Adventures in Humility

News, Views, and Chews on spiritual issues.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Bedtime reading

I got a load of books out of the library the other day. I guess I should brush up on my psychology stuff now that Uni is due to start next week. Oh, what a sheer collection I got, and I am not even going to read all of it but to pick up some great snippets from here and there! Hmm, I guess I have about 12 books in total to flick through and all of them very interesting subjects indeed!

And just check out the topics at hand: the origin of consciousness, the worldwide decline of atheism, mythology of the Middle East, scientific religion and reasoning, and so on! The two I've been most attracted to read is 'Rocks of Ages' by Stephen Jay Gould, and 'Dawkins' God' by Alistair McGrath. The latter author is interesting for the fact that he is a scholarly scientist who is also an avowed atheist turned Christian. How he made the transition from unbeliever to believer would be something interesting to for me to find out, but I'm more interested in the main topic of his book; a full-fledged rational challenge to 'The Selfish Gene' by Richard Dawkins!

Mind you, I don't think it's altogether fair to read these things backward, so I went to the library today and booked out a copy of Dawkins' 'Selfish Gene' so I can study it it and then read the challenge. I had the choice to study Dawkins' text last year at uni for a book review, but I decided to drop it for the excellent 'Phantoms In The Brain' by V.S. Ramachandran. At that time I knew that Selfish Gene was a good book that I should think about putting aside, but I guess I never had the time. So I guess I can finally pick it up now and try to understand his case for Darwinian evolution.

Mind you, that would also be a tad backward since if I wanted to read up on evolution it would be most appropriate to study Darwin's original text. But you know, I can't be bothered to go back and forth to the library and especially since I have so little time to read on my hands.

Mind you (OK that's becoming a little annoying!), 'The Twilight of Atheism' by McGrath that I also got looks to be something good to chew over. In his Intro to Dawkins' God, he mentioned that he realised how atheism was not self-evident as it was supposed to be, but was just a "belief system" like any other religion. I have trouble wondering whether his viewpoint comes from an objective study or if it originates in his own disillusionoment. Rather than the typical Nicky Cruz 'Christian conversion' novels that are profusely available nowadays, it seems that McGrath is very much of a scientists and is able to challenge Dawkins on scientific and rational ground. The fact that he happens to be a professor of Christian theology shouldn't make much of a difference to his other numerous scientific credentials.

But oh, when will I find the time to dive into the Caitanya-bhagavata?! I will have to steal a few precious moments to bathe in that ocean!


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