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gworley comments on Recommended reading for new rationalists - Less Wrong

27 Post author: XFrequentist 09 July 2009 07:47PM

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Comment author: gworley 10 July 2009 02:59:30PM 2 points [-]

Personally I'm not very impressed with this book. Maybe it's because by the time I read it I already knew too much, but I found it of little use other than to run over the groves in my mind of the most basic aspects of evolution. Maybe it's best for someone who is coming from a strong religious background and needs a starter to break the religion from their mind?

Comment author: Vladimir_Golovin 11 July 2009 07:03:19AM 2 points [-]

Maybe it's best for someone who is coming from a strong religious background and needs a starter to break the religion from their mind?

I doubt that their epistemology will let them accept the "fact" that life, including them, can be reduced to molecular interactions. I once exposed an extreme irrationalist / theist to evolutionary ideas, and he said to me that all evolutionists, Dawkins being the prime example, are sponsored by The Enemy -- and he meant "sponsored" in a literal sense, by paying money.

(On the other hand, I succeeded in converting one of my programmers into Evolutianity, but he was a pretty smart and rational guy in the first place, perhaps just a bit new-agey).

I think the Selfish Gene and other popular (but technically accurate) introductions to evolution are best for fence-sitters, not for strongly religious people. And I feel that there's a lot of fence-sitters among religious people these days.