The God Delusion

The God DelusionYes, yes, I know! I should be posting about things that I am doing in the development industry. I just keep finding these great books to read and can’t put them down long enough to play with any development in my spare time (plus i am usually all coded out after work).

I picked this book up at a bookstore in Calgary a couple months ago and finally decided to dig into it, and I am very happy that I did! While I could see how a lot of people could find that the contents either outraged them or was really breakthrough, I was a little bit different.

I found the God Delusion to be a very well written book with lots of solid arguments against religious belief. What was not groundbreaking for me was that I had formed a lot of these opinions on my own over the past while.

Growing up in Canada must be different than growing up in the United States. When I was a child I was put in a Roman Catholic school system and my family went to church every Sunday. As time went by we all started forming our own lives apart from each other and over time religion played a smaller role in our lives. I saw this as normal amongst my friends and their families despite most being raised Roman Catholic. From the sounds of the book there is a LOT more pressure in other countries to conform to religious beliefs from family, school and friends. I have no doubt that if I told my family I am an atheist they would think no less of me (but who knows).

There were some smaller pieces of this book, little tid-bits of information about different religions, which I had no idea about and was grateful to learn about. A great amount of time was dedicated to the theory of evolution, but what I found really intrigued me were the details regarding the Bible. I have never read the Bible and have only heard select passages from it. I had no idea how violent a book it actually it.

That is all for now! If you get the chance, I suggest reading this book no matter what your beliefs may be. It is always good to have some knowledge of what is going on outside of your personal beliefs. I am starting on Sophie’s World tonight. It is a book that has been recommended to me numerous times and I am finally going to find the time to read it. It is fairly easy to find time to read these days, having just moved to another country and being busy with work. Whenever I need a break I just sit back in a coffee shop and read for a bit, very relaxing.

Sync – Review

About a week ago I picked up a book called Sync (Steven Strogatz) and started slowly reading it (I am not the world’s fastest reader by any means). Over the course of the week I have been trying to get some work done and get a little bit organized in my new country of residence, but increasingly found that I was unable to put the book down.

Here is a little history as to why I decided to read this book. A couple months back I had read a book called Linked (Albert-Laszlo Barabasi) and found it interesting how so many things are interconnected and how I, someone in a different world than the author, was able to relate to and understand the material. After reading Linked I decided that I wanted to continue learning about connectedness in the world, partly as research for social online systems and partly out of personal interest that I have developed in the topic. That is when I decided that my next read would be Sync.

Through the first couple of chapters in Sync, I discovered my brain working in an interesting way. It was coming up with application and visualization ideas to represent what the author was talking about. Thanks to this, I think that I was really able to dive into the book and learn a lot. From extensive discussions of fireflies to explanations of the Circadian rhythm, I learned not only about the overall topic but have a new way to look at these sorts of things.

The latter part of the book was also quite interesting, it was quite parallel to the thoughts brought forth by Barabasi in his book Linked. Linked was actually referenced in a couple sections of Sync. Both books were similar in my mind because they kept most equations and math separate from their writings (Sync more so) and just focused on getting the ideas to the forefront.

Overall, I would recommend this book to anyone that is interested in learning a little bit about the physical world. I find that I look at things just a little bit differently when I finish a book like this one and I am greatful to the author for this.