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Make the Break (If You Can) by Reginald…
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Make the Break (If You Can) (original 2012; edition 2012)

by Reginald Exton

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Member:Taphophile13
Title:Make the Break (If You Can)
Authors:Reginald Exton
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Make the Break (If You Can) by Reginald Exton (2012)

2013 (1) ARC (1) atheism (5) December 12 (1) Early Reviewers (2) ER (1) gods (1) history (1) humanism (1) MA (1) NASA (1) non-fiction (1) philosophy (1) religion (5) science (4) spirituality (1)
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This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
If you are looking for pointblank facts and statistics on why the world could possibly exist without a god, then this magazine-like book could be for you. If you are already a non-believer and are looking for a new edge to the age-old argument, such as a new angle or different information, then this magazine-like book is not for you. While I applaud the author in compiling a small, portable, non-threatening attempt at relating a godless existence, I'm sad to find that this would not be a very swaying argument towards making the break. ( )
  Sovranty | May 24, 2013 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
In Make the Break (If you can), Dr. Reginald J. Exton, a NASA physicist, attempts “to share, clearly and succinctly, the evidence that points to the human origin of religions.” He then goes on to very briefly describe the history of the universe, early man, and the rise of civilization and religion. He follows with a description of the formation of the major religions, a discussion of how people develop religious faith, more about the history of the universe, and finally a statement the humanism is better than religion. His argument seems to be that since religions have been shown to have been created by man and science can explain most of what people created religion to understand, religion is no longer needed so everyone should give it up. Unfortunately, Exton doesn’t really provide much of an argument for this. Part of the problem with this book is its length and format. Rather than a traditional book, Exton has written, in relatively large font, a 64-page glossy magazine, filled with large pictures, graphs, and tables. The chapter on the history of the universe, early man, and the rise of civilization, is only ten pages long. As entire books have been written about each of these topics, clearly covering them in ten pages is seemingly an impossible task. Perhaps Exton’s arguments suffer from a lack of space.

I’m not sure who the target audience for Make the Break (If you can) is, I assume it is targeted at either religious believers, in an attempt to convince them of the wrong-headedness of their beliefs, or at atheists in need of further support for their non-beliefs. Its weak arguments against the validity of religion makes it unlikely to cause religious believers to change their minds about their faiths and its format and writing style make it unlikely they would read it anyway. Atheists looking for support would be better of looking to Dawkins, Dennett, or Hitchens, who have all made similar arguments to Exton’s, but better done.

Make the Break (If you can) seems more like a book proposal than an actual book. Perhaps Der. Exton will go back expand this into an actual book; the additional space might allow him to better explain his points and arguments.

I received this book as a part of the Library Thing Early Reviewer program and I would especially like to thank Brian Magee of the Humanist Press for making sure I received it. ( )
1 vote sgtbigg | Apr 7, 2013 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
First, the book has an odd format. It looks like a full-gloss magazine, but is actually a monograph. I don't like this, a next edition should return to a proper codex.
Second, while the author should be listened to by people of faith, his arguments are ultimately unconvincing. Whereas I was expecting some very detailed evidence grounded in his profession, much of it was a regurgitation of things I have already read by those who have said it better, like the popular atheists on best-seller lists.
So, it is worth having the book as a resource, I do not believe it accomplishes what it sets out to do. I have absolutely no desire to "make the break."
  ianclary | Feb 4, 2013 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
It seems Dr. Reginald Exton, a 50-year veteran physicist with NASA, set out to create a book (more like an essay) to woo those sitting on the ecclesiastical fence between religion and secular humanism (aka Atheism). In this treatise he invokes the likes of Albert Einstein, Charles Darwin, Richard Dawkins, and Christopher Hitchens. The reader would do well to go straight to those sources -- each will provide a far greater treatment of the subject than Exton has done in Make the Break (If You Can).

Exton lacks focus in pursuing the topic of his essay. He attempts to describe the development of religion among prehistoric man; and then summarizes the world-view of major religions such as Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, and Buddhism. All of these should be studied in their own right and there are many fine books on the subject, information provided here is trivial at best. Exton then attempts supplant these mystical ideologies with fact-based scientific ideology. Again, the aforementioned authors all do a much better job. Often. Exton targets proponents of "Intelligent Design," and while occasionally mocking their utter lack of factual basis, he rarely attempts to present their views before he ostensibly tries to bring them down.

This book could have been a side-by-side debate presenting each side, which the ID arguments, lacking substance, would lose on every point. Distilling material already provided by Dawkins, Hitchens, and I'll add Carl Sagan could provide a concise, compelling document that accomplishes what Exton sets out to do. This book won't push anyone off the fence...it won't even ruffle their hair. The Secular Humanists certainly could use more advocates...the message is strong, there is no need for a such a weak treatment like we have here. ( )
1 vote JeffV | Feb 2, 2013 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This is not a book in the conventional sense; rather it is a glossy magazine minus the advertisements (in fact, it is described as a Single Issue Magazine on Amazon.com). It is only sixty-four pages long and given the large typeset, it can easily be read in one sitting. In the first chapter, Dr. Exton, a NASA physicist, covers the entire history of the cosmos from the Big Bang to present day in only ten pages. We dash from the expansion of the galaxies to the formation of the solar system to the amino acids that were the precursors of life. Blue-green algae appear and only two pages later we are up to early hominids. This feels not so much like an overview as a headlong rush through time. Exton continues with oral histories as myths, Gutenberg, Copernicus, Darwin and Einstein in the next two pages.

The second chapter is a brief synopsis of the world's major religions, both ancient and modern with some comparison of similar concepts. The chapter on evolution begins with spectroscopy, the analysis of light from other stars and galaxies. Then Exton compares the rate of occurrence of eleven elements in the universe, sea water and the human body. After summarizing Darwin's The Origen of Species and DNA, Exton veers off to a discussion of language development and fear as the source of religion.

Chapter 4 deals with the influence of the family on children as well as televangelists, the pursuit of happiness and the nature of discovery. Chapter 5 is very short: cathedrals are beautiful, Intelligent Design does not lead to any scientific discoveries and religion has been the cause of many deadly conflicts. The penultimate chapter discusses the vastness of the universe and the high probability that inhabitable planets exist. The full-color illustrations are worthy of a coffee table book. Exton offers an alternative to religion: take the best of parts of religions and philosophies. He does not address how we should decide which parts are good and which parts should be discarded or how to persuade others to accept our choices as their own.

Exton's writing style is erratic, bouncing off one idea after another with very little evidence of a coherent plan. It is not clear if he wants to convince readers of the majesty of the universe or that religion has little to offer the modern world. He is very fond of exclamation points. A five page list of References is included but there is no index. ( )
  Taphophile13 | Jan 26, 2013 |
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Epigraph
"All Great Truths Begin As Blasphemies"

George Bernard Shaw
Dedication
Dedication

The author deidicates this book to his mother,
May Dawson Exton, whose suffering inspired this endeavor,
and to his wife, Kathleen, for unwavering support over the decades.
First words
To the Reader

My scientific career began in 1954 at the University of Richmond, where I majored in physics.
Introduction

Most people come to their religious beliefs by way of their families.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Dr. Reginald J. Exton, a NASA scientist for five decades, shares clearly and succinctly the evidence that points to the human origin of religions. The book begins with a brief synopsis of the major developments in the formation of our universe; a description of more recent events in the development of civilization, including the period of religious fervor; and the evolutionary process leading to modern man. From these initial chapters, the author leads the reader to his or her own realization that there is voluminous evidence that humanity itself created gods and religions to shield itself from the unknown. He discusses why religious beliefs are so strongly entrenched in peoples’ thinking and why many maintain these beliefs today. The subsequent chapters list some of the worldwide conflicts that have arisen out of religion; an outline of an astrophysical projection of the ultimate fate of our universe; and offers an alternative to god-based religions that captures the best parts of the various religious rules and philosophies practiced today.
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Humanist Press

Two editions of this book were published by Humanist Press.

Editions: 093177926X, 0931779316

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