Carl Sagan: "Demon Haunted World"
Posted: 15 October 2006 10:23 AM   [ Ignore ]  
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I am reading this great book by Carl Sagan, and I've come to the chapter where he discusses the "baloney kit" and the tools on what to do and what not to do when forming an argument. (p 216)  One example struck me, he refers to it as "the excluded middle, or false dichotomy."  Examples he gives are "sure, take my his side, he's perfect I'm always wrong" and "If you're not part of the solution you're part of the problem." He warns of only considering the two extremes in a continuum of intermediate possibilities.

I immediately thought of the opening chapter, or maybe it was the preface, of "LTACN."  There, Sam draws a line in the sand with Christians.  Something to the effect of "Either the bible is the word of God or it isn't" and he goes on to list many more things dividing and lumping christians into a group.  Is this an example of a false dichotomy? I'm inclined to say no because in claims to how the universe is someones beliefs are either right or wrong, but I'm interested in what others have to say.

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Posted: 15 October 2006 10:55 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]  
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I’m inclined to say no too.

Carl Sagan is more rigorous than Sam, for what it’s worth.  Try this link to see what I mean:

 

(Hat tip to Salty Creek for the link.)

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“I will tell you with the utmost impudence that I esteem much more his Person, than his Works.”

  (Dryden, St. Euremont’s Essays, 1692.)

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Posted: 15 October 2006 11:05 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]  
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I have to give priority to mahahaha

http://www.samharris.org/forum/viewtopic.php?p=39441&highlight;=#39441

I do not understand why he posted it, but I, too appreciate the link.

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INVEST in cynicism!

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Posted: 15 October 2006 11:17 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]  
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I thoroughly enjoyed Sagan’s Demon Haunted World.  He is a wonderful writer and is sorely missed, especially given the current state of affairs in this country.

However, I think it is absurd to state that Sagan is “more rigorous” than Sam Harris.  That is simply untrue.  You might be left with this impression if your exposure to him consists only of reading Letter to a Christian Nation.  As you should know, this work was intended to be brief, as a book that can be passed to someone on the Christian Right in the spirit of “read this and get back to me”.

His first book, The End of Faith, is one of the most potent set of arguments against religion ever assembled under the cover of a single book.  His arguments are laid out beautifully, in a thoughtful and nuanced way.  If you are looking for a more rigorous treatment of religion and politics, you owe it to yourself to read TEOF.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Sagan and Dawkins.  But any truly objective observer must place Harris in the same category.  He is certainly not of a lower tier, less detail oriented or “rigorous” than the other luminaries.

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Posted: 15 October 2006 12:53 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]  
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[quote author=“wavelength32”]
His first book, The End of Faith, is one of the most potent set of arguments against religion ever assembled under the cover of a single book.  His arguments are laid out beautifully, in a thoughtful and nuanced way.  If you are looking for a more rigorous treatment of religion and politics, you owe it to yourself to read TEOF.

Actually all I have read is TEOF, sorry this is in the wrong forum.

TEOF is credulous about the paranormal and - sorry, I have to go eat dinner.  Just check out the link, it pretty much says what I wish I would have.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Sagan and Dawkins.  But any truly objective observer must place Harris in the same category.  He is certainly not of a lower tier, less detail oriented or “rigorous” than the other luminaries.

He’s not as hard on “spirituality” and “mysticism” as on religion.  When I say rigorous, I mean every claim backed up by data.

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“I will tell you with the utmost impudence that I esteem much more his Person, than his Works.”

  (Dryden, St. Euremont’s Essays, 1692.)

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Posted: 15 October 2006 11:05 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]  
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I don’t know about rigor, but I found Sam to be a more cogent, compelling, and enjoyable read than Dawkins or Sagan (Zeus rest his soul).

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