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"We do, doodley do, doodley do, doodley do / what we must, muddily must, muddily must, muddily must. / Muddily do, muddily do, muddily do, muddily do / until we bust, bodily bust, bodily bust, bodily bust."

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The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason

Authors:
Sam Harris (author) and John Fulbrook III (covers)
Language:
English
Publisher:
W. W. Norton
Category:
Religion
Publication year:
2004
ISBN:
0-393-32765-5
Pages:
348
Synopsis:

The central thesis in End of Faith is that faith is dangerous, because beliefs unsupported by evidence, when put into action, can't be reasoned with. Harris gives a lot of historical examples of this (indeed, the book has a pretty extensive bibliography in the back), and the book is peppered with endnotes (and a few pages-long ones, at that!).

The last two chapters are called A Science of Good and Evil (where Harris tries to map out an emerging science of morality) and Experiments in Consciousness (where Harris basically advocates meditation as a rational way of garnering knowledge about subjectivity, and where he doesn't reject the notion of consciousness surviving physical death). While I reject the notion that personhood survives death (that is, I think consciousness is dependent upon the brain being able to function properly and that when it eventually succumbs to decay, that'll be the end of us), I can wholeheartedly join Harris in admitting ignorance on that question.

Review:

While I can't say the book was an entirely enjoyable read, it's definitely well-written and engaging. What turned me off was the incessant referencing to past atrocities. However, that was in part (I think) the intent of the book, and in that sense it succeeded. I can definitely recommend it, nonetheless.

Images:
Back of The End of Faith.Spine of The End of Faith.Front of The End of Faith.
Table of Contents:
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  1. Reason in Exile
  2. The Nature of Belief
  3. In the Shadow of God
  4. The Problem with Islam
  5. West of Eden
  6. A Science of Good and Evil
  7. Experiments in Consciousness
  • Epilogue
  • Afterword
  • Notes
  • Bibliography
  • Acknowledgments
  • Index

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