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Meta Book Club

Mar 24, 2008

The last Sunday of this month will be the first meeting of the Meta book club. I've just decided the name as I type this sentence, and so if you were to ask Omar, Dan, or Sean about the upcoming Meta Book Club meeting they might not have a definite idea what you spoke of.

The incentive for the book club arose from the discovery that my retentive abilities are no longer what they used to be, and also because I'm in need of interpersonal discussion to complement my readings. There's nothing like a little debate to increase comprehension. In the words of George Bernard Shaw:

"If you have an apple and I have an apple and we exchange these apples then you and I will still each have one apple. But if you have an idea and I have an idea and we exchange these ideas, then each of us will have two ideas."

The book we've chosen for our first reading is God Delusion, by Richard Dawkins. This selection was made for a number of reasons:

  • Our primary focus is non-fiction
  • Much of the information in this book is new for me, and having already read it I found that the only information I could recall reliably was the phrase "Richard Dawkins," and as a result of this I felt that a second reading was in order
  • The topic is sure to stir debate
  • Dawkins writing is highly accessible, and God Delusion covers a broad spectrum of disciplines, including religion, biology, anthropology, history, philosophy, psychology, and sociology, providing extensive footnotes and references; this one book is an excellent introduction to many areas, and is hence a good starting point for each of us to figure out what we're interested in pursuing next
  • There is a documentary to supplement the book, thus providing a learning aid

My main goal is to share ideas. Personally I'm not concerned that every member has completed reading the book. The more we've read the better informed our positions will be, but in any case each of us will have unique ideas and experiences to contribute, and any single chapter of this book is enough to carry a discussion for hours.

Our plan is to meet for four hours on Sunday, March 30th, a day which I look towards with hope, hope that our discussion does not degenerate into hackneyed beerfoolery.

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