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Nexus Book Club

A group for those of us who like reading and books. Fiction, non-fiction, drama, poetry... everything goes.

Members: 825
Latest Activity: Apr 21

Welcome to the Nexus Book Club!

Hello to all our new (and old) members! We'd love to hear from you; please take the time to introduce yourself either on the forum or the wall.

Feel free to discuss the books you're reading at the moment, your favorite authors or works, and so on. I'm sure everyone has a book they think others here might find interesting!

Also, don't forget to check out the page Books by A|N Members Who are Published Authors, located just under the members section on your right.


Books of Interest to Atheists and Skeptics
Breaking The Spell by Daniel Dennett
A Devil's Chaplain, by Richard Dawkins
The End of Faith, by Sam Harris
The God Delusion, by Richard Dawkins
God is Not Great, by Christopher Hitchens
Godless, by Dan Barker
Letter to a Christian Nation, by Sam Harris
Why I am not a Christian, by Bertrand Russell

Sites for Bibliotaphs
Audible.com
BookCrossing.com
BookMooch.com
The Internet Archive
LibraryThing.com
LibriVox.org
Project Gutenburg
Shelfari.com

Discussion Forum

The Last Blade of Grass

Started by Robert Brown May 7, 2015. 0 Replies

Top 5 Books on Atheism

Started by Steph S.. Last reply by Gerald Payne Apr 30, 2015. 5 Replies

Why do they all have "happy endings"

Started by Cory D Wells. Last reply by sk8eycat Jan 22, 2015. 5 Replies

New books on the secular life

Started by Nick Bottom. Last reply by Randall Smith Oct 23, 2014. 1 Reply

POLLY AND THE ONE AND ONLY WORLD

Started by Don. Last reply by Don Sep 13, 2014. 1 Reply

Haruki Murakami

Started by Nick Bottom. Last reply by Michael Mann Sep 7, 2014. 1 Reply

"Cli-fi"

Started by Don. Last reply by Don Aug 31, 2014. 4 Replies

top 10

Started by Jeffrey. Last reply by Nick Bottom Aug 23, 2014. 17 Replies

Robert Jordan "Wheel of Time" fans?

Started by Jenn Wiffen. Last reply by Joseph P Sep 10, 2012. 1 Reply

Currently Reading: American Gods by Neil Gaiman

Started by The Big Blue Frog. Last reply by Cory D Wells Jul 24, 2012. 8 Replies

The Atheist Book Club @GoodReads.com

Started by Donegal. Last reply by Jessica Mar 28, 2012. 8 Replies

Comment Wall

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Comment by Keith Brian Johnson on December 31, 2010 at 4:09am
The more I look at it, the more I dislike "This ultimate greatness of omnipotence, omniscience, omnibenevolence, and so forth must then be real."  First, it isn't the properties that are real, but the being exemplifying them.  (You can use "displaying" or even "possessing," if you don't like "exemplifying.")  So, it isn't the ultimate greatness that is real, but rather the being exemplifying ultimate greatness.  Second, I'm not sure what "ultimate greatness" adds to the property-collection of omnipotence, omniscience, and omnibenevolence.  Third, although "and so forth" makes sense to *me*, it seems pretty much devoid of meaning in the essay, since you haven't mentioned any other properties God might have or given the reader any idea of what you might mean by any extra deific properties.  Simply "The greatest conceivable being must, therefore, be real." would do the job, wouldn't it?
Comment by Keith Brian Johnson on December 31, 2010 at 3:55am

The easiest way for me to provide a copyread version of your essay is by simply rewriting it here:

---------------------------------

Perhaps the most bizarre of all the major apologetic arguments is the ontological argument.  ["Ontological argument" is typically capitalized--both the "o" and the "a"--but need not be.]  It is so bizarre, in fact, [note the addition of two commas] that even many apologists today seem to shy away from it, and it was rejected by none other than Saint Thomas Aquinas.  In simplest terms, this argument states that God must exist if we can conceive of Him as something that is greater than anything else we can imagine.  In this way, it is an a priori argument for God's existence [not merely "for God"; I'd use "for the existence of God," but I'm aware that you're trying to save space] that rests on human reason alone--God's existence is self-evident by virtue of the fact that we can imagine His greatness.  [I don't care whether you capitalize "Him" or "His"--but you capitalized "Him" earlier in this paragraph.  Whichever way you choose, be consistent.  Note that even if you capitalize "God," you are not obliged to capitalize "him" or "his"--"Shakespeare" is a proper name, but you don't capitalize "him" or "his" when talking about Shakespeare.]

 

For our purposes, this argument can be traced to Saint Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109).  [You labeled Thomas Aquinas "Saint" at first mention, so you ought to label Anselm "Saint" at first mention, too.  Since you're trying to save space, I'll leave out the "Saint" in further uses of their names.]  In his Proslogion, [although perhaps not strictly necessary, I really think this reads better with "his" inserted] Anselm proposed that if we conceive of "that than which a greater cannot be thought," [note the insertion of "than" in the description, and note also the added comma] then this maximally great entity exists in our mind.  [I removed the parenthetical "by definition God," since your readers already know you're talking about God and since you're trying to save space.  I do not object to the phrase "this maximally great entity," although I would have written "this greatest conceivable entity."  I note that the theistic philosopher Alvin Plantinga uses the term "maximally great" to describe any being which necessarily exemplifies omniscience, omnipotence, and moral perfection, as well as any other properties one might ascribe to God.]  However, it must also exist in reality, because to exist in reality as well as in the mind [note the inserted "in"] is greater than to exist in the mind alone.  This ultimate greatness of omnipotence, omniscience, omnibenevolence, and so forth must then be real.  [But that's clumsy.  If you want to keep your "ultimate greatness" language, consider instead "This ultimately great being--one exemplifying omnipotence, omniscience, omnibenevolence, and so forth--must then be real."]  We are conceiving of perfection, [note the deletion of "ultimate"--it seems unnecessary, although not wrong] and it is "more perfect" to be real than to exist only in the imagination.

-------------------

I'll continue this later.

 

 

 

Comment by Joseph P on December 30, 2010 at 12:20pm
  • On capitalising H for 'him' in reference to God, I personally wouldn't do it. I read apologist Peter S. Williams' 'A Sceptic's Guide to Atheism' and he explains well at the beginning why he does not
    capitalise in this manner and why it is unnecessary.

I mostly do it to mock the Christians.  Of course within a comedy context, it's more obvious.

 

@Stephen

When you're talking about the Christian god, by name, it's a proper noun.  You can bitch about the way they've co-opted the generic word as the proper name for their deity, as I do, but it doesn't make it any less correct to capitalize it when using it as his name.

 

Personally, I like to ask which of his names they're referring to, as mentioned in the Bible:  Iam, El, or Yahweh, all of which are separate deities within the Ugarit pantheon.

Comment by Tony Davis on December 30, 2010 at 7:26am

Joseph - Again, MANY thanks!

 

Johnny and Joseph - Yeah, on the capitalization of "him" and even of "god", I generally capitalize "God" if talking specifically about Yahweh and not if just talking about any other deity.  Seems pretty standard and even though I don't really like it and agree that any all-powerful celestial dictator would have more self-confidence than to give a rat's ass, I do it just to placate the theistic readers.  I figure that if I am trying to persuade them I won't piss them off grammatically if I can help it when my argument's against their deity will do that enough anyway.  On the "Him" vs "him", yeah, I go back and forth a LOT.  Normally I tend to go with the "H" when making a point and trying to sound "biblical" and deferential.  But points well taken and I should just take one and stick with it.

 

Again, I really appreciate all the help!!

Comment by Johnny P on December 30, 2010 at 4:36am
that and the fact that he doesn't exist anyway. No secular writer need capitalise his pronouns. You don't do it for any other entity / concept.
Comment by Johnny P on December 30, 2010 at 4:31am
the point Williams makes is that God is no more he than she, and these analogical phrases are so very linguistically human. I think the capitalisation is borne out of that, for him. For others, people just want to respect him more by capitalising. My opinion is that the most perfect being in conception wouldn't really give a monkey's if you capitlaise his pronouns or not. It seems crazy to me.
Comment by Johnny P on December 30, 2010 at 2:30am

Really good point about printing it and reading it. The best, easiest proofread I did was on the proof copy of my book. It is amazing how much more things stick out when they are on the printed page.

 

On capitalising H for 'him' in reference to God, I personally wouldn't do it. I read apologist Peter S. Williams' 'A Sceptic's Guide to Atheism' and he explains well at the beginning why he does not capitalise in this manner and why it is unnecessary.

Comment by Joseph P on December 30, 2010 at 12:02am
And yeah, printing something out and going over it with a red pen is far better than reviewing it on a screen.  I do far better editing my own work in hard copy.  My brain just glazes over, after I've already spent so much time staring at the material on the screen, while writing it.  Also, double-space to leave room for notes, when printing.
Comment by Joseph P on December 29, 2010 at 11:58pm

Meh, sorry, took me longer to get back to this than I thought it would.

 

Capitalize Ontological Argument in the title.

 

Okay, Paragraph 1: "... major apologetic argumentsis the ..."  You've got another incident of the space getting eaten by the pasting between formats, after the link.

"It is so bizarre in fact that even many apologists today seem to shy away from it and it was rejected by none other than Saint Thomas Aquinas."  The second sentence has two independent clauses.  You need a comma before the 'and'.

"In simplest terms this argument states that God must exist if we can conceive of him as something that is greater than anything else we can imagine."  You should have a comma after 'terms'.  This sentence is ... wordy.  Hmm.  Maybe try '... of Him (capital H) as greater than ...'

"In this way it is an a prioriargument for God that rests on human reason alone – God is basically self-evident by virtue of the fact that we can imagine his greatness."  Comma after 'way'.  Another space got eaten after the link.  I might swap the hyphen for a colon, but that's a stylistic choice.  'Basically' is an unnecessary adverb.  Nuke it.

 

Paragraph 2:  Comma after 'purposes'.  Comma after 'Proslogion'.  Comma after 'thought' (inside of the double-quotes).

"Maximally great entity" doesn't sit well with me.  Perhaps 'greatest entity' would be better.

The second half of that sentence is also rough.  I might resort to parentheses.  "... greatest entity (by definition, God) exists in our mind."  Some prefer to use hyphens.  Your call.

Then, you need a comma before the 'because', since it's acting as a conjunction between two independent clauses.  Plus, I'd swap out both incidences of 'to exist' with either the noun or gerund form: 'existence' or 'existing'.  Using a prepositional phrase as a nominative is very archaic.  I'm sure Anselm did that himself, but if you're not directly quoting, ditch it.

Oxford comma after 'omnibenevolence', and ditch the comma after 'forth'.

You then have an issue, since "The ultimate greatness of omnipotence, omniscience, omnibenevolence, and so forth must then be real, because we are conceiving of ultimate perfection, and it is “more perfect” to be real than to exist only in the
imagination," contains 3 independent clauses (you can see where I inserted the commas before 'because' and 'and'), the definition of a run-on sentence.  I might slip in an ellipsis before the and.  It depends upon how formal in structure you consider this article to be, but you have to break it up somehow.

 

Paragraph 3:  Comma after the first 'alone'.  "... reasoning and intuition alone are enough ..."  Comma after 'opined'.  Shakespeare is dead, man; it's time to let go of 'thusly'.  You could substitute in 'thus' or better yet, cut it entirely.

 

Paragraph 4:  Oxford comma after 'being'.  Comma after 'real'.

 

Paragraph 5:  Comma after the first two incidences of 'invisible'.  "... is demonstrated by the fact ..."

 

Paragraph 6:  Comma after Anselm, in the second sentence.  The last sentence is a bit of a mess:  "It seems Saint (written out, since you've written it out previously in the article) Anselm used the doubly-faulty (insert hyphen) approach: not only is God real because you can conceive of His perfection and greatness, but also it is illogical to think otherwise."  I stripped both 'that's and inserted the colon to make it less wordy.  I also dropped the 'It seems' in front of the name, instead of after.

 

Paragraph 7:  "First, it is a fallacy to state that ..."  Comma after the first 'mind' in sentence 2.  Comma after the first 'horse'.  Change 'photo' to 'photograph'.  Comma after 'way'.  "We can conceive of all manner of perfect (lose the comma here) and imperfect things, for that matter, but this ..."  ('things' was also in the wrong spot)

 

Paragraph 8:  Thefirst two sentences are a bit ... wooly.  The second sentence is particularly rough.  Existence is the state of being real and tangible.  Rewrite those.

Capitalize 'Ontological Argument'.  Make it 'freely accepts'.  "... can conceive of them."

Fourth sentence is very good.

 

Paragraph 9:  I'm not wild about 'signpost'.  See if you can come up with a better metaphor.  "Most of us now, in the 21st century, are ..."  Cut 'likely'.  "... who felt these things were acceptable or perhaps somehow virtuous."

"Would you feel they were perfect?  Or would you see these beliefs as proof of their very imperfect nature?"  (major cuts and restructuring in that last sentence; compare with the version in your article)

 

Paragraph 10:  Cut the comma after 'condemn'.  Spell out 'Saint' again.  Capitalize 'Ontological Argument'.

 

Paragraph 11:  The first sentence is a bit of a monstrosity.  Take another crack at that and split up your thoughts a little better.  Capitalize Ontological Argument in the second sentence.

 

Paragraph 12:  "... wrong, (insert comma) because it requires the acceptance of a willing and complete suspension of disbelief."  Second sentence, cut 'by'.

Comment by Tony Davis on December 28, 2010 at 8:16pm

Thanks again Joseph.  One thing I just discovered about the program that we use to post Examiner articles is that you have to proof the articles again after you publish them (should be a no-brainer right?).  Trust me, most of the errors I made fair and square, but the spacing issues you pointed out were not there in the original word document I cut-and-pasted from, I just checked.

 

Maybe from now on I will publish them late at night, print them and then do a solid proof reading before anyone has a chance to read them.  I'll still make mistakes as I am one who needs a good editor anyway, but that might minimize them somewhat.

 

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