Lifelong Dewey

Reading through every Dewey Decimal section.

Category: 210s

212: The Proof of God by Larry Witham

DDC_212

212: Witham, Larry. The Proof of God: The Debate that Shaped Modern Belief. New York: Atlas & Co., 2008. 195 pp. ISBN 978-0-9777433-6-0.

Dewey Breakdown:

  • 200: Religion
  • 210: Philosophy and theory of religion
  • 212: Existence, ways of knowing, and attributes of God

In the late 1070s CE, Anselm, a Benedictine monk at the abbey of Bec hit upon a wondrous proof of the existence of God. Being a monk, it was rather in his best interest to ensure that one could not think away God’s being, but the argument he devised has guided religious logic for nearly 1,000 years. The Ontological Argument, as it has since been named has influenced the writings of Ockham, Descartes, and Bertrand Russell. On the other side, Anselm has garnered Thomas Aquinas, Kant, and David Hume as detractors. Larry Witham’s The Proof of God is a chronicle of the life of Anselm, and how his work and politics shaped modern religion.

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215: Reinventing the Sacred by Stuart Kauffman

DDC_215

215: Kauffman, Stuart A. Reinventing the Sacred: A New View of Science, Reason, and Religion. New York: Basic Books, 2010. 288 pp. ISBN 978-0-465-01888-8.

Dewey Breakdown:

  • 200: Religion
  • 210: Philosophy and theory of religion
  • 215: Science and religion

For those people who say that the evidence for God is in nature, Stuart Kauffman is a good way to bridge the gap between a godless universe and one where spirituality pervades the fabric of existence. After reading Niall Shanks’s God, the Devil, and Darwin, I got an understanding of the differing theories of complexity and how they sometimes form the basis for creationist thought. Kauffman’s analysis of nature and molecular complexity goes even deeper than that, however. In Reinventing the Sacred, Kauffman plunges into a scientific universe of systemic breakdowns and synthesis to rechristen what we think of spontaneous, divine, and even religious.

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213: God, the Devil, and Darwin by Niall Shanks

DDC_213

213: Shanks, Niall. God, the Devil, and Darwin: A Critique of Intelligent Design Theory. New York: Oxford University Press, 2004. 246 pp. ISBN 0-19-516199-8.

Dewey Breakdown:

  • 200: Religion
  • 210: Philosophy and theory of religion
  • 213: Creation

It is almost impossible to mention evolutionary theory without hearing echoes of the creationist ideology. In a country where opinions and ideas are tragically polarized, so too are theories on the creation on the universe and the beginnings of the human race. The interesting middle ground of the evolutionary debate is the rise of the idea of intelligent design. The central tenet of intelligent design is that the existence of Earth, its inhabitants, and the universe around it are best explained by the presence of some intelligent creator or cause. Traditional science holds that life emerged from an interesting, fortuitous, and random combination of proteins in the primordial soup of Earth around a billion years ago which then developed over the ages into the variety we see all around us. Intelligent design does not hold to the randomness of evolutionists, but rather to ascribes the origin of life to a guiding hand. Niall Shanks’s God, the Devil, and Darwin takes a look at the arguments of those who support intelligent design and argues for a different interpretation of their beliefs.

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210: God and the Reach of Reason by Erik Wielenberg

210.92241: Wielenberg, Erik J. God and the Reach of Reason: C. S. Lewis, David Hume, and Bertrand Russell. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2008. 202 pp. ISBN 978-0-521-70710-7.

When you start thinking about something as heady and partisan as religion, sometimes it helps to take a step back, pare down the arguments, and go fundamental. Luckily, Dewey has a division for that: the 210s, the place for books on natural theology. Natural theology is the branch of theology (the study of God) based on ordinary reason and experience. The first section of the 210s is 210 (of course) and that’s the place for the philosophy and theory of religion. So, here we go.

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