Book Review: “Sharing Reality – How to Bring Secularism and Science to an Evolving Religious World”

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    By Matt Lowry

    Many of you know that for some time now I’ve been particularly interested in how we skeptics (i.e. those of use who take an evidence-based view of the world) can engage those of a non-skeptical mindset. In fact, I’ve been explicit about this in past musings wherein I discuss how to have meaningful dialogue with creationists or self-declared ghost hunters. Now I am happy to report that there is a book out – Sharing Reality by Jeff T. Haley and Dale McGowan – which tackles exactly this topic in great detail.

    As a professional high school and college science educator of 20+ years, and as a self-professed skeptic of all things supernatural, I found that Sharing Reality provided something that many of my colleagues have struggled with: a method for effectively communicating science and critical thinking without alienating people who are reachable. Sharing Reality is a must-read for those proponents of science, adherents to an evidence-based worldview, and defenders of secularism, because it provides a road map for how to engage in productive discussions with those who don’t necessarily share that worldview. If we are serious about advancing science, secularism, and evidence-based critical thinking in general (what the authors refer to as “evidism”) beyond our own echo chambers into wider society, then we would be wise to follow the advice contained within Sharing Reality to start engaging people in broader discussions of these issues.

    Read the review on Matt’s blog here.

    3 COMMENTS

    1. I would certainly support reason based observation based on scientific principal as regards any purported suggestions generally, and most certainly as regards religious assumptions generally, but unfortunately they are usually offered up with equal weight in many a forum of discussion in this present age. All one has to do is take a week-long view of the offerings from PBS, or NPR here in these United States and you will see my obvious concern. On a Friday you will receive the proffered “Science Friday” but swing around to Sunday and you will get the proffered “Religious” view toggled into the discourse. Personally I see this as, PANDERING TO THE AUDIENCE, but hey, I could be wrong I suppose. Let the evidence, and science, decide shall we.

    2. aroundtown #1
      Jan 10, 2018 at 1:13 am

      I see this as, PANDERING TO THE AUDIENCE,
      but hey, I could be wrong I suppose.
      Let the evidence, and science, decide shall we.

      The problem with “pandering to religious audiences”, is that with the multitude of religions, conflicting with each other, as much as they conflict with scientific evidence, there are thousands of versions of fudge which mix the different religious views with science so as to corrupt the science!

      A bowl of wholesome gourmet soup with a good-sized dollop on bullshit stirred into it, is still inedible shit which will give you bellyache and the runs!

      Let the evidence, and science, decide shall we.

      That is the way to go! Anything less, gives a false equivalence to the flawed thinking processes of indoctrinated “faith” and clinging to uncorrected errors!

    3. Hi Alan [#2],

      While it’s true that there are many religions and pseudo-sciences … are they all in the room at the same time?

      Just the other day I was involved in a three-person chat when the subject of a pseudo-medicine came up. I found it hard to find a simple way to steer the conversation. Another recent conversation, involving one of my oldest friends, turned to global warming denial. Personally I’ve been looking for something to help more with my one-to-one interactions, so I will buy this book.

      Peter Boghossian’s Street Epistemology was a fun way to start but I still need to work on my social skills in this area.

      aroundtown has an interesting perspective. It’s up to us to counter the high levels of propaganda being put out by vested interests and, like the greens and the gays, most of the time we can do it one person at a time.

      Peace.

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