Turning specifically to Christian fundamentalism, the author analyzes the many weaknesses of what he calls a faith-based epistemology, particularly as such thinking is displayed in young-earth creationism, the reliance on revelation and subjective experiences as a source of religious knowledge, and the reverence accorded the Bible despite its obvious flaws. As he points out, the problem with such cultural knowledge generally is that it is non-falsifiable and ultimately has no lasting value in contrast to the data-based and falsifiable knowledge produced by science, which continues to prove its worth as a reliable source of accurate information.
Concluding that there is no future to the fundamentalist mindset in a diverse world where religion often exacerbates conflicts, he makes a strong case for reason and mutual tolerance.
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About the Author
James T. Houk is professor of anthropology at Our Lady of the Lake College in Baton Rouge, LA. A Fulbright Scholar, Dr. Houk received his PhD in anthropology from Tulane University and has done extensive fieldwork in Trinidad, Jamaica, and India. He is the author of Introduction to Anthropology: An Interactive Text and Spirits, Blood, and Drums: The Orisha Religion in Trinidad, as well as the novel Humanus Diabolicus: A Postmodern Prophecy.
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Excerpted from "The Illusion of Certainty"
Copyright © 2017 James T. Houk.
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Table of Contents
Chapter 1 Introduction 15
Part 1 Culture is Fictional and Illusory
Chapter 2 The Etiology of This Pathology 37
Chapter 3 Religion 51
Chapter 4 Sexual Orientation 72
Chapter 5 Race and Racism 83
Chapter 6 Anti-Semitism 89
Part 2 The Delusion of Young-Earth Creationism
Chapter 7 The Faith-Based Epistemology 99
Chapter 8 Young-Earth Creationism 110
Chapter 9 Twelve Reasons Why the Young-Earth Hypothesis Is Certainly Wrong 114
Chapter 10 Four Reasons Why the Young-Earth Hypothesis Is Probably Wrong 142
Chapter 11 Four Reasons Why the Young-Earth Hypothesis Is Dubious 145
Chapter 12 The Intellectual Deceit of Young-Earth Creationism 148
Part 3 Four Important (And Potentially Flawed) Sources of Religious Knowledge
Chapter 13 Questionable Validity 155
Chapter 14 Natural Theology 158
Chapter 15 Revelation 165
Chapter 16 Subjective Experiences 168
Chapter 17 Overt Instruction 170
Part 4 Holy Scriptures Are Mundane, Flawed, and Unreliable
Chapter 18 Scriptures 177
Chapter 19 The Bible Condones Slavery 180
Chapter 20 The Bible Is Misogynistic 183
Chapter 21 Writers of the Bible Show an Ignorance of Basic Scientific Knowledge 186
Chapter 22 The Bible Is Homophobic 191
Chapter 23 The Biblical Text Contains Absurd and Nonsensical Food Prohibitions 195
Chapter 24 There Are "Just-So Stories" in the Bible 198
Chapter 25 The Bible Contains No Information That Goes Beyond What People Knew and Understood at the Time It Was Written 214
Chapter 26 The Biblical God Is a Local, Tribal God Who Favors Only the Israelites 217
Chapter 27 The Biblical God Is a Violent Killer 221
Chapter 28 The Bible Contains Many Passages That Are Preposterous and Absurd 226
Chapter 29 The Bible Contains Numerous Contradictions, Errors, and Falsehoods 230
Chapter 30 Divine (?) Origin of the Bible 245
Chapter 31 The Putative Divine Literality and Inerrancy of the Bible 250
Chapter 32 Either False or Nonfalsifiable 255
Part 5 Agnosticism and the Objective Arguments for and Against the Existence of God
Chapter 33 Agnosticism 259
Chapter 34 Moral Arguments for the Existence of God 266
Chapter 35 The Argument from Universal Causation 278
Chapter 36 Argument from Contingency 284
Chapter 37 Argument from Design 289
Chapter 38 The Problem of Evil 304
Chapter 39 The Burden of Proof 323
Chapter 40 This Illusion Has No Future 329