person, and can be a sensitive topic for some. Not for all, though.

As for books without too much of a supernatural inclination about Paganism, I'd try out Ronald Hutton. His Triumph of the Moon is more about the history and roots of paganism, but he's very detailed and descriptive, as well as academic.

Margot Adler's Drawing Down the Moon is of the same vein as Triumph of the Moon. Both are pretty heavy and tome-like, but are filled with invaluable information.

If you're looking into Wicca theology, I found Bryan Lankford's Wicca Demystified to be a great in depth explanation, especially for an "outsider." A lot of the "beginners" books on Wicca you'll find are heavy on ritual and magic, and seeing how you don't have much fondness for it, I think Lankford's book might be better suited for you.

And I haven't read it, but Dana Eiler's Practical Pagan might be of interest to you. It seems to have the less "magicy-supernatural" and more of a mundane, practical approach to paganism. Not sure about it, though. You might find some good info in the amazon's review section of the book.

I feel like there's another book or two that I've read that taps into what you're looking for, but I just can't think of it. There are some cool anthologies full of essays of paganism in the real world, which I find are invaluable for their information, and not so heavy on the "supernatural side," like Pagan Visions for a Sustainable Future and Celebrating the Pagan Soul.

PS

>I'm use to kinda being primed to attack fundamentalism in Christianity and I've got little good to say about Islam at all.

I wouldn't be so dismissive of Christianity and Islam in general. Interfaith can be a very important. You don't have to agree with what they believe, but personally I know a few Muslims who are very kind and generous, and if they give credit to their religion for their kindness and generosity, I wouldn't say there's nothing good to say about Islam. But that's neither here nor there.

u/mustdashgaming · 11 pointsr/sadcringe

Step back and breath. I was just pointing out that the level of this person's usage of facebook is apt for the subreddit /r/oldpeoplefacebook. This is a common practice on reddit, pointing out a comment or post and saying that it would fit into another subreddit.

***

Yep, breakups happen. They suck. I had a girl who I dated for 4 years and was living with break up with me. Often times you can use this as a time of introspection to ask yourself questions and be objective with the answer. Asking things like:

Why did this person break up with you?


I can only speculate, but I'll cover some of the most common reasons.

Was it because you, or they, need to grow more as a person?


Your post history says that You're a freshman, I'm going to assume in High School and not college. Regardless, your experience is real and I don't want to dismiss that. You've both got growing to do, I know High School (and even College) seem like they are the whole world. Being obsessed with popularity and the social games that are played.

It's often said that "the best revenge is a life well lived." Grieve for the loss of the relationship, that's normal, but the best way to move on is to show this person (and everyone else) that you've improved on yourself for yourself.

Were they no longer attracted to you?


You shouldn't change who you are to fit into the mold other people want. You should strive to be the best person you can be. If you do that and you remain strong and confident, then people will be attracted to you. When this happens and you find someone who is at their best, you will make great partners to each other. Focus on improving and growing yourself, when you do that people will recognize it.

Did they find some base reasoning that the relationship could not work?


You said that this breakup came after a discussion on evolution. This can be an aspect of a person's core beliefs. If they are religious evolution often goes against their beliefs and make them feel like you not believing the same as them.

If you want to seek a deeper understanding of the evolution v. religion topic I would suggest this video. I would also suggest Bill Nye's follow up book Undeniable: Evolution and the Science of Creation. This should give you more information on what science knows and be able to appeal to a source or existing arguments.

I would also check out the /r/CrashCourseYT series Philosophy. This will help you build logical arguments, so that way you can say what you believe, why you believe it, and why they should agree with you. In addition to keeping an open mind in case they also have information that might benefit you.

Was it because of your actions towards them or others?


Being verbally or emotionally abusive. You can assess your actions by reading this article. People can use your behavior towards them or others to identify if you're a good match for them. Generally showing kindness, even when someone is wrong, is key. If you're nice to others, then this can appeal to a possible mate. If you are cruel to others, then this signals people you might be interested in that you could, eventually, be cruel to them.

***

I wish you the best and hope that some of what I have written will encourage you to become the best person you can be.

Edit: fuckin trolled

u/MisanthropicScott · 5 pointsr/DebateReligion

> Once again, the only way that natural selection could make the transition between point A and point B more likely would be for each individual step in the process to cause the organism to be more fit than the previous mutation.

B was never a goal. You're looking at the events that happened and assuming that they were pre-ordained and directed. If you could rewind the clock, A might just stay A. Or, A might evolve to C. B is merely what happened; it wasn't planned. There may have been millions of other things that could have, but didn't, happen.

> I'm not ignoring natural selection, I am just saying that in order for natural selection to 'guide' the gene from point A to point B [snip]

There was never an intent to do that. B was a random place.

Do you think that Homo Erectus was saying "Now, I need to get myself a more advanced larynx for more complex speech. And, I need a bit more brain power so I can think about writing some shit down. Then, I will finally be able to invent and drive a Lincoln Naggravator?

No. Perhaps homo erectus was saying "Ooo! Look at me. I've got fire. I've got stone tools. I'm the king. I'm the best. I must be created in god's image. I must be the purpose of the universe!"

But, from where we stand today, people think he was just a stepping stone to becoming us. But, his species was around for maybe 8 or 9 times as long as we've been around. And, homo erectus didn't render the planet virtually uninhabitable as we are doing.

But, the point is that nothing in evolution was directed in any particular way other than for survival. If we could reset the clock to 7 million years ago, it's extremely unlikely that we'd evolve again. (And the world would be a better place, IMNSHO.)

> Let me try to spell it out for you here.
>
> Imagine that the initial genetic sequence is A, and the genetic sequence that we are aiming for is B. I will represent the process of going from A to B with the following line:
>
> A - - - - - - - - - - B

But, there were numerous other possibilities, including the most likely that A just stays A.

A - - - - - - - - - - C

A - - - - - - - - - - D

A - - - - - - - - - - E

A - - - - - - - - - - F

A - - - - - - - - - - G

A - - - - - - - - - - H

A - - - - - - - - - - I

A - - - - - - - - - - J

A - - - - - - - - - - K

A - - - - - - - - - - L

A - - - - - - - - - - M

A - - - - - - - - - - N

.....

The fact is that what you call B could have been anything. Then you look at what actually happened and assume it was a goal. It wasn't. It didn't have to happen at all. It's more likely that what you call B is really K and all the other letters of the alphabet and many more didn't happen to actually happen. When you realize that, you realize that the likelihood of getting to B is irrelevant because B is just another random place, as A was. And, the whole thing could have ended at A. The chambered nautilus and horseshoe crabs are relatively unchanged after hundreds of millions of years. These are the successful species on the planet.

> 1<2<3<4<5<6<7<8<9<10
>
> Each step much give more fitness to the organism than the last

Exactly so. But, none of them are special. And the end point that you call B could just as easily be called 11. In 10 or 100 million years, we could be at a point 273 steps farther along and all of them would be incremental changes that made the organism more fit for whatever random conditions existed at that time and none of them would be special as you make B sound.

> Ultimately, each step in the process would have to be beneficial (which is highly unlikely)

No. It's extremely likely that the ones that are beneficial survive. The others are weeded out. So, each of those unlikely steps just happens to make the organism more fit. When a parasite loses an organ because that function is now performed by the host, that is more fit. When a bird loses its ability to fly over time, as the flightless cormorant of the Galapagos did, it is more fit in an environment with fewer predators. It's solid bones make it heavier, allow it to dive deeper, etc. But, that particular B is just a random point on the line. The flightless cormorant still has vestigial wings and still uses feet to propel itself underwater rather than using wings as flippers in the way that penguins do. So, it is not perfect. And, perhaps the evolution is not complete. Perhaps we're looking at step 7 rather than your point B.

So it is with us.

Perhaps, if we manage to survive the difficult time we've created for ourselves, we will evolve stronger backs and better knees that don't give out on us with age. Perhaps we're not point B either. Perhaps we're point 3 or 342 along the way to becoming a species smart enough not to kill ourselves off and well evolved enough not to have back and knee pain anymore.

More likely, in my own personal opinion, we will not survive for very much longer. More likely, in my personal opinion, we are at some point along the way and have hit a bad mutation that makes us more likely to eat out our resource base, destroy our own habitat, and die out without ever reaching some point that you might call B.

> Another common semantic issue is what 'evolution' exactly is. Is it merely 'change' over time? Or is it the introduction of novel new formations and functions within organisms that didn't exist prior. Apparently this Lizard's cecal valves were enlarged muscles that already existed within the organism. It is true that the lizard adapted, but untrue that it had novel new functions or structures that didn't exist prior.

Well, by your new standard, your larynx is still fish gills and your arms and legs are still the fins of lobe finned fish and your inner ear bones are still the jaw bones of fish. By your standard, nothing about us is really new either. We're still basically just like coelacanths.

In fact, as we evolved from lobe-finned fish, we are still in that taxa. For the same reason that humans are still apes and humans are still mammals because we evolved from both, we are also still in the taxa sarcopterygii.

BTW, Your Inner Fish, by Neil Shubin is an excellent read. I highly recommend it. It is not vitriolic in the way that Dawkins can be. It just explains evolution. It says nothing about religion and does not attack it in any way. I think it would help your understanding tremendously, if you're willing to actually learn a bit more about the science behind evolution.

> What evidence do you have to show that each individual step was beneficial? That each tiny mutation of a single nucleotide was beneficial? That every single example of evolution involved massive positive changes that were composed entirely of many tiny genetic mutations of one or two nucleotides that were always positive or beneficial to the organism?

We've found numerous intermediate stages that creationists have denied would ever be found. Basilosaurus, Ambulocetus along the way to whales. Feathered dinosaurs with simpler feathers that would only provide warmth not flight, etc., etc., etc.

(to be continued, over the size limit for a post)

u/tazemanian-devil · 4 pointsr/exjw

Here's another side of the coin. Not necessarily to drag you out of the cult, but just some very awesome, beautiful truths. If you've seen me post this before, i apologize. I don't like to assume everyone reads every thread.

Take some time to learn about the history of the bible. For example, you can take the Open Yale Courses on Religious Studies for free.

Read Who Wrote the Bible by Richard Elliott Friedman

Also read A History of God by Karen Armstrong

Next, learn some actual science. For example - spoiler alert: evolution is true. Visit Berkeley's excellent Understanding Evolution Website.. Or, if you're pressed for time, watch this cartoon.

Read Why Evolution is True by Jerry Coyne

Read The Greatest Show on Earth by Richard Dawkins

Learn about the origin of the universe. For example, you could read works by Stephen Hawking

Read A Briefer History of Time by Stephen Hawking

Learn about critical thinking from people like Michael Shermer, and how to spot logical fallacies.


For good measure, use actual data and facts to learn the we are NOT living in some biblical "last days". Things have gotten remarkably better as man has progressed in knowledge. For example, watch this cartoon explaining how war is on the decline..

Read The Better Angels of Our Nature by Steven Pinker

Another great source is the youtube series debunking 1914 being the start of the last days.

I wish you the best. There is a whole world of legitimate information out there based on actual evidence that you can use to become a more knowledgeable person.

You may still wonder how you can be a good human without "the truth." Here is a good discussion on how one can be good without god. --Replace where he talks about hell with armageddon, and heaven with paradise--

Start to help yourself begin to live a life where, as Matt Dillahunty puts it, you'll "believe as many true things, and as few false things as possible."

u/NapAfternoon · 2 pointsr/NoStupidQuestions

You mean like heart, liver, kidney?

Its probably not going to be a satisfactory answer but they are shaped they way they are because they have always more or less been shaped that way. For example, the basic structure of the heart hasn't changed much in...well 500 million years. I suggest reading the book your inner fish which really explains how many of the features we have today are simple modifications on a theme that was well established over half a billion years ago. The age old adage "if it ain't broke don't fix it" applies nicely.

Of course there is variation, and variation arises through different selective pressures. For example, take a look at the heart of different animals (ignore the spider): they all have chambers, they all pump blood, and they all have a similar structure. A basic structure modified to meet the unique demands of those species. A blueprint that has been slightly modified over time. Each new iteration of the "heart" is shaped to fit the needs of that species based on the selective pressures its ancestors encountered. It would be impossible to explain each iteration and its unique function, for that we would need to consider the unique environment, life history, and evolutionary history of that species. All these factors coming together to create organs which function for that animal. The basic blueprint isn't tampered with too severely, because the underlying function and and basic physiological mechanisms are conserved across species. All hearts need to pump blood, that is the underlying function of the heart. Moreover, the basic physiological mechanisms that allow a heart to beat and the types of cells that make up heart tissue are conserved. What changes are the number and orientation of chambers. The reason why the number and orientation of chambers changes is because the ancestors of those species encountered unique obstacles and pressures that favoured these slight changes. Why are the organs shaped the way they are? Evolution.

Edit: Maybe an analogy would help. Its really easy for evolution to tweak what has already been designed. You design a chair...but now you want a bench...take the same chair and just stretch it out, or copy and paste. Using this technique you are more likely to end up with a functional product at the end of the day that is user friendly. Something that resembles the original but with slight modification. Drastic changes in design can result in disasters, so its better to just work with what you have and go from there. Evolution works in a similar way. You have a heart that functions well with two chambers. Its fairly easy to modify that and make four chambers by splitting the two that already exist in half. But to restart and create a whole new way of pumping blood is inefficient and risky. Its like trying to take the blueprint for that chair and modify it into a bean bag...not going to work. We are more or less "locked in" to the blueprint we have. Slight changes can work, but total rewrites aren't going to happen. So the organs are shaped the way they are because their shape helps fulfill their function. Their function, being determined long ago, with very few changes has resulted in a conservation of form throughout the ages and across species.

u/matthewdreeves · 2 pointsr/exjw

Hello and welcome! Indoctrination in most cults can leave a person bitter about the world around them. Learning the actual facts about reality, the universe, and humanity is a good way to counter those negative feelings in my experience. Not sure how much of this applies to you, but here are my recommendations for de-indoctrinating yourself:

Take some time to learn about the history of the bible. For example, you can take the Open Yale Courses on Religious Studies for free.

Read Who Wrote the Bible by Richard Elliott Friedman

Also read A History of God by Karen Armstrong

Watch this talk from Sam Harris where he explains why "free will" is likely an illusion, which debunks the entire premise of "the fall of man" as presented by most Christian religions.

Watch this video on the Cordial Curiosity channel that teaches how the "Socratic Method" works, which essentially is a way to question why we believe what we believe. Do we have good reasons to believe them? If not, should we believe them?

Watch this video by Theramin Trees that explains why we fall for the beliefs of manipulative groups in the first place.

This video explains why and how childhood indoctrination works, for those of us born-in to a high-control group.

Another great source is this youtube series debunking 1914 being the start of the last days.

Next, learn some science. For example - spoiler alert: evolution is true. Visit Berkeley's excellent Understanding Evolution Website. Or, if you're pressed for time, watch this cartoon.

Read Why Evolution is True by Jerry Coyne.

Read The Greatest Show on Earth by Richard Dawkins.

Watch this series where Aron Ra explains in great detail how all life is connected in a giant family tree.

Learn about the origin of the universe. For example, you could read A Briefer History of Time by Stephen Hawking.

Learn about critical thinking from people like [Michael Shermer] (http://www.ted.com/talks/michael_shermer_on_believing_strange_things?language=en), and how to spot logical fallacies.

For good measure, use actual data and facts to learn the we are NOT living in some biblical "last days". Things have gotten remarkably better as man has progressed in knowledge. For example, watch this cartoon explaining how war is on the decline.

Read The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined by Steven Pinker.

Watch this Ted Talk by Hans Rosling, the late Swedish Statistician, where he shows more evidence that the world is indeed becoming a better place, and why we tend to wrongly convince ourselves otherwise.

I wish you the best. There is a whole world of legitimate information out there based on actual evidence that you can use to become a more knowledgeable person.

You may still wonder how you can be a good human without "the truth." Here is a good discussion on how one can be good without god. --Replace where he talks about hell with armageddon, and heaven with paradise--

Start to help yourself begin to live a life where, as Matt Dillahunty puts it, you'll "believe as many true things, and as few false things as possible."

u/keenmedia · 1 pointr/atheism

> Science has always been a way to understand God better for Christians.

has it? Or have Christians been forcing their 'worldview' on others for 2,000 years claiming to have special knowledge about the mysteries of existence and life after death with no other evidence than a book and their own personal 'revelations'. For most of that time, their claim to absolute truth was absolute and unchallengeable. The advancement of sciences in the areas of physics, biology, astronomy and chemistry, especially in the last 200 years, have been able to explain many of the mysteries that confounded our ancestors, and have transformed our lives in tangibly positive ways. Take leprosy: People in Biblical times thought leprosy was a sign of sin against God, and so you were 'unclean'. Of course nobody believes that anymore (to his credit, it seems Jesus didn't buy into it either). According to wikipedia: In the past 20 years, 15 million people worldwide have been cured of leprosy, which is caused by the bacteria Mycobacterium leprae. It's one example but I'm sure you can think of many more. The church has lost so much ground to science that there are only a few little islands of mystery from which to they try to claim authority and justification for their philosophies, such as:

> the Bible is kind of like an ethical cheat sheet, from an omniscient God who actually knows the answers
> even those who didn't hear about God know what's right & wrong

and you have your own theory:

> God started things off, realized natural selection was a great way to set up a diverse planet, and probably intervened a bit in the ape -> human transition.

Now, you are basically saying that the differences we perceive between a human and a chimpanzee are actually the direct result of a deliberate intervention, at a specific time in the past, by a creator god (from outer space), who engineered the development of our culture, giving us laws, clothing, marriage, and possibly music and mathematics. It's an interesting theory, but whats the motivation?

> man is different from the animals

This is the central issue. Logically, if we are animals than either animals have souls (and we should all be vegetarians, or burn as murderers), or humans do not have souls (and there is no eternal life for believers). This is a catch-22 for a bible believing christians and meat-eaters. Maybe you can say animals do have souls, but God said we can eat them so its OK. This is kind of like saying God is an asshole who arbitrarily makes up the rules as he goes along (which is a solid theological position - just ask Job: the Lord giveth, the Lord taketh away).

I think to separate ourselves from the animals is to deny the truth of what science has shown us about ourselves. For Christians, science may be just a way to understand God better, but for the rest of us it is a way to understand reality better. Of course Christians want there to be no conflict between faith in the Bible and reality because no philosophy can exist without being rooted to some degree in reality; otherwise it is just a fantasy.

Let me back up a second. You said you believe the Bible is true and historically accurate, and I won't ask you what evidence you have for believing that. I used to believe as you did, that the Bible is true, and so is evolution but that somehow there is no conflict and the two work together - that somehow there in the whole mix of life evolving naturally, God intervened and sent Jesus to fulfill his mysterious plan so that we can all live forever in heaven. I just didn't want to accept that all those people (including my family) could be wrong; they are obviously sincere in their beliefs. For several years I found various ways to explain it all without accepting a 'naturalistic worldview', and all that implies including a very high probability of there being no life after death. I might still believe in the Bible if I hadn't started reading science books and watching BBC documentaries... yep Attenborough offered me the red pill and i took it.

If you can pretend for a moment you were born in Africa or Asia, in some remote tribe with no written language. You wouldn't have any reason to trust in a book you could not read; everything you know about the universe has been explained to you by those around you, those who came before, those who were close in the beginning. This is the same experience as any animal that learns how to hunt or fly or build nests from their parents.

The book I mentioned, Our Inner Ape documents the social behavior and societies of bonobos and chimpanzees, written by noted primatologist Frans de Waal who has studied these unique primates for decades. It's a fascinating read and may surprise you to see how many behaviors people tend to think of as uniquely 'human' are, in fact, shared by our closely-related ape cousins. In fact, de Waal shows, all major traits are shared, including language, toolmaking, and the full range of emotional states. Within the ape societies, the apes have their own standards of 'right' and 'wrong' behavior that they enforce in the same ways we do: shunning some, rewarding others, punishing the worst offenders. They learn from each other, and pass on skills to their offspring.

Evolution, as I understand it, is the theory that explains how more efficient/adapted forms emerge from the natural processes of entropy and diffusion. The theory explains how natural processes have driven our biological development, and also why men have nipples. Biological evolution is a special case; Evolution itself is a law of Nature, at a more elementary level, in the realm of Physics or Math.

All of our languages, customs, art, music, and every other thinking pattern has evolved through these same natural processes. Basically, I'm describing Memes. Have you ever thought about Christianity as a Meme? Of the Catholic Church as an organism whose main goal is to ensure its own survival? We have been and continue to evolve, quite rapidly, both biologically and culturally. Every individual and every idea wants to survive, but not everything gets successfully passed to the next generation. Every meme and species is only one generation away from becoming extinct. Adapt or die. This is why the mainstream church is becoming warmer to the idea of evolution, why the Vatican apologized for Galileo - survival of the religion is more important than orthodoxy.

The line between science and philosophy and religion get blurred with evolution because it answers, quite elegantly, the 'big' question: where did we come from? For this reason, it is a threat to all memes based on the idea of a 'creator god' because it nullifies this concept directly. Indirectly, it has the potential to erode the foundations underneath many religions. But I don't think the ideas of evolution are really a threat to you, me, our standards of morality, our way of life or anything else. The victims are a literal interpretation of the Bible and belief in a 'creator god'. Why not let it go? If you had never read the Bible, would you really be a less moral person? really? If not for that one book all people would know nothing but evil and be totally selfish to each other? Is this one book worth deliberately lobotomizing yourself? You'll go crazy trying to reconcile it; do you want to end up like Ray Comfort or Ken Ham?

A couple other interesting books you might enjoy if you feel like taking the red pill:

Kluge: The Haphazard Construction of the Human Mind

Your Inner Fish

Sorry for the novel, kind got caught up in it :)

u/nullp0int · 17 pointsr/TrueAtheism

Let's dismantle your friend's arguments:

> Because something can't come from nothing...

Prove it. If he can't, his argument already falls apart. People assume that "something can't come from nothing" is a fact, but what evidence backs this up? Every single human being has been surrounded by "something" for every instant of his or her existence. Not once has any person experienced absolute "nothing". Thus any statement about the properties of "nothing" (besides being self-contradictory, as "nothing" cannot have properties) is complete and total Making Shit Up. This is begging the question.

> ...there had to be a being intelligent enough to create it

If something can exist without prior cause, then clearly prior cause is not always needed for existence. Therefore the demand that the universe have a prior cause is unreasonable. Furthermore, the universe is not a "thing" - it is the set of all things. Assuming that the whole must have the characteristics of its parts is the fallacy of composition.

> Because god exists outside of science, he doesn't need a scientific explanation.

"Outside of science" is a nonsensical statement. Please define or stop using this. Also, this is special pleading.

> The chances of abiogenesis occurring is 1 in 10^40,000. Most statisticians agree that these chances are far too improbable for such a thing to occur that it's essentially impossible.

This is Just Plain Wrong. The chance of abiogenesis occurring is not 1 in 10^40,000; people who think so are basing their beliefs off junk science and junk math. See: here for details. By the way, the whole "most statisticians agree..." is a ploy by your friend to hide the fact that he just pulled a random unsubstantiated number (10^40,000) out of the air and expects you to accept it.

>Nearly all genetic mutations are big and negative...

Again, Just Plain Wrong. See this and this. Your friend needs to do a little more research.

> ...therefore evolution having mutations that are small and positive is nearly impossible.

Your friend is showing his ignorance regarding evolution. Mutations are neither positive nor negative without context. A mutation which is helpful under certain circumstances is harmful under others. See the previous two links for more.

> Everything in nature seems perfectly designed for human beings.

Yep, cancer, natural disasters, predators, odorless toxic gases, plagues have all been perfectly designed to suit human beings. Toss your friend alone and naked into the wilderness and see how far that "perfectly designed" environment takes him. Better yet, toss him into the 99.99999999% of the universe that is not Earth and see how long he survives.

Furthermore, saying that "everything looks designed" is self-defeating. Ask your friend to show you an example of something which is not designed. Let's say he suggests X. Point out that, according to his beliefs, God did in fact design X, thus your friend has demonstrated an inability to tell the difference between things that are designed and not designed. In addition, if literally everything around us is designed, then he very concept of being designed loses all meaning (in the same way that theists like to say that good without evil loses all meaning).

> There's no way to explain that/the complexity around us with mutations.

Again, does not understand evolution. He should read this before making more ill-informed statements.

> There had to be a creator.

Even if this were true (it's not, given that every single thing your friend has said above is utterly wrong) - but even if this were true, there's nothing that says that this creator is anything like human notions of "God".

u/SocratesDiedTrolling · 2 pointsr/Christianity

I've been thinking about this. The works which first pop to mind are probably too technical for general interest as they are written to be read by other professional philosophers. I'm trying to think of what might be interest to the educated person who isn't a Philosophy major.
*****

Peter Kreeft


Peter Kreeft writes a lot of things for a general audience. He is a Catholic philosopher at Boston College. He often speaks at other universities, and has even been part of a debate with a former professor of mine, so he is at least pretty well-known in philosophical circles. He has a bunch of free readings on the "featured readings" and "more featured readings" pages of his site, which also has lectures and such. Here is his author page on Amazon. His books are also mostly intended for a general audience. I've read a handful of them, so if you're thinking of ordering one, or finding it at a library, let me know and I'll give you my two cents. The Sea Within: Waves and the Meaning of All Things is interesting. He is fairly old, and a lifelong surfer. In that book he draws analogies between the natural pull the ocean has on us and the pull God has on us. He also has many Socrates Meets... books which don't have so much to do with religion, but provide accessible introductions to various philosophers (e.g. Socrates Meets Sartre).
*****

Alvin Plantinga


Alvin Plantinga is a very prominent philosopher, and a Christian. Much of his writing is intended for the professional philosophical audience, but some if it might be accessible to a general audience. Here is his Amazon author page. Let me know if you're thinking about checking out any of his stuff. Like I said, a lot of it is more technical than Kreeft's. Also, he is in the analytic tradition, whereas Kreeft is more in the continental tradition. I think that further distances him from the casual reader.

Some of Plantinga's works which might be good:

  • God and Other Minds: A Study of the Rational Justification of Belief in God is pretty much what it's long title says.

  • I see a brand new book, which I might get myself! It's on a topic which often comes up in this very forum, science and religion. (Anybody want to read it with me?!) Where the Conflict Really Lies: Science, Religion, and Naturalism. Publisher's blurb:

    >This book is a long-awaited major statement by a pre-eminent analytic philosopher, Alvin Plantinga, on one of our biggest debates -- the compatibility of science and religion. The last twenty years has seen a cottage industry of books on this divide, but with little consensus emerging. Plantinga, as a top philosopher but also a proponent of the rationality of religious belief, has a unique contribution to make. His theme in this short book is that the conflict between science and theistic religion is actually superficial, and that at a deeper level they are in concord.

    *****

    Søren Kierkegaard


    If you're thinking more historically, I think Kierkegaard can be very interesting. He is considered by many to be a proto-existentialist (a sort of existentialist before existentialism existed as a movement). Fear and Trembling is relatively easy to read, short, and probably his most read work. I recommend it. Also, here is his Amazon author page.

    *****

    Others


    Those three were just a few of the many Christian philosophers I find interesting. There are a whole lot more, some more accessible than others to a general audience. This is still just a fraction of the historical Christian philosophical scene, but I think it will give you a good start. These are all of them off of the top of my head whom I have studied to some extent.

    Contemporary:


  • John Hick (Amazon) (Website) (Wiki): Primarily a philosopher of religion and theologian, comes from a rather liberal, mystic Christian perspective.

  • Bas van Fraassen (Wiki): Doesn't actually do much on religion, just a prominent philosopher who happens to be a theist. In fact, many would not guess him to be a theist due to his ultra-empiricism.

  • Peter van Inwagen (Wiki): A prominent philosopher in both philosophy of religion, and other areas. Some would argue he's even a better philosopher than Plantinga (heresy among some Christian philosophers, lol).

  • J.P. Moreland (Wiki): Christian philosopher, does a lot of apologetics.

  • William Lane Craig (Wiki): Well-known, but not well-liked by many philosophers, does a lot of apologetics and travels the world doing public debates with atheists. Has also done a good deal of publishing.

  • Cornell West (Wiki): Awesome guy!

  • Richard Swinburne: (Wiki) (Amazon Author Page): Has written many books more geared towards a general audience I believe.

    Historical


  • Francis of Assisi

  • Augustine of Hippo

  • Peter Abelard

  • Thomas Aquinas

  • Renee Descartes

  • John Locke

  • George Berkeley

  • Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz

  • Blaise Pascal

  • Johann Gotlieb Fichte

  • Immanuel Kant

  • William James: One badass mo'fo in my humble opinion. Early twentieth century American philosopher, part of the pragmatist school, and a defender of faith.

    ****
    Author's Note: I've been working on this entry for about 45 minutes now. I hope someone reads some of it. Time for a break. If you have any questions, or wanna talk philosophy, let me know, it's in my blood.*

u/MegaTrain · 1 pointr/DebateAnAtheist

You have quite a few misconceptions about evolution. I am a former creationist myself, and everything finally "clicked" for me reading Jerry Coyne's book "Why Evolution is True". If you are serious about your questions, I'd encourage you to read it.

My answers to your questions:

  1. Evolution doesn't have a "goal" in mind. Changes happen naturally (mutations), but they will only stick around in a population if they are adaptive in some way (better for the creature). It's pretty cool that evolution eventually produced us, but this was not inevitable in any way, nor an "end goal" of evolution.

  2. Not sure if you are looking for a literal crocoduck or something, but we have tons of transitional fossils (in a way, all fossils are transitional). Coyne's book talks quite a bit about evidence of whale evolution, where transitional fossils are very clear.

  3. Physics is descriptive, not prescriptive. It is simply a description of how things work, it's not a set of rules imposed from someone else that matter has to obey/follow. So it didn't have to "be in place" before anything.

  4. In our view, Earth appears to be very well suited to support life (us, specifically). But this is actually backwards, we were shaped (by evolution) to be perfect for life on this earth. It's like a puddle saying "this is an interesting hole I find myself in, it fits me rather neatly, doesn't it?" (courtesy of Douglas Adams). Regarding life on other worlds, space is pretty big, so lots of people expect to someday find a planet somewhere else out there that could also support life. The fact that we don't yet have the technology to find them doesn't mean they aren't there.

  5. If you want to be precise, the Big Bang was more like a very rapid expansion of stuff, but I don't have a problem describing it as an explosion, as long as you don't use that analogy to make other unwarranted assumptions.

  6. Some other primates do have sharper teeth and claws. How a particular trait in a specific creature evolved is mostly speculation, but I could see situations where higher intelligence would be an evolutionary advantage over physical prowess.

  7. I used to be a Christian. I am an atheist now because I examined my faith in great detail, and concluded that it didn't hold up to scrutiny. I am open-minded though, if we see evidence that suggests that God is real, I'd be willing to consider it.

  8. To borrow from Matt Dillahunty: I want to believe as many true things, and as few false things, as possible. So the only thing that would make Christianity more attractive is if I had any reason to suspect it was actually true.
u/WyMANderly · 154 pointsr/todayilearned

Bingo. Stephen Jay Gould called this "Non-Overlapping Magisteria":


http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Non-Overlapping_Magisteria


As a religious person, I view religion as a way of understanding the meaning behind it all, and science as a tool for exploring God's creation. Science is about the pursuit of truth, and God is Truth. How could there be any conflict? If religion has held some view (generally for lack of any better explanation at the time, as it was with Geocentrism) that has since been disproven by science (done correctly, that is), then what is a religious man/woman to do but rejoice? Knowledge is a good thing. If God created the universe, then to study the universe is to learn more about His handiwork.


EDIT: I just wanted to take a moment (since this post has gotten a wee bit of exposure and because this will be extremely relevant to a lot of the response comments) to suggest a book that has been instrumental in shaping my views on evolution and the relationship between religion and science. The book is called "Finding Darwin's God", and it's written by Kenneth Miller. Anyone use the green dragonfly Biology textbook in high school? Yeah, that Kenneth Miller.


http://www.amazon.com/Finding-Darwins-God-Scientists-Evolution/dp/0061233501


Anyway, this is the book that changed my mind (as a Christian raised with the "evolution is antithetical to our faith" mindset) on evolution. Miller (himself both an accomplished Biologist and a Christian) spends the first 2/3 of the book utterly demolishing every single common argument against evolution. Just... destroys them. "Irreducible complexity", young earth creationism, etc. You name it, he brings it down with logic and relevant examples. Great source for anyone looking for some well-sourced material and examples to bring to a (respectful, let's keep it classy) debate on the subject. Then, with the last 1/3 or so of the book, Miller talks about how embracing science (including evolution, obviously) is actually the only responsible choice for a person of faith. He discusses how the "God of the Gaps" philosophy is really and truly detrimental to belief in a glorious God who created the universe, and talks about how a Christian should not be afraid of new scientific discovery but should instead embrace it.


Anyway. Great book. If I were to list the 5 books that had had the largest impact on my life and views, this one would definitely be in the top 5. Plus it changed my mind on something. It's not often that that happens, especially to pre-college me (I've mellowed out a bit since then). I'd recommend it to anyone, whether you are a person of faith or not.

u/I_Flip_Burgers · 3 pointsr/facepalm

> Dinosaurs contradict creation theory.

Possibly. But many branches of Christianity do not endorse YEC.

> Evolution contradicts 'god made humans to be above all others', since our ascendance is based on (essentially) chance.

For some this is true. But again, many Christians are theistic evolutionists.

> Other planets and the nigh-certainty of extraterrestrial life contradicts 'god made earth/the entire universe. The (measurable!) Big Bang theory already does that though, of course.

I don't see the contradiction unless you mean that it contradicts that God made the universe specifically for human beings. In that case, this is a point of contention that was shared by many early natural philosophers, even non-Christians. The Ptolemaic geocentric system of the universe was valued because it put human beings at the center (among other reasons). But, this seems to be a problem less about Christianity and more about human importance in general.

> If Christianity is not the first religion, it suggests that people will make up origin stories to comfort themselves, and Christianity is just one of them. This is of course a different branch of science (anthropology I think?), but a valid one afaik.

Good point. There is a reason why anthropology has one of the lowest proportions of religious people of the scientific disciplines. But, a religious person could argue that people generate origin stories so as to fill a God-instilled void in themselves (I am not making this argument, I'm just saying that it is a possible one).

> Furthermore, if God made the world and everything in it, why would he a) make other religions; and b) let people carry on for thousands of years without knowing about God, and in fact believing in the wrong gods. It doesn't make a whole lot of sense.

Good point, but this is venturing beyond science into theology.

> Now I agree every single one of those points can be refuted if you try hard enough. The point is though, you have to try.
In order to refute the points above, you have to decide that the first christians were flat-out wrong in taking the bible factually and that it was always meant to be allegorical.

Good points, and this is why some Christians have such difficulty with certain scientific discoveries. If one holds a literal interpretation of the Bible, it is much harder to reconcile modern science with Christianity. But, is this a flaw in Christianity itself or a flaw in certain human doctrines about Christianity? Personally, I do not see logical inconsistency with people who adjust their doctrine according to new scientific discoveries. In the book I linked, several of the authors discuss how Christianity helped shape modern science, but the inverse can also be true; science can help shape Christian theology. Isaac Newton, who is "Mr. Science" for many and often used as the posterboy for atheism, invoked the concept and several attributes of the Christian God to explain several of his scientific findings in his Letters and General Scholium. But, he also made theological arguments about the nature of Christ and the timeline of Christ's return based on his scientific beliefs. Adapting one's beliefs according to new evidence is never a bad thing in science or theology.

> I could also bring up the fact there are other religions in the world today, and THEY all claim to be the only one. Or the fact that kids who are taught things at an early age internalise them. Or the fact that there is no such thing as a miracle with evidence and that they haven't happened since the advent of portable cameras.

These are interesting arguments, but again, they are theological (or at least philosophical) ones, not scientific ones.

> There are other arguments of course. But I think it comes down to this: Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. The claim of an omnipotent being in the sky watching us, leaving us entirely alone, and judging us when we die is an incredibly extraordinary claim with an equally extraordinary amount of evidence and logic stacked against it - and frankly, not much for it.
If you, claiming to believe in science, can see all the evidence and still believe in God...there's a problem. They are mutually exclusive.

Here, you hit on the primary conflict that people perceive between science and Christianity. How do we find truth? In post-Baconian natural philosophy/science, evidence is seen as the gold standard for establishing truth. But, what is evidence? For a data scientist, evidence might be a statistically significant difference between two populations. For an evolutionary biologist, evidence might be certain aspects of the fossil record. In general terms, one may consider evidence to be the end result of an inductive line of reasoning or a correctly predicted outcome from a hypothetico-deductive reasoning. But, as it turns out, even these last two are not "proof" in the traditional sense (see The Problem of Induction and Hypothetic-deductive model Discussion. Many Christians also see evidence of God in nature. Francis Collins, for example, is a brilliant scientist who played a pivotal role in the Human Genome Project and is the director of the National Institutes of Health, and he sees evidence for God in evolution The Language of God. Does Collins offer evidence? You may not think so, but it is worth thinking about how his account is fundamentally different from "scientific evidence." Evidence is not a bad criterion to use for establishing truth, but there are many kinds of evidence, and very few forms of evidence provide logical proof. Now, I am not trying to discredit the value of a scientific approach for understanding truth; of course, such a method has proven to be incredibly useful for understanding and manipulating our world. However, I am suggesting that science, at least in the eyes of many people, does not hold sole authority over truth.

>I don't deny the profound effects christianity has had on the human race, including the development of science, literature, art and contribution to law and government. I just don't think it's real, nor do I think it's possible to logically reconcile belief in god with science

The great part about this debate is that you alone have sole jurisdiction over your own beliefs, and I certainly am not trying to convince you to think in another way. But, it is sometimes worth thinking about why so many people see science and Christianity in a different light.


I certainly understand the insistence that science and Christianity are fundamentally incompatible, but I hope that I have given you a few points to consider. If you are interested in this topic, it may be worth reading more about the relationship between science and Christianity. It's a great opportunity to be exposed to new ideas and to avoid falling into the historical fallacies that both Christians and non-Christians are prone to.

u/zeyus · 1 pointr/exjw

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)

u/efrique · 8 pointsr/atheism

> as I have no proof that we evolved from other animals/etc.

Such proof abounds. If you're going to debate these people, you need to know some of it.

I don't mean enough to ask a couple of questions, I mean enough to carry both sides of the conversation, because he'll make you do all the heavy lifting.

Start with talkorigins.org.

First, the FAQ
Maybe the 29+ Evidences for Macroevolution next,
then the pieces on observed instances of speciation

See the extensive FAQs index

Here are their questions for creationsists - see both links there

and then read the index to creationist claims

That's just to start. Take a look at the Outline (which starts with an outline of the outline!)

If you're going to talk with a creationist, you either need to get some idea of the topography or you'll end up chasing in circles around the same tree again and again.

Yes, it looks like a major time investment, but once you start to become familiar with it, it gets easier quickly. Don't aim to learn it all by heart - but you should know when there is an answer to a question, and where to find it.

read books like Your Inner Fish and Why Evolution Is True and The Greatest Show on Earth

I list Your Inner Fish first because it tells a great story about how Shubin and his colleagues used evolutionary theory and geology to predict where they should look for an intermediate fossil linking ancient fish and amphibians (a "transitional form") - and they went to that location, and found just such a fossil. This makes a great question for your creationist - given fossils are kind of rare, how the heck did he manage that? If evolution by natural selection is false, why does that kind of scientific prediction WORK? Is God a deceiver, trying to make it look exactly like evolution happens?? Or maybe, just maybe, the simpler explanation is true - that evolution actually occurs. (Then point out that many major Christian churches officially endorse evolution. They understand that the evidence is clear)

It's a good idea to read blogs like Panda's Thumb, Why Evolution Is True, Pharyngula, erv (old posts here) and so on, which regularly blog on new research that relates to evolution.

Make sure you know about the experiments by Lenski et al on evolution of new genes

Don't take "no proof" as an argument. The evidence is overwhelming.

u/Im_just_saying · 3 pointsr/TrueChristian

Here's something from my book on eschatology that addresses your question.

Why Should I Care About The Future?

I have a lot of pastor friends who don’t know what they believe about the future. They honestly don’t even want to explore it, because everything they have studied so far seems to them foggy and confusing. The deeper they get the foggier it gets. Many of them have already abandoned a strict Dispensationalist view, but are comfortably uncomfortable with saying, “I don’t know how it will all turn out, so I’ll just serve Jesus and wait and see.”

This is a relatively safe approach, and certainly easier than having to wrestle for themselves with heavy eschatological issues. But there are two problems with this attitude.

First, it isn’t biblical. My goodness! Jesus and Paul and John and Peter and Matthew and Mark and Luke and Jude and James and whoever wrote Hebrews all talked about it. So did Moses and David and Jeremiah and Ezekiel and Isaiah and Daniel and Malachi (I have to stop here...too much typing!). How can we, as people faithful to the Word of God, simply ignore or put on a shelf something that is so significantly present in the whole of Scripture? If we are going to be faithful servants, ably handling the Word of God, we have to come to grips with these issues.

Second, the future determines the past. Yes, I’ll say it again, the future determines the past. What I mean is this. If you and I make plans to go on a picnic next Thursday, that future event determines what we do before it arrives. We have to decide where to go. Someone has to bring the sandwiches. Someone needs to get the wine. Will there be a blanket to sit on? How will we deal with the ants? Plans must be made, or else the picnic might not happen at all!

Similarly, what we expect about the “big” future determines what we do before it arrives. Is Jesus coming back to rescue a few who are holding the fort awaiting his arrival? Then our best option is to dig in, save as many souls as we can, expect things to get worse, forget about transforming society, and hold on for dear life. But if Jesus is coming back to the welcome of a victorious church, then we have work to do; things like making disciples of the nations (not just a few in the nations), teaching the world to obey everything Jesus has commanded us, saving souls—yes—but also transforming cultures, influencing economics, recovering the arts, channeling technology toward godly goals, and a whole host of other things. If Jesus is coming back really soon, we don’t need to send people to seminary—there isn’t time for that. If he’s coming back after we have accomplished our purposes, then we have time on our side—send a kid to seminary and prepare him for a life of ministry, train up children to be good parents and grandparents, elect godly leaders, write books, and plant trees, for God’s sake (literally).

When the ancient cathedrals were being built in Europe, the Christians understood that it might take a hundred or more years to complete them. When the foundations were laid, forests of trees were planted to serve as scaffolding a generation later. Stonemasons trained their sons to follow them in the trade and multiple generations of families made their living working on the church. One cathedral in England took a thousand years to finish! But it’s been finished for five hundred years and is still used for the worship of God. This is a far cry from throwing up a tin building in the hopes that it will last 20 years until Jesus comes.

The future determines the past. What do you believe about the future?

(pages 27ff)


u/JW_Skeptic · 1 pointr/exjw

I'm 38 now, but I woke up when I was almost 30. I felt the same way; that I had to start over again on a worldview. When I went back to college, I took every single class I could think of that the Watchtower Society would frown upon. For science, I took anthropology (emphasis on human biological evolution), astronomy, biology, geology, and earth history; lecture and lab for all classes. I also took anthropology of religion, magic, and witchcraft. I took an advanced upper level English course with an emphasis of ancient mythology. I took four philosophy classes, intro to philosophy, logic in practice, critical thinking and composition, and philosophy of religion. All of this served as a foundation for a secular worldview.

First and foremost, you need to learn how to think and not what to think. This is where philosophy comes in. An Introductory Philosophy class at a local community college is a great start. Logic, particularly informal logic and logical fallacies should be learned first. Identifying logical fallacies is what will help you differentiate between good information and bad information. The reason the Watchtower Society admonishes against higher education, is because a critical thinking component is generally a standard part of a General Education guideline. A first year college freshman will learn the intellectual tools necessary to recognize the logical fallacies, rhetoric, and deceptive tactics used by politicians, advertisers, and religious authorities, such as Watchtower. If you can't take a philosophy class, search YouTube for "Philosophy for beginners" and then search "informal logic for beginners". Once you have a full understanding of logical fallacies (which is part of informal logic), you will become dismayed of how much Watchtower uses them, and how JWs are oblivious to this. You'll see it in politics and union propaganda as well, so there are other benefits too. On a side note, this video was shown in my Introductory Philosophy and Philosophy of Religion classes: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=69F7GhASOdM There are striking parallels to waking up from the JW religion and Plato's Allegory of the Cave. Going back into the cave is not an option.

With the background of learning how to think, topics in science, and everything else comes a lot easier. Although courses in anthropology, biology, and earth history (which includes history of life on earth) do teach evolution, the basics of biological evolution can be found on YouTube by searching "evolution for dummies". Once you understand what it is, then look at the evidence for evolution. This is an important second step, because unlike Creationism, there are tons of evidence for evolution. This is where the "aha" moments comes from. I recommend this article by the Khan Academy: https://www.khanacademy.org/science/biology/her/evolution-and-natural-selection/a/lines-of-evidence-for-evolution I also recommend the book Why Evolution is True by Jerry Coyne. He goes into detail the five pillars of evidence for evolution; comparative anatomy, genetics, biogeography, and embryology. This book is found in most public libraries, so you can check it out for free get it on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Why-Evolution-True-Jerry-Coyne/dp/0143116649 Also, check out the Foundational Falsehoods of Creationism series on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KnJX68ELbAY&list=PL126AFB53A6F002CC

Understand that learning all of this is not easy. It takes time and patience. But the payoff in the end is well worth it. It's not like going to a meeting and hearing the same recycled drivel over and over again. I'm still not refined on a political position. All I can say is that I do not identify with any party because doing so obligates me to defend that platform. I like certain things from each party, and I vote accordingly. However, you can take an online "what political party am I quiz" to get a sense of where you are.

u/scdozer435 · 1 pointr/taoism

No worries. Glad I can be of assistance. A couple quick comments to make, however.

>I wasn't even sure that god was real. I mean, the logical part says that he's probably not. But the instinct part feels uncomfortable with the idea. To outright state that God does not exist bothers me for some unknown reason.

First of all, I think that this is a common misconception among many people today for a couple of reasons. First of all, logic as far as I understand it has gone both ways. Yes, a number of philosophers and scientists today are convinced of a lack of God, but there are also a number of thinkers who are using logic to demonstrate his existence. A really good one to check out if you're interested is Alvin Plantinga, a very well respected analytic philosopher who's also a Christian. I'm not trying to convert you, but rather would like to give you some options if you're interested in being rational and religious. And he's got a couple books you may find interesting. 1 and 2. I've only read parts of the first one, and found it very interesting. I'd recommend reading his essays on reformed epistemology, and his work on naturalism being irrational. Very good reading, and not terribly technical, so you should be able to get into it just fine.

And on the note of instinctual belief in God, I'd say don't be afraid to trust in your instincts. As one of my profs told me, gut-feeling's don't make for great philosophical arguments in themselves, but they do often indicate that there's the possibility of an argument being made. You often know a lot more than you realize; all the reading, studying and analysis is simply finding ways to express it to others. So yeah, don't be so hesitant to trust yourself. Good luck.

u/distantocean · 4 pointsr/exchristian

You might want to check out Khan Academy, which provides entirely free online courses on a huge range of subjects.

On evolution, Stated Clearly is an outstanding series of videos that break it down very simply and straightforwardly (and they're made by an ex-Christian whose education about evolution was part of his reason for leaving the religion). If you're interested in a book, the best I've seen -- and in fact maybe the best popular science book I've ever read -- is Why Evolution is True by Jerry Coyne. It would certainly be enough to help you decide if you'd like to read more.

If you're interested in neuroscience and the brain you might want to read How the Mind Works by Steven Pinker or The Tell-Tale Brain by V. S. Ramachandran, both of which are wide-ranging and accessibly written.

Finally, you can just search for "best science books" (or similar phrases) -- you'll find plenty of lists out there of the best books of all time, the past year, the past decade and so on. You can't go wrong just reading the top few, or if there's an area you find yourself more drawn to you can focus on that.

Above all, focus on the positive and enjoy the process of learning about these things, because it's an absolutely fascinating world out there. Have fun!

u/fuhko · 1 pointr/Christianity

Since you asked for book recommendations in the other thread, I'll point to three books:

This book has to do with Christianity and Science. It's Where the Conflict Really Lies by Alvin Plantiga. Plantiga is a very well respected analytic philosopher and is also a Christian. This is his most recent book and it's gotten great reviews. It deals with topics like evolution and also responds to questions such as Could God be a mental projection? and such (granted that topic is an entire book in itself but he talk about that possibility.).

The Problem of Evil by Peter Van Inwaged. I have heard this is a great book, check out the reviews on amazon if you want more.

Lastly, I would like to point to is Greg Boyd's book The benefit of doubt. I suspect this could be an especially informative book for you, since it discusses faith and reason.

Greg Boyd also wrote a book on the question of evil in the bible.

I also highly recommend the Unbelievable Podcast. This podcast features Atheist philosophers and Christian theologians sitting down and talking to others about their disagreements and agreements and other issues involving their faith. You will probably find some answers to your questions from that podcast.

http://www.premierchristianradio.com/Shows/Saturday/Unbelievable?

Lastly, you already have a lot of reading on your plate but Richard Swinburne, a well respected philosopher of religion wrote a trilology called The Coherence of Theism, The Existence of God, and Faith and Reason. You would do well to check that series out.

In general, I have found that every objection to the Christian faith has been responded to. Responded to does not necessarily mean answered and "solved". For many of the big problems, there are no easy, clear cut answers. But someone has looked at them and attempted an answer and ultimately, it's up to you to decide within yourself, if those answers are good enough to continue to have faith.

Please be patient and most importantly take your time as you sift through your considerations. Thinking about the philosophy of religion can be quite consuming.

Happy journying!

u/DenSem · 1 pointr/TrueChristian

I can't speak for the general population, but from my experience there seems to be a shift in understanding moving from "Genesis is literal" to Genesis is an awesome picture of what happened, written in practical language people of the day could approach and understand.

I believe in the big bang (and that God caused it), and that the 6 days of creation were not "days" (it has been almost 14 billion years after all), but more like a musical "count off" to the main point of the whole story: humanity and our relationship with God.

I love science. It simply explains the "what" and "how" of creation. Theology provides the "why".

For miracles, I believe they happened in the Bible. If you move in the right circles you can see (and experience) that they continue to happen- but then you get labeled as extreme and weird- even in Christian groups. It's always interesting talking about them- it's like there is a weird hushed tone you have to talk in because it's so counter-cultural and off the grid.

Hope that helps!

Edit: If you're interested there are a couple great books you may enjoy. The language of God written by the head of the human genome project and The Genesis Enigma. Both address how the Bible is scientifically accurate when read correctly.

u/Ultralight-Beem · 1 pointr/Christian

Hello!

Yes I really do believe there is evidence! There is good evidence and plenty of it, it isn't hard to find.

I've got four things that you can do right now:

  1. Pray to God and ask that He would prove/reveal Himself. If God is not real, you have lost 60 seconds of your time. If God is real then this is the best thing in the world that you can do right now. That seems like a very good tradeoff!
  2. Start reading the Bible. Maybe start at John's historical account of Jesus' life. You can do so here if you don't have a Bible already: https://www.bible.com/bible/111/JHN.1.NIV
  3. Get properly reading the evidence, don't stay uninformed. This really matters. Three books I'll recommend:

    But Is It True? - Michael Ots

    The Reason for God - Tim Keller

    Reasonable Faith - William Lane Craig

  4. Watch this video as a good start point for looking at the evidence for God. You can go through the bethinking website as much as you want to. It was really helpful for me: https://www.bethinking.org/does-god-exist/case-for-christian-theism

    Please do message me if you have any questions or want any other help/ideas. I'd love to chat to you more. I'm convinced there is evidence, please do tell me why you do agree/disagree and what you're thinking :)
u/Seekin · 1 pointr/atheism

One great place to start is the Talk Origins Archive. Their "Guide to Creationist Claims" is also very good.

Also, the /r/atheism Wiki has a pretty good section on Creationism that's worth checking out.

There is plenty of evidence of large scale changes over geological time in the fossil record of many lineages. I'll let you research the sites I've linked (and hopefully many others you find yourself from credible sources) rather than linking to any specific ones.

I'm not sure what /u/OldWolf2642 has a specific problem with, but judging by his "humans <> apes" statement I think he's simply trying to point out that modern H. sap. did not evolve from other modern apes. We all (H. sap. are simply one example among several species of modern ape) evolved together from a common ancestor. He's right about that but his phrasing might make it seem as though macro evolution isn't part of modern evolutionary theory - IT IS. It's just that some of us feel that the the terms "micro-" and "macro-" evolution are used as an excuse for creationists to acknowledge the easily demonstrable (on a human timescale) case of natural selection within a species and still be able to dismiss larger scale changes over larger time frames. But, in fact, the terms are often used to distinguish research in some fields from research in others. The phrases are perfectly acceptable. But, as many have pointed out, "macro-" is just an unavoidable consequence of "micro-" happening over long periods of time. The creationists' ploy, here, is comparable to saying "I accept the existence of this glass of water, but refuse to acknowledge the "oceans" you people keep going on about". It's all the same thing, just on different scales.

My personal favorite books laying out the case for all sorts of evolution are:

Why Evolution is True by Jerry Coyne

and

The Greatest Show on Earth by Richard Dawkins

But the /r/atheism Wiki has a great list of Recommended Reading and videos. Many of these are about atheism generally, but they include good stuff on evolutionary theory as well.

Keep studying and have a blast!

u/LadyAtheist · 5 pointsr/atheism

What the heck, I'm in the mood to toy with a troll on a Saturday night.

"People assume evolution is true because they say it's the most logical thing to believe, but I believe that intelligent design is more logical if you examine the evidence with no presuppositions."

First, scientists don't assume anything, and people who have gone to actual schools rather than Christian schools have learned the scientific method and possibly even proven evolution to themselves in a laboratory experiment (yes, it happens in the lab)

If you examine THE evidence? ... with no presuppositions? Funny. Because the Intelligent Design lie was invented by the Discovery Institute, whose mission is to prove that God is behind it all -- i.e. they are starting with a presupposition.

". Evolution has no proof. They have fossils and dating methods that they say is proof, but subjectively they must not truly be proof because if they were truly proof then there would be no intelligent people who believed in creation left"

hahahahhahaa that's a good one! They have thousands of fossils, and dating methods that have been proven... and when they dig where they expect to find certain kinds of fossils based on the theory of evolution, they find them! They have found fish that were able to walk on land, the transitional fossils between the hippo ancestor and the whale, etc.

The fallacy of appeal to authority is no kind of proof especially in this case because you're not appealing to biologists of the modern era, 99% of whom see evolution as the central defining theory of their life's work.

"Evolution has never, in human history, been observed. Their have been many cases of micro-evolution"

Caw! Caw! Caw! You, my friend, are a parrot. You are parroting Ken Ham, which is pretty funny. You obviously don't know that ALL evolution takes place with tiny steps -- i.e., there's no such thing as "macro evolution," so you and the people you parrot are demanding to see something that wouldn't fit the theory of evolution, then claiming that the theory is bunk because the experts haven't provided it. Guess what? That's a dishonest and shameful tactic. You should be ashamed of yourself for mindlessly parroting something so intellectually dishonest.

"3. Evolution goes against the law of entropy." That's just nonsense, again parroting Ken Ham and his ilk. Read this instead: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Introduction_to_entropy Meanwhile, consider these points: A. How can crystals form if entropy governs everything and B. The sun sends radiation energy to the Earth, so the Earth is not a closed system - additional energy is added every day.

" it's more logical to believe that an all powerful God created everything than things evolving"

No, it's not more logical. Consider: A perfect God wouldn't have given us the appendix, the tailbone (and in some people actual tails), goosebumps, and other vestigial traits. These things are only logical in light of evolution.

So.. show me the proof? You have a computer. You can use google. You are literate. You can read a book. Why should random redditors be challenged to prove what you are too lazy and ignorant to discover for yourself? The evidence is not that hard to find. Try reading Jerry Coyne's book Why Evolution is True. http://www.amazon.com/Why-Evolution-True-Jerry-Coyne/dp/0143116649

Read up on fossils -- and not in Answers in Genesis or whatever source you parroted in your OP. Read up on how it's been true over and over and over that fossils are found in layers, in exactly the same order everywhere, and that you can predict which fossils you might find in a layer of ground based on evolutionary theory. Note, nobody has EVER found a fossil in a layer where it doesn't belong. A find like that would at the very least shake up one portion of the story that other fossils have told.

Evidence that points to evolution IS proof.

Look up "equivocation." This is a favorite trick of Ken Ham and his ilk. Don't do it! Stop it! Grow up and accept reality! You don't have to equivocate on words like that to learn science - you only have to do it to cling to the creator-god. The bronze age people who made up that story can't be faulted for believing it because they didn't have the scientific method, the technology to study the world like we do, or centuries of scientific findings that have told a much more interesting story.

But you are not a bronze age person, so let go of that fairy tale and embrace the real world.

u/ibanezerscrooge · 4 pointsr/Christianity

>methodically state the case for why creation is most likely and/or why evolution is unlikely.

You will find lots and lots of the latter. Very little of the former.

>I'd also be happy to read GOOD anti-creation books as well, provided they meet the above criterion of not being mocking.

Those would just be science books based on the academic literature, wouldn't they?

Here is my reading list form the past few months. These would be pro-evolution (a.k.a science). Creationism is mentioned in a few of them, but almost in passing because Creationism is simply not a factor in legitimate scientific research, so it gets pretty much no consideration.

Knock yourself out. ;)

  • Your Inner Fish by Neil Shubin - Also, watch the three part series that aired on PBS hosted by Neil Shubin.

  • Endless Forms Most Beautiful by Sean B. Carroll - An in depth look into developmental evolution.

  • The Universe Within: Discovering the Common History of Rocks, Planets, and People by Neil Shubin

  • The Link by Colin Tudge and Josh Young

  • Before the Dawn by Nicholas Wade

  • Relics of Eden: The Powerful Evidence of Evolution in Human DNA by Daniel J. Fairbanks - This and the other Fairbanks book listed below are the only books on this list with the intent to refute what creationists contend. He does this not by presenting the creationist argument and then trying to refute. He does it by simply presenting the evidence that science has born out regarding human evolution and genetics.

  • The Story of Earth by Robert Hazen - this is a cool book about the history of the Earth and life and how geology and biology worked in tandem with other factors to produce life from the point of view of a protein biologist.

  • Life: A Natural History of the First Four Billion Years of Life on Earth by Richard Fortey - Good general overview of evolutionary and geologic history.

  • The Cambrian Explosion: The Construction of Animal Biodiversity by Edwin Douglas - This is the most academic book in this list and, as such, is the most difficult to read. It is a concise look at what we know about the Cambrian Explosion from the scientific literature.

  • Life's Ratchet by Peter Hoffmann - Very good book about how the chaos wrought inside cells by thermal motion at the molecular level leads to the ordered functioning of the machinery of life.

  • What is Life? How Chemistry Becomes Biology by Addy Pross - Super interesting take on the question, "What is Life?" He comes to a very interesting conclusion which might have implications for abiogenesis research.

  • The Machinery of Life by David S. Goodsell - A neat little book that gets you acquainted with what it's really like inside of cells. A good companion book to read with Life's Ratchet as they highlight different aspects of the same topic.

  • Evolving by Daniel J. Fairbanks

  • Neanderthal Man: In Search of Lost Genomes by Svante Paabo - Very interesting book about the drama, blood, sweat and tears, Dr. Paabo shed to develop the techniques to sequence ancient DNA. You simply won't find books like this and Your Inner Fish above amongst Creationist literature because they simply don't do what these scientists do out in the field and in the lab.
u/mausphart · 11 pointsr/evolution

Here are some books, articles, websites and YouTube Videos that helped me on my journey from a hardcore creationist to a High School Biology teacher.

BOOKS

The Language of God - By Francis Collins ~ A defense of Evolution by the head of the Human Genome Project (Who also happens to be Christian)

Only a Theory - By Ken Miller ~ Another Christian biologist who accepts and vigorously defends the theory of evolution

Your Inner Fish - by Neil Shubin ~ The wonderful story of how Tiktaalik was found

Why Evolution is True - By Jerry Coyne ~ A simple and thorough treatment of evolution written for the mainstream

The Greatest Show on Earth - By Richard Dawkins ~ A wonderful and beautifully written celebration of evolution

The Panda's Thumb - By Stephen Jay Gould ~ A collection of eloquent and intelligent essays written by SJG. Any of his collections would do but this one is my favorite.

ARTICLES

Crossing the Divide - By Jennifer Couzin ~ an article about an ex-creationist and his difficult journey into enlightenment.

15 Answers to Creationist Nonsense - John Rennie ~ a nice rundown of the major objections to evolution.

WEBSITE

An index of Creationist Claims - Via the TalkOrigins archive ~ an impressive index of the major problems creationists have with evolution, as well as good, evidence based rebuttals.

YOUTUBE VIDEOS/PLAYLISTS

Why do People Laugh at Creationsts? - Via Thunderf00t ~ a scathing review of outrageous sins of logic committed by creationists. Thunderf00t's style isn't for everyone, since he can come off as smug and superior

How Evolution Works - Via DonExodus2 ~ a nice and thorough overview of how evolution works

The Theory of Evolution Made Easy - Via Potholer54

Evolution - Via Qualia Soup ~ short (10 minutes), simple and well made, this is one of my go-to videos to help logically explain how evolution happens.

u/astroNerf · 1 pointr/atheism

> I studied it for a time on my own because I like to see all sides of the issue.

Have you read any books by scientists who accept evolution? I know some people read books that are critical of evolution but these books usually misrepresent evolution in some way and are dishonest.

If you really want to see all sides of it, check out a book like Why Evolution is True by Jerry Coyne. He lays out what evolution is, the evidence for it, as well as how it fits into biology.

> I saw how flawed it was and decided not to put my faith in a theory.

Well, consider for a moment that you might be making a decision based on faulty information. Absolutely no faith is needed to accept evolution. Really - the evidence for everything in evolution is there. Scientists are usually very clear what they are reasonably sure of and what they aren't. Remember: scientists compete with one another so if any of them makes a mistake, the others usually jump on it.

Furthermore, as I explained above, a theory in science isn't the same thing as a theory a layman would use. It's not a guess or a hunch! Theories in science are the ultimate goal, and ultimate achievement in science. Other examples of theories in include quantum theory, or atomic theory, or the theory of gravity. If you go to school to obtain a degree in physics, you might take a course in atomic theory. At no point in the future will the professor change the course title to atomic fact. Theories are a higher level of understanding than mere facts - theories explain facts, and unite them.

> So forgive me please if I don't know as much about Evoulution as I undoubtably should.

Relevant xkcd.

Evolution really is a fascinating topic and it tells us so much about who we are as a species and our place in the grand scheme of things. There are many religious people (including Christians) who have no problems accepting modern biology. In fact, many religious people view evolution as one of the mechanisms God used to create everything. Your religious beliefs should not be a barrier to you being able to learn about the variety of life on this planet. Some religious biologists who study evolution every day, when asked why they study what they do, cite a desire to understand God's creation. While I don't agree with their beliefs, I can respect them.

In addition to Jerry Coyne's book, I'm more than happy to offer books or video suggestions. Qualia Soup has a short one which might clear up a few misconceptions straight away - here it is.

u/doofgeek401 · 3 pointsr/Christianity

Absolutely. Actually, the correct way to say this is “Is it possible to be a Christian and accept evolution?” We don’t “believe” scientific theories; we accept as (provisionally) true based on the evidence.

Most Christians do accept evolution. (and it is “most” in that the number of Christians who accept evolution is > 50%) Here is a list of statements by various Christian denominations accepting evolution: Statements from Religious Organizations, http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/vie...

The way that this is done is very simple and was summarized back in 1890:

"Christians should look on evolution simply as the method by which God works." Rev. James McCosh, theologian and President of Princeton, The Religious Aspect of Evolution, 2d ed. 1890, pg 68.

Christians have always held that God has two books: scripture and Creation.

"To conclude, therefore, let no man out of a weak conceit of sobriety, or an ill-applied moderation, think or maintain, that a man can search too far or be too well studied in the book of God's word, or in the book of God's works; divinity or philosophy [science]; but rather let men endeavour an endless progress or proficience in both." Bacon: Advancement of Learning

So what happens when there is an apparent conflict between the two books? Christians decided that in 1832:

British evangelicals wrote in the 1830s that "If sound science appears to contradict the Bible, we may be sure that it is our interpretation of the Bible that is at fault." Christian Observer, 1832, pg. 437

What we have today are some people insisting that their interpretation of the Bible must be paramount. IOW, unless you accept their interpretation and reject evolution, then you can’t be Christian. That’s not the core belief of Christianity. Those core beliefs can be found in the Nicene and Apostle’s Creeds. Nicene Creed - Wikipedia .

They state “We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, maker heaven and earth” or (Apostle’s) “I believe in God, the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth;” Apostles’ Creed: Traditional and Ecumenical Versions - The United Methodist Church

Those statements of belief do not specify how heaven and earth was made. Thus, as Rev McCosh has pointed out, evolution is simply how God made the diversity of life on the planet.

So the issue becomes: do Christians want some current people to require an additional belief —a belief in their interpretation of scripture contrary to God’s Creation — in order to be “Christian”?

​

Several of the most famous evolutionary biologists, who made significant contributions and additions to the theory of evolution were religious.

For example Theodosius Dobzhansky (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/...), who actually is one of the fathers of the modern synthesis (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/...) and who coined the phrase "Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution". Dobzhansky believed in a personal God who had created though the means of evolution.

Another famous evolutionary biologist was paleontologist Pierre Theilard de Chardin (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/...). He participated in the discovery of Homo erectus in Asia. He was not only religious, he was a Jesuit priest.

Francis Collins, who lead the Human Genome Project at the NIH, and is fervent evangelical Christian, thinks God chose evolution as the mechanism to generate life's diversity, and speaks against Young Earth creationism.

These are just some examples. The erroneous view that religion and the theory of evolution are incompatible views largely stem from a particular flavor of Christianity present in some communities in the USA

But in principle, nothing prevents biologists from believing in God, and there is nothing special about the theory of evolution that denies the existence of God.

I also suggest the following books: Finding Darwin’s God by Kenneth Miller. A Christian (Catholic) and a biologist. Finding Darwin's God: A Scientist's Search for Common Ground Between God and Evolution (P.S.): Kenneth R. Miller: 9780061233500: Amazon.com: Books

and Can a Darwinian be a Christian?: The Relationship between Science and Religion - Kindle edition by Michael Ruse. Religion & Spirituality Kindle eBooks @ Amazon.com. Michael Ruse is an agnostic, therefore his analysis is more objective and more critical. But his result is the same: absolutely a Christian can accept evolution.

u/Kusiemsk · 1 pointr/Catholicism

I can't add much to what has been said by others in this thread, but I had similar experiences and feelings to you for a long time from a young age and did eventually get over them. I feel like you need to develop a more sophisticated understanding of both Catholic doctrine and the arguments for it and praxis - let me tell you, Christian praxis goes well beyond "being a decent person" to a wholesome life-view that strengthens you as an individual, as a member of your community, and in relation to God, and is inexorably linked with sound, devout doctrine. I would advise reading some Catholic apologetics or theology to start. Since you're trained in Biology you may find Kenneth Miller's Finding Darwin's God a good starting point. Also, if you're not already, make a sincere effort to attend Mass at least weekly, go to Confession regularly, and following the Church's moral and spiritual guidelines even if they don't seem to be directly related to "being a decent person". It may feel like you're only "going through the motions," but you never know what benefit you might find! The final author I'd recommend is Søren Kierkegaard - let me be clear, his books aren't easy reads and I take issue with a lot he says, but I found his presentation of Christian praxis and ethics (particularly Either/Or) one of the most beautiful I've ever read and I credit him with giving the death knell to my doubts. I don't have the link handy, but Julia Watkin's book on him in the Outstanding Christian Thinkers Series is an excellent place to start if you find him interesting.

u/redsledletters · 2 pointsr/TrueAtheism

>Why not just call your religion Science or Darwinism?

As mentioned before, this really depends on the definition of religion. We need to be able to use this term without capturing political parties, sport team fans, charity groups, or hobby clubs.

Your question creates a false dilemma too. There are millions of Christians who agree with the general scientific consensus and Darwin's theory of speciation through natural selection (evolution).

While a majority of atheists tend to support Modern evolutionary synthesis (not "Darwinism"), there's no rule that demands the odd atheist cannot reject evolution, by positing something like space aliens.

Besides that, do you really want to place science and religion on opposition? To say that the scientist is a priest? Consider which "priests" creates reliable cures to disease. Which "priests" sends men to the moon and machines to mars?



>
I've also made it my personal business to seek out arguments on both ends.

This statement is too vague. Which ends? The existence of god(s)? The veracity of Evolutionary theory? The strengths and weaknesses of the Scientific Method?

Please list the books/topic you're talking about and perhaps readers here can comment better on this subject.



>Anything that's provable. I get it! I love me some science.

Well, that's not wrong, but I think you're pushing this a bit too far. A better way to put it is that for any given number of statements about the world, those with repeatable, verifiable evidence for those statements we can place a greater confidence in.



>
One must choose to believe pretty much all things or basically be nihilist.

This doesn't sound right and reads in my mind as a sloppy statement (and another false dilemma). But I'm not a philosopher, so I can't exactly point out where you go wrong.

As a layman I'll try to at least mention there's a middle ground to be found between absolute gullibility and absolute skepticism. We can grant Fallibilism and move towards creating a system of thought that attempts to filter out statements that are meaningless or false, and hone statements we think are true to better model and predict the world around us.

That's why a lot of atheists appreciate the Scientific Method. Plagued as it is by certain philosophical problems (like induction), the Scientific Method tries to at least reach soundness by testing predictions of a certain hypothesis against the actual world itself.

See Richard Feynman on the Scientific Method for more.



P.S. I'm mostly a Humanist. I say "mostly" because I don't go to Humanist meetings, or tithe donations to Humanist organizations. Their listed values just seem the closest to what I'd describe to someone.

Edit: P.P.S. I think you may be interested in the book Finding Darwin's God: A Scientist's Search for Common Ground Between God and Evolution.

u/keatsandyeats · 8 pointsr/Christianity

Sure. Well, let me make a couple suggestions:

  • My personal favorite not-an-apologetic is GK Chesterton's Orthodoxy (the link includes a free online version). That book sums up, paradoxically and romantically, Chesterton's views on God. It doesn't go out of its way to be convincing and doesn't take itself too seriously, which I love about it.

  • If you're looking for convincing yet personal (and not too lofty) accounts of a couple of scientists who are believers, I recommend theoretical physicist and Anglican priest John Polkinghorne's Exploring Reality or geneticist Francis Collins' The Language of God.

  • The best logical arguments for God that have been around for centuries (and have been pretty well defended by the likes of men like Victor Reppert and William Lane Craig) were developed by Aquinas in his Summa Theologica. I suggest reading Peter Kreeft's easier-to-swallow shorter version.

  • I believe that Craig's Reasonable Faith does a very admirable and scholarly work of defending the faith philosophically.

  • William Blake's Songs of Innocence and Experience have nothing to do with apologetics, but have affirmed my faith in God personally. I add it here just to demonstrate, I suppose, that faith is highly personal and that God is revealed as well in the beauty and mystery of the poetic and artistic as He is in nature.
u/byogi · 4 pointsr/EasternPhilosophy

Siddhartha by Herman Hesse
http://www.amazon.com/Siddhartha-Hermann-Hesse/dp/081120068X/ref=sr_1_8?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1377155668&sr=1-8&keywords=Siddhartha

Fictional life story of Siddhartha, a contemporary of Guatama Buddha. This is a story of a man seeking spiritual truth through sensual and worldly experience, ultimately achieving similar spiritual heights to the Buddha, yet by a path that many of us might find much more familiar and relatable than a life of renunciation. Beautifully written, poetic, mystical and almost fairy-tale-like in tone. Some of Herman Hesse's finest work.


Be Here Now by Ram Dass
http://www.amazon.com/Be-Here-Now-Ram-Dass/dp/0517543052/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1377155603&sr=1-1&keywords=be+here+now

Autobiographical, blissed-out, art-infused, eloquent and insightful rant about a journey that begins with the Harvard psychology department's early LSD research and culminates in a journey through the Himalayas leading to deep transformation with the help of a wandering mystic and an epic guru. Ram Dass beautifully weds the best parts of hippy and psychedelic culture with the ancient truths of hinduism, vedanta and yoga. The annotated reading list at the back is a treasure trove of eastern awesomeness.


The Tao of Physics by Fritjof Capra
http://www.amazon.com/The-Tao-Physics-Exploration-Parallels/dp/1590308352

Honestly the best introduction/summary I've read of several schools of Eastern Thought. The book is intended to show parallels between ancient spiritual truths and scientific principles discovered in quantum physics. Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, Hinduism, Zen (and I think a couple more) get meaty, well written and well researched treatments by Capra, and curious minds benefit from having all this info in one spot. Capra gives in-depth focus to each tradition and highlights the similarities and differences of each path. Awesome graphics too. Highly recommend to any western mind wanting to encounter eastern thought.

Namaste!

edit: grammar

u/WikiRelevance · 2 pointsr/explainlikeimfive

You may find this book called your inner fish: a journey into the 3.5-Billion-Year History of the Human Body very interesting. It is a really fascinating and, quick read.

Tetrapods include amphibians, reptiles, birds, turtles and mammals. All tetrapods have a single common ancestor, that was as you describe "the first fish dude who jumped out of the water". Really, that is the best way I have heard it described and youre not wrong! We don't know which species is the first, but we do have several transitional fossils from water to land. These species are collectively known as tetrapodomorphs which basically means "kind of like a tetrapod - kind of like fish". This picture gives you a good idea of some of the different species alive around that time. Tiktaalik is one of my favourites, mostly because the name is fun to say. This species lived about ~375 million years ago, during the Denovian. Here is another example of the limbs of those transitional species from fin to limb!

Acanthostega (~365 million years ago) and Itchthyostega (~360 million years ago) are two species of tetrapods that lived after Tiktaalik, and they are better suited for life on land. They likely lived in swampy areas but were still tied to the water.

After the first tetrapods established themselves on land they evolved or radiated into many different groups. This is a good and simplified family tree of tetrapods. There are the amphibians, the turtles, the mammals and the reptiles. This is another family tree which depicts some extinct groups. Notice that the birds are placed firmly with the other dinosaurs and are now the only living representatives of that lineage. And that early mammal ancestors (therapsids) stem from a distant synapsid ancestor which evolved quite early on.

The reptiles are a bit of a funny group because they contain a lot of extinct species and this confuses people as to what actually is a reptile. Simply put reptiles include the living turtles, crocodilians, snakes, lizards, and tuatara and many other extinct species including the dinosaurs, the extinct flying reptiles like the pterosuars and the extinct aquatic reptiles like ichthyosaurs. Another cool fact is that crocodiles and birds are more closely related to each other than they are to the other reptiles (turtles, snakes, lizards and tuatara).



u/you_know_what_you · 2 pointsr/Catholicism

A nice small volume is the Youth Catechism (YOUCAT). It's really directed to young adults, so maybe too young depending on your preference or learning style.

If you're OK with a little more depth, but still very high-level, try the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Best part about this book is its Q&A format. Of course, you may need to do deeper diving as you'd like, but this is great for reacquainting yourself with the basic questions and teachings! The Compendium is also available free online, but the book is pretty cheap and easier on the eyes than the Vatican website.

Welcome home! Good luck with your recovery!

u/NukeThePope · 5 pointsr/TrueAtheism

> mainly as evident in the fact that the Quran manuscripts we have today exactly match the earliest manuscripts we found so far,

I think there's a good possibility that this is also a lie (or irrelevant). Pardon me for sounding like a conspiracy theorist, but from what little I know it seems that there are experts who disagree with your assessment (or your sources).

Ex-Muslim author Ibn Warraq, from whom I've so far read far too little, claims that there was a period early in the history of Islam where the Koran (and the Hadith, I guess - it's been a while) underwent a fair amount of change. This is pretty much analogous to the fate of the Bible in the time before (and probably a little after) the Council of Nicea. It wasn't until this process had run for a bit that the Powers That Be (long after Mohammed) put their foot down and declared a moratorium on changes.

My source for this was Warraq's chapter in Hitchens' The Portable Atheist. If interested, you can surely work your way a bit closer to this horse's mouth.

But having written all this, I realize this whole discussion is pointless. Just yesterday I had a similar discussion with a Christian about the thousands of (allegedly faithful) copies of the Bible. But the point is, who cares if they were transmitted faithfully if the very first original was already bullshit?

We don't even know very well who the original sources were; there's some serious tension between the claim that all those surahs were written by Mo or transcribed from his personal dictation, and the fact that heaps and bundles of these things kept popping up from various sources long after he'd died. The process by which these writings were "found" and assembled looks far from reliable to me.

Finally, again, miracles. In order to accept the Koran's miracles as true, we'd have to

  • reject the miracle stories of all conflicting religious stories;
  • accept that these particular miracle stories were truthfully recorded by reliable eyewitnesses (of unknown identity); and
  • concede the possibility that miracles actually happened and, to be consistent with the teachings of the Koran, still happen today, regardless of the fact that no miracle has been adequately verified in human history.

    Like all religions, Islam faces a huge burden of proof here.
u/TheyUsedDarkForces · 2 pointsr/exchristian

I went through the same sort of thing as you. All I can really say is to keep pursuing the facts and the evidence. People will try to discourage you for one reason or another, but don't let them. If the Christian god exists, you've done nothing wrong by asking questions because he values the truth.

Since you mentioned your friends and family being YECs, I strongly recommend reading the Talk Origins archive if you haven't seen it yet. It has a great list of Creationist claims and the evidence against them. If you're interested in learning more about Evolution, I'd also recommend The Greatest Show on Earth by Richard Dawkins. It's the book that made me start questioning Christianity and to this day it remains one of my favourites.

u/chingychongchangwang · 3 pointsr/evolution

Definitely check out these books. If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend “Why Evolution Is True” by Jerry Coyne

It’s may not go as deep as some others but it’s an easy read book that keeps you engaged and is totally worth your time. I love this book so much because it’s very approachable for anyone. It’s filled with easy to understand examples, and I find that it’s a great refresher for myself every now and then. It’s also a great book to give or recommend to others who may not know much about the subject.

As others have mentioned, Darwin’s book is more of a piece of history than anything else. It was absolutely groundbreaking at the time but we know so much more now. Plus, the way it was written definitely shows it’s age and makes it a kind of a hard read.

u/littletsunamie · 1 pointr/askscience

I have heard great things about KhanAcademy. As far as books go, for Humans, the course I co-teach uses Human Evolutionary Genetics: Origins, Peoples & Disease (ISBN 0-8153-4183), but I would definitely brush up on basics before reading that one -its definitely a text book, but a great reference. A more general book might be Why Evolution is True , and I like 'Survival of The Sickest' for some general knowledge on why some diseases tend to stick around (which you would think would go away...). I hope that helps, that's about all I can think of off the top of my head right now. PM me if you have any questions too, I love talking about genetics. :)

u/ggliddy357 · 1 pointr/Christianity

Thank you for asking a question. I have to give you credit, most people don't care enough to search.

Emotions are nothing more than chemical reactions in the brain. They absolutely can be tested. "Feelings" is just the word we give to certain brain states. Each brain state is simply a mix of hormones in the brain.

Both Sam Harris and Michael Shermer reference these studies in their most recent books. To answer you question directly, oxytocin is the chemical responsible for love.

By the way, you're back to shifting the burden of proof again. I'm not saying your beliefs are either true or not. I'm simply saying you have no evidence for them so there's no good reason to believe them. As I simply said before, you can believe any thing you want, but until you have evidence, you could be as crazy as the people who think they are Napoleon Bonaparte.

Think about it for a moment. I know people who claim to have been abducted by aliens and sexually probed while on the ship. Are they telling the truth? For them, yes. They believe it, and it's as real as anything else in their life. But is it true? Probably not.

It seems you have an opportunity here. I get the feeling you're pretty smart and might be looking for answers. That's a powerful combination. The problem, however, is that the places you've been looking for answers up until now have been pretty bad. You can go deeper down the rabbit hole into things for which there is no evidence, or you can discover reality as it is.

If you're interested in living an evidence based life there are books that will help. Can I recommend one or two to get you started?

Michael Shermer has written two books that will get you started. Either would be excellent for you and your position at the moment.

The Believing Brain and Why People Believe Weird Things.

Once you get a foundation of how things work, then we can move on the fun stuff like physics, biology, philosophy, astronomy...and so on.

Do you listen to podcasts? There are a few of these you might try out as well.

Rationally Speaking
The Skeptics Guide to the Universe
Point of Inquiry
Reasonable Doubts


In the end, as I said before, you're going to have to make a choice. Either the supernatural realm exists or it doesn't. And since there isn't any evidence now, nor has any evidence ever been shown that anything supernatural ever existed, it should be an easy choice.

It's pretty simple really. When someone says weird, crazy things they believe, I would believe them too, IF THEY HAVE EVIDENCE. If they don't, I'm sorry I'm going to withhold saying you're right or wrong until I have more information.

u/amdgph · 2 pointsr/Catholicism

Alright here are some of the best resources I know as a Catholic. Hope they help!

Edward Feser's blog as well as his The Last Superstition and 5 Proofs of the Existence of God

Stephen Barr's Modern Physics and Ancient Faith

Francis Collin's The Language of God

Anthony Flew's There Is a God: How the World's Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind

Thomas Wood's How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization

Brant Pitre's The Case For Jesus

Tim O Neill on the Church and science, the Inquisition and the Galileo affair

Jenny Hawkins on Jesus and God, early Christianity and form criticism

Al Moritz on the Fine Tuning Argument

>There is a reason someone should believe in the supernatural and mystical aspects of Christianity. This is a large issue for me. Solely based on supernatural and mystical ideas, from an outsider perspective, Christianity is no different than animism or Buddhism. I can't have faith alone.

Well when you look at the world's religions, Christianity has a clear and impressive advantage in the miracles/mystical department. Historically, in Christianity, there have been numerous cases of Eucharistic miracles, Marian apparitions, miraculous healings and the spiritual gifts and religious experiences of countless Christian saints -- men and women of great virtue whose admirable character only add to the credibility of their testimony. Examples of these include Paul, Benedict of Nursia, Francis of Assisi, Dominic, Hildegard of Bingen, Anthony of Padua, Thomas Aquinas, Catherine of Siena, Vincent Ferrer, Joan of Arc, Ignatius of Loyola, Teresa of Avila, John of the Cross, Catherine Emmerich, John Vianney, Anna Maria Taigi, Genma Galangi, Faustina Kowalska and Padre Pio. We also have a pair of impressive relics, the shroud of Turin and the sudarium of Orvieto. I'll also throw in Catholic exorcisms.

And these Eucharistic miracles, Marian apparitions and religious/mystical experiences continue to happen today.

What do Buddhism and animism have in comparison?

>Anything that discusses and argues against some common tropes from atheists such as Mother Teresa being a vile, sadistic person.

Honestly, I'm quite stunned at the portrait atheists have painted of her. At worst, she wasn't perfect and made mistakes. She cannot be a vile monster like Hitchens claims she was, that's ridiculous. Here are some articles that defend Mother Teresa -- here, here, here and here.

Check out any of Mother Teresa's personal writings (e.g. No Greater Love, A Simple Path, Come Be Thy Light) to see what she believed in, what she valued and how she saw the world. Check out books written by people who actually knew her such as that of Malcolm Muggeridge, an agnostic BBC reporter who ended up converting to Catholicism because of Teresa and ended up becoming a lifelong friend of hers. Or that of her priest, friend and confessor, Leo Maasburg, who was able to recall 50 inspiring stories of Mother Teresa. Or that of Conroy, a person who actually worked with her. Or any biography of hers. Find out what she was like according to the people around her. Then afterwards, determine for yourself if she resembles Hitchen's "monster" or the Catholic Church's "saint".

u/spuds414 · 1 pointr/Catholicism

My wife too came from a charismatic non-denominational church background. The process for her took a bit of time, and I think it was mostly accomplished through introduction to and then love of the liturgy. In college, we attended a non-denom church that did communion every week and did passing of the peace every week. After college, we were at a Presbyterian church for 7 years that had weekly communion, passing of the peace, confession of sin, and an OT reading. These were steps in a liturgical direction, which made the transition easier.

Have you guys been to mass yet? That definitely would be a good thing to do. I would read up about what goes on at the mass so you'll know what to expect, and then don't hesitate to participate (everything that's said and done is orthodox). Most of the responses should be in the front cover of the missal in the back of the pews. The order of the mass is also in the Missal, so you can follow along.

In terms of books, my wife loved Evangelical is Not Enough. She also liked Born Fundamentalist, Born Again Catholic. Both of those books really helped her overcome the Catholic prejudices she had from growing up (Catholics worship Mary, etc).

I've also heard good things, but have not read, Girl at the End of the World: My Escape from Fundamentalism in Search of Faith with a Future. The author, Elizabeth Esther, comes from a very fundamentalist upbringing. She also has a blog you might be interested in checking out.

Can't recommend any videos, but I've heard Fr Robert Barron's Catholicism series is good - but expensive. Maybe your local Catholic church has a DVD you could check out? Here a preview.

Don't hesitate to PM me if you have any questions! I did a ton of research and would be happy to point you toward resources I found helpful.

u/neveragainjw · 1 pointr/exjw

Hey, well I would expect them to biased towards the Bible, as people who believe the Bible want to support it :) Just as atheists want to tear it down. Do you think an atheist would want to explain the contradictions in the Bible? Of course not, they want to find theories that will discredit it. (confirmation bias, we all have it, I know atheists say they don't but I can see how mad often they are at God, that is a bias in itself.) Perhaps the Bible is just mankind's way of trying to understand God, by assigning him human qualities.

I think this is a pretty comprehensive summary of the contradictions:

http://www.biblicalcatholic.com/apologetics/bible.htm

http://www.comereason.org/bible-contradictions-explained.asp

Ok, I wish I could address all of this but I am pretty new to the subject myself! I just try to keep an open mind and I am always reading and researching. I don't 100% believe the Bible is true, I think I will always have questions, but right now God makes a lot more sense to me than that the universe came into being out of nowhere. I too have trouble comprehending the evil and suffering in the world, but the fact that there IS evil doesn't mean that there isn't a God. A God who can create all this knows a lot more than we do, and maybe he has a much better plan than we can comprehend. I recommend The Privileged Planet (book and DVD) which describes the extreme fine tuning of our planet and our universe.

Finding Darwin's God by Ken Miller is on my (ever growing) to read list.

https://www.amazon.com/Finding-Darwins-God-Scientists-Evolution/dp/0061233501/ref=pd_sim_14_1?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=8MWM3P3QW7V54VQ94S6F

https://www.amazon.com/Only-Theory-Evolution-Battle-Americas/dp/0143115669

Here is a good interview, make sure you read page 4 where he talks about the Bible.

http://www.godofevolution.com/interview-with-biologist-ken-miller-part-1/

I really do recommend John Lennox also

https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_2?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=john+lennox

Have you attended any churches? I've found them to be so very different from the Kingdom hall. It gives you an entirely different idea of what it is to be a Christian and worship God (I find church enjoyable, uplifting and encouraging).

u/PixInsightFTW · 1 pointr/changemyview

I'm a Christian and a scientist. I struggle with questions like yours often and find myself returning to belief after each
'wrestling match'. As /u/sunnyEl-ahrairah said, this kind of wrestling is a good thing. If God exists, he wants us to use our minds.

Food for thought, as I certainly don't have all the answers:

>How do I know I have the right God? Maybe I only believe in the American Jesus... While another part of the world believes in Vishnu. What if they're right? It seems like it's just fixed on wherever you are....

It comes down to the person of Jesus. Who was he? The actual son of God, a malicious liar, or a crazy person? This is CS Lewis' famous 'Lord, Liar, Lunatic' argument, you may have heard it. The answer is a matter of belief and faith -- is the Bible reliable testimony? Does it quote him accurately? The things he claimed couldn't have been made by a mere 'good man'. So who was he? Figuring that out has to be part of your search for God.

>How does the physical world reconcile with scripture (genesis, when read literal, appears to deny evolution)?

A literal interpretation? It can't. Reading the Bible out of context, translated into English, and without considering the culture just does not square with the discoveries of science. But modern cosmology and evolution can both be squared nicely with the Bible, especially when recognizing that those chapters in Genesis match well with someone's vision of we see today. Check out Francis Collins' (former head of Human Genome Project) book The Language of God for one perspective. You might also be interested in Hugh Ross, a pastor and astrophysicist, and his website Reasons to Believe.

>If there is a god, and he created all of this, isn't he just a powerful alien? How is religion really that different from science fiction?

Aliens would be within the Universe, God outside of it. Aliens would be in the same boat that we are, part of creation. We define God as the Creator, separate from the rest of Universe (somehow!).

>How can someone who created the universe care about me individually? I've started to feel like that is just brought in to encourage the peasants to listen to the church.

It's a mindblowing idea, especially in light of the size of the Universe, and it takes faith.

Some things that I see that convince me that there is design to the Universe and a Creator (apart from the Bible):

  • The existence of the Universe - something from nothing?? - with all the right constants to form galaxies, stars, planets... us.
  • DNA Transcription and other biomechanical processes
  • The apparent independent existence of mathematics -- mathematicians debate whether we invent math or discover it.
  • The existence of human consciousness, unlike anything we know elsewhere in the Universe (so far)

    All of these highly ordered things exist in a Universe that tends toward disorder, entropy. With those in mind, it's actually easier for me to believe that God exists than doesn't. How he might interact with humans is a whole big other question, and that's where I consider the case of Jesus and my own observations of love, inherent right and wrong, and the arc of human history.
u/TheBlackCat13 · 7 pointsr/evolution

Not a book, but the overviews on TalkOrigins.org are a good place to start. Just start at the top and work down. It addresses some common theological issues.

You can also look at an index to creationist claims on the site, which has short answers to many points creationists raise, including a section on philosophy and theology.

You also might look at the unrelated biologos and clergy letter project for more theological support for evolution.

As for book, someone already mentioned "Why Evolution is True". Your Inner Fish is also a good place to start. The Greatest Show on Earth is also supposed to be good although I haven't read it.

If you do become interested in debating, or if you just have questions, it would be better to head over to /r/DebateEvolution, which specializes in the issue and has a lot of people very knowledgeable about the subject.

u/themagicman1986 · 1 pointr/Christianity

In addition to Mere Christianity here are a few more worth checking out. Despite the need for faith there is far more evidence for Christianity then I ever knew until recently. These are just a few of the resource that have helped me.

GodQuest

I Don't Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist

Stealing from God

The Language of God

The Fingerprint of God

I have put them in the order I would recommend reading but they are all great resources.

Another good resource for spiritual journeys are church small groups. A number of larger churches often have weekly groups or 6-8 week meetings geared for new believers and seekers. All the resources in the world are great by my journey was more shaped by talking through these things then anything else.

Glad to hear where your journey has brought you. I will be praying that God helps you find the resource and people you need to fill in the gaps.

u/ThaneToblerone · 3 pointsr/Christianity

I've been reading Dr. William Lane Craig's Reasonable Faith and finding it to be pretty stimulating so if you want something on the more academic end then that could be good.

CS Lewis's The Great Divorce is a good, quick read with an interesting take on the natures of Heaven and Hell.

Rev. Dr. Mary Kathleen Cunningham is a very good scholar who I studied under during undergrad and who has put together a very nice reader which surveys the spectrum of belief in the creationism/evolution debate called God and Evolution which is good if you're interested in that kind of thing.

Dr. Craig Keener has a good, cohesive commentary on the New Testament which you can buy as a single volume called The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament.

So there's a few to start out with. Let me know if you're looking for anything more specific and I can try to help (I have a budding theological library in my apartment).

u/Morophin3 · 1 pointr/answers

Here are some cool videos for you(not really informative about the makeup of cells but nonetheless might interest you enough to read the amazing books that I've listed below! The microcosmos really is a whole 'nother world!):

Kinesin Walking Narrated Version:

http://youtu.be/YAva4g3Pk6k


This is a better model. Notice how the 'legs' shake around violently until it snaps into place. Sometimes the random motion of the jiggling atoms(these aren't shown. Imagine the Kinesin molecules shown in a sea of water molecules, all jiggling about ferociously. The 'invisible' water molecules are bumping up against the Kinesin, and it's evolved to work with the random motions) makes it step backwards! But the ATP/ADP process makes it more likely to step forward than backwards(an evolved process). This is explained well in the book Life's Ratchet below.

Molecular Motor Kinesin Walks Like a Drunk Man:

http://youtu.be/JckOUrl3aes

Here are some amazing book to read. Seriously read all of these, preferably in the order listed to get the best understanding. They will blow your mind many times over. Many, if not all, may be at your local library.


QED: The Strange Theory of Light and Matter:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/0691125759


Quarks: The Stuff of Matter

http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/0465067816


Thermodynamics:A Very Short Introduction

http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/0199572194


Life's Ratchet:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/0465022537/


The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution

http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/1416594795


The Drunkard's Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives

http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/0307275175p

I would also recommend taking a biology and maybe a chemistry class at your local community college, if possible. My biology class started with the smallest stuff, atoms(technically not the smallest, but whatever), and worked its way up through the chain of sizes up to the biosphere. It was very informative and there were a few people in their 40s(a guess) that really enjoyed the class. So you can do it, too!

u/MisterDorimant · -1 pointsr/AlreadyRed

> For starters, its entirely irrelevant to a discussion on human behavior. the last traces of our planet will have been destroyed billions of years prior to heat death which will still happen billions of years after we are all dead and buried and everyone who ever knew our name is dead and buried as well.

I agree 100% with your second sentence, however your first is dead fucking wrong.

Physics is everything.

It is, after all, THE science.

If sociology and psychology are indeed sciences, they will be touched in some way, some how, by physics.

Nevertheless, what you've stumbled on is a point within a point that I sought to make.

What do most people believe? All kinds of crazy shit. Everything from astrology to alternative medicine to Bronze Age myths and superstitions to My Little Pony to ... dare I say it ... hope.

Not many people have even heard of Thermodynamics, much less understand it.

And you're telling me that their beliefs, or more to the point the lack of comprehension and flat-out disinterest of modern physics, does not influence their behavior?

No, friend, what I've said is quite relevant.

What you're doing is attempting to turn it into a red herring and drawing unneeded attention to minutiae. It's neither. Follow the flow of my writing top-to-bottom. It fits.

All I'm doing is trying to make a point. Don't sweat the small stuff.

I really do stand behind what I've said. You are free to disagree. And that's fine. You're not alone.

> Also, our star is around 1% of the mass required to form a black hole, if that.

I stand corrected. It will collapse to form a white dwarf after it burns away what's left of a dead planet previously known as Earth.

Details.

> By all means, keep science in the discussion, we need it, but lets stick to facts that are relevant. I'd do some actual studying and work with thermodynamics before you try to talk about, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_law_of_thermodynamics of course you may need a few years of elementary calculus and physics before it makes any sense. have fun, i've done it.

Hmmmm, I think I may have studied elementary calculus and physics before I studied:

  • college-level chemistry (what can you tell the class about Gibbs Free Energy?)
  • organic chemistry
  • multivariate calculus
  • linear algebra
  • differential equations (ordinary and partial)
  • engineering (calculus-based) physics
  • topology
  • real analysis
  • complex analysis

    ... aaaaaaand

  • psychology

    Do I need to re-take them so that I can be more smug like you?

    > A better argument would have been to say that we are utterly insignificant in the grandest scheme of things.

    I do agree with that statement. And that would be quite satisfying if I wanted to toy with memes. Yes, the universe doesn't exist for us. It's > 99% dark matter / dark energy, and less than 1% us. Big deal.

    Thanks but no thanks, I'll stick to practical science.

    I'd rather strive for understanding than latch on to soundbites and convenient explanations.

    In closing, before you make authoritative statements like these:

    > Please leave the 2nd law of thermo out of any and all discussions about TRP and our planet.

    Try to remember this:

    > Arguments from authority carry little weight – authorities have made mistakes in the past. They will do so again in the future. Perhaps a better way to say it is that in science there are no authorities; at most, there are experts. - Carl Sagan

    Now, hopefully, we can get back to my point.
u/davidjricardo · 5 pointsr/TrueChristian

I know I already answered this when you posted the same question over at /r/Reformed, but I wanted to answer here as well, so that others could potentially benefit.

Here's my reading list on Christian Perspectives on Creation. I don't agree with everything written by all of the authors, but they are all worth reading. If you are looking more for a Scientific perspective I'd particularly recommend Collins, Jelsma, and Haarsma since those are the ones written by scientists instead of theologians. If you didn't see it already, I also listed a number of other resources by Collins yesterday in the post about his AMA.

u/sharplikeginsu · 3 pointsr/TrueAtheism

That's right, yeah. There are tons of transitional fossils. Every fossil is a transitional fossil, technically :) But the big ones they always want to see are the ones between what we would now consider major species groups, like "land mammals" vs "whales". And yes, there are plenty of those.

It turns out that fossilization only happens in incredibly rare conditions. The critter generally has to have the right level of hard tissues, fall in one of the right kind of sediment, not get scavenged, etc. It's pretty amazing that we have as many as we do, if you think about it. So yes, we would expect a 'gappy' picture to connect the dots through, but there are MORE than enough dots to have a pretty good picture of what the whole tree looks like. (Even more data is now available with the advent of DNA sequencing, and it turns out to map generally pretty well to how the picture looked from only having fossils.) If you want more on this Why Evolution Is True is a good, not too intimidating read.

u/nightwing2024 · 1 pointr/funny

Don't be offended, but for the sake of a congruent discussion I'm going to reply to your response in sections. Some people find it annoying or pompous, but I assure you that is not the case.

>Well I've probably read the same texts you have in school, it's not like I was home-schooled in Alabama or anything,

I didn't actually have my "intellectual awakening" until I was out of High School. And not in the "took Philosophy 101 and now I think I understand the world" kind of way. I just didn't really look deeper into the world around me until I was 19 or 20. I was a very shallow person for a long time.

> I've found the atheist model of looking at reality intellectually wanting.

I question what exactly the "atheist model" you mention is. Atheism isn't a religion and has no dogma or tenants to follow. It simply means that I do not believe that there is a god or gods. More specifically, I am agnostic atheist, meaning that though I do not believe in any gods, I do not claim it to be definitive. Merely that there isn't evidence to support the claim of any god(s). You're theist, I'm atheist. If we drill down into each other's beliefs, there would be more specific terms like Christianity or Darwinism, for instance, but those are not synonyms for (a)theism.

>I was considered bright and well-read in college if that helps distance you from some prejudice you may have in your mind.

I push myself to not judge someone from a couple internet comments. I don't think you're dumb, or anything like that. Perhaps misinformed, but certainly not unintelligent.

>When you say "proud not to know" it makes me question if that's your true attitude towards any theist or just the radical U.S. "GOP", evangelical version of it.

Certainly not. I associate with a very diverse set of people. There are some very angry, ignorant atheists, just like there are very smart, kind theists. And it has nothing to do with a political party in my eyes. Individuals need to be treated as such. Everyone knows and thinks differently.

>There are arguments out there that strongly challenge the hypothesis of macro-evolution (for example) that I HIGHLY doubt many in this generation are familiar with

Before I get into the meat of this part, I'll say that while there are many ignorant people of all beliefs, it's not beneficial to discussion to narrow it down to any generation, young or old. It insults many without cause.

This here, however, is a definite sticking point with me. No other theory "strongly" challenges the mountain of evidence for evolution. There is truly no reason to divide this into macro/micro. It's the exact same mechanism under both terms, and those who wish to argue against evolution were the ones to introduce this separation of concept. The only real difference between them is the length of time evolution acts across, and I will admit that trying to wrap one's head around the hundreds of millions of years that this process has been acting is daunting. Here is where I would make my first book recommendation, "Why Evolution Is True" by Jerry Coyne. I know the tile is a little on the nose, but the reason I choose this is because the author presents the overwhelming evidence for evolution in a digestible, logic driven manner. It responds to nearly every common objection raised by those who doubt the scientific theory, and uses clear, concise wording to accomplish it.

>so sometimes I just get a little annoyed when I see another "all believers are idiots" types of posts when their own personal understanding of the science(s) involved is often threadbare at best.

I am in absolute agreement with you here. All believers are assuredly NOT idiots, and Religion and the idea of higher powers persists for many reasons, but among the most prevalent is that of comfort. It is a tough world out there and answers can be hard to come by. Things happen(good and bad), often without a clear explanation. Believing in a god means shifting these uncertainties off one's own thoughts so that he/she can keep moving forward with life. (Obviously there's more to it than that, just an example).

>Especially because you can spout that all day but let someone fire a salvo back and watch the censors get busy. Such a double-standard but that's not your fault.

I assure you I am willing to hear all ideas on belief without censor, but one of my personal favorite quotes applies, and that is "That can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence." Burden of proof is a key concept to understand.

>You're basically putting yourself in a position where everyone who believes they've had a genuine spiritual experience is either stupid or a liar. If that's not ignorance or pride I don't know what is.

What qualifies as a spiritual experience in your eyes?

>You're right that most religion tends towards a lot of negativity, but that's as much a sign that spiritual warfare exists as it is for arguing it doesn't.

I realize I'm guilty of it as well in this meandering reply, but if you wish to have a healthy discourse, try to keep your topics more narrow. Religion in general is a much larger can of worms than evolution or theism/atheism, and requires a much broader set of ideas to be exchanged.

---

Okay, sorry that took so long, and about the length of the text. I spent a lot of my day thinking on your words.

u/hedgeson119 · 3 pointsr/atheism

Check out the Foundational Falsehoods of Creationism.

Check out a copy of the books The Greatest Show on Earth or Why Evolution is True from a library. You can also get one of them for free on Audible, but you will miss out on the citations and diagrams.

See if you can watch or read The Grand Design by Stephen Hawking. I watched the miniseries, it's pretty good. It used to be on Netflix but no longer is.

Cosmos is great, and is on Netflix. If you want to watch videos about Cosmology just type in one of the popular physicist's names, Brian Greene, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Lawrence Krauss (his Universe from Nothing book is really great, so are his lectures about it), Sean Carroll etc.

Let me know if you want to talk, I'm always up for it.

u/Kralizec555 · 1 pointr/DebateAChristian

> I'm not disputing that, but I would call that adaption (one part of evolution) for the purpose of separating a theory that explains changes in species over time and occasionally speciation, from one that suggests all life evolved from single celled organisms.

You can declare this separation all you want, but it is all in your head. Both of these are integral parts of the theory of evolution.

> There is currently no theory with sufficient evidence That's what a mystery is.

Please do not misquote me, it is intellectually dishonest.

> The unproven presupposition I'm referring to is that all life can have evolved from single celled life through a combination of beneficial mutation and natural selection, not the big bang, that's beside the point.

I was using the Big Bang as an example of another theory that, under your assumptions, would be false because of the same reasons. You seem to have missed that.

> What I'm saying is that evolution is in fact a theory in the traditional sense of the world, not like the theory of relativity or gravity as is often suggested. Many believe it is the best model we have right now, but it's not even close to certain.

You are demonstrably wrong. I'm afraid this might come across to you as an appeal to authority, but I am going forward anyway. The fact that an overwhelming majority of biological scientists accept the theory of evolution as true is not a coincidence or a mistake, and is generally considered to be at least as robust as the theory of gravity (which if anything is a more incomplete theory). If you need some education on this topic, I suggest the book Why Evolution Is True, which does a stellar job of laying out the evidence. For a free option, take a look at the website talkorigins.org, which is an excellent compendium of evidence and arguments on the topic. Please take this opportunity to learn about this theory that you are bashing.

EDIT Please stop mentioning Intelligent Design in the same nature as the theory of evolution. ID is an unscientific proposition, and far from a theory.

u/paul_brown · 9 pointsr/Catholicism

Hi LaPieuse, and congratulations on your continued movement to the Catholic Church.

Natural Family Planning is a beautiful way to increase communication and intimacy with your spouse. It requires a bit of discipline, as you will be very closely tracking your cycle and NFP requires chastity and abstinence at times, but the reward is great.

For your research, I highly recommend:

  • The Marquette Method

  • Marquette's NFP Forum

  • The Clearblue Fertility Monitor

    Regarding your husband's concern, I understand the natural fear that comes with bringing a child into this world. Remember, though, that fear is not from the Lord.

    A question I believe you both have to ask yourself, however, is, "Are we really not prepared to raise a child, or is it just inconvenient for us right now?"

    My wife and I wanted to wait at least two years after our marriage before we would attempt to have children. Fortunately, that mentality barely lasted but a few months, and we have been trying for children ever since. We are financially secure, but I would not consider us "well off" or "rich" by any stretch of the imagination. We simply know how to live below our means.

    If you would like further study on the Catholic Church's teaching regarding marriage, human sexuality, and children, I highly recommend studying St. John Paul II's Theology of the Body. You can also Google or YouTube "Theology of the Body" for talks from dynamic speakers that introduce you to the "good news about sex and marriage."

    Prayers for you and your spouse on your journey.
u/FaceDeer · 1 pointr/atheism

There seems to be something about the age of 14 that makes this situation come up. :) Just a week ago there was a similar thread to this one in which a religious mother came to this subreddit asking for advice on how to understand her 14-year-old's atheist views. Here's the thread, in case there's any useful information in there.

Unfortunately your son seems a lot "angrier" than the one that was the subject of that thread. Sorry to hear that, it sounds like it's pretty rough. However, it also sounds like the two of you have already made some excellent progress reconciling your differences and views, so that's promising, and the fact that he's 14 gives both of you plenty of time to come to a better understanding of each other before he heads off into the world and opportunities become fewer.

One idea that comes to mind to possibly help dial back the antagonism your son feels toward religion might be to get him a book about the philosophy of atheism, so that he can maybe develop a more nuanced view toward it. Often extreme viewpoints come from a lack of understanding of the issue - extremism is simple and easy.

I haven't read a lot on the subject myself so perhaps others will have better suggestions, but one book I came across that seemed pretty good is The Portable Atheist, which is a collection of essays and articles from a wide variety of prominent nonbelievers throughout history. You might even find it interesting yourself (I imagine you'd want to give it a read before passing it along anyway, just to be on the safe side :).

u/Deradius · 2 pointsr/biology

Sure.

If evolution is of interest to you (and if you have interest in the intersection between theology and science), Finding Darwin's God by Kenneth Miller explores both sides of the debate and debunks many common misconceptions about evolution. I first read it in a college biology topics course.

If you like the topic of 'creationist attempts to dispute or disrupt the teaching of evolution in the classroom', Summer of the Gods, about the Scopes Monkey Trial, is a great book (although not explicitly about science).

You may find The Selfish Gene by Dawkins worth a read.

Books by Mary Roach can be fun; I've read Stiff and enjoyed it, and Packing for Mars was pretty good as well.

I have heard good things about The Emperor of All Maladies, though I haven't read it myself.

Our Stolen Future, about contamination of the environment by artificially produced estrogen and estrogen analogs, is dated but interesting.

The Discovery of Insulin by Bliss is a great story about how science happens and how scientific discovery occurs, and it lays out what may be the most important discovery in medical science during the 20th century.

Were those types of books what you were looking for?

u/flylikeaturkey · 7 pointsr/DebateAChristian

I have "seen" things that have convinced me. Not visually, but emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually my search for truth has always eventually lead me towards a belief in God. I'm not going to get into the individual things that lead me to be convinced of God as they are my lifetime so far of personal experience, education and seeking. But there is enough personal evidence to convince me to have faith.

I think you haven't seen anything convincing because you're looking for the wrong thing.

I could say that I don't believe in atoms, that I haven't seen demonstrable proof for them, you'll ask what would convince me, and I could say "I'll know it when I see it." You would conclude that I haven't examined the evidence properly. You'd find the fault in my view, not reality. How I look at it has no bearing on whether or not it is true. You trust yourself to be the judge of what constitutes adequate proof, but how do you know you're judging that properly.

God is something that would by nature be outside the realm of complete human understanding. We are biological beings with a limited subjective view trying to understand the existence of something limitless, something non-biological, something relational, spiritual, metaphysical. Yet you expect this very thing to physically manifest itself before your eyes before you'll even consider that it exists.

Even if it did physically manifest itself to you, through the lens of science, you wouldn't end up believe in the thing itself, just the bit that physically manifested.

What I'm getting at is that science can only prove the physical, so when asking questions about non-physical things you can't rely on science to reveal them. You can believe that there is only the physical, and science is therefore the only metric you need for assessing the truth. But as science can only measure the physical, you can't use it to prove that a non-physical doesn't exist.

You'll ask why this non-physical, if it does exist, hasn't reached out and confronted you, hasn't revealed itself to you. I'd say it has, but you choose not to listen, because you don't believe in it. You have to open yourself to it first. It's there. What you want is for it to take the last step, to make you believe in it. But you want it to do that on your physical terms.

Someone much more wise and eloquent than I can explain this idea better than I can:
Jordan Peterson on why he believes in God.

For the record I think the scientific case for God is also pretty decent. This book has helped me with that.

u/mixosax · 1 pointr/atheism

Not by a Horseman, but during my deconversion I found 50 Reasons People Give for Believing in a God by Guy P. Harrison to be helpful. Since you've already read The God Delusion and God is Not Great you may not find anything new in it, but for someone wanting a gateway book toward more militant literature, it's a good one. In it the author gently refutes common theistic reasoning. It might be a good one to recommend to budding atheist friends.

As to your question about whether God Delusion is thoroughly critical of religion, I feel that yes, it is--I think Dawkins spends a good deal of time explaining why we should be intolerant of religious thinking.

u/rafaelsanp · 1 pointr/Christianity

If your looking for good philosophical and logical arguments for the existence of God that might get him thinking, then you might want to pick up Reasonable Faith by William Lane Craig.

I think someone up higher was correct when they said that only God changes hearts, but I found this book very thought provoking. Even if it doesn't convince him it might produce some very good and thoughtful discussions.

And cheers to you for wanting to share the joy! It's the best basis for a relationship that I can imagine.

u/SageTurk · 6 pointsr/exmormon

Just gonna throw this out there - most of me and my wife's shelf breakers came from books or film that wouldn't traditionally be seen as related to mormonism. Our brains were just too wired to sniff that stuff out and reject it even if engaging with it. Instead I'd recommend two of the most powerful books I ever read and obiliterated my testimony without so much as a mention of Mormon history:

The Greatest Show On Earth by Richard Dawkins - Dawkins has a bit of a reputation as a vocal Atheist so your wife may already be biased. But if not - he is a wonderful writer, capable of relaying complex scientific principles in easy-to-understand layman's terms. So clear and levelheaded, it's essentially impossible to read this book and not have a minor stroke from the cognitive dissonance it throws on every concept of a divine creator that's ever existed.

Varieties of Scientific Experience by Carl Sagan - Carl Sagan was the original 'make science cool and accessible' superstar and in my mind he still hasn't been topped. This book is a supremely entertaining, mind expanding and FAIR mediation on science and belief from one of our generations greatest thinkers.

Hope this helps (cause reading mormon history books if she isn't ready sure as hell won't)

u/acetv · 1 pointr/learnmath

wildberryskittles recommended the classics but teaching methods have improved since then in my opinion.

You should revisit algebra, geometry, and trigonometry before tackling a book like Calculus Made Easy. For algebra, Practical Algebra: A Self-Teaching Guide seems like a great place to start. After that, head on to geometry with something like Geometry and Trigonometry for Calculus. The book Precalculus Mathematics in a Nutshell might also be helpful.

u/B_anon · -4 pointsr/DebateAnAtheist

>if you TRULY consider your thoughts you can quite easily see that they are not a process of free will but rather come to our mind unbidden.


Granting for the sake of argument that thoughts come to the mind unbidden, does that actually show that they come from the physical brain?


>We claim to believe in free will, but our own personal experiences reveal rather strikingly that belief to be completely unfounded.


This is quite an assertion, it seems to me that the opposite is true, for example:


  1. If you do not have free will then you can not choose to accept anything.

  2. You can choose to accept or reject premise (1)

  3. Therefore, you have freewill.


    How do you hold to the idea that it is true we live in a deterministic universe?

    If determinism is true then we have no freewill to choose anything, but if we choose to believe determinism, the whole reason we have done so is because we are predetermined to choose it, not because it is actually true.


    Another way to put it:


    If my mental processes are totally determined, I am totally determined to accept determinism. But if my sole reason for believing in X is that I am causally determined to believe it I have no ground for holding to the judgement that it is true or false.


    So the consequences of scientism i.e. determinism are self-defeating.


    Have you heard of the neurosurgeon Eben Alexander that wrote a book on his near death experience while his brain wave activity was being monitored? If there are states of consciousness when there is no brain activity going on, then brain wave activity is not a necessary condition of consciousness.
u/thesorrow312 · 1 pointr/Metal

I don't actively look for metal lyrics. When I look for intelligent anti theistic writing, I read what philosophers and other great writers have said. If you are interested, I cannot recommend this compilation enough: http://www.amazon.com/Portable-Atheist-Essential-Readings-Nonbeliever/dp/0306816083

Don't get me wrong, I love me some Burn the church, kill everyone, your god is dead satanic black metal lyrics. But to say they are intelligently written? I have not come across anything like that. I'm not trying to put down metal here, if anyone can show me some honestly poetically written, intelligent, mature metal lyrics, I would love to see them.

I actually think South of Heaven by Slayer has some pretty decent lyrics come to think of it.

u/jell-o-him · 6 pointsr/exmormon

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:

  • The Demon-Haunted World by Carl Sagan. An amazing argument for the use the scientific way of thinking in every aspect of our lives.

  • A Universe from Nothing by Lawrence Krauss. How math and science can fully explain the creation of the universe, and a powerful argument against the universe needing a creator.

  • The Greatest Show on Earth by Richard Dawkins. The subtitle is The Evidence for Evolution. Meant as a book for readers your sister's age. Big plus is that if she likes it, she may want to read The God Delusion and/or The Magic of Reality.

    Edit: grammar
u/honeybeedreams · 2 pointsr/pagan

i was thinking too; you might want to read “the triumph of the moon.” which is a history of modern paganism. it’s a very good way to understand the origins of wicca, versus ancient earth based religions. https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/0192854496/ref=dbs_a_w_dp_0192854496

my father and grandfather were freemasons and after i was initiated into a wiccan tradition that originated in the UK, i grasped how much Gardner had been influenced by masonry in his creation of original wiccan liturgy. of course, Gardner said he was divinely inspired, but all prophets say that and then share what they already know. (maybe Akhenaten was different? idk) my first trad was a mishmash of Alexandrian wicca, irish and british lore and “fairy folk tradition” that didnt make more experience in that “grove” any less significant or authentic. i learned a hell of a lot and my HPS and HP were very skilled with group energy work and drawing in the goddess energy. unfortunately, there was also a strong aspect of “this is an ancient lineage that you need to be 100% obedient to” that ultimately drove me away. of course it wasnt! i could find in books the parts that the ritual liturgy was pieced together from! and the whole “the goddess speaks through me so you have to do whatever i say” is just plain bullshit and why i reject organized religion anyway.

anyway, then i discovered reclaiming and the faeri tradition. even though starhawk calls her trad wiccan, and there are aspects of TBW in her original liturgy in “the spiral dance,” the HEART of reclaiming is NOT TBW or “wiccan.” i strongly recommend, if you havent read “spiral dance” “truth or dare” “dreaming the dark” “the earth path” etc, please do. and thorn coyle’s book, “evolutionary witchcraft” too.

you can also find info on reclaiming’s, starhawk and thorn coyle’s websites. even though there is a very strong component of social activism in both these trads, dont let that deter you... activist or not, the non-dogmatic, non-wiccan approach to neo-paganism and witchcraft is invaluable.

u/trolo-joe · 3 pointsr/Catholicism

If he's not already, get him into praying the divine office. You can get the single volume set or the four volume set.

It would be lovely if the two of you prayed together. I would recommend (if this is foreign to either of you) to start with Night Prayer (compline). It's the shortest version, to be prayed before you go to bed (or 9pm if you keep the Hours) and it introduces you to the style of prayer.

Morning Prayer (matins lauds) is great - I love starting my day with it.

For you I would recommend reading Rome Sweet Home and/or Born Fundamentalist, Born Again Catholic.

u/Acorni · 1 pointr/Christianity

The space-time thing is honestly absurd, I don't see how it could not make sense for a necessary being (insofar as He exists) to not exist. There being no space-time wouldn't matter seeing as how He is a fundamentally immutable and incorporeal being?

As for the supposed witness of other faiths, at that point you have to get into the trenches and quibble logically and philosophically. And I feel that Christianity most definitely wins those battles.

The "problem" of evil isn't really a problem at all. If you read any Plantinga you will become familiar with the free will defense and the moral responsibility (in many forms) defense to that claim. What are the contradictory omni-claims? If you are speaking of how God can be omni-just and omni-forgiving, in Christian theology these adjectives are used to describe qualitative intrinsic maximums, not quantitative infinites, thus there is no conflict.

What is the problem with Atonement, the Trinity, and God's special revelation in the OT+NT? The Gospel is God speaking to everyone who reads it, right now. His Revelation culminated with Jesus Christ, and that was infinitely sufficient. Why would He need to continue talking directly to people, in light of this grand special revelation and His general revelation, not to mention His manifestation through the Holy Spirit throughout our lives? (You'll have to be more specific about the "problems" with atonement and the trinity in order for me to respond to them.)

And I most certainly do see a huge amount of change in my life and the lives of those around me through Christ; I feel that I have gained a true Christian witness in the past year, and since that point my life has become infinitely better and more fulfilling (not to mention religious experiences I and others have had). What are some of the things that Christ told His disciples they could do that believers cannot do? Link specifically to scripture if you want to sustain this objection.

Also, you should read Where the Conflict Really Lies by Alvin Plantinga. It is another fantastic book.

God bless.

u/karmaceutical · 1 pointr/videos

Thank you for your response.

> so we can ask how has faith in superior divine entities recently helped us in curing bone cancer

Well, the answer is a lot. We can just look at one example, St. Jude's Hospital which was started by Danny Thomas, a Maronite Catholic. I'll quote the rest from Wikipedia here... " When his first child was about to be born, he attended Mass in Detroit and put his last $7.00 in the offering bin. He prayed to St. Jude Thaddeus for a means to provide for his family, and about a week later, he obtained a gig that paid 10 times what he had put in the offering bin. After that time, Thomas believed in the power of prayer. He promised St. Jude Thaddeus that if the saint made him successful, he would one day build him a shrine. Years later, Thomas became an extremely successful comedian and built St. Jude Children's Research Hospital as a shrine to St. Jude Thaddeus to honor his promise." The institute, founded by a Christian because of Christianity has produced over 4,000 scholarly articles related specifically to Osteosarcoma.

Unfortunately, the anecdotes of Galileo and and a few others have shrouded the reality that "the ongoing clash of creationism with evolution obscures the fact that Christianity has actually had a far more positive role to play in the history of science than commonly believed." nature.com

  • Until the French Revolution, the Catholic Church was the leading sponsor of scientific research. Starting in the Middle Ages, it paid for priests, monks and friars to study at the universities. The church even insisted that science and mathematics should be a compulsory part of the syllabus.

  • By the seventeenth century, the Jesuit order had become the leading scientific organisation in Europe, publishing thousands of papers and spreading new discoveries around the world.

  • It was faith that led Copernicus to reject the ugly Ptolemaic universe; that drove Johannes Kepler to discover the constitution of the solar system; and that convinced James Clerk Maxwell he could reduce electromagnetism to a set of equations so elegant they take the breathe away

    These days, the real discord between faith and science are just wedge issues - evolution and fetal stem cell research. Christians don't stand in the way of science in general, they oppose certain studies that they consider to be profoundly immoral (belief that embryos deserve human rights) or false (some forms of neo-darwinian synthesis). Given the small fraction of the sciences that this actually represents, it hardly makes the case that there is a deep divide between the two, or that Christianity is holding back science.

    If you are interested, I highly recommend you take a look at a few books...

    > Where the Conflict Really Lies: Science, Religion and Naturalism by Dr. Alvin Plantinga formerly of Notre Dame

    > Mind & Cosmos: Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature is Almost Certainly False by renowned atheist philosopher Dr. Thomas Nagel

    > The Genesis of Science by Dr. James Hannam

    There are plenty more, of course. But it leads to a striking question - who are more mislead, the Christians who are taught that evolution is false, or the Western world that is taught that the Church is an enemy of science?
u/DKowalsky2 · 2 pointsr/Catholicism

Some of these have been mentioned in this thread, but I wanted to make a thorough list, so here goes:

u/Ichthus_ · 1 pointr/AskMen

Why Evolution is True. Originally started as a book I had to read for class, but it turned out to be pretty interesting. The only downside is there's a kind of subtle militant atheism to it. I'm an atheist myself, but in the book, there's kind of a "This is right and Special Creation is stupid." Granted, it could be the author holding special creationism to the same standard evolution endures. He never blatantly attacks any particular religion. Pretty cheap on Amazon if anyone is interested. It's kind of a light read.

Next, I'll be reading Your Inner Fish. Looking forward to that one.

u/Phantomchrism · 1 pointr/suggestmeabook

Hey, I just want you to know that if it's just a hobby you are looking at a ton of information to process. What you are refering to is called taxonomy, You can check out Zoology books that are meant for the university, I think it's quite friendly to people who haven't had that much biology before, but some knowledge is adviced. Check out "integrated principles of zoology" by McGraw Hill.
http://www.amazon.com/Integrated-Principles-Zoology-Cleveland-Hickman/dp/0073524212

If you want popular science I can recommend:
1- A very easy and straightforward approach to evolution is "Why Evolution is true" by Jerry A Coyne. http://www.amazon.com/Why-Evolution-True-Jerry-Coyne/dp/0143116649

2- Richard Dawkins has a book that is dedicated to the evolution of humans, it's called "The ancestors tale" http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17977.The_Ancestor_s_Tale (I haven't read it, but I'm told it's very good). A lot of people don't like him, I think he can be a bit obnoxious and unapologetic in religious debates, but if you are interested in evolution you should be able to filter past that.

Happy reading!

u/Diiiiirty · 1 pointr/DebateAnAtheist

If you can't tell her yourself, let Neil Shubin do it in one of my favorite books, Your Inner Fish: A Journey into the 3.5-Billion-Year History of the Human Body. This book talks about said "missing links" and about Tiktaalik, the missing link between fish and amphibians. He talks about the genetic similarities between every living vertebrate, but explained very well for scientists, but also put very simply for people who don't fully understand all the terminology. He talks about fossils, and he talks about his own personal experience and makes it a very fun read. He also talks about experiments that have been done to stop genes from expressing or forcing them to express to see what will happen as a result, and have even gone as far as to take genes from chickens and replace them with shark counterparts to see the results. Very surprising, very interesting, and most certainly an extremely worth-while read, especially for a creationist.

Also, I simply don't understand how she could be studying micro and/or medicine and deny evolution when evolution is the basis of micro. Ask her what she thinks of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) which is essentially staphylococci which have adapted as a response to antibiotics to become resistant to antibiotic treatments. Ask her what she thinks of the AIDS virus (or any retro-virus at that) and why we can't cure it. Or ask her why there is no cure for the flu, and why vaccines for the flu only work for the strain that effects us that year. Ask her what a strain is, if it's not an evolved or adapted form of a different strain. Ask her where H1N1 (swine flu) came from and what is the difference between H1N5 (bird flu).

You can literally observe mutation and evolution over only a few generations in micro. Viruses in particular, and since they replicate so fast and so frequently and in such great numbers, the chances of mutation increases, and a bunch of mutations increase the chance of one of them being viable and successful. AIDS mutates so quickly that it changes entirely throughout your body before anything can be created to cure it.

I saw another commenter linked to talkorigins.org. Check that it, it is an invaluable resource.

u/KidGold · 1 pointr/DebateReligion

Sorry I've been out of state the past week and didn't get a chance to see this.


> Morals are formed by the need for us to function as a society, how is that evidence of a god? Just because a religion has a moral code is not evidence that a god is required to have them. It's pretty simple, if there were just one living thing, would anything it did be moral or immoral?


You're stating one of the two most widely understood theories on the origin of morality - I'm sure everyone on this sub is familiar with that idea. Obviously what I was saying is that what I observe about morality makes me believe in the other widely spread theories about moral origin - absolute morality.


> What research papers say DNA has an intelligent language behind it?


It's a pretty significant debate right now. Here is an article discussing a book from Harvard about DNA evidence for intelligent design, [Here] (http://www.amazon.com/The-Language-God-Scientist-Presents/dp/1416542744) is a book by Francis Collins. These are just the first two things a google search turned up.


>Order in the universe, the ability for life to create life and ways to survive, does not automatically mean there is an intelligence behind it. It can mean that things are subject to the same constants.

I agree. I don't think I was saying otherwise before, I was just saying that it's more difficult to understand how design could come out of no design than from design. That doesn't mean it didn't happen.

> It's still a story, just like every other religion. John took the most creative liberties of them all.

That doesn't change the fact that having more sources gives something more credibility than something with less sources - which was my point.

u/LordBeverage · 5 pointsr/philosophy

> and that means it is the end of the discussion is vapid

No one said that is the end of the discussion. They said it answers the question asked.

> short sighted, and lacks serious contemplation of the issue

Again simply asserted and not argued for.

> On top of all of that, it is overly simplistic.

No its not. In fact, though I doubt you've ever seriously studied evolutionary theory, it is quite complicated.

> In other words, saying we do what we do because of evolution presupposes and begs so many answers and questions that it is often times not a respectable or acceptable answer for those seeking greater understanding...

I don't think you have any idea at all about which questions and or answers are presupposed by explaining any of this in terms of evolutionary theory. A few specific (non-metaphorical) examples would be nice.

Again, you need to be careful: No one is saying everything we do makes sense in direct evolutionary terms. Skydiving doesn't seem to make any sense in evolutionary terms. But excitement, adventure, and thrill seeking do.

> For instance, if I order a pizza and want to know where it came from, Pizza Hut, while a valid answer doesn't address the greater(possible) context.

Answering "pizza hut" answers the question you asked. If you would like to know more, you must ask different, better questions. You didn't ask "where does the dough in my pizza come from?" you asked "where did my pizza come from?". This is not lazy, unimaginative, or vapid, it is accurate to the question asked. If you have a better, more specific question, there are other answers that make perfect sense in terms of pizza hut.

> While some of the questions to which I ask may never be known, to assert them as unimportant or lacking in value shows a bias and a personal prejudice that could very well lead to ignorance.

First, this doesn't follow. Just wanted to call your attention to that. Examining a question to discover that it doesn't really mean anything requires some of the most careful thinking humans do, and no-one could properly show that a question doesn't have value without first understanding what that value or meaning seems to be. And no, doing this does not engender any kind of bias or prejudice, in fact quite the opposite, it requires complete, accurate understanding.

"What is the color of envy?" Certainly green. But wait, that question doesn't make any sense. Emotions don't have colors. The question "why have we culturally associated negative emotions with colors which in certain constituents (vomit, rot, defication) trigger disgust?" is a much better, more meaningful question. But envy doesn't actually have a color, it is an emotion.

Second, nice straw-man. I suspect you're carrying baggage over from previous conversations.

> While I am not directing this at any person here, I am saying that I've seen many atheists lack either the willingness or comprehension skills necessary to consider other arguments/evaluate their own.

Ah yes, baggage definitely carried over from previous conversations. Never mind that this assertion, completely out of left field, shows a pretty gross generalization, I doubt you look any more intellectually capable or willing to them.

> Simply put, claiming that the reason for us being here is because evolution "just is" blindly assumes too much.

Like what? Again, I don't think you have even the slightest idea.

> After all there is no proof of this such a position, and even more so then that, there are good possible arguments to be made to the very contrary.

Oh lordy here it comes.

Read a book. Seriously prove yourself to be not a hypocrite and go buy those two books right now. And read them in full, charitably, even if you're not a creationist.

> Regardless my main point is simply this, many people(atheists) who argue for evolution as an answer worthy of general acceptance within humanity (for our be all end all origins of existence) have given up on the serious consideration of other alternatives

Yes, because the alternatives have been so thoroughly trounced, debunked, and defeated which evolution has been so thoroughly explanatory, consistent, and supported.

> as such are generally not interested in a fruitful discussion but merely want to espouse their dogmatic world view.

"Fruitful discussion" isn't just discussion which includes totally erroneous, impossible things. Upon your asking about where your pizza came from, my suggesting that we pay serious attention to my hypothesis that it was pooped out exactly as is by a superhero I call Pizza Man three minutes ago would not be a means to fruitful discussion. Having a diverse discussion isn't having a fruitful one. A fruitful discussion proceeds toward truth, it doesn't include as many possibilities as possible for their own sake.

> It's a completely different thing to say that since evolution created us we should just believe that is the totality of our origins.

Again, the stench of baggage here is heavy. First, if evolution created us, evolution created us, that is the totality of our origins. The question you're trying desperately to beg includes evolution creating us by the hand of a sky wizard. If that were the case, it wouldn't be evolution creating us. It would be evolution and a sky wizard. No evidence of the sky wizard, no reason to think he created us through evolution. No reason to think he didn't either, but in order to think he did (and that's what were worried about, if he did), ya need evidence.

And again with the straw-man. No one is saying that since we understand our evolutionary origins necessarily and sufficiently, we must now never consider any further possibility or amendment at all, ever. Quite the opposite, science is constantly doing it's best to discover that evolution is wrong- this is part of the scientific method. It doesn't seem to be able to do a very good job to that end (indeed more and more support keeps showing up), and that's why we take evolution so seriously.

We we don't do is give every random suggestion or hypothesis automatic credence as equally likely to be true just because some guy thought of it. You must have evidence that your hypothesis is true, or it is tentatively, parsimoniously considered not true (not 'false' mind you, 'not true'- as in lacking established truth value).

u/jbrassow · 2 pointsr/atheism

Had the same problem (although, I went to Christian boarding school, not home schooled).

Learning about evolution and why we know it is true taught me a lot about the scientific method and epistemology - that there are things we can /really/ know and not just believe them because of our "gut" or because someone told us.

A couple videos that helped on my journey:

Our Origins Made Easy : The scientific method and the need for evidence is especially well presented.

Foundational Falsehoods of Creation

There are many good books on the subject also ("The greatest show on earth" by Richard Dawkins).

You will be amazed.

​

Edit: Start with the videos. As you get the basics, move on to talkorigins, books, and other things - your interest will fuel the search. The biggest thing you will gain is that 'how to think' is more important than 'what to think'. It's one thing to take someone's word for it that evolution is true. It is completely different to learn why it is true. This will change the way you think about many things.

u/Neuehaas · 2 pointsr/Christianity

You are so smart to do so my friend! You're probably a philosopher at heart, too inquisitive to "just believe." That's great, I wish more Christians were like that.

The fact is there's plenty plenty of evidence for the truth (both historical and philosophical) of Christianity though it just takes time to read through it all. It's something you kind of have to get a bug up your butt about, or in my case you get strong-armed into it mentally, in which case you become obsessed with it which is what happened to me.

For some lay-level reading I'd check out (in no particular order)

Cold Case Christianity

Reasonable Faith or really anything by William Lane Craig

Evidence for Christianity

There are a TON more...

Also, read the old Church fathers, really fun stuff.

Please feel free to PM me anytime, I will gladly talk to you about whatever you want.

u/jdfoote · 1 pointr/mormon

Finding Darwin's God is an introduction to evolution by a Christian scientist. It's a great option.

Richard Dawkins is also very good. He's a militant atheist, but his writings on evolution are wonderful, clear, and beautiful. The Selfish Gene or The Greatest Show on Earth are both very good options.

u/The_Mighty_Atom · 2 pointsr/exchristian

>>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:

u/ron_leflore · 188 pointsr/todayilearned

Catholics claim to be followers of Jesus. They follow rules from tradition, handed down from Jesus through a continuous succession of popes. They think the Bible is a great book, but not exactly the word of God.

Fundamentalist Christians generally believe that Catholics have drifted from Jesus teachings. Instead, they believe the only true way to follow Jesus is through the Bible. They think that the Bible is the literal word of God and is exactly true.

EDIT:

For those interested in the apparent conflict between science and religion, a great book to read is by Francis Collins, one of the leaders behind the sequencing of the human genome, the current head of the NIH, and a deeply religious man, The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief
https://www.amazon.com/Language-God-Scientist-Presents-Evidence/dp/1416542744

u/fennsk1 · 3 pointsr/dataisbeautiful

As I see it, here's the core problem: The Bible isn't a scientific document that can be easily parsed into data, despite creationists and atheists wanting to treat it as such to raise it up and tear it down, respectively. In reality, there's little reason to think that humankind is capable of a full understanding of the spiritual dimension. It's even less reasonable to hold the Bible accountable for being scientifically accurate when such talk would have gone WAY over the heads of the people the books and letters were written directly to, who knew nothing of astronomy, electricity, etc, etc, etc.

It's fine to focus on the the absurdity of the creationist approach by pointing out scientific issues, but the Skeptic's Annotated Bible goes overwhelmingly too far and lists tons of "contradictions" that are actually paradoxes, antimonies, misinterpretations, or mistranslations (even more prevalent since the SAB's source is a an 18th-century King James Bible).

If you want some interesting reading on the subject, check out The Language of God, written by one of the heads of the Human Genome Project, who sees the Bible and nature as two books through which we see reflections of God's truth. At the heart of things, he states that "science is not threatened by God; it is enhanced" and "God is most certainly not threatened by science; He made it all possible."

u/lfborjas · 1 pointr/atheism

I just found about him this year, but reading him (specially his essays on "arguably" or stuff edited by him, like "the portable atheist") has inspired me not only to be more foursquare and vocal in my stance against the religion I apostatized from, but to rekindle my lukewarm, dormant and forlorn love for poetry and literature, he was an eloquent man, and he has inspired me to be eloquent (and proud of being circumloquent) again, despite my engineering degree and technical day-job.

Adieu, Hitch.

u/WodenEmrys · 1 pointr/atheism

> Creating technology is a biological thing.

>My beard example is by definition an adaptation. You adapt to a cold environment by growing your beard.

"Adaptation, in biology, process by which an animal or plant species becomes fitted to its environment; it is the result of natural selection’s acting upon heritable variation."

It is not the relevant definition of adaption though. You are equivocating. Using 1 word but different definitions of it to muddy the waters. Adapting with technology or growing beards is NOT the evolutionary examples you read in here that you dismissed as mere adaption and you damn well know that.

>The entire reason evolution was latched onto was because people wanted a way to explain life without the need for a super natural Creator.

Another lie, the vast majority of Christians accept evolution.

Even within the religion creationism is a minority position. The evidence led to evolution.

>People want to feel like they don’t have to answer to a higher power like God.

Accepting reality has absolutely nothing to do with this.

https://www.amazon.com/Finding-Darwins-God-Scientists-Evolution/dp/0061233501

A Christian Biologist wrote that. The entire point is that the ToE is compatible with gods and I assume specifically the Christian god.(note: I've never actually read it. [Edit: but I have seen it recommended to people who couldn't reconcile the two]. It wasn't until after I left Christianity and theism altogether that I first discovered people actually rejected the ToE for a literal reading of two contradicting stories in Genesis, so I never had a reason to) On his wikipedia page it lists "Criticism of creationism" as what he's known for.

>You said that there are tons of examples of “missing links.” What are they? As far as I’m aware there are like 2 somewhat viable organisms

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_transitional_fossils

u/MMantis · 13 pointsr/Christianity

> Case for a Creator by Lee Strobel

That book cherry-picks scientific facts when it serves its purposes and dismisses others when it does not. The author knows Creationism is indefensible so he settles for the middle ground, Intelligent Design. The scholars cited are at the fringe of their fields of study. There are medical doctors out there who are anti-vax, or who advocate homeopathy. Does that lead any credence to the anti-vax or homeopathic movements? No, it does not. So, the book you presented is a great example of alternative facts, and your sentence "The only alternative facts come from unbelievers who suppress the truth in exchange for a lie such as Dawkins, Harris, and others" is absurd, there are plenty of honest believers out there who spouse untruths regarding a wide range of topics due to ignorance. To be clear, I believe in the Creator, but His modus operandi, His method of creation, is imprinted upon the Earth itself and not to what Christian tradition thinks it should be. As Paul said, God's attributes are perfectly seen through the things that were created.

I in turn respectfully recommend you read The Language of God by evangelical author and one of the heads of the Human Genome Project, Francis Collins.

u/el_Dookerino · 3 pointsr/exmormon

'------------
TL;DR Sorry about the book review. Check out the linked book if you're interested in a rational and well-thought out exploration of the absurd implications of new earth/creationist theories on the nature of God.
'------------

For anyone interested in further reading on this topic, check out the book "Finding Darwin's God" by Kenneth Miller. (www.amazon.com/dp/0061233501/ref=cm_sw_r_sms_c_api_9o7szbXJJD182).

The author -- a practicing Catholic -- goes through several popular new earth/creationist theories and summarily dismantles them as being inconsistent with any notions of the Christian God's character. A chapter titled "God the Charlatan" addresses the theory that God created the earth 6,000 years ago and intentionally left behind false evidence (I.e., fossils, carbon dating, light particles from galaxies not yet created but still placed midway between their apparent point of origin and the earth, etc.) solely for the purpose of hiding his role in the creation.

This book became an early shelf item for me when it was assigned as required reading in my Biology 110 class at BYU. Like most TBMs, I "knew" that evolution was nothing more than a theory created by mankind to explain away God, but I had never stopped to think through the ramifications of worshiping such a deceitful God.

The author ultimately comes to a "faithful" conclusion that leaves the door open to the existence of a divine being by applying a "God of the gaps" approach to the apparent unpredictability of sub-atomic particles. Although I can't say I'm ready to endorse his theory, my agnostic-but-not-quite-atheist self can at least acknowledge that it is a lot less crazy of a theory than anything else I've ever heard.

Edit: fixed formatting

u/PoobahJeehooba · 5 pointsr/exjw

Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History available on iTunes podcasts as well.

Steven Pinker’s book The Better Angels of our Nature is a fantastic total annihilation of Watchtower’s constant fearmongering about how much violence there is in the world and how it’s only getting worse.

Basically anything by Richard Dawkins is evolutionary biology gold, highly recommend his book The Greatest Show on Earth

Neil deGrasse Tyson recently released a great book Astrophysics for People in a Hurry that gives so many mind-blowing facts about our universe in quick-to-read fashion. His podcast StarTalk Radio is fascinating and fun as well.

Bart D Ehrman is a fantastic biblical scholar, his book Forged examines the Gospel writers and why many are not who the religious believe them to be.

u/TooManyInLitter · 2 pointsr/DebateAChristian

> What book should I download and listen to that will convince me (a strong atheist) there is a god?

"The Call of Cthulhu" - a short story by American writer H. P. Lovecraft

Praise HIM so that upon waking HE may find you worthy and consume you first.

Just Kidding. We already know (gnostic theist) that Cthulhu exists as documented in the Lovecraft historical documentary story (disguised as fiction to hide the ONE TRUE GOD from heathens)!

As an agnostic atheist towards all supernatural Deities, and a gnostic atheist towards monotheistic Yahwehism, I don't know of any books that would convince you. However, if you would like to read/listen to one of the better known Christian Apologists - consider:

  • Reasonable Faith: Christian Truth and Apologetics,
    by William Lane Craig

    Or perhaps something of a more emotional appeal ...

  • Mere Christianity, by C. S. Lewis

    Both books have garnered many positive reviews by Christians.

    Neither is likely to convince a strong atheist (e.g., one that holds a knowledge position that no Gods, or specific God(s), do not exist), but I know of no book/set of books/narratives/evidence/arguments that presents credible evidence or argument to support belief or acceptance in any God - with the belief in Yahweh even more unsupportable.
u/kathmandu_to_you_too · 5 pointsr/biology

This isn't exactly what you're looking for (it has much more to do with pollination and fertilization than it does germination), but the hammer orchid has a structure that looks like a certain insect. The orchid has evolved a part (the labellum) to look uncannily similar to the female Thynnid wasp (at least to the males). When the male Thynnid wasp tries to copulate with the labellum, the orchid swings the two backward, smashing the wasp against pollen packets, which stick to it. The wasp then flies away and is tricked again by a second orchid. This time, however, the pollen from the first flower enters the stigma of the second and fertilizes it.

I'm just a high school student, so professionals out there please correct me if I'm wrong. I apologize profusely for any errors or misconceptions.

  1. Here is the Wikipedia page where I got most of my information.

  2. Here is a Youtube video demonstrating the orchid/wasp interaction and offering some more details.

  3. And here is a link to Richard Dawkins' book The Greatest Show on Earth which devotes a good amount of time to discussing how the hammer orchid evolved and is also a very good book about evolution itself.

    Hope this helps!

u/imjustanape · 4 pointsr/Anthropology

That is exactly what I am interested in doing! So since I have spent quite a lot of time thinking about this I believe I can help. As for what to read: I started with Your Inner Fish because it brings human evolution back to when we first got out of the water and explains very, very early brain evolution and development of the brain in utero. Also an easy read. Next I have been tackling "Evolution of the Human Brain" by Lieberman (can't find an amazon link for it, sorry). I'll admit it is not an easy read and it is not impeccably edited but I believe all the facts are there and it is very comprehensive. You can learn a lot from this book. I will also suggest The Brain. Now, I can't speak to the quality of this one because it has just come out, but the guys who wrote it are incredibly smart and I expect nothing but great material from them.

As for schools: you must know now that it really all depends on the person you want to work with. They could be anywhere in the world. I mentioned before, this is my thing, so I can tell you that the schools I have interest in because they have one or more people researching this area are: UC San Diego, George Washington U, possibly NYU if you can tie it into neuroscience and work with the medical center, then there are people abroad as well if that's something you would consider.

Hope that helps.

edit: the book is called "Evolution of the Human Head" not Brain.

u/Rhizobium · 2 pointsr/AskScienceDiscussion

I'm not qualified to make a recommendation on basic physics, but here are some of the best examples of science writing I've come across for the other subjects you've listed:

  1. Scientific History and Chemistry - The Invention of Air, by Steven Johnson. This book is about Joseph Priestley, and his contribution to the discovery of oxygen. Priestley was incredibly prolific, and made a ton of contributions to completely unrelated fields. It also touches on why science started to really take off at this point in history, and the necessary conditions for good science to occur.

  2. Natural Sciences - Why Evolution Is True. Jerry Coyne takes a college-level biology class on evolution, and condenses it into a single book. It is very easy to understand, even if you don't have a biology background.

  3. Scientific History and Astronomy - The Big Bang by Simon Singh. This is probably the best popular science book I've ever read. A lot of these books will tell you how scientists think the universe works, and stop there. This book is different, it explains the reasons why scientists think the universe is a particular way, and lays out the history of how these ideas changed during the development of astronomy.
u/roontish12 · 2 pointsr/atheism

If he is interested in actually learning about evolution, as opposed to just hearing a a gist of it, which probably won't convince him, there are some excellent books which very clearly state 1) what evolution is 2) the evidence that we have for it 3) why this evidence points to evolution being true.

Your Inner Fish, my favorite.

Why Evolution Is True

The Greatest Show On Earth

Snarky edit: "Show me the evidence"... well, he can always just go to a museum. The evidence is freely available for anyone to look at.

u/peonymoss · 2 pointsr/Catholicism

1- Bible: Any Bible with the word "Catholic" on the front (and without words like "Story", "Picture", "For Little Ones", etc) will suit your purposes. Your best bet is either the NRSV-CE or the New American Bible. Beyond that, it's completely up to you - different editions have different features. Just go to a Catholic bookstore and see which one you like best. This blog has some information on the different editions.

For the NRSV-CE, take a look at the Ignatius Bible

For New American, take a look at a St Joseph edition. I've also heard a recommendation for the Fireside editions.

Either one of those might fit the bill for "quintessential"

2 - For learning the prayers of the Mass, get a St Joseph Sunday Missal. Any edition will have the basic prayers. If you get the inexpensive paperback "2015" book, it will have the prayers of the Mass, but the Bible readings won't pick up until the new Church year starts in late November.

For learning more about the whys and wherefores of the Mass, the Catechism has a good start on this information. You might also like to check out Scott Hahn's The Lamb's Supper

3- printed Catechism - Get this one. If it looks intimidating, get one of its little sisters, the Compendium or even the YouCat

4 - Philosophy - The Catechism itself will have references. I like Theology and Sanity by Frank Sheed

Hope this is helpful! Welcome aboard!

u/geach_the_geek · 1 pointr/biology

This isn't heavily science-y and a bit journalized, but I really enjoyed Stiff: The Curious Life of Human Cadaver's by Mary Roach. I also like Why Evolution is True by Jerry Coyne. There's a lot of overlap with what he teaches at his UChicago Eco & Evo course. Bad Science by Ben Goldacre is also wonderful, but will likely make you angry. Yet another interesting read is The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.

u/mennonitedilemma · 3 pointsr/OrthodoxChristianity

Yes, the quotes are out of context. For example, look at the Shephard of Hermas quote:


>2[6]:6 Thou shalt therefore say unto the elders of the Church, that they direct their paths in righteousness, that they may receive in full the promises with abundant glory.

Basically, this verse says that we should stay on the path of righteousness in order to receive a reward.

>2[6]:7 Ye therefore that work righteousness be steadfast, and be not double-minded, that ye may have admission with the holy angels.

The word "therefore" indicates a conclusion. Therefore, our works should be steadfast, not double minded in order to have admission with the holy angelsl

Now here is the critical section quoted by this site:

>Blessed are ye, as many as endure patiently the great tribulation that cometh, and as many as shall not deny their life.

Here, we see a old english word "cometh" which is in the 3rd person singular present indicative. There is no future tribulation hinted by the text itself. If someone wants to look at the Greek, I am sure it is also the same case for the Greek, or else this word would not be used in the translation. Thus, the future tense is read into the Shephard of Hermas by these rapture proponents, and the true meaning of the great tribulation is something that is being endured in the present. This careless reading of scripture and other texts is really a hallmark of the rapture movement.

Additionally, The scriptures themselves do not teach the rapture. I recommend reading the Anglican Bishop Kenneth Myers book "The end is near... or maybe not."

http://www.amazon.com/The-End-Near-Or-Maybe-Not/dp/1470001772/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1345680055&sr=8-1&keywords=the+end+is+near+or+maybe+not

He was a firm believer in the Rapture theology, but when the rapture never happened when it was supposed to after the formation of Israel, he began to read the Scriptures more carefully, and now holds a more orthodox position.

Anyhow, So what should we do with these people? Love them, respect that they believe these things. I would not let their quotes bother you though.

u/OddJackdaw · 1 pointr/evolution

> "Maybe there isn't. Maybe it popped up and since it had no disadvantage, it perpetuated."

It actually does have a disadvantage-- people with red hair are more prone to sun burn and skin cancer.

And interestingly, the country most associated with redheads has a relatively high cloud cover much of the year.

So it is just it has a slight disadvantage, but not enough to cause it to be bred out.

BTW, this sort of question can get complicated... You have to start factoring in sexual selection.

In sexual selection, a trait may have a evolutionary DISadvantage, sometimes a significant one, from a "pure" natural selection basis, but still be selected for because it makes the individual more popular with mates.

The obvious example of this is the male peacock. Their tail feathers are a significant disadvantage to simple survival. But female peacocks prefer males with massive, elaborate tails. So natural selection causes the tails to grow and grow and grow until they reach the point where the positive sexual selection benefit just outweighs the negative natural selection disadvantage.

Seriously, this shit is fascinating. I highly recommend the book Why Evolution is True by Jerry Coyne. It covers pretty much everything we've talked about and more.

u/wifibandit · 1 pointr/worldnews

> The Bible was still legit

Take some time to learn about the history of the bible. For example, you can take the Open Yale Courses on Religious Studies for free.

Read Who Wrote the Bible by Richard Elliott Friedman

Also read A History of God by Karen Armstrong

Next, learn some actual science. For example - spoiler alert: evolution is true. Visit Berkeley's excellent Understanding Evolution Website.. Or, if you're pressed for time, watch this cartoon.

Read Why Evolution is True by Jerry Coyne

Read The Greatest Show on Earth by Richard Dawkins

Learn about the origin of the universe. For example, you could read works by Stephen Hawking

Read A Briefer History of Time by Stephen Hawking

Learn about critical thinking from people like Michael Shermer, and how to spot logical fallacies.

u/nkleszcz · 1 pointr/Catholicism

Get a Bible you would read. I like the RSV-CE, but you can also go with the Douay Rheims if you want archaic English or the NAB. Of the Bibles, the Navarre Bible (RSV) has commentary sections from Saints throughout the centuries. They have a single volume version of the New Testament that I use. (Also good, the Ignatius Study Bible, also New Testament only).

I recommend Thomas Howard's If Your Mind Wanders At Mass and Healing Through the Mass by Fr. Robert DeGrandis.

Get the Official Catechism of the Catholic Church, and get the helps put out by Ignatius Press (which contain the texts of all the footnotes). The Compendium is also good, if you want an abridgement.

For Philosophy, I recommend The Fulfillment of All Desire by Ralph Martin. In that book he takes the writings of seven doctors of the Church and encapsulates them so that a layperson can follow them. You can use that as a springboard to discover your own readings about St. Augustine, St. John of the Cross, etc.

These are all affiliate links, but you do not have to use them.

u/pcpcy · 1 pointr/exmuslim

Why Evolution is True by Jerry Coyne (a professor in biology), and The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution by Richard Dawkins (an evolutionary biologist too) outline the evidence for evolution in a clear and easy to understand way, and explain the basics of evolution as well.

You need to learn the theory of evolution as well and not just the evidence for it. The University of Berkley has a great online Evolution 101 short course that you can view here.

Once you understand evolution and see the evidence we have for it, you'll be able to educate your dad on it in an enthusiastic way, and not in a confrontational one.

u/mikedash · 6 pointsr/AskHistorians

The AH books and resources list is your friend, but as its recommendations are scattered through a mainly geographical listing, I will compile some of the key cites for you here.

Religion and the Decline of Magic by Keith Thomas (1971): One of the pioneering works on how anthropology can help our study of history focusing on superstition in the late medieval/early modern period, this is a fantastic read and a real insight into a still-young school of historical analysis.

Thinking with Demons by Stuart Clark (1999): this is one of two mandatory books on Early Modern Witchcraft (the other is Keith Thomas' Religion and the Decline of Magic). It's hard to summarize what is a monumental piece of work, but examines the idea of witches and how that idea functions through different intellectual sections of life. It has a bibliography that will make you weep with inadequacy and throw your work into the nearest witch-bonfire.

The Triumph of the Moon: A History of Modern Pagan Witchcraft by Ronald Hutton (1999). A study of the history and development of modern Pagan Witchcraft.

Blood and Mistletoe: The History of the Druids in Britain by Ronald Hutton (2009). A history of the intertwined development of modern Celtic scholarship and religious revivalism in Britain.

The Witch-Hunt in Early Modern Europe by Brian Levack: Levack gives important background and context to his discussion of the witch-hunt. The work's value as an introduction to the topic is evident, as the book is now in its third edition.

Theology and the Scientific Imagination: From the Middle Ages to the Seventeenth Century Funkenstein, Amos. 1986. An interesting read detailing the various views of emerging scientific thought and the prevalence of religious faith. The book takes time to work from a sociological as well as historical viewpoint to allow for a broader take.

u/DRUMS11 · 1 pointr/atheism

If you want something "religion compatible" you could look at Finding Darwin's God by Ken Miller. It's not perfect and has an erroneous section on the arrangement of the optic nerve; but, it's a decent read (I completely skipped the religious apologetics chapters). It should be easily digestible by anyone who vaguely remembers high school biology. I'm not sure it really explains evolution, though - it's been quite a while since I read it.

If he'll be turned off by light scientific jargon and criticism of religion you should definitely steer him clear of Why Evolution is True, as Coyne is pretty hard on religion - I mean, I agree with him but I think it occasionally detracts from an otherwise excellent book by straying a bit from the topic at hand.