Examines the conflict between science and religion, and helps to dispel the myths and superstitions that have long been used as an excuse for political and religious extremism. Also extends the theory of evolution to include the struggle for political power and the development of advanced technology, and contemplates the existence of the universe and questions whether consciousness has any kind of cosmic purpose.
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Shattering the Sacred Myths is a compelling, enlightening, and entertaining attempt to explain the existence of the universe in such a way as to shed light on whether there is any purpose or meaning to our lives.
The book begins with an easy-to-read step-by-step explanation of the natural evolution of humankind. It then follows the steps that led to the building of civilization and the discovery of advanced technologies like genetic engineering and artificial intelligence. After speculating about designer babies and thinking computers, it then considers the possibility that there may be some kind of cosmic purpose behind the evolution of a humanlike consciousness. This leads to the question of whether at the very highest level of reality there may exist a purposeful creative process rather than meaningless chaos or a mindless cosmic machine.
The book then explores how the traditional religions and philosophies have answered the question of human purpose. No sacred myth has been spared in an effort to uncover the most likely sequence of events that led to the formation of Judaism, Greek philosophy, Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism and Islam. This enlightening account of early human history concludes with a brutally honest analysis of metaphysical worldviews and systems of cooperative morality.
The book then summarizes the history of modern democracy. It focuses on the struggle for political and religious freedom - from the French and American revolutions to the formation of the United Nations. Rather than glorifying warmongers, the book focuses instead on the underlying motivations for global conflict, showing political history to be mostly a blind and greed-driven contest for wealth and power. From this position, the book examines modern day problems like third world dictatorships and religious fanaticism, as well as discussing issues like population growth and birth control.
In the final chapters, the book reflects on the emptiness of modern secular materialism, and explores humanism as both a worldview and a political movement in the form of human rights. After demolishing conservatism and dismissing postmodern skepticism, the author then attempts to establish a viable alternative to both moral relativism and the lingering influence of traditional religious morality. He proposes that by seeing consciousness as a natural force that accumulates information, we can derive a theoretical foundation for justice based upon the democratic decisions of free and educated people.
The book closes by speculating about the social and political reforms needed to bring about lasting global peace and prosperity. Shattering the Sacred Myths offers a stimulating interpretation of science, philosophy, politics, and religion. Its fearless myth busting and everyday language make it a thoroughly enjoyable book to read.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
When you have an open debate between conflicting points of view, the defenders of each viewpoint are pressured into presenting their best possible arguments. But those who cannot defend their beliefs have nothing to gain from an open debate. Their best strategy is to silence any opposition whenever their point of view is challenged.
Our world has a long history of political and religious extremists using violence to force their beliefs upon others. Even in the modern democratic world where freedom of speech has become an almost sacred right, this freedom is far from assured when it comes to matters of religion.
The reason why freedom of speech is so important is because the truth is more likely to be discovered if people have an opportunity to listen to every argument and decide for themselves. The only kind of truth that is really worth defending is the kind that can withstand criticism, and the kind that we can believe in without being forced to.
The following may not be true for everybody, but why should we let the truth stand in the way of a good story.
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Book Description Stellar Conceptions, 2006. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P110975769626