Library
Gunnar Roland Tjomlid
Collection Total:
149 Items
Last Updated:
Jul 18, 2011
59 Seconds: Change Your Life in Under a Minute
Richard Wiseman A psychologist and best-selling author gives us a myth-busting response to the self-help movement, with tips and tricks to improve your life that come straight from the scientific community.

Richard Wiseman has been troubled by the realization that the self-help industry often promotes exercises that destroy motivation, damage relationships, and reduce creativity: the opposite of everything it promises. Now, in 59 Seconds, he fights back, bringing together the diverse scientific advice that can help you change your life in under a minute, and guides you toward becoming more decisive, more imaginative, more engaged, and altogether more happy.

From mood to memory, persuasion to procrastination, resilience to relationships, Wiseman outlines the research supporting the new science of “rapid change” and, with clarity and infectious enthusiasm, describes how these quirky, sometimes counterintuitive techniques can be effortlessly incorporated into your everyday life. Or, as he likes to say: “Think a little, change a lot.”
Abducted: How People Come to Believe They Were Kidnapped by Aliens
Susan A. Clancy They are tiny. They are tall. They are gray. They are green. They survey our world with enormous glowing eyes. To conduct their shocking experiments, they creep in at night to carry humans off to their spaceships. Yet there is no evidence that they exist at all. So how could anyone believe he or she was abducted by aliens? Or want to believe it?

To answer these questions, psychologist Susan Clancy interviewed and evaluated "abductees"—old and young, male and female, religious and agnostic. She listened closely to their stories—how they struggled to explain something strange in their remembered experience, how abduction seemed plausible, and how, having suspected abduction, they began to recollect it, aided by suggestion and hypnosis.

Clancy argues that abductees are sane and intelligent people who have unwittingly created vivid false memories from a toxic mix of nightmares, culturally available texts (abduction reports began only after stories of extraterrestrials appeared in films and on TV), and a powerful drive for meaning that science is unable to satisfy. For them, otherworldly terror can become a transforming, even inspiring experience. "Being abducted," writes Clancy, "may be a baptism in the new religion of this millennium." This book is not only a subtle exploration of the workings of memory, but a sensitive inquiry into the nature of belief. (20051101)
Adventures in a TV Nation
Michael Moore "TV Nation" champions issues from the heavyweight to the irksome. Michael Moore has many hysterical things to say about deserving targets of all political persuasions from the anaemic left to the giddy right.
Almost Everyone's Guide to Science: The Universe, Life and Everything
Dr. John Gribbin, Mary Gribbin Science isn't for everyone, but if you have even the faintest trace of curiosity about the world around you, Almost Everyone's Guide to Science will be a delight. Author John Gribbin, a cosmologist by training, is better known for writing such popularizations of the freaky world of 20th-century physics as In Search of Schrödinger's Cat. His choice of subjects for this latest project reaches new territory, expanding in breadth to cover not just physics but chemistry, geology, meteorology, and the life sciences as well; in short, he introduces the world as we know it. Challenging but not intimidating, his writing presumes an actively intelligent reader willing to pause and think things out from time to time. Like the best science writers, he knows that his characters are people like Einstein and Darwin rather than theories like relativity and natural selection. This human-centered writing style is absorbing and a little sneaky—even those readers pathologically resistant to retaining scientific information will find themselves startled once or twice by an odd paradox or brilliant insight. This mastery of storytelling is ultimately what sets Gribbin apart from most other science writers; if you've decided that it's time to survey what we know about the world, Almost Everyone's Guide to Science is the best place to start. —Rob Lightner
America's War on Sex: The Attack on Law, Lust, and Liberty
Marty Klein The Right has politicized private life, expanding the zone of public sexuality. This guarantees policies that will worsen social problems and increase personal anxiety, providing proof that sexuality is fundamentally negative—so citizens demand more sex-negative policies.

With examples ripped from today's headlines, with brutal honesty and a wicked sense of humor, Marty Klein names names, challenges political hypocrisy, and shows the financial connections between government and conservative religious groups that are systematically taking away your rights. And, in the process, changing American society—forever.

In our free society, people have the right to choose how they live their lives.— President George Bush, June 3, 2006

So why does our government want to censor what you read, hear, and see, try to limit your access to contraception, attempt to legislate good moral values, and try to brainwash your kids about abstinence?

These are the kinds of questions Dr. Marty Klein asks—and answers—in his new book, America's War on Sex. With hundreds of examples ripped from today's headlines, he names names, challenges political hypocrisy, and shows the financial connections between government and conservative religious groups that are systematically taking away your rights. Dr. Klein isn't shy about it. He demands to know—as you should demand to know—answers to difficult questions, such as: If 50 million Americans consume pornography, why does the government dare to regulate it without consulting any consumers? Why do Congressmen listen to victims of porn but not healthy adults who use porn? Now that abstinence-only sex education has been proven a failure, why does the government still give it $200 million each year? And how can most of that money go to faith-based groups who tell your kids how God feels about their sexual choices? Why do hundreds of American communities feel they have the right to eliminate legal adult entertainment, claiming we're not that kind of city? Why do family courts have the right to judge the private sexual habits of each parent when making custody decisions? How can licensed pharmacists and physicians claim they have the right to deny you legal medical care if it violates their conscience?

Our glorious Constitution guarantees us the widest range of rights civilization has ever seen. Why are those rights systematically undermined and revoked when it comes to sexual expression?

Is there a conspiracy to deny us our sexual rights? No, says Marty Klein: It's worse than a conspiracy. It's a war. They're very open about it—it's a War on Sex.

It's a war that threatens the very fabric of our secular democracy. The American Taliban, our own sexual jihadists, want to replace our government with laws based on the Bible, creating a country in which normal sex is narrowly defined and no one has the right to alternative sexual information, health care, or personal expression.

America is fighting a war on terror to prevent the overthrow of our way of life by fanatics who want to base all law on their strict religious beliefs. It is completely unacceptable that a group of conservative Americans is trying to accomplish the same thing right here.
The Ancestor's Tale: A Pilgrimage to the Dawn of Evolution
Richard Dawkins Just as we trace our personal family trees from parents to grandparents and so on back in time, so in The Ancestor's Tale Richard Dawkins traces the ancestry of life. As he is at pains to point out, this is very much our human tale, our ancestry. Surprisingly, it is one that many otherwise literate people are largely unaware of. Hopefully Dawkins's name and well deserved reputation as a best selling writer will introduce them to this wonderful saga.

The Ancestor's Tale takes us from our immediate human ancestors back through what he calls ‘concestors,’ those shared with the apes, monkeys and other mammals and other vertebrates and beyond to the dim and distant microbial beginnings of life some 4 billion years ago. It is a remarkable story which is still very much in the process of being uncovered. And, of course from a scientist of Dawkins stature and reputation we get an insider's knowledge of the most up-to-date science and many of those involved in the research. And, as we have come to expect of Dawkins, it is told with a passionate commitment to scientific veracity and a nose for a good story. Dawkins's knowledge of the vast and wonderful sweep of life's diversity is admirable. Not only does it encompass the most interesting living representatives of so many groups of organisms but also the important and informative fossil ones, many of which have only been found in recent years.

Dawkins sees his journey with its reverse chronology as ‘cast in the form of an epic pilgrimage from the present to the past [and] all roads lead to the origin of life.’ It is, to my mind, a sensible and perfectly acceptable approach although some might complain about going against the grain of evolution. The great benefit for the general reader is that it begins with the more familiar present and the animals nearest and dearest to us—our immediate human ancestors. And then it delves back into the more remote and less familiar past with its droves of lesser known and extinct fossil forms. The whole pilgrimage is divided into 40 tales, each based around a group of organisms and discusses their role in the overall story. Genetic, morphological and fossil evidence is all taken into account and illustrated with a wealth of photos and drawings of living and fossils forms, evolutionary and distributional charts and maps through time, providing a visual compliment and complement to the text. The design also allows Dawkins to make numerous running comments and characteristic asides. There are also numerous references and a good index.— Douglas Palmer
The Ape in the Tree: An Intellectual and Natural History of <i>Proconsul</i>
Alan Walker, Pat Shipman This book offers a unique insider's perspective on the unfolding discovery of a crucial link in our evolution: Proconsul, a fossil ape named whimsically after a performing chimpanzee called Consul.

The Ape in the Tree is written in the voice of Alan Walker, whose involvement with Proconsul began when his graduate supervisor analyzed the tree-climbing adaptations in the arm and hand of this extinct creature. Today, Proconsul is the best-known fossil ape in the world.

The history of ideas is set against the vivid adventures of Walker's fossil-hunting expeditions in remote regions of Africa, where the team met with violent thunderstorms, dangerous wildlife, and people isolated from the Western world. Analysis of the thousands of new Proconsul specimens they recovered provides revealing glimpses of the life of this last common ancestor between apes and humans.

The attributes of Proconsul have profound implications for the very definition of humanness. This book speaks not only of an ape in a tree but also of the ape in our tree. (20050611)
Are Universes Thicker Than Blackberries?: Discourses on Godel, Magic Hexagrams, Little Red Riding Hood, and Other Mathematical and Pseudoscientific Topics
Martin Gardner "Something about Gardner's prose—straight-ahead, factual, free of literary pretension—is deliciously addictive.—Michael Dirda, Washington Post Book World

Martin Gardner—"one of the most brilliant men and gracious writers I have ever known," wrote Stephen Jay Gould—is the wittiest, most devastating debunker of scientific fraud and chicanery of our time. In this new book Gardner explores startling scientific concepts, such as the possibility of multiple universes and the theory that time can go backwards. Armed with his expert, skeptical eye, he examines the bizarre tangents produced by Freudians and deconstructionists in their critiques of "Little Red Riding Hood," and reveals the fallacies of pseudoscientific cures, from Dr. Bruno Bettelheim's erroneous theory of autism to the cruel farces of Facilitated Communication and Primal Scream Therapy. Ever prolific, and still engaging at the spry age of eighty-eight, Gardner has become an American institution unto himself, a writer to be celebrated.
Atheist Universe: The Thinking Person's Answer to Christian Fundamentalism
David Mills Clear, concise, and persuasive, Atheist Universe details exactly why God is unnecessary to explain the universe and life's diversity, organization, and beauty. The author thoroughly rebuts every argument that claims to "prove" God's existence — arguments based on logic, common sense, philosophy, ethics, history and science.

Atheist Universe avoids the esoteric language used by philosophers and presents its scientific evidence in simple lay terms, making it a richly entertaining and easy-to-read introduction to atheism. A comprehensive primer, it addresses all the historical and scientific questions, including: Is there proof that God does not exist? What evidence is there of Jesus' resurrection? Can creation science reconcile scripture with the latest scientific discoveries?

Atheist Universe also answers ethical issues such as: What is the meaning of life without God? It's a spellbinding inquiry that ultimately arrives at a controversial and well-documented conclusion.
Åpent sinn eller høl i hue?
Asbjørn Dyrendal, Arnfinn Pettersen, Didrik Søderlind (RED.)
Bad Science: Quacks, Hacks, and Big Pharma Flacks
Ben Goldacre Have you ever wondered how one day the media can assert that alcohol is bad for us and the next unashamedly run a story touting the benefits of daily alcohol consumption? Or how a drug that is pulled off the market for causing heart attacks ever got approved in the first place? How can average readers, who aren’t medical doctors or Ph.D.s in biochemistry, tell what they should be paying attention to and what’s, well, just more bullshit?

Ben Goldacre has made a point of exposing quack doctors and nutritionists, bogus credentialing programs, and biased scientific studies. He has also taken the media to task for its willingness to throw facts and proof out the window. But he’s not here just to tell you what’s wrong. Goldacre is here to teach you how to evaluate placebo effects, double-blind studies, and sample sizes, so that you can recognize bad science when you see it. You’re about to feel a whole lot better.
Believing in Magic: The Psychology of Superstition
Stuart A. Vyse Wade Boggs is one of the best hitters baseball has ever known; at the plate he's a master technician. He also believes that eating chicken gives him good luck, so he's eaten chicken every day for years. Starting with the superstitions of ballplayers, Stuart Vyse, a psychology professor at Connecticut College, embarks on a fascinating exploration of superstitious thoughts in Believing In Magic. Employing scientific techniques and utilizing hard facts, Vyse shows how silly superstition really is. Yet he also admits that some people do perform better when they follow their superstitious rituals. This is a highly informative book, dealing with everything from chain letters to lucky charms to lottery systems.
Bible Prophecy: Failure or Fulfillment?
Tim Callahan • Dissects modern scenarios of the end of the world
• Investigates the claims of fundamentalist ministers

As the millennium approaches many claim we are living in the end times. Is our world coming to an end as described in the Book of Revelation? By comparing the predictions to actual history, as well as to each other and by noting evidence of historical anachronisms and faulty scholarship on the part of fundamentalist apologists, Callahan subjects the prophecies of the Bible to four rigorous questions: 1) Is the prophecy true, false or too vague to be specifically interpreted? 2) If the prophecy is true was it written before or after the fact? 3) If it was written before the fact, was its fulfillment something that could be predicted based on a logical interpretation of the events of the prophet's day? 4) Was the prophecy directive or deliberately fulfilled by someone with knowledge of the prophecy?
The Bible Unearthed: Archaeology's New Vision of Ancient Israel and the Origin of Its Sacred Texts
Neil Asher Silberman, Israel Finkelstein The Bible Unearthed is a balanced, thoughtful, bold reconsideration of the historical period that produced the Hebrew Bible. The headline news in this book is easy to pick out: there is no evidence for the existence of Abraham, or any of the Patriarchs; ditto for Moses and the Exodus; and the same goes for the whole period of Judges and the united monarchy of David and Solomon. In fact, the authors argue that it is impossible to say much of anything about ancient Israel until the seventh century B.C., around the time of the reign of King Josiah. In that period, "the narrative of the Bible was uniquely suited to further the religious reform and territorial ambitions of Judah." Yet the authors deny that their arguments should be construed as compromising the Bible's power. Only in the 18th century—"when the Hebrew Bible began to be dissected and studied in isolation from its powerful function in community life"—did readers begin to view the Bible as a source of empirically verifiable history. For most of its life, the Bible has been what Finkelstein and Silberman reveal it once more to be: an eloquent expression of "the deeply rooted sense of shared origins, experiences, and destiny that every human community needs in order to survive," written in such a way as to encompass "the men, women, and children, the rich, the poor, and the destitute of an entire community." —Michael Joseph Gross
Bizarre Cases
Skeptical Inquirer
The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature
Steven Pinker Our conceptions of human nature affect everything aspect of our lives, from child-rearing to politics to morality to the arts. Yet many fear that scientific discoveries about innate patterns of thinking and feeling may be used to justify inequality, to subvert social change, and to dissolve personal responsibility.

In The Blank Slate, Steven Pinker explores the idea of human nature and its moral, emotional, and political colorings. He shows how many intellectuals have denied the existence of human nature and instead have embraced three dogmas: The Blank Slate (the mind has no innate traits), The Noble Savage (people are born good and corrupted by society), and The Ghost in the Machine (each of us has a soul that makes choices free from biology). Each dogma carries a moral burden, so their defenders have engaged in desperate tactics to discredit the scientists who are now challenging them.

Pinker provides calm in the stormy debate by disentangling the political and moral issues from the scientific ones. He shows that equality, compassion, responsibility, and purpose have nothing to fear from discoveries about an innately organized psyche. Pinker shows that the new sciences of mind, brain, genes, and evolution, far from being dangerous, are complementing observations about the human condition made by millennia of artists and philosophers. All this is done in the style that earned his previous books many prizes and worldwide acclaim: irreverent wit, lucid exposition, and startling insight on matters great and small.
The Blind Watchmaker
Richard Dawkins
The Borderlands of Science: Where Sense Meets Nonsense
Michael Shermer As author of the bestselling Why People Believe Weird Things How We Believe, and Editor-in-Chief of Skeptic magazine, Michael Shermer has emerged as the nation's number one scourg of superstition and bad science. Now, in The Borderlands of Science, he takes us to the place where real science (such as the big bang theory), borderland science (superstring theory) and just plain nonsense (Big Foot) collide with one another.

Shermer argues that science is the best lens through which to view the world, but he recognizes that it's often difficult for most of us to tell where valid science leaves off and borderland science begins. To help us, Shermer looks at a range of topics that put the boundary line in high relief. For instance, he discusses the many "theories of everything" that try to reduce the complexity of the world to a single principle, and shows how most fall into the category of pseudoscience. He examines the work of Darwin and Freud, explaining why one is among the great scientists in history, while the other has become nothing more than a historical curiosity. He also shows how Carl Sagan's life exemplified the struggle we all face to find a balance between being open-minded enough to recognize radical new ideas but not so open-minded that our brains fall out. And finally, he reveals how scientists themselves can be led astray, as seen in the infamous Piltdown Hoax.

Michael Shermer's enlightening volume will be a valuable a to anyone bewildered by the many scientific theories swirling about. It will help us stay grounded in common sense as we try to evaluate everything from SETI and acupuncture to hypnosis and cloning.
A Brief History of Time: From the Big Bang to Black Holes
Stephen W. Hawking Stephen Hawking has earned a reputation as the most brilliant theoretical physicist since Einstein. In this landmark volume, Professor Hawking shares his blazing intellect with nonscientists everywhere, guiding us expertly to confront the supreme questions of the nature of time and the universe. Was there a beginning of time? Will there be an end? Is the universe infinite or does it have boundaries? From Galileo and Newton to modern astrophysics, from the breathtakingly cast to the extraordinarily tiny, Professor Hawking leads us on an exhilarating journey to distant galaxies, black holes, alternate dimensions—as close as man has ever ventured to the mind of God. From the vantage point of the wheelchair from which he has spent more than twenty years trapped by Lou Gehrig's disease, Stephen Hawking has transformed our view of the universe. Cogently explained, passionately revealed, A Brief History of Time is the story of the ultimate quest for knowledge: the ongoing search for the tantalizing secrets at the heart of time and space.
A Brief Tour of Human Consciousness: From Impostor Poodles to Purple Numbers
V. S. Ramachandran A brilliant, wryly humorous, brief tour of the human mind built on first hand experience with patients and a dazzling research career. This long awaited new book by V.S. Ramachandran is akin to the bestselling works about patients by Oliver SacksWhat is body image? Why do we blush? What is art? What is free will? What is self? Until recently, these questions were the province of philosophy, but studies of the brain are now producing explanations based on research anyone can see for themselves in PET scans and MRI images. Neuroscientists such as V.S. Ramachandran are now unlocking the key to what many have considered the metaphysics of our consciousness. This knowledge of the brain has progressed so rapidly few have yet recognized it for what it is. It will change how we think of human beings, even our very notion of understanding. This is a revolution, already underway that will have impact on all our lives. But until this book, topics such as art, creativity and love have received very little attention from neurology and new findings have not been offered in an approachable way. Dr. Ramachandran presents new theories and experiments that illuminate the biggest questions we can ask. Picking up where the great earlier thinkers like Freud, and Darwin began, V.S. Ramachandran and his colleagues are forging a whole new science. Walk through a final frontier of human knowledge with the perfect, eloquent, expert guide on this unique brief tour.
Can a Robot Be Human?: 33 Perplexing Philosophy Puzzles
Peter Cave In this book of puzzles and paradoxes, Peter Cave introduces some of life's most important questions with tales and tall stories, reasons and arguments, common sense and bizarre conclusions. From how to get to heaven, to speedy tortoises, paradoxes and puzzles give rise to some of the most exciting philosophical problems. Illustrated with quirky cartoons throughout, The Unusual, Please! takes the reader on a tour to the most interesting and delightful parts of philosophy.
Carl Sagan: A Life in the Cosmos
William Poundstone Science writer William Poundstone (and biographer of game-theory guru John von Neumann) begins this book of deftly strung anecdotes from the life of pop-science demigod Carl Sagan with the following anecdote: four-year-old Carl, a Jewish kid growing up near the Jersey shore, rides piggyback on his dad's shoulders into the 1939 World's Fair and the "World of Tomorrow." Surrounded by mocked-up "rocketports," GM's "Futurama," and the promise of outlandish technology to come, it's easy to imagine the impact on this little guy who was to become one of our century's most visionary and visible scientists. A childhood friend tells Poundstone that "from an early age Carl was seized with the fabulous mission of searching for life on other worlds," a quest that would dominate his entire professional career.

Poundstone recounts how this quest drove the immensely intelligent, ambitious, and charismatic Sagan, from his discovery of Arthur C. Clarke to his predictable adolescent chemistry-set accidents to his colorful academic career and professional work on the Viking and Voyager missions, nuclear disarmament, the award-winning Cosmos, and Robert Zemeckis' Contact. What recommends this biography most, though, isn't its completeness but its style: Poundstone has divided the 500-plus-page book into over 200 easily digestible, addictive little sections, each an entertaining or illuminating (or, often, laugh-out-loud) anecdote from Sagan's life, with titles like "Pornography in Space," "Muskrats, Drunkards, Extraterrestrials," and "Sagan Versus Apple Computer." (The in-house name for the mid-range PowerMac 7100 was "Carl Sagan," the joke being that it would make Apple "billions and billions." But forced to change it by Sagan, Apple switched to "BHA," later revealed to stand for "Butt-Head Astronomer"—Sagan sued for libel.) —Paul Hughes
The Character of Physical Law
Richard P. Feynman This book presents a series of classic lectures, delivered in 1960 and recorded for the BBC. This is Feynman's unique take on the problems and puzzles that lie at the heart of physical theory - with Newton's Law of Gravitation; on whether time can ever go backwards; on maths as the supreme language of nature. Demonstrates Feynman's knack of finding the right everyday illustration to bring out the essence of a complicated principle - eg brilliant analogy between the law of conservation energy and the problem of drying yourself with wet towels. 'Feynman's style inspired a generation of scientists. This volume remains the best record I know of his exhilarating vision' - Paul Davies.
Child Pornography: An Internet Crime
Ethel Quayle Does the Internet engender sexual abuse of children? How do you identify sex offenders on the Internet?

The availability of child pornography on the Internet has become a cause of huge social concern in recent years. This book considers the reality behind the often-hysterical media coverage of the topic. Drawing on extensive new research findings, this book examines how child pornography is used on the Internet, identifies the social context in which such uses occur, and develops a model of offending behavior to better help understand and deal with the processes of offending. Detailed interviews and offenders' own accounts are used to illustrate the processes involved in offending and treatment.

Arguing that we need to refine our ideas of offending, and that while severe deterrents need to be associated with possession of child pornography, the authors contend that a better comprehension is needed of the links between possession and committing a contact offence. This book is an essential read for anyone involved with offenders or victims, from a psychological, judicial or social background.
Climbing Mount Improbable
Richard Dawkins How do species evolve? Richard Dawkins, one of the world's most eminent zoologists, likens the process to scaling a huge, Himalaya-size peak, the Mount Improbable of his title. An alpinist does not leap from sea level to the summit; neither does a species utterly change forms overnight, but instead follows a course of "slow, cumulative, one-step-at-a-time, non-random survival of random variants"—a course that Charles Darwin, Dawkins's great hero, called natural selection. Illustrating his arguments with case studies from the natural world, such as the evolution of the eye and the lung, and the coevolution of certain kinds of figs and wasps, Dawkins provides a vigorous, entertaining defense of key Darwinian ideas.
Consciousness Explained
Daniel C. Dennett Consciousness is notoriously difficult to explain. On one hand, there are facts about conscious experience—the way clarinets sound, the way lemonade tastes—that we know subjectively, from the inside. On the other hand, such facts are not readily accommodated in the objective world described by science. How, after all, could the reediness of clarinets or the tartness of lemonade be predicted in advance? Central to Daniel C. Dennett's attempt to resolve this dilemma is the "heterophenomenological" method, which treats reports of introspection nontraditionally—not as evidence to be used in explaining consciousness, but as data to be explained. Using this method, Dennett argues against the myth of the Cartesian theater—the idea that consciousness can be precisely located in space or in time. To replace the Cartesian theater, he introduces his own multiple drafts model of consciousness, in which the mind is a bubbling congeries of unsupervised parallel processing. Finally, Dennett tackles the conventional philosophical questions about consciousness, taking issue not only with the traditional answers but also with the traditional methodology by which they were reached.

Dennett's writing, while always serious, is never solemn; who would have thought that combining philosophy, psychology, and neuroscience could be such fun? Not every reader will be convinced that Dennett has succeeded in explaining consciousness; many will feel that his account fails to capture essential features of conscious experience. But none will want to deny that the attempt was well worth making. —Glenn Branch
Consciousness: An Introduction
Susan Blackmore Is there a theory that explains the essence of consciousness? Or is consciousness itself just an illusion? The "last great mystery of science," consciousness was excluded from serious research for most of the last century, but is now a rapidly expanding area of study for students of psychology, philosophy, and neuroscience. Designed for upper-level undergraduate courses on consciousness, this groundbreaking text is the first volume to bring together all the major theories of consciousness studies—from those rooted in neuroscience to those based on quantum theory or Eastern philosophy. Broadly interdisciplinary, Consciousness: An Introduction is divided into nine sections that examine such topics as how subjective experiences arise from objective brain processes; the basic neuroscience and neuropathology of consciousness; altered states of consciousness; mystical experiences and dreams; and the effects of drugs and meditation. It also discusses the nature of self, the possibility of artificial consciousness in robots, and the question of whether or not animals are conscious. Enhanced by numerous illustrations and profiles of important researchers, the text is also supported by many pedagogical aids including classroom exercises, self-assessment questions, further reading suggestions, and practical exercises that help bring the subject to life.
Conversations About The End Of Time
Umberto Eco
Could They All Have Been Wrong?
David L. Riegel A review, for the layman, of literature about sexually expressed relationships between boys and older males.
Darwin for Beginners
Jonathan Miller, Borin Van Loon The Beginner Books — "Their cartoon format and irreverent wit make difficult ideas accessible and entertaining."

— Newsday

aking us through the upheavals in biological thought which made The Origins of Species possible, Jonathan Miller introduces us to that odd revolutionary, Charles Darwin — a remarkably timid man who spent most of his life in seclusion; a semi-invalid riddled with doubts, fearing the controversy his theories might unleash; yet also the man who finally undermined belief in God's creation. Along the way we meet a fascinating cast of characters: Darwin's scientific predecessors, his contemporaries (including Alfred Russell Wallace, whose anticipation of natural selection forced Darwin to publish), his opponents, and his successors whose work in modern genetics provided necessary modifications to Darwin's own work.

Splendidly illustrated, this clever, witty, highly informative book is the perfect introduction to Darwin's life and thought.
Darwin's Dangerous Idea: Evolution and the Meanings of Life
Daniel C. Dennett One of the best descriptions of the nature and implications of Darwinian evolution ever written, it is firmly based in biological information and appropriately extrapolated to possible applications to engineering and cultural evolution. Dennett's analyses of the objections to evolutionary theory are unsurpassed. Extremely lucid, wonderfully written, and scientifically and philosophically impeccable. Highest Recommendation!
The Decency Wars: The Campaign to Cleanse American Culture
Frederick S Lane Janet Jackson's infamous 'wardrobe malfunction' at the 2004 Superbowl precipitated a nation-wide controversy. To judge by the hysterical reaction, one would think that nothing so shocking had ever been seen on television. Yet, remarkably, during the conservative 1950s, similar breast-baring accidents on television (by Faye Emerson and Jayne Mansfield) raised barely a stir. Is America on the verge of another puritanical era? Is this new Puritanism the result of something more than just concerns for public decency? First Amendment and emerging technology specialist, Frederick S Lane examines America's changing attitudes toward decency and the politics of decency in this timely book. He takes a strong and unequivocal position that it is inappropriate and dangerous for the government to try to regulate morality. He accuses religious conservatives of starting 'decency wars' for motives no more noble than profit and political gain. As Lane astutely points out, such controversies generate a flood of books, speeches, and syndicated radio and television programs. More importantly, they fill the coffers of conservative politicians and 'non-profits'. Lane first sets the stage for the current controversy by reviewing the history of the decency debate from the invention of the camera as the catalyst for public decency concerns, through the mixing of morality and politics by the Moral Majority and the Christian Coalition, to the recent activist stance by the Federal Communications Commission against perceived indecency. He spells out strategies for combating the rising influence of the Religious Right's puritanical ploys by emphasising that decency standards are a private and personal responsibility, not a matter of law enforcement. He asserts that we must continuously educate the public regarding the ruinous effects of government censorship, watered-down textbooks, and homophobia. Moreover, he stresses the supreme importance of supporting existing and new organisations to counteract the propaganda from groups like the Christian Coalition and Focus on the Family. Including interviews with politicians, religious leaders, entertainers, and other individuals across the spectrum of American culture, this compelling book is essential reading for understanding one of the most fiercely debated social issues of the American nation.
Defending Pornography: Free Speech, Sex, and the Fight for Women's Rights
Nadine Strossen reissued with a new foreword and epilogue by the author

"A passionately argued, cogently written, lively discourse on the increasingly peculiar politics of sex."
—New York Times Book Review

"Defending Pornography is valuable precisely because of its lucid, broad exploration of the long debate over pornography."
—The Washington Post Book World

"A triumphant (and sensual) view of women that stands in stark contrast to the bleak vision of powerlessness and paternalism offered her critics."
—The Wall Street Journal

Traditional explanations of why pornography must be defended from would-be censors have concentrated on censorship's adverse impacts on free speech and sexual autonomy. In contrast, Nadine Strossen focuses on the women's rights-centered rationale for defending pornography.
The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark
Carl Sagan, Ann Druyan Carl Sagan muses on the current state of scientific thought, which offers him marvelous opportunities to entertain us with his own childhood experiences, the newspaper morgues, UFO stories, and the assorted flotsam and jetsam of pseudoscience. Along the way he debunks alien abduction, faith-healing, and channeling; refutes the arguments that science destroys spirituality, and provides a "baloney detection kit" for thinking through political, social, religious, and other issues.
A Devil's Chaplain: Reflections on Hope, Lies, Science, and Love
Richard Dawkins Richard Dawkins has an opinion on everything biological, it seems, and in A Devil's Chaplain, everything is biological. Dawkins weighs in on topics as diverse as ape rights, jury trials, religion, and education, all examined through the lens of natural selection and evolution. Although many of these essays have been published elsewhere, this book is something of a greatest-hits compilation, reprinting many of Dawkins' most famous recent compositions. They are well worth re-reading. His 1998 review of Alan Sokal and Jean Bricmont's Fashionable Nonsense is as bracing an indictment of academic obscurantism as the book it covered, although the review reveals some of Dawkins' personal biases as well. Several essays are devoted to skillfully debunking religion and mysticism, and these are likely to raise the hackles of even casual believers. Science, and more specifically evolutionary science, underlies each essay, giving readers a glimpse into the last several years' debates about the minutiae of natural selection. In one moving piece, Dawkins reflects on his late rival Stephen Jay Gould's magnum opus, The Structure of Evolutionary Theory, and clarifies what it was the two Darwinist heavyweights actually disagreed about. While the collection showcases Dawkins' brilliance and intellectual sparkle, it brings up as many questions as it answers. As an ever-ardent champion of science, honest discourse, and rational debate, Dawkins will obviously relish the challenge of answering them. —Therese Littleton
Die Einstein Rosen Brucke
Johannes V Buttlar
Dinosaur in a Haystack: Reflections in Natural History
Stephen Jay Gould Gould's seventh collection of essays covers a wide range of subjects in natural history, literature, and popular culture—from the wisdom of Charles Darwin to that of the Old Testament Psalms, from the dinosaurs of Jurassic Park to the dinosaurs of the latest scientific theories, from the thwarted human ity of the Frankenstein monster to the inhuman fallacies of eugenics and other pseudoscience. Illustrations. Nationals ads/media.
Dommedag!
Asbjørn Dyrendal og Arnfinn Pettersen (RED.)
Doubts and Loves: What is Left of Christianity
Richard Holloway First published in 2001, Richard Holloway has produced a scholarly and accessible work in which he sets out to interrogate traditional ways of understanding the Bible and Jesus. He deconstructs the doctrines of Christianity to craft from the past a usable ethic for our own time, anxious to release the power of these great themes from the antiquated containers that convey them. Holloway's radical book is a rescue attempt, a heartfelt and passionately argued case for salvaging the challenge of Jesus by revealing the essence of his teachings and showing why they remain revolutionary, humane and of massive spiritual importance.
Downsize This
Michael Moore Who says the left wing doesn't have a sense of humor? Maybe it doesn't, but documentarian Michael Moore sure does—Exhibit A was Roger & Me; B was the ill-fated TV Nation; and C is 1997's print skirmish Downsize This! Moore's politics are rabidly liberal, populist, and anti-big business—about what you'd expect from the former editor of Mother Jones. While this restricts his audience to Americans on the left side of the aisle, for them Downsize This! will be a chance to point and laugh hysterically (if ruefully) at the clique of rich white guys who run everything.

Moore is at his best as a prankster, whether it's trying to see if Pat Buchanan will take a campaign donation from the John Wayne Gacy Fan Club (yes) or whether he can have Bob Dornan committed to an insane asylum based on his bizarre behavior (no, but it was close). Moore is one of our sharpest satirists, and Downsize This! makes one wish he would write a "Sorry State of the Union" every year. But only if it doesn't cut into his moviemaking—that's too big a price to pay. —Michael Gerber
The Drunkard's Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives
Leonard Mlodinow With the born storyteller's command of narrative and imaginative approach, Leonard Mlodinow vividly demonstrates how our lives are profoundly informed by chance and randomness and how everything from wine ratings and corporate success to school grades and political polls are less reliable than we believe.

 

By showing us the true nature of chance and revealing the psychological illusions that cause us to misjudge the world around us, Mlodinow gives us the tools we need to make more informed decisions. From the classroom to the courtroom and from financial markets to supermarkets, Mlodinow's intriguing and illuminating look at how randomness, chance, and probability affect our daily lives will intrigue, awe, and inspire.
Dying to Live: Near-Death Experiences
Susan Blackmore Discusses the stages of dying, examines the accounts of near-death experiences, and argues that brain chemistry, rather than afterlife, best explains the sensations felt near death.
Einstein for Beginners
Joseph Schwartz, Michael McGuinness Amusing, irreverent, sophisticated and highly accessible, Einstein for Beginners is the perfect introduction to Einstein's life and thought.

Reaching back as far as Babylon (for the origins of mathematics) and the Etruscans (who thought they could handle lightning), this book takes us through the revolutions in electrical communications and technology that made the theory of relativity possible. In the process, we meet scientific luminaries and personalities of imperial Germany, as well as Galileo, Faraday, and Newton; learn why moving clocks run slower than stationary ones, why nothing can go faster than the speed of light; and follow Albert's thought as he works his way toward E = mc2, the most famous equation of the twentieth century.
The Elegant Universe: Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions, and the Quest for the Ultimate Theory
Brian Greene There is an ill-concealed skeleton in the closet of physics: "As they are currently formulated, general relativity and quantum mechanics cannot both be right." Each is exceedingly accurate in its field: general relativity explains the behavior of the universe at large scales, while quantum mechanics describes the behavior of subatomic particles. Yet the theories collide horribly under extreme conditions such as black holes or times close to the big bang. Brian Greene, a specialist in quantum field theory, believes that the two pillars of physics can be reconciled in superstring theory, a theory of everything.

Superstring theory has been called "a part of 21st-century physics that fell by chance into the 20th century." In other words, it isn't all worked out yet. Despite the uncertainties—"string theorists work to find approximate solutions to approximate equations"—Greene gives a tour of string theory solid enough to satisfy the scientifically literate.

Though Ed Witten of the Institute for Advanced Study is in many ways the human hero of The Elegant Universe, it is not a human-side-of-physics story. Greene's focus throughout is the science, and he gives the nonspecialist at least an illusion of understanding—or the sense of knowing what it is that you don't know. And that is traditionally the first step on the road to knowledge. —Mary Ellen Curtin
An Encyclopedia of Claims, Frauds, and Hoaxes of the Occult and Supernatural
James Randi, Arthur C. Clarke James Randi, professional magician and skeptic, has put together an encyclopedia with something for everyone. Yes, no matter who you are, unless you're a thoroughgoing atheist, Randi is bound to offend your beliefs at one point or another. As Arthur C. Clarke says in his introduction, the book "should be issued with a mental health warning, as many readers—if they are brave enough to face unwelcome facts—will find some of their cherished beliefs totally demolished." Randi is dryly sarcastic about hundreds of topics, including Catholic relics, speaking in tongues, Jehovah's Witnesses, yoga, the origins of Mormonism, dowsing, magnetic hills, UFOs, and every spiritualist of the past several centuries. A typical entry defines a nymph as: "in the real world, the immature form of the dragonfly and certain other insects, or a young woman with robust sexual interests. Take your choice." Comprehensive, exasperating and exasperated, witty, and unsparing, Randi's encyclopedia provides more debunking per page than any other resource. —Mary Ellen Curtin
The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason
Sam Harris Sam Harris cranks out blunt, hard-hitting chapters to make his case for why faith itself is the most dangerous element of modern life. And if the devil's in the details, then you'll find Satan waiting at the back of the book in the very substantial notes section where Harris saves his more esoteric discussions to avoid sidetracking the urgency of his message.

Interestingly, Harris is not just focused on debunking religious faith, though he makes his compelling arguments with verve and intellectual clarity. The End of Faith is also a bit of a philosophical Swiss Army knife. Once he has presented his arguments on why, in an age of Weapons of Mass Destruction, belief is now a hazard of great proportions, he focuses on proposing alternate approaches to the mysteries of life. Harris recognizes the truth of the human condition, that we fear death, and we often crave "something more" we cannot easily define, and which is not met by accumulating more material possessions. But by attempting to provide the cure for the ills it defines, the book bites off a bit more than it can comfortably chew in its modest page count (however the rich Bibliography provides more than enough background for an intrigued reader to follow up for months on any particular strand of the author' musings.)

Harris' heart is not as much in the latter chapters, though, but in presenting his main premise. Simply stated, any belief system that speaks with assurance about the hereafter has the potential to place far less value on the here and now. And thus the corollary — when death is simply a door translating us from one existence to another, it loses its sting and finality. Harris pointedly asks us to consider that those who do not fear death for themselves, and who also revere ancient scriptures instructing them to mete it out generously to others, may soon have these weapons in their own hands. If thoughts along the same line haunt you, this is your book.—Ed Dobeas
Erotic Innocence: The Culture of Child Molesting
James Kincaid In Erotic Innocence James R. Kincaid explores contemporary America’s preoccupation with stories about the sexual abuse of children. Claiming that our culture has yet to come to terms with the bungled legacy of Victorian sexuality, Kincaid examines how children and images of youth are idealized, fetishized, and eroticized in everyday culture. Evoking the cyclic elements of Gothic narrative, he thoughtfully and convincingly concludes that the only way to break this cycle is to acknowledge—and confront—not only the sensuality of children but the eroticism loaded onto them.
Drawing on a number of wide-ranging and well-publicized cases as well as scandals involving such celebrities as Michael Jackson and Woody Allen, Kincaid looks at issues surrounding children’s testimonies, accusations against priests and day-care centers, and the horrifying yet persistently intriguing rumors of satanic cults and “kiddie porn” rings. In analyzing the particular form of popularity shared by such child stars such Shirley Temple and Macaulay Culkin, he exposes the strategies we have devised to deny our own role in the sexualization of children. Finally, Kincaid reminds us how other forms of abuse inflicted on children—neglect, abandonment, inadequate nutrition, poor education—are often overlooked in favor of the sensationalized sexual abuse coverage in the news, on daytime TV talk shows, and in the elevators and cafeterias of America each day.
This bold and critically enlightened book will interest readers across a wide range of disciplines as well as a larger general audience interested in American culture.
Evaluating Clinical Research: All that glitters is not gold
Bengt D. Furberg, Curt D. Furberg This book aims to make the readers better informed and more critical consumers of clinical research. It will help the reader recognize the strengths and the weaknesses of scientific publications. In doing so, the reader will be able to distinguish patient-important and methodologically sound studies from those having limitations in design, conduct and interpretation. The text is basic and has no statistical formulas. Key take-home messages are listed at the end of each chapter. Cartoons make the text easier to read and generate a few laughs, and they underscore specific points, sometimes in a provocative way.
Evolution vs. Creationism: An Introduction
Eugenie C. Scott Almost eighty years after the Scopes trial, the debate over the teaching of evolution continues to rage. There is no easy resolution—it is a complex topic with profound scientific, religious, educational, and legal implications. How can a student or parent understand this issue, which is such a vital part of education? Evolution vs. Creationism provides a badly needed, comprehensive, and balanced survey. Written by one of the leading advocates for the teaching of evolution in the United states, this accessible resource provides an introduction to the many facets of the current debate—the scientific evidence for evolution, the legal and educational basis for its teaching, and the various religious points of view—as well as a concise history of the evolution-creationism controversy.
Each of the four sections of Evolution vs. Creationism provides a resource that will assist the reader in better understanding these issues. The first section addresses the nature of how evolution works as part of the scientific enterprise, as well as a summary of the relationship between religious beliefs and science. A section on the history of the controversy provides a handy synopsis of the lengthy struggles, from before Darwin to the present day, between advocates of creationism and the proponents of evolution. A collection of primary source documents addressing cosmology, law, education, and religious issues from all sides of the debate constitute the third section. The book concludes with a selection of resources for further information for those who wish to study the topic in more depth.
Evolutionary Psychology: An Introduction
Lance Workman, Will Reader This textbook offers a comprehensive introduction to the increasingly important and fascinating science of evolutionary psychology, which attempts to understand the mind and behavior in terms of the evolutionary pressures that shaped them. The text carefully integrates evolutionary ideas with those of mainstream academic psychology to complement traditional courses and offers abundant critical evaluation. Topics covered include cognitive and social development, language, emotion, and evolutionary psychopathology. Each chapter features:Preview and list of key termsText boxes containing interesting supplementary materialSummary of key ideasGuide to further reading.
The Extended Phenotype: The Long Reach of the Gene
Richard Dawkins This is a revised edition with a new afterword by Daniel Dennett. The Extended Phenotype carries on from where The Selfish Gene takes off. It is a fascinating look at the evolution of life and natural selection. Dawkins's theory is that individual organisms are replicators that have extended phenotypic effects on society and the world at large, thus our genes have the ability to manipulate other individuals. A worldwide bestseller, this book has become a classic in popular science writing.
The Fabric of the Cosmos: Space, Time, and the Texture of Reality
Brian Greene As a boy, Brian Greene read Albert Camus' The Myth of Sisyphus and was transformed. Camus, in Greene's paraphrase, insisted that the hero triumphs "by relinquishing everything beyond immediate experience." After wrestling with this idea, however, Greene rejected Camus and realized that his true idols were physicists; scientists who struggled "to assess life and to experience the universe at all possible levels, not just those that happened to be accessible to our frail human senses." His driving question in The Fabric of the Cosmos, then, is fundamental: "What is reality?" Over sixteen chapters, he traces the evolving human understanding of the substrate of the universe, from classical physics to ten-dimensional M-Theory.

Assuming an audience of non-specialists, Greene has set himself a daunting task: to explain non-intuitive, mathematical concepts like String Theory, the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, and Inflationary Cosmology with analogies drawn from common experience. For the most part, he succeeds. His language reflects a deep passion for science and a gift for translating concepts into poetic images. When explaining, for example, the inability to see the higher dimensions inherent in string theory, Greene writes: "We don't see them because of the way we see…like an ant walking along a lily pad…we could be floating within a grand, expansive, higher-dimensional space."

For Greene, Rhodes Scholar and professor of physics and mathematics at Columbia University, speculative science is not always as thorough and successful. His discussion of teleportation, for example, introduces and then quickly tables a valuable philosophical probing of identity. The paradoxes of time travel, however, are treated with greater depth, and his vision of life in a three-brane universe is compelling and—to use his description for quantum reality—"weird."

In the final pages Greene turns from science fiction back to the fringes of science fact, and he returns with rigor to frame discoveries likely to be made in the coming decades. "We are, most definitely, still wandering in the jungle," he concludes. Thanks to Greene, though, some of the underbrush has been cleared. —Patrick O'Kelley
The Faith Healers
James Randi Celebrated magician James Randi uncovers the faith-healing fakery found in the disturbing performances of evangelist Peter Popoff, W.V. Grant, Leroy Jenkins, Oral Roberts, Pentecostal A.A. Allen, Roman Catholic Ralph DiOrio, and Pat Robertson. Illustrated.
Flim-Flam! Psychics, ESP, Unicorns, and Other Delusions
James Randi In this book, Randi explores and exposes what he believes to be the outrageous deception that has been promoted widely in the media. Unafraid to call researchers to account for their failures and impostures, Randi tells us that we have been badly served by scientists who have failed to follow the procedures required by their training and traditions. Here, he shows us how what he views as sloppy research has been followed by rationalisations of evident failures, and we see these errors and misrepresentations clearly pointed out. Mr. Randi provides us with a compelling and convincing document that will certainly startle and enlighten all who read it.
Fyrster i Tåkeland
Terje Emberland og Arnfinn Pettersen (RED.)
Genetics: A Beginner's Guide
A. Griffiths This is a new introduction for readers who wish to know more about the science that is changing our world.
The God Delusion
Richard Dawkins A preeminent scientist — and the world's most prominent atheist — asserts the irrationality of belief in God and the grievous harm religion has inflicted on society, from the Crusades to 9/11.

With rigor and wit, Dawkins examines God in all his forms, from the sex-obsessed tyrant of the Old Testament to the more benign (but still illogical) Celestial Watchmaker favored by some Enlightenment thinkers. He eviscerates the major arguments for religion and demonstrates the supreme improbability of a supreme being. He shows how religion fuels war, foments bigotry, and abuses children, buttressing his points with historical and contemporary evidence. The God Delusion makes a compelling case that belief in God is not just wrong but potentially deadly. It also offers exhilarating insight into the advantages of atheism to the individual and society, not the least of which is a clearer, truer appreciation of the universe's wonders than any faith could ever muster.
God Hates You, Hate Him Back: Making Sense of The Bible
CJ Werleman "This book absolutely crucifies the argument for a benevolent creator. What's more, it uses the creationist's most-cited source to do it." - dailyatheist.net God Hates You, Hate Him Back makes the ultimate case for the claim that the God of the Bible is the most wicked character in the pages of history. With a wit as dry as a martini, and the cross examination techniques of a seasoned lawyer, CJ Werleman lays out all sixty-six chapters of the Bible to present an irrefutable argument that indeed God hates us all. If you have never read or never fully understood The Bible because of it's lifeless 16th century King's English then you will do no better than this unique, comedic, 21st century summary of the greatest story ever sold, or in Werleman's own words 'never read'. God Hates You, Hate Him Back provides you with an arsenal of Biblical facts, stories, mythology and assertions to ensure you victory in your next religious debate.
God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything
Christopher Hitchens In the tradition of Bertrand Russell's Why I Am Not a Christian and Sam Harris's recent bestseller, The End of Faith, Christopher Hitchens makes the ultimate case
against religion. With a close and erudite reading of the major religious texts, he documents the ways in which religion is a man-made wish, a cause of dangerous sexual repression, and a distortion of our origins in the cosmos. With eloquent clarity, Hitchens frames the argument for a more secular life based on science and
reason, in which hell is replaced by the Hubble Telescope's awesome view of the universe, and Moses and the burning bush give way to the beauty and symmetry
of the double helix.
God: The Failed Hypothesis: How Science Shows That God Does Not Exist
Victor J. Stenger Throughout history, arguments for and against the existence of God have been largely confined to philosophy and theology. In the meantime, science has sat on the sidelines and quietly watched this game of words march up and down the field. Despite the fact that science has revolutionized every aspect of human life and greatly clarified our understanding of the world, somehow the notion has arisen that it has nothing to say about the possibility of a supreme being, which much of humanity worships as the source of all reality. Physicist Victor J. Stenger contends that, if God exists, some evidence for this existence should be detectable by scientific means, especially considering the central role that God is alleged to play in the operation of the universe and the lives of humans. Treating the traditional God concept, as conventionally presented in the Judeo-Christian and Islamic traditions, like any other scientific hypothesis, Stenger examines all of the claims made for God’s existence. He considers the latest Intelligent Design arguments as evidence of God’s influence in biology. He looks at human behavior for evidence of immaterial souls and the possible effects of prayer. He discusses the findings of physics and astronomy in weighing the suggestions that the universe is the work of a creator and that humans are God’s special creation. After evaluating all the scientific evidence, Stenger concludes that beyond a reasonable doubt the universe and life appear exactly as we might expect if there were no God.
Godless Morality
Richard Holloway The use of God in moral debate is so problematic as to be almost worthless. We can argue with one another as to whether this or that alleged claim genuinely emanated from God, but surely it is better to leave God out of the argument and find strong human reasons for supporting the systems we advocate. We need a sensible and practical approach that will help us pick our way through the moral maze that confronts us in the pluralistic society we live in. Godless Morality offers exactly this - a human-centred justification for contemporary morality.
The Grand Design
Stephen Hawking, Leonard Mlodinow THE FIRST MAJOR WORK IN NEARLY A DECADE BY ONE OF THE WORLD’S GREAT THINKERS—A MARVELOUSLY CONCISE BOOK WITH NEW ANSWERS TO THE ULTIMATE QUESTIONS OF LIFE
 
When and how did the universe begin? Why are we here? Why is there something rather than nothing? What is the nature of reality? Why are the laws of nature so finely tuned as to allow for the existence of beings like ourselves? And, finally, is the apparent “grand design” of our universe evidence of a benevolent creator who set things in motion—or does science offer another explanation?

The most fundamental questions about the origins of the universe and of life itself, once the province of philosophy, now occupy the territory where scientists, philosophers, and theologians meet—if only to disagree. In their new book, Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow present the most recent scientific thinking about the mysteries of the universe, in nontechnical language marked by both brilliance and simplicity.

In The Grand Design they explain that according to quantum theory, the cosmos does not have just a single existence or history, but rather that every possible history of the universe exists simultaneously. When applied to the universe as a whole, this idea calls into question the very notion of cause and effect. But the “top-down” approach to cosmology that Hawking and

Mlodinow describe would say that the fact that the past takes no definite form means that we create history by observing it, rather than that history creates us. The authors further explain that we ourselves are the product of quantum fluctuations in the very early universe, and show how quantum theory predicts the “multiverse”—the idea that ours is just one of many universes that appeared spontaneously out of nothing, each with different laws of nature.

Along the way Hawking and Mlodinow question the conventional concept of reality, posing a “model-dependent” theory of reality as the best we can hope to find. And they conclude with a riveting assessment of M-theory, an explanation of the laws governing us and our universe that is currently the only viable candidate for a complete “theory of everything.” If confirmed, they write, it will be the unified theory that Einstein was looking for, and the ultimate triumph of human reason.

A succinct, startling, and lavishly illustrated guide to discoveries that are altering our understanding and threatening some of our most cherished belief systems, The Grand Design is a book that will inform—and provoke—like no other.
The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution
Richard Dawkins In 2008, a Gallup poll showed that 44 percent of Americans believed God had created man in his present form within the last 10,000 years. In a Pew Forum poll in the same year, 42 percent believed that all life on earth has existed in its present form since the beginning of time.

In 1859 Charles Darwin's masterpiece, On the Origin of Species, shook society to its core. Darwin was only too aware of the storm his theory of evolution would provoke. But he surely would have raised an incredulous eyebrow at the controversy still raging a century and a half later. Evolution is accepted as scientific fact by all reputable scientists and indeed theologians, yet millions of people continue to question its veracity. Now the author of the iconic work The God Delusion takes them to task.

The Greatest Show on Earth is a stunning counterattack on advocates of "Intelligent Design," explaining the evidence for evolution while exposing the absurdities of the creationist "argument." Dawkins sifts through rich layers of scientific evidence: from living examples of natural selection to clues in the fossil record; from natural clocks that mark the vast epochs wherein evolution ran its course to the intricacies of developing embryos; from plate tectonics to molecular genetics. Combining these elements and many more, he makes the airtight case that "we find ourselves perched on one tiny twig in the midst of a blossoming and flourishing tree of life and it is no accident, but the direct consequence of evolution by non-random selection."

The Greatest Show on Earth comes at a critical time: systematic opposition to the fact of evolution is menacing as never before. In American schools, and in schools around the world, insidious attempts are made to undermine the status of science in the classroom. Dawkins wields a devastating argument against this ignorance, but his unjaded passion for the natural world turns what might have been a negative argument into a positive offering to the reader: nothing less than a master's vision of life, in all its splendor.
Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies
Jared M. Diamond Explaining what William McNeill called The Rise of the West has become the central problem in the study of global history. In Guns, Germs, and Steel Jared Diamond presents the biologist's answer: geography, demography, and ecological happenstance. Diamond evenhandedly reviews human history on every continent since the Ice Age at a rate that emphasizes only the broadest movements of peoples and ideas. Yet his survey is binocular: one eye has the rather distant vision of the evolutionary biologist, while the other eye—and his heart—belongs to the people of New Guinea, where he has done field work for more than 30 years.
A HISTORY OF GOD
Harmful to Minors: The Perils of Protecting Children from Sex
Judith Levine Now available in paperback, Judith Levine's controversial book challenges American attitudes towards child and adolescent sexuality-especially attitudes promulgated by a Christian right that has effectively seized control of how sex is taught in public schools. The author-a thoughtful and persuasive journalist and essayist-examines the consequences of "abstinence" only education and its concomitant association of sex with disease, and the persistent denial of pleasure. She notes the trend toward pathologizing young children's eroticized play and argues that Americans should rethink the boundaries we draw in protecting our children from sex. This powerful and illuminating work was nominated for the 2003 Los Angeles Times Book Prize.
The Health Robbers: A Close Look at Quackery in America
Steven Barrett, William T. Jarvis The "Health Robbers", featuring over twenty highly respected authorities, explains the dangers of quack medicine, "alternative" cancer remedies, health fads, and "miracle diets." It argues for stronger laws and more vigorous policing of the marketplace. The essays answer such questions as: Are "organic" foods worth their extra cost? Can acupuncture cure anything? Can diet cure arthritis? Will spinal adjustments help my health? Will amino acids "pump up" my muscles? The answers to some of these questions should seem obvious, but the details in this volume, written in an informative, highly readable and easy-to-understand style, will astound you. Quackery is often harmful because it turns ill people away from legitimate and trusted therapeutic procedures. However, its heaviest toll is the financial loss, not only of those who pay directly, but to everyone who pays for bogus treatments through taxes, insurance premiums, and other ways that are less obvious.
How Brains Make Up Their Minds
Walter J. Freeman This text charts the brain's mind, progressing from single nerve cells to co-operative nerve cell assemblies to the emergence of complex brain patterns. By drawing on recent developments in brain imaging and theories of chaos and non-linear dynamics it shows how brains create intention and meaning.
How Pleasure Works: The New Science of Why We Like What We Like
Paul Bloom “Engaging, evocative. . . . [Bloom] is a supple, clear writer, and his parade of counterintuitive claims about pleasure is beguiling.”—NPRWhy is an artistic masterpiece worth millions more than a convincing forgery? Pleasure works in mysterious ways, as Paul Bloom reveals in this investigation of what we desire and why. Drawing on a wealth of surprising studies, Bloom investigates pleasures noble and seamy, lofty and mundane, to reveal that our enjoyment of a given thing is determined not by what we can see and touch but by our beliefs about that thing’s history, origin, and deeper nature.
How We Believe, 2nd Edition: Science, Skepticism, and the Search for God
Michael Shermer One hundred years ago social scientists predicted that belief in God would decrease by the year 2000. "In fact ... the opposite is has occurred," Shermer writes in his introduction. "Never in history have so many, and such a high percentage of the population, believed in God. Not only is God not dead as Nietzche proclaimed, but he has never been more alive."

Why do so many believe in the existence of something so inexplicable? That's exactly what Shermer answers in this comprehensive, intelligent, and highly readable discussion about the nature of faith. "People believe in God because the evidence of their senses tell them so," claims Shermer, who is the publisher of Skeptics magazine. Having been a believer and a student of the history of science, Shermer (now an agnostic) is more interested in knowing why and how people believe in God rather than trying to prove who's right or wrong. As a result, this book is not only even-handed and thorough, it is also destined to become a timeless contribution to spirituality as well as science. —Gail Hudson
Idiot America: How Stupidity Became a Virtue in the Land of the Free
Charles P. Pierce NATIONAL BESTSELLER

The three Great Premises of Idiot America:
· Any theory is valid if it sells books, soaks up ratings, or otherwise moves units
· Anything can be true if someone says it loudly enough
· Fact is that which enough people believe. Truth is determined by how fervently they believe it
 
With his trademark wit and insight, veteran journalist Charles Pierce delivers a gut-wrenching, side-splitting lament about the glorification of ignorance in the United States.
 
Pierce asks how a country founded on intellectual curiosity has somehow deteriorated into a nation of simpletons more apt to vote for an American Idol contestant than a presidential candidate. But his thunderous denunciation is also a secret call to action, as he hopes that somehow, being intelligent will stop being a stigma, and that pinheads will once again be pitied, not celebrated. Erudite and razor-sharp, Idiot America is at once an invigorating history lesson, a cutting cultural critique, and a bullish appeal to our smarter selves.
Impossibility
John D Barrow
In Search of Schrodinger's Cat
John Gribbin Part history book and part remedial physics text for those who lost interest when the equations started getting unintuitive, In Search of Schrödinger's Cat explains quantum physics in a way that's not only clear, but also enjoyable.

Gribbin opens with the subjects that most physics professors have just started to examine at the end of the semester: The mysterious character of light, the valence concept in Nils Bohr's atomic model, radioactive decay, and the physics of life-defining DNA all get clear, comprehensive, and witty coverage. This book reveals the beauty and mystery that underlies everything in the universe.

Does this book claim to explain quantum physics without math? No. Math is too central to physics to be bypassed. But if you can do basic algebra, you can understand the equations in In Search of Schrödinger's Cat. Gribbin is the physics teacher everyone should have in high school or college: kind without being a pushover, knowledgeable without being condescending, and clearly expressive without being boring. Gribbin's book belongs on the shelf of every pre-calculus student. It also deserves a place in the library of everyone who was scared away from advanced physics prematurely.
Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain
David Eagleman If the conscious mind—the part you consider to be you—is just the tip of the iceberg, what is the rest doing?
 
In this sparkling and provocative new book, the renowned neuroscientist David Eagleman navigates the depths of the subconscious brain to illuminate surprising mysteries: Why can your foot move halfway to the brake pedal before you become consciously aware of danger ahead? Why do you hear your name being mentioned in a conversation that you didn’t think you were listening to? What do Ulysses and the credit crunch have in common? Why did Thomas Edison electrocute an elephant in 1916? Why are people whose names begin with J more likely to marry other people whose names begin with J? Why is it so difficult to keep a secret? And how is it possible to get angry at yourself—who, exactly, is mad at whom?
 
Taking in brain damage, plane spotting, dating, drugs, beauty, infidelity, synesthesia, criminal law, artificial intelligence, and visual illusions, Incognito is a thrilling subsurface exploration of the mind and all its contradictions.
The Infinite Book: A Short Guide to the Boundless, Timeless and Endless
John D. Barrow An engaging examination of Infinity—in history, science, literature, philosophy, and religion—written by one of the most successful writers of popular science.

Professor John D. Barrow is the author of several best-selling books, including Pi in the Sky and The Artful Universe.
Introducing Psychology: A Graphic Guide
Nigel Benson What is psychology? When did it begin? Where did it come from? How does psychology compare with related subjects such as psychiatry and psychotherapy? To what extent is it scientific? "Introducing Psychology" answers all these questions and more, explaining what the subject has been in the past and what it is now. The main "schools" of thought and the sections within psychology are described, including Introspection, Biopsychology, Psychoanalysis, Behaviourism, Comparative (Animal) Psychology, Cognitive Approaches (including the Gestalt movement), Social Psychology, Developmental Psychology and Humanism. The key figures covered include: Freud, Pavlov, Skinner, Bandura, Piaget, Bowlby, Maslow and Rogers, as well as many lesser-known but important psychologists.
Introducing Stephen Hawking
J. P. McEvoy A graphic introduction to the best-known physicist alive today.
Introducing the Universe
Felix Pirani 90% or more of the matter in the universe is unseen. Nobody knows what it is. The universe expands, but nobody knows how long the expansion has been going on. Will it expand forever, or collapse in a Big Crunch, perhaps a Big Bang in reverse? From Aristotle to Newton, Einstein and quantum mechanics, this book recounts the revolutions in physics and astronomy which underlie the present-day scientific picture of the universe. It describes the scale of things, from atoms to galactic superclusters, and sketches the cosmological theories, based on Einstein's theory of general relativity, used to describe the universe's expansion. It discusses the significance of the cosmic background satellite observations, and explains why current theories have nothing reliable to say about whether the universe had a "beginning".
The Invisible Gorilla: And Other Ways Our Intuitions Deceive Us
Christopher Chabris, Daniel Simons Reading this book will make you less sure of yourself—and that’s a good thing. In The Invisible Gorilla, Christopher Chabris and Daniel Simons, creators of one of psychology’s most famous experiments, use remarkable stories and counterintuitive scientific findings to demonstrate an important truth: Our minds don’t work the way we think they do. We think we see ourselves and the world as they really are, but we’re actually missing a whole lot.
 
Chabris and Simons combine the work of other researchers with their own findings on attention, perception, memory, and reasoning to reveal how faulty intuitions often get us into trouble. In the process, they explain:
 
• Why a company would spend billions to launch a product that its own analysts know will fail
• How a police officer could run right past a brutal assault without seeing it
• Why award-winning movies are full of editing mistakes
• What criminals have in common with chess masters
• Why measles and other childhood diseases are making a comeback
• Why money managers could learn a lot from weather forecasters
 
Again and again, we think we experience and understand the world as it is, but our thoughts are beset by everyday illusions. We write traffic laws and build criminal cases on the assumption that people will notice when something unusual happens right in front of them. We’re sure we know where we were on 9/11, falsely believing that vivid memories are seared into our minds with perfect fidelity. And as a society, we spend billions on devices to train our brains because we’re continually tempted by the lure of quick fixes and effortless self-improvement.
 
The Invisible Gorilla reveals the myriad ways that our intuitions can deceive us, but it’s much more than a catalog of human failings. Chabris and Simons explain why we succumb to these everyday illusions and what we can do to inoculate ourselves against their effects. Ultimately, the book provides a kind of x-ray vision into our own minds, making it possible to pierce the veil of illusions that clouds our thoughts and to think clearly for perhaps the first time.
Knowledge as Power: Criminal Registration and Community Notification Laws in America
Wayne Logan Societies have long sought security by identifying potentially dangerous individuals in their midst. America is surely no exception. Knowledge as Power traces the evolution of a modern technique that has come to enjoy nationwide popularity—criminal registration laws. Registration, which originated in the 1930s as a means of monitoring gangsters, went largely unused for decades before experiencing a dramatic resurgence in the 1990s. Since then it has been complemented by community notification laws which, like the "Wanted" posters of the Frontier West, publicly disclose registrants' identifying information, involving entire communities in the criminal monitoring process.

Knowledge as Power provides the first in-depth history and analysis of criminal registration and community notification laws, examining the potent forces driving their rapid nationwide proliferation in the 1990s through today, as well as exploring how the laws have affected the nation's law, society, and governance. In doing so, the book provides compelling insights into the manifold ways in which registration and notification reflect and influence life in modern America.
Konspiranoia
Arnfinn Pettersen og Terje Emberland (RED.)
Last Chance to See....
Douglas Adams, Mark Carwardine The record of an odyssey by a zoologist and a zoologically-innocent comic novelist. It began in 1985 with a search for a rare lemur in Madagascar and went on to include expeditions which witnessed fruitbats, man-eating lizards, gorillas, a blind dolphin and the most inept parrot, the kakapot.
The Last Three Minutes: Conjectures About The Ultimate Fate Of The Universe
Paul Davies Ragnarok. Armageddon. Doomsday. Since the dawn of time, man has wondered how the world would end. In The Last Three Minutes, Paul Davies reveals the latest theories. It might end in a whimper, slowly scattering into the infinite void. Then again, it might be yanked back by its own gravity and end in a catastrophic "Big Crunch." There are other, more frightening possibilities. We may be seconds away from doom at this very moment.

Written in clear language that makes the cutting-edge science of quarks, neutrinos, wormholes, and metaverses accessible to the layman, The Last Three Minutes treats readers to a wide range of conjectures about the ultimate fate of the universe. Along the way, it takes the occasional divergent path to discuss some slightly less cataclysmic topics such as galactic colonization, what would happen if the Earth were struck by the comet Swift-Tuttle (a distinct possibility), the effects of falling in a black hole, and how to create a "baby universe." Wonderfully morbid to the core, this is one of the most original science books to come along in years.
Looking in the Distance: The Human Search for Meaning
Richard Holloway In the twenty first century, organised religion would seem to have lost its grip on humanity, and yet people seek spiritual guidance as much as, if not even more than, ever before.. In Looking in the Distance, Richard Holloway explores and celebrates the possibilities afforded to us throughout our lives, whilst examining the fears and doubts that so often paralyse people. Meditative and highly personal, Holloway has a scholarly, well-argued thesis that both challenges and empowers. His gift is to inspire us to better understand the differing ways in which the human search for wholeness and healing can be approached.
Lost Christianities: The Battles for Scripture and the Faiths We Never Knew
Bart D. Ehrman The early Christian Church was a chaos of contending beliefs. Some groups of Christians claimed that there was not one God but two or twelve or thirty. Some believed that the world had not been created by God but by a lesser, ignorant deity. Certain sects maintained that Jesus was human but not divine, while others said he was divine but not human. In Lost Christianities, Bart D. Ehrman offers a fascinating look at these early forms of Christianity and shows how they came to be suppressed, reformed, or forgotten. All of these groups insisted that they upheld the teachings of Jesus and his apostles, and they all possessed writings that bore out their claims, books reputedly produced by Jesus's own followers. Modern archaeological work has recovered a number of key texts, and as Ehrman shows, these spectacular discoveries reveal religious diversity that says much about the ways in which history gets written by the winners. Ehrman's discussion ranges from considerations of various "lost scriptures"—including forged gospels supposedly written by Simon Peter, Jesus's closest disciple, and Judas Thomas, Jesus's alleged twin brother—to the disparate beliefs of such groups as the Jewish-Christian Ebionites, the anti-Jewish Marcionites, and various "Gnostic" sects. Ehrman examines in depth the battles that raged between "proto-orthodox Christians"—those who eventually compiled the canonical books of the New Testament and standardized Christian belief—and the groups they denounced as heretics and ultimately overcame. Scrupulously researched and lucidly written, Lost Christianities is an eye-opening account of politics, power, and the clash of ideas among Christians in the decades before one group came to see its views prevail.
Lost Scriptures: Books that Did Not Make It into the New Testament
Bart D. Ehrman While most people think that the twenty-seven books of the New Testament are the only sacred writings of the early Christians, this is not at all the case. A companion volume to Bart Ehrman's Lost Christianities, this book offers an anthology of up-to-date and readable translations of many non-canonical writings from the first centuries after Christ—texts that have been for the most part lost or neglected for almost two millennia. Here is an array of remarkably varied writings from early Christian groups whose visions of Jesus differ dramatically from our contemporary understanding. Readers will find Gospels supposedly authored by the apostle Philip, James the brother of Jesus, Mary Magdalen, and others. There are Acts originally ascribed to John and to Thecla, Paul's female companion; there are Epistles allegedly written by Paul to the Roman philosopher Seneca. And there is an apocalypse by Simon Peter that offers a guided tour of the afterlife, both the glorious ecstasies of the saints and the horrendous torments of the damned, and an Epistle by Titus, a companion of Paul, which argues page after page against sexual love, even within marriage, on the grounds that physical intimacy leads to damnation. In all, the anthology includes fifteen Gospels, five non-canonical Acts of the Apostles, thirteen Epistles, a number of Apocalypes and Secret Books, and several Canon lists. Ehrman has included a general introduction, plus brief introductions to each piece. This important anthology gives readers a vivid picture of the range of beliefs that battled each other in the first centuries of the Christian era.
Mathemagics: How to Look Like a Genius Without Really Trying
Arthur Benjamin, Michael Brant Shermer Using proven techniques, this volume shows how to add, subtract, multiply and divide faster than is possible with a calculator or pencil and paper, and helps readers conquer their nervousness about math.
Mean Genes: From Sex to Money to Food - Taming Our Primal Instincts
Terry Burnham, Jay Phelan This is a look at why our toughest battles are often with ourselves. This book examines the issues that most affect our lives: body image, money, addiction, violence, and the search for love and happiness. It shows that our struggles are against our own genes and offers steps for beating them.
The Meaning of it All
Richard P. Feynman What is science and what is its true value? Can a scientist believe in God? Why, in this supposedly scientific age, is there such widespread fascination with flying saucers, faith healing, astrology and alien invasion? Can there be such a thing as a satisfactory philosophy of ignorance? At the peak of his career, maverick genius Richard Feynman gave three public lectures addressing the questions that most inspired and troubled him. Covering everything from the atomic bomb to ethics, the imagination to the meaning of life, they are brought together in this provocative and hugely entertaining volume.
The Meme Machine
Susan Blackmore In The Selfish Gene, Richard Dawkins proposed the concept of the meme as a unit of culture, spread by imitation. Now Dawkins himself says of Susan Blackmore:

Showing greater courage and intellectual chutzpah than I have ever aspired to, she deploys her memetic forces in a brave—do not think foolhardy until you have read it—assault on the deepest questions of all: What is a self? What am I? Where am I? ... Any theory deserves to be given its best shot, and that is what Susan Blackmore has given the theory of the meme.

Blackmore is a parapsychologist who rejects the paranormal, a skeptical investigator of near-death experiences, and a practitioner of Zen. Her explanation of the science of the meme (memetics) is rigorously Darwinian. Because she is a careful thinker (though by no means dull or conventional), the reader ends up with a good idea of what memetics explains well and what it doesn't, and with many ideas about how it can be tested—the very hallmark of an excellent science book. Blackmore's discussion of the "memeplexes" of religion and of the self are sure to be controversial, but she is (as Dawkins says) enormously honest and brave to make a connection between scientific ideas and how one should live one's life. —Mary Ellen Curtin
Menneskets opprinnelse
Kåre Elgmork
Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming
Naomi Oreskes, Erik M. M. Conway "Merchants of Doubt should finally put to rest the question of whether the science of climate change is settled. It is, and we ignore this message at our peril."-Elizabeth Kolbert

"Brilliantly reported andwritten with brutal clarity."-Huffington Post

Merchants of Doubt was one of the most talked-about climate change books of recent years, for reasons easy to understand: It tells the controversialstory of how a loose-knit group of high-level scientists and scientific advisers, with deep connections in politics and industry, ran effective campaigns to mislead the public and deny well-established scientific knowledge over four decades. The same individuals who claim the scienceof global warming is "not settled" have also denied the truth about studies linking smoking to lung cancer, coal smoke to acid rain, and CFCs to the ozone hole. "Doubt is our product," wrote one tobacco executive. These "experts" supplied it.
The Mind of God: Science and the Search for Ultimate Meaning
P. C. W. Davies
The Mind of God: The Scientific Basis for a Rational World
Paul Davies Throughout history, humans have dreamed of knowing the reason for the existence of the universe. In The Mind of God, physicist Paul Davies explores whether modern science can provide the key that will unlock this last secret. In his quest for an ultimate explanation, Davies reexamines the great questions that have preoccupied humankind for millennia, and in the process explores, among other topics, the origin and evolution of the cosmos, the nature of life and consciousness, and the claim that our universe is a kind of gigantic computer. Charting the ways in which the theories of such scientists as Newton, Einstein, and more recently Stephen Hawking and Richard Feynman have altered our conception of the physical universe. Davies puts these scientists' discoveries into context with the writings of philosophers such as Plato. Descartes, Hume, and Kant. His startling conclusion is that the universe is "no minor byproduct of mindless, purposeless forces. We are truly meant to be here." By the means of science, we can truly see into the mind of God.
Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why
Bart D. Ehrman For almost 1,500 years, the New Testament manuscripts were copied by hand––and mistakes and intentional changes abound in the competing manuscript versions. Religious and biblical scholar Bart Ehrman makes the provocative case that many of our widely held beliefs concerning the divinity of Jesus, the Trinity, and the divine origins of the Bible itself are the results of both intentional and accidental alterations by scribes.

In this compelling and fascinating book, Ehrman shows where and why changes were made in our earliest surviving manuscripts, explaining for the first time how the many variations of our cherished biblical stories came to be, and why only certain versions of the stories qualify for publication in the Bibles we read today. Ehrman frames his account with personal reflections on how his study of the Greek manuscripts made him abandon his once ultra–conservative views of the Bible.
Natural Atheism
David Eller NATURAL ATHEISM contains an introduction explaining "What is Atheism?" plus 12 chapters and a bibliography.
Nibbling on Einstein's Brain: The Good, the Bad and the Bogus in Science
Diane Swanson "At one time cannibals in New Guinea believed they could absorb the skills and knowledge of their enemies by eating their brains."

Believe it or not, in the 1950s and 1960s competent scientists actually tested an "edible memory theory." Only through the time-honored tradition of scientists cross-checking one another's results did the theory get discarded.

Science is everywhere! It's astonishing to what extent it pervades our lives, influencing us on a daily basis. But there is a lot of faulty and phony research, and it's difficult for the public to discern what science is good and what is false or misleading. Nibbling on Einstein's Brain takes a fun yet informative look at the scientific facts that constantly bombard us.

How can we equip ourselves to better judge what is good and what is suspect? First we must examine how good science works. And don't worry, there is plenty of good science out there. You'll learn how to follow a "scientific method" for developing theories, designing research to test those theories, and analyzing the results in order to reach conclusions. You'll be amazed at how fascinating the process can be. Now go back: is the initial theory still sound? Good science is always checked and rechecked, both by the original scientist and by others in the field.

Plenty of tips are offered on how to be discerning when it comes to science. Chapters are organized into specific themes to help the reader become a skilled scientific watchdog:

Science Watch
21 "Baloney Busters" look at how science can go wrong (sometimes in hilarious ways). A checklist of things to watch for ends the chapter.

Media Watch
Since most of us rely on the media to learn about scientific advances, how can we tell when something is reliable? "Media Alerts" examine how reporting can confuse or misrepresent science. Tips on how to be a smart consumer of news and products are recapped in a final checklist.

Mind Watch
"Mind Traps" explore how the human mind - your mind - can muddle the science news you receive. There are hints on how to look critically at science research and how to doubt while still keeping an open mind. A mind-trap question checklist finishes things off.

The engaging text is perfectly geared to middle readers and is complemented by amusing illustrations and a lively design. Numerous sidebars throughout feature intriguing facts, examples of experiments, humorous tales, and provocative quotes from scientists, astronomers, and philosophers. Kids are encouraged to question the process of science so they can separate the good from the bad. A list of recommended books, magazines, and Internet sites as well as a glossary of terms complete this illuminating exploration of science and how it enters our everyday world.
Nonsense on Stilts: How to Tell Science from Bunk
Massimo Pigliucci Recent polls suggest that fewer than 40 percent of Americans believe in Darwin’s theory of evolution, despite it being one of science’s best-established findings. More and more parents are refusing to vaccinate their children for fear it causes autism, though this link can been consistently disproved. And about 40 percent of Americans believe that the threat of global warming is exaggerated, despite near consensus in the scientific community that manmade climate change is real.

Why do people believe bunk? And what causes them to embrace such pseudoscientific beliefs and practices? Noted skeptic Massimo Pigliucci sets out to separate the fact from the fantasy in this entertaining exploration of the nature of science, the borderlands of fringe science, and—borrowing a famous phrase from philosopher Jeremy Bentham—the nonsense on stilts. Presenting case studies on a number of controversial topics, Pigliucci cuts through the ambiguity surrounding science to look more closely at how science is conducted, how it is disseminated, how it is interpreted, and what it means to our society. The result is in many ways a “taxonomy of bunk” that explores the intersection of science and culture at large.

No one—not the public intellectuals in the culture wars between defenders and detractors of science nor the believers of pseudoscience themselves—is spared Pigliucci’s incisive analysis. In the end, Nonsense on Stilts is a timely reminder of the need to maintain a line between expertise and assumption. Broad in scope and implication, it is also ultimately a captivating guide for the intelligent citizen who wishes to make up her own mind while navigating the perilous debates that will affect the future of our planet.
Om lov, liv og død
Tor Erling Staff
On Forgiveness: How Can We Forgive the Unforgivable?
Richard Holloway "There is only forgiveness, if there is any, where there is the unforgivable." [Jacques Derrida] Using Derrida's provocative paradox as the epigraph and starting point for his new book, Richard Holloway tackles the complex theme of forgiveness. It is a subject that he explores from both a personal and a political perspective, but underpinning this examination is his belief that religion has given us many of the best stories and metaphors for understanding the act. He proceeds to relate forgiveness to such events as September 11 and the ongoing conflicts in Palestine and Israel, Northern Ireland, and Serbia. On Forgiveness is a discourse on how forgiveness works, where it came from, and how the need to embrace it is greater than ever if we are to free ourselves from the binds of the past. Drawing on philosophers and writers of the caliber of George Steiner, Friedrich Nietzsche, Jacques Derrida, Hannah Arendt, and Nelson Mandela, Holloway has written another fascinating and timely book. "Holloway's language and style are engaging, his research conscientious and his conclusions thoughtful and frequently wise." — Sunday Times (London)
On the Wild Side
Martin Gardner Written in the same vein as the successful The New Age: Notes of a Fringe Watcher, this book explores pseudoscience and strange religious beliefs with the author's trademark wit. In the autobiographical preface, Gardner explains how he evolved from fundamentalist to debunker. Illustrated.
The Origin Of Humankind
Richard Leakey “The name Leakey is synonymous with the study of human origins,” wrote The New York Times. The renowned family of paleontologists—Louis Leakey, Mary Leakey, and their son Richard Leakey—has vastly expanded our understanding of human evolution. The Origin of Humankind is Richard Leakey’s personal view of the development of Homo Sapiens. At the heart of his new picture of evolution is the introduction of a heretical notion: once the first apes walked upright, the evolution of modern humans became possible and perhaps inevitable. From this one evolutionary step comes all the other evolutionary refinements and distinctions that set the human race apart from the apes. In fascinating sections on how and why modern humans developed a social organization, culture, and personal behavior, Leakey has much of interest to say about the development of art, language, and human consciousness.
The Origin Of The Universe: Science Masters Series
John D Barrow There is no more profound, enduring, or fascinating question in all of science than that of how time, space, and matter began. Now John Barrow, who has been at the cutting edge of research in this area and has written extensively about it, guides readers on a journey to the beginning of time, into a world of temperatures and densities so high that we cannot re-create them in the laboratory. With new insights, he draws us into the latest speculative theories about the nature of time and the inflationary universe, explains wormholes, showing how they bear upon the fact of our own existence, and considers whether there was a singularity at the inception of the universe. Here is a treatment so up-to-date and intellectually rich, dealing with ideas and speculation at the farthest frontier of science, that neither novice nor expert will want to miss what Barrow has to say. He shows how scientists, by exploring crucial points of contact between the behavior of matter during its early history and the observed structure of the universe today, came to understand more fully all the entities in the universefrom elementary particles to great clusters of galaxies.
The Origin of Humankind: Unearthing Our Family Tree
Richard E. Leakey Leakey has always been interested in far more than the mere physical features presented by fossils, and here he is particularly concerned with non-tangible human attributes, such as art, language and consciousness itself.

Leakey's personal involvement in many of the key discoveries of hominid fossils, and his friendships and rivalries with his fellow fossil hunters, add more than a dash of spice to his narrative.

‘An outstanding account of our current understanding of human evolution' Sunday Times

‘An elegant summary of what is currently known about human evolution’ Observer
The Outer Edge: Classic Investigations of the Paranormal
Joe Nickell, Barry Karr, Tom Genoni
The Palestine-Israeli Conflict, Second Edition: A Beginner's Guide
Dan Cohn-Sherbok The second edition of this best-selling introduction includes up to the minute discussions of key issues such as the outcome of the 2003 Israeli elections and the implications of war with Iraq.
The Placebo Effect and Health: Combining Science and Compassionate Care
W Grant Thompson Since the days when doctors routinely made house calls and sat by the bedside offering comforting words along with medical care, the doctor-patient relationship has become increasingly impersonal and superficial. As medical technology and treatment have improved, and time constraints have become more demanding, the beneficial effects of meaningful doctor-patient interactions have too often been overlooked. Nonetheless, objective clinical trials have repeatedly shown that real, measurable benefits to the patient occur through the 'placebo effect', the positive effects of the doctor's presence and personality plus the patient's belief in the efficacy of the treatment. Dr W Grant Thompson, a frequent consultant on the design of clinical trials, reviews the history of the placebo effect and the evidence of its benefits to health in this lively, informative, and scientifically rigorous book. He looks at both the planned use of placebos in blind clinical trials and the unplanned placebo effects arising out of the doctor-patient relationship, the passage of time, and the perceptions of the patient. Dr Thompson emphasises that placebos in themselves have no intrinsic benefit; what matters is how the treatment is provided and under what circumstances. He argues that understanding the placebo effect is important for the care of the ill, the design of clinical trials, and healthcare policy planning. He contends that we should be using judiciously the best medical evidence, but even that can be undermined by insensitive delivery. Healthcare policy can only gain from taking both vital components of medical care into consideration. Praised by the "New England Journal of Medicine" as 'a gifted teacher and clinician with a talent for clear exposition,' Dr Thompson has written an important, accessible, and interesting work that deepens our understanding of both the tangible and intangible factors that affect health. He convincingly demonstrates that patients need the best that science has to offer combined with kind and compassionate caregiving by doctors in order for a treatment to be its most effective.
The Placebo Response and the Power of Unconscious Healing
Richard Kradin Placebo responses are automatic and unconscious and cannot be predicted based on conscious volition. Instead, they reflect complex interactions between the innate reward system of the nervous system and encoded procedural memories and imaginal fantasies. The placebo response contributes inextricably to virtually all therapeutic effects, varies in potency, and likely exhibits its own pathologies. The Placebo Response further considers that the critical elements required to provoke placebo responses overlap substantially with what most current psychotherapies consider to be therapeutic, i.e. an interpersonal dynamic rooted in concern, trust and empathy. The potential importance of training caregivers in how to optimize placebo responses is considered a crucial feature of both the art and science of care-giving.
Prostitution and Pornography: Philosophical Debate About the Sex Industry
Jessica Spector Prostitution and Pornography examines debates about the sex industry and the adequacy of the liberal response to critiques of the sex industry. The anthology focuses particularly on the very different ways prostitution and pornography are treated. Unlike other books that deal with the sex industry, this volume brings together academics and industry veterans and survivors to discuss the ways prostitution, pornography, and other forms of commercial sex are treated, and to ask questions about the role that ideas about the self, personal identity, and freedom play in our attitudes about the sex industry.
The Quest for Consciousness: A Neurobiological Approach
Christof Koch Consciousness is one of science’s last great unsolved mysteries. How can the salty taste and crunchy texture of potato chips, the unmistakable smell of dogs after they have been in the rain, or the exhilarating feeling of hanging on tiny fingerholds many feet above the last secure foothold on a cliff, emerge from networks of neurons and their associated synaptic and molecular processes? In The Quest for Consciousness, Caltech neuroscientist Christof Koch explores the biological basis of the subjective mind in animals and people. He outlines a framework that he and Francis Crick (of the "double helix") have constructed to come to grips with the ancient mind-body problem. At the heart of their framework is a sustained, empirical approach to discovering and characterizing the neuronal correlates of consciousness – the NCC – the subtle, flickering patterns of brain activity that underlie each and every conscious experience.
The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves
Matt Ridley For two hundred years the pessimists have dominated public discourse, insisting that things will soon be getting much worse. But in fact, life is getting better—and at an accelerating rate. Food availability, income, and life span are up; disease, child mortality, and violence are down all across the globe. Africa is following Asia out of poverty; the Internet, the mobile phone, and container shipping are enriching people's lives as never before.

In his bold and bracing exploration into how human culture evolves positively through exchange and specialization, bestselling author Matt Ridley does more than describe how things are getting better. He explains why. An astute, refreshing, and revelatory work that covers the entire sweep of human history—from the Stone Age to the Internet—The Rational Optimist will change your way of thinking about the world for the better.
Regulating Sex: The Politics of Intimacy and Identity
Elizabeth Bernstein, Laurie Schaffner Regulating Sex is an anthology that presents debates over the role of the state in constructing and controlling erotic practice, intimacy, and identity. The purpose of this edited volume is to address sexual dilemmas in law and the state in substantive areas such as same-sex domestic partnerships, sexual economies, and childhood sexuality via a series of spirited dialogues between socio-legal scholars from diverse disciplinary, national, and political perspectives.
River Out Of Eden: A Darwinian View Of Life
Richard Dawkins Nearly a century and a half after Charles Darwin formulated it, the theory of evolution is still the subject of considerable debate. Oxford scientist Richard Dawkins is among Darwin's chief defenders, and an able one indeed— witty, literate, capable of turning a beautiful phrase. In River Out of Eden he introduces general readers to some fairly abstract problems in evolutionary biology, gently guiding us through the tangles of mitochondrial DNA and the survival-of-the- fittest ethos. (Superheroes need not apply: Dawkins writes, "The genes that survive . . . will be the ones that are good at surviving in the average environment of the species.") Dawkins argues for the essential unity of humanity, noting that "we are much closer cousins of one another than we normally realize, and we have many fewer ancestors than simple calculations suggest."
The Science of Evil: On Empathy and the Origins of Cruelty
Simon Baron-Cohen Borderline personality disorder, autism, narcissism, psychosis, Asperger's: All of these syndromes have one thing in common—lack of empathy. In some cases, this absence can be dangerous, but in others it can simply mean a different way of seeing the world.

In The Science of Evil Simon Baron-Cohen, an award-winning British researcher who has investigated psychology and autism for decades, develops a new brain-based theory of human cruelty. A true psychologist, however, he examines social and environmental factors that can erode empathy, including neglect and abuse.

Based largely on Baron-Cohen's own research, The Science of Evil will change the way we understand and treat human cruelty.
The Science of Good and Evil: Why People Cheat, Gossip, Care, Share, and Follow the Golden Rule
Michael Shermer A century and a half after Darwin first proposed an 'evolutionary ethics,' science has begun to tackle the roots of morality. Just as evolutionary biologists study why we are hungry (to motivate us to eat) or why sex is enjoyable (to motivate us to procreate), they are now searching for the roots of humannature. In The Science of Good and Evil, psychologist and science historian Michael Shermer explores how humans evolved from social primates to moral primates, how and why morality motivates the human animal, and how the foundation of moral principles can be built upon empirical evidence. Along the way he explains the im-plications of statistics for fate and free will; fuzzy logic for the existence of pure good and pure evil; and ecology for the development of early moral sentiments among the first humans. As he closes the divide between science and morality, Shermer draws on stories from the Yanamam, infamously known as the 'fierce people' of the tropical rain forest, to the Aum Shinrikyo cult in Japan, to John Hinckley's insanity defense. The Science of Good and Evil is ultimately a profound look at the moral animal, belief, and the scientific pursuit of truth.
The Science of Superstition: How the Developing Brain Creates Supernatural Beliefs
Bruce M. Hood In The Science of Superstition, cognitive psychologist Bruce Hood examines the ways in which humans understand the supernatural, revealing what makes us believe in the unbelievable.
The Secret Origins of the Bible
Tim Callahan • Clearly written and easily understandable by the lay reader.
• Thoroughly researched: author's points are backed by references in the writings of acknowledged scholars.
• Special features of the book: lavishly illustrated with multiple images in each illustration that show at a glance the mythic themes paralleling the bible.

This book demonstrates that the stories and themes of the Bible were part of the great mythic systems of the ancient world by u sing comparative mythology, tell tale verses in the Bible and archaeology. The abstract God of modern monotheistic Judaism, Christianity and Islam is a comparatively recent creation. In later times the myth of a messianic deliverer was combined with that of the pagan god-man who suffered a horrible, excruciating death but was physically resurrected to produce the Christ myth.
The Selfish Gene: 30th Anniversary Edition—with a new Introduction by the Author
Richard Dawkins Inheriting the mantle of revolutionary biologist from Darwin, Watson, and Crick, Richard Dawkins forced an enormous change in the way we see ourselves and the world with the publication of The Selfish Gene. Suppose, instead of thinking about organisms using genes to reproduce themselves, as we had since Mendel's work was rediscovered, we turn it around and imagine that "our" genes build and maintain us in order to make more genes. That simple reversal seems to answer many puzzlers which had stumped scientists for years, and we haven't thought of evolution in the same way since.

Why are there miles and miles of "unused" DNA within each of our bodies? Why should a bee give up its own chance to reproduce to help raise her sisters and brothers? With a prophet's clarity, Dawkins told us the answers from the perspective of molecules competing for limited space and resources to produce more of their own kind. Drawing fascinating examples from every field of biology, he paved the way for a serious re-evaluation of evolution. He also introduced the concept of self-reproducing ideas, or memes, which (seemingly) use humans exclusively for their propagation. If we are puppets, he says, at least we can try to understand our strings. —Rob Lightner
The Seven Daughters of Eve: The Science That Reveals Our Genetic Ancestry
Bryan Sykes The national bestseller that reveals how we are descended from seven prehistoric women. One of the most dramatic stories of genetic discovery since James Watson's The Double Helix, The Seven Daughters of Eve reveals the remarkable story behind a groundbreaking scientific discovery. After being summoned in 1997 to an archaeological site to examine the remains of a five-thousand-year-old man, Bryan Sykes ultimately was able to prove not only that the man was a European but also that he has living relatives in England today. In this lucid, absorbing account, Sykes reveals how the identification of a particular strand of DNA that passes unbroken through the maternal line allows scientists to trace our genetic makeup all the way back to prehistoric times, to seven primeval women, the Seven Daughters of Eve.
Shadows of the Mind
Roger Penrose
A Short History of Nearly Everything
Bill Bryson From primordial nothingness to this very moment, A Short History of Nearly Everything reports what happened and how humans figured it out. To accomplish this daunting literary task, Bill Bryson uses hundreds of sources, from popular science books to interviews with luminaries in various fields. His aim is to help people like him, who rejected stale school textbooks and dry explanations, to appreciate how we have used science to understand the smallest particles and the unimaginably vast expanses of space. With his distinctive prose style and wit, Bryson succeeds admirably. Though A Short History clocks in at a daunting 500-plus pages and covers the same material as every science book before it, it reads something like a particularly detailed novel (albeit without a plot). Each longish chapter is devoted to a topic like the age of our planet or how cells work, and these chapters are grouped into larger sections such as "The Size of the Earth" and "Life Itself." Bryson chats with experts like Richard Fortey (author of Life and Trilobite) and these interviews are charming. But it's when Bryson dives into some of science's best and most embarrassing fights—Cope vs. Marsh, Conway Morris vs. Gould—that he finds literary gold. —Therese Littleton
Six Easy Pieces: Fundamentals of Physics Explained
Richard P. Feynman An outstanding communicator, Richard P. Feynman inspired a generation of students with his energetic, unorthodox style of teaching. Drawn from his celebrated and landmark text Lectures on Physics, "Six Easy Pieces" reveals Feynman's distinctive style while introducing the essentials of physics to the general reader. The topics explored include atoms, the fundamentals of physics and its relation to other sciences, the theory of gravitation and quantum behaviour. 'If one book was all that could be passed on to the next generation of scientists it would undoubtedly have to be "Six Easy Pieces"' - John Gribbin, "New Scientist".
The Sixth Extinction
Richard E. Leakey Cites five previous mass extinctions on planet Earth while explaining that the human race may be the first to trigger its own destruction, as well as the destruction of nonhuman species through irresponsible practices. 35,000 first printing. $35,000 ad/promo. Tour.
Smile or Die: How Positive Thinking Fooled America and the World
Barbara Ehrenreich This brilliant new book from the author of Nickel and Dimed and Bait and Switch explores the tyranny of positive thinking, and offers a history of how it came to be the dominant mode in the USA. Ehrenreich conceived of the book when she became ill with breast cancer, and found herself surrounded by pink ribbons and bunny rabbits and platitudes. She balked at the way her anger and sadness about having the disease were seen as unhealthy and dangerous by health professionals and other sufferers. In her droll and incisive analysis of the cult of cheerfulness, Ehrenreich also ranges across contemporary religion, business and the economy, arguing, for example, that undue optimism and a fear of giving bad news sowed the seeds for the current banking crisis. She argues passionately that the insistence on being cheerful actually leads to a lonely focus inwards, a blaming of oneself for any misfortunes, and thus to political apathy. Rigorous, insightful and bracing as always, and also incredibly funny, "Happy Face" uncovers the dark side of the 'have a nice day' nation.
The Stuff of Thought: Language as a Window into Human Nature
Steven Pinker
Stupid White Men: ...And Other Sorry Excuses for the State of the Nation!
Michael Moore Stupid White Men, Michael Moore's screed against "Thief-in-Chief" George Bush's power elite, hit No. 1 at Amazon.com within days of publication. Why? It's as fulminating and crammed with infuriating facts as any right-wing bestseller, as irreverent as The Onion, and as noisily entertaining as a wrestling smackdown. Moore offers a more interesting critique of the 2000 election than Ralph Nader's Crashing the Party (he argued with Nader, his old boss, who sacked him), and he's serious when he advocates ousting Bush. But Moore's rage is outrageous, couched in shameless gags and madcap comedy: "Old white men wielding martinis and wearing dickies have occupied our nation's capital.... Launch the SCUD missiles! Bring us the head of Antonin Scalia!... We are no longer [able] to hold free and fair elections. We need U.N. observers, U.N. troops." Moore's ideas range from on-the-money (Arafat should beat Sharon with Gandhi's nonviolent shame tactics) to over-the-top: blacks should put inflatable white dolls in their cars so racist cops will think they're chauffeurs; the ever-more-Republicanesque Democratic Party should be sued for fraud; "no contributions toward advancing our civilization ever came out of the South [except Faulkner, Hellman, and R.J. Reynolds]," because it's too hot to think straight there; Korean dictator Kim Jong-il "has got to broaden himself beyond porn and John Wayne" by watching better movies, like Dude, Where's My Car? (which contains "all you need to know about America"). Whatever your politics, Stupid White Men should make you blow your stack. —Tim Appelo
SuperSense: Why We Believe in the Unbelievable
Bruce M. Hood The majority of the world's population is religious or believes in supernatural phenomena. In the United States, nine out of every ten adults believe in God, and a recent Gallup poll found that about three out of four Americans believe in some form of telepathy, déjà vu, ghosts, or past lives. Where does such supernatural thinking come from? Are we indoctrinated by our parents, churches, and media, or do such beliefs originate somewhere else? In SuperSense, award-winning cognitive scientist Bruce M. Hood reveals the science behind our beliefs in the supernatural.

Superstitions are common. Many of us cross our fingers, knock on wood, step around black cats, and avoid walking under ladders. John McEnroe refused to step on the white lines of a tennis court between points. Wade Boggs insisted on eating a chicken dinner before every Boston Red Sox game. President Barack Obama played a game of basketball the morning of his victory in the Iowa primary and continued the tradition on every subsequent election day.

Supernatural thinking includes loftier beliefs as well, such as the sentimental value we place on photos of loved ones, wedding rings, and teddy bears. It also includes spiritual beliefs and the hope for an afterlife. But in this modern, scientific age, why do we hold on to these behaviors and beliefs?

It turns out that belief in things beyond what is rational or natural is common to humans and appears very early in childhood. In fact, according to Hood, this "super sense" is something we're born with to develop and is essential to the way we learn to understand the world. We couldn't live without it!

Our minds are designed from the very start to think there are unseen patterns, forces, and essences inhabiting the world, and it is unlikely that any effort to get rid of supernatural beliefs, or the superstitious behaviors that accompany them, will be successful. These common beliefs and sacred values are essential in binding us together as a society because they help us to see ourselves connected to each other at a deeper level.
The Tell-Tale Brain: A Neuroscientist's Quest for What Makes Us Human
V. S. Ramachandran Drawing on strange and thought-provoking case studies, an eminent neurologist offers unprecedented insight into the evolution of the uniquely human brain.V. S. Ramachandran is at the forefront of his field-so much so that Richard Dawkins dubbed him the "Marco Polo of neuroscience." Now, in a major new work, Ramachandran sets his sights on the mystery of human uniqueness. Taking us to the frontiers of neurology, he reveals what baffling and extreme case studies can teach us about normal brain function and how it evolved. Synesthesia becomes a window into the brain mechanisms that make some of us more creative than others. And autism—for which Ramachandran opens a new direction for treatment—gives us a glimpse of the aspect of being human that we understand least: self-awareness. Ramachandran tackles the most exciting and controversial topics in neurology with a storyteller's eye for compelling case studies and a researcher's flair for new approaches to age-old questions. Tracing the strange links between neurology and behavior, this book unveils a wealth of clues into the deepest mysteries of the human brain. 15 black-and-white illustrations
Them: Adventures with Extremists
Jon Ronson A wide variety of extremist groups — Islamic fundamentalists, neo-Nazis — share the oddly similar belief that a tiny shadowy elite rule the world from a secret room. In Them, journalist Jon Ronson has joined the extremists to track down the fabled secret room.

As a journalist and a Jew, Ronson was often considered one of "Them" but he had no idea if their meetings actually took place. Was he just not invited? Them takes us across three continents and into the secret room. Along the way he meets Omar Bakri Mohammed, considered one of the most dangerous men in Great Britain, PR-savvy Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard Thom Robb, and the survivors of Ruby Ridge. He is chased by men in dark glasses and unmasked as a Jew in the middle of a Jihad training camp. In the forests of northern California he even witnesses CEOs and leading politicians — like Dick Cheney and George Bush — undertake a bizarre owl ritual.

Ronson's investigations, by turns creepy and comical, reveal some alarming things about the looking-glass world of "us" and "them." Them is a deep and fascinating look at the lives and minds of extremists. Are the extremists onto something? Or is Jon Ronson becoming one of them?
Time Travel in Einstein's Universe
Richard Gott Human beings have a strong desire to travel through time. As an acknowledged world expert in the topic, Professor Richard Gott is rumoured to have a time machine in his garage, and he was once sent a letter inviting him to give a talk on the subject six months after he had already done so. But time travel has a serious side too. He often receives calls from people who want to return to the past to see a loved one. Although scientists are not yet taking out patents on a time machine, they are investigating whether it is possible under the laws of physics. In Newton’s three-dimensional world this would have been inconceivable. But with Einstein’s theory of relativity a fourth dimension – time – enters the frame. Is it really inconceivable that we can travel along the timeline? In Time Travel, Richard Gott offers an intellectually expansive, witty and engaging study of the viability of time travel, which takes us from the dream of time travel itself in H. G. Wells’s path-breaking novel The Time Machine to cutting-edge research into astrophysics and quantum teleportation. He explores the scientific, social and moral implications of time travel, and looks at recent remarkable experiments in which fundamental particles were actually sent into the future. Finally he reveals how the study of time travel to the past may provide new insights into cosmic origins and evolution.
Tower of Babel: The Evidence against the New Creationism
Robert T. Pennock The face of creationism has been through some major plastic surgery in the past decade or so. The leading proponents of "intelligent design theory" have left the ranting flat-earth types behind and found respected positions in the academic world from which to launch attacks on mainstream science. Philosopher of science Robert T. Pennock has explored all sides of the ongoing debate, which remains (despite the protestations of many creationists) more about biblical inerrancy than scientific evidence. His book Tower of Babel examines the new directions antievolutionists have taken lately, but goes beyond a mere recounting of recent history by proposing a new avenue of counterattack: linguistics.

The parallels are striking once we look closely: Genesis proclaims that God created all human languages at one stroke, while modern scientific thought proposes linguistic evolution similar in form to genetics. Best of all for scientists, though, linguistic change is much more rapid than biological change, and we have actually observed what might be called "speciation events" to have occurred historically in languages. While not meant to supplant traditional arguments against creationism, Pennock's ideas certainly supplement them and will be useful to educators and researchers alike. His sense of urgency is compelling; he sees the future of scientific education and freedom at stake and argues strongly for a separation between private beliefs and public knowledge. —Rob Lightner
The Trauma Myth: The Truth About the Sexual Abuse of Children—and Its Aftermath
Susan A. Clancy Drawing on the latest research on memory and traumatic experience, Susan Clancy, an expert in experimental psychopathology, demonstrates that children describe abuse and molestation encounters in ways that don't fit the conventional trauma model. In fact, the most common feeling reported is not fear but confusion.

Clancy calls for an honest look at sexual abuse and its aftermath, and argues that the reactions of society and the healing professions—however well meaning—actually shackle the victims of abuse in chains of guilt, secrecy, and shame. Pathbreaking and controversial, The Trauma Myth radically reshapes our understanding of sexual abuse and its consequences.
Trick or Treatment: The Undeniable Facts about Alternative Medicine
Edzard Ernst, Simon Singh “For anyone who has ever wondered about the scientific evidence for the effectiveness of . . . alternative therapies.”—Susan Okie, Washington PostWhether you are an ardent believer in alternative medicine, a skeptic, or are simply baffled by the range of services and opinions, this groundbreaking analysis lays to rest doubts and contradictions with authority, integrity, and clarity. Over thirty of the most popular treatments—including acupuncture, homeopathy, aromatherapy, reflexology, chiropractic, and herbal medicines—are examined for their benefits and potential dangers. What works and what doesn’t? Who can you trust, and who is ripping you off? In its scrutiny of alternative and complementary cures, this book also strives to reassert the primacy of the scientific method as a means for determining public health practice and policy. 16 illustrations
Unfolding Meaning: A Weekend of Dialogue with David Bohm
David Bohm, Donald and Bohm Factor Bohm discusses with a group of people from various backgrounds his thoughts concerning mind, matter, meaning, the implicate order and a host of other subjects.
Unintelligent Design
Mark Perakh Physicist Mark Perakh critically reviews recent trends toward harmonising religion and science. From intelligent design theories to arguments allegedly proving the compatibility of biblical stories with scientific data and 'Bible codes' containing secret messages, Perakh shows that, however sophisticated in appearance, all such approaches are little more than tailoring evidence to fit the desired theory. For everyone interested in separating scientific facts from the hype of trendy theories about science, this book is must reading.
The Universe in a Nutshell
Stephen William Hawking Stephen Hawking, science's first real rock star, may be the least-read bestselling author in history—it's no secret that many people who own A Brief History of Time have never finished it. Hawking's The Universe in a Nutshell aims to remedy the situation, with a plethora of friendly illustrations to help readers grok some of the most brain-bending ideas ever conceived.

Does it succeed? Yes and no. While Hawking offers genuinely accessible context for such complexities as string theory and the nature of time, it's when he must translate equations to sentences that the limits of language get in the way. But Hawking has simplified the origin of the universe, the nature of space and time, and what holds it all together to an unprecedented degree, inviting nonscientists to share his obvious awe and love of the unseen forces that shape it all.

Yes, it's difficult reading, but it's worth it. Hawking is one of the great geniuses of our time, a man whose life has been devoted to thinking in the abstract about the universe. With his help, and pictures—lots of pictures—we can seek to understand a bit more of the cosmos. —Therese Littleton
Unweaving the Rainbow: Science, Delusion and the Appetite for Wonder
Richard Dawkins Why do poets and artists so often disparage science in their work? For that matter, why does so much scientific literature compare poorly with, say, the phone book? After struggling with questions like these for years, biologist Richard Dawkins has taken a wide-ranging view of the subjects of meaning and beauty in Unweaving the Rainbow, a deeply humanistic examination of science, mysticism, and human nature. Notably strong-willed in a profession of bet-hedgers and wait-and-seers, Dawkins carries the reader along on a romp through the natural and cultural worlds, determined that "science, at its best, should leave room for poetry."

Inspired by the frequently asked question, "Why do you bother getting up in the morning?" following publication of his book The Selfish Gene, Dawkins set out determined to show that understanding nature's mechanics need not sap one's zest for life. Alternately enlightening and maddening, Unweaving the Rainbow will appeal to all thoughtful readers, whether wild-eyed technophiles or grumpy, cabin-dwelling Luddites. Excoriations of newspaper astrology columns follow quotes from Blake and Shakespeare, which are sandwiched between sparkling, easy-to-follow discussions of probability, behavior, and evolution. In Dawkins's world (and, he hopes, in ours), science is poetry; he ends his journey by referring to his title's author and subject, maintaining that "A Keats and a Newton, listening to each other, might hear the galaxies sing." —Rob Lightner
Up From Dragons: The Evolution of Human Intelligence
John Skoyles, Dorion Sagan A breathtaking account of the "unnatural" history of consciousness and human intelligence

Taking its cue from The Dragons of Eden, Carl Sagan's 1977 classic and New York Times bestseller, Up from Dragons traces the development of human intelligence back to its animal roots in an attempt to account for the vast differences between our species and all those that came before us. In a book that will spark a storm of debate, neuroscientist John Skoyles and awardwinning author Dorion Sagan introduce a controversial theory of the origins of human intelligence that may hold the answers to questions that have haunted scientists about mind, consciousness, and the evolutionary odyssey of humankind. It also introduces the revolutionary concept of "mindware"­­the human, evolutionary equivalent of computer software­­and describes how the evolution-accelerating symbol-using programs that make it up have empowered us with the unprecedented ability to take charge of our own evolutionary destiny.
The Varieties of Scientific Experience: A Personal View of the Search for God
Carl Sagan, Ann Druyan On the 10th anniversary of his death, brilliant astrophysisist and Pulitzer Prize winner Carl Sagan's prescient exploration of the relationship between religion and science and his personal search for God.

Carl Sagan is considered one of the greatest scientific minds of our time. His remarkable ability to explain science in terms easily understandable to the layman in bestselling books such as Cosmos, The Dragons of Eden, and The Demon-Haunted World won him a Pulitzer Prize and placed him firmly next to Isaac Asimov, Stephen Jay Gould, and Oliver Sachs as one of the most important and enduring communicators of science. In December 2006 it will be the tenth anniversary of Sagan's death, and Ann Druyan, his widow and longtime collaborator, will mark the occasion by releasing Sagan's famous "Gifford Lectures in Natural Theology," The Varieties of Scientific Experience: A Personal View of the Search for God. The chance to give the Gifford Lectures is an honor reserved for the most distinguished scientists and philosophers of our civilization. In 1985, on the grand occasion of the centennial of the lectureship, Carl Sagan was invited to give them. He took the opportunity to set down in detail his thoughts on the relationship between religion and science as well as to describe his own personal search to understand the nature of the sacred in the vastness of the cosmos.

The Varieties of Scientific Experience, edited, updated and with an introduction by Ann Druyan, is a bit like eavesdropping on a delightfully intimate conversation with the late great astronomer and astrophysicist. In his charmingly down-to-earth voice, Sagan easily discusses his views on topics ranging from manic depression and the possibly chemical nature of transcendance to creationism and so-called intelligent design to the likelihood of intelligent life on other planets to the likelihood of nuclear annihilation of our own to a new concept of science as "informed worship." Exhibiting a breadth of intellect nothing short of astounding, he illuminates his explanations with examples from cosmology, physics, philosophy, literature, psychology, cultural anthropology, mythology, theology, and more. Sagan's humorous, wise, and at times stunningly prophetic observations on some of the greatest mysteries of the cosmos have the invigorating effect of stimulating the intellect, exciting the imagination, and reawakening us to the grandeur of life in the cosmos.
What Einstein Told His Cook 2: The Sequel: Further Adventures in Kitchen Science
Marlene Parrish, Robert L. Wolke The scientist in the kitchen tells us more about what makes our foods tick.

This sequel to the best-selling What Einstein Told His Cook continues Bob Wolke's investigations into the science behind our foods—from the farm or factory to the market, and through the kitchen to the table. In response to ongoing questions from the readers of his nationally syndicated Washington Post column, "Food 101," Wolke continues to debunk misconceptions with reliable, commonsense answers. He has also added a new feature for curious cooks and budding scientists, "Sidebar Science," which details the chemical processes that underlie food and cooking.

In the same plain language that made the first book a hit with both techies and foodies, Wolke combines the authority, clarity, and wit of a renowned research scientist, writer, and teacher. All those who cook, or for that matter go to the market and eat, will become wiser consumers, better cooks, and happier gastronomes for understanding their food. 20 illustrations.
When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment
Mark A. R. Kleiman Since the crime explosion of the 1960s, the prison population in the United States has multiplied fivefold, to one prisoner for every hundred adults—a rate unprecedented in American history and unmatched anywhere in the world. Even as the prisoner head count continues to rise, crime has stopped falling, and poor people and minorities still bear the brunt of both crime and punishment. When Brute Force Fails explains how we got into the current trap and how we can get out of it: to cut both crime and the prison population in half within a decade.

Mark Kleiman demonstrates that simply locking up more people for lengthier terms is no longer a workable crime-control strategy. But, says Kleiman, there has been a revolution—largely unnoticed by the press—in controlling crime by means other than brute-force incarceration: substituting swiftness and certainty of punishment for randomized severity, concentrating enforcement resources rather than dispersing them, communicating specific threats of punishment to specific offenders, and enforcing probation and parole conditions to make community corrections a genuine alternative to incarceration. As Kleiman shows, "zero tolerance" is nonsense: there are always more offenses than there is punishment capacity. But, it is possible—and essential—to create focused zero tolerance, by clearly specifying the rules and then delivering the promised sanctions every time the rules are broken.

Brute-force crime control has been a costly mistake, both socially and financially. Now that we know how to do better, it would be immoral not to put that knowledge to work.
When Jesus Became God: The Struggle to Define Christianity during the Last Days of Rome
Richard E. Rubenstein The Gospel narratives may suggest that Jesus was divine, but they do not insist upon it. Hundreds of years after Jesus' death, the Church councils made Jesus' divinity a central tenet of belief among many of his followers. When Jesus Became God: The Epic Fight over Christ's Divinity in the Last Days of Rome by Richard Rubenstein is a narrative history of Christians' early efforts to define Christianity by convening councils and writing creeds. Rubenstein is most interested in the battle between Arius, Presbyter of Alexandria, and Athanasius, Bishop of Alexandria. Arius said that Christ did not share God's nature but was the first creature God created. Athanasius said that Christ was fully God. At the Council of Nicea in 325, the Church Fathers came down on Athanasius's side and made Arius's belief a heresy.

Rubenstein's brisk, incisive prose brings the councils' 4th-century Roman setting fully alive, with riots, civil strife, and spectacular public debates. Rubenstein is also personally invested in the meaning of these councils for religious life today: he wrote this book, in part, because he grew up in a mixed Jewish Catholic neighborhood and was bewildered by animosity between the religious groups on his block. Digging back in history, Rubenstein learns that before the Arian controversy, "Jews and Christians could talk to each other and argue among themselves about crucial issues like the divinity of Jesus.... They disagreed strongly about many things, but there was still a closeness between them." But when the controversy was settled, Rubenstein notes, "that closeness faded. To Christians, God became a Trinity and heresy became a crime. Judaism became a form of infidelity. And Jews living in Christian countries learned not to think very much about Jesus and his message." —Michael Joseph Gross
Who Wrote the Gospels?
Randel McCraw Helms • A study of the minds of the authors

The names we associate with the gospel writers are all second century guesses. If this comes as a surprise, welcome to the cutting edge of modern biblical scholarship. According to Helms, the gospels were written to convert or confirm their highly colored arguments of powerful authors, not just transparent windows upon the historical Jesus. If we adjust our focus from the brilliant imaginative pictures to the imaginations that produced them, to the situations out of which they arose, we get to the point of this book - a study of the minds of the authors.
Why I Am Not a Christian and Other Essays on Religion and Related Subjects
Bertrand Russell, Paul Edwards Dedicated as few men have been to the life of reason, Bertrand Russell has always been concerned with the basic questions to which religion also addresses itself — questions about man's place in the universe and the nature of the good life, questions that involve life after death, morality, freedom, education, and sexual ethics. He brings to his treatment of these questions the same courage, scrupulous logic, and lofty wisdom for which his other work as philosopher, writer, and teacher has been famous. These qualities make the essays included in this book perhaps the most graceful and moving presentation of the freethinker's position since the days of Hume and Voltaire.

"I am as firmly convinced that religions do harm as I am that they are untrue," Russell declares in his Preface, and his reasoned opposition to any system or dogma which he feels may shackle man's mind runs through all the essays in this book, whether they were written as early as 1899 or as late as 1954.

The book has been edited, with Lord Russell's full approval and cooperation, by Professor Paul Edwards of the Philosophy Department of New York University. In an Appendix, Professor Edwards contributes a full account of the highly controversial "Bertrand Russell Case" of 1940, in which Russell was judicially declared "unfit" to teach philosophy at the College of the City of New York.

Whether the reader shares or rejects Bertrand Russell's views, he will find this book an invigorating challenge to set notions, a masterly statement of a philosophical position, and a pure joy to read.
Why I Am Not a Muslim
Ibn Warraq Those who practice the Muslim faith have resisted examinations of their religion. They are extremely guarded about their religion, and what they consider blasphemous acts by sceptical Muslims and non-Muslims alike has only served to pique the world's curiosity. This critical examination reveals an unflattering picture of the faith and its practitioners. Nevertheless, it is the truth, something that has either been deliberately concealed by modern scholars or buried in obscure journals accessible only to a select few.
Why People Believe Weird Things: Pseudoscience, Superstition, and Other Confusions of Our Time
Michael Shermer Few can talk with more personal authority about the range of human beliefs than Michael Shermer. At various times in the past, Shermer has believed in fundamentalist Christianity, alien abductions, Ayn Rand, megavitamin therapy, and deep-tissue massage. Now he believes in skepticism, and his motto is "Cognite tute—think for yourself." This updated edition of Why People Believe Weird Things covers Holocaust denial and creationism in considerable detail, and has chapters on abductions, Satanism, Afrocentrism, near-death experiences, Randian positivism, and psychics. Shermer has five basic answers to the implied question in his title: for consolation, for immediate gratification, for simplicity, for moral meaning, and because hope springs eternal. He shows the kinds of errors in thinking that lead people to believe weird (that is, unsubstantiated) things, especially the built-in human need to see patterns, even where there is no pattern to be seen. Throughout, Shermer emphasizes that skepticism (in his sense) does not need to be cynicism: "Rationality tied to moral decency is the most powerful joint instrument for good that our planet has ever known." —Mary Ellen Curtin
The World's 20 Greatest Unsolved Problems
John R. Vacca The World's 20 Greatest Unsolved Problems provides a step-by-step discussion of 20+ of the greatest unsolved problems in science. Given this wealth of unsolved problems in science, the author interviewed some 60 scientists (including the great physicist and cosmologist Dr. Stephen Hawking) to predict what unanswered questions and/or unsolved problems will dominate their fields over the next 20 years. Almost 100 researchers were surveyed to find these scientists, asking for nominations of the persons who are the best-of-the-best in their respective fields around the globe, and who have demonstrated a once-in-a-generation insight. The book is organized into eight parts composed of 21 chapters and four appendices, which includes an extensive glossary of scientific terms and acronyms at the back. Whether it's physicist Hideo Mabuchi's discoveries about the interface between quantum mechanics and everyday life or conservation biologist Gretchen Daily's rigorous assessments of ecosystems and economics, this new generation of scientists are probing the frontiers of knowledge, and have already shown the promise (or the work) that makes senior scientists applaud in awe.
Your Inner Fish: A Journey into the 3.5 Billion-Year History of the Human Body
Neil Shubin
The supernatural A-Z
James RANDI