May 25, 2012

Fundamentalist Christian Apologetics Or A Crusade Against Science?

Religious Products: Prayers and Playthings, The Economist, July 14, 2012.  "Religions rarely praise consumerism. But 2.2 billion Christians and 1.6 billion Muslims are a big market. Sales of books on the world’s two biggest faiths are soaring, with interactive Korans and Bibles among the innovative products. Last year sales of religious books in America grew by 8% in a declining industry."

Popular Science Books Take Off: A Big Bang In Physics Publishing by Tom Chivers, The Guardian, September 6, 2010:

"Traditionally, evolutionary biology has received most attention from publishers. As the philosopher and neuroscientist Daniel Dennett says, no area of science has been so well served by its writers: Richard Dawkins, Stephen Jay Gould and John Maynard Smith are particularly fine examples.

"But since Dennett wrote that in 1995, evolutionary theory has been fighting for shelf space, as quantum physics and relativity mount a comeback. The past few weeks have seen Stephen Hawking’s new book, The Grand Design, move from the books pages to the front pages with its provocative argument that physicists do not need a creator to explain the universe’s existence. But a reader could equally well pick up We Need to Talk about Kelvin by Marcus Chown; In Search of the Multiverse by John Gribbin; Quantum by Manjit Kumar; Void by Frank Close; and dozens more.

"'There’s a real interest in science books at the moment,' says Stuart Clark, author of The Universe (part of the 'Big Question' series). And it’s not as if they’re light reading. Clark’s own book asks what stars are made from, whether there are alternative universes, what the fate of the universe will be, and whether, à la Hawking, there is cosmological evidence for the existence of God."

Contemporary fundamentalist Christians continuously and aggressively try to influence American politics and public education.  They also try to directly discredit and infuse science with supernaturalism and faith.  Their efforts are especially aimed at the foundational tenet of biology and all the life sciences, evolution.

Those around the world who seek a future where all Humankind and our stewardship of Earth is guided by a secular-scientific yet pluralistic global forum, face a monumental challenge.  That being the efforts of fundamental Christians and Muslims who aspire to being more than equals in such a pluralistic future.  Their faith-based, supernatural views, for example, are not regarded by them to be pluralistic alternatives to scientific-secularism.  On the contrary, the views of fundamentalists are seen by the faithful to represent an absolute truth that must, if and when necessary, be imposed on Humankind.

In part, this zealous effort is carried out through the publication of books such as those listed below.  This small but nevertheless representative sample of fundamentalist Christian efforts was published between the late 1960s and 2008.  I bought them at used bookstores and garage sales in the small, very conservative, predominantly Christian county where I live here in the American South.  I was not surprised to discover that most of the books are not simply apologetic approaches to Christianity.  They are outright assaults on science.  I will gradually be placing comments below each book as I review them in depth.  I would be very happy to receive readers' comments on the books and your reactions to my reviews.

May 10, 2012

What's An Atheist To Do?

Number of Nonreligious Americans Continues to Increase: One-Fifty Are Atheist, Agnostic, or Believe in Nothing by Jeff Stone, International Business Times, Faith & Belief, July 21, 2012

Indian Atheists See Recogntion In The Land Of A Million Gods by Samuya Sethia, Times of India, June 30, 2012

Atheists, Muslims See Most Bias As Presidential Candidates by Jeffery M. Jones, Gallup, June 21, 2012

One Nation, Another Religion? by Rachel Pridgen, a review of  Nonbeliever Nation: The Rise of Secular Americans by David Niose and Religion for Atheists: A Non-believer’s Guide to the Uses of Religion by Alain de Botton, eSkeptic, June 13, 2012

Non-Believers Who Aren't Atheists? by David Niose, Psychology Today, June 4, 2012

Is Atheism Increasing At The Expense of Theism? by Gregory Paul, Science and Religion Today, May 30, 2012

Atheist Nation - Where In The World are all the atheists?  by Michael Shermer, eSkeptic, May 8, 2012

Should Atheists Slam Religion Or Show Respect? by Valerie Tarico, AlterNet, May 4, 2012