Smith - The Path of Reason

Smith - The Path of Reason - T HE P ATH OF R EASON T HE P...

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Unformatted text preview: T HE P ATH OF R EASON T HE P ATH OF R EASON A P HILOSOPHY OF N ONBELIEF Bruce A. Smith Algora Publishing New York 2008 by Algora Publishing. All Rights Reserved www.algora.com No portion of this book (beyond what is permitted by Sections 107 or 108 of the United States Copyright Act of 1976) may be reproduced by any process, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form, or by any means, without the express written permission of the publisher. ISBN-13: 978-0-87586-579-9 (trade paper) ISBN-13: 978-0-87586-580-5 (hard cover) ISBN-13: 978-0-87586-581-2 (ebook) Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Smith, Bruce A., 1961- The path of reason : a philosophy of nonbelief / by Bruce A. Smith. p. cm. Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 978-0-87586-580-5 (hard cover: alk. paper) ISBN 978-0-87586-579-9 (pbk.: alk. paper) ISBN 978-0-87586-581-2 (ebook) 1. Smith, Bruce A., 1961- 2. Spiritual biography. 3. Atheism. I. Title. BL73.S64A3 2007 211.8dc22 2007016678 Printed in the United States For Sharron, who gives me something to believe in and reminds me of what is most important. Acknowledgments Special thanks to Janna Southworth, Jim Sitton, and my brother, Phil, for taking the time to read my unpolished work and for their valuable feedback. Thanks also go out to Mike Foley for his assistance with proofreading. T ABLE OF C ONTENTS C HAPTER 1. F AITH AND R EASON C OLLIDE 1 Unexpected Answers 1 A Basic Assumption 5 The Heart of the Matter 7 Ideologies on Parade 11 Separation of Knowledge and Belief 13 Criteria and Personal Experience 15 Contradiction and Self-Correction 17 Reason on the Defensive 19 Why Speculate? 21 Coming to Blows 23 A Choice 25 Levels of Certainty 26 Koans 27 C HAPTER 2. R EASON A PPLIED 2 9 The Path of Reason 29 Possibilities and Impossibilities 30 The Soul 33 God 35 Meaning 42 Dangerous 44 Why Bother? 47 C HAPTER 3. C RITICAL T HINKING 5 1 xii The Path of Reason Simple Things of Profound Importance 51 Fallacies and Critical Thinking 53 Proper Word Usage 54 The Use of Analogies 54 Straw Man Arguments 55 Generalities 55 Correlation and Causation 55 Black, White, and Between 56 Absolutes 57 Circular Reasoning 57 The Independence of Truth 59 Questions and Their Pursuit 62 The Burden of Proof 64 Where Did All the Logic Go? 66 C HAPTER 4. S KEPTICAL S PECIFICS 7 3 A Few Examples 73 The Nature of Coincidence 75 Illusions 77 The Generality Trick and Psychics 81 The Death of Carlos Castaneda 86 Popular Myths 88 Reincarnation and Karma 89 Skeptical and Scientifc 9 2 Magic 94 C HAPTER 5. O RIGINS 9 9 Evolution 99 Marbles in a Frisbee 108 C HAPTER 6. C HRISTIANITY E XAMINED 113 Into the Fray 113 Christianity Dissected 117 Heaven and Hell 125 Creation 129 Day One (Genesis 1:25) 129 Day Two (Genesis 1:68) 129 Day Three (Genesis 1:913) 130 Day Four (Genesis 1: 1419) 130 Day Five (Genesis 1:2023) 131 Day Six (Genesis 1:2431) 131 Day Seven (Genesis 2:13) 131 Some Problems with the Ten Commandments...
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Smith - The Path of Reason - T HE P ATH OF R EASON T HE P...

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