Thursday, April 26, 2012

Beautiful Minds: Professor Richard Dawkins

Beautiful Minds explores Richard Dawkins' life from very young age and reveals how he became most influential evolutionary thinker of a generation and a science writer who stunned the world with his first bestseller the Selfish Gene and changed our understanding of science radically with his following books, and how this path led him to become outspoken icon for atheism. Broadcasted on BBC Four, 25 April 2012.

Monday, April 23, 2012

For Good Reason (Audio Pack)

For Good Reason hosted by D.J. Grothe and supported by James Randi Educational Foundation is an interview show which consists of interviews with critical thinkers, skeptics, scientists such as Richard Dawkins, Victor J. Stenger, Eugenie Scott,  Massimo Pigliucci and James Randi.

Silenced: How Apostasy and Blasphemy Codes are Choking Freedom Worldwide - Paul Marshall & Nina Shea

The fatwa against Salman Rushdie awakened many westerners to the danger of being accused of blasphemy in the Muslim world. As this eye-opening volume reveals, accusations of "blasphemy," "apostasy," or "insulting Islam" are increasingly used by authoritarian governments and extremist forces in the Muslim world to acquire and consolidate power. These charges, which traditionally carry a punishment of death, have proved effective in intimidating not only converts and heterodox groups, but also political and religious reformers. In his foreword, the late Indonesian President Wahid observes that coercively applied blasphemy laws "narrow the bounds of acceptable discourse...not only about religion, but about vast spheres of life, literature, science and culture in general."

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Frans de Waal: Moral behavior in animals

"I believe there's an evolved morality. I think morality is much more than what I've been talking about, but it would be impossible without these ingredients that we find in other primates, which are empathy and consolation, pro-social tendencies and reciprocity and a sense of fairness. And so we work on these particular issues to see if we can create a morality from the bottom up, so to speak, without necessarily God and religion involved, and to see how we can get to an evolved morality."
Frans de Waal

Primatologist Frans de Waal who studies primate social behavior and is also the author of Our Inner Ape explains moral qualities such as empathy, cooperation, fairness and reciprocity can be seen in social animals demonstrating fascinating videos of behavioral tests on primates and elephants.

Denying Evolution: Creationism, Scientism, and the Nature of Science - Massimo Pigliucci

"Pigliucci presents the most powerful and readable treatise on the evolution–creationism debate to come along in decades."
Michael Shermer

Denying Evolution aims at taking a fresh look at the evolution–creation controversy. It presents a truly "balanced" treatment, not in the sense of treating creationism as a legitimate scientific theory (it demonstrably is not), but in the sense of dividing the blame for the controversy equally between creationists and scientists—the former for subscribing to various forms of anti-intellectualism, the latter for discounting science education and presenting science as scientism to the public and the media. The central part of the book focuses on a series of creationist fallacies (aimed at showing errors of thought, not at deriding) and of mistakes by scientists and science educators. The last part of the book discusses long-term solutions to the problem, from better science teaching at all levels to the necessity of widespread understanding of how the brain works and why people have difficulties with critical thinking. Amazon

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The Mating Mind: How Sexual Choice Shaped the Evolution of Human Nature - Geoffrey Miller

"Thoughtful, witty, and vividly written."
—Richard Dawkins

At once a pioneering study of evolution and an accessible and lively reading experience, The Mating Mind marks the arrival of a prescient and provocative new science writer. Psychologist Geoffrey Miller offers the most convincing–and radical–explanation for how and why the human mind evolved.

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