Nexus Book Club


Nexus Book Club

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

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Latest Activity: Mar 4

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
The Internet Archive
Project Gutenburg

Discussion Forum

Question about The Dresden Files.

Started by Joseph P Oct 11, 2016. 0 Replies

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


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


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

book recommendations?

Started by Fester75. Last reply by Joseph P Jan 11, 2014. 5 Replies

Robert Jordan "Wheel of Time" fans?

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

Comment Wall


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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.

Comment by Joseph P on December 28, 2010 at 8:10pm

Ohhhhhh, yeah, brevity can be a guideline, then.  You already demonstrated the point of the disproof.  That was just a dialogue of it.


Heh, yeah, I don't know that I'd add the Aquinas comment, myself.  It fits in more with what I write, in comedy, not a more dry discussion.  I can definitely see the argument for leaving it out.  It's an entertainment quip, not an actual argument.


Sure, you can add that in, at the end.  I'll feel the need to go through the article with a finer attention to detail, if I accept that.  I have a more lengthy e-mail I have to write, before i get to that.  I'm just cleaning out my mailbox right now.  I'll post any further corrections after I do that.

Comment by Tony Davis on December 28, 2010 at 7:49pm

By the way Joseph, I almost included the example "Ontological proof for the non-existence of God" that you mentioned but one of the things that suck about the place I am posting my articles is that I already blow the article size limitation guidelines right out of the water.


I made all your recommended changes except the addition of the Aquinas comment in the last paragraph.  I agree with your point but (and not sure why really) just didn't "feel it" at this time.  I might add it later though.


Do you mind if I give you "props" in the comment section for catching  my errors and giving helpful thoughts?




Comment by Joseph P on December 28, 2010 at 7:45pm

No worries.  There could be more.  I only really started paying attention to them in paragraph 6, when they started getting flagrant.


It's a valid target to go after.  As easy a target as it is, I've heard people bring it up, too.  As long as it's brought up, it needs to be knocked down.

Comment by Tony Davis on December 28, 2010 at 7:38pm

Thanks a lot for all the thoughts (and especially for catching my idiotic spelling errors!!). 


I have to admit, I thought long and hard about the value of actually including a refutation of this moronic "proof of God", but I have actually been confronted with it several times recently so I thought it would be nice to have an article posted so that when someone poses it to me again I can just refer them to the article rather than taking the time to debate the issue. 


I will go correct the spelling errors now.  Can't believe I did that.  My wife points out my lack of attention to detail.  ;-p

Comment by Joseph P on December 28, 2010 at 7:20pm


Paragraph 6:  According to Anselm “The fool said in his hear, ‘there is no God’.

Insert the t in 'heart'.

But certainly that same fool, having heard what I just said, ‘something greater than cannot be though,’ understands what he heard, and what he understands is in his thought…

Insert the t in the first 'thought'.

Paragraph 9:  Most of us here in the 21st century are convinced that genocide, rape, torture, misogyny, slavery, racismand human sacrificeare all quite bad things.

Your spacing is off, after 'racism' and 'sacrifice'.  You also left out the Oxford comma after 'racism'.

Just consider your likely reaction if you were to meet a person who felt that these things were ok, or were perhaps even virtuous for some reason.

There's no comma before the 'or', since it's not an independent clause following it.

Paragraph 10:  ... but actually commanding, such acts.

No comma after 'commanding'.

So the third challenge to the ontological argument is that when conceiving of the greatest, most perfect, thing there are reasons to challenge the assumption that the thing imagined would be the God of the

Move the comma from after 'perfect' to after 'thing'. 

Last paragraph:  A total abandonment of human reason is necessitated to accept that merely by imagining God not only makes him real, it actually requires that he be real.

That's a comma splice.  Either add a conjunction after the comma, split it into two sentences, or replace the comma with a semicolon.


Also, I'd add, in your last section, that an argument is worse than wrong if other apologists rip it apart, as Thomas Aquinas did.  :-D

Comment by Joseph P on December 28, 2010 at 6:53pm


Heh, that one is even worth mentioning?  Besides being obviously ridiculous in that you can't define something into existence, there's the ludicrous flaw in that existence isn't a property of something.  My personal favorite is from Douglas Gasking:


1. The creation of the world is the most marvelous achievement imaginable.
2. The merit of an achievement is the product of (a) its intrinsic quality, and (b) the ability of its creator.
3. The greater the disability (or handicap) of the creator, the more impressive the achievement.
4. The most formidable handicap for a creator would be non-existence.
5. Therefore if we suppose that the universe is the product of an existent creator we can conceive a greater being — namely, one who created everything while not existing.
6. Therefore, God does not exist


(pasted from

Comment by Ian Mason on December 28, 2010 at 1:46pm

According to many, from Virginia Woolf to modern neurologists, the human brain is capable of perceiving a maximum of 6 things at any one time. The more usual average i 5, the numbers 1 to 5 or letters A to E for example. That means that the largest thing I can understand is 6 if I'm unusually talented. Does this mean that things that come in 7's are divine? Just because I can't think of them all at one time?


Try the experiment: how many letters can you think of/picture in one image and at one time? At which point do you start reading left to right to get them all in?


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