The following e-mail announcement was sent by John Childs to the Book Group mailing list:
Greetings Book Group, June 1, 2015
We had a great review of One Nation Under God by Kevin M. Kreus. It's always amazing how reinforcing to the secular world view to be among such knowledgeable and pleasant attendees. Also we welcome Yvonne Michel as our new book group organizer for the 2015/2014 season. Hope Yvonne enjoys organizing for us as much as Barbara and I have. Personally I feel Book Group has been a great help in my growth as a Secular Humanist.
That's it for the year and we will be taking a break until September. But that doesn't mean we don't have a book. A big book. Somewhere over 800 pages. Well, we'll have all summer to read it and it reads very smoothly. This summers offering is one we have put off for a couple years because of it's length, The Better Angels of Our Nature by Steven Pincker. Following is a brief description from the Amazon purchase site. Keep in mind that if you buy from Amazon at our SHL website link SHL gets a monetary kickback from Amazon at the end of the year.
“We’ve all asked, “What is the world coming to?” But we seldom ask, “How bad was the world in the past?” In this startling new book, the bestselling cognitive scientist Steven Pinker shows that the world of the past was much worse. In fact, we may be living in the most peaceable era yet.
Evidence of a bloody history has always been around us: the genocides in the Old Testament and crucifixions in the New; the gory mutilations in Shakespeare and Grimm; the British monarchs who beheaded their relatives and the American founders who dueled with their rivals.
Now the decline in these brutal practices can be quantified. Tribal warfare was nine times as deadly as war and genocide in the 20th century. The murder rate in medieval Europe was more than thirty times what it is today. Slavery, sadistic punishments, and frivolous executions were unexceptionable features of life for millennia, then were suddenly abolished. Wars between developed countries have vanished, and even in the developing world, wars kill a fraction of the numbers they did a few decades ago. Rape, hate crimes, deadly riots, child abuse―all substantially down.
We look forward to seeing everyone this coming September to discuss the book. Even though we have chosen the book for the summer Yvonne will be posting details about the meeting sometime later this summer closer to our first meeting.
Again thanks for all the great discussions we’ve been privileged to participate in and have a great summer break.
John and Barbara Childs
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