Jan 222013

From the first SEA book club meeting on January 20, here are the summary notes for those of you who couldn’t make it along.

Chapter 1: A Deeply Religious Non-Believer

Review: Are religious beliefs and views given special privileges and respect? And if so, do they deserve those privileges and that respect?

Discussion points: Should scientists still refer to ‘’God’’ when they don’t actually mean God as the religious know it? What would you say instead?

Chapter 2: The God Hypothesis

Review: Polytheism/Monotheism, Founding Fathers and religion of America, Agnosticism, The Great Prayer Experiment

Discussion points: Do you think God falls into the Temporary or Permanent Agnostic category? Does the inability to disprove the existence of God provide a positive reason to believe?

Chapter 3: Arguments for God

Review: Arguments are discussed briefly and then addressed. Thomas Aquinas’Proofs, arguments from personal experience all the way to Pascal’s wager.

Discussion points: Have you heard all of these arguments before? If so, which ones have you heard most often? Are there any listed in the book that you did not know? Did Dawkins leave out or misrepresent any major argument for God’s existence?

Chapter 4: Certainly No God

Review: worship of gaps, natural selection as a consciousness-raiser, planetary and cosmological principles

Discussion Points:
What are your views on the multi-verse theory?
He suggests that a hypothetical cosmic designer would require an even greater explanation than the phenomena that they intended to explain. Is this a valid argument?

Chapter 5: The Roots of Religion

Review: religion as Darwinian natural selection, a by-product of something else (some examples were childhood obedience, dualistic mind, and love)

Discussion points:
Which argument did you feel made most sense to you, and why?