Category Archives: Science

Yuval Noah Harari, HOMO DEUS: A Brief History of Tomorrow (2017; 2015 in Israel)

This is, in effect, a sequel to SAPIENS. Top level summary: It opens with a long prologue: now that humanity has largely overcome famine, plague, and war, what next? Three possibilities: immortality, happiness, divinity. However these are predictions; this book … Continue reading

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Yuval Noah Harari, SAPIENS: A Brief History of Humankind (2015)

Yuval Noah Harari, SAPIENS: A Brief History of Humankind (2015) This is a history of the human species in the context of “Big History” – the first page sketches the history of the entire universe as a backdrop – and … Continue reading

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Carl Sagan’s THE DEMON-HAUNTED WORLD: Science As a Candle in the Dark

This is a book I think of as one of my foundational nonfiction books, i.e. a major book of central importance for its discussion of a critical theme. That theme, essentially, is that given the prevalence of pseudo-scientific claims in … Continue reading

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Intuitive Theories about Intuitive Theories

I’m about to read a book (by Andrew Shutlman) about “intuitive theories” and before I do I’m going to write down my take on intuitive theories, since the idea of them has been an occasional theme in these posts, and … Continue reading

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Link and Comments: Scientists Underestimating Climate Change

NYT, Eugene Linden: How Scientists Got Climate Change So Wrong, subtitled, “Few thought it would arrive so quickly. Now we’re facing consequences once viewed as fringe scenarios.” Because, despite the cynicism of the anti-science crowd, scientists as a group are … Continue reading

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Link and Comments: Why Trust Science?

Naomi Oreskes, a professor at Harvard, just published a book, Why Trust Science?, which has gotten a fair amount of coverage in various review and interview venues. Her main point, I gather, is that science isn’t so much about the … Continue reading

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Link and Comments: School Debates and Motivated Reasoning

From last month: NYT, Are School Debate Competitions Bad for Our Political Discourse? subtitled, They can be a good credential for aspiring leaders, but they favor a closed-minded and partisan style of argument. By Jonathan Ellis and Francesca Hovagimian, at … Continue reading

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Arthur C. Clarke, PROFILES OF THE FUTURE (1962..1999)

This is a book first published in 1962, a nonfiction book speculating on potential technological developments and human achievements. The subtitle is “An Inquiry in the Limits of the Possible.” Clarke revised it three times, the last in 1999 (he … Continue reading

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Richard Dawkins: OUTGROWING GOD: A Beginner’s Guide (2019)

This book, clearly aimed at younger readers, repeats many of themes from his earlier 2006 book THE GOD DELUSION, boiled down and made even more pointed. The first part of the book is structured as a series of “but what … Continue reading

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Martin Rees: ON THE FUTURE: Prospects for Humanity (2018)

Martin Rees is a British astronomer and astrophysicist who looks rather like Richard Gere (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martin_Rees); he holds or has held all sorts of high positions in British science and academia. He’s published several books, of which the half dozen … Continue reading

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