Some Trade Winds That Are Blowing

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.
— Mark Twain

 

Insight, untested and unsupported, is an insufficient guarantee of truth.
Bertrand Russell

PERIODICALS

New Scientist    No better way to confront the many headed hydra of science, and to then, like the victims of Count Dracula, allow                                   yourself to be deliciously bitten by one of them. In return, the exquisitely rich life is offered you. The book reviews are                               particularly good pointers.Its The Big Questions –Reality, Existence, God, Consciousness, Life, Time, Self, Sleep, Death is a                               very good introduction to, and compilation of, the thoughts that abound in the science world on these topics, if you                                 wanted a quick crash course to see what is happening.

The Edge        Each year has a series of essays on the posed question. Of unequal and varying quality, but intellectually challenging and                           stimulating. Pick from Appendix 1 the question posed in any one year, and see what is then speculated by a wide selection                         of authors.

Wikipedia       Just wonderful. Do not be afraid to donate when it outs out its call for funds. Regular donations even better! Not perfect                           [what is?] and disdained by the elite, and sometime correctly so, but more usually unfairly. A great way to start.

Ted Talks       Many of those who have written books set out below have also graced us with a Ted Talk or 2, so worth checking them out                        [among the many enlightening Ted Talks]

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MOVING PICTURES

If you have to pick one, then

The Day the Universe Changed [TV ] James Burke, which is also a book. Alas, very hard to find either.

Creation  [Film]           Darwin's writing Origin of the Species, and how fear of the consequences held him back                                                                              from articulating his views. Oh that there never again is such a climate of fear or dark ages.

 Life of Brian [Film]     Monty Python

The Dead  [Film]          John Houston’s 1987 beautifully evocative film adaptation of the James Joyce short story.

The Human Universe [TV]    Brian Cox and BBC

The Lost Tribes of Humanity [TV]  Alice Roberts and BBC

Star Trek [TV]             The original TV series only.    A multi-racial/multi-species crew of the Starship Enterprise that was an                                                        exploratory ship and not a battleship.

Boston Legal [TV]       Series 3 Episode 5, 14 and 16 in particular, but most episodes in all series pretty good. 

South Park   [TV not any of the films]]        Too many good ones to pick, so try the lot! Kenny does not stay dead forever.

Don't panic about the Population [TV]  Professor Hans Rosling,

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AUDIO

Colonel Grossman        Killology: 

                ABC Radio National Background Briefing 02/05/99

Also a book. See below.

Reith Lectures        All - Not just, but especially, the 2003 series

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BOOKS - PRINT and EBOOKS

Author                                              Title

Jennifer Ackerman                          The Genius of Birds

Anil Ananthaswamy                        The Man who wasn’t there

Karen Armstrong                             History of God

Anthony Atkinson                           Inequality

A J Ayer                                           Language, Truth and Logic

Simone de Beauvoir                         The Second Sex

Ernest Becker                                   The Denial of Death

Peter Bellwood                                  The First Migrants: Ancient Migrations

Christopher Boehme                         Moral Origins

Nick Bostrom                                   Superintelligence

James Burke                                      The Day the Universe Changed

Dean Burnett                                    The Idiot Brain[A very close second to Patricia Churchland, if not an actual tie].

Patricia S Churchland                    Touching a Nerve. [If you can only read one book on the possibilities of the brain, then read this                                                                 one].

George Church &

           Ed Regis                                  Regenesis: How Synthetic Biology with Reinvent Nature and Ourselves

Charles Darwin                                 Origin of the Species

                                                          The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals

                                                          The Descent of Man

Richard Dawkins                               The Ancestor’s Tale

                                                          The Magic of Reality

                                                          The Greatest Show on Earth

Ruth Defries:                                      The Big Ratchet: How humanity thrives in the face of Natural Crisis

Jarad Diamond                                   The Third Chimpanze

                                                           Guns Germs and Steel

                                                           Natural Experiments in History

                                                           The World until Yesterday

Jennifer Doudna &

       Samual Sternberg:                                      A Crack in Creation:The New Power to Control Evolution

K. Eric Drexler                                    Engines of Creation

Ben Dupre                                          50 Philosophy Ideas you really need to know

Einhard:                                              The Life of Charlemagne

John H. Evans:                                   What is a Human? What the answers mean for human rights?

Timothy Ferris                                    The Science of Liberty

Jostein Gaarder                                    Sophie’s World

Hector A Garcia                                   Apha God: The Psychology of Religious Violence and Oppression

Lloyd Geering                                      From the Big Bang to God

Susan Greenfield                                 The Private Life of the Brain

A C Grayling                                      The God Argument

                                                           The Good Book    an Atheist’s Bible

Mary & John Gribbin                         Being Human

 John Gribbin &

           Jeremy Cherfas                          The First Chimpanzee

Dave Grossman                                    On Killing: The psychological cost of learning to kill in war and society

Yuval Noah Harari                               Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind

                                                             Homo Deus: The History of Tomorrow [How prescient only time will tell. But he may be on the                                                                        money]

Sam Harris                                           Free Will

Ernst Heckel                                        The Riddle of the Universe at the close of the 19th Century

Piet Hein                                              Grooks- there are 4 Books. [If you do not know of them, do yourself a favour]

Joseph Heller-                                       Catch 22 [a terrific read. This is one of your thoughtful relaxation read]

Adam Hochschild                                 Bury the Chains

Bruce Hood                                          The Self Illusion: Why there is no ‘you’ inside your head

                                                             The Domesticated Brain

Alexander Von Humboldt                     Cosmos Vol 1

Nicholas Humphrey                             The Mind made flesh

                                                            A History of the Mind

                                                            Soul Dust: The Magic of Consciousness    

Aldous Huxley                                    The Perennial Philosophy

Clive James                                          Cultural Amnesia

Stephen Jones                                      Almost like a Whale [an update that applies modern scientific knowledge to show the originality,                                                                and flaws, of Darwin's Origin of the Species and how really it has stood the tests of time, peer                                                                      review, exhaustive investigation and scepticism to rightfully be one of the great contributions to                                                                  understanding the world]

Marjorie Kelley                                  The Divine Right of Capital

Naomi     Klein                                  No Logo

John Konner                                      The Atheist’s Bible

Davi Kopenawa &

             Bruce Albert                          The Falling Sky: Words of a Yanomami shaman

Kevin N. Laland:                                 Darwin's Unfinished Symphony: How Culture made the Human Mind

                                                           A book whose ideas are truly astounding.

Nicholas Lane                                     Life Ascending: the 10 Great Tricks of Evolution.

                                                           The Vital Question

Jonah Lehrer                                       The Decisive Moment: How the Brain makes up its mind

Jeremy Lent:                                      The Patterning Instinct: A cultural History of Humanity's Search for Meaning

Marc Lewis                                         Memoirs of an addicted brain

Roy Lewis                                          The Evolution Man, Or, How I Ate My Father  [recently released]

Lucretius                                            De Rerum Natura [who else puts a scientific treatise into a poem?]

Ian McFadyen                                    Mind Wars

Gary Marcus                                      Kluge

Somerset Maugham                          Anything by him- even less marginally relevant than Boston Legal, but a doyen of story-tellers: short                                                                    stories, novels and plays. This is your ‘just enjoy’ relaxation.

Jean Meisler                                     On an Exposition of Errors and of Abuses of the Behavior and of the Government of Men, where We                                                                   See clear and Evident Demonstrations of the Vanity and Falsity of All the Gods and of All the                                                                             Religions of the World in Order to Be Addressed to His Parishioners After His Death and in Order                                                                     to Serve As Witness of Truth to Them, and to All Like Them. In His Testimony to the People.

Craig Nelson                                   Thomas Paine:  His Life, his time, and the birth of modern nations

Osho                                               The Book of Understanding

Thomas Paine                                 Common Sense

                                                       The Rights of Man

Stephen Pinker                                How the Mind Works

                                                        The Language Instinct

                                                        The Better Angels of our nature

Donald Prothero                             Evolution: What the Fossils say and why it matters

Vilayanur Ramachandran                2003 Reith Lectures: The Emerging Mind

Matt Ridley                                    The Rational Optimist

Bertrand Russell                             History of Western Philosophy

Carl Safina                                     Beyond Words: What Animals think and feel

Carl Sagan                                     The Demon Haunted World

Sally Satel &

            Scoot O. Lilienfield           Brainwashed: the seductive appeal of mindless Neuroscience

Edwin Schrodinger                       What is life

Michael Shermer                           The Moral Arc: How Science makes us better people

Daniel Smail                                  Deep History of the Brain

Mitchell Stephens                           Imagine there is no Heaven: How atheism helped create the Modern World

Thomas Suddendorf                      The Gap: The science that separates us from other animals

Daniel Tammett                            Embracing the Wide Sky

Paul Thagar                                  Mind: Introduction to Cognitive Science

                                                    The Brain and the Meaning of life

Theophrastus                               The Characters of Theophrastus

James Thrower                             The Alternative Tradition

Giulio Tononi                               Phi: A Voyage from Brain to Soul [How to weave a wonderful story and science]

Frans de Waal                               The Bonobo and the Atheist: In search of Humanism among the Primates.

                                                     Are we smart enough to know how smart animals are?

Peter Watson                                Ideas [Now that’s how you write history!]

                                                    The Modern Mind

Richard Watson                            Digital vs Human

Tim Whitebread                          Battling the Gods: Atheism in the Ancient World

Richard Wilkinson &

       Kate Pickett                          The Spirit Level: Why Equality is better for everyone

Edward O Wilson                       Consilience

                                                  The Future of Life

                                                   The Social Conquest of Earth [the alternative book to Churchland’s if you can only read one]

                                                   The Meaning of human existence

Mary Wollstonecraft                   A Vindication of the Rights of Woman

Virginia Woolf                           A Room of one’s own

                                                 Mrs Dalloway

David Wootton                        The Invention of science

Andrea Wulf                             The Invention of Nature – the adventures of Alexander Von Humboldt: The Lost Hero of Science [How                                                            can Alexander have been so forgotten]

 

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