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thereviewman

The Review Man

Formerly of Goodreads, now of both words, in the coming times only here?

Currently reading

Survival: A Thematic Guide to Canadian Literature
Margaret Atwood
Lila: An Inquiry Into Morals
Robert M. Pirsig
Simulacra and Simulation (The Body, In Theory: Histories of Cultural Materialism)
Jean Baudrillard, Sheila Faria Glaser
Leaven of Malice
Robertson Davies
The Salterton Trilogy
Robertson Davies
Effi Briest (Penguin Classics)
Theodor Fontane
Empires of the Word: A Language History of the World
Nicholas Ostler
Cases And Materials On The Law Of Torts
Robert M. Solomon
Public Law : Cases Materials and Commentary
Philip Bryden, Craik, Neil, Craig Forcese, Forcese, Craig
A Property Law Reader
Bruce H. Ziff
Good Without God: What a Billion Nonreligious People Do Believe - Greg Epstein Epstein argues that yes, we can be good without God. But is being good enough? The Bible has a few things to say about that (not that humanists care what the Bible says, but...).

It was interesting to see Epstein avoid blatant religion-bashing (as Hitchens and Harris are wont to do), instead opting for a peace-and-love view of cooperation. This is a double-edged sword. While it's nice to feel like you aren't in a war zone, I don't know if Epstein uses all the firepower at his disposal. Epstein might convince more moderates than will Hitchens, but he certainly isn't going to get the same level of readership with this book. (I had an ARC and decided to read it; I didn't go out and look for this book specifically.) So while Epstein's writing is perhaps more thoughtful than that of the New Atheists, it isn't as flashy or subject-specific. Dawkins and Harris are scientists and Hitchens is an acclaimed journalist; Epstein's approach definitely lacks the specificity of their books.

There was nothing particularly bad about Good Without God, but it wasn't that great either. It serves as a pretty basic introduction to Humanist doctrine, as it were. Epstein makes a few hand-wavey arguments that I didn't care much for (being a mathematician, hand-waving proofs is not something I'm allowed to do), and ultimately I wish Epstein had been a bit more assertive in his presentation.