My preferred reading device is now the Amazon Kindle and not an actual paper based book. It's a great ebook reader.
I just finished The Age of American Unreason by Susan Jacoby and The Drunkard's Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives by Leonard Mlodinow. It's amazing how many people think random events are god's intervention. Both of these books are very interesting reads and are highly recommended.
Currently I'm dividing my time between Why Intelligent Design Fails: A Scientific Critique of the New Creationism and Philosophers without Gods: Meditations on Atheism and the Secular Life.
I agree that "Moral Minds" is an interesting read. He didn't convince me that morality is a lot like language in the way it is "learned" but I think that he is on the right track. There does appear to be a "basic" morality across many cultures that seems to be shaped and sharpened by cultural influences. This is fasinating research and books like this, the research papers that spawned this book, and ultimately the science that will be done in this area will begin help us understand our morality apart from the notion of an imaginary being in the sky.
BTW - That looks like a stogie in your hand. Do I see a fellow cigar lover?
I have not read "Moral Minds" but reading through your comment made me start thinking about universal features of morality. Humans being such a social species and evolving from social ancestors would have evolved specific features of group living. I would think that your hierarchical position within a group would determine what would be acceptable behavior. I am equating acceptable group behavior with morals. Not to get to detailed but morals in my opinion would only emerge when one interacts with other active agents on a regular basis. I suppose one could have implicit morals which steam from selfish genes but I am digress. The point I am trying to get at, I think, is that morals to me mean acceptable behaviors towards promoting prosocial interactions. And these prosocial behaviors would vary somewhat based on ones status within a group. A group leader would be able to better get away with taking others resources and killing in-group members. While a beta member of a group would have to face more serve punishment for engaging in such behaviors. I would argue that morals are adaptations toward group living and our own selfish interests. I agree that more science needs to be done to dismiss the assumption that morals come from supernatural agents. A good analytical route for this would be studying morals from a evolutionary perspective, but then again in my opinion I think that using a evolutionary perspective is paramount in studying almost all types of human behaviors.
I have Susan Jacoby's book 'Freethinkers: A history of American Secularism sitting here to start tonight after I finish the book I'm just about done with...do we ever sleep?
I'm looking forward to reading this book, I read the first bits (I always do when I get a stack of books) and it sounds tasty.
I'm almost ashamed to admit in the company of skeptics and freethinkers that I just finished reading Stephanie Myers Twilight Saga Trilogy, I guess you could call it a guilty pleasure. I really enjoyed them and can't wait for her next installment. ;)
Right now I'm reading one of Terry Pratchett's many Discworld books.
I was trying to read Robert Draper's book about the Bush presidency, Dead Certain, but I just can't get into it. I thought reading that would give me specific examples to point to when telling people why I despise Bush. But the narrative is all over the place and it's annoying me for a reason I can't quite pin down. I checked it out from the library over 3 weeks ago and now it sits on my shelf collecting overdue charges. After reading this thread I'm going to return it tomorrow and check out Infidel.