Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Nearest Star: The Surprising Science of Our Sun

Taking advantage of the increased attention as the sun reaches the peak of its 11-year sunspot cycle, Harvard-Smithsonian astrophysicist Golub and Williams College astronomy professor Pasachoff deliver a clear, detailed and broadly informative overview of the scientific study of our “nearest star” and its effects on our planet. This book shines in its discussion of the properties of the sun’s turbulent outer layers (chromosphere, photosphere and corona). It provides space- and astronomy-loving readers in-depth information about the many challenging projects that produced or are producing that knowledge, about advanced projects on the drawing board or in conceptual stages and about Web sites where readers can find more details and up-to-date developments. On the human level, the authors describe practical techniques to enhance the thrill of observing a total solar eclipse. The book ends with a discussion of the interaction between solar and terrestrial phenomena, comparing human contributions to climate change to the climatic influence of solar variation


Stumbling on Happiness - AudioBook

From Publishers Weekly

Not offering a self-help book, but instead mounting a scientific explanation of the limitations of the human imagination and how it steers us wrong in our search for happiness, Gilbert, a professor of psychology at Harvard, draws on psychology, cognitive neuroscience, philosophy and behavioral economics to argue that, just as we err in remembering the past, so we err in imagining the future. "Our desire to control is so powerful, and the feeling of being in control so rewarding, that people often act as though they can control the uncontrollable," Gilbert writes, as he reveals how ill-equipped we are to properly preview the future, let alone control it. Unfortunately, he claims, neither personal experience nor cultural wisdom compensates for imagination's shortcomings. In concluding chapters, he discusses the transmission of inaccurate beliefs from one person's mind to another, providing salient examples of universal assumptions about human happiness such as the joys of money and of having children. He concludes with the provocative recommendation that, rather than imagination, we should rely on others as surrogates for our future experience.

An Introduction to Relativity

Cambridge University Press | 2010 | ISBN: 0521735610 | 372 pages | PDF | 4 MB

General relativity is now an essential part of undergraduate and graduate courses in physics, astrophysics and applied mathematics. This simple, user-friendly introduction to relativity is ideal for a first course in the subject. Beginning with a comprehensive but simple review of special relativity, the book creates a framework from which to launch the ideas of general relativity. After describing the basic theory, it moves on to describe important applications to astrophysics, black hole physics, and cosmology.


Friday, 24 September 2010

Almost Everyone's Guide To Science - AUDIOBOOK

John Gribbin, one of the world's great popularizers of science, is that rare creature, a scientist blessed with the ability to explain complex subject matter in a way which is comprehensible to non-scientists. Almost Everyone's Guide to Science is an essential book for the reader who is interested in science but doesn't know where to start. Gribbin gives a broad overview of physics and biology, starting with the atom before building up to larger objects: humans, the earth, the solar system and the universe. He also explains how scientific concepts are linked together--what evolutionary theory has to say about the way we think, how chaotic uncertainty and quantum uncertainty affect each other, and how sub-atomic particles came into being in the big bang.


The Stars of Heaven

Do a little armchair space travel, rub elbows with alien life forms, and stretch your mind to the furthest corners of our uncharted universe. With this astonishing guidebook, you don't have to be an astronomer to explore the mysteries of stars and their profound meaning for human existence. Clifford A. Pickover tackles a range of topics from stellar evolution to the fundamental reasons why the universe permits life to flourish. He alternates sections that explain the mysteries of the cosmos with sections that dramatize mind-expanding concepts through a fictional dialog between futuristic humans and their alien peers (who embark on a journey beyond the reader's wildest imagination). This highly accessible and entertaining approach turns an intimidating subject into a scientific game open to all dreamers. Told in Pickover's inimitable blend of fascinating state-of-the-art science and whimsical science fiction, and packed with numerous diagrams and illustrations, The Stars of Heaven unfolds a world of paradox and mystery, one that will intrigue anyone who has ever pondered the night sky with wonder.


Unintelligent Design: Why God Isn't as Smart as She Thinks She Is

Providing a humorous argument against creationism, this witty book debunks popular theories of intelligent design while showing how science can explain nearly everything, including sinus pain, hedonism, hernias, and morality. This critique of conservatism is supported by concrete scientific evidence and uses clever syllogisms to ask Why make the earth, the solar system, our galaxy, and all the rest when the Garden of Eden was all that was wanted? and If man is made in God’s image, does God ever get a back ache? Contending that intelligent design is a political movement that limits intellectual freedom, this book will fuel the current debate among fundamentalists, scientists, politicians, and the rest

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

The Making of the Fittest - AUDIOBOOK

What do dolphins, colobus monkeys and microbes have in common with each other? They all demonstrate how deeply evolution is etched in DNA and by looking at popular animals like them, geneticist Sean B. Carroll provides a fascinating insight into the genetic basis for evolution.


Your Inner Fish - AUDIOBOOK

Similar to Our Inner Ape, Your Inner Fish shows how, like the fish with elbows, we carry the whole history of evolution within our own bodies, and how the human genome links us with the rest of life on earth.


Richard Dawkins Enemies of Reason

New Age garbage, those who reject reason and science, investigated by the great Mr Dawkins.


Good Natured: The Origins of Right and Wrong in Humans and Other Animals

Is morality a biological or cultural phenomenon? Can nonhuman animals be humane? Primatologist de Waal (Chimpanzee Politics) explores these questions in a provocative book and makes a strong case for biology. He is convinced that social tendencies come into existence via a genetic calculus rather than rational choice. He defends anthropomorphism, noting that it serves the same exploratory function as intuition in the sciences. He discusses aggression and altruism and offers abundant anecdotal evidence of moral behavior among primates and other animals?food sharing, protection, sympathy, guilt. De Waal argues that the remarkable trainability among certain species, e.g., sheepdogs and elephants, hints at a rule-based order among them. Amazon


Sunday, 19 September 2010

Right now........

With all the goings on in the UK with the Popes visit Id just like to add that this is the reason the blog has been kinda taken over (lol) by anti-pope postings. Believe me when I say I do think its important however, as never has such a huge Atheist protest been staged anywhere in recent times. Numbers between 10-15,000 people or more marched through London yesterday to make their voices heard against the human rights infringements made by Ratzinger and his cronies. Womens rights activists, child abuse victims, those protesting about the churches stance on homosexuality, and the use of contraception all figured in the marches, and speeches were made by scientists and celebrities alike against the visit paid for by the UK taxpayer. A more varied posting state will return soon....

Richard Dawkins at Protest the Pope Rally in London Sept 18th 2010

Viva Le Resistance! Dawkins speaks in London yesterday. A goddamn revolutionary Id almost say. His unfaltering quest to destroy doctrine is daily history in the making. Hes spent years painstakingly committed to this task, and remains the man all creationists and myth purveyors fear....

Saturday, 18 September 2010

Protest the Pope rally sees 10,000 march through London's streets

Day three of Pope Benedict XVI's visit to Britain and it was a day for protests and anti-papists under bright blue skies in central London. Around 10,000 people took to the capital's streets for a Protest the Pope rally and march against what the organisers called "papal intolerance" and to condemn the state funding of the visit.

They came in red cardboard papal hats scrawled with the words "bigot" and "homophobe" and carrying placards, rainbow flags, pledges of atheism and balloons made of condoms. Although a good-natured crowd, the force of feeling against the presence of Pope Benedict in the UK was clear in the messages condemning his stance on homosexuality, the use of condoms, segregated schools, women's rights and, most of all, the child abuse scandal for which so many hold the pontiff personally responsible for both accelerating it and then covering it up.

"He is a symbol of all that is wrong with this terrible church, but he is more than that, he is also steeped in guilt at the cover-up," said Paul Stevens, a 35-year-old lawyer on the march with friends in exuberant "leftover gay pride suits". The first speaker to the rally was Sue Cox, 63, who was abused by a priest as a young girl and who told the crowd: "All I have ever experienced from the Catholic church is fear, disgust, lies and shame."

She concluded her speech by warning the Vatican that they would no longer be able to get away with overlooking clerical sex abuse. "We will continue to watch and shout out and work towards change. This is not over," she said.

The protest organiser Peter Tatchell told the Observer the event was held both to send a message to the Pope that child abusers had to be brought to account and to call on the British government not to tolerate the Pope's "harsh, intolerant views on women's rights, on gay equality and on the use of condoms which is so vital to stopping the spread of the HIV virus".

If the pope's key message during his visit has been to warn against atheism and secularism, then this rally was the chance of those with those views to present their view of Benedict. "An enemy of humanity" was the unminced words of prominent atheist Richard Dawkins, who gave a strong speech to the rally on its arrival at Downing Street.

Comedian Al Murray also figured among the crowd. He said: "Like a lot of people I am a perplexed that it is a state visit. The pope's opposition to condoms kills people. It is all very well him lecturing us on morals, but he should look at his own organisation's view."

Icons of Unbelief: Atheists, Agnostics, and Secularists

In the opinion of many critics and philosophers, we are entering an age of atheism marked by the waning of Christian fundamentalism and the flourishing of secular thought. Through alphabetically arranged entries written by expert contributors, this book profiles 27 iconic figures of unbelief whose ideas have shaped American society over the last 200 years. Included are entries on influential figures of the past, such as Albert Einstein and Voltaire, as well as on such contemporary figures as Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris. Each entry discusses the ideas and lasting significance of each person or group, provides sidebars of interesting information and illuminating quotations, and cites works for further reading. The volume closes with a selected, general bibliography. Students in social studies and history classes will welcome this reference as a guide to the ideas central to the American separation of Church and State and to many of the political debates at the heart of society today.


A Personal View of the Search for God - Carl Sagan

Sagan, writing from beyond the grave (actually his new book, The Varieties of Scientific Experience, is an edited version of his 1985 Gifford Lectures), asks why, if God created the universe, he left the evidence so scant. He might have embedded Maxwell’s equations in Egyptian hieroglyphs. The Ten Commandments might have been engraved on the moon. "Or why not a hundred- kilometer crucifix in Earth orbit?… Why should God be so clear in the Bible and so obscure in the world?" He laments what he calls a "retreat from Copernicus," a loss of nerve, an emotional regression to the idea that humanity must occupy center stage. Scientific American


Pope's visit: 'Science cannot explain human existence'

The pope intervened in the debate over the origins of the universe today by claiming that science could not explain the "ultimate meaning" of human existence. He said science could not satisfy the "fundamental" question about why we exist.

"They cannot satisfy the deepest longings of the human heart, they cannot fully explain to us our origin and our destiny, why and for what purpose we exist, nor indeed can they provide us with an exhaustive answer to the question 'Why is there something rather than nothing?'" He may well have been referring to Stephen Hawking, who writes in his latest book that no divine force is needed to explain why the universe was formed. He argued in The Grand Design that physics, and not a creator, was responsible for the Big Bang. The pope warned against rejecting religion in favour of a purely scientific outlook. "Never allow yourselves to become narrow. The world needs good scientists, but a scientific outlook becomes dangerous and narrow if it ignores the riches or ethical dimensions of life. Just as religion becomes narrow if it rejects the legitimate contribution of science to our understanding of the world." He added: "We need good historians, and philosophers and economists but if the accounts they give of human life is too narrowly focused they can lead us seriously astray." (The Guardian 18th Sept)

He just doesnt get it does he? Why do we exist? Why is there something rather than nothing? These pathetic old bastards need to get their head out of the sand, (and mythological tomes) and take a look at the world around them. Of course, by now though, they have a multi-million pound/dollar/euro industry to protect thats under a lot of pressure. So I guess they have to spout some ancient propaganda again to try and keep those priceless works of art hanging on the Vatican wall.

Delaware Masturbators March Against O’Donnell

Largest Pro-wanking Demonstration in History

Galvanized by Republican senatorial nominee Christine O’Donnell’s anti-masturbation stance, masturbators from across the state converged on Wilmington today in what some are calling the largest pro-wanking protest in American history.

Carrying signs reading, “O’Donnell: Hands Off Our Masturbation,” the angry masturbators clogged downtown Wilmington, stopping traffic for blocks. Harley Farger, a leading Delaware masturbator and planner of the Million Masturbators March, said it was difficult to organize masturbators “because they’re used to acting alone.”


O’Donnells diatribe:

Thursday, 16 September 2010

'When you land at Heathrow you think you're in a Third World country'

The Pope is today flying to Britain for his historic state visit, which has been overshadowed by the fallout from an aide's insensitive comments comparing Britain to a 'Third World country'.
Benedict XVI will be greeted by the Queen this morning with the full honours due to a world leader, hours after the senior cardinal who made the provocative remarks was dropped from his entourage.
Cardinal Walter Kasper, who accused Britain of harbouring aggressive atheism and discriminating against Christians, was condemned as racist by secular protesters determined to disrupt the Papal trip, the first to Britain for 28 years. 
The 77-year-old Cardinal had told a German magazine: 'When you land at Heathrow you think at times you have landed in a Third World country.'
Such ill-judged comments from Benedict's close circle were a gift to the collection of celebrities and Left-wing atheists mobilising against his visit. 
Yesterday a group of 55, including Stephen Fry, author Terry Pratchett and academic Richard Dawkins, claimed it introduced overtones of racism into the controversy.
Gay campaigner and anti-Papal demonstrator Peter Tatchell said: 'This is another own goal from the Vatican. It shows just how out of touch the Pope and his entourage are.


Sunday, 12 September 2010

The Age of Everything: How Science Explores the Past

Taking advantage of recent advances throughout the sciences, Matthew Hedman brings the distant past closer to us than it has ever been. Here, he shows how scientists have determined the age of everything from the colonization of the New World over 13,000 years ago to the origin of the universe nearly fourteen billion years ago.

Hedman details, for example, how interdisciplinary studies of the Great Pyramids of Egypt can determine exactly when and how these incredible structures were built. He shows how the remains of humble trees can illuminate how the surface of the sun has changed over the past ten millennia. And he also explores how the origins of the earth, solar system, and universe are being discerned with help from rocks that fall from the sky, the light from distant stars, and even the static seen on television sets.

Covering a wide range of time scales, from the Big Bang to human history, The Age of Everything is a provocative and far-ranging look at how science has determined the age of everything from modern mammals to the oldest stars, and will be indispensable for all armchair time travelers.


Koran burning cancelled - Sept 11th rememberance 2010

Solemn memorial ceremonies were held around the United States Saturday to commemorate the ninth anniversary of the September 11th attacks that occurred in New York, Washington, and Shanksville, PA. Thousands of people gathered at each site, with officials and family members eulogizing the victims and reading off their names.

U.S. President Barack Obama took the opportunity to comment on the growing tension between Islam and the West, telling Americans to “remain true to their values” and refuse to paint all Muslims as terrorists. “The highest honor we can pay those we lost, indeed our greatest weapon in this ongoing war, is to do what our adversaries fear the most – to stay true to who we are, as Americans; to renew our sense of common purpose; to say that we define the character of our country, and we will not let the acts of some small band of murderers who slaughter the innocent and cower in caves distort who we are,” Obama said.

Meanwhile, what promised to be the most dramatic spectacle of the day – an organized burning of Korans by a Florida pastor – fizzled out, as Reverend Terry Jones told a news conference that he “will not burn a Koran, not now, not ever.” Jones, who had planned the burning at his Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, in protest over the increased incursion of Islamic influence in the United States, cancelled the event, and instead flew to New York to participate in 9/11 ceremonies there. A rumor Thursday to the effect that Jones had worked out a deal with Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf to relocate the proposed Islamic center to be built two and a half blocks from Ground Zero proved to be false, and a meeting Jones said was planned with Rauf did not materialize. The Islamic center is a focus of protest on Saturday by groups opposed to its proximity to the site of the 9/11 attacks.

Days before the burning was to take place, politicians and public officials – going up to the White House – urged Jones not to go forward with the burning. In a statement Tuesday, White House spokesperson Robert Gibbs said that the move would endanger U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. General David Petraeus, commander of U.S. forces in  Afghanistan, said earlier that the event “is precisely the kind of action the Taliban uses and could cause significant problems ... Not just here, but everywhere in the world we are engaged with the Islamic community."

As Petraeus predicted, rioting against the planned burning broke out in Afghanistan – and elsewhere - on Saturday. More than 10,000 people took part in what started out as a peaceful protest in a city near Kabul, but the protest quickly deteriorated into a riot, with demonstrators throwing rocks and burning down shops. The State Department warned Americans traveling in Muslim countries to be careful, and a South African court banned a public burning of the Bible that had been planned by Muslims in retaliation for the cancelled Koran burning. Protests were held in Gaza and PA controlled areas, with protestors shouting epithets and calling for the destruction of Israel and the U.S.

The Red Limit: The Search for the Edge of the Universe - AUDIOBOOK

Hailed by critics as a classic of modern science writing, this is the tumultuous tale of groundbreaking discoveries by a group of scientists whose rivalries and emotions played as important a role as their intellectual brilliance. Awarded the American Institute of Physics Prize, The Red Limit is "an enthralling account....Ferris unfolds the story with skill and suspense uncommon in science writing."


From Certainty to Uncertainty: The Story of Science and Ideas in the Twentieth Century

At the same time that 20th-century science brought unprecedented advances, it also led to the growing awareness of the limitations of scientific knowledge itself. Through wonderfully concise, clear metaphors, physicist Peat (Infinite Potential) traces the philosophy of science from the 19th through the 20th centuries, showing how the earlier era°s faith in the reliability of scientific research, and its belief that it was theoretically possible to predict the behavior of everything from particles to people, was abruptly shaken in the 20th century. Peat focuses especially on how the theory of relativity, quantum mechanics and chaos theory brought about cataclysmic changes in our worldview.


Brad Pitt on Real Time with Bill Maher (full interview)

Well, I gotta admit my estimation of Mr Pitt certainly gained a few points after watching this interview. It takes balls to have outspoken opinions on the issues he raises while being such a big star. I wasnt aware he was an atheist, and with the showbiz industry full of wackos like Travolta, Cruise, Madonna etc its nice to see someone with their feet firmly on the ground.... 


The Pope protest continues......

When Benedict XVI lands at Edinburgh airport on Thursday, he is unlikely to get the rapturous reception that greeted John Paul II on his visit to Britain in 1982.

Over the coming days, the pope will be faced with protesters demanding action on clerical sexual abuse of children and voicing anger at the £20m cost of the state visit, and must also contend with public apathy. A recent survey revealed 77% of people questioned felt the taxpayer should not contribute to the cost of the visit, with 79% saying they had "no personal interest" in the pontifical trip. But others believe Benedict's visit provides a rare chance to put the Vatican in the spotlight and ask the pontiff difficult questions. Human rights activists, secularists, survivors of clerical sexual abuse and reform-minded Catholics have formed a loose coalition to ensure the opportunity is not wasted. The movement is spearheaded by Protest the Pope, a group with nearly 9,000 Facebook members, which is planning a march in London in a week to demonstrate against the visit.

Full story here: 

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Magic Universe - A Grand Tour of Modern Science

As a prolific author, BBC commentator, and magazine editor, Nigel Calder has spent a lifetime spotting and explaining the big discoveries in all branches of science. In Magic Universe, he draws on his vast experience to offer readers a lively, far-reaching look at modern science in all its glory, shedding light on the latest ideas in physics, biology, chemistry, medicine, astronomy, and many other fields. Drawing on interviews with more than 200 researchers, from graduate students to Nobel prize-winners, Magic Universe takes us on a high-spirited tour through the halls of science, one that will enthrall everyone interested in science, whether a young researcher in a high-tech lab or an amateur buff sitting in the comfort of an armchair.

"The ideal compendium for non-scientists of any age."--Sunday Times
"A marvelous read...it can be enjoyed like a high-quality magazine."--Mark Ridley, Times Literary Supplement
"He is really exceptional in his energy, his range of comprehension, and his quality as a writer.... Nigel Calder remains supreme in his range and depth...he goes to immense trouble to get things right, and also takes pains with the clarity and elegance of his writing."--Sir Martin Rees, FRS, Astronomer Royal

BBC Newsnight investigates more child abuse cover ups by the Pope

The highly respected BBC Newsnight programme
investigates the horror that is the catholic church, and how thousands of children were raped with its blessing and support. A great piece of journalism



Pastor Terry Jones says he doesn't think backing down is the "right thing"
Having read a few atheist blogs about the upcoming burning of 200 korans/Qurans by a Gainesville pastor, I guess Id like to add a few words of my own. It seems a lot of the atheist press have been taking the side of dignity and in some ways defending the koran saying the burning should not take place. True, things could turn out bad if it really happens, but at the same time, we all need to bloody learn that a book of paper with a bunch of crappy dogma scrawled on it deserves no more respect than the paper we wipe our a**es on everyday. Its all about perception. Humans need to take a raincheck on the value they put on inanimate objects and recognise that all this is relative. If a koran was burned in the forest and there was no one round to see it, would Allah make a sound? Yeah, hardly. Be it burning flags, books, records, or an opposing football shirt, it really doesnt matter a damn if you stand back and take a look at the big picture. Humans (as I always say), are strange creatures. All our little foibles, hang ups, and daft doctrines are pure garbage, and me, well, I like to see garbage incinerated.


Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Terror in the Mind of God: The Global Rise of Religious Violence

This dark, enthralling book not only documents the global rise of religious terrorism but seeks to understand the "odd attraction of religion and violence." Juergensmeyer bases his study on scholarly sources, media accounts and personal interviews with convicted terrorists. He exercises caution with the term "terrorist," preferring to emphasize the large religious community of supporters who make violent acts possible rather than the relatively small number who carry them out. Juergensmeyer identifies certain "cultures of violence" via case studies along the spectrum of Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Sikhism and Buddhism. Such religious communities often perceive themselves and their way of life as under attack. In Japan, for example, a new branch of "socially prophetic" Buddhists released toxic sarin gas in the Tokyo subway system in 1995, shattering their own nonviolent ethic and harming thousands because they had adopted millenarian prophecies about an imminent end to the world. Juergensmeyer is a powerful, skillful writer whose deeply empathic interviewing techniques allow readers to enter the minds of some of the late 20th century's most feared religious terrorists. Yet he is also a sensitive scholar who aptly dissects religious terrorism as a sociological phenomenon. Later chapters pay special attention to issues of "performance violence," enemy formation, martyrology, satanization and "images of cosmic confrontation."


Atheist Music - Greydon Square - The Compton Effect (2007)

Not many artists have set out to devote a whole album to atheist/scientific subjects. While many bands have several anti-religious songs in their back catalogue, Greydon Squares whole album is dedicated to the scientific and secular...

01. An Irrational Argument
02. A Rational Response
03. The Compton Effect
04. Molotov
05. Extian
06. Buddy
07. Psych Eval
08. Pandora's Box
09. Roots
10. Ears
11. Stranger
12. Squared
13. Say
14. Addressed
15. The Dream
16. Gone
17. Dear Journal
18. What Up
19. As A Fan



Password: Jab007

Monday, 6 September 2010

Protest The Pope!

As the visit of the dodgy Pope (to the UK) draws ever closer, many groups are getting ready their protests against his arrival and none more so than the protest the pope website collective: 

In here is a list of exactly why this twisted old fart (and his organization) needs to be confronted, least of all the £20million cost to the tax payer.

Click here for an expansion of the list in the picture: 

Astrobiology of Earth

Astrobiology of Earth adopts a unique approach that differs from most texts in the field which focus on the possibility of extraterrestrial life. In contrast, the central theme of this book is the fortuitous combination of numerous cosmic factors that together produced the special environment which enabled the emergence, persistence and evolution of life on our own planet, culminating in humanity. This environment has been subject to constant and chaotic change during life's 3.6 billion year history. The geologically very recent appearance of humans and their effect on the biosphere is discussed in relation to its deterioration as well as climate change. The search for extraterrestrial life is considered with a view to the suggestion that humans may escape a depleted Earth by colonizing the universe. 


Carl Sagan - Cosmos (podcast edition)

While watching Cosmos on DVD it occurred to me that it would translate fairly well to a podcast format. Having spent tens of hours editing periodic announcements out of DJ sets recorded off the radio, it presented an interesting challenge.

I listened through the episodes multiple times and anything that didn't work like long passages of music, or where Carl refers to something on-screen (eg. "shown here" or "this photo") were edited out. Most of the edits are seamless but some noticeable ones were unavoidable without access to the master tapes.

The only content of note that didn't work "for radio" was a sequence in episode 7 where Carl shows some pictures and planetary models to primary school students, and another in episode 12 where he translates some Egyptian Hieroglyphics from Greek.


The Philosophy Of Humanism

The Philosophy of Humanism is a scholarly work, tracing the influence of Humanism  from the ancient Greek philosophers through the Enlightenment and the Bill of Rights to the twentieth century. It is very well documented with reference notes and bibliography for those who prefer sources, yet it is written in a most readable style.


Epic of Evolution: Seven Ages of the Cosmos

Only a few hundred years ago, the idea of Earth’s centrality and the reliance on supernatural beings were shattered. During the Renaissance, humans began to inquire more critically about themselves and the Universe. They realized that thinking about Nature was no longer sufficient. Looking at it was also necessary. Experiments became a central part of the process of inquiry. To be effective, ideas had to be tested experimentally, either to refine them if data favored them or to reject them if they did not. The “scientific method” was born—probably the most powerful technique ever conceived for the advancement of factual information. Modern science had arrived.



Richard Dawkins: "I'm sorry to say we don't have the same brain. I mean there is variation. One of the main principles of the Darwinian theory is plenty of variation for natural selection to work on and there is sure enough very plenty of variation in brain part. 

All the way from Einstein on the one hand, Sarah Palin at the other."


The First Three Minutes: A Modern View of the Origin of the Universe

The novel was written by renowned physicist Steven Weinberg, a physicist at the University of Texas at Austin, whose research and breakthroughs in relation to electromagnetism led to him being awarded the 1979 Nobel Peace Prize in Physics. Weinberg is widely respected within the scientific and "lay" community alike, as his book allowed the common person to understand the creation of the universe and as such, his book is now translated in over 25 different languages.


Maps of Time: An Introduction to Big History

An introduction to a new way of looking at history, from a perspective that stretches from the beginning of time to the present day, Maps of Time is world history on an unprecedented scale. Beginning with the Big Bang, the Australian historianDavid Christian views the interaction of the natural world with the more recent arrivals in flora and fauna, including human beings.

Cosmology, geology, archeology, and population and environmental studies--all figure in David Christian's account, which is an ambitious overview of the emerging field of "Big History." Maps of Time opens with the origins of the universe, the stars and the galaxies, the sun and the solar system, including the earth, and conducts readers through the evolution of the planet before human habitation. It surveys the development of human society from the Paleolithic era through the transition to agriculture, the emergence of cities and states, and the birth of the modern, industrial period right up to intimations of possible futures. Sweeping in scope, finely focused in its minute detail, this riveting account of the known world, from the inception of space-time to the prospects of global warming, lays the groundwork for world history--and Big History--true as never before to its name.


Fred Hoyle's Universe

Fred Hoyle was one of the most widely acclaimed and colourful scientists of the twentieth century, a down-to-earth Yorkshireman who combined a brilliant scientific mind with a relish for communication and controversy.

Best known for his steady-state theory of cosmology, he described a universe with both an infinite past and an infinite future. He coined the phrase 'big bang' to describe the main competing theory, and sustained a long-running, sometimes ill-tempered, and typically public debate with his scientific rivals. He showed how the elements are formed by nuclear reactions inside stars, and explained how we are therefore all formed from stardust. He also claimed that diseases fall from the sky, attacked Darwinism, and branded the famous fossil of the feathered Archaeopteryx a fake.

Throughout his career, Hoyle played a major role in the popularization of science. Through his radio broadcasts and his highly successful science fiction novels he became a household name, though his outspokenness and support for increasingly outlandish causes later in life at times antagonized the scientific community.


Eureka!: The Birth of Science

That man ever managed to develop a scientific attitude to the natural world is one of the true wonders of human thought. And answering the question of where and how this attitude began can help us better understand the world we live in and the science that governs it.


The Living Clock: The Orchestrator of Biological Rhythms

This book is an introduction to a basic property of life, one mostly unknown to science and the public until the latter half of the last century: Humans, plants, and animals have within their bodies a kind of clock that synchronizes much of what they do throughout their lives to the time of day and the seasons, and in the case of the sea-dwelling organisms, the tides. This timepiece performs its service autonomously - it rules silently within us without us giving a thought to it. Three chapters are devoted to the human clock: its disruptive action in transmeridional travel and shift work, its oversight in most every aspect of our physiology, and how doctors being aware of its action can save lives. Other major subjects describe the role in piloting birds in homing and migration, guiding the seasonal reproduction of plants and animals, and its influence on shore dwellers. The book closes with a description of the clockworks' escapement.


Annals of Gullibility: Why We Get Duped and How to Avoid It

The first book to provide a comprehensive look at the problem of gullibility, this groundbreaking work covers how and why we are fooled in areas that range from religion, politics, science, and medicine, to personal finance and relationships. First laying the groundwork by showing gullibility at play in the writings of historic authors we all know, developmental psychologist Stephen Greenspan follows with chapters that describe social duping across the gamut of human conduct. From people who pour bucks into investment scams, to those who follow the faith of scientologists, believe in fortunetellers, or champion unfounded medicine akin to snake oil, we all know someone who has been duped. A lot of us have been duped ourselves, out of naive trust. It's not a matter of low intelligence that moves us to, without evidence, believe the words of politicians, salesmen, academics, lawyers, military figures, or cult leaders, among others. Greenspan shows us the four broad reasons we become drawn into gullible behavior, and he presents ways people can become less gullible.

Greenspan takes us into the vast realm of gullibility from the fictional Pied Piper to the historical Trojan Horse, then through modern-day military maneuvers, political untruths, police and criminal justice scams, and financial and love lies. While there have been earlier books focused on liars and manipulators of all sorts, this is the first to focus on the gullible who are their victims, and how the gullible can become less likely to be taken again.


Sunday, 5 September 2010

God prefers Atheists

Evolution vs. Creationism

The evolution versus creationism conflict is here to stay. Even after their devastating defeat in the Kitzmiller v. Dover decision, advocates of intelligent design and other forms of creationism continue to revise their strategies for undermining the teaching of evolution-and thus of science in general-in American schools. In this revision of Evolution vs. Creationism, Eugenie Scott, one of the leading proponents of teaching evolution in the schools, describes these ever-changing efforts to undermine science education and shows what students, parents, and teachers should be aware of to help ensure that American science education prepares our students to compete in the 21st century.

This second edition of Evolution vs. Creationism will help readers better understand the issues involved in these debates. It expands and updates the original work with an insider's look at the Kitzmiller v. Dover trial, a new selection of primary source documents on the Creationism/Evolution controversy in the media, and an up-to-date analysis of the most recent creationist challenges across the country.



I enjoy watching live debates on TV, especially when it concerns a topic I feel strongly about. But time after time I find it frustrating that a better point could have been made and I feel I want to jump into my TV and throw in my tuppence worth. Guess thats not just me though? Anyway, heres one from a UK TV channel. Faith it seems is a marvellous thing. The basic premise being, that if you believe something to be true, then it is.


I believe Im a millionaire. I believe Im a millionaire. I believe....... 


Evolutionary Writings: Including the Autobiographies

On topics ranging from intelligent design and climate change to the politics of gender and race, the evolutionary writings of Charles Darwin occupy a pivotal position in contemporary public debate. This volume brings together the key chapters of his most important and accessible books, including the Journal of Researches on the Beagle voyage (1845), The Origin of Species (1859), and The Descent of Man (1871), along with the full text of his delightful autobiography. They are accompanied by generous selections of responses from Darwin’s nineteenth-century readers from across the world.
More than anything, they give a keen sense of the controversial nature of Darwin’s ideas, and his position within Victorian debates about man’s place in nature.
The wide-ranging Introduction by James A. Secord, Director of the Darwin Correspondence Project, explores the global impact and origins of Darwin’s work and the reasons for its unparalleled significance today. To increase its usefulness for readers coming to Darwin for the first time, the selection also includes a map of the Beagle voyage, a detailed chronology of Darwin’s life, and a biographical appendix identifying every individual mentioned in the text.


Sam Harris - The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason (AudioBook)

Harris calls for the end of religious faith in the modern world. Not only does such faith lack a rational base, he argues, but even the urge for religious toleration allows a too-easy acceptance of the motives of religious fundamentalists. Religious faith, according to Harris, requires its adherents to cling irrationally to mythic stories of ideal paradisiacal worlds (heaven and hell) that provide alternatives to their own everyday worlds. Moreover, innumerable acts of violence, he argues, can be attributed to a religious faith that clings uncritically to one set of dogmas or another. Very simply, religion is a form of terrorism for Harris. Predictably, he argues that a rational and scientific view—one that relies on the power of empirical evidence to support knowledge and understanding—should replace religious faith. We no longer need gods to make laws for us when we can sensibly make them for ourselves.  Publishers Weekly


Bertrand Russell - Essays on Science & Atheism

Bertrand Russell, the english philosopher, logician and mathematician & Nobel Literature prize-winner wrote extensively and lucidly on his own atheism, science and the meaninglessness of religion.
"Why I am not a Christian" is one of the definitive works of the clarity of the atheist movement and to this day remains one of the most logical defences of atheism, and clear attacks on religion.

Archive includes;
What I Believe
Why I Am Not A Christian
A Free Man's Worship
Religion And Science


6000 year old Earth!

This is the world we live in (well, the one a lot of Americans live in). Unf**kinbelievable. And you thought the Dark Ages were over.Apparently Planet Earth is 6000 years old. Only in America.


Discovery - Alien Neighbors

If we are not alone, who or what else is out there? Is anybody listening? Is physical travel from one star system to another possible?

Our technology is not sufficient to detect any intelligent life from beyond hundred-millions light years. There are over 125 billion galaxies and we may never catch any sign.

If there is life, how will it develop? Will the mechanics of evolution be similar to those on the Earth?

Astronomers and scientists like Richard Dawkins explain their arguments on extraterrestrials.


The Universe In A Nutshell - AUDIOBOOK

What is the nature of the universe that we live in? This is a question that has exercised philosophers and scientists for as long as people have been able to think. Almost everyone has asked it at one time or another, in one form or another. It is hard to imagine a more fundamental question. The phenomenal success of Stephen Hawking's first popular book, A brief history of time, first published in 1988, testifies to the hunger for understanding that is part of the human condition.
The universe in a nutshell is billed as "the inspiring sequel to A brief history of time". It is of course not really a sequel at all; it is rather, as Hawking might put it, orthogonal to the earlier book. A brief history  presented the best picture of the Universe we had at the time. It examined the overall shape of the universe (is it expanding? How did it begin, and what is its ultimate fate? What are the boundary conditions that describe it?) and aimed at the broad picture rather than detailed exposition.