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Aaron N. Tubbs

Dragon chaser.

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The Varieties of Scientific Experience was a book I bought on a whim a while back. A collection of Carl Sagan’s transcripts from the Gifford Lectures, it presents in eight parts Sagan’s view on theology and science, which I believe for him (and apparently for several who came before him, such as Einstein) to be one and the same.

He presents a thoughtful argument against most forms of organized religion, and points out the obvious fallacies of science contradicting the basic tennants of every religion. Many staples are debunked with rather trivial proofs, and intelligent well thought out argument. That said, it’s not a book that is trying to be dismissive of religion or its effects, rather it’s trying to suggest that the anthropic approach to both science and religion is comical in how misguided it is.

The book was very readable, and very quick, and doesn’t go into any of the science with any depth, so it’s not a dense sort of thing. He does spend a decent chunk of time talking about nuclear disarmament, and the folly of the arms race and stockpile, pointing out along the way the absurdity of a missile shield (again, a simple mathematical proof that a 95% effective shield would still lead to the destruction of most, if not all, of mankind), his case was against star wars, but it’s just as relevant today. He humbly suggests that the human civilization is at an inflection point where it has the ability to completely destroy itself, something it lacked in the past, and the future histories will show this is either when we stepped back and decided not to destroy ourselves, or perished.

Anyway, good stuff, worth the read, especially if you don’t believe in God in the same sense as organized religions. 8/10.