South African Skeptics

Recommended reading

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Offline qrios

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I think it's better to share stuff like this privately.

I know... sorry wasn't thinking... Anyone who wants, PM me.
Privately. 8)
This life is a test. It is only a test.
Had this been an actual life, you would have received further instructions as to what to do and where to go.


Offline pilgrim

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Greetings, all!

I joined today, this is my first post. I feel right at home already, so here's my ten cents'.

Yes, any and all by Dawkins, but I'd like to point out his book of selected essays, called "A Devil's Chaplain". These essays in particular stood out for me: "Darwin Triumphant", "Son of Moore's Law", "Viruses of the Mind" and the very personal and poignant "Letter to my daughter - Good and Bad Reasons for Believing".

Daniel Dennet's exposition of the Brights movement
is quite interesting - though I'm having a hard time buying that whole "bright" as noun and not adjective business (here's one by Dawkins as well). Other than the unfortunate name (or does anyone think it'll stick?) I'm solidly with them.

Then I'm gonna go out on a limb here and mention the three books that influenced me as a teenager the most way-back-when. They're fiction, but each one an excellent read. Just throwing it in there, see what happens, whatever, you know.

"The Color Purple" by Alice Walker
"A Prayer for Owen Meany" by John Irving
"Good Omens" by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman



Offline Mefiante

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Howzit & welcome to the forum.

... I'm having a hard time buying that whole "bright" as noun and not adjective business ... Other than the unfortunate name (or does anyone think it'll stick?) I'm solidly with them.
Yes, the label bothers me also.  It smacks too much of an uncharacteristic superiority, and has been criticised elsewhere.

Unfortunately, the name "Illuminati" had already been taken. ;D

'Luthon64
"Sensitive" people are now carefully examining the entire universe, trying to find something to be "offended" at. It won't stop until such time as the "offenders" learn to stop apologizing, and saying "freck off" instead. — brianvds, The ShoutBox Classics, 02/07/2018.


Offline bluegray

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Hi, and welcome
I agree. I don't like the term bright either.

How does Devil's Chaplain compare to Dawkins' new book The God Delusion?

PS Any fan of Terry Pratchett is certainly welcome here ;)

I have terepace and then various pow


Offline pilgrim

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I must confess to being a useless heretic - I have yet to get my hands on a copy of God Delusion. Can't wait.

The nice thing about Devil's Chaplain is that it's "Dawkins Lite," in a sense. Bite-sized chunks of this and that. The essays are grouped into seven sections: Science in general; Evolutionary biology in particular; Memes and religion; A collection of obituaries, amongst which two on Douglas Adams; An extremely enjoyable and even touching section dedicated to his late nemesis Stephen Gould; Musings on Africa; and finally, the open letter to his daughter that I mentioned.



Offline pilgrim

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Oh yes, regarding bright (n): I think the problem is that it is supposedly a deliberate attempt at emulating the successful 'gay' meme. Problem is, no-one I know says, "I'm a gay", using it as a noun.  Now, I don't mind saying, "I'm bright" at all - it's true on so many levels. As is, "I'm vain and arrogant", for instance. "I'm a bright"? Naaaah.

Maybe this is a good idea for an opinion poll? To bright, or not to bright etc.


Offline bluegray

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Offline Prophanity

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  • "Faith: not wanting to know what is true."
I have got a few books that i enjoyed.

Sham: How the Self-Help Movement Made America Helpless  by Steve Salerno ( Has a good crack at some of the woo woo things these guys sell.)
Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter by Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchett ( One of my favorites )
Small God's: Terry  Pratchett
Quantum: A Guide for the Perplexed  by Jim Al-Khalili ( Dispelled all the nonsense I had about Quantum theory)
The God Delusion:  by Richard Dawkins
The Ancestor's Tale: A Pilgrimage to the Dawn of Evolution  by Richard Dawkins (Listened to the audio book while going through Siberia)

I want to find out what podcasts you listen to.
My favorites are-

The skeptics guide to the universe ( James Randi has a nice segment in the show)
Skepticality ( A bit slow, but still good)
The Skeptic tank ( Just started listening to them. Good Ozzie podcast. They seem to have a strong sceptic movement in Australia)
Universe today ( Space stuff)
Evolution 101 ( Evo stuff)
The Penn Jillette show ( The big half of Penn & Teller, Can be quite funny. Tends to have strong Libertarian views)
The point of inquiry ( Podcast of the Center for inquiry)
Nature podcast ( Podcast for the Nature Journal)
New scientist podcast ( Podcast for the magazine)

Anybody else have any intresting podcasts?
"Faith: not wanting to know what is true."


Offline EM

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TED.com

Although it's mostly videos, they do have audio downloads for most of the stuff.  Some very good ones, Dawkins, Dennet, Shermer...  the usual suspects.  But then also very nice talks from other interesting people. 
Aubrey Degrey, about immortality and longevity.
Burt Rutan, about commercial spaceflight.
...and many more, to much to mention.
"Never let your sense of morals get in the way of doing what's right."
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Offline Saint

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Hitchhikers Guide to the galaxy - made me always be aware of the crucial need for humour!
The final mystery is oneself - Oscar Wilde

Visit Off The Fence


Offline Mefiante

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Hitchhikers Guide to the galaxy - made me always be aware of the crucial need for humour!
Hmm, yes, humour can be important, but one needs to be careful: too much of the wrong kind of humour can, through trivialising it, obscure or even negate an underlying message.  Such occasionally encumbers Adams' writing, I think.  Also, a while ago, I started rereading the whole of HHGTTG, intending to read all five books in uninterrupted succession, and halfway through So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish (book #4), the constant barrage of loopy irreverence and illogic became simply tedious, so I abandoned the "project."

That is, of course, an entirely personal and subjective appraisal.

'Luthon64
"Sensitive" people are now carefully examining the entire universe, trying to find something to be "offended" at. It won't stop until such time as the "offenders" learn to stop apologizing, and saying "freck off" instead. — brianvds, The ShoutBox Classics, 02/07/2018.


skeptic griggsy

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 I reccommend Bede Rundle's "Why is there Something rather than Nothing." Also 'Arguing for Gods,"' Arguing for Atheism" and God,Freedom and Immortality." And books by George Smith and MIchael Martin. Thanks to Paul Kutz's Prometheus, there are so many supporting the naturalist perspective now.


Offline Mefiante

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Last night I started to read a little book by erstwhile Cambridge philosophy lecturer Jamie Whyte.  At ±150 pages the book is quite short.  It also happens to be so yummy, both subject matter- and prose-wise, that I just had to read it cover to cover in one sitting ("lie-in," actually ;D ).

The book's title is Crimes Against Logic and it deals with many common logical fallacies one encounters daily.  Definitely a worthy candidate for inclusion in the "Must Read" list.

'Luthon64
"Sensitive" people are now carefully examining the entire universe, trying to find something to be "offended" at. It won't stop until such time as the "offenders" learn to stop apologizing, and saying "freck off" instead. — brianvds, The ShoutBox Classics, 02/07/2018.


Offline slowcheetah

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Yeah Project Gutenberg's got some nice titles. Another OLD book i got from there was The Age of Reason by Thomas Paine. I really enjoyed the book and even though it was written a century ago it very much relates to current thinking. The book was actually banned at first so you can find under banned books on the Gutenberg site.
What good's causing problems if no one's complaining - What good is a martyr if no one is saved?


Offline scienceteacheragain

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Chris Mooney : The Republican War on Science
And you don't have to be American to enjoy. 
Mooney has also recently released Storm World, but I have not read it yet.

Phil Plait aka The Bad Astronomer:  Bad Astronomy 
http://www.badastronomy.com/

People Who Don't Want Their Beliefs Laughed at Shouldn't Have Such Funny Beliefs