Annotated Atheist Reading List
© Brooke Clarke 2009 - 2021
Important Books & Videos
The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a
Candle in the Dark by Carl Sagan
The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins
The Greatest Show on Earth: The
Evidence for Evolution by Richard Dawkins - Tree of Life
The Blind Watchmaker: Why the Evidence
of Evolution Reveals a Universe without Design by Richard Dawkins
Society without God: What the Least Religious
Nations Can Tell Us About Contentment by Phil Zuckerman
Letter to a Christian Nation
by Sam Harris
The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and
the Future of Reason by Sam Harris
Landscape: How Science Can Determine Human Values by Sam Harris
Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything by Christopher Hitchens
Breaking the Spell by Daniel C.
The Ethical Brain by Michael S.
Denialism: How Irrational Thinking
Hinders Scientific Progress, Harms the Planet, and Threatens Our Lives
by Michael Specter
the blank slate: The Modern Denial
of Human Nature by Steven Pinker
Trick or Treatment: The undeniable Facts
about Alternative Medicine by Simon Singh & Edzrd Ernst MD
The Post American World by Fareed
Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science
and Sex by Mary Roach
Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!
(Adventures of a Curious Character) by Richard P. Feynman
The Pleasure of Finding Things Out
by Richard P. Feynman
What Do You Care What Other People
Think?: Further Adventures of a Curious Character by Richard P.
Idiot America: How
Stupidity Became a Virtue in the Land of the Free by Charles
Muslim Mafia: Inside the
Secret Underworld That's Conspiring to Islamize America by P.D.
Gaubatz & P. Sperry
The Road to Serfdom, by F.A. Hayek
Monetary Regimes and Inflation: History, Economic and
Political Relationships by Peter Bernholz
Dereliction of Duty: Lyndon Johnson, Robert McNamara,
The Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Lies That Led To Vietnam by H.R.
The Girl with Dragon Tattoo by
The Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets Nest by Stieg Larsson
The Hydrogen Economy by Jeremy Rifkin
The Empathic Civilization: The Race to
Global Consciousness in a World in Crisis by: Jeremy Rifkin
Blackwater: The rise of the
world's most powerful mercenary army by Jeremy Scahill
The United States of America Has Gone
God and his Demons, Michael Parenti
What the Dog Saw: And Other Adventures
- Malcolm Gladwell
Outliers: The Story of Success -
Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist
Explores the Hidden Side of Everything (P.S.) - Steven D. Levitt
Super Freakonomics Illustrated -
The Men Who Stare at Goats, Jon
Them: Adventures with Extremists,
Why People Believe Weird Things,
Love & Survival: The scientific basis
for the healing power of intimiacy, Dean Ornish
Kitchen Table Wisdom: Stories That Heal
by Rachel Naomi Remen
The Great controversy by E.G. White
Sex at Dawn: The Prehistoric Origins of
Spent! by Geoffrey F. Miller
The Mating Mind by Geoffrey F. Miller
The Grand Design by Steven Hawking
The Great Derangment by Matt Taibbi
Atheist Manifesto: The Case Against
Christianity, Judaism, and Islam by Michel Onfray
To Be Read
To Be Ordered
Intelligence Squared Debates
My Great Men
- book list for TED
- list of videos
Robert Sapolsky (Class lecture at Stanford) - a very strong connection
between OCD & religious ritual, Schizotypal and superstitious beliefs,
Robert Sapolsky's lecture about Biological Underpinnings of
- Biological underpinnings of religiosity. mal adaptive
trait/advantage: Sickle-cell disease
from Malaria, Tay–Sachs disease
Tuberculosis, Cystic fibrosis
against Cholera, Schizophrenia/Schizotypal (loos associations, social
withdrawal, meta magical thinking (Wiki
about this lecture, Why
Sapolsky’s Take on Schizotypal Personality Disorder and Religion
- Gallop poll of Americans: 25% believe in ghosts, 36% mental telepathy,
47% UFOs, >50% Devil. Newer irrationality: crystals &
channeling, Older irrationality: Voices from burning bushes, conversations
with dead people. "Schizotypalism runs through all human
history." Bad timing: Wako. Tx, Jim Jones, Charles Manson all highly
meta magical thinking (Schizotypal).
- Religion as daily practice of ritual. OCD (Cleanliness, Food,
Enter & Leave buildings, numbers)/Religious Ritual (Cleanliness, Food,
Enter & Leave buildings, numbers).
Hindu Brahmin (6
hr/day cleansing, rules for entering/leaving temple, number of breaths,
repetitions of prayers)
- Judaism (many rules relating to food, dress, prayer shawl &
numerology, 365 (prohibitions) + 248 (must be done daily) = 613, the
numbers survive but not the things they represent.
(counting rosaries, number of times saying prayers, rules for entering
& leaving church, Lutheran prayers for even and odd years,
Hindu: need to
repeat the Gayatri Mantra means you can make a living doing only that.
Luther: "the more I wash the dirtier I get" and OCD marker also
confessing for many hrs/day.
random feeding inputs develop superstitious belief (Wiki: Skinner
are prayers answered because the person asking did something wrong.
- Temporal Lobe Epilepsy - some have Temporal Lobe Personality (Wiki
classic patient saint Paul from the Bible.
“Leashed to Your Pussy: Toxoplasma
gondii and Mind Control”
- an interesting tie between agriculture, rodents and cats -
Your Cat Is Making You Crazy
referencing a number of investigators including Sapolsky.
It's becoming clear that the U.S. is being
severely damaged by it's religious population. It used to be
that the religious people claimed that without religion the world would be
much worse off, but the opposite is the case. This is made clear in
the newer books related to Atheism, most of which have been written post
9/11. I see this as a positive benefit of the events of 9/11.
This is a part of a larger problem of people believing in what amounts to
nonsense. For example see the listing at:
A Knock on the Door - Jehovah's Witnesses
Jan 2010 - On the front porch were a
couple of men in suits, one of them carrying a book with a black
cover. I invited them in and they said more people were in the car
so I ask that they also come in. The four men and myself talked
for over an hour. They were Jehovah's Witnesses (Wiki
It turns out that they do NOT believe in evolution, but instead
intelligent design. They also:
- Do not vote
- Do not accept blood transfusions
- Do not celebrate holidays
- Do not have anything to do with war
- Believe in Armageddon. ( incorrectly forecast Armageddon for the
years: 1914, 1925 and 1975)
They gave me a free copy of Awake! which I've
read. It has a number of misrepresented "facts". One of them
relates to William Paley (Wiki
who was the author of the Watchmaker Analogy (Wiki
in 1802. Darwin published his theory of evolution in 1838.
After reading the Paley article in Awake! I see why Dawkins titled one
of his books The Blind Watchmaker: Why the Evidence of Evolution Reveals a
Universe without Design
and so now have it on order along with
The Greatest Show on Earth: The
Evidence for Evolution.
I asked that they come back in a month so I could do my homework on
Policy on child abuse
"In the organization, you
have to have two witnesses, and of course it's almost impossible
to have two witnesses to a child molestation. So if a parent comes
with their daughter to the elder, they ask and he says, no, I
didn't do it, then that's the end of the matter. I would like to
see them recognize it, take it to the civil authorities and
professionals that are capable and qualified to help the victims."
Joe Anderson, former Jehovah's Witness elder.
Policy on Blood Transfusions
"One of the most controversial practices by Jehovah's Witnesses is the
ban on all types of blood transfusions-even if they are meant to save
Policy on Evolution
The validity of a literal interpretation of the Genesis
creation story and rejection of the theory of evolution
Policy on Sex
Pretty much aginst everything that's not missionary position between
Another Knock on the Door -Seventh Day Adventist
March 2011 - A young woman (Seventh Day Adventist (Wiki)
knocked on the door. She was by herself (usually religious
proselytizers come as pairs or more. She had a number of soft cover
publications. We talked for some time and she left me with "The
Great Controversy" (see below
) and a small pamphlet
"Signs of the Times"
Policy on Women Pastors
The North American Division
(NAD) of the Seventh-day
proposed to the 1995 General Conference in
Utrecht, Netherlands that each World Division be allowed to decide
independently whether to ordain women to the pastorate. The proposal
was defeated by a vote of 1481 to 673.
Policy on End Times
The second coming of Christ is imminent.
Believers should be ready at all times to be removed
from earth to be with God
in heaven. Others will be exterminated
by Christ during what will be the most massive genocide
in history. Righteous Christians who had previously died will be
resurrected at that time and taken to heaven.
Policy on Alcohol, tobacco, bad habits
Members are expected to abstain from alcohol, tobacco,
and every other "soul-defiling habit"
Policy on Evolution
: The Seventh-day Adventist church has been quite
active in the promotion of Creation Science in opposition to the theory
Policy on Sex
Pretty much against everything that's not missionary position between
Third Knock on the Door - Jehovah's Witnesses
Two young women with Jehovah's Witnesses (Wiki
Both women knew about Constantine's Sword and neither of them was
wearing a cross, they got it that it would be like wearing a miniature
sniper rifle for Jackie Kennedy.
They did not want to discuss my ideas, and left shortly after leaving
(These are both 32 page booklets):
"The Watchtower" (Wiki
2011 - ... the good news that God's Kingdom, which is a real government
in heaven, will soon bring an end to all wickedness and transform the
earth into a paradise.
April 2011. - End times are near.
Interfaith Gathering for Peace
This was a meetingon 15 Jan 2011 in a local church that was a part of a
larger movement sponsered by the Winter
Feast for the Soul
. I listened on the radio and then went to
the meeting, but was no allowed to speak, although another man who
showed up was allowed to. The reason is that I wanted to talk
about religion as being the problem.
The subtitle of the meeting, as shown on the founding
is "Is Faith a vehicle for Eternal Peace or the cause of
Skepticism101 - Welcome
(with Google custom search box)- syllabi
- each pdf document is filled with great information including links,
Note: The table of contents is on the left of all the pages.
Important Books & Videos
Feb 2012 - adding this section. Most
of these came out of my political readings (http://www.end2partygovernment.com/index0811.html
Sex at Dawn: The Prehistoric Origins of Modern Sexuality
- this book is about a lot more than it's key idea that humans are not
monogamous by nature.
With Liberty and Justice for Some by Glenn Greenwald
The Authoritarians (published as a free
on line book
) - This is a concept that goes beyond religion and
looks at a deeper personal world view
|That reminds me of the idea of
overlapping disciplines. It's not uncommon that when
studying one thing something I've learned somewhere else shows
That was the case when I was watching the TED Talk: Richard Wilkinson: How
economic inequality harms societies
I noticed that on some of his slides there was a group of
countries that included Denmark. This was the "good"
end. He makes the claim that the "bad" end corresponds to
countries with high income inequality, but because I'd read the
book Society without God: What the Least
Religious Nations Can Tell Us About Contentment by Phil
Zuckerman, I knew that the "good" end corresponded to countries
that were non religious.
Combine that with "The Authoritarians" and there's a new
metric. To test that I checked some on line data and found
As a proxy for Authoritarian I use the percentage of a state
that is Evangelical Christian, income inequality by state is
available. Notice that Life Expectancy, Obesity, Infant
Mortality, High School Graduation rate, Teen Birth Rate have a
higher correlation with authoritarianism than with income
inequality. The rest of the items do not seem to correlate
with either variable. I've emailed Richard Wilkinson who claims that income
equality is more fundamental, but he can't explain why
Evangelical Christian (authoritarianism) has a higher
The procedure was for each dependent variable (Life Expectancy
for example) two plots were made, one vs. percent Evangelical
Christian and the other vs. an income inequality metric.
Then a straight line was fitted to the data and the value of R
squared was compared for the two lines.
Rather than using just Evangelical Christian as a proxy for
authoritarianism, it would be better to come up with a
combination of factors using something like multiple regression
that was based on the authoritarian test. This is an
exercise for someone with a much better knowledge of statistics
than I have.
2014 - TAM2014
- Daniel Dennett - Can Churches Survive the New Transparency?
this video he seems to be marking the end of religion and the beginning of
figuring out how to continue the good things that churches do, only
without the religion.
- "From Particles to People" - TAM 2012 -
but also interesting in that woo-woo ideas now have no physical basis
because of physics because they are at person size scale where physics is
now a closed system with no unknown mechanisms.
Sean Carroll - The
Particle at the End of the Universe
2013 - Human scale particle Physics is closed, but cosmological particle
physics is still very much in the learning phase.
is not a Good Theory (Sean Carroll)
- 2013 - interesting
in that predictions based on using God are falsefied by experimental
observations. For example if the Solar System was made to allow for
man then the rest of the Milky Galaxy would have no purpose, or if the
Galaxy was made just for man then all the other galaxies would have no
purpose, plus a number of similar arguments.
Hijacking Catastrophe: 9/11, Fear & the Selling of American Empire -
an excellent account of what went on.
Constructing Public Opinion: How
Politicians and the Media Misrepresent the Public
Church and the Age of Discovery - Age of Discovery
doctrine - Romanus
Pontifex 1455 -
encouraging the seizure of the lands of Saracen Turks and pagans, it
repeated the earlier bull's permission for the enslavement
of such peoples.
The bull's primary purpose was to forbid other Christian nations from
infringing the King of Portugal's rights of trade and colonization in
Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark by Carl
Sagan, ( @Amazon , Wiki
Hardcover: Random House; Later Printing
edition January 1, 1995
Paperback: Ballantine Books, February 25, 1997 ISBN-13:
Carl Sagan (Wiki
Carl) "(November 9, 1934 – December 20, 1996) was an American astronomer
, author, and highly successful
and other natural sciences
. He pioneered exobiology
and promoted the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI)
This is the first book that's easy to read and makes a logical case for
atheism that I found.
Wiki: "He is world-famous for writing popular science books and for co-writing
and presenting the award-winning 1980 television series Cosmos: A Personal Voyage,
which has been seen by more than 500 million people in over 60
to accompany the program was also published. He also wrote the novel Contact,
the basis for the 1997 film of the same name. One of the last
books he wrote was Pale Blue Dot. During his
lifetime, Sagan published more than 600 scientific papers and popular
articles and was author, co-author, or editor of more than 20 books.
In his works, he frequently advocated skeptical inquiry, secular humanism, and the scientific method."
May 27, 1996 on Charlie Rose Show -
, We live in an age based on science and technology with
formidable technological powers. ... There's no more than a
handful of members of congress with any background in science at all.
The Republican congress has just abolished it's own Office of
Technology Assessment. ... CR: What's the danger of all
There's two kinds of danger, 1) One is what I just talked about.
We've arranged this society based on science and technology in which
nobody understands anything about science and technology. And
this combustible mixture of ignorance and power are sooner or later is
going to blow up in our faces. . . . 2) And the second reason
that I'm worried about this is that science is more than a body of
knowledge, it's a way of thinking. A way of skeptically
interrogating the universe, with a fine understanding of human
fallibility. If we are not able to ask skeptical questions, to
interrogate those who tell us that something is true, to be skeptical
of those in authority, then we're up for grabs for the next charlatan,
political or religious, who comes along.
CR: There are millions of people that understand that science does not
prove religion because religion is faith based and therefore you
should not deny the value of it because it is faith based and not
Let's look a little more deeply into that. What is faith, it's
belief in the absence of evidence. I don't propose to tell
anybody what to believe, but for me believing when there's no
compelling evidence is a mistake. The idea is to withhold belief
until there's compelling evidence. .... Where religion gets into
trouble is in those cases where it pretends to know something about
science. The science in the Bible for example was acquired from
the Jews by the Babylonians during the Babylon captivity of 600
BC. That was the best science on the planet then, but we've
learned something since then. Roman Catholicism, reformed
Judaism, most of the mainstream Protestant denominations have no
difficulty with the idea that humans have evolved from other
creatures, that the Earth is 4.6 billion years old, the big
bang. They don't have any trouble with that. The trouble
comes with people who are biblical literalistists who believe that the
bible is dictated by the creator of the universe to an unerring
stenographer and has no metaphor or allegory in it. ...
CR: You seem to say it's growing, this pseudo science. ...
CS: The problem is that today the technology has reached formidable,
maybe even awesome, proportions and so the dangers of thinking this
way are larger. Not that this is a new kind of thing.
God Delusion by Richard Dawkins (his
web page) ( @Amazon ,WiKi
Paperback: Mariner Books; Reprint edition (January 16, 2008) ISBN-13:
Richard sets out to make a case for atheism in this book but does not
include the arguments for Evolution here. By using evolution
Richard explains the development of complex life forms.
This book was very well received, prompting two books written to try and
refute Richard's arguments, they are:
God is No Delusion: A Refutation of
Richard Dawkins by Thomas Crean (Paperback - Oct 31, 2007)
The Dawkins Delusion?: Atheist Fundamentalism and the Denial of the
Divine by Alister E. McGrath and Joanna Collicutt Mcgrath (Hardcover -
Jun 8, 2007)
There is an hour and 10 minute video
where Dawkins and McGrath "debate" the issues, but in many cases
McGrath will not answer Richard's questions.
" And I thought and thought and
thought. But I just didn't have enough to go on, so I didn't
really come to any resolution. I was extremely doubtful about
the idea of god, but I just didn't know enough about anything to have
a good working model of any other explanation for, well lift, the
universe, and everything to put in its place. But I kept at it,
and I kept reading and I kept thinking. Sometime around my early
thirties I stumbled upon Evolutionary biology, particularly in the
form of Richard Dawking's books The Selfish Game and then The
Blind Watchmaker, and suddenly (on, I think the second reading of The
Selfish Gene) it all fell into place. It was a concept of such
stunning simplicity, but it gave rise, neutrally, to all of the
infinite and baffling complexity of life. The awe it inspired in
me made the awe that people talk about in respect of religious
experience seem, frankly, silly beside it. I'd take the awe of
understanding, over the awe of ignorance any day." Douglas Adams
Six Numbered Points: (pg 157, 158)
- One of the greatest challenges to the human intellect, over the
centuries, has been to explain how the complex, improbable
appearance of the design in the universe arises.
- The natural temptation is to attribute the appearance of design to
actual design itself. In the case of a man-made artifact such
as a watch, the designer really was an intelligent engineer.
It is tempting to apply the same logic to the eye or wing, a spider
or a person.
- The temptation is a false one, because the designer hypothesis
immediately raises the larger problem is who designed the
designer. The whole problem we started out with was the
problem of explaining statistical improbability. It is
obviously no solution to postulate something even more
improbable. We need a "crane", not a "skyhook", for only a
crane can do the business of working up gradually and plausibly from
simplicity to otherwise improbably complexity.
- The most ingenious and powerful crane so far discovered is
Darwinian evolution by natural selection. Darwin and his
successors have shown how living creatures, with their spectacular
statistical improbability and appearance of design, have evolved by
slow, gradual degrees from simple beginnings. We can now
safely say that the illusion of design in living creatures is just
that - an illusion.
- We don't yet have an equivalent crane for physics. Some kind
of multiverse theory could in principle do for physics the same
explanatory work as Darwinism does for biology. This kind of
explanation is superficially less satisfying that the biological
version of Darwinism, because ti makes heavier demands on
luck. But the anthropic principle entitles us to postulate for
more luck than our limited human intuition is comfortable with.
- We should not give up hope of a better crane arising in the
physics, something as powerful as Darwinism is for biology.
But even in the absence of a strongly satisfying crane to match the
biological one, the relatively weak cranes we have at present are,
when abetted by the anthropic principle, self-evidently better than
the self-defeating skyhook hypothesis of an intelligent designer.
"Religion has actually convinced people that there's an invisible man -
living in the sky - who watches everything you do, every minute of every
day. And the invisible man has a special list of ten things, he
has not want you to do. And if you do any of these ten things, he
has a special place, full of fire and smoke and burning and torture and
anguish, where he will send you to live and suffer and burn and choke
and scream and cry forever and ever 'til the end of time . . . But
He lover you!" ... George Carlin (pg 279)
"Fundamentalist religion is hell-bent on ruining the scientific
education of countless thousands of innocent, well-meaning, eager young
minds. Non-fundamentalist, 'sensible' religion may not be doing
that. But it is making the world safe for fundamentalism by
teaching children, from their earliest years, that unquestioning faith
is a virtue." (pg 286)
"Our Western politicians avoid mentioning the R word (religion), and
instead characterize their battle as a war against 'terror', as though
terror were a kind of spirit or force, with a will and a mind of it's
own. Or they characterize terrorists as motivated by pure
'evil'. But they are not motivated by evil. However
misguided we may think them, they are motivated, like the Christian
murders of abortion doctors, by what they perceive to be righteousness,
faithfully pursuing what their religion tells them. They are not
psychotic, they are religious idealists who, by their own lights, are
rational. They perceive their acts to be good, not because of some
warped personal idiosyncrasy, and not because they have been possessed
by Satan, but because they have been brought up, from the cradle, to
have total and unquestioning faith." (pg 304)
premier organization laboring for the civil liberties of Atheists, and
the total, absolute separation of government and religion."
American Humanist Association
- "Humanism is a progressive philosophy of life that, without theism and
other supernatural beliefs, affirms our ability and responsibility to
lead ethical lives of personal fulfillment that aspire to the greater
good of humanity."
The Brights' Net
- "Persons who
have a naturalistic worldview should be accepted as fellow citizens and
full participants in the cultural and political landscape, and not be
culturally stifled or civically marginalized due to society’s extensive
Council for Secular Humanism
- "...advocate and defend a nonreligious lifestance rooted in science,
naturalistic philosophy, and humanist ethics and to serve and support
adherents of that lifestance."
Freedom From Religion Foundation
"...an educational group working for the separation of state and
Institute for Humanist Studies
- "...we view humanism as having the moral imperative to extend the
circle of justice, caring and concern to all. "
James Randi Educational Foundation
"...to promote critical thinking by reaching out to the public and media
with reliable information about paranormal and supernatural ideas so
widespread in our society today. "
Secular Coalition for America
"...purpose is to amplify the diverse and growing voice of the
non-theistic community in the United States."
Secular Student Alliance
"...purpose is to educate high school and college students around the
country about the value of scientific reason and the intellectual basis
of secularism in its atheistic and humanistic manifestations."
- "...is a
scientific and educational organization of scholars, scientists,
historians, magicians, professors and teachers, and anyone curious about
controversial ideas, extraordinary claims, revolutionary ideas, and the
promotion of science."
for Humanistic Judaism
"Humanistic Judaism offers a nontheistic
alternative in contemporary Jewish life."
British Humanist Association
"...exists to promote Humanism and support and represent
people who seek to live good lives without religious or
International Humanist and Ethical Union
- "...the sole world umbrella organization embracing Humanist, atheist,
laique, ethical cultural, freethought
and similar organizations world-wide."
National Secular Society
"...the leading campaigning organisation defending the rights
of non-believers from the demands of religious power-seekers."
- "...magazine of the Rationalist
, promoting reason, debate and free thought since
South Place Ethical Society
"...the study and dissemination of ethical principles based on humanism
and freethought, the cultivation of a rational and humane way of life,
and the advancement of research and education in all relevant fields."
- "To promote the
separation of religion from public policy and foster the development of
reason, compassion and critical thinking for all Canadians through
secular education and community support."
organization for the Humanist societies of Australia
of Australian Humanist Societies
New Zealand Skeptics
- "...are all
interested in examining what objective scientific support there is for
claims of such things as psychic abilities, alternative health
practices, creationism and other areas where science, pseudo-science and
shonky science interact."
- "It aims
at representing the rationalist view where public opinion is formed
and making the voice of reason heard and considered, where decisions
are taken which will shape our future."
Apostates of Islam
denounce Islam as a false doctrine of hate and terror."
The Dr. Homa Darabi Foundation
promote the Rights of women and children as defined by the Universal
Declaration of the United Nations
"No other cause is responsible for more deaths than Islam."
Center for Inquiry
mission of the Center for Inquiry is to foster a secular society based
on science, reason, freedom of inquiry, and humanist values."
Offended!' - Richard Dawkins @ UC Berkeley
The Greatest Show on Earth:
The Evidence for Evolution by Richard Dawkins ( @Amazon )
hardcover 2009 ISBN 978-1-4165-9478-9
This book was written to present the evidence for evolution but is a
great book for learning about evolution. It's truly an amazing
On pg 24 is the Hairpin Thought Experiment. The connection between
any living thing can be traced by going back (de-evolution) in time to
some ancestor, then making a hairpin turn, and then going forward in
time (evolution). Note that there is not a horizontal connection
between current animals.
Tree of Life
On pg 329 is a small image of the David M.
Hillis, Derrick Zwickl, and Robin Gutell, University of Texas Tree
showing the evolutionary family connections of animals,
plants, Fungi, Protists, Bacteria & Archaea (3,000 species less than
1% of all species shown). Based on RNA genetic coding. The
Just under ANIMALS is a "You are here" for humans. Note if in
Acrobat Page Scaling you select "Tile All Pages" then 35 sheets will be
printed which when assembled will make a single sheet about 5 feet on a
side allowing you to read the names on the outside edge.
- has a linear version of the Tree of Life
alphabetical with common names
for example: animals - Chordata (animal
phylum) - Vertebrates - Mammals & kin - Mammals - Placental
mammals - Primates - Homo sapiens
Darwin Never Knew
- Dec 2009 Transcript is on line, DVD for sale. Has info on Chimp
jaw muscle size vs. human jaw muscle size and it's effect on brain
cavity size. (that may be the difference between chimps and humans)
Map of Life
- a world map
based on Google Maps that shows where different animals are
The Blind Watchmaker: Why the Evidence of Evolution
Reveals a Universe without Design by Richard Dawkins ( @Amazon )
This book was
written to present definitive refutations of the arguments of
creationists. But it also has a chapter about bats
and has a lot about evolution.
Note the title is based on the work of William Paley (see above
Paley, Dawkins and myself have a great appreaction of the spendor
of life on earth. It's just that scientific knowledge was
primitive in Paley's time and he got it all wrong.
without God: What the Least Religious Nations Can Tell Us About
Contentment by Phil Zuckerman ( @Amazon )
Hardcover: NYU Press (October 1, 2008)
Associate Professor of Sociology at Pitzer
Phil spent a year living in Denmark and interviewing people there.
It is the country that has the least theism (most atheist). It's
also a country that is in the top ten countries for lowest homicide,
lowest infant mortality, lowest rape, highest longevity, most contented
population, i.e. a very good place to live. The point Phil was
setting out to make was that lacking God a society will get along just
fine. But I think he has made the point that when the leaders of a
country believe in God they will make much poorer decisions than a more
rational person so "God Fearing" countries are much worse off.
The End of Faith: Religion,
Terror, and the Future of Reason by Sam Harris ( @Amazon )
Sam started this book on the day after 9/11
and after hearing an audio book version it's clear he very concerned about
how the world can survive if religions continue as they are. He
makes a case that the Holocaust was caused by Christianity. The
Vatican maintained the "blood libel" story as late as 1914. The
church opened it's genological records to the German Nazis so they could
find the Jews. Not a single German Catholic has ever been
excommunicated, even to this date.
Landscape: How Science Can Determine Human Values
by Sam Harris
His idea is that morality is related to
maximizing happiness and minimizing suffering of conscious creatures
which includes humans and a few of the great apes.
|9 Sep 2011: a message sent to
I have all your books in my bookcase along with others by Dawkins,
Dent, Hitchens, etc. and fully get what you are saying. BUT
. . .
I think you have missed the larger picture. The KEY reason
for the attacks on 9/11 is the same as the reason for "Insurgents"
and "freedom fighters". When you are attacked by a superior
adversary you fight back in any way you can.
Imagine that the U.S. did not have a massive army and we were
invaded by a country that had a far superior military. The
invaders did not respect the popular and majority atheist
concept. There were soldiers with loaded guns breaking down
doors and every day killing people called collateral damage.
Imaging this had been going on for decades and the same super
power that was invading our country was also invading Denmark and
other atheist countries.
If you, as an atheist, had the chance would you consider fighting
back by flying one of their airliners into one of their buildings?
Paperback: Vintage Books, Jan 2008,
Sam has written the book as a letter to a Christian. He uses the
technique of giving an example in another religion and then pointing out
that the same argument applies to Christianity.
"The same Gallup poll revealed that 53 percent of Americans are actually
." (pg x)
Among developed nations, America stands
alone in these convictions. Our country now appears, as at no
other time in her history, like a lumbering, bellicose, dim-witted
giant. Anyone who cares about the fate of civilization would do
well to recognize that the combination of great power and great
stupidity is simply terrifying, even to one's friends."
(pg xi) (BC: added larger font and bold)
Countries where religion is almost non existent are: Norway, Iceland,
Australia, Canada, Sweden, Switzerland, Belgium, Japan, the Netherlands,
Denmark and the United Kingdom (pg 43).
"In 2005, a survey was conducted in thirty-four countries (BC:
there are 206 in the world) measuring the percentage of adults who
accept evolution. The United States ranked thirty-third, just
above Turkey." (pg 70).
Religion is the basis of most conflict in the world (pg 81).
Palestine: Jews vs. Muslims
Balkans: Orthodox Serbs vs. Catholic Croatians; Orthodox Serbs vs.
Bosnian & Albanian Muslims
Northern Ireland: Protestants vs. Catholics
Kashmir: Muslims vs. Hindus
Sudan: Muslims vs. Christians & animists
Nigeria: Muslims vs. Christians
Ethiopia and Eritrea: Muslims vs. Christians
Ivory Coast: Muslims vs. Christians
Sri Lanka: Sinhalese Buddhists vs. Tamil Hindus
Philippines: Muslims vs. Christians
Iran and Iraq: Shiite vs. Sunni Muslims
the Caucasus: Orthodox Russians vs. Chechen Muslims; Muslim Azerbaijanis
vs. Catholic and Orthodox Armenians
"The idea that Islam is a "peaceful religion hijacked by extremists" is
a fantasy, and it is now a particularly dangerous fantasy for Muslims to
indulge." (pg 85)
Harris, The View from the End of the World
, SALT talk at Google
(1:22:32) Longnow.org - explains the problems of religious moderation
"We have a choice between conversation or violence. Faith is a
conversation stopper." To make religious war unthinkable, like
slavery and cannibalism, we have to undermine the dogma of faith.
Conversation with Sam Harris
(1:29:52)- The goal is to spread
secular thinking and scientific knowledge in society. (after "End of
Faith" was published)
God Is Not
Great: How Religion Poisons Everything by Christopher
Hitchens ( @Amazon )
Hardcover: Hachette Book Group (2008)
"Hitchens contends that organized religion is "violent, irrational,
intolerant, allied to racism
invested in ignorance
and hostile to free
, contemptuous of women and coercive
toward children", and that accordingly
it "ought to have a great deal on its conscience." Hitchens supports his
position with a mixture of personal stories, documented historical
anecdotes and critical analysis of religious texts. His commentary
focuses mainly on the Abrahamic religions
although he also touches on other religions such as Hinduism
Hitchens points out the dangers of religion ("ethic cleansing") and
shows many flaws in the various versions of the bible. He makes
the case that the bible was written by humans in the middle east and
nowhere in it is there a mention of other parts of the world like
Australia. Hitchens is harder to read than some of the other
writers because he uses a vocabulary larger than mine.
Chapter 15 "Religion as an Original Sin" (pg 205) starts :
"There are, indeed, several ways in which religion is not just amoral,
but positively immoral. And these faults and crimes are not in the
behavior of its adherents (which can sometimes be exemplary) but in its
original precepts. These include:
- Presenting a false picture of the world to the innocent and the
- The doctrine of blood sacrifice
- The doctrine of atonement
- The doctrine of eternal reward and/or punishment
- The impossible of impossible tasks and rules."
The rest of chapter 15 develops the last four points, the first being
already covered in prior chapters.
page 239: "Four days after his election (Feb 1939) by the College
of Cardinals, His Holiness (Pope Pius XII) composed the following letter
To the Illustrious Herr Adolf Hitler,
Fuhrer and Chancellor of the German Reich! Here at the beginning
of Our Pontificate We wish to assure you that We remain devoted to the
spiritual welfare of the German people entrusted to y our
leadership.... During the many years We spent in Germany, We did all
in Our power to establish harmonious relations between Church and
State. Now that the responsibilities of Our pastoral function
have increased Our opportunities, how much more ardently do We pray to
reach that goal. May the prosperity of the German people and
their progress in every domain come, with God's help, to fruition!"
page 251: "The connection between religion, racism, and totalitarianism
is also to be found in the other most hateful dictatorship of the
twentieth century: the vile system of apartheid in South Africa."
Christopher Hitchens Challenge
|"First, name me an ethical
statement made or an action performed by a believer that could
not have been made or performed by a non-believer....
Second, think of a wicked statement made, or an evil action
performed, precisely because of religious faith?"
The first is very difficult and the second it very easy.
|“The cure for poverty has a name,
in fact. It’s called the empowerment of women. If you give
women some control over the rate at which they reproduce, if you
give them some say, take them off the animal cycle of
reproduction to which nature and some religious doctrine
condemns them, and then if you throw in a handful of seeds, the
floor of everything in that village, not just poverty, but
health and education, will increase. Try it in Bangladesh and
Bolivia, it works all the time. Name me one religion that stands
for that, or ever has.”
or Cure? Religious Belief in the Modern World
|What can be asserted without evidence can also be
dismissed without evidence.
Christopher Hitchens / Bill Maher
Breaking the Spell by
Daniel C. Dennett ( @Amazon )
Dennet is making the case that religion
needs to be studied (reverse engineered) scientifically. He also
calls himself a "Bright" rather than use the term atheist. It's
similar to people calling themselves "Gay".
The Ethical Brain by Michael S. Gazzaniga ( @Amazon )
Chapter 9 "The Believing Brain" has some
ideas on why people believe in religion.
Denialism: How Irrational Thinking Hinders
Scientific Progress, Harms the Planet, and Threatens Our Lives
by Michael Specter
) TED Talks - Michael Specter: The danger of science denial
Michael Specter's home page
Authors@Google: Michael Specter
Vaccination, organic food, generically engineered food
This book is about how people deny the truth of the scientific method by
adopting beliefs without any proof.
In 1025 Avicenna (Wiki
not only was the father of modern medicine but inductive logic (replaced
the logic of Aristotle) and the basis of the scientific method.
Francis Bacon developed the Baconian Method (Wiki
around 1265 which was a step in the History of scientific method (Wiki
In 1961 Arthur C. Clarke wrote "any sufficiently advanced technology is
indistinguishable form magic".
Many people confuse correlation with cause and effect.
Some gene sequencing companies that have an internet business. They
are not doing a complete sequence but rather key hereditary, disease and
medicine parts. Michael has his genes done by all three of them.
the blank slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature
by Steven Pinker ( @Amazon
Goes into why we are not born with a "blank slate" and why many cling to
this outmoded idea along with the noble savage.
or Treatment: The undeniable Facts about Alternative Medicine
by Simon Singh & Edzrd Ernst MD ( @Amazon
Uses the scientific method to expose Acupuncture, Homeopathy, Chiropractic
and Herbal medicine as non functional.
Good history about blood letting (killed George Washington) and Florence
Nightingale (use of statistics) (Wiki
Also a section "Why do smart people believe odd things?"
The Post American World
Zakaria 2009 paperback ISBN 978-0-393-33480-7 @Amazon
The 2009 paperback has a new preface that
talks about the Obama administration. Fareed has what appears to
be a good overview of what it takes for a country to be The old paradime
was capital and labor, the new one is ideas and energy.
The problem with America is a dysfunctional political system, i.e. it
can not accomplish much in a reasonable time, China can accomplish a lot
in a short time, but is very poor (in terms of GDP/person).
Richard P. Feynman
Nobel winner in Physics, bongo player,
safe cracker, very intelligent, atheist, etc.
The Quest for Tannu Tuva - Part
1 , Part 2
, Part 3
, Part 4
Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman! (Adventures of
a Curious Character) ( @Amazon )
This was my first Feynman book and the one
I like the best. It covers safe cracking, picking up women at bars
and other interesting stories.
Pleasure of Finding Things Out: The Best Short Works of Richard P.
By the time he was 12 Richard knew he was
Chapter 13 "The Relation of Science and
What Do You Care What Other People Think?: Further
Adventures of a Curious Character by Richard P. Feynman ( @Amazon )
Has a lot of info on his investigation of
the Space Shuttle Challenger problems (not just the O-rings).
The Character of Physical Law
Lectures, 1964) @Amazon
(about Richard P. Feynman)
TED Talk: Richard
Physics is fun to imagine
Lectures on Physical Law - The first "Law of Gravation" (and
second " Physics and Math" lectures) are highley recomended for anyone,
even if you think you know about gravity!
also wrote "Stiff" about cadavers.
She's a very interesting woman!
Bonk: The Curious
Coupling of Science and Sex by Mary Roach ( @Amazon )
Mary has a very interesting curiosity. She also authored Stiff about
by Mary Roach
TED Talk: Mary Roach: 10 things you didn't know about orgasm
Charles P. Pierce
Idiot America: How Stupidity Became
a Virtue in the Land of the Free @Amazon
This is a very interesting book in that it
has a lot of information about Donnely, the author of Atlantis which may
be the first pseudo-science idea made from whole cloth.
Muslim Mafia: Inside the Secret
Underworld That's Conspiring to Islamize America
by P.D. Gaubatz
& P. Sperry ( @Amazon
) - makes the case that the
Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR
is a Muslim Terriost organization.
Road to Serfdom
, by F.A. Hayek - when Socialism (collectivism,
central planning) is implemented the form of government needs to be
totalitarian and things like art need to be suppressed so that there is no
Regimes and Inflation: History, Economic and Political Relationships
by Peter Bernholz - chpater 5.2 Hyperinflation are Caused by
Government Budget Deficits" p71 " The figures demonstrate clearly that
deficits amounting to 40 per cent or more of expenditures cannot be
Found this book after reading a paper
by Hayman Advisors
Kyle Bass is managing director - MSNBC talk by
Tues. Aug. 17 2010 | 9:01 AM ET
- near zero
interest rates will continue until there's a restructuring of the economy
of Duty: Lyndon Johnson, Robert McNamara, The Joint Chief of Staff, and
the Lies That Led To Vietnam
by H.R. McMaster - Kennedy installed
McNamara to cut off the joint chiefs. Johnson kept McNamara as his
chief military adviser and ignored the joint chief. But the joint
chief could not come to a consensus because of infighting. The
administration lied to the public and congress and had no strategic
objectives other than LBJ's idea of "killing more VC". It makes you
wonder what we are doing with our military today on foreign soil, i.e.
what's our strategic objective and how's it being met? If you know please tell me
These were ordered after seeing the movie "The Girl with Dragon TatThe
Girl with Dragon Tattoo
by Stieg Larsson ( @Amazon
The Girl Who
Played with Fire
by Stieg Larsson ( @Amazon
The Girl Who
Kicked the Hornets Nest
by Stieg Larsson ( @Amazon
The Hydrogen Economy
Although the first book could be read by
itself, these are really a single story that is open ended allowing for
a number of follow on books. It's too bad that Stieg died after
the third book came out. There's a relationship to the book Society
apparent in the behavior of the key characters.
by Jeremy Rifkin
The Empathic Civilization: The Race to Global
Consciousness in a World in Crisis
Rifkin seems to be a doomsayer. He
spends 80% of the book talking about energy and it's equivalents.
When mentioning methods of electric generation he overlooks
hydroelectric. In the section about "hydrogen energy" he never
does any math to show where the hydrogen is coming from and in some
cases seems to be saying first use electrolysis to split water into
hydrogen and oxygen, then later burn that hydrogen in a fuel cell to
make electricity. In the fuel cell discussion he says hydrocarbon
fuels are not practical for fuel cells, yet the Army competition for a
replacement for the BA-5590 battery was won by a menthol fuel cell.
In the chapter "The Islamist Wild Card" he has an interesting
description of the differences between Christian and Islamic
religions. Making the case that Islamic religions are tied into
the political system and if they are elected in a democratic political
system they will dismantle the democracy in put into force Sherira law
and what amounts to a totalitarian system, like in Saudi Arabia ("My
father rode a camel, I drive a car, my son rides a jet airplane - his
son will ride a camel"). "In the Islamic world, however, it is not
the people who give government its legitimacy, but God." (p119) In
1991 Algeria came close to electing the Islamic Salvation Front (FIS)
into power which would have resulted restructuring Algeria along Islamic
lines, religious courts replaced by civil courts, Islamic dress codes,
cultural expression restricted to Islamic practices. Rifkin says
that Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Libya, Sudan and Somalia are in the bottom 8
regimes on the list of countries in terms of economic
by: Jeremy Rifkin
from pages 449 - 450:
Blackwater: The rise of
the world's most powerful mercenary army
- "People in Survival societies
emphasize economic and physical security. Life is organized in
a strict authoritarian chain of command stretching from
unconditional male authority over spouse and children, to
unconditional state authority over all its subjects, to unswerving
devotion to God's commands on high.
- Traditional societies
imperiled by economic hardship and insecurities, tend to be
intolerant of foreigners, ethnic minorities, and gays and staunch
supporters of male superiority. Populations are highly
religious and nationalistic, believe in the firm hand of state
authority, emphasize conformity, and exhibit a low level of
individual self-expression. . . .More children means more hands for
work and assures greater group survival. Fostering the
interests of the family is essential to assure the survival of each
individual family member. Personal self-expression that might
be at odds with family survival is dealt with harshly. In
these societies with their emphasis on family survival, it's not
surprising that abortion, homosexuality, and divorce are
unacceptable. (See Blackwater)
- In secular-rationalist societies
engaged in the takeoff stage of industrial life, hierarchies are
reconfigured away from God's created order to giant corporate and
government bureaucracies. The great Chain of Being is replaced
with the corporate chain of command. Individual accumulation
of wealth frees people from the vicissitudes of nature, providing
some degree of economic security. In the process, the
individual as a distinct self-possessed being, begins to emerge from
the communal haze but is still beholden to hierarchical
institutional arrangements. Nonetheless, more developed
self-expression fosters some advance in empathic consciousness.
- Knowledge-based societies,
with high levels of individual and self-expression, exhibit the
highest levels of empathic extension. Self-hood is conductive
to more trust and openness to others and greater tolerance of those
who are different. If one feels secure in hos own being and
more free to control his own fate, the chances are he will be less
fearful of others and less likely to associate anyone outside of his
immediate network of relatives as a threat. In fact, the
emancipation from tight communal bonds and the development of weaker
but more extended associational ties exposes the individual to a
much wider network of diverse people, which in turn, both
strengthens one's sense of trust and openness and provides the
context for a more extended empathic consciousness."
by Jeremy Scahill ( @Amazon
I expected this to be a book about mercenaries, but it turns out to be
about religion, politics and war. Eric Prince, CEO of Blackwater (Wiki
) and his
immediate family are both fundamentalist Christians as are many of the
politicians involved in hiring the Blackwater mercenaries. This is
the military industrial complex that Eisenhower warned about, but it
includes religion in a big way. Chapter 10: "The parents of one
Blackwater contractor killed in Iraq said it was their son's deep sense
of patriotism and his abiding Christian faith that led him to work in
Iraq." (note 1: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel April 24, 2005). After
thinking about what this book has to say I came to this conclusion:
|Brooke Clarke Sep 2010:
People who have faith in a superior being should not be allowed
to be leaders in government, business, etc.
(2003 John le Carre (Wiki)wrote
United States of America Has Gone Mad and in that he says:
"The religious cant that will
send American troops into battle is perhaps the most sickening
aspect of this surreal war-to-be. Bush has an arm-lock on God.
And God has very particular political opinions. God appointed
America to save the world in any way that suits America. God
appointed Israel to be the nexus of America's Middle Eastern
policy, and anyone who wants to mess with that idea is a)
anti-Semitic, b) anti-American, c) with the enemy, and d) a
God also has
pretty scary connections. In America, where all men are equal in
His sight, if not in one another, the Bush family numbers one
President, one ex-President, one ex-head of the CIA, the
Governor of Florida and the ex-Governor of Texas.
Care for a few
But none of
these trifling associations affects the integrity of God's
W. Bush, 1978-84: senior executive, Arbusto Energy/Bush
Exploration, an oil company; 1986-90: senior executive of
the Harken oil company.
Cheney, 1995-2000: chief executive of the Halliburton oil
United States of America Has Gone Mad
by John le Carré Published on
Wednesday, January 15, 2003 by the Times/UK
Has to do with the religious beliefs of heads of state.
"The religious cant that will send American troops into battle is
perhaps the most sickening aspect of this surreal war-to-be. Bush has an
arm-lock on God. And God has very particular political opinions. God
appointed America to save the world in any way that suits America."
and his Demons
, Michael Parenti
Catalogs much of the bad things done in
the name of religion.
What the Dog
Saw: And Other Adventures
- Malcolm Gladwell
The title is about a guy called the dog
wisperer, but there are other gems
The Story of Success
- Malcolm Gladwell
The key example is how professional
soccer players have birthdays close to Jan 1.
A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything (P.S.)
This is caused by how they classify players in grade school.
- Steven D. Levitt & S.J. Dubner
How Roe vs. Wade 1973 (Wiki
allowed for abortions, which in 1990 resulted in fewer gang members
lowering the crime rate.
Determining that Sumo wrestlers cheat in certain matches
Why do drug dealers still live with their moms - TED
- a continuation of the above book but
now with a lot of illustrations.
The theme of both this book and the
first one is "People Respond to Incentives".
1. How is a Street Prostitute Like a Department-store Santa?
2. Why Should Suicide Bombers buy Life Insurance?
3. Unbelievable Stories about Apathy and Altruism
4.The fix is in - and it's cheap and simple
5. What do Al Gore and Mount Pinatubo have in common?
The Men Who Stare at Goats
Adventures with Extremists
Read book after watching a movie by the
First Earth Battalion, Operation Manual (Wiki
- " was the name proposed by Lieutenant Colonel Jim Channon, a U.S.
soldier who had served in Vietnam, for his idea of a new military to
be organized along New Age lines."
Frequencies - this is a woo-woo concept
Silent subliminal presentation system, Oct 27, 1992
, Jon Ronson
People Believe Weird Things
Jon spent some time with a number of
extremists and themes that were common to some were:
New World Order
(Wiki) - a
secretive power elite with a globalist agenda is conspiring to
eventually rule the world through an authoritarian world government —
which replaces sovereign nation-states
- a purported conspiratorial organization which acts as a shadowy
"power behind the throne", allegedly controlling world affairs through
present day governments
usually as a modern incarnation or continuation of the Bavarian
- Because of its secrecy and refusal to issue news releases, the
Bilderberg group is frequently accused of political conspiracies
International Jewish Conspiracy
ZOG - Zionist Occupied Government
which holds that Jews
control a given country, while the formal government is a puppet
, Michael Shermer
"A Wise man proportions his belief to he
evidence" Hume's Maxim
& Survival: The scientific basis for the healing power of
, Dean Ornish -
Although he mentions God there are some
gems in this book such as discovering Rachel Naomi Remen (who's ideas
show up in the book) and expressing feelings rather than thoughts.
Table Wisdom: Stories That Heal
A number of the people referenced in the
last chapter are into the woo-woo
by Rachel Naomi Remen with the
forward by Dean Ornish. (on order)
The Great Controversy
A must see video by Rachel is the
introductory lecture on
The Art of Medicine
to a class of medical students at UCSF.
by E.G. White ISBN
Sex at Dawn: The Prehistoric Origins of Modern
This was given to me by a young woman
who knocked on my door
. The chapter on
William Miller (1782-1849) is interesting. He calculated that on
Oct. 22, 1844 there would be a reckoning. This was done some
years prior to that date. A number of religious groups formed
based on the idea like Adventist, Millerite and Calvinist. But
on the day of the "Great Disappointment" when nothing happened there
was a problem for them. One outcome was the new religion called
Seventh Day Adventist. The "Closed Door" idea is that on that
date everyone's fate was determined.
by Christopher Ryan & Cacilda Jethá (2010)
Shoots down the idea that women are
either retail whores or if married wholesale whores. Humans are
The methods used include citing books written by authors who are
considered experts and showing what they did wrong as well a citing
authors who have valid new ideas. But there's no warning up
front, so as you read it's not clear which road you're traveling.
Makes the case (using many research
results) that the early hunter gather society (where people did not
store food) was maybe one of the best times to be alive. It took
little effort to get enough food and the diet was much better balanced
than it was after agriculture came about. Life span was about the same
as now. (Note that average age numbers include infant mortality
and so may appear low for this time period, but it looks like they
lives as long as we do now).
These people were nomadic and so had few possessions and there was no
reason for fighting or war (which came after agriculture).
The sex was multi male - multi female (in line with our fellow great
ape the bonobo). This explains a number of what otherwise seem
to be mysteries.
The movie The Ugly Truth (IMDB
may be based on some of this, need to pay more attention next time I
preferences in humans, C. Wedekind, T. Seebeck, F. Bettens
& A. Paepke, Proceedings: Biological Seiences, V260, No. 1359
(Jun 22, 1995).
"This difference in odor assessment
was reversed when the women rating the odors were taking oral
The Moral Animal: Why We Are, the Way We Are: The
New Science of Evolutionary Psychology
(1995) by Robert
This was an early attempt at
evolutionary psychology and may be the source of the all women are
whores idea. It's not a pretty picture of men or women.
by Geoffrey F. Miller (2000)
Sex, Evolution, and Consumer Behavior
It turns out that Darwin (see
) described "natural selection" in his book On theOrigin of the Species by means of natural
and it was accepted fairly soon after publication,
but, in his Decent of Man, and Selection in
Relation to Sex
where he described "sexual selection" the
scientific community did not accept his idea until around 1985.
The "sexual selection" theory was to explain things like a pea cock's
tail feathers that contradict "natural selection" since they go
Miller is using sexual selection as a possible way to explain why
humans have such large brains and bonobos and chimps don't. But
in this process he starts looking at the idea that the common ancestor
of humans was not monogamous. If that were the case, then
"sexual selection" would be free to work much faster, i.e. on the
timeline of what actually happened. To support his idea Miller
is using body size differences and anthropological records, the same
data as used in Sex At Dawn.
by Geoffrey F. Miller
Uses the "sexual selection" idea
developed in "the Mating Mind" and combines that with the five
personality traits and how they relate to marketing.
The Grand Design
by Stephen Hawking
The Great Derangment
Given gravity everything else in the
universe follows. Uses Richard
as a source for much of the idea.
DVDs (& on line videos) Watched
Atheism Tapes, 2004, 6 episodes
Building an evangelical army of
tomorrow. My guess is that this is very similar to what the
Islamic religious training looks like, it's scarry.
Explore the lives of evangelical
Christians who believe that Armageddon is imminent and that Israel will
be the site of Christ's second coming.
by Julia Sweeney - Wiki
2008 directed by Bill Maher (Wiki: Bill,
Looks at U.S.and European religious beliefs
(not enough time for Asian religions).
The God Who Wasn't There: A
Film Beyond Belief
(2005) written and directed by Brian Flemming.
) ( @Amazon
The movie debunks the Jesus myth.
But for me the really interesting part are the interviews (Wiki
in the special features section.
) written by Carl
Sagen the character Eleanor Arroway is based on Carolyn Porco (Lecture
) ( @Amazon
) Marjoe (Mary
Joseph) Gortner, a pentecostal preacher makes a documentary while in the
process of quitting preaching. ( @Amazon
The Invention of
- the invention of "The invisible man in the sky" and the
"Rules" on the back of two pizza boxes. ( @Amazon
Letting go of God
by Julia Sweeney
funny story of her progression from being
religious to an atheist ( @Amazon
Dexter - Season 4 - John Lithgow (IMDB
plays a serial killer who has a strong belief in God. He played a
similar part in Blowout (IMDB
2010 Craig Venter (Wiki)
unveils "synthetic life" TED
2008 Craig Venter is on the verge of creating synthetic
2005 Craig Venter on DNA and the sea
the end of reading the DNA code and the start of writing the code
On Intelligent Design
- November 5,
2006 in the Watch section at Hayden planetarium.
"The Perimeter of Ignorance"
Neil deGrasse Tyson
Astrophysicalst & Director, Hayden Planetarium
Adapted from Natural History magazine
An analysis and history of intelligent design. YouTube: Neil
Tyson presentation about intelligent design
"But a careful reading of older texts, particularly those concerned with
the universe itself, shows that the authors invoke divinity only when they
reach the boundaries of their understanding."
Examples are: Ptolemy (AD 150) (Wiki), Galileo (1615) Wiki), Isaac Newton
(1687)(Wiki), Huygens (1696)(Wiki), , Pierre-Simon de Laplace
(1799)(Wiki) The perturbation theory that Laplace came up would have been
trivial for Newton if only he had worked the problem.
Then he talks about "Naming Rights". For example:
After W.W.II Particle Physics (Wiki) - look at the names on the Periodic
American email addresses do not end in .us, but all other countries have a
two letter suffix.
British postage stamps don't have a country of origin because they
The names of the constellations were by Greeks and Romans. Right
after 9/11 Bush43 said "Our god is the god who named the stars". Two
thirds of the stars with names have Arabic names. This happened
because Islam in the time frame of 800 to 1100 was a hot bed of science,
navigation, algebra and even today we use Arabic numerals. The
methods and instruments for navigation
developed them. Bagdad was the intellectual center of the
world. It all ended when Hamid al-Ghazah (1058-1111)(Wiki) said that
mathematics is the work of the devil.
In the Stupid Design section he goes into the problems with: the universe,
Earth, Humans i.e. Stupid Design.
The economic future depends on scientific and engineering progress and
when these are stifled by religion that ends.
Of all the Nobel prize winners the number that were Muslim? (answer about
2). How many were Jewish? (answer about 25%).
How many Muslims in the world? (answer about 1 Billion). How many
Jews in the world? (answer about 15 million).
The key question is why do 15% of the members of the National Academy of
Science believe in a supreme being?
The question is not about the 85% who don't.
Intelligence Squared Debates
Debate: The World Would Be
Better Off Without Religion -
For The Motion: Matthew Chapman & A.C. Grayling
Against The Motion: Dinesh D'Souza & Rabbi David Wolpe
Atheist Manifesto: The Case
Against Christianity, Judaism, and Islam
by Michel Onfray ( @Amazon )
put on the shelf, boring.
To Be Read - Watched
To Be Ordered
Misquoting Jesus by Bart D. Ehrman ( @Amazon )
Coming: The Rise of Christian Nationalism by Michelle
Goldberg ( @Amazon )
The End of Days: Fundamentalism and the Struggle
for the Temple Mount by Greshom Gorenberg ( @Amazon )
Freethinkers: A History of American Secularism
by Susan Hacoby ( @Amazon )
Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of
Crowds by Charles Mackay ( @Amazon )
Why I Am Not a Christian and Other Essays on
Religion and Related Subjects by Bertrand Russell ( @Amazon )
God, the Devil, and Darwin: A Critique of
Intelligent Design Theory by Niall Shanks ( @Amazon )
Atheism: The Case Against God by George H.
Smith ( @Amazon ) (Skeptic's Bookshelf)
The Four Major Cults: Christian
Science, Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormonism, Seventh-day Adventism by
Anthony A. Hoekema
Note that these people can be searched on YouTube
My Great Men Idea
When you read books about the great men in history it's common that in
addition to having great ideas they also had very bad ideas. As I
write this the name just below is Charles Darwin who had great ideas
(natural selection, sexual selection) and not so great ideas (racism
& eugenics). The same can be said for many people who's name
is familiar to everyday people on the street.
On topic for this web page are the names of Christopher Hitchens and
Sam Harris. Although I've bought and read all of Sam's books and
in addition read his on line blog, for a number of years I've been
emailing him to complain about his view of Muslims as the root cause of
many of our problems. Recently I've learned that Christopher
Hitchens was part of the Plan for a New American Century (PNAC) group
and has a book A
Long, Short War where he is in agreement with the PNAC
that we should go to war with Iraq in 2003. He had a number of
what we now know were wrong ideas about Iraq, WMDs, etc. But, even
if his beliefs about those things were true, I still don't see how that
justified going to war.
Dying To Win: The Strategic Logic of
Suicide Terrorism (2005) by Robert A. Pape - He makes a good
case that suicide terrorists have a strategic goal of getting an
invading army to withdraw. The invading army is from a democracy
(there is no point in trying to change the mind of a dictator) and the
terrorists have a religion that's different from the invading military.
It's very clear that the religion of the terrorists is a secondary
factor. The primary factor is that they are being invaded.
In the case of the 9/11 attack the invasion factor is about 20 times
stronger than the religion factor.
Douglas Adams: Parrots, the universe and everything
Excellent funny talk about evolution.
Constantine's Sword: The Church and
the Jews -- A History" - both a book (Apr 2001, i.e. pre-9/11)
& a movie (Sep 2008).
He's a former Catholic priest and now writer. The book is about how
the cross got to be a religious symbol. On 28 October 312 it turns
out that a guy called Constantine (Wiki
a battle (Wiki: Battle
of the Milvian Bridge
). Just prior to the battle he had a
religious vision that told him to "delineate the heavenly sign on the
shields of his soldiers" and it looked like the sword (Wiki
they were using at the time, i.e. looks like a cross when held vertically
with the pointed end down. Prior to that time the cross was not a
symbol of Christianity. He became the first Christian emperor of
Rome. Also prior to that time there was no mention of the Jews as
killers of Jesus. So this is a point in history when Christianity
adopts the sword as their symbol (Christian Soldiers) and the tensions
between the Abrahamic religions
After he was a Catholic priest he learned about the pact between the
Vatican and Hitler saying it was OK for Hitler to kill Jews but they would
protect those who became Catholic. But in the case of Edith Stein (Wiki
) that didn't
work out. This Jewish woman living in Poland converted to become a
Catholic nun. She saw what was going on in Poland and wrote a letter
to the Pope expressing her concern that the church was not speaking out
about the pursecution of the Jews (which was delivered but ignored).
She was killed by the Nazis in 1938. The Pope made her a saint, but
neglected to mention her letter which was released around 2007.
There's also some information about Ted
) recruiting Evangelical Christians at the AF Academy
). This resulted in a Congressional investigation
and law suits. Carroll's father was in the Air Force.
In the movie there's video clips of George W. Busch (Wiki
making it clear that he saw the wars he started as religious.
At the beginning of this video the interviewer says "There are a number of
prominent authors who argue that religion is probably more than anything
else the cause of violence in the world. And they point to a lot of
examples and say its time to be done with religion it's just too harmful.
On his web
he mentions that Europe (which is non religious, i.e.
empty churches) has done away with the death penalty and is for
peace. The believers in any of the monotheism depend on a kind of
radical ignorance of what the experience of those other people is.
So that those other people can be denigrated, charactured and
dismissed. The notion that outside the church there is no salvation
is absurd to me. A mainstream problem is that Christianity has
Michael Shermer (Wiki)
Jeremy Rifken (Wiki)
Vilayanur Ramachandran (Wiki)
"Mirror Neurons" were mentioned by Jeremy
Rifken in the Empathic Civilisation talk.
George Carlin (Wiki)
George progressed from just a comic, to a
combined jester and philosopher and finally jester, philosopher and
Each year George refined and expanded his routine, so in my opinion the
newer ones are more interesting.
2008 George Carlin: It's Bad For Ya
2007 George Carlin - Life Is Worth Losing
2006 George Carlin - Jammin' in New York
2005 George Carlin - Doin' It Again
2004 George Carlin - Complaints and Grievances
2003 George Carlin - You Are All Diseased
2003 George Carlin - Back in Town
Penn Jillette (Wiki)
& Teller: Bullshit!
- longest running show on Showtime where
they debunk Bullshit ideas in a way that they will not get sued (like
happened to James Randy when he debunked Uri Geller (Wiki
video blog on
James Randy (Wiki)
Bill Maher (Wiki)
The Four Horsemen
Horsemen Dawkins web page
- I've been watching many hours of
YouTube on my home theather
Richard Dawkins -
Coined the word "Meme".
TED - Proflie
Wall Street Journal - Where
does evolution leave God?
- "We commissioned Karen Armstrong and
Richard Dawkins to respond independently to the question "Where does
evolution leave God?" Neither knew what the other would say. Here are
the results." - Richard's
Daniel Dennett -
Sam Harris -
Has had profound life changing experience which usually is attributed
to religion, but Sam sees it as neurological so is studying that
area. His book The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the
Future of Reason
was started the day after 9/11.
Talks - Profile
Christopher Hitchens - Wiki:
Hitchens - recommends the appendix
of The God Delusion as well as Free Inquiry and Skeptical Inquirer magazines.
I've spent half a dozen years reading about why we attacked Iraq in
2003. All the reasons given be Bush43 were a lie, i.e. there
were not WMDs and no yellow cake and no centrifuge tubes for a
uranium refinery, etc. I then discovered the neo conservative
group Plan for a New American Century (PNAC) and that their members
were in many of the key positions in the Bush43
administration. The next question is why did the PNAC have the
ideas they did.
It turns out that Christopher Hitchens was part of the neocon
movement and was all for the 2003 invasion.
A Long Short War: The Postponed Liberation of Iraq 2003 - a
collection of articles written for Slate where Hitchens is clearly a
This may explain why Sam Harris thinks Muslims are the real problem
rather than U.S. treatment of them.
Her TED reading list:
"1/9: Denialism, by
Michael Specter @specterm.
How fear of science is preventing progress. Powerful. Loved.
2/9: The Art Instinct, by
Denis Dutton (of @aldaily)
Beautiful prose arguing that art is a human universal.
3/9: Connected, by
Nicholas Christakis @connected_book
The shocking proof of how deeply we're affected by our friends'
4/9: The Wisdom of Whores,
How POORLY we spend billions of $ trying to prevent AIDS
5/9: I Am an Emotional Creature,
by Eve Ensler. Embrace your
6/9: Whole Earth Discipline,
by Stewart Brand. Environmentalism reconsidered, for the realities of
a new era. Or: Why nuclear power, GM foods & squatter cities are
7/9: No Small Matter: Science on
the Nanoscale, by George Whitesides. Tiny, lovely things
in image & prose
8/9: This Will Change Everything,
edited by John Brockman @edge.
Short, sharp essays by who's who of TED world. I think one could
safely call this "brain candy."
9/9: Fair Game, by Valerie
Plame Wilson, the 'outed' CIA agent, who'll talk at TED about the need
for nuclear disarmament. I'm fascinated by this woman!"
faith of idiots August 07, 2010
Freedom is my
religion August 02, 2010
A god of life July 26, 2010
The enemy within
July 18, 2010
The Pope needs a
miracle June 27, 2010
No mosque at
Ground Zero June 04, 2010
atheists May 03, 2010
Vote small, think
(Choices) April 24, 2010
What I know about
Islam April 18, 2010
Is Satan a
March 27, 2010
judges of Amsterdam February 05, 2010
Thank God for
Andy Choudary January 14, 2010
atheism November 28, 2009
Wake up, America
October 22, 2009
The arrogance of
clergy October 02, 2009
evil July 23, 2009
Ban the burka June 28, 2009
Children of a
stupid god May 26, 2009
March 24, 2009
Free speech is
sacred March 17, 2009
A word about the
soldiers March 12, 2009
Freedom go to
hell February 13, 2009
Shame on The
Netherlands January 25, 2009
The water of life
(the meaning of religion for some people) December
Godless and free
October 31, 2008
Stop sharia law
in Britain October 06, 2008
Welcome to Saudi
(pulled & reinstated on YouTube) September
Islam's war on
freedom August 31, 2008
Take your god and
shove him August 21, 2008
The tyranny of
museums) August 07, 2008
Islam is not a
victim July 20, 2008
world is a sane world June 27, 2008
is not enough May 23, 2008
curse of faith April 25, 2008
religion of fear March 31, 2008
Appeasing Islam March 08, 2008
Take a cruise,
(Scientology) February 22, 2008
February 10, 2008
the psycho February 02, 2008
O dhimmi Canada January 19, 2008
Hook, line and
(Pat Robinson) January 08, 2008
Baby Jesus December 24, 2007
Pimping for Jesus
(US election) December 18, 2007
Laugh at Sudan
(naming teddy bears) December 03, 2007
Why debate dogma?
November 27, 2007
A word to
(Muslim Council of Britain) November
Jesus gay? November 02, 2007
What's good about
religion? October 23, 2007
demands from Islam ctober 09, 2007
Christians September 25, 2007
Video response to
September 11, 2007
(going to church on Sunday is blasphemy) August
in Europe August 17, 2007
August 03, 2007
does faith deserve respect? July 19,
religion July 10, 2007
What about the
Jews? June 29, 2007
The myth of
Islamophobia June 21, 2007
Origin of the
(Creation Museum) June 13, 2007
June 04, 2007
morals ay 29, 2007
I a racist? May 20, 2007
Why are we
friends with Saudi Arabia? May 14, 2007
States of Jesus May 03, 2007
In Jesus' name
April 25, 2007
in the UK April 17, 2007
certainty April 13, 2007
Happy Easter April 05, 2007
What do I
believe? March 28, 2007
The trouble with
Islam March 16, 2007
have I got against religion? March 04,
America February 18, 2007
Challenge February 08, 2007
Kary Mullis (Wiki)
Kary Mullis won the Nobel Prize in
Chemistry for developing a way to copy a strand of DNA.
TED Talk: Kary
Mullis celebrates the experiment - filmed 2002 posted 2009
the science behind global warming may be flawed (based on the 2002
Bob Hazen (Wiki) -
Early work on making organic chemicals was
based on the idea that it happened at the surface of the Earth where
various gases were mixed and zapped by lightening. I think NASA
generated some organics that way in the 1970s. But Bob's idea is
that it happened deep in the ocean where their are extreamly hot (over a
thousand degrees) water jets that interact with the surrounding stuff in
the ocean and does not boil because of the deepth.
Eric Hoffer (Wiki)
The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature
of Mass Movements
Lawrence Wright (Wiki)
Book: The Looming Tower: Al-Queda and the Road to 9/11
Movie: The Siege
The Elegant Universe: Superstrings,
Hidden Dimensions, and the Quest for the Ultimate Theory
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